Last night, we celebrated the Atlantis season 4 cast dinner at one of my favorite Italian Don Francesco Ristorante Although I usually order from their special wild game menu (Hungarian pheasant, roast quail, venison, or the “House Duck for Two” that of course serves only one whenever I have it), I arranged for a unique but not too exotic menu on this night. We started with an excellent antipasto assortment: smoked salmon, prawns, calamari, olives, zucchini, red pepper, prosciutto, and salami, tomato, and mozarella cheese. Next up was the appetizer, a choice between a house salad and the truly outstanding squash-stuffed agnolotti with fresh tomato, cheese, and black truffle butter. We had four main courses to choose from including a broiled beef filet, grilled Tuscan chicken, and tagliolini with wild mushrooms and truffle oil. I, however, went with what turned out to be the best pick: grilled Chilean sea bass with lemon and fresh herbs. It was melt-in-your-mouth buttery delicious. Carl, a fishing enthusiast, declared it the best sea bass he has ever tasted. Dessert was a choice between a subtle, not overly-sweet pear tart with vanilla ice cream, or the marscapone-rich house tiramisu. I, of course, had both.

This was the second year we’ve celebrated our cast dinner at Don Francesco. Besides the terrific food and service, we appreciate the fact that we can be seated at four separate tables which offered us a more casual dining experience, allowing us to move around and chat with our fellow diners between courses. I chatted briefly with Jewel and at greater length with her husband Matt, a very nice guy and an actor himself. We discussed local restaurants, the M.O.W he starts shooting today, and Jewel’s grueling movie shoot in Costa Rica. I also talked to Jason Momoa about his hockey-playing days. “You played hockey in Hawaii?”I asked incredulously. “No, I grew up in Iowa,”he informed me. Seriously. Is Iowa a hockey hotbed?

A nice night all around. I snappd a few pics. A shot of ever-photogenic Carl Binder. Camera loves this guy! A shot of Alan McCullough’s lovely wife Teresa. The ever-delightful Jane and her fiancee who directed that Dog’s Breakfast movie. A pic of a crazed-looking Andy Mikita. And a shot of yours truly wearing Jason Momoa’s glasses which, I thought, made me look intelligent. I mean MORE intelligent. The festivities wrapped up a little after 10:30 p.m., but not before Carl regaled us with tales of his days as a page at NBC. One of his duties amounted to providing limo conversation for “stars” enroute to the airport. Apparently, some performers were so notoriously obnoxious that the pages would attempt to “trade off” the more intolerable assignments. I am, however, happy to report that Carl gave a big thumbs up to “class acts” like Michael J. Fox, Harry Anderson, and the great Jimmy Stewart.

We had our very first Atlantis cast read-through today. Since it was only the main cast and producers in attendance, Marty G. and I got to show off our acting skills by playing the parts of the various guest-stars in Doppelganger. As I stumbled my way through a Shakespeare-worthy soliloquy, Paul turned to Rob and suggested he pull the plug on my performance. To which Rob responded: “Nah, this is gold.” And it was. In the end, I think I really nailed it.

After lunch, we headed into our 1:00 p.m. Playback and Visual Effects meeting for Adrift and Lifeline. We worked our way through playback for both episodes in two marathon hours, then finished up the visual effects discussion for Adrift a little after 4:00 p.m. We were all exhausted and Paul suggested postponing the Lifeline portion of the visual effects meeting to another day. “We’re already here,”said Martin Gero. “Might as well get it over with.” Reluctantly, we agreed to forge ahead. At which point Martin – his work completed since we’d finished our discussion of Adrift – happily packed up his things and left us to discuss Carl’s script for the next hour and a half.

Oh, and they found a Winnebago on Lost tonight. Is it just me, or is it beginning to feel a lost like Gilligan’s Island?

Questions?

Etta writes: “I have a question about Family Ties- whose idea was the last scene of the episode?”

Answer: I initially wrote the scene as a gag for the writer’s room. It got a big laugh and kept getting big laughs – so much so that people involved in the production were alarmed at the prospect of losing it. So I kept it in, assuming someone would make me cut it at some point. I assumed wrong.

