Every Writer Should Watch is going to be a bi-weekly meme that showcases a different television show and discusses why every aspiring writer should watch it. (Also, this allows me to “fangirl” over some of my favourite television series… Sorry not sorry!)
Every Writer Should Watch: Dark Matter
So what exactly is Dark Matter about? Well, six individuals — and an awesome/hilarious/badass android (or, otherwise known as Lauren from Lost Girl) — wake up from stasis aboard a spaceship possessing no memory of themselves or why they were even on the spaceship to begin with. This means that they don’t even know their own names, so they call each other by a number (which was determined from the order they came out of stasis). After discovering that they are actually wanted, dangerous criminals on the run, this rag-tag crew must deal with bounty hunters and several governments that are out to get them, whilst trying to figure out who they are and who they must become in order to survive.
Basically, I like to think that this series is about nature versus nurture (will these people succumb to who they have always been, or will they grow with their new perspectives of the universe? is an interesting question to contemplate). And, just as importantly, redemption.
This is a brilliant series, and definitely one of my all time favourites — I practically watched the first season over the course of two days (season two is starting soon!). I just absolutely love it. And because I’ve watched it a million times, I am certain that I can provide you with some wonderful examples of why this is a wonderful show to watch if you are a writer.
So, fellow aspiring writers, why is this show for you? Well, personally, I believe it gives you four very important and interesting lessons.
Lesson 1: Dark Matter provides a wonderful example of how to create a character-driven series, rather than a plot-driven one. By now you guys should know how important it is for me to fall in love with characters (I do not enjoy a book if I don’t enjoy the characters, no matter how interesting the plot may be). And the reason that I love this series so much is because these characters are the main focus. They are active participants in the story — and the story only moves forward because of the decisions these characters make in order to understand what happened to them, discover who they are and survive when travelling through the universe.
Why is this important? Well, I personally don’t like characters that simply allow things to happen to them. I really dislike characters that sulk or moan about things happening to them. I like characters that make things happen, those that take charge of a situation. And this show is a wonderful example of how to create characters that whilst making the best of their circumstances, they also attempt to do everything in their power to go where they want to go. Whether something good happens, or something bad, is completely in their hands.
Lesson 2: This show will demonstrate how to make anti-heroes — potential “bag guys” — likable. I love how these characters develop throughout the course of the first season. They have backgrounds in crime, they have all done bad things and they continue to have “the-ends-justify-the-means” approach throughout the entire first season. They all possess individual strengths and weaknesses, faults, backstories, personalities, motivations and desires. They grow and develop quite significantly, transforming into interesting three-dimensional characters (you will not come across a single cardboard cutout villain, trust me). But, at the end of the day, these are not the typical good guys or bad guys. They are real people, and they are likable.
Personally, one of the most interesting characters is Five. (Five is amazing, trust me.) Five is the youngest of the group, with an incredible talent for both machines and wires, is perhaps the smartest of the crew, and she plays a very important role in the group’s dynamic (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it for you). My favourite scenes with Five would definitely have to be ones where she sprouts seemingly random information, like the following:
Lesson 3: It will show you how to surprise your readers, construct creative plot twists and develop mystery. The reason that this show is absolutely brilliant is not only because of the characters, but the way it surprises its watchers. There are a number of twists and turns that made me almost jump out of my sit, whilst others made me cry out in rage/sadness/pain. Some books (I’m looking at you Soundless by Richelle Mead) do not provide enough excitement because they fail to surprise its readers by making everything too predictable or slow. This show is not like that. It will help show you how to put your readers into a false sense of security, only to destroy everything they have ever believed in the story’s world in a matter of seconds.
Lesson 4: This show will demonstrate that mixing up the structure in a group can benefit the story immensely. How many times have you read a book where a man leads the group despite their being a mix of both females and males? A lot of the time, books tend to follow the same sort of structure within a group, allowing the male to be the hero, whilst the female remains a trusted friend, love interest or sidekick. For example, The Mortal Instruments (Jace, Alec and Isabelle), The Harry Potter series (Harry, Ron and Hermione) and the Percy Jackson series (Percy, Grover and Annabeth) all possess a male who leads the group and one female (who could probably lead the group better than the male).
Dark Matter does this very differently. This crew is led by the very capable, very intelligent and very dangerous, Two. She is a component leader, who makes the tough decisions and doesn’t look for the approval of any the men that she leads. Instead, she demands respect and fights tooth-and-nail for her crew. And not only that, but she is a very strong character. She is determined and brave and has a lot of heart, goes through internal struggles but doesn’t let them get in the way of her role as leader, stands up for herself, doesn’t take crap from anyone and sometimes comes across a little scary. If you want a female main character that basically screams “strong female character/awesome role model” don’t look any further than this incredible character!
Key Points (This show will help you with…):
- Character Development
- Strong Female Characters — that are not defined by their relationships with men.
Have you watched “Dark Matter”? If so, who is your favourite character? Why do you like the show? Why don’t you?
I was inspired by the wonderful Ravenclaw Book Club, who provides readers with five reasons why they should watch a particular show. If you want to get a taste of this amazing weekly meme, check out 5 Reasons Why You Should Watch The 100.
ALSO: I created this bi-weekly feature for something different to add to the blog. I love writing and watching a variety of television series, so why not put them together? Haha. If you want to join in, I will be doing this post again in another two weeks!
If you have any suggestions on how to make this series better, please comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts ❤