My pug Bubba has impeccable timing. Every morning, at exactly 6:30 a.m., he wakes me up, barking to get at my attention or, failing that, jumping up on his hind legs to bat at my face. He’s like a furry little alarm clock with no snooze button. I try to ignore him but his persistence eventually wears me down. I’ll crawl out of bed, brush my teeth, take the pugs out, and feed them. By the time I’ve finished my green tea and head downstairs for my morning work-out, he’s usually lying stretched out on one of the theater room chairs – fast asleep. What amazes me is his astounding punctuality. The second he starts barking, I’ll glance over at my clock radio. Always, 6:30 exactly. Not a minute sooner. Not a minute later. What gives? He’s smart enough to tell the time yet, yet not smart enough to know that every time he rolls his rubber ball into the living room, it’s going to end up under the couch. Not smart enough to realize that the dogs he sees on t.v. are inaccessible, yet smart enough to recognize the first few bars of a dog food commercial that will send him charging into the family room, barking and howling. Smart enough to avoid the pill I put in his treat, but not smart enough to know that eating a bag of milk chocolate covered almonds will give him explosive diarrhea. Originally intended as a gift for Fondy’s brother, his impish little personality grew on me. After two few weeks, I decided to keep him and gave my brother-in-law a toaster oven instead.

A little heads-up to those sending questions. I will post everything that comes my way unless: 1) They’re rude or insulting to fans, the actors, anyone involved in the production or, in a couple of instances, certain religious groups, 2) They’re a repeat of a question already asked, 3) They’re questions designed to elicit spoilers for Atlantis season four that I‘d rather avoid, 4) They’re longer than the posts they’re commenting on, 5) They’re a double post, 6) I accidentally press REJECT instead of PUBLISH.

Speaking of questions and comments…

Anonymous writes: “Is Asian food really so popular in Vancouver that you guys eat it every day? No pizza?”

Answer: There are more Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese, and Japanese restaurants in Vancouver than anywhere else in Canada. Given the choice, I’d choose any of the aforementioned before I’d hit a pizza joint.

Jenny Robin writes: “Will you accept the challenge of writing an episode entirely in iambic pentameter or in haiku format?”

Answer: To write a script in verse is surely mad.

Stargate in haiku
is sure to leave the fans in wont
of other writers.

Melantha writes: “Bless your mum, she’s obviously very proud of her son! Aw. Does she tell you what she thinks of your work?”

Answer: She doesn’t like anything with “monsters” and likes “the stories that finish nice”. Often, I suspect she watches until she sees my name flash up on screen and then, satisfied, switches over to American Idol.

Arctic Goddess writes: “If you were given unlimited time and an unlimited budget with any guests that you wanted and no recommendations from a network to alter any details of a story, what kind of episode for Stargate or Atlantis would you write?”

Answer: To be honest, I’m telling a number of the stories I’ve wanted to tell in season four of Atlantis. Check out Reunion, Travelers, and the late-season two-parter.

Anonymous #3 writes: “Joe, can you tell us anything about Sanctuary?”

Answer: Absolutely nothing.

Arctic Goddess also writes: “Have you ever mentored a beginning writer? If so, what did you tell them? What would you give for advice for a beginning writer?”

Answer: Alas, I don’t have time for mentoring. I have, however, offered the following advice to novice writers: Write a spec (sample) script of a show you enjoy. Query agents and find out if they’d be willing to read your spec. Hopefully, your writing will impress, you’ll acquire an agent, and he/she will help you get your foot in the door. That’s the longshot way of going about it. A much easier way: Write a spec (sample) of an animation series you enjoy. Query animation studios – where the demand for writers is greater – and ask them if you can pitch for one of their shows. Send them your spec. If you’re invited to pitch, do your homework, come up with no more than 3-5 great pitches, and see how it goes. Breaking into animation is a lot easier than breaking into live action. It offers the novice writer an opportunity to make money, hone his/her craft, and hopefully make the leap to action eventually.

Anonymous #2 writes: “…I was wondering if maybe you guys had considered writing a big, huge, enormous crossover episode with SG-1?”

Answer: We have. The only thing holding us back isn’t creative but financial.

Miho writes: “…Does that mean less Wraith stories than in season 3? And are they actually still a serious threat?”

Answer: Our relationship with the wraith will take an interesting/alarming/unexpected turn. And, yes, they’ll continue to prove themselves a very serious threat.

