Happy Chinese New Year! Fondy and I will be celebrating with our friend Jackie by going to our favorite Chinese restaurant – Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant. Unless, of course, they’ve already canceled our reservation. It’s very possible given that, a couple of hours ago, a woman phoned and immediately started talking to me in rapidfire Cantonese the second I answered. Assuming she had the wrong number, I told her as much. It wasn’t until about ten minutes ago, as I was scrolling through the recent calls list, that I recognized the number. And now, their line is busy. Hmmm. I really had my heart set on shark fin soup and sweet egg-yolk buns.

Speaking of dining out, Martin Gero and I hit Fuel the other night. We both had the five course Chef’s tasting menu. Martin started with one of my favorites – the pumpkin soup with caramelized sunflower seeds while I tried the onion consomme that, while good, was not as good as the pumpkin soup. Next up was the duck confit and foie gras terrine with a caramelized onion jam and served with brioche. It was incredibly rich and heavenly – and we could feel it working on our arteries almost immediately. We then enjoyed a truly sublime crispy skinned trout – a dish fully I intend to order again the next time I‘m in. Finally, we were treated to a special off-menu item: lamb loins served with diced kidneys. Martin wasn’t sold on the kidneys but I found the dish unique and tasty. When it came time for dessert, I was disappointed to discover the pear beignet is no longer on the menu. Instead, we went with the banana tart crowned with long pepper and coconut ice cream. I also ordered an extra dessert – a new addition to the menu, a nice-looking creation that included chestnut cake, cream, Guiness, and ice cream. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for either of us. The chestnut cake was fairly neutral and the Guinness a little too sharp, lending the an unpleasant sourness. The only bump in an otherwise exceptional meal. Marty G. is the perfect dinner companion. Like my wife, he is an adventurous eater who will try most anything. But, unlike my wife, he never fusses over what he’s going to wear before he leaves the house. Usually.

I hear (I can’t say for sure as I no longer watch the show, but somebody tell me how it all works out) that Lost has taken a page out of Heroes’ handbook and given a character superpowers. Interestingly, in the same week, Grey’s Anatomy has taken a page out of Ghost Whisperer’s handbook. And speaking of Grey’s Anatomy, our office assistant Lawren apparently forbids his friends from going over to his place to watch the show because he has designated his apartment a “no cry” zone. I thought about it and, for the life of me, couldn’t remember an episode of Grey’s Anatomy during which my wife didn’t cry. It’s like me trying to sit through that movie with the incorrigible sea otter that ends up getting decapitated by a shovel, or Donald Trump watching the latest edition of The Apprentice flame out.

I’m halfway through Heinlein’s The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and am eyeing either C.J. Cherryh’s Downbelow Station, Kim Stanley Robinson’s Red Mars, or Alistair Reynolds’ Revelation Space as my next selection. Anybody care to weigh in?

Let’s field some questions –

Anonymous writes: “What chance is there of picking up Human Error for Season four?”

Answer: Human Error was a story that was kicked around for a while but never made it to script. It happens. Take SG-1’s The Return of the Jaffa for example. Given the stories we have lined up, it’s unlikely Human Error will make it into the season four rotation.

Crystal writes: “Are you not bound by the American television rule that says one freelance script per 13?”

Answer: Nope. We have used freelancers in the past, but do not have to use them.

Anonymous #2: “Is there a chance that we’ll see that lovable rogue Lucius in season 4?”

Answer: You mean the episode titled “Irrepressible”? Probably not.

Anonymous #3 writes: “I can’t think of one spotlight episode for Teal’c yet this season.”

Answer: Check out Talion.

Andrew Timson writes: “Why aren’t they credited if they made a significant contribution to the script?”

Answer: Because re-writing and doing polishes on other people’s scripts is part of our jobs. If we wanted to be jerks about it – sure, we could claim part ownership and go to the writer’s guild and have them decide the matter. But we don’t.

Valerie writes: “If you want more anime suggestions Samurai Champloo is an interesting one.”

Answer: Loved Champloo. And the action figures are out.

