I’d like to kick things off with a book recommendation. Now, to be perfectly honest, I don’t read much fantasy. I don’t have the time given the number of scifi classics I still need to get through. But recently, after finishing my twentieth scifi novel in a row, I opted for a change of pace and picked up Scott Lynch’s debut: “The Lies of Locke Lamora”. It was terrific. The novel follows the misadventures of the title character, Locke Lamora, from his early years as an orphaned apprentice thief to his rise as a creatively accomplished scammer, all set amidst the backdrop of a world so elaborately detailed and skillfully conveyed that one would think the author either a brilliant storyteller or a crazy person persuaded to the reality of his own fiction. The world he creates is that convincing. The writing is smart, darkly humorous, and downright touching at times. Highly recommended.

Also let me take a moment to offer congratulations to one of my favorite Vancouver restaurant reviewers, Andrew Morrison, who besides writing food-related articles for various publications and running waiterblog.com and urbandiner.ca, will soon be assuming some additional duties as the editor of the new Vancouver edition of EAT magazine. Bon Appetit, Andrew.

So, the other day I was listing those way-back t.v. chesnuts like “knock someone unconscious by hitting them with the butt of a gun”. Well, another one came to mind yesterday: the old “shoot something out of someone‘s hand without actually injuring said hand” gag. Just like they did on Lost last night (after which they knocked someone unconscious by hitting them with the butt of a gun). I didn’t watch the whole episode as I was distracted by Bubba trying to get at one of his chew toys that had rolled beneath the living room couch, and Fondy left halfway through to go check her email, but I was confused by the actions of that Other woman character – you know, the one that looks like Nicole from SG-1 accounting. At first, she lets Jack radio her people and tell them to back off and let his friends go. Then, seconds later, she gets on the radio herself and tells them to hunt them down and kill them. Then, after a conversation with Henry (who demonstrates remarkable mid-surgery endurance), she decides that she’ll let them leave after all. And then goes off to help them escape. But – wouldn’t it have been easier to just get on the radio and call off the hunting party? Again, I was retrieving the blue rubber flying saucer toy from under the couch so I didn’t see what happened so I might have missed the explanation – and, apparently, the incredibly well-orchestrated deployment of a bus as a lethal weapon.

Based on Fondy’s internet research – and the glowing online reviews she came across – we decided to check out Pho Tan Vietnamese restaurant (4598 Main Street, 604-873-3345). Fondy had the pho (a Vietnamese soup containing noodles, rare beef, tendon, and brisket) which was, no bunk, the best we‘ve had. The broth, according to our friendly server – who may have been the owner – had been simmered for some ten hours and contained no MSG. It was clean and flavorful, non-greasy and delicious. I had a combination plate that included excellent lemongrass chicken, shredded pork, and egg meatpie on broken rice. Overall, a very nice restaurant serving some very good food. The menu offers twice as many choices as your average Vancouver Vietnamese eatery and I aim to work my way through most in time.

Finally, I said I would make special mention of my apprentices in evil – Marsha Robertson and Juanne Michaud – who were kind enough to send me my very own, master villain snow white scheming/stroking cat. Thanks, ladies.

Mailbag time!

William Heap writes: “Joe, I’ve seen both First Strike and Bounty now, and can’t fathom how the same writing team could possibly put out both. […]. First Strike restored my faith in the franchise yesterday, only to have it savagely struck down by Bounty this morning. […] Help me understand, because I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

Answer: Laugh during Bounty and cry after First Strike. Well, that was the plan anyway.

Peter writes: “When does shooting for Season 4 of Atlantis start?”

Answer: We start prep for season 4 in the last week of February and begin shooting the first week of March.

Mike writes: “Why did you guys came up with a new enemy from outside our galaxy for season nine? […] I personally would find it interesting to explore the aftermath of the goa’uld downfall and the several factions trying to come to power. The Lucian alliance could have been a formidable foe like the Genii of Stargate Atlantis. Plus the many people who might still follow the Goa’uld as gods could also be great to explore.”

Answer: Given the fact that we defeated two of our major villains (the goa’uld and the replicators) and said goodbye to series regular Richard Dean Anderson in season eight, the decision was made to introduce a new villain (the Ori), along with some new regulars, as a means of reinvigorating the Stargate franchise and creating a new beginning of sorts. The idea was to fashion a major story arc focused on this new threat, but to also tell stories that explored our post-goa’uld galaxy. The Lucian Alliance was originally imagined as a coalition of mercenaries that would prove a dangerous wildcard in SG-1’s battle against the Ori army. In the end, it didn’t exactly pan out as I had hoped.

Sgeureka writes: “Can you say whether you or the other producers have been approached yet to do DVD audio commentaries for seasons 10 and 3?”

Answer: Sure I can. This Monday, Paul and I provided DVD commentary for Family Ties and Memento Mori. Paul did the Quest II commentary with Andy Mikita, while I joined Andy for the commentaries on Quest I, Morpheus, and Counterstrike.