Jon writes: “My electric ice cream maker broke at the end of the summer right as I was perfecting my cake batter ice cream recipe. What do you recommend as a replacement?”

Answer: Get another machine. I recommend something I’m thinking of picking up myself: The Gelato 3000.

Anonymous #1 writes: “How can you base a character arc on Teyla who’s been background noise at best for the best part of three seasons?”

Answer: The fact that the character hasn’t had the opportunity to shine is exactly the reason we’re doing it. This arc and episodes focusing on Teyla will allow viewers to get to know the character a little better. Enjoy!

Anonymous #2 writes: “Does your magic 8 ball say there’s any remote chance of an ‘evil’ Sheppard type episode? And for the record, i’m not beneath begging and would even throw in some dark chocolate offerings as way of bribing you.”

Magic 8 Ball says: Now it’s time for you to hold up your end of the deal. Send the dark chocolate to Joseph Mallozzi c/o The Bridge Studios.

Aaron Weinburg writes: “ There’s some rumbling going around at the firm today about Sci-Fi Channel’s long-term planning. Rumor has it that neither Stargate:Atlantis or Battlestar Galactica are a part of those plans. We haven’t done any work for them for some time, but I think they’re looking at a new ad campaign and network image.”

Answer: “The firm”? Well, I haven’t heard any rumors but I do know that Battlestar has been picked up for an additional 13 episodes.

FraiserFan writes: “As a resident of Las Vegas, I’m curious to know what places/events you particularly enjoyed (or loathed) when you visited here, especially where restaurants are concerned.”

Answer: We usually stay at the Bellagio. Dining highlights include Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud, Tableau, Le Cirque, and The Cheesecake Factory for corn tamales and dulce de leche chesecake. Martin Gero dined at Guy Savoy at Caesar’s and said it was one of the best meals he’s ever had.

Jenny Robin writes: “Re: Terror — I am still making slow headway. I have yet to break page 200.”

Answer: Well, I’ve got about a hundred pages to go and should finish it tonight. The pacing really picks up in the last hundred pages or so. Keep at it!

Michael writes: “Have you ever been In Germany?”

Answer: Nope.

Royal Nonesuch writes: “If you are an ice cream fan, you must try Cincinnati’s own “Graeter’s” ice cream.”

Answer: You’re the second person to recommend Graeter’s. Richard Kind (aka Lucius) recommended it the last time he was in town.

Anonymous #3 writes: “Is that major arc for Elizabeth in season 4 still on?”

Answer: I never said it was a major arc for Elizabeth. I said “the Weir character will be a significant player in a major arc”. There’s a difference.

37 thoughts on “February 28, 2007

  1. Joe,

    While I don’t mind the character of Vala and even enjoy her from time to time, I’ve been appalled at the amount of time that’s been devoted to her this season. She’s had more storylines and episodes devoted to her than anyone else, and the disparity is quite alarming, imo.

    What was the thinking behind devoting so much time to Vala in S10? Do you wish you had let the other characters, particularly Mitchell, have more chances to shine?

  2. Any thoughts on another group actually being in competition with Atlantis for ZPMs? The Asurans have an unlimited source and neither the Wraith nor the Genii use them. Limited resources tend to make for good conflict because no one needs to be evil, just competitive, and you did say you wanted shades of gray…

  3. “Seriously. Is Iowa a hockey hotbed?”

    I can’t vouch for Iowa, but I know that Minnesota has a TON of hockey players. So, if you ask me, it would make sense for Iowa to be the same!

  4. I just discovered this blog a day or so ago. Bravo! I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to food, I have to confess (just finished Dr. Pepper over vanilla ice cream), but I still enjoy your commentaries. The best part is your non-answers. Anyone can answer a question, but it takes skill to come up with a good non-answer.

  5. Joe said:
    “The firm”? Well, I haven’t heard any rumors but I do know that Battlestar has been picked up for an additional 13 episodes.

    WTF? Yeah, that’s right, the firm. I’m a lawyer, I work at a firm. You’re a producer, you work at a “studio”.

  6. You never mentioned Joe Flanigan or Rachel Luttrell at the cast dinner. Were they away for some reason?

    How do you feel about beef jerky? Love it or hate it?