22 thoughts on “February 11, 2007

  1. I just wanted to say that you have an adorable pug!! 🙂 And to tell you that my dog, Charm, is almost as intelligent as Bubba. Charm knows when my husband is supposed to be home but she’s quite smart enough to know that a door closing on television isn’t our front door. However, she DOES know when it’s Friday and the opening bars of BOTH Stargate themes and knows NOT to bother her mama after she hears that music and to sit down and watch both shows (and she does, too). She also knows that when I cry during the shows (which I have been known to do) she knows to check on her mama. So here’s to intelligent dogs of all breeds. 🙂

    Charm asked me to relate to you that YOUR episodes are also her favorites and not just because her mama likes the episodes you write either. 🙂 So we BOTH say keep up the good work.


  2. “Anonymous #2 writes: “…I was wondering if maybe you guys had considered writing a big, huge, enormous crossover episode with SG-1?”

    Answer: We have. The only thing holding us back isn’t creative but financial.”

    Wow, a huge crossover would be so cool. So, does this mean it’s a possibility or not? Surely Scifi might be willing to kick in a few extra dollars for such a huge publicity event. They are, after all, the ones who seem so bent on having crossovers in the first place. Or, even MGM might dole out some more cash to make such a marketable episode. They came up with some extra money for RDA last season, right? Please, Joe, make it happen. It’d be like Stargate Heaven.

    Anonymous #2 (I like that designation)

  3. I read with great interest some of your food choices,and makes me wonder how discriminating you are about foods you haven’t tried before or are you always ready to try something new or different? It reminds me of a show my husband and I watch on the travel channel, “Bizarre Food”, with Andrew Zimmerman. So much of his focus is Asian food, and I have to wonder if you’ve ever seen it, and if you would be willing to try some of the very peculiar foods shown on his show.

  4. One of my cats is the same kind of completely consistent alarm clock, even if I don’t want to get up. Just to show me she can do it, she usually picks the minute before the alarm clock goes off if I turn it on. And still wakes me up if I turn the alarm clock off. And if I don’t get up and pet her (food is not an issue because they always have a full bowl), she will follow up with a shrill cry that I doubt even the dead could ignore.

  5. Heheheh, your dog is such a cutie! 🙂

    One of my bunnies was like that, only a bit more sadistic about it — she would often nip my toes (or stomp on me) to wake me up, and usually did it roughly 2 minutes before the alarm was supposed to go off. Of course, she did it on my days off, too. >_<

  6. Joe,

    I read your heads-up and hate to repeat a question but you didn’t answer it previously. I asked about the writers previously and was hoping you could tell us who will be directing the various season 4 Eps of Atlantis?

    thanx in advance

  7. Hi Joe!
    You mentioned that Reunion and Travelers are episodes you’ve wanted to see written for Atlantis. Can you give any reasons why? It’s not like I’m an obsessive Shep whumper trying to get spoilers about Travelers, or anything…;)

  8. My dogs will apparently use any tactic in their considerable arsenal to get me out of my bed so they can commandeer it.

    I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂

  9. The rubber ball goes under the couch and of course the human has to stop what they are doing and retrieve said ball. My dog pulls this stunt on me on a daily basis. It’s his tricky way of getting we away from the computer or the book I’m reading and pay attention to him.

    Ask me, I think it’s pretty smart cause it works everytime:)

    My dog and cat are a double team ‘alarm clock’ in the morning.

    How’s Jelly doing?


  10. In all the photos I’ve seen of her lately, Amanda Tapping has long hair. It suits her. Will she have to chop it off again when you start filming, or does she get to keep it long?

    Also, with Torri — was there a conscious decision to let her grow her hair, or was it just something that happened?

  11. Joe, I know you are mainly SGA these days, but is there any chance of Ben Browder or Claudia Black ending up in the new Stargate spinoff series? *crossing fingers*

  12. i just wanted to ask if you had any idea when the season 3 dvds will be released in the uk?

  13. Joe,

    I just read that Galactica got renewed for another year despite having worse ratings than SG-1. What’s your take on the whole thing? Is Scifi just tired of being so reliant on SG-1? Do you think that if Scifi gave you guys some of the publicity it puts into Galactica that the show would have continued? Ratings for 200 were huge. Sure, RDA probably had alot to do with that, but at least Scifi advertised some for it. Do you think we can expect some better advertising and publicity for Atlantis season four?

  14. Joe, are you aware of the deep disquiet that the changes you guys are making are causing among Atlantis fans? Has it been worse than expected or just what you would have thought? How exactly would you reassure all those REALLY unhappy fans (and there seems to be a heck of a lot of them!) that Atlantis will still be a great show? Can you reassure them, because as much as I really hate to admit it, at the moment Season 4 sounds like it could be car crash television, and I don’t think that fan patience is going to hold out much longer, there are just too many other options out there.

