Among the titles I added to my ever-expanding library of books-I-may-never-get-around-to-reading this past weekend was The Terror, a supernatural re-imagining of the ill-fated 1840’s Franklin expedition. I enjoyed Dan Simmons’ first foray into horror, The Song of Kali, and so decided to check this one out. Interestingly enough, while I found Kali to be a deeply disturbing read, one of my friends “didn’t find it scary in the least.“ Alas, one person’s horror is another person’s horrible. It ultimately comes down to what scares you. I, for one, find the very possible frightening – not so much vampires, werewolves, and the supernatural, but heights, serial killers, or an early morning phone call from Revenue Canada informing me that they have no record of my ever having filed a 2002 tax return. Some of my favorite horror movies creep me out because they convey an atmosphere of genuine horror and mounting dread. Nicolas Roeg’s masterful depiction of a dark and dangerous Venice in Don’t Look Now comes immediately to mind. The most frightening aspect of 2006’s The Descent was not the creatures that inhabited the subterranean lairs but the claustrophobic feel of the movie, and the very notion that people actually can and willfully do experience this dank, confined terror on a regular basis (I refer here to the crawling through pitch, narrow passages, not the being consumed my mutant underworlders).

Many fears are irrational. For instance, I will never, under any circumstances, step out onto a balcony. It even makes me uncomfortable watching someone I know step out onto a balcony. As someone who does a lot of traveling, those fancy glass hotel elevators are the bane of my existence. And yet, according to The National Safety Council, my chances of dying from a high fall is about 1 in 6000 as opposed to, say, the more likely 1 in 1093 possibility that I will die from accidental poisoning or the 1 in 1829 odds that I will meet my end as a result of “assault by sharp object”. Death by clown didn’t make the NSC’s list but like Boston Legal’s Alan Shore and Seinfeld’s Cosmo Kramer before him, I possess, if not exactly a phobia, certainly a deep-seeded mistrust of clowns. One of the most terrifying things I ever saw as a kid was a French-language television show that showcased the adventures of two clown roommates: one, hobo-like and perennially despondent, the other disturbingly upbeat with his pancake make-up, tutu, and falsetto voice. They went to work, took public transportation, even spent time with their non-clown friends and although they seemed relatively benign, my six year old self dreaded the surreal prospect of running into one of them at my local Dominion supermarket. To this day, I’d sooner punch a clown than suffer its insidious theatrics. Granted, my chances of being murdered are low (1 in 18 458 if I was a resident of California), and my chances of being murdered by a clown exceedingly so (admittedly even lower than the 1 in 1 249 356 chance I’ll die from “ignition or melting of nightwear”), but it has been known to happen. And that’s good enough for me.

Another thing that scares me is the very real possibility that I will have ordered a lousy lunch. Today, this nightmare scenario became reality when my sesame tuna tataki arrived – bland and soggy. The horror! Thankfully, a special delivery package from Chicago took the edge off somewhat. It was compliments of my friend Sue and the gang at Weber Shandwick: dark chocolate and dark chocolate-covered almonds. Also included was a company press release touching on research by Mars, Inc. that suggests “it is the level of flavanols in the cocoa used in the chocolate, not the percent of cocoa, that truly matters”. In other words: Milk chocolate enthusiasts, rejoice!

Finally – Sparky, got your comment but wasn’t able to post because I’m uncertain of the legalties concerning my posting fan-derived videos. Sorry.

Mail check –

Desiree writes: “…my dog, Charm, is almost as intelligent as Bubba. (…) Charm asked me to relate to you that YOUR episodes are also her favorites.
http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y53/lyndasty/Charmy/100_0238.jpg”

Answer: I know. Last year’s focus group testing showed I had an especially high TVQ among dogs and equatorial lizards. P.S. Charm looks like an angry sleeper.

Kirsten writes: “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.”

Answer: Yeah, I once worked with a guy like that too. Is your co-worker’s name Walter and does he finish the coffee without making a fresh batch?

Carolina writes: “Is dark chocolate an acquired taste?”

Answer: I’ve always preferred dark chocolate but I know that some of the other writers have acquired a taste for it over time.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Wow, a huge crossover would be so cool. So, does this mean it’s a possibility or not?”

Answer: Oh, it’s possible.

Lynn writes: “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?”

Answer: Check out the first two weeks of my blog in which I detail my food travels through Asia. You’re talking to a guy who ate airport snake soup – and lived to tell about it. But just barely.

Anonymous #2 writes: “…was hoping you could tell us who will be directing the various season 4 Eps of Atlantis?”

Answer: The season four directing roster is made up of Martin Wood, Andy Mikita, Wil Waring, and Robert C. Cooper.

Sophie writes: “You mentioned that Reunion and Travelers are episodes you’ve wanted to see written for Atlantis. Can you give any reasons why?”

