Marty G. spins his new top secret idea

The office script elf.

There\'s a great story that accompanies this white board doodle.

I come up with a brilliant idea. 

We started the day with a morning notes session on my latest, Remnants. As is customary, we kicked things off with a round of “cover notes”. Cover notes, as the name implies, refer to general script notes like “I think you need to do a pass on the villain’s voice to make him less eloquent” or “The episode takes a while to get going so I’d suggest trimming the first few scenes” or, in Carl’s case “Aieeee! This font hurts my eyes to read!”. In the case of Remnants, there were a few, some of which I predicted. Marty G. objected to my brutal treatment of Sheppard while Paul took issue with one particular Holy Shit Moment in that regard. I agreed that the scenes are dark, but I argued they’re necessarily so. No clean and comical this time out for our hero as the chickens come home to roost. Or, in this case, one particularly bad-ass rooster. Alex’s concerns about the subtlety of the Shen imbroglio were echoed and some great suggestions offered with regard to the McKay-Zelenka scenes. From the cover notes, we moved on to the page notes. Some discussion on the mechanics of the transporter scene, the mainland intro, the off-world fooferah, the short list, the “convincing” gloves, the infirmary scene, and the reveal. All very doable and while I’d love to put out a Writer’s Draft for Friday, it seems unlikely I’ll get the chance since it looks like we’ll be very busy spinning and watching cuts and mixes.

We did get around to breaking Martin’s story today. The place-holder title, Snow Globe, lasted all of one day. It looks like, instead, we’ll be going with Rob Cooper’s suggestion: Brain Storm.

We capped the day by watching a Day 1 Mix of The Daedalus Variations. I believe I’ve already mentioned – it’s a visual effects spectacular featuring a couple of great battle sequences and the introduction of some brand new alien ships. On tap tomorrow: director’s cuts of Inquisition and First Contact, and a Day 2 Mix of Broken Ties.

Keep those questions and comments coming. Once things settle down a bit, I fully intend to dedicate an entire entry to the backlog of posts cluttering my mailbag.

81 thoughts on “June 10, 2008: Cereal Mascot Knife Fight Claims the Life of Beloved Franken Berry

  1. Sounds like you guys have some great eps spinning out for the back half of S5! I can’t wait to see them!

    Think we could get a post once your on Hiatus about the dogs?!

  2. This talk of titles gets me curious. 1. How many titles do you go through on a typical episode before you reach the final one? 2. Is there a title that has been used that was thought too strange/obscure and was almost not used? 3. Is there a strange title that you came very, very close to using before deciding to change it at the last minute? 4. What is the wackiest title you ever came up with at any point, and what episode is it really? (I use the plural ‘you’, naturally.)

  3. Good grief – am I first ?!? 🙂

    Guess I am just too happy about my economics exam; I may have actually passed this time. I received an email fromt he lecturer telling me I had done very well but to wait for the official results. I have sat this exam 11 times – 3 times as a special due to illness during a previous attempt. It’s not that I don’t know the stuff but rather exam panic and this triggers anxiety attacks while I am sitting the exam.

    “Joe said – … ‘In the case of Remnants, there were a few, some of which I predicted. Marty G. objected to my brutal treatment of Sheppard …’ ”

    I agree with Marty G – too many people love seeing Shepard get whumped. *sigh* It’s not natural!!

  4. You could go with Snow Storm but personally I much prefer Brain in a Globe.

    What the hell happens with Sheppard now I wonder? A gimpy knee, adult acne, ricketts? I know the wumpers will be ecstatic, beating each other with joyous abandon and then passing out celebratory bandaids.

    Personally I consider myself more of a rumper and eagerly await that Very Special Stargate Atlantis pantless episode. And apparently Sheppard will be able to particpate nicely since he’ll have no limbs, an eyepatch and a case of hives.

  5. So it turns out that Alice had more bad teeth than just the two bottom incisors I mentioned before — she had a total of 8 removed today! 🙁 She may also need *more* removed, but the vet didn’t want to use too much anaesthesia, so he concentrated on the ones he could tell right-out needed removal. Two teeth were abscessed, and two others were causing an ulcer in her mouth from jaggedness, poor dear.