Jenny Robin writes: “Insert random question regarding the Stargate universe here:__________________”

Answer: An excellent question, Jenny. And believe it or not, the answer is a resounding Yes!

Anonymous #4 writes: “You guys did a whole episode for no other reason than to get Amanda Tapping in her underwear.”

Answer: Uh, there was a whole lot going on in that episode beside that one scene. By that logic, the only reason we did First Strike was so we could do the scene where Sheppard compares the team to the Fantastic Four.

Shawna writes: “Will we ever see Jonas again?”

Answer: In Atlantis – highly unlikely.

Lolly writes: “What About Amanda?? It would be awsome to have her do the commentary for Line in the Sand and The Road not taken.”

Answer: I agree and it would be great. However, I’m not in charge of deciding who does and doesn’t participate in the commentaries. In fact, the writers went a couple of years without even being asked to participate.

Anonymous #5 writes: “Joe, any plans for Brad Wright to script an episode of Atlantis during season 4? Also, are there any plans for Ken Cuperus to write a season 4 episode?”

Answer: At present, it seems unlikely that either will write a script for season 4.

Anonymous #6 writes: “Joe, looking back over the last year, are you happy with how the final year of SG-1 turned out? Had you had the luxury of knowing Season 10 was going to be the last season when you started out, would you like to have seen the season play out any differently? Similarly, were you happy with Season 3 of Atlantis?”

Answer: At the end of every year, looking back over another complete season, there are always episodes that stand out, and episodes you’d wish you could do all over again (or, in some cases, not do at all). Seasons ten of SG-1 and three of Atlantis were no exception. Overall, however, I’d say I’m pleased with both shows and wouldn’t have done things any differently for SG-1’s tenth season. As I stated before, the SciFi cancellation doesn’t spell the end of SG-1’s adventures.

Anonymous #7 writes: “Just wanted to ask if there ever will be a wraith queen that does not get killed by the atlantis team and could there be a romantic relationship with a human male and a wraith queen?”

Answer: A romantic relationship? I’d love to be a fly on the wall on the blind date. “Hi, I’m Matt. You’re a lot – uh – taller than I expected.” “I am grateful for the cluster of plant blossoms, human vermin.”

Joseph writes: “Is there plans for a goa’uld to take over a wraith?”

Answer: No plans but, of course, stranger things have happened. Car once tried to cross cat with a chimpanzee.

Joseph also writes: “How can a long-time show enthusiast contribute to the show as a writer and have their work considered or is it highly unlikely?”

Answer: To be brutally honest, it’s highly unlikely that a show will look at an outside submission unless it is submitted through an agent. Even then, may shows – like Stargate – are staffed up and don’t even look at scripts with representation. Sorry.

Anonymous #8 writes: “Did TPTB make an intentional switch to write for a younger audience at the end of the 2003-2004 seasons?”

Answer: I hate to answer questions like these because it only ends up deflating those online conspiracy theories I’m so fond of following. In truth, there was no intentional switch in terms of series tone or the types of stories we tell. As always, it comes down to what ideas interest us.

Anonymous #9 writes: “It’s nice that you’ve been to Paris, I hope you had a good time there. Do you remember the restaurants you checked out or at least what you ate there?”

Answer: It was so long ago. But I remember a restaurant called Bowfinger that struck me as Brasserie-esque.

23 thoughts on “February 17, 2007

  1. “I hate to answer questions like these because it only ends up deflating those online conspiracy theories I’m so fond of following. In truth, there was no intentional switch in terms of series tone or the types of stories we tell. As always, it comes down to what ideas interest us.”

    Alright, so there was no intentional switch to target a younger, less mature audience. Then to what do you and the other writers attribute the increased fan speculation that you guys were shooting for a younger demographic with less nuanced or adult handling of stories?

    I’m not saying that all fans feel this way, but there certainly is an increase of this notion in what appears to be many longtime fans of Stargate. Do you believe that fans’ may simply have changed and moved on? Do you think that you and the other writers have simply evolved (or de-evolve depending on your perspective) in terms of the stories being told? Or is it perhaps a greater influence on the part of the network, a network that quite obviously has had a hand in many of both shows recent changes?