Sally writes: “1 – If you know, what teams did amanda and rick root for in the superbowl? (mom and dad are from chicago). 2 – what is your favorite starbucks drink? (I work there)”

Answer: 1 – Sorry, I don‘t know. 2 – I‘m not a coffee drinker. But I do steal the occasional sip of my wife‘s eggnog latte.

Anonymous writes: ” Who is the Grim Reaper coming for next?”

Answer: I don’t know. If I had to guess, maybe Olivia de Havilland?

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Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe,

Any word on Jack being in The Ark of Truth? Continuum? Season 4? Jack is the reason we’re Stargate fans in my house. It’s just not the same without him, and we’d love to see him back.

equinox3312

Bugguy
Bugguy

Joe,
Here a question at least I haven’t asked. Will be seeing Thor or any Asgard on SGA. Seeing as the Asurans are a kind of offshoot of the replicators? Thanks for taking time to answer.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Have a question for you….I watched Bounty this evening – how right would I be on the assumption that you guys filmed the reunion parts at a highschool named Frank Hurt Secondary in Surrey? I’m dying to know cause it looks SO incredibly familiar.

mythie

bannapeel
bannapeel

Wow, a comment posted already. I must be late to reading tonights food adventure. Sorry, don’t know what you’re talking about with Lost, that show lost me a while back. Too little, too rarely.

Tonight I went crazy and tried the extra spicy hot wings at my local pub in your honor. I’m still trying to recover.

And I guess I’ll just second the comment above and say that I’d love to see Jack in those SG-1 movies. I really wish we could hear that he’ll be in them.

Llyrellin
Llyrellin

Just had to say First Strike was an amazing season finale. :). The script was quick and didn’t go sluggish, the CG was amazing, and I loved Flannigan and Luttrell’s acting in particular. Good job to everyone who worked on it.

Jenny Robin
Jenny Robin

Thanks for the book recommendation. I’ll check tomorrow to see if I have that one on my shelves at work. I haven’t read much in the fantasy genre in quite a while.

I’ve only read a couple of your blog entries, so I haven’t seen if you’ve posted anything about good Tex-Mex or authentic Mexican food restaurants in your neck of the woods. I shouldn’t have typed that…now I feel the need to go make some tortilla soup. If I wait, it will pass……ah yes, there, it’s gone.

flo
flo

Sorry, I can’t help you about Lost. I’ve stopped trying to understand what’s going on in that show for a long time now. It would only give me a major headache so I just watched it and let it lead me to wherever it’s going. Hopefully we’ll have all the answers to our questions by the end of the show!
If I ever understand why Juliet (that’s her name) acted like she did, I’ll tell you! wink

Craig
Craig

Joe

In the first 3 years of Atlantis the expedition has made 2 pretty nasty enemies hell bent not only on the expedition’s destruction but also with one eye on Earth.

We now have a Human/Wraith with a personality crisis running around with an army of goons that are a threat in itself.

I’m just wondering if you guys were planning on introducing a reasonably powerful/organised Pegasus Galaxy based allie?

By the start of season 4 on SG-1 there were the Asgard and the Tok’ra to call upon.

Pitry
Pitry

“The Lucian Alliance was originally imagined as a coalition of mercenaries that would prove a dangerous wildcard in SG-1’s battle against the Ori army. In the end, it didn’t exactly pan out as I had hoped.”

Yeah, Bounty might have had something to do with that smile

Question: What makes you guys decide whether a story is going to be a one parter or a two/ three/ arc parter? Asking this specifically because of The Shroud, that felt like it should have been a two-parter, but also because of other episodes in the past, that screamed there was a lot more to it that ended up getting cut out due to time restrictions (cough, Fallen, Moebius 2…). I realise of course not *all* episodes can be two-parters, and yet… wink

Dwayne (unamed)
Dwayne (unamed)

hi joe,
First off let me say i love the show and i think you and all the other staff invovled are truely doing a great job- you must be otherwise the show wouldnt be going after 13 original seasons of tv.
anyway just wondering have you ever been to Ireland? we could cook you up a good traditional IRISH DINNER!! oh who’s idea was it to have an irish villige bombed by 302’s in “roads not taken”??!

Keith
Keith

Re: the walkie talkie shoot out in Lost:

Kate was holding it at the bottom. It was shot at the top. It didn’t so much get shot out of her hand but the top of it got blown apart. Kate then dropped it because it exploded in her hand.

As for Juliet’s actions. I think she was scrambling to save face since Jack had altered her perfect little plan. Her going back on her first orders was only after she had the private chat with Ben.

For the record Joe. I did laugh at Bounty and cried at First Strike. I will miss Torri if she is off the show (we know what you have done with a previous “recurring” status actor) but I do look forward to where the show goes now.

Amy
Amy

Yes, thank you for all of your recommendations (going to try a hit the Michel Cluizel NYC store on my vist to New York this month). wink

And hate asking you a SGA shooting question but I know you “guys” take a break. Is that looking like it will happen in July this year? Hopefully not June?