Answer: My lips are sealed on this one.

Marla writes: “How’s Jelly doing?”

Answer: The princess is fine and more than a little jealous that Bubba got a spotlight feature. I promised to give her a write-up one of these days as well.

Anonymous #3 writes: “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?”

Answer: We’ll decide on that in the coming weeks.

Anonymous #4 writes: “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?”

Answer: Where’s my magic 8 ball? I have a feeling it would reply “Cannot predict now.”

Anonymous #5 writes: “I just wanted to ask if you had any idea when the season 3 dvds will be released in the UK?”

Answer: Sorry, no idea.

Anonymous #6 writes: “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?”

Answer: I’m always pleased to hear that a network is supporting genre shows like Stargate, Battlestar, and Buffy in its day. It’s a type of programming that, more often than not, commands a small but fiercely loyal audience, and it’s nice to see some of the most fervent fans in television justly rewarded for their devotion. Regarding the publicity – I have no doubt that, when the time comes, SciFi will support both SG-1 and Atlantis with a marketing campaign that will blow everyone‘s socks off. I, for one, can’t wait.

Anonymous #6 writes: “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?”

Answer: By producing great some episodes. Come season four, it will be for the fans to tune in and make the call.

Callista writes: “I don’t suppose you could tell us when the first episode of Season 4 of Atlantis is supposed to air?”

Answer: And this one is a question for SciFi.

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Desiree
Desiree

Charm is only an angry sleeper when her Mama takes pictures of her. She is NOT a photo friendly puppy. But I just had to show her off because she’s my baby and I think she’s adorable.

And you have an amazingly high TVQ among dogs. Heck, my dad’s 6 huskies, 6 chihuahuas, lab and shar pei ALL pay attention to Stargate but most especially the ones you write. smile

I do actually have a question this time. If you were told you could change ANYTHING in the SG1 universe OR the Atlantis ‘verse what would it be? And if you could cross over SG1 and/or Atlantis with ANY SHOW, what would it be and why?

Desi

Anonymous
Anonymous

The season four directing roster is made up of Martin Wood, Andy Mikita, Wil Waring, and Robert C. Cooper .

Does this mean Peter DeLuise will no longer be part of the Stargate family?

Anonymous
Anonymous

I just wanted to thank you for taking the time to interact with fans. It really makes Stargate even more special of an experience, so thank you. Keep blogging, b/c they’re fun to read.

SGEureka
SGEureka

Maybe you’ve seen the dailies/script, so you’d know: In “Bounty”, was Mitchell’s falling off the chair an accident, or were Ben Browder and the others just that great actors? There’s strong disagreement over this scene among some fans.

SpArkY
SpArkY

oh thanks for answering Joe. wink
Let me think, I need another question.
Oh have you seen the Belgian dvd boxes of Stargate sg1/atlantis?

Here’s my collection:
comment image

Do you like them?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Thanks for your blog! It’s fun to read!

Is there any chance of Amanda Tapping ending up on the new third Stargate series? I hope!

Akbar Fazil
Akbar Fazil

Sparky,

I don’t know what Joe thinks but I for one like the DVD box set. It was kind of my wish that MGM had done that in the states.
In fact, I might have to make my own once Season 10 comes out.

Stillhere
Stillhere

Fear of clowns is apparently very common among RL people and TV Characters. Sam Winchester of Supernatual is afraid of clowns too and he hunts demons for a living.

For a way to be much more unique, try living with an irrational fear of something as innocent looking as balloons everyday of your life.

The mylar ones don’t bother me a bit, but the other kind just freak me out! I remember watching Killer Klowns from Outerspace and they used balloons to kill people. It was very plausable to me and down right scary too!

I had to laugh when you said one person’s horror is another person’s horrible or not scary at all. I’ve seen just about every Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers movie in their franchises almost every zombie picture out there and none of them gave me nightmares. One viewing of the CGI Scooby Doo in the live action/CGI movie of the same title and I had nightmares for days about that darn CGI Scooby!

Glad to hear that Jelly is well. I always remember her fondly because the first time my friend Ruth (who is no longer alive) did the touristy thing outside of Bridge Studios, Jelly was out for her walk, escaped the noticed of the handler and ran right up to the gate to greet us:) She was the first Stargate celebtity Ruth and I met. The next one was the tour bus driver who was also one of the actors who played one of the two ‘bald all white guys’ in One False Step.

Marla

Anonymous
Anonymous

Now we know where McKay gets his paranoia and Sheppard gets his deep dislike and fear of clowns from.