    I’m just curious. Fans are definitely viewing the show differently than they did for the majority of Stargate’s run. Do you feel there is a larger gap between what the writers are producing and what the fans want to see than there has been in the past? Could this perhaps partially account for the declining viewership?

  2. By that logic, the only reason we did First Strike was so we could do the scene where Sheppard compares the team to the Fantastic Four.

    Which would have been a perfectly good reason, really. Any excuse for a comic book reference is golden in my book.

    “Hi, I’m Matt. You’re a lot – uh – taller than I expected.” “I am grateful for the cluster of plant blossoms, human vermin.”

    LOL! That can be part of Atlantis’s 200th episode. I think what makes people ask is all those comments the cast made about how they’d date a wraith. Well, that and the Michael/Teyla shippers.

    Speaking of shipping, I hear there may be some next season. I think we can all guess at what the most likely candidates are, but I wonder, what is the craziest, most unlikely pairing that you think could actually work (assuming you guys for some reason felt like going there)?

  3. Joe! Love the blog, and the series. I was wondering, and you may not know, but whats the deal with changing the ‘In Wormhole’ look on SG1 as well? I was quite a fan of the old effect that carried over from the movie. What motivated the decision to go to a blue version of Atlantis’ ‘In Wormhole’ look?

  4. Joe,

    Will we be seeing Don Davis appear in the SG-1 movies or Atlantis? I really miss General Hammond. 🙁

  5. Do you think you might ever drop by at your Q&A threads at Gateworld or Solutions?

  6. Hi Joe:

    So then, who is responsible for deciding about who makes the commentaries on the episodes on DVD? I definitely have a suggestion for that individual.

    I had to get creative about how I watched “Bad Guys”, since it’s not available in Canada yet, but I really enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the season ender for Atlantis. Do you have the season 4 second part of the episode completely written at the end of this season? Is it already shot and in the can as they say? Or do the actors come back in March and shoot that episode as part of the next season’s crop of scripts?

    Thanks again for being willing to answer our questions.

    Have a great day,


  7. It’s Limerick Time!

    There once was a man named Mallozzi
    Who saw the film Koyaanisqatsi
    Joe blogged what he ate
    And of all things Stargate
    As he tried to avoid paparazzi.

    And my question for you today is: What famous artist’s work does freshly stirred egg drop soup look like?

  8. Joe I just want to say I loved both Bounty and Bad Guys. I am very grateful that the show doesn’t taken it self so seriously that it has to be life or death every week.

    One quick question: How do you go about picking guest stars, or is it an open audition for all roles. I was really happy to see Joshua Malina and Ron Canada in Bad Guys.

    Thanks for all the hard work, and I can’t wait for season 4!

  9. I LOVE Dr Zelenka! Is there any chance he will play a bigger role in season four and become a full cast member?

  10. Joe, love the blog. Highly entertaining and hilarious. Two questions:

    1) Being a Marylander I eat all seafood, but have never cooked shark myself. Bought some on a whim…any suggestions?

    2) Will Chuck the Gate Tech be around in Season 4? He seems to be becoming SGAs Walter….

  11. Is there any chance we would see a relationship developping between various teammembers in Atlantis. We got to see some of it during “Sunday”?
    One of the things that I loved about Stargate sg-1 is that there couldn’t have been a relationship between Sam and Jack. While other shows might hve tried to work around that, you guys never did i. With the exception of Moebius of course. So far Atlantis has tried to do the same, but it would be great to see Atlantis stand on its own. Rather than to be like SG-1.
    What are the changes of Zalenka and Teyla to get involved in a romantic relationship?

  12. hi joe do you think there could be a mirror universe episode of atlantis where the atlantis team is evil and the wraith are the good guys?

  13. I’m sure you’ve read him, but Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. Check out Neverwhere.

  14. Hi Joe,nice blog!
    Is there really no hope for SG-1 season 11,I mean after the two or a few films?

  15. “In the end, we simply write a show that we would enjoy watching.”

