By Ed Diokno
Finally, there may be a worthy science fiction series to fill the void that’s existed since Battlestar Galactica found Earth and the spaceship Serenity in Firefly flew off into the outer reaches of the universe.
And while we’re looking for heroic roles for Asian Americans, look no further. Dark Matter has two Asian Americans in lead roles. Thank to the producers for not limiting themselves with the Hollywood casting standard of “one Asian is enough, two is too much.”
Like BSG and Firefly, this show is not driven by spectacular special effects but by its complex, evolving characters. In Dark Matter’s case, the audience is allowed to follow the characters as they discover themselves. Six people awaken with no memory of their past. So they name themselves in the order that they awaken, One, Two, Three, and so forth. The seventh main character is an android (shades of Lt. Commander Data of the Star Trek franchise.)
Leading the core seven is Melissa O’Neil (Two). If you’re Canadian, you might remember her as the 2005 winner of Canadian Idol (Canada’s version of
American Idol). Maybe in a future episode, she’ll be called upon to sing but in the meantime, she is a natural leader and one of those Asian kick-ass women. Her Asian roots were confirmed in later episodes as Portia Lin. The question she faces is: Is she human or something else?
“While we continue to figure out who we are based off of the morsels of information we were able to get last season, we’re also trying to decide what we think of each other as each person has integrated that new information and whether or not we feel like that person is capable of changing or if they were able to start with a blank slate or not,” said O’Neil in an interview with the Three If By Space blog.
O’Neil is joined by Alex Mallari Jr., (Four) who is a master of weapons and could probably challenge O’Neil as the best martial artist in the group. The katana is his favorite weapon. Mallari was born in the Philippines but raised in Scarborough, Canada. He got his tae kwon do black belt at age six. Four is of royal lineage of the Ishida Empire. I guess we’ll find out more as the series progresses.
“Four’s backstory is the most prominent one amongst the crew,” Mallari told the Three if by Space blog. “It was introduced in the pilot episode, was given a little more detail in episode six, and then got a little more in depth in episode nine. Did I mention there’s still more to be exposed of him in the next few episodes? What I’m trying to say is, there’s no way we open that book and not get to the bottom of it.”
If you’ve been missing your sic-fi fix, Dark Matters is worth a look. I suggest you binge watch season one before starting season two. Dark Matters is on the SyFy channel, Friday at 10 p.m. EST. You can also watch it online on the SyFy website. If you’re going to ComicCom in San Diego next week, be sure to check out the Dark Matter panel where the actors will be present.