    The vet did say it wasn’t our fault it happened — dwarf rabbits, by breed, have jaws that are too small, so this affliction is common — but this was the worst he’d ever seen. 🙁 He was very nice about it all and thoroughly explained everything. Alice will be going back on Saturday to check her progress and discuss doing x-rays (there wasn’t time today, as it, too, requires her to be under anaesthesia to be done, and he felt it was more important to spend the time getting rid of the teeth he could tell right-off were bad). The vet recommends removing the top incisors as well — he would have done it today, even, but again, there wasn’t time for them as well before the anaesthesia ran out. So I may need to go through all this *again* … *sigh*

    Alice *is* drinking water on her own (*whew*), and I managed to get her medication down her and a fair amount of the special food they insisted on. ($35 for a small bag!! XD) She’s showing signs of being her usual inquisitive self — she even tried to nibble on some stuff I pulled out of a file, in search of paperwork. Isn’t that just like a child, always having to put strange new objects in their mouth! XD) The poor dear can only drool on and dent things now, not chew. She also pushed her head under dad’s hand several times, demanding that he pet her. 🙂

    She’s still a bit dazed, though, and her eyes are still dilated. The vet had needed to give her valium, so we’re hoping, as the vet hoped, that it’s just that and mild stress, and not a more severe trauma, causing the dilation. 🙁 So we need to watch her over the next few days, And hope that she goes to the litter pan and *goes* without any problems with the “end” results. The vet seemed most concerned with her digestive track, saying that, at this point, that’s the biggest worry in a rabbit’s post-surgery …

    She did quite happily and excitedly eat a yogurt drop tonight. 🙂 And she danced around when I prepared her regular dinner, but she took a couple of licks and then ignore it. Well, at least she ate *some*thing.

  6. Sounds like a fun day on the Stargate Atlantis front.

    Can I ask for a blog dedication on Thursday June 12th?
    That will be my last day reading until August 4, when I return from my summer of cabin counseling at Sky Lake… a Methodist retreat where almost all electronic devices (TV’s, cell phones, and computers) are banned!!! I’m going to miss the season premiere of Atlantis, as well as Continuum, but I’m hoping it will be a fun experience nonetheless!!!

  7. I know they’re your coworkers and your friends, but don’t give in. TV, if not SF TV, needs more unique and different moments. I’m all for “I didn’t see THAT coming” time, and dark doesn’t have to mean bad, it can be moving and help forward the plot and character. In my unhumble opinion.

  8. Oh my goobers Joe Mallozzi, you have made me the happiest Shep whumper ever!! Oh my gosh. I haven’t been this excited in a while. Oh, you’re amazing.

    I just had to drop by and say that cuz, right now, I love you. Like, I could buy you a chocolate store. And I live in St. Augustine and it’s got some amazing chocolate shops!!


    Okay, I’m exhausted but you keep fighting for that brutal treatment. Fight for what’s right!!!

  9. It’s official: I’m in hell. Eight hours a day in an office with a person who cried, told me I was unfair, and later asked, “What’s Stargate Atlantis?”

  10. Hey Joe!

    Neat drawings there, but what exactly are they, a new alien species going to be shown? That bubbly simple drawing person would make amazing Wraith fodder, LOL. 😀

    Simple blog entry, but it’s okay! Snow Globe, eh? Possibly Atlantis members shrinking? 😉

    Thanks as always!

    – Enzo Aquarius

  11. I could not even tell you what made me think of this, but do the Ancients have any kind of religion to speak of?

  12. I’m trying to get to the point for once (hee hee)


    Why do wraith pupils not dilate in dimmer lighting?—Don’t answer if this is CGIed in later seasons.

    Wraith more bug or more human? Don’t answer this if you want to keep it vague and everyone happy. 🙂 🙂

    Wraith/Human Romance?—Ahhh don’t answer this either 🙁

    Will the Wraith ever share their names with us?—please answer this, I have such romantic notions about their names.

    Cloned Faced Wraith—TELL ME IT AIN’T SO! However, if you’ve already done the deed, please show that they are still “people” so to speak. Otherwise, the perception for most viewer is that they will become boring as a species, suicide as a dramatic device.

    This is the discussion that will follow:
    – “they’re evil? Ahhh figgers…they’re just cardboard anyway”
    No moral *choice* to be evil.…“ah they’re clones anyway”
    No ‘nature of evil discussion’ on the forum…No sly being funny on the side…
    No discussion of their humanity!!!!
    —and No ‘oh sooo deliciously sweet instances’ when they choose to be “good” on the show. (Sigh) The wraith ARE lovely, are they not?—Actually don’t answer this either.