    I’ve seen this statement, or one much like it, several times. However, I’m curious, if the viewership drops off and ratings decline, how do you adapt or adjust what/how you write to bring back viewers/increase ratings…or do you?

    Thanks in advance.

  16. Mass Respect JM. I’m guessing here but with o’neill not in the final and your “satisfaction for THAT fan contingent” comment you made last month that we will be seeing D/V not S/J in the final yes?

  17. Hi Joe! I have a question regarding stargate physics (yes, I am an ubernerd). The definition of Stargate hyperspace that I have operated on is as follows: hyperspace is essentially a dimension in which the speed of light is faster, thereby allowing a multitude of things – including that ships can go faster in hyperspace, and will they be effected by gravitational pull from outside space while they are in fast enough motion. Is this correct?

  18. Fondy cries at Grey’s Anatomy? Poor, sensitive thing! My eyes tear up, but it’s only because they are rolling back into my head during so much of each episode (which sadly I still feel compelled to watch). McDreamy or no, I’m afraid the sharks are circling right about where Meredith fell into the drink and didn’t die.

  19. Can you guys cut Atlantis off from Earth completely while Elizabeth is still there?? Please?? And before Carter gets there????? (not that any of us have anything against Amanda or Carter, we just love Torri/Weir)

    Repeat after me “Say no to crossovers”. It’s like the say no to drugs campaign.. it won’t hurt you. Go on, “Say no to crossovers..”

    Whatever it takes whether it’s a decision of TPTB or not, please, please ‘fix’ this recurring situation that Elizabeth is in. You have no idea how many viewers will switch channels if she’s not there. The number is huge.

  20. Hi Joe, regarding this comment:

    “In the end, we simply write a show that we would enjoy watching.”

    Does this relate to the casting changes as well? Because I can’t for the life of me see how Carson can go from being described by Martin Gero as the heart and soul of Atlantis to being offed in an attempt to get ratings one season later. (or at least that’s what was revealed in an interview with Paul)

    And then Torri, the other actor whose character could be described in the same way seems to be destined for the scrap heap.

    If these casting decisions result in a drop in ratings (and I firmly believe they will), who’s to blame for that? I think the fans have done their part in trying desperately to tell you guys how we feel about Paul and Torri, but it’s like we’re talking to a brick wall. It seems that us wanting them to be part of the series only seems to make you more determined to get rid of them. It’s very frustrating for those of us who know so many people who just won’t watch without Carson and Elizabeth.

    I get what you’re trying to do with Amanda. I really do. But you know what? About half of the Atlantis fans don’t watch SG1. Of the others, at least 50 percent don’t want SG1 characters taking screen time away from the existing Atlantis crew, the ones we’ve come to know and love.

    I’m not one to grovel, but please, please, change your minds at least about Elizabeth (since she’s still in the land of the living) before the show’s audience fragments.


  21. So Talion is a good Teal’c episode, eh? A good Teal’c episode like Threshold or Changeling, or a good Teal’c episode like Stronghold or Ex Deus Machina? The former would be terrific. The latter would be typical.

  22. Joe, how will Carter being in Atlantis for 14 episodes really work with you all doing continuous SG-1 movies? 14 episodes in another galaxy is a lot of time for a current member of SG-1.

  23. Nobody recommended the Cherryh Book? Down Below Station taxi’s like a vintage aircraft before C.J finally releases the parking brakes and takes flight.

    I was introduced to Cherryh via her “Chanur” series a due warning that the books were actually one book she had been forced to split into three in order to get any publisher to /try/ and publish a book by a female sci-fi author.

    Cherryh’s universe share some of the same down-to-earth practical aspects of the early Stargate series where aside from gate technology humans are contending with Newton while trying to fend off aliens that would scare a Klingon.

    Long before Firefly, I’d said I would have liked to see a collaboration between Wheedon and Cheeryh (she was a writer on Lois & Clark).

    Did you ever read Down Below?

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