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”?

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Arctic Goddess
Arctic Goddess

Hi Joe:

After reading through a lot of your blogs, I have to say, you are a very patient man.

What do you think of all the virtual series and Role play forums that have developed as a result of Stargate?

Have a great day,

Patricia

Anonymous
Anonymous

In yesterday’s Q&A, You wrote:

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.

I am truly crushed! You mean the point of First Strike really wasn’t to make a subversive comment about the invisibility of women in general, but particularly of women on Atlantis? wink Oh wait… that was just a wild theory I read on LiveJournal. (snickering)

Seriously, that was a funny scene, even though there was technically more to the episode than a Fantastic Four comparison.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hello Joe…

I will let you know that I’m not the least bit worried about whether or not Elizabeth is going to leave the show; it’s not going to happen…she’ll be around for season 5…she’s who makes your show.

My focus however lies with whether or not you guys decide to have her end up with Sheppard– that’s the question.

I don’t believe Teyla and Sheppard for one minute because they hardly ever interact with each other for anyone to see anything between them and when they do there’s only a sibling vibe. And I believe you guys think the same way on this; which is why I believe Jewel Staite has now been brought in.
My question is does tptb intend for her to be a potential love interest for John? if so, I can tell you right now that pairing will not work either because she appears to be far too young for him; it simply would not be believable.

The best and only realistic pairing is Elizabeth and John; together they’re what’s best for the show; no one else on the show is suitable for either of them. Almost every single episode within Seasons 1 through 3 has proven that, and to not go with them is idiotic.

ses110
ses110

Hi Joe,

What does the magic 8 ball say regarding RDA appearing on Atlantis in Season 4? Thank You

Stargate
Stargate

Hi Joe, I used to run a Stargate News site in Australia but closed it when SciFi pulled the plug on SG-1.

We copped an amount of friendly abuse from our readers so we opened a forum.

An entry today in our forums has wagered a $10.00 bet that Elizabeth Weir will meet an untimely end, ie she’ll be killed, others have heard the same thing,

We wonder if you could confirm or deny the ‘rumour’ Cheers Gary

Anonymous
Anonymous

G’Day Joe:

As you know Stargate SG-1 and SGA are both being aired in Canada and England.

What are your thoughts about the growing number of people downloading these episodes from the Internet?

Also do you think that this impatience will hurt Stargate as the US viewers have already seen these episodes and have no need to tune into Sci-Fi later this year.

Stargate News Australia
Stargate News Australia

Greetings Joe

In our Stargate News Australia forums today one of our members has wagered that Elizabeth Weir is dead.

We are aware that Ms Higginson’s role as Elizabeth is to change to a recurring role.

We’re not big on speculation and on all occassions try to confirm them to fact. We wonder if you could confirm or deny the “rumour” Many thanks – Gary

Shawna
Shawna

Okay, next on the list of “will we ever see this character again?”: that asian scientist woman with the big glasses from Letters From Pegasus. She was quite funny, and I had to wonder what became of her. (Also, BTW, Novak rocks. I <3 geeky scientist chicks...in a completely platonic way, of course).

Nyktelios
Nyktelios

Answer: Are you David Nykel posting under a pseudonym?Seriously.

No, I’m not David Nykel. I thought that they would look great as a couple. It is the only time I actually thought of two characters who might look great as a couple. Usually I don’t do that. Considering there’s enough speculation on the subject already like Weir and Sheppard having a eyesex session or whatever that means.
Seriously, though. Is there any chance that we might see Teyla or Ronan in a onscreen romantic relationship with someone else on Atlantis?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hey Joe, what’s happening with Peter DeLuis? Is he writing/directing for Stargate anymore, or was SG-1 more his thing so he’s moved on now that Atlantis is the only continuing show.

-H.B.M.C.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I agree with arctic goddess that you are indeed a patient man. Take that comment above about the John/Elizabeth ship. As a Sparky shipper myself, I was in total agreement until the last sentence. Please don’t think all the Sparky shippers think you are an idiot. At least on GW, we try to uphold the highest standards by not getting too negative towards TPTB or other shippers. We don’t always succeed because emotions run high. And, can I just say thank you for all the lovely John/Elizabeth moments.

pattirose4
pattirose4

Please Joe, whatever happened with the first Weir? Nothing was said storywise or other about the change.
Sure miss Paul Gillion though, any new Brits/Scots in season 4?
And lastly, any chance of including some out-takes on the season sets?

Anonymous
Anonymous

The comment above about which pairings make the show are exactly why I do not want to see any romance on this show other than between minor characters. While each fan is certainly entitled to his/her own opinions, there are many, many others who think the exact opposite.

I’d like to ask your Magic 8 Ball another question. Is there any chance that there’ll be another Earth-based scenario simliar to what we saw with Return Part 1? I very much enjoyed seeing on Earth. Also, can you tell me if separation from Earth lasts more than, say, three episodes?

