As we awaited the arrival of the first dish, the conversation turned to what our friend Jackie termed “icons” – personal heroes, those outstanding individuals worthy of emulation. She brought up Mozart and Lincoln as examples – Mozart for his brilliance; Lincoln for his unwavering character. My wife suggested Oprah, someone who persevered and succeeded despite the seemingly insurmountable odds stacked against her. I offered Bruce Wayne – a man who started with nothing but a vast fortune and parlayed that into a career as one of the world’s most popular superheroes: Batman! Well, that pretty much killed that topic of conversation. On the brighter side, we did enjoy an excellent Chinese New Years dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant – but I’ll get to that review in the days to come.
Today, we had lunch at what is fast becoming our favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Pho Tan on Main street. Fondy and I split some salad rolls – rice wrappers stuffed with prawn, carrots, lettuce, vermicelli, and lettuce – served with hoisin-satay dipping sauce. Fondy had the Pho – an incredibly flavorful broth simmered for ten hours, served with rice noodles, rare beef, tendon, tripe, and brisket. I had the grilled chicken, pork fluff and good ole meat egg-pie on broken rice. After lunch, we swung by a bookstore where Fondy and I hunted down some selections from my “need to pick up” list. I was thrilled to finally locate some hard-to-find titles including: Blish’s A Case of Conscience, Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up and Stand on Zanzibar, Pohl’s Man Plus, and Russell’s Time Sparrow.
Because I had dragged her into a bookstore, I was forced to accompany Fondy to some shop that was a cross between a health food store and a beauty salon. While she checked out the various moisturizers, facializers, stabilizers, and neutralizers, I wandered over to a neighboring section, drawn by the food-inspired scents of the various sprays, scrubs, and soaps. I mean, seriously. Who can say no to coconut and brown sugar exfoliating cream or pumpkin soap? I can’t. And didn’t. I also picked up a cucumber-scented soap and some vanilla-nut hand cream. All this to go with the tiramisu, amaretti, and chocolate body creams I got on my last trip to Vegas. And the crème brulee and the apple torte creams I picked up in Montreal. And the pear lip balm and Count Chocula lip saver I bought just the other day. In addition to my nine different colognes. You can criticize my attitude, my writing, even my preference for Roger Moore‘s early run as Bond. But my personal hygiene is beyond reproach.
Let’s not fall behind on the Q&A…
Anonymous writes: “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?”
Answer: In general, there are as many supporters of certain stories as there are detractors. Of course, there are episodes that are almost universally loved by the fans, as there are episodes that are almost universally panned. To be honest, I don’t see any discernible difference in the quality of the writing over the seasons. On the other hand, I definitely have seen a proliferation in online fandom over the years. Make of that what you will.
Anonymous also writes: “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?”
Answer: No. We haven’t been doing anything radically different. As for the reason for our decline in viewership, there are plenty of possible reasons: a lack of promotion, a shift away from the goa’uld storylines, little in the way of promotion, a shift toward the more ethereal Ancient/Ori storyline, a dearth in promotion, the introduction of new characters, promotion or lack thereof. Whose to say with any degree of certainty?
Shawna writes: “What is the craziest, most unlikely pairing that you think could actually work?”
Answer: I don’t know. Sheppard and his new wraith buddy? Oh – “that could actually work”. Let’s see… Ronon and Zelenka?
Anonymous #2 writes: “Do you think you might ever drop by at your Q&A threads at Gateworld or Solutions?”
Answer: I’m pretty swamped with questions here so it’s unlikely I’ll venture over to do a Q&A anytime soon. That said, I do check out Solutions every so often.
Arctic Goddess writes: “Do you have the season 4 second part of the episode completely written at the end of this season?”
Answer: Nope. That story gets broken along with the other early season four stories – usually in November once production has wrapped.
Jenny Robin: “What famous artist’s work does freshly stirred egg drop soup look like?”
Answer: Hmmm. I want to say my nephew’s pre-school painting – but I have a feeling that’s wrong. Okay, you got me. Do tell.
Nathaniel writes: “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.”
Answer: In rare instances, we know exactly who we want for the role early enough (ie. Fred Willard for the part of Vala’s father in Family Ties) and go after them. If they say yes, the script can be written specifically for them. In other instances, we have an idea of who we want for the role after the script has been written and make them an offer. More often than not, however, we’ll simply cast out of Vancouver or L.A. In the case of Josh Malina, we went out to him with an offer and were delighted to hear he was interested. Ron Canada, on the other hand, was someone we had wanted to have him on the show for a while and the opportunity finally presented itself.
Jenniphr_77 writes: “ I LOVE Dr Zelenka! Is there any chance he will play a bigger role in season four and become a full cast member?”
Answer: We all love Dr. Zelenka. He’ll continue to play an active role on the series. Ole.
Jen Kirk writes: “ 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?”
Answer: 1) Hmmm. You’re talking to the wrong guy. I’ve eaten shark a number of times but never cooked it. Oh, hang on. Let me consult my trusty fish cookbook. Hmmm. It suggests the robustness of shark lends itself to curries. Shark steaks can also be grilled, broiled, pan-fried, or barbecued. Make sure to marinate them in lemon juice and olive oil before cooking. 2) He’ll be around along with many of the other unsung Atlantis background players.
Nyktelios writes: “What are the changes of Zalenka and Teyla to get involved in a romantic relationship?”
Answer: Are you David Nykel posting under a pseudonym? Seriously.
Anonymous #3 writes: “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?”
Answer: I suppose anything is possible.
FlatlandDan writes: “I’m sure you’ve read him, but Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors.”
Answer: I’ve picked up two of his short story collections I’ve yet to get around to.
Anonymous #4 writes: “Is there really no hope for SG-1 season 11, I mean after the two or a few films?”
Answer: I suppose anything is possible. Maybe in an alternate universe?
Anonymous #5 writes: “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?”
Answer: Unfortunately, by the time we premiere, we’re usually writing the last episode or two of the season so it’s impossible to make many changes at that point.
Anonymous #6: “ 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?”
Magic 8 Ball says: Better not tell you now.
Anonymous #7 writes: “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?”
Answer: Er, how exactly were Stronghold or Ex Deus Machina ever classified as Teal’c episodes?
Ryu Gaia writes: “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?”
Answer: Sure, it’s multidimensional space in which faster than light travel is possible. But I have a question for you. What exactly do you mean by “the definition of Stargate hyperspace that I have operated on”?