Got licorice?

Don\'t film Jason when he\'s feeling grumpy!

Martin Gero Boy Genius

Todd\'s red carpet outfit

Work for the props/model shop

Nice day for a bike ride.

While I’m not exactly blazing through this script, I am advancing at a fairly steady five-page-a-day pace. Still, this one has been atypical in its progression. Usually, it takes me a while to get going but once I’m past those first three acts, the last two go very quickly. In this case, however, it’s been just the opposite: fairly smooth sailing from the get-go with nary a hiccup until I hit the fourth act, at which point things slowed to a crawl. Unlike most episodes which have an A main storyline and B secondary storyline, this one is a triple A and it’s been a bit of a challenge balancing the three. First, there’s Sheppard and his mainland troubles. Then, there’s McKay and his Zelenka-assisted investigation of the mystery find. And, finally, there’s Woolsey and his good news/bad news/bizarre news day. The way it’s looking, this initial draft is going to clock in at a healthy 60+ pages which I’ll, of course, edit down to a much more reasonable 56-58 before putting it out. Given the type of script it is, I’m expecting significant notes and a potentially heavy rewrite – which, in this case, isn’t a problem because I’ll have all of the hiatus to work on it. The important thing is that I put out a first draft that will give the office a fair approximation of how the production schedule will break down. Most of the beats are sound so I don’t expect much scene-shifting. The only one that worries me is what I’ll be doing to Sheppard at the end of the third act. I suspect more than one person in the room will say something to the effect of: “Are you nuts?!” . Should make for an interesting debate.

Between the long stretches spent seated at my desk staring blankly at my laptop screen, I did find the time to –

Help spin Carl’s story for episode 17 (or maybe 18?). A nice callback to some SG-1 tech, the return of that guest star will have the boards abuzz, and Carl searches for an appropriately grisly punishment.

Help spin Alan’s story for episode 18 (or maybe 17?). A mysterious arrival, a difficult dilemma, and the continuation of a storyline introduced in The Queen.

Read Rob’s outline for episode 19, CSI: Atlantis. All sorts of greatness.

Discuss a potential game plan for episode 20 and beyond.

Say hi to Paul McGillion who was in shooting his scenes for Outsiders.

Say hi to the incredibly genial Alan Blumenfeld who is guest-starring in Inquisition.

Chat with Tobias Slezak, also guesting in Inquisition.

Participate in the Prodigal notes call (the network loved it).

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday boy Nathaneal (Hey, Mercie, I know he’s your brother but are you sure you’re spelling his name correctly?), belated birthday “individual” Archersangel, and all of you who have taken the time to post your thoughts on the whole media vs. literature debate. Some very well thought-out and well-presented arguments. Once I take a breather from this script, I’d love to join you in this discussion.

Today’s pics: In and around the production offices.

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Mackenzie's Momma

I hope the rest of the script goes well, once you get rolling on it. I can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

So my QOTD- CSI:Atlantis is that just the working title or the actual title we will see when it airs?


Good for you, all that writing deserves some chocolate. A quick question: who is David Hewlett’s stunt double, and does he get a lot of work?

Narelle from Aus

Good Luck with the rest of the script!
July still seems a long way away…

You could cheat with the script….

Walk up to (insert writer’s name who you have cornered in the Gents) and say “Hey! I’ve come up the last two acts and I think you’re really going to like it.” Make anything up. First thing that comes to your mind. It can involve pumpkins, mice, it turning midnight, doesn’t matter.

Said writer then turns around and tells you that is the lamest ending they have ever heard and then throws out suggestions as to how it could end.

Rinse and repeat this process with all available writer’s you can corner until you have a great final two acts… And you haven’t had to go through the pain of coming up with it yourself.

Some may say that is a lazy approach, I say it’s increasing productivity. Cuts out that requirement for all the writer’s to get together and tell you what they think after you’ve gone to the trouble of coming up with a great script.

AV eddy

The So Comment

Hi Joe!

LOVE the pics – so fun! Is Jason giving someone a ride on the front of his fat tire bike? (Sooo cute!)