Thanks much.

Emi
Emi

Joe, why there aren’t french members in the Atlantis Expedition? May be in season 4 ?”

SGAFan
SGAFan

Hi Joe,

Could you tell us that happens to Weir in season 4 ?

Thanks.

Anonymous
Anonymous

I personally think Stargate would do much better if it was on USA Network instead of Sci Fi. Perhaps you guys should dock it there if you want a new series to get higher ratings. Perhaps even move SGA there after season 4.

Ryu Gaia
Ryu Gaia

“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”?”

I write for a few virtual spin-offs of SG-1. In a recent episode centered around a black hole, there was quite a debate over how hyperspace worked, concerning how a ship would be effected in hyperspace by a nearby black hole in normal space. So, since my definition of hyperspace has been confirmed, that means that I was correct in assuming that the ship in question could not be pulled out of hyperspace by the black hole.

Stillhere
Stillhere

The Scifi Channel and USA network are owned by the same parent company, NBC Universal.

Anonymous
Anonymous

“I will let you know that I’m not the least bit worried about whether or not Elizabeth is going to leave the show; it’s not going to happen…she’ll be around for season 5…she’s who makes your show.

My focus however lies with whether or not you guys decide to have her end up with Sheppard– that’s the question.

I don’t believe Teyla and Sheppard for one minute because they hardly ever interact with each other for anyone to see anything between them and when they do there’s only a sibling vibe.”

You’re a lot more optimistic about the future of Elizabeth than I am. I honestly believe that someone among TPTB doesn’t realise the value of this character. If they did, the number of episodes would have been sorted out for her by now, given how close we’re getting to shooting of series 4.

As for the rest — so very, very true.

I was watching a clip from BSG of Adama and Roslin that’s doing the rounds of live journal right now, and Oh. My. God. THAT’s what should be happening with Torri and Joe’s characters.

Shep and Weir have bucketloads of chemistry, the characters gel better than any others on the show You just have to watch any scene that Joe and Torri do together. Nothing is forced. It shows the talent that Joe and Torri have, it shows how these characters are complimentary to each other.

I was thinking last night about the lineup without Elizabeth. I can’t see it. I know it’s likely to happen, but it would leave Shep without an equal. Sure, Carter’s coming in, but it’s not the same thing. She’s military, she’s a scientist — it’s the civilian/diplomat/pacifist side of Elizabeth that works so well with the Sheppard character.

600+ people on the Shep/Weir LJ community versus 100 or so people on the Sheyla one can’t be wrong. It’s just very sad that the full benefit of these two characters ratings/story-wise may not be realised because Torri’s future with the show is undecided.

windshieldbug
windshieldbug

Joe,

Batman is definately a conversation killer, unless you are 4. smile

You pictures look wonderful from last night. Hope tonight’s dinner is just as good.

Sound like you went into an expensive form of Bath & Body Works. I love their food-scented lotions, shower gels, and spritz.

I was reading your Q&A. The person that was asking about SHARK…I posted 2 recipes I use for shark on my blog. Yum Yum!

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joe, I was sad to see that you went with Mckay in The Road Not Taken. I was hoping to see Carmen Argenziano back, if not for 200, then at least for the alternate reality ep. Any chance to see him in either Atlantis season four or the movies?

ChaosIsBeauty
ChaosIsBeauty

Hello,

I want to sincerely thank you for your work on this blog (I like the food reviews too). It gives us an insight into the workings of the show and the all the processes that exist behind the scenes.

I have a question for you: Will the sets, secondary characters, and props from SG-1 still be available for the 4th season of Atlantis? If so, will they be utilized in future episodes? If not, will we stop seeing as much interaction with earth (on base meetings, video conferencing via wormhole) in the future?

Killdeer
Killdeer

Wow, I can’t believe I’m actually daring to write to a producer. (eeep) First of all, just wanted to say I appreciate that you take the time to answer some questions from the fans. Any and all information we can get is interesting, if maybe not always what we wanted to hear. So thanks in advance, whether or not you answer the question.

So here is the question, and I apologize if you’ve already gotten one like it.

We know that Amanda Tapping is going to be in 14 episodes of Atlantis Season 4. Does that mean her character is a main character? By “main” I specifically mean listed along with Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, and David Hewlett in the opening credits. Or is her character going to be “recurring”? It’s hard to tell just from the number of episodes and I can’t find anything that says for sure one way or the other, though many people have opinions. smile Thanks.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Joey, joe, jo-jo. I’m wondering with all the food talk what do you like to wash it all down with? Do you have a favourite drink?

Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Joe,

I have a question that I hope can be answered: Why hasn’t there been much interaction between Sam and Daniel in Season 10 (besides the fact that both AT and MS took some time off)? I have always been a fan of their friendship and I was quite disappointed this season. Is there any hope that we’ll see more interaction between them, or at least Sam, Daniel and Teal’c, in the movies?