    Have a great day, Joe.

    Patricia

  7. Random comments

    Books: if you like Hitchhiker’s Guide, hunt down a copy of Chester Anderson’s The Butterfly Kid. It is out of print but you can pick it up at amazon or through one of the bookstores on used.addall.com. It is one of those books you can read again and again and laugh every time.

    Chocolate: one of the best places I have found for chocolate fudge is The Fudge House at Pier 39 in San Francisco. Since that “Dog’s Breakfast” guy is going to be in that area this weekend, you should bribe, blackmail or bludgeon him into bringing you back some — if you can trust him to actually get it back without eating it all.

    Script question: is there a way to present stories for Atlantis without an agent, or is the show even accepting unsolicited stories?

  8. Looks and sounds like you guys are having a blast. What a great way to start off Season 4. Long Live Stargate!!!

  9. Harrumph, I had a cute post all written, and blogger lost it.

    So, here’s the short version:

    *will attempt to finish Terror on Thursday

    * bought two blue mystery snails today for tank at work; considering naming them Mallozzi and Mullie, though that is breaking with my tradition of all classical composer names

    Any thoughs on that?

  10. Hen hao, xie xie. 😀

    Hope you’re doing well today JM.

    I have a question, now of course I could be venturing into the mundane, but it was something that came to me while replying to a thread about exploring the city.

    Are there toilets? Okay, I realize it’s not amongst the norm, but it’s something that is bugging me. The episodes of the rooms don’t give the impression there is an ensuite. That being said, are the toilets communal? If they are communal what’s the set up? You can just give me an idea here, if not in the ep.:D I was going to ask about the kitchen and laundry room—I have seen the mess hall, but that’s not really enough—but I’ll refrain for now. 😀

    Personally, I think you’ve done great development on Teyla (in regards to personality) throughout the first two seasons. Although you sort of let her drop in the third, which I’m sure you’ve realized. I’m really looking forward to the possible backstory on Teyla in S4. That being said (and I do want to be surprised but I couldn’t help myself) any chance of her mum coming into the equation? There is a focus on her dad, all through S1 and parts of S2 we’ve heard her mention her father, what of her mother? I always figured her mum was a wraith and was macking it with her dad (as unlikely as I know it sounds)! 😀

  11. So how much chocolate would we need to send to get a glimpse of shirtless Sheppard in Season 4?

    P.S. D’you like the alliteration there? 😉

  12. Anonymous #1 writes: “How can you base a character arc on Teyla who’s been background noise at best for the best part of three seasons?”

    Answer: The fact that the character hasn’t had the opportunity to shine is exactly the reason we’re doing it. This arc and episodes focusing on Teyla will allow viewers to get to know the character a little better. Enjoy!

    Sorry. Not going to get into the Teyla character. I find both Teyla and Ronon to be extremely cliched. Hot alien chick. Grunting alien guy. There doesn’t seem to be much depth to either chracter.

    Sheppard, Weir and McKay are your best characters by a country mile. It’s sad that Elizabeth is going to be wasted.

  13. Thanks for this food-blog, I like it ! And now I can start a list of places to visit the day I will go to Vancouver 😉

    On the Stargate subject you said that in the next season each of the main players will have a character-centered episode !
    Could you tell if Weir will have her own one too, please ?

    Thank you !

  14. Just wanted to say that I, for one, am delighted to hear that Teyla is going to be given a chance to shine in season four. May I take this to mean that the wraith will also be making more of an appearance in season 4? Also, are there more stories in the works about the Athosians (who seem to have largely disappeared into the background in recent months)?

    Also, thank you for your patience. I really do appreciate your taking the time to respond to the bombardment of Stargate-related questions.

  15. Hiya Joe,

    Is there going to be any interesting revelations on the Ancients/Lanteans/Alterans in season 4?

  16. Personally -I am very happy that no one made you cut that last scene of Family Ties- it’s one of the funniest SG1 moments.

    And what a nice picture of Jason Momoa’s glasses 🙂

    Etta

  17. LOL you look like Martin Lloyd in those glasses. Until I read it was you wearing the JM’s glasses, I was thinking we were going to be seeing Martin Lloyd in Atlantis.

