6:00 a.m.: I wake up to discover that I am not in Paris trying to order one of those deliciously underdone baguettes with brie and butter, but lying in bed listening to a French weather forecast on my alarm clock radio. Time to get up.
6:30 a.m.: No brie, butter or baguettes in sight. Somewhat dismayed, I let the dogs out, feed them, have my morning cup of green tea, then head downstairs for my morning work-out.
6:30 a.m.: I have just completed my first set of 12 jump squats when I rise and, suddenly, have my peripheral vision go dark as little points of light appear in my line of sight and my knees turn to jelly. Cool! This, I consider, is what it must feel like to be hit by a wraith stunner! Fortunately, I am able to steady myself by grabbing hold of the treadmill and, so, do not hit the floor and lose consciousness. A couple of seconds of lightheadedness and I’m feeling much better. I make a mental note to slow down the speed of this particular exercise.
9:00 a.m.: While Paul is sequestered in his office doing a pass on Seer, I’m in the conference room for the Reunion concept meeting. 1st AD Gordie Mac runs us through the script while director Will Warring presides. As things move along, Bam Bam, our stunt coordinator, grows increasingly anxious about the casting as he has fight scenes to choreograph. Producer John Lenic informs us that all is good because Mark Dacascos has signed on to play the role of Tyre. Mark was terrific in Brotherhood of the Wolf (and his stint as the host of Iron Chef America – hmmm, wonder if he can get me on as a guest judge), and is apparently a very, very sweet guy according to Bam Bam who worked with him on The Crow. When the meeting eventually wraps up, Executive Producer John Smith sounds the alarm: “This episode is going to be big!”.
10:30 a.m.: Art Department meeting with Production Designer James Robbins, Supervising Art Director Tom Wells, and Art Director Melanie Cassidy. We discuss transporters, force fields, and cocoons.
11:15 p.m.: Costume Designer Val Halverson and Assistant Costume Designer Coreen Heaver come in for the costume meeting. We discuss BDU’s, dress blues, and broken down dusters. Apparently, Jason is quite the clotheshorse, always coming by with new ideas and purchases for his Ronon character. The latest is a pair of “battle pants” he’d like to sport in the sparring scene. Sure, why not.
12:00 p.m.: I return to my office to discover the fourth and fifth shipments have arrived from Vosges in Chicago and Wen Chocolates in Colorado. Chef Poole from Wen was also kind enough to include some extra goodies – among them candied ginger, chocolate cherries, Rachel Ann’s toffee, and coffee toffee. I make the decision to break into the toffees at lunch, much to everyone else’s delight. Alex declares them “the best he’s ever tasted”!
1:30 p.m.: Props meeting with Prop Master Evil Kenny Gibbs (Just plain Evil for short). We discuss stunners, P-90’s, and tablets.
2:30 p.m.: I return to my office for yet another surprise – this one unexpected. It’s a box of Bernard Callebaut chocolates from Arctic Goddess. I love Callebaut chocolates and used to pick them up all the time back when he had a shop on Granville street. After much deliberation, I summon up enough willpower NOT to open the box. I’ll save them for the chocolate soiree. Thanks, Patricia.
3:30 p.m.: I do a final re-read and pass on This Mortal Coil and hand it off to Alex Levine who will proof it and then put it out to the writing department.
4:00 p.m.: An excited Martin Gero rushes into my office to show off last year’s crew gift which, after much delay, has finally arrived: a Stargate watch with a handy iris to shield the time from prying eyes. After showing his watch off, he leaves. I have yet to receive mine and ponder the unfairness of it all.
4:30 p.m.: James and Tom pop in for an impromptu meeting with Paul and I, looking ahead to possible builds for the next few episodes. No major construction for The Seer, but we will marry some of the exterior scenes from this episode to the This Mortal Coil shoot. James and Tom also pitch out how they’d like to pull off the “horrific reveal” at script’s end. I love it!
5:30 p.m.: I drive home and catch Christina Aguilera’s new song, you know, the one that’s a remake of the Andrew Sisters’ Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. What? They’re saying it’s not a remake but an original that just happens to sound almost exactly like the original. Oh.
6:30 p.m.: I work on the blog and finally get to your comments…
UberAmandaFan writes: “Will you be able to post any more concept art in the near or not so near future? Ships, technology, weapons, cities, costumes…whatever. I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff.”
Answer: Just for you. Check it out.
Vaberella writes: “What do you mean by the comment in bold? That it will actually air in July (as per usual)?”
Answer: No. That fans won’t have to wait another six months to see new episodes.
NowIWillDestroyAbydos writes: “ Will we see Col. Caldwell in Season 4? Do you watch Scrubs?”
Answer: Yes and I watched the first four seasons on DVD.
My Name is Scott writes: “1) Has any PTB postulated the idea of a Stargate expanded universe, much like Star Wars does? 2) Are you familiar with Star Trek: The Experience? If there were a Stargate: The Experience, I’d forego establishing a family and devote my life to it’s awesomeness.
Answers: 1) We’ve never really considered expanding the Stargate canon beyond the television series (and now the SG-1 movies) simply because we don’t want to have our hands tied creatively by decisions made outside of our sphere of influence. 2) There is (or will be) a similar experience in Germany.