So…you’ve thrown Shep onto the mainland, eh? The one with the large venomous snake-thing? Huh? Is that it? Are you going to debate how Shep is going to defeat the big snake? Is he going to eat it too? Did you ever read that comic strip, Snake!?

So, what is that red thing on Martin Gero’s shirt? It looks disturbingly familiar, like something from my past that I should know but can’t quite remember. I think it involved computers…as primitive as they were in my youth…

So…what did that guy do to piss Jason off so much Jason went all Ronon on his ass?

So…um…are the crew members helping the Wraith with his girdle?

*pauses at a light*



If anyone can pull off a script running three A-line plots, I am willing to bet you can, especially with the safety net you have in the rest of the writing pool. Love to see that we get a McKay/Zelinka fest, as well as seeing how Woolsey is handling the pressures of the job. And I can hear the swooning of the Shep fans as you imply some sort of torture for him, mental or physical. The pictures are fantastic, and everyone seems to have an amazing amount of energy this far into the shooting season. Finally, I have to admit to a chuckle for using the word genial in the same sentence as Inquistion, even though I know you were talking about the actor, not whatever character he’s playing. Thanks for helping me see some humor in a fairly humorless day.


Is that the gate from “Tron” on Martin Gero’s shirt? Thanks for the pictures. Love the updates. I’m in countdown mode for the new season. Looking forward to the release on DVD of season 4 so I can clear up some memory on my DVR. I don’t dare erase an episode until then. I have to have my weekly fix.

Charles Schneider

Can’t wait to see Carl’s #17 Episode! I always love the winks to long-time viewers. They’re just subtle enough that they don’t overpower the episode’s ability to draw in new viewers, but they’re obvious enough that hardcore fans will notice and love them.


My, my, David Nykl looks rather fetching with the licorice mustache. Not every guy can pull off a look like that. smile

“Between the long stretches spent seated at my desk staring blankly at my laptop screen…”

Substitute “notepad” for “laptop screen” and this is me every first draft I write at some point. Sometimes the transfer from brain to paper does not happen so quickly.

Sounds like the script is shaping up to be a good one, though. And a challenging one. Three A storylines? This should be good.

Tim Gaffney
Tim Gaffney

Just got an email from [name edited by Joe]. The official Atlantis calendar is up for preorder with a release date in September. Can’t wait for some great pics!


Today’s blog entry is dedicated to birthday boy Nathaneal (Hey, Mercie, I know he’s your brother but are you sure you’re spelling his name correctly?)

One time in 6th grade my teacher asked me a very similar question regarding my own brother’s name (which is Chas — pronounced not Chaz, but like Chase with no e). My response (in my mind, at any rate), was: ‘I think I know how to spell my own brother’s name, thanks. Jackass.’ (Then again, four letters doesn’t leave much room for typos, which are always a possibility in typing.) Which isn’t to say that she really meant to write ‘Nathaneal’ and not ‘Nathaniel’. Just saying.


I was intrigued by your media vs literature comments so I decided to go on a personal quest to research some of the favorite SciFi classics of my youth. I was addicted to TV at an early age. Love the old black and white’s. Have you ever thought of doing an episode in black and white, oh the potential. Anyway, back to the black and white’s. I’d rather watch the Thin Man over CSI anyday. I started my search with “The Day the Earth Stood Still” from 1951 and discovered it was based on the short story “Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates. Screenwriter Edmund H. North. Great quotes and Gort. Next, “The Thing from Another World” was based on the 1938 novella “Who Goes There?” by John W. Campbell Jr. (psuedonym Don A. Stuart). James Arness as a giant carrot. Campy and fun. John Carpenter’s remake is a new classic. And it stars Stargate’s original Jack O’Neil. Who doesn’t love Kurt Russell? “Them!” from 1951 was based on the original story by George Worthing Yates with screenplay by Ted Sherdeman and Russell Hughes. Giant radioactive ants and James Whitmore. Gotta love it. In color, “Forbidden Planet” was inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. That I did know but had forgotten. Ominous use of effects and sound and another robot. That Robby the Robot was inspired by the Sprite in the play, I didn’t know. The classic, “The War of the Worlds” was based on HG Wells novel of the same name. The original movie was classic. I am probably among the few who hated Speilberg’s remake. Moving on to the 70’s, “Logan’s Run” (1976) was based on the novel by William F. Nolan and George Clayton Johnson published in 1967. Loved the Sandman premise, and that freaky robot “Box” with Roscoe Lee Brown’s voice. Alas, all of my favorite’s just prove your point. The only movie that I found that was written and directed by the same person, so that must make it an original screenplay, was “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, by Edward D. Wood Jr. Aliens and an insidious plan involving zombies for world domination… here’s a classic and they are remaking it. Release date 09-09-09.