    Marla

  18. hey joe!
    just love reading your blog and im really looking forward to season 4.
    i was just wondering, as a big shep fan what episodes do you think i should be looking out for in season 4?

    us shep whumpers are already excited about Travelers our shep whumpy gift!!:)

  19. Aww, you spoiled this week’s Lost for me! 🙁

    …well, you WOULD have, if I had any idea what a “Winnebago” is.

  20. Reading the description of y’alls cast supper is making me crave Italian, now I’m trying talk my friends into switching girls night to my favorite Italian place, Al Di La, from Magnolias (upscale food with a Southern Twist—Best Seafood Grits ever). If you are ever in Charleston, SC Magnolias is definitely one of the many places at which you should eat. And about the grits, if you like polenta, you should like grits okay (white cornmeal and grittier texture usually—very bland & blah if improperly seasoned)

    The van (in Lost) didn’t make me think of Gilligan’s Island, but more of Little Miss Sunshine–especially the part where they were running and jumping into it, don’t you think?

    Another travel agent-type question, do you think spending 2-3 days of my British Columbia trip in Vancouver would be worth it-the rest are in Whistler? It looks like it would be from what I found online. Thanks!

  21. Joe, I don’t get it. The website that used to have all of the Atlantis promotional photos and cast shots has been shut down by NBC. It’s web address used to be this:

    http://sg-atlantis.emedian.net/

    Why would NBC do that? It used to be a great site that had the best pictures. It’s like you guys are going out of your way to make sure we can’t enjoy the show nowadays. No promo or episode pics, huge layoffs between episodes, etc. What are we supposed to do?

  22. Hi Joe I wanted to ask you if we will get to see a wraith queen that does not get killed by the Atlantis team but becomes a recurring enemy that cause’s a lot of trouble for them?

  23. Joe:

    I was just reading a new interview with Sera Gamble, Executive Story Editor for Supernatural at http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=439

    One of the questions asked was:
    “Have there been any scrapped storylines for the Winchesters(the two main characters) themselves?”

    I thought her answer was a great explanation for why show runners and producers can’t always do the things that fans ask or even do the things they want to do for that matter.

    Sera’s response was:

    “We don’t scrap major storylines for the boys so much as adjust them as we go along. That’s the thing with TV: the train is moving the whole time. You have to figure things out without letting everything come screeching to a halt.”

    I think sometimes we fans do forget that the show is constantly in motion and you can’t just bring things to a screeching halt to fix or change something in a major way. If you do that, you lose momentum and pace.

    Just thought I would share that, cause I thought it was cool explanation:)

    Marla

  24. Anonymous #2 writes: “Does your magic 8 ball say there’s any remote chance of an ‘evil’ Sheppard type episode? And for the record, i’m not beneath begging and would even throw in some dark chocolate offerings as way of bribing you.”

    Magic 8 Ball says: Now it’s time for you to hold up your end of the deal. Send the dark chocolate to Joseph Mallozzi c/o The Bridge Studios.

    *Offers hand to shake the done deal* 😀 :D. I just hope it doesn’t melt on the way, hehehe.

  25. <"crazymom said...
    I just discovered this blog a day or so ago. Bravo! I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to food, I have to confess (just finished Dr. Pepper over vanilla ice cream)”i>

    Crazymom, have you ever tried Dublin Dr. Pepper? It is made in a tee-tiny town in Texas called Dublin in a 100+ year old bottling plant. This Dr. Pepper is made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, so the taste is smooth and divine. I drive down to Dublin a couple of times a year to buy a couple cases of bottles, and they also have a bottle of syrup one can purchase, which I then use to make Dr. Pepper ice cream.

    One can find the bottles in a couple of the local grocery stores, but they are $8/6 pack, a much greater cost than buying them by the caseload at the bottling plant. It is also a lovely drive through the Texas countryside to get there.