Anonymous #1 writes: “Your position seems to be that if Atlantis can pull 1.4’s and the like after having the episodes be dessminated in many other media before airing on Scifi, then surely episodes that air first on Scifi must logically garner a higher rating. That’s a false assumption. In fact, it seems to be contradicted by the ratings for the first halves of SG-1 and Atlantis. When Scifi was the only place to see SG-1 and Atlantis, the ratings were in the same ballpark they are now.”
Answer: Whatever the reasons for the slow start to both seasons (and, believe me, I can offer up a few), both shows rallied as the season progressed and did uptick prior to the six month hiatus that effectively cooled their momentum. With the back halves finally airing, we’re starting from scratch, and from an arguably even more difficult position (again the previous airings, the overall accessibility of the shows) yet still managed to put up some of the best series numbers on the network. Rather than trending backward (comparing this past week’s numbers to last year’s first half numbers and attempting to track a potential progression in reverse), I think it makes more sense to trend forward (comparing last year’s numbers with last week’s more hardwon numbers and looking ahead).
Anonymous #1 also writes: “Unless perhaps the prevalent belief is that the ratings for SG-1’s and Atlantis’ first halves were aberations? Sorry, but the ratings for Scifi’s other shows don’t really support that idea either.”
Answer: The suggestion being that the Stargates have seen a drop in ratings relative to other programming. If this is the case, then I would also argue that it is unfair to single out one show in particular and expect it to deliver performance numbers far and above the waning consensus.
Anonymous #1 also writes: “As to the point about repeats, you’re right. SG-1 has obviously been a strong performer in repeats. But I’m not sure if that translates over to Atlantis or not. I don’t have any ratings data on those to work from, but I do know that when Scifi attempted to replace SG-1 with Atlantis on Monday nights last year, it was a one week phenomenon that was quickly reversed. Yes, a 100 episode syndication package is inherently stronger than one for 80 episodes, but is there really that much to be gained from a show that is admittedly expensive to produce?””
Answer: Of course one could argue that a veritable library of some 110 episodes (five seasons worth when Stargate made the move to SciFi) would be in a better position to command stronger numbers than a 40 episode offering. Also, science fiction is expensive to produce (relatively speaking as many of the “less-expensive” comedies and procedurals actually end up costing much more when one factors in variables such as salaries, money that doesn’t show up “on screen” like, for instance, the money a scifi series will spend on visual effects) yet performs exceptionally well in syndication.
Anonymous #1 also writes: “Will the new content be that much more valuable than a rerun of an old episode?”
Again, as I stated in my previous post, the new content serves a dual purpose, hopefully garnering a strong first-run audience but also bolstering the repeats.
Anonymous #1 also writes: “As far as SG-1’s ratings climb goes, I think we both know just how unique of a property SG-1 was. After reaching a relatively small market on Showtime for five years, it was much more broadly shown on Scifi. It logically increased its viewer base as a result, and it continued to grow for a long time.”
Answer: I don’t know if you can label Stargate’s performance on SciFi over the past few years as logical. In fact, I would argue that it’s performance has been downright atypical of almost every show out there.
Finally, Anonymous #1 writes: “ I think that growth is accounted for by Scifi’s increased availability, and because seasons six, seven, and eight were some fantastic television. Atlantis can’t duplicate the circumstances that led to SG-1’s success.”
Answer: I disagree and would argue that the show continues to command a loyal and impressive following in spite of the obstacles it has faced. And, like SG-1’s sixth, seventh, and eighth seasons, Atlantis’s fourth season (and hopefully fifth and sixth) will prove equally fantastic television.
Mel writes: “Which of the writers determined Sheppard would take “War and Peace” with him to Atlantis to read?”
Answer: I did way back in season one. Don’t remember the episode though. It may have been Home.
Jason writes: “I was wonder your opinion of this article about the SciFi tag backlash.”
Answer: Personally, I find it a little silly. I mean, seriously – who are they kidding?
Firefly827347 writes: “I was wondering how many languages you speak?”
Answer: I’m conversational in English, French, and Italian, and can speak a little Japanese and Cantonese. To be perfectly honest, if languages came easy to me, I’d be fluent in five instead of the occasional one.
Anonymous #2 writes: “So, is it in any way possible that we’ll be getting maybe a little Jack O’neill in Ark of Truth?”
Anonymous #3 writes: “When there are lots and lots of scenes that can be edited out why edit out a scene that is really important to the events of the previous episode?”
Answer: Story logic takes priority when deciding what to cut. The episode was very long and we realized that we could actually lose the beginning and start the episode later without effecting the story of this particular episode.
Anonymous #4 writes: “…when I want something sweet, nothing is better than one of those Monster Apples from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory.”
Answer: I make it a point never to mix fruit with my dessert.
Anonymous #5 writes: “Can you tell us how many more episodes the new group of Humans introduced in “Travelers” will appear in Season 4? After filming Travelers, do you think your casting of Jill Wagner as Larrin was a good choice?”
Answer: Jill is great as Larrin. Her group will put in at least one reappearance in the back of season four.