Thanks Joe for the birthday wishes, I showed my brother and he was happy. We both shared a chuckle about your comment. And yes, I did spell his name correctly, although I can understand your concern. People have even asked me if my name is spelled correctly before, I just stare…eventually they get the drift and change the subject. But yes, my parents enjoyed gifting their children with…different names. Names you’ve seen before, but…altered.

For example, mine is Mercie (as opposed to Mercy) Lyn (as opposed to Lynn) and my brother’s is Nathaneal (as opposed to Nathaniel or Nathanael) Jaye (as opposed to…well J or Jay I dunno). We both got used to misspelled names on just about everything, and no premade personalized trinkets, a long time ago. Its life, sigh. But we both sure appreciated the thought.

But enough of that. I loved the pictures, and the nice teasers for upcoming episodes. Can’t wait till the season starts!



Heya Joe,
Great pixies…sigh…the wait for July.
Latest version of TVGuide indicates for US on SciFi, the show date is July 11 – marking the calendar.

Oh oh oh…Yes…MartyG’s shirt has the flying gate/bridge from TRON. Those were weird games. In another life, there was an arcade game with the different levels. Rather cool then. kinda passe now. But if one does not have good hand eye coordination they were difficult.

Your response to the question posed to you yesterday was excellent. One comment regard comparison of effort to reading a book to watching a movie. It does not take great effor to sit through 2-3 hours of having a week’s worth of reading material presented or displayed. Of course if it is a poor production; then it is an effort especially at the prices of movie seats now-adays. To read requires making the time and the discipline to sit still and not let your mind wander off to the many things you should or need to do. Thus it becomes a choice of 2-3 hours vs many hours. f course the choice can only work if there is a movie cause there are far more books that have not been turned into movies.

By the way, were you able to obtain a WII game?


Thanks for the pictures! They made me smile =)

Good luck with the rest of your script and don’t do anything too drastic with Sheppard!

Just got an email from [name edited by Joe].
So you can edit our comments before they’re posted? Neato!


I just bought the entire SG-1 DVD set at Costco (thank you, Costco coupons!) and watched both Moebius episodes tonight. It was interesting seeing the puddle jumper there (I’d forgotten it was even in SG-1) and hearing Rodney say he was interested in that lemon chicken (so no citrus allergies in this timeline? ;))

Seeing Shanks & Hewlett on the same screen made me wonder, who would win in a talk-off? Because they both can talk really fast! Any chance we’ll find out who the faster talker is in season 5? And did you writers have to compensate for their fast talking by writing even more dialog than normal?


Hi Joe,

Are you and the other writers and crew worried about the possible actors strike next month?



OOOOOoooo, I like a Sheppard controversy that will have the office up in a buzz. Push for it to remain in! Trust me, the fans definitely want something to push the gambit on Stargate. Controversy is better than ‘run of the mill’ drama. Also, the good guys not always winning would be nice for an extended period of time. Just my -1 cents worth.


Valexie writes:
“The only movie that I found that was written and directed by the same person, so that must make it an original screenplay, was “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, by Edward D. Wood Jr. Aliens and an insidious plan involving zombies for world domination… here’s a classic and they are remaking it. Release date 09-09-09.”

NOOOOOOOOOOOO! They can’t be doing THAT!! Plan 9 is an absolute classic, all wobbly shower curtain sets, tacky dialogue( the chief’s been murdered and SOMEONE is responsible) and dodgy stand-ins. Its one of my faves for sheer awfulness, they’re gonna totally miss the point with a remake unless its done tongue-in-cheek. Besides isn’t Tor Johnson dead? Oh woe! woe! and thrice woe!