    The website is (and forgive me because I have trouble getting my mac to imbed links in blogger):
    http://www.dublindrpepper.com

  26. “crazymom said…
    I just discovered this blog a day or so ago. Bravo! I’m a bit of a philistine when it comes to food, I have to confess (just finished Dr. Pepper over vanilla ice cream)”

    Crazymom, have you ever tried Dublin Dr. Pepper? It is made in a tee-tiny town in Texas called Dublin in a 100+ year old bottling plant. This Dr. Pepper is made with Imperial Pure Cane Sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, so the taste is smooth and divine. I drive down to Dublin a couple of times a year to buy a couple cases of bottles, and they also have a bottle of syrup one can purchase, which I then use to make Dr. Pepper ice cream.

    One can find the bottles in a couple of the local grocery stores, but they are a much greater cost than buying them by the caseload at the bottling plant. It is also a lovely drive through the Texas countryside to get there.

    The website is (and forgive me because I have trouble getting my mac to imbed links in blogger):
    http://www.dublindrpepper.com

  27. The vehicle in LOST was a VW Microbus, not a Winnebago. You’ve been downing too much Dharma beer. ;o)

  28. Hi Joe, caught ‘Family Ties’ last night, and it was brilliant! I’m loving (just about) all of the episodes for this season, but one thing keeps settling into my mind…the Sam and Cam scenes. Now it may just be wishful thinking, but two scenes stand out as particularly ‘shippy’.

    The first is in ‘The Insiders’ (I believe) when Sam shoulder nudges Cam when they’re sitting on the table. The second is in ‘Family Ties’ where Cam has just finished saying ‘It’s a nice outfit’. Not ‘they’re nice outfits’ but ‘It’s a nice outfit’. Then Vala nudges Sam the same way she nudged Cam, and I’m left wondering, do Sam and Cam have a romantic/physical attraction to one another?

    Many thanks for a great season!! Can’t wait for the next two episodes 🙂

  29. Like the poster a couple of days back, I’m older, female, married, with a grown child–but unlike the poster, I am good with losing Liz and I love the idea of Sam joining the Atlantis cast. Sam may be military, but she’s warm and sweet and human and I think she’ll be a good addition.
    One thing I am still waiting for on Atlantis is Rodney calling Sheppard “John” sometime. I think Rodney’s the last hold-out in that regard and at this point, you could stick it into a really sweet moment for us Sheppard and McKay fans. Other than that, I just wanted to add that I watch about two hours of television regularly each week, and one of those hours is SGA (when it’s on!). Thanks for a fun show. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season.

  30. I’m sorry if you have already been asked this. Would you be a judge on Iron Chef America if asked.

  31. Hi Joe! I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while (I’ve enjoyed every entry!), but never got the nerve to post a comment or ask a question. Today I do, so here goes;…

    Are there plans to continue SG1 past the two movies? Would it be possible to produce 3 movies a year? On Atlantis for S4, are there any plans to have Daniel, Vala, and Mitchell as guest stars?

    Keep up the excellent work. Please know that there are millions of us that love everything Stargate and would happily support any efforts to continue the franchise, through DVD purchases, iTunes downloads, and anything else the creatives can think of to show our support.

  32. Odd question, but you may be able to answer this one. What’s with all the ficus trees? They seem to show up all over the Stargate universe. Was there a sale years ago and a whole lot were picked up at a bargain, or does someone in set-decorating REALLY like them? And what about shipping them? Do they travel on the Daedalus or the Gate bridge? Or with each other? Inquiring minds want to know…

  33. Hi Joe, I was wondering… how do you come up with a story? where does your muse come from? for any of the aired SG episodes, is there an ep that you could share with us where the idea came from? Thanks and Love your pic, please tell Carl that he also dressed up up nicely!

  34. Hey Joe, any chance that you’ll be in DVD special features? (Not including commentaries)

  35. Ooh, love the food. I didn’t read most of your blog because for some reason I was following a link from a friend’s blog and saw the pics of food.

    I’m on holiday right now and travelling Europe and Asia. Hmm, perhaps I should post you pics of food I took myself seeing as you seem to appreciate lovely stuff.

    Sorry – nothing Stargate-y to say as I’ve been away for over a month from home!

    You should post more pics of deserts! I just love Italian and French deserts.

  36. Jenny Robin sent me over here (do not hold that against her) to look at your food pictures.

    That pear tart looks incredible. Is that a gooseberry on top? It has a husk, but I thought gooseberries were green.

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