Tomorrow night is the big night: the return of SciFi Friday, and Stargates Atlantis and SG-1! So if you haven’t already seen them in the U.K., or watched them in Canada, or caught them anywhere else in the world, or screened dubs sent to you by friends or family living outside the United States, or illegally downloaded them off the internet, or viewed the clips on youtube, or read the episode transcripts on some fan site, or searched out the spoilers online, or overhead any fellow fans discussing what happened – then welcome back to civilization and get ready for the U.S. Television Premieres of the back half of season 3 of Stargate: Atlantis and the final 10 episodes of Stargate: SG-1. What will happen? How will it all end? The only way to find out (besides asking anyone who has already watched the episodes or getting the information online) is to tune in and watch!
So, okay, we admittedly head into this premiere with a certain amount of trepidation. Because of the way the scheduling is shaping up, Atlantis’s fifth season pick-up could be almost wholly dependent on how the back half of season three fares. And just how will it fare? Well, it’s hard to say and there is some wildly divergent opinion within the production offices. On the one hand, the fact that the episodes have aired elsewhere will hurt us, but probably not as much as the seemingly endless six month lay-off (When did Return I air? 2004?). When Lost began bleeding viewers last season, most pointed the finger at the loooong two month wait between original episodes. Two months?! In retrospect, those Lost fans were spoiled. So, yes, that could hurt. As could the fact that cable numbers are down across the board as evidenced by the ratings of the network’s other programming. On the other hand, scifi fans are incredibly loyal – Stargate fans even more so – and we have that going for us. And these will be the last ten episodes of SG-1 and that should engender a little more interest. But at the end of the day, it’s very hard to predict what kind of numbers we’ll do when we return because there are some many intangibles to consider. For instance, is the word out there? Do people know we’re coming back? You would think “Yes, of course they do if they’re fans of the show.” but this isn’t necessarily true. Last year at Comicon, Chris Judge had a number of Stargate fans ask him when the SG-1’s tenth season was set to premiere. His response: “Last week.” The premiere ended up pulling in around a 1.4, our lowest number ever. And although the ratings eventually picked up so that we leveled off at a very respectable 1.7 for both shows, the slow start did hurt us. So, to reiterate: has word gotten out? Well, MGM has certainly done a big push and the network has run their promos – but was it enough? More to the point: did the Nielsen Families get the message? Do the Nielsen Families feel passionate enough about the show that they will tune in after such an extended break? And if the answer to the aforementioned questions is yes, then have these same Nielsen Families already seen the episodes through whatever alternate means at their disposal. And if so, will they watch them again?
Hard to say and, like I said, difficult to predict – but that hasn’t stopped everyone in the writers’ room from joining the Stargate: Atlantis Season Premiere Prediction Pool. I won’t tell you who guessed what, but I will tell you who wins on Monday. And let’s just say that I’m taking the over.
Oh, and if you’re among many who have placed a wager in the When the Hell will Joe Finally Finish that Script Pool, I’m on page forty, top of the fourth act. To those who had “one week” – looking good. To those who had “never” – shame on you, and you’ve still got an outside shot. Looking over what I have so far, I’m not totally satisfied with the way some of the scenes play out, I’m a little uncertain about some of the dialogue, and not wholly sold on a couple of the scene transitions. Still, despite the existing flaws, like a parent facing the prospect of raising a child, I’m sure I’ll learn to love it in time but certainly not as much as some of my favored past efforts.
Pics: more me (check out the pug cufflinks), today’s lunch which included very good curry prawn, Singapore noodles, grilled eggplant, barbecue chicken (somewhere under there), and a chocolate cupcake for dessert, and requested snaps of the pugs impatiently awaiting their treats.
Holy crap! 115 comments to yesterday’s blog. I guess I have some questions to field –
Anonymous #1 writes: “For the rest of us, can you tell us if the four episodes Torri will be in are all in the first half of season four? Is there a chance Torri could appear in more episodes in the back of the season (hopefully a lot more)?”
Answer: Yes and yes.
Brian Aalders writes: “I know that you’re a big comic book and anime fan, but what about video games?”
Answer: I haven’t played in a while but my wife and I enjoy the Japanese horror games.
SMB Books writes: “What do you think of the Iron Chef series? Corny or cool?”
Answer: The original Japanese version = cool. The new American version = not bad.
Miss H writes: “But I’ve been dubious of this whole “announcement”. You have said time and time again that fans don’t affect the direction of the show or the creative process. So either the show runners have gone back on a fundamental claim (which according to some on GW, it seems, would make parties “incompetant”) or this was all planned in advance.”