  15. I just saw the following in Starburst:

    Just as work on Phantoms was ending, McGillion recieved some news that would affect his future on Atlantis. “We shot most of this story on location, and when we got back to the studio for the final day of filming, one of the ADs said that the producers wanted to talk to me,” recalls the actor. “I didn’t think anything of it. Truthfully, I thought they might be telling me, ‘Great job in Phantoms’. However, when I went upstairs and they closed the office door, I knew it was serious. They said ‘Stargate SG-1 isn’t being renewed, and we’re not sure yet if Atlantis is going to be either. We need to shake things up a bit, and the long and short of it is we’re going to kill off Beckett.’

    Now he went on to say that while he was sad and disappointed, he understood. But my question is, what made the producers decide that this would be the best way to shake things up in order to raise ratings?

    Combined with the other cast changes, it seems like it’d be more of a risk to take when you guys are already worried about the ratings and picking up of a new season. I get the whole “the Stargate universe is a dangerous place so people are bound to die” argument, it just that some of the deaths seem too much like they’re just for the surprise rather than for any real legitimate reason.

  16. Joe, I’m curious about something… I love chocolate, but I’m one of those that only thinks about milk chocolate, I’ve heard about the amazing properties of dark chocolate plus the fact that if you are trying to loose weight, this is the only chocolate allowed… I was wondering, is dark chocolate an adquire taste? I don’t like it mostly because it’s to “bitter” for me… but I’m curious to know if it just takes time? did you just love it from the begining? as for your preference, as a Venezuelean girl… I can say, you have good taste 🙂

  17. Bubba is an absolute cutie.

    As far as Atlantis is concerned… no. If it becomes just a vehicle to keep SG-1 alive, as it seems to be becoming, then I don’t want to watch it anymore. I’ve loved it as it was to the middle of season three, with one very notable exception, and I loved SG-1, but they aren’t the same show and the majority of Atlantis fans don’t actually want them to be, believe it or not. The occasional crossover is good, but no more. X_X It’s not even the same show anymore, already.

  18. I don’t suppose you could tell us when the first episode of Season 4 of Atlantis is supposed to air?

    Also, I’m still upset that Scifi is not airing current SG-1 or Atlantis episodes in the US. Do you know why that is?



  19. Heya Joe just wanna say First Strike was off the hook…incredible. Also gotta say I wasn’t planning on stickin around for season 4, but this epi. completely changed my mind. It was, without a doubt, kick ass– one of you guys’s best.

    And look…I not only understand but am absolutely pleased about the current changes. Also wanna state, If you guys are planning on taking the military approach with SGA from here on out I can more than appreciate it. There’s been plenty of science from the beginning (as expected) and with Rodney around I’m sure we’ll still get plenty of it even if you guys do choose to take the militarized route…so not bothered on that end.

    Bring on Season 4.

    P.S. Carter Rules…looking forward to her presence in the Pegasus G.

  20. Ah, my chocolate lab, Latte, likes to do the same thing! 6 am every morning, she’s waking my mom up to get her breakfast. But she throws in a sneaky twist: as soon as she gets that breakfast, she inhales it and runs back upstairs, takes over the now-empty spot on the bed, and goes back to sleep for another 5 or 6 hours. 😉

    At least it’s better than the beluga I work with – his way of getting people to feed him breakfast in the morning is spitting a mouthful of near-freezing water on you when your back is turned. Always fun on those icy mornings…

  21. You have to remember that with small dogs, that at times they are under the impression that they are big dogs trapped in little dogs bodies.

    I love the picture of him sitting on the arm of the leather couch. Our Westie at home has some interesting poses as well and is louder than an alarm clock when barking. Plus he gets the other dogs into his plots to go outside.

  22. Someone on GW has attributed this comment to you, but I can’t find it anywhere. Is this something you’ve said:

    Elizabeth Weir will be in Atlantis for the first six episodes of Season 4 then will be relieved of her position as civilian leader of the expedition and return to Earth. In episode 7 Carter will show up and assume the leadership of a militarized Atlantis. By the last episode of Season 4, the Atlantis personnel will be notified that Weir has died from complications resulting from her previous injuries.

    If so, you have no idea how many viewers you’re going to lose by needlessly killing off one of the best characters this franchise has ever seen. Hell, if she’s not even in most of the season, what’s the point of killing her off???

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