Magic 8 ball answer be fine too.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Joe,

Here’s a technical question: What exactly does “prepping” for the new season at the end of this month entail? Is that when you guys start looking at sets, and when scripts get sent out?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe,
Can you please tell me if there’s going to be any Bounty-type episodes on SGA next year. I hope not.

balloo
balloo

Hi Joe,
I love fantasy and I’ll try your book recommendation as I don’t know that one.

If you wanna try some fantasy with a sense of humor, try the Terry Pratchett ‘DiscWorld’ series. You can take any one of them first, and they’re all funny.

Jay
Jay

Well, Juliet did call off the hunting party in person, but that Danny guy didn’t believe Ben actually woke up during surgery and told her to let them go. So he went off to kill them since he’s been wanting to kill Sawyer for a long time. Then she had to kill him making it more of an actual rescue.

It was really easy to miss that explanation though because it was a short scene coming back from a commercial break and went right into a flashback.

Those bullets that just go through walkie talkies are amazing though.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe, given the way things went with SG-1, do you guys, TPTB, regret not using RDA’s five episodes on SG-1? I think it’s a real shame that you wasted the opportunity to have him be there for the end. This last year isn’t as special as it could have been, because Jack was wasted on Atlantis.

Anonymous
Anonymous

On a different subject, is the business case there yet where you could sell directly to the viewer on something like the itunes model and skip the networks ether with a new series or an existing one like SG1?

Stillhere
Stillhere

Joe:

Have you ever read any Piers Anthony Zanth(sp) novels/

They are the most wonderful collection of very funny and intriguing fantasy stories. My absolute favorite was the one about the Daymares and nightmares…just wish my brain could call up the title, but no such luck today.

Marla

Michelle
Michelle

I watched Lost within an hour of “Bounty” and was quite weirded out by the repeated death-by-bus thing. “Bounty” was fun. A person sure wouldn’t know Claudia/Daisy had ever had a baby!

Is there any chance Michael Shanks will do the DVD commentary for The Shroud? Or any eps, for that matter… Maybe you could offer him chocolate.

gb
gb

Just a quickie:
I was watching Misbegotten yesterday, and I was just wondering if you were responsible for the “John Sheppard, are you defending my honor?” line? It always gets a big big smile out of me and is one of my favorite lines. (I’m smiling now thinking about it)

Stillhere
Stillhere

Joe wrote: The Lucian Alliance was originally imagined as a coalition of mercenaries that would prove a dangerous wildcard in SG-1’s battle against the Ori army. In the end, it didn’t exactly pan out as I had hoped.

When you say this, do you just mean that the Lucian Alliance thing didn’t exactly pan out as you had hoped (sorry but that idea of addictive corn was just…well too corny to take seriously) or did you mean the Ori and the Lucian Alliance thing?

In retrospect do you think that there just might have been too much change going on? I often felt that maybe keeping the familiarity of the Goa’uld around for one season longer while the major character transitions were going on might have been a better way to keep a connection with the audience and maybe make it smoother.

From an audience perspective, I think it was just too hard to adjust to so much change all at once. (Ok so I admit, I don’t think I would have liked the Ori storyline overall no matter what even though it did give something new for Daniel Jackson to be the focus of and bring him forward in the stories..which is always a good thing IMHO).

So was it just the Lucian Alliance bit or was it that and the Ori not quite panning out as you had hoped?

Marla

Anonymous
Anonymous

Is there any truth to the latest talk that Torri will be in only four episodes of season four? If so, it’s a very bad move. I don’t think you realise how many SGA fans love her, or for that matter how many SGA fans are very much against Amanda Tapping joining the cast.

You guys might think you’re doing the right thing by the show, but you’re risking its future. Many people will turn off when she leaves. “Recurring” doesn’t reassure anyone with a memory of what happened to Jonas and Ford.

Please, let whoever made the decision know that it’s going to backfire. You don’t gain fans by “shaking things up” through killing off or dumping much loved characters. You only cause them to walk away, after the loss of characters they’ve grown to love.

Annika
Annika

I saw two days ago “First Strike” and that unfortunately did it for me. Adieu Stargate Atlantis. It was nice but alas it did not last.

Yes the special FX were shiny and cool but the story itself was nothing to be thrilled about. I like Jewel Staite but her as a Doctor is a joke. She is simply too young. She would work as Carson’s sidekick – a medical intern maybe but NOT as a doctor. Trying to make her look older by putting way too much make-up on her to make her look older, certainly didn’t work. If she is supposed to be some kind of genius (what another one?) then I have to say that is a bit too much. Isn’t it enough to have Rodney (and the way it now looks also Sam) ? Carson was the human side of Atlantis not some kind of über-hero. He was a regular, lovable guy.
Also what is happening to Elizabeth – so this is how her screen presence will be reduced ? :shakes head: I loved the show for all the potential it had and for the wonderful harmonic team. Now three members of the original team are gone, they are no longer on the ocean world and the way it looks the science will be shoved way, way back and the stories will be mainly military. Just.Great. Too many changes in too little time. I am officially off the hook.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Michelle,

That would be great to hear Michael doing the commentary for Shroud; or if we could get a Directors Series on that to see the makeup process on it.

Chocolate is good way to start to persuade him!