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.
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.