Dark Matter season 4: The Netflix odds (and the Longmire parallel)


Dark Matter season 4Is there still hope for a Dark Matter season 4? In this modern age of television, it’d be stupid to never say never.

Let’s start things off, though, with stating a few facts: Syfy canceled Dark Matter on Friday. While we could sit here and bemoan the network’s frustrating habit of canceling really good shows, we’ve already done that. Also, that’s not really productive. We want to put our focus in this article more on the subject of how to save it — specifically through the lens of Netflix. We know that there are some other streaming services that are out there and more than capable of airing the show, but it’s easier with Netflix. They already have the first two seasons, and with that they have an understanding as to how it performs.

Is the idea almost passe at this point to ask Netflix to save a canceled show? Probably, given they probably get requests for this very thing on an almost-weekly basis at this point. Yet, it does still happen (though probably with less frequency than in the past), and they understand that devoted fans are what carry the day more than anything else. If bringing Dark Matter on board would get them more subscribers, than certainly they’d consider doing it.

One of the things that we were waiting to do before writing this article was getting some more information on the circumstances of the cancellation, and we’ve now got that very thing courtesy of a new blog from showrunner Joseph Mallozzi. (Check it out, in full, over at the link here.) In the post, Mallozzi makes it clear that the decision from Syfy appears to be business-driven rather than creative, and that one of the things that hurt the show was that it was an acquisition rather than a show originally developed from within the NBCUniversal family. Basically, this means that there’s less money to go around — it may be cheaper to make, but they receive smaller returns.

In reading all of this, the more aware we became that the Dark Matter situation is very similar to what we went through a few years back with another show we really love: Longmire on Netflix. This is a show that came from an outside studio (in this case, Warner Horizon), and the network (A&E) decided that they weren’t making enough money on it. Yet, the show had a dedicated following and eventually Netflix picked the show up after previously service as its streaming home. We watched that renewal effort closely, and there were a few things that clearly stood out about what the fans did.

1. Direct requests to Netflix – If you let the folks over at the service know that you’d like them to pick up the show, that sort of stuff does matter. It’s a bit of a grind, but it can be worthwhile.

2. Views of the show on Netflix – They may not release numbers publicly, but they absolutely do track them and this sort of thing helps them to gauge what the overall level of excitement could be.

3. Unique hashtags – One thing that Longmire fans did that was really smart was every time they made a new social-media push, they took advantage of Twitter’s algorithms and created a totally new hashtag. Because Twitter didn’t have any record of that previously, it made it easier to drive trends. Whether it’s Netflix or anywhere else, doing this sort of thing shows that you have active fans who could spread the word on your show.

Update (September 3) – This is something that we thought about more overnight. The custom hashtags are the most effective when the fandom gets together, decides on one to use, but waits to start using it until a specific period of time. (Credit to the folks at @LongmirePosse for perfecting this.)

For example, let’s say that #MoreDarkMatter is the hashtag that you want to use to get more attention to the show. You don’t want to start tweeting with that hashtag until you get everyone on board using it at once. Create a graphic that includes the hashtag instead and start spreading that through the fandom on all social platforms with a specific start time. If everyone starts to use the hashtag at the same time, it provides an even greater impact on Twitter’s trends. Not only that, but it also shows potential network homes more unity, whether it be Netflix or otherwise. Consider that some food for thought. (Also, it’s great to see #DarkMatterNetflix getting so much attention as a hashtag this morning — the next time you go for a trend, try a new one to differentiate them in the system.) End update.

Consider these just some early suggestions. We may be fairly new to Dark Matter after starting to watch it earlier this year, but we love the show and would be thrilled to be able to continue covering it. Every revival is always a longshot, and the same could be said here — nonetheless, we wouldn’t count out the Raza crew for a split second.

Have any more suggestions as to how to keep the show around? Be sure to share in the comments! (Photo: Syfy / used to be Syfy.)


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