Answer: I’ve always been very clear that we don’t take dictation. We have not and will never make decisions based on whatever faction of fandom makes the most noise. On the other hand, we are aware that we’re writing for a very loyal audience and we would obviously like to keep them happy. When our creative vision and fan wishes dovetail, then we have the best of both worlds: which is exactly what happened with regard to Carson’s return. We didn’t bring him back simply because a group of fans requested it, but the fact that he did have an impressive amount of support certainly went a long way toward convincing us to pull the trigger.
Anonymous #2 writes: “Is 2 episodes the max possible available for Paul/Carson […]?
– How late is ‘late in season 4’? – You said we get THE Carson back, but will what happened to the character effect/change him in any way? – Will we FINALLY get to see any personal repurcussions for the character’s ethical flaws in reguards to the retrovirus? – And seeing as SCB like challenges, what would it take to secure Carson back fulltime in S5?”
Answers: It’s looking like three episodes now. Not sure when they will air – one a little after the mid-season two-parter, the next two not that much later. There may be repercussions of his time away and the circumstances of his return. As for season 5 – we’re not even thinking ahead that far.
Kristen writes: “With the emphasis on character driven episodes will we see more layers to Sheppard this season?”
Answer: Hopefully, we’ll see more layers to all of our characters.
Anonymous #3 writes: “Ugh, not a Sheppard’s wife story.”
Answer: Ah, that’s the spirit. Immediately assume the worst lest you end up disappointed.
Lorr54 writes: “A question regarding the idea Mr. Flanigan pitched and Mr. Binder is writing. When something like that happens, how involved is the person that came up with the idea involved once the writer has it?”
Answer: That’s entirely dependent on how much input the first person wants to have.
Anonymous #4 writes: “ 1:what ways do you think I could do if I wanted to increase readership of my blog”
Answer: Routinely make outrageous and controversial statements regarding sections of fandom.
Hannah writes: “What did you think of Friday Night Lights last night?”
Answer: I liked it a lot simply because I was expecting it to go another way. The fact that it ended the way it did gives me a sneaking suspicion that NBC doesn’t intend to pick it up for a second season. I hope I’m wrong, but that’s the feeling I get.
Anonymous #4 writes: “What can David “awesome” Hewlett fans look forward to in McKay’s arc?”
Answer: Martin’s top secret script, Miller’s Crossing, offers a glimpse at a much more sympathetic, vulnerable McKay.
Crazymom writes: “GeekBoy says yes, he’d be interested in some fantasy title recommendations from you.”
Answer: Have him check out Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamorra, then Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself.
Tenikal writes: “Out of all the movies you’ve seen in the last 12 months?? what would be your top five?”
Answer: Hmmm. That’s tough. I haven’t really seen all that many. Off the top of my head only three come to mind: Oldboy, Maria Full of Grace, and Hard Candy.
Nichole writes: “Have you ever read anything by Raymond Feist?”
Answer: I haven’t but I’m not a big fan of the high fantasy (elves, dwarves, magicians, and magic, etc.) preferring more grounded stories like the book I’m reading now – Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself.
Karen writes: “…and staying away from dairy products for a few days (there’s a couple components in milk that contribute to mucus build-up -seriously).”
Answer: I did not know that. Thanks for the tip.
Anonymous #5 writes: “ “On the production schedule, Rob is first up with ‘Doppelganger,’ a.k.a. N.O.A.S., assuming both writing and directing duties on this one.”
What does NOAS stand for?”
Answer: When you find out what the episode is about, it will become obvious. I think. Alternately, knowing what it stands for will pretty much tell you what the episode is about.
Anonymous #6 writes: “Gotta wonder whats your hit counts these days?”
Answer: Around 1600. But when you factor in the rabid fans who check in on average, say, 10 times a day, that brings it down to 160. And conservatively half of those are mine, so let’s say 80. And then there are those who really just stumbled across my blog by accident, having done a search for, say, “kooky pug pics” or misspelled Mazola corn oil. That would bring it down to about 40. Discount friends and family and you have the true number. So, thank you to all five of you for continuing to support me.
Nichole writes: “What kind of novel would you write?”
Answer: It would be scifi. I have a broad outline and a handful of eccentric characters. Now, I just need the time.
Cara writes: “And what exactly do you have against Wales?”
Answer: I love Wales – which is why I want it all for myself.