    Undercover WK

  13. If it looks like chicken, smells like chicken, tastes like chicken and ACTS LIKE CHICKEN it’s probably…a Chia Pet?

    I know…hmmm I know… I’m a science head and a geek and I really spend far too much time reading sci fi forums and posting/thinking about the wraith. I suppose it’s a phase. Okay, there has been much discussion at the WDC gateworld forum about wraith communication bla bla bla, reproduction, cloning, culture etc. One of the gals DAS’ndanger had read an article, she’s yet to post it to me, on a writer who wanted to explain the idea of wraith cloning: not the masked wraith, but the faced ones. There’s a few things I wanted to say:
    1/ I never had a problem with “Wraith Kind” all looking alike in the first three seasons nor 2/did it even remotely bother me that eventually this changed. This is where I have a hard time separating what I read (lotsss and lots of science stuff) and what I watch. This is science fiction—of course. And of course there is a passing nod on SGA to science by way of “suspension of disbelief”, I assume because the show is set in the present and we need, as a viewing audience, to be persuaded this is *possible*. So, with this in mind, it is very common and I underscore very COMMON that when a society is confronted with a new group of people from another society (that share similar physical characteristics) people from the fist society tend to think the people in the second society all look alike. This called…oh gosh got my goole foo on here… “homogenius factor” (There is a great TLC doc on this). So, the problem with ascribing “cloning to the faced wraith” are manifold, and it limits your story believability in many ways.
    First, most viewers believe that clones do not have “personhood” (lovely pc term eh?)
    This would mean that the new Dr. Beckett is not a person. However, being a clone does not preclude “personhood” it simply means, as you’ve stated in “Kindred Part I” clones are typically derived from adult stem cells—ergo half their life is already spent before birth.

    Second, many people believe that clones are like ligers or mules—they cannot reproduce. Being a clone is not the same as being a hybrid. Hybrids cannot reproduce because they are HYBRIDS—the parents are not intended to procreate. Clones can (unless programmed otherwise) reproduce—in fact it’s better if they do—strengthens the gene pool.
    Third, Wraith names and language. Wraith *must* have names, BECAUSE they have language. They have body language, they have written language, they have verbal language, they have (smelly) olfactory language and telepathic language. No names=not believable.

    Fouth, individual names: the extent to which a society values the “rights of the individual” is the extent to which it is less corrupt and fractured. What I mean is, a society that has a culture has individuals that make up that culture. It would seem more likely that the wraith do not deign to “share” their names with subservient humans as a power dynamic, rather than because they do not “have” names at all.

    Finally, the wraith– more human or more bug? Scientifically, it make no sense WHATSOEVER that the wraith are insects with the morphology of humans. Think: Darwin—Origin of the Species. If it looks like chicken, smells like chicken, tastes like chicken, ACTS LIKE CHICKEN it’s probably A CHICKEN!!! Not ice-cream.
    Your ice cream by the way looks delicious—good for you. I don’t mean to sound corny but I admire any man who can make ice-cream. And it looks soooo tasty. My respect for you has gone up a few notches.
    So, based on what science/information the show has presented (and you clearly have here—Beckett seems to have changed his theory on wraith development mid season with out explicitly telling us—which is fine by me) the wraith definitely appear as humans with “buggy benefits” not the other way around. Another experiment of the ancients hmmm—unascended ancients hmmm? That is a fascinating story line. More bug than human = no make sense– and story will eventually unravel.



  14. One more month….but then weeks and months before Whispers and Remnants air! At least the Shep whumpers should be pleased at today’s post. That’s one mean looking sript elf, and I do hope we get the story of the doodle eventually. Many thanks for a wonderful getaway from the humdrum daily routine and letting us peak into your own world of myth creation. I’ll go question free for tonight, since there are plenty of questions arleady pending.

  15. Keep the questions coming?

    Okay – one I asked a few days ago – have you ever dined at The Herbfarm, near Seattle?

    It’s a place I’d love to go but will never have the opportunity, but I’d love to hear what it’s like from someone who’s been there, and thought you may be familiar with it.


  16. Marty G. objected to my brutal treatment of Sheppard while Paul took issue with one particular Holy Shit Moment in that regard.

    It must be difficult some days to go into the meeting knowing someone’s going to object to the holy shit moment. I mean, every good episode needs a ‘WTF?’ in there somewhere, otherwise we completely-addicted-can’t-get-enough-know-it-all fans would be all bored and stuff.


    Can we have the story behind the whiteboard doodle? I mean, it certainly looks like a sketch of McKay in an enviro-suit with no helmet, shoes, or gloves… but where’s that fit in with the episode you were discussing?