Really chuffed that your script is going well, roll on season 5.



Why does poor Martin Gero have a bb cap with a hand written label on it that says “director?”

Do we need to take up a collection to purchase Martin a bb cap that has an embroidered director label on it?

Poor Martin. We love you!




Sweeeet, another entry filled with delightful and incredibly vague hints! A tech from SG1’s past called? A buzz-worthy guest star? Nuts you are-ing regarding Sheppard? Hooray! grin

Looks like I’ve got 2 things to be happy about tonight. One being this, the other being Coldplay’s new album being leaked onto the ‘Net today. I just listened to the whole thing and felt like I’ve gone to heaven; not just the normal, everyday, boring heaven, but the special heaven. It’s like the special hell, only not hellish.

Do you like Coldplay, Joe?

Meanwhile, 2 more reviews from the marathon:

Rite of Passage: Strangely, I didn’t really feel it with this one. You’d think I’d love it, what with all that parents stuff, but I think in this case, the fact that we haven’t seen Cassie for so long may have detached me from her backstory. It’s weird. Still, I enjoyed it somewhat; Janet was amazing, and Nirrti was still as vile as she was back in Fair Game.

Beast of Burden: This was a special episode for me, since I have actually never seen much of it. Just a scene or so because I always thought I hated Unas stories. Well, The First Ones opened my eyes to the potential, and this one had me fearing the worst at the end that we may not get closure on the story. Thank goodness we get more Chaka in Enemy Mine down the road! He’s awesome. Anyway; this episode was very sweet; I loved how Chaka rallied the other Unas and I actually felt sorry for the big one that got killed at the end. The slavemaster was definitely hateful, but I can see where he came from, so it’s hard to really judge. I also recognize that the overall backstory of his people was exactly the same as the alien-transplanted humans’ in Star Trek Enterprise’s “North Star”. No worries though, since the latter came after this episode. Jack and Daniel were hilarious in this episode, and I loved how Danny gave up on being the “nice guy” near the end and just didn’t care much if anyone died; as long as his Unas buddied made it out. Since I never saw the ending of this story, each twist in the story had me on the edge of my seat, and overall I loved this episode.


You previously told us instances where Fondy tried to kill you – I am sure that she is innocent of all the crimes.

But has there been times when she would have been justified in killing you? Tell us the stories!



I know your preferred medium for SF is on the literary side. But I was wondering, as the writer and producer on “Whispers”, where you had some control over your written work, were there story expectations you had that weren’t fulfilled? Are you able to enjoy the magic that happens in front of the camera when you see your words and ideas performed? Or does it all become too technical and administrative in its creation?


salut joe, pourquoi tu ne repond pas à mes questions?????

c’est parceque ca concerne toujours weir????

je veux juste savoir et je suis pas la seule, on est une communautée entière à vouloir savoir s’il y a une posiblité de revoir le personnage de weir cette saison ou la saison suivante…. s’il y en a une et je l’espère où c’est définitif le personnage de weir est mort?????

en tout cas c’est dommage que son personnage ne soit plus là car elle donnait du piquant entre john et mckay…..



I’m convinced there’s something to the alignment of the planets this past few weeks that is impeding all writing ability.

I had to do another draft on a training exercise that has been like pulling teeth when I can normally come up with all sorts of hilarious details.

And don’t even get me started on trying to write a workplan for next year.

(Okay. Those never come easy. Dull!)


I have some questions about your (or any other TV Producer’s) qualifications to make casting choices. Are there books on the subject or classes one can take to give a person the necessary skill to judge on what appears to be a very subjective talent or do you just go by your gut feeling in the casting sessions? How long did it take you to feel comfortable that you were being as objective as possible when trying to cast a part? Did you learn from other people involved in Stargate (like Brad or Rob?) Have you ever regretted your decision on an actor/actress once the episode was shot?

Also, isn’t a little hypocritical of you saying in the casting of the all-women team (or casting a role in general) in Whispers that it was done strictly on talent and not looks when a casting call for a female role for another episode specifically called for “a very beautiful woman in her 20’s” and never gave an average looking or older actress a chance to audition for the part?