Today is our last production day on Stargate Atlantis’s fourth season and, looking back, I have to say it’s been an exciting/challenging/frustrating/satisfying/whirlwind year. It feels like only weeks ago we were all reconvening, first draft scripts in hand, poised to produce what we hoped would be the best season of the show yet. And looking back over what we’ve accomplished this year, I’m pleased to say that we succeeded. If viewers are able to put aside reservations they may have about the much-discussed cast changes, I’m sure they’ll agree (or, at the very least, be hard-pressed to disagree) that the stories we told this year were more arc-driven, richly textured, and character-centered than ever before. And that the show has never looked so good. I’m extremely satisfied with the end-product, and extremely satisfied with all of the hard work put in by the cast, crew, writers – pretty much everyone who stepped up and helped make this such a terrific year.

Some have asked me about my vacation plans during the hiatus and whether I’d be taking time off. Well, it really depends. If the show doesn’t get picked up, I’ll probably be working on pilot scripts are heading down to L.A. for meetings. If the show does get picked up, then we’ll be spinning stories and heading off to write – over the hiatus. So, time off in the long-term? No. Time off in the short-term? Sort of. I’m so exhausted that I think I’ll be sleeping straight through next week and well into word on the show’s fate.

Well, more and more of you are sending me comments or questions requiring personal responses which include your personal emails. In the future, to save me the trouble of having to cut and paste your various addresses, if you have a question that requires an off-blog response, I’d suggest trying me at:

By the way, emailing me doesn’t necessarily guarantee a response (even a prompt one) and you’re more likely to catch me here on my blog.

Today’s pics: Some of the people I worked with this year.

Today’s video: Marty G. bids season four a fond farewell.

Today’s mailbag:

Alanna writes: “Ahahaha, fantastic. You look like an Olympic gold medalist in that last picture.”

Answer: Really? Paul went with security guard.

Amanda H. writes: “Personal question tho, are you really going to keep the fish?”

Answer: The fish now reside with our visual effects department. I have visitation rights though.

AnneTeddy writes: “Anyone who thinks acting is always a glamorous job should check out yesterday’s video. Did he lose any skin filming that?”

Answer: No because we didn’t use actual sand. Our special effects team purchased 1000 lbs of cornmeal for that sequence. Cornmeal and something else, I can’t remember what. Maybe oats? Apparently one offers the correct look while the other offers the proper consistency that allows it to fly and swirl.

Chevron7 writes: “Why aren’t promos and trailers for Atlantis broadcasted on other networks to get the show known by more and more people?”

Answer: It isn’t really in a network’s best interest to run promos for one of their competitor‘s shows.

Anonymous #1 writes: “Yes maybe Tivo, time slot, publicity (or lack thereof), DVR, VCR, downloads, iTunes, etc., hurt the show but it is silly to continue to deny that how changes made were handled and implemented also played a part in SG-1 ratings and will likely play a part in SGA ratings.”

Answer: Again, you’re putting words in my mouth. While a fan could well argue that an uptick or downturn in ratings could be linked to any of a number of creative decisions, the effects of Tivo and DVR, the internet, and the proliferation of channels are factors that are much harder to dispute given the amount of research done and being done on the topic. In other words: Did season 9 of SG-1 suffer a loss because we lost the goa’uld as a central villain? Sure, that’s a possible explanation, but at the end of the day there’s no way of knowing for sure. On the other hand: Are television ratings being effected by DVR and the internet? According to the research being done, the answer is a most definite yes.

Anonymous #2 writes: “It may be that addressing the criticism instead of ignoring it will turn out to be a better answer to the problems than the patches that have been pasted on so far.”

Answer: What exactly do you mean by “addressing the criticism“? Agree with our point of view? And with respect to the criticism leveled at some of the creative changes that were made, we can agree to disagree.

Elizabeth writes: “1) What’s your favorite Star Wars movie? 2) Have you ever read Quantum Prophecy The Awakening by Michael Carroll?”

Answers: 1) The Empire Strikes Back. 2) Nope.

Katie writes: “1) Do you watch SGA on Fridays or do you watch other shows? If you have time that is. 2)Are you guys worried about the competition from the Network shows like 20/20, Las Vegas or Numb3rs? 3)Do you watch hockey? 4)Any Thanksgiving plans?”

Answers: 1) I live in Canada, so we don’t get to see Stargate on SciFi. 2) Sure, but I’m a perennial worrier. 3) During the play-offs, sure. 4) Not really.

Anonymous #3 writes: “What about Asian films? Are you or anyone on the set into them?”

Answer: Before moving to Vancouver to work on the show, Paul and I used to attend a weekly Hong Kong movie night in which a bunch of us would gather together to watch the likes of Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Steven Chow, Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Leslie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Jacky Cheung, Anita Mui, and Lau Ching Wan (to name a few) in action.

SMB Books writes: “What I disagreed with was your decision to use the words “inhuman amount of ignorance”. Granted, that may be your genuine feeling on the matter, but is labeling a group of fans in that manner necessary?”

Answer: I was being sarcastic. Quite literally, to deny the facts is either ridiculously ignorant or, more likely, simply a refusal on the part of certain fans to entertain the notion that other influences may be at work here.

SMB Books also writes: “I’m still in that group that is hoping we get a Season 5 so I have a chance for many more episodes with my favorite character returning to the team. I do have a chance, don’t I?”

Answer: As I’ve often said -this is scifi. Anything can happen!

SMB Books also also writes: “if email for you is sent to the Bridge Studios general email inbox, will it get forwarded to you?”

Answer: Yep.

Scarym writes: “Have you seen CALIFORNICATION, Duchovny’s new show?”

Answer: Haven’t seen it but Marty G. says it’s great.

Caty writes: “Was that Joe or BamBam in the vid?”

Answer: That was Joe.

Anonymous #4 writes: “The bone of contention is that you will not admit that the cast changes could in any way, cause a drop in ratings.”

Answer: Could they? Sure. Did they? That is obviously up for debate.

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