    – Nika

  17. Thanks for a picture of you and billiant idea to add to our photo album of JoeM. Guess it is difficult to take pictures of one’s self. Who helped to make this so?

    The office elf looks like a version of “Dabie” (from Harry Potter) gone bad.

    And, enquiring minds look forward with anticipation to the unfolding story behind/for the white board doodle.

    Marty G looks like a natural in front of a white board. Was he holding his hand out to make a point? Or, to imply no pictures?

  18. Hay Joe,
    Is there going to be a comical episode this season for example like SG-1’s famous “Window Of Opportunity”?


  19. Sheppard whump is a delicate thing. I like some but begin to cringe after too much i.e. the beating in Travellers. Damn those chickens!!

  20. About how many episodes can we expect to see Major Lorne this season? Just wondering, because I think he is veeeery good looking.

    I’m studying for the bar exam right now, and your blog is one of the few daily pleasures in my life. Thanks!!!

  21. Your little white board man seems to be suffering from a serious medical ailment. Or he’s made out of lumpy mashed potatoes. Neither bodes well.

    It sounds like you had a very informative, productive day (I hope your font didn’t scar Carl’s eyes for life). I hope you can squeeze in a little time to work on the next draft.

    I wish I had a more productive day. I ended up herding cats. Literally.

    It’s always interesting in my house.

  22. To my fellow fans: I hope you Shep Whumpers are happy with yourselves and all your demands! Now Joe has whumped him so bad his fellow writers are in shock!

    To Joe: Please don’t do something to Shep that would make any “normal” human require years of therapy, when we know he’ll have to be back to himself for the next episode! That is, unless there are years of therapy between the episodes. 🙂

  23. A few days back, there was the question raised on how the team understands the people they meet on new worlds. You said you like to think that each time a person passes through the gate, they gain translator nanites. In light of that, wouldn’t of that made it much more easier for the expedition to understand Ancient and not have to work on translating the database since they passed through the gate into the city? or are the nanites you imagine only good for processing speech patterns?

  24. I have to be me for a second. I love dark every now and then. Looking forward to the season premier and personally I like the thought of an episode called “Snow Globe” It can imply so much and not really give away anything. I like things like that they keep me thinking. As always I am looking forward the seeing the fruit of your work. As well as everyones in fact sometimes I just cannot contain my excitement. As always best of luck and thank you for the post.

  25. Hi Joe,

    I might have missed this detail in all the fabulous S5 info you dole out to your readers — in which ep will Marc Dacascos be returning? And has it been decided if it will be the only time his character returns, or are future appearances possible?

    I’m bummed to hear that you won’t be part of the SGA panel at Comic-Con this year, but it will be fun to see Marty G. in person onstage. Any word on who else from the production team and the cast is likely to be in attendance this year?


  26. Sooo, Remanents is sounding great. You will fight for the whump, right? Please tell me it wont be a fake Sheppard or a dream and that he won’t be killed. Ok I know you can’t tell us a lot but hey I’m going into shakes and withdrawls. Can’t wait for the new season in July. Can you give us any new pic’s, stuff of shep, any spoilers on the shows. Thanks a bunch, Nicole.

  27. Wohoooo! I dare to say, you just made us whumpers very happy.. Does that mean that the brutal treatment of Sheppard stayed the way it was??

    Please say yes, we need something to cling to after the bad news about Hexed!!!

  28. Stand your ground, Joe! Stand your ground! You are THE Executive Producer…with Paul…but STILL, remember the chocolates that the Whumpers sent you! Remember the chocolates! You, and you alone know the passion of these fans, and the great rewards you will receive should you STAND YOUR GROUND AND WHUMP SHEP LIKE A BAT OUT OF HELL.

    Unless the scene is too gory. Then you can get rid of it. I don’t like goryness.

    Aaaaanyways…it’s time for the reviews.

    Meridian: I’ve never cried because of a form of entertainment. No movie, no TV show, no book, and no ingredients list have ever made me shed a tear. Meridian…didn’t do it either, but damn, it was close. I’d say it was the closest I’ve ever gotten to crying because of a form of entertainment. The moment Jack sat down at Danny’s bed side and started to…well, I guess say goodbye in his own special way, it just started to get misty, if you know what I mean. Then Sam came and I just got worse, and then Teal’c came and I had to really hold back tears. It’s rare to see Teal’c being emotional, so every time it happens, it becomes a very powerful, impacting moment, and boy, it was intense. Besides that though, this episode was still gold. Daniel’s introspective on himself was true to his character, and a great wrap up on his story arc of the past 5 years. I simply loved it. In fact, this episode is now my 5th favorite SG1 episode (of those I’ve seen so far).