That first part was hilarious, thanks for the laugh.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Dear Joe,

I couldn’t help but notice your mention of Ladurée in one of your previous post on chocolate. If you ever come back to France you should try coming in october and attend the Paris chocolate show. It’s really cool, you get to sample all kinds of wonderful chocolates, and they make a Haute Couture fashion show with dresses made out of chocolate. My friends and I we go every year.
http://www.chocoland.com/uk/index2.php

Nyktelios
Nyktelios

Hi
Is there any chance for season 4 of Atlantis to be more characterdriving? I get the feeling that most characters haven’t changed that much since its beginning. I think the fans would appreciate it more if the characters would evolve more than they are now. If you look at the characters in shows like Angel, Battlestar Galactica and Lost, the characters evolve over time. When I watch Atlantis, I get the feeling sometimes that I’m watching a SG-1 clone.

TheDancingArchaeologist
TheDancingArchaeologist

First of all, I really enjoy your blog, so thank you.

Secondly, I don’t get people who are worried about Amanda Tapping appearing in Atlantis.

For my part, after I got over hearing about the events of Sunday (sob!), I was intrigued by the possibility of a Stargate show with FOUR female regulars! (that’s with the additions of Jewel Staite and A.T., and the continuing presence of Torri Higginson and Rachel Luttrell).

However, indications now point to Amanda AND Torri (and Jewel?) becomming recurring characters, which takes me from 2 (yay!) to 4 (OMG!) to only 1 (sad face?).

I don’t know whether to be happy that Teyla’s character might now be better utilised, or sad that the gender imbalance continues (which always seemed less apparent in SG-1, somehow, I think).

I’ll reserve judgement until I see the show (which I’m really enjoying at the moment), but can you comment at all on this point?

Keep on blogging!

Nichole
Nichole

You are not alone in your irrational fear of clowns! I’ve alway been freaked out by them, I think they are evil.

My step-great grandmother made me a clown doll when I was around young. I was completely freaked out–I had to be polite and pretend to like it and hold the thing until my parents car got out of sight from her house. Then my Mom got Dad to stop the car and locked the clown in the trunk because I was quietly hyperventilating in the back seat. It was a dead ringer for the clown from Poltergist!

Very much looking forward to the return of the both the Stargates on April 6th. My Mom (the women who made sure I had the Death Star next to Barbie’s dream house) & I will be continueing our traditon of watching the premieres/finales together. Thanks for the quality Mother-Daughter bonding time.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Joe, I hope that season 4 does have those great episodes, but i don’t think that is your problem. I don’t claim to speak for anyone else but my problem is that I am losing my emotional attachment to the show. The characters that fans invest in are culled only to be immediately replaced by other characters, and the result is that I don’t want to watch them because they are there (this is not a reflection on the actors or even the characters) and the characters we do care about are gone. I don’t think that it’s whether the new series will be good or bad that is even the issue anymore – I think it probably will have a lot to recommend it – it’s whether there are enough people who care left watching. Indifference is what will finish Atlantis.

One other thing, exactly how many shows have shake ups like this actually worked on? Cause I can’t think of any. (Seriously, I was racking my brain trying to think of one)

Anonymous
Anonymous

Once you guys get the go ahead for season 5 and Weir is no longer a recurring character, will you all continue pushing forth with Elizabeth and John eventually ending up together—like you all have been doing since the show basically aired.
Excuse me if I’m off base( which I don’t think I am…lol), but it’s how I’ve interpreted mainly all of their scenes together.

John
John

Well, if we’re going to come here and talk about ships, I’d have to say I’ve never seen anything ‘pushing’ Sheppard and Weir together. I think that’d be a terrible, terrible idea.

By the way, I’m really looking forward to season 4. I’m very pleased with at least one casting decision in season 3, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

Might I ask a question? When you said there’d be a ‘big op’ episode, did you mean rescue operaion, or military operation?

Many Thanks

Crystal
Crystal

For the ‘anonymous’ who couldn’t think of examples of shakeups that worked, just off the top of my head, “Jag” comes to mind. Catherine Bell replaced the lead female in second season after NBC killed the show, and CBS picked it up. Catherine was wonderful in it and the show went on to be a top 10/top 20 performer.

In terms of Atlantis, I thought the casting of Jason Momoa was brilliant and certainly upped my interest in the show. I love the interplay between these four team members of Sheppard’s team. So for me, that shakeup worked fine.

Purp
Purp

I always thought of my own “special” hell as being somehow incapacitated, staring upwards, watching a spider slowly descend towards my face for eternity. (Never actually reaching me, just watching it get closer and closer).

If I end up on a balcony standing next to a clown I’ll know I’m in yours! =P

Stillhere
Stillhere

Anonomyous:

When NCIS killed off Kate, I was wondering if the dynamics of the characters would survive. However the introduction of Ziva DaVide has been wonderfully handled and the character is great.

I remember the hoopla over the departure of Michael Ontkean from his character of Willie Gillis on The Rookies, but his replacement Bruce Fairbairn as Chris Owens seemed to work out very well and the show ran for two more years.

So yes sometimes casting changes do work out.

Marla