    I liked Jonas Quinn as well (I’m not one of those Jonas vs. Danny fans); he’s very chipper and innocent, and having him betray his country for us and for the truth was great to see, along with the inserted flashback of Daniel condemning himself to death to save millions of people. That really is the essence of his character, isn’t it? The fact that he would do so much, and yet not expect any kind of thank you, because he’d think of it as his duty, not something he’d do to get compliments.

    And then there was the ending. At that point, I was exhausted, emotionally, and so I just sat there, silent, and watched as Daniel became light and rose up, backed by one of the best pieces of music ever to grace my ears. The last conversations between Daniel and Jack were surprisingly hopeful; he’s not dead; he was just going to be out for a while; out exploring the universe in new ways. It was a new beginning, not an end. Speaking of which…

    drldeboer wrote:
    Even after dozens of viewings, it’s still only watchable because Daniel came back in season 6, which produced some of my very favorite episodes: Full Circle, The Changeling, Abyss

    In fact, I’m watching Full Circle right now. Which is why I had to say. And if Daniel hadn’t come back… I don’t think I could’ve ever watched Meridian again.

    Interesting viewpoint. I’m just the opposite, actually. The impact of Meridian was lessened because I know that Danny would return, and I didn’t like that. I don’t get much reason to feel these emotions in real life (thank goodness for that), and so I turn to TV and various other mediums just so I can let it out once in a while. I would’ve loved to feel so strongly for this episode that I’d actually cried, because then I’d get to explore a mindset that I rarely ever consider, and that which has no real consequence in real life. Different strokes and all that, I suppose. Don’t get me wrong; I love the Daniel character, but his ultimate purpose, along with everything else in this show, is to make us FEEL something; the best characters can make us feel almost anything, and Daniel’s death will be, for me, one of the defining moments of Stargate. At least, that’s my opinion. Moving on.

    Revelations: The whole episode had the atmosphere of mourning hanging over it, starting off from the first scene…after the credits. Again, I teared up a little during Teal’c and Sam’s conversation in the cargo ship about mourning Daniel; and again, I loved that. The rest of the episode was similarily…”darker” because of this, and it was great. I liked the reveal of Anubis, and elucidation on the Asgard and how they’re dying (kind of surreal that 5 years from now…yeah). Heimdall was wonderfully eccentric and entertaining. The final confrontation, like Jack remarked, was short and easy, which was fine, since I thought it’d be awkward anyway to do one of those action-packed finales like years past after what happened in Meridian. It just wouldn’t be right. They’ve suffered enough. And in that vain, I loved the last shot, with the team going off for a little relaxation…and Danny tagging along, in his own way.

    Redemption: And we’re back to good ole’ SG1 times…sort of. The humor in the first quarter of the first part was gold. Jack was on top of his game in these episodes (“I’m gonna go eat some cake”), even though it was clear that his screentime has been reduced. Jonas continues to be pleasant; he’s basically the polar opposite of Teal’c in the “fish out of water” department, and it was a delight to watch (I’m a fan of the weather network too!). The best though, was having McKay back. I loved every single scene he and Sam shared, and pretty much every single barb they traded (“For the record…I hate you.”). Excellently written, and excellently delivered by 2 excellent actors. Chris Judge once AGAIN portrayed a father with….speechless awesomeness. I teared up when he and Rya’c hugged at the gate in part 1, and I teared up when they hugged near the end of part 2. Those 2 made a great pair. The actual problem driving the episode, the Stargate exploding, seemed to serve as a backdrop to all these excellent character moments, and even though I thought the weapon was pretty creative (slow but deadly), I liked that it wasn’t front and center; not really. Great episodes overall.

    One more for tonight to wrap up loose ends from Revelations.

  29. Actually…I’m going to say something that WK will hate me for…but…

    I never want to know if the Wraith have names, or not. I love that part of the mystery. If they do have names, I hope they never reveal them. I prefer Steve’s smugness to ‘yup, yup, yup! I’ve got a name and it’s Mortimer!’ Ugh.

    I also have no problem with the idea of cloning for higher (faced) Wraith. Cloning would explain much, and it’s not unlike what happens in the insect world. Female wasps are produced from fertilized eggs, but male wasps are produced from unfertilized eggs. The fact that mating does not have to occur in order to produce males could easily play into the concept of cloning. As in SoW, all that is needed is the queen’s genetic material. So, if the big warriors are created that way, it is feasible that the faced males are, too. Doesn’t make it unnatural, since something similar happens in the insect kingdom anyway.

    And yeah, I know too much about wasps. See, I’m a paper wasp ‘keeper’. Yes, really. They infest my office (live in the walls, emerge every spring), and I studied up on them to see if they were dangerous. Seems they are good li’l buggies, non-aggressive and feeding on crop-destroying insects, so I let them live (I’ve also fed them – they are partial to BBQ chicken). They just fly around, bouncing off the ceiling until I can catch them and set them free. They don’t sting me, I don’t kill them – it’s been an on-going relationship for over 10 years now, and not likely to change (they also keep creepy dudes from lingering too long in the office, so they earn their keep 🙂 ).

    Oaaaakaaay…rambling…back to cloning…

    I would only object (not that such an objection means anything) to cloning if it means that the Wraith – one and all – deserve to be annihilated because they are not a naturally developed species. Clones or not, they have life and think and exist. If ways are found to keep machines alive and happy (Outcast), then all the more so for living, breathing creatures.

    What I wonder is this – did the Wraith come up with cloning tech because it is more efficient? Afterall, doing it the traditional way can certainly cut into important culling, preening and hibernation time. 😉

    If it’s one thing I get from the show – the Wraith are always seeking ways to do less and gain more. They like to adorn themselves, but don’t waste their creativity on non-essentials, such as decorating their surroundings; nor do they expend their energies on entertainment or recreation (unless it’s to learn how to become more efficient hunters). I can certainly imagine a Wraith saying, ‘Eww…this whole mating thing is a bit of a drag…and OH, dang. I just broke a nail! Can’t we just do this in the lab? It’s gotta be easier than wooing the bitc…uh…I mean, the Queen…then wriggling out of all this leather…for what? A minute of pleasure, then a mad dash out the door before ‘Her Highness’ can eat me? Ugh. Isn’t worth it… not to mention what it does to my hair…”


  30. Well. After 24 hours of trains, buses, planes, layovers, thunderstorms, and delays, I have made it home. I’ll admit, there was awhile I thought our plane might pull a Lost and crash onto a rock island in the middle of Lake Superior, but fortunately, such was not the case. And after three whole days without internet, I rewarded myself by catching up on the backlog of your posts.

    I have to say, I can’t wait for more details on your ice cream adventures. I actually caught the Food Network show last year where the sticky toffee ice cream won and thus became the new HD flavor. Not a fan of toffee myself, though. I’ll stick to my plain old coffee. Although, I certainly think with all your creative flavors you’ve made you could open your own version of Cold Stone Creamery (do they have those in Vancouver?)

    A fantasy book suggestion: Sabriel by Garth Nix. A brilliant and slighty dark book.

    Thanks for all the pictures and best of luck on the rewrite! Sounds like it’s going to be a great episode.

  31. Dacascos comes back in Broken Ties.

    It really does look like Dobby’s evil twin.

    McKay in an enviro-suit — ?! Puh-lease. Obviously, that’s Ronon all goose-bumpy after a really good sneeze.

    I must be really out of touch ’cause I thought only we McShep slash writers ever did major whumpage on John or Rodney…

  32. Dawson’s Creek writer Jeffrey Stepakoff once wrote of television writers, “It’s hard to explain in succinct terms just what makes a good TV writer, and by association good TV, because of course you’re dealing with something that is subjective. But by this time, just like I saw a pattern in the pathology of all my colleagues, I saw similarities among the most talented. Obviously, they all have good skills, a mastery — or at least an intuitive understanding — of craft. But with hard work and commitment that can be picked up. There’s something else, too. The best way I can explain it is tha they have a sensitivity to the world around them, a sort of sixth sense. They pay attention to the little things that others miss. Every outing to the bank, mall, or post office is a chance to people-watch. They listen for subtext instead of just what someone is simply stating. They watch body language, what someone is wearing, how someone is behaving. They always look for the inside joke. They examine and consider how everything tastes and smells, to the point where even a simple lunch from Baja Fresh is subjected to extended critical analysis. Everything is turned over, reflected upon. They look for connections in the chance. Meaning in the random. Metaphors in everything. Their interactions with the world become a process of looking for secrets and clues that will unlock the Great Truths, so that these things can be examined and written about for the ever-approaching next episode…At times, frankly, this life can be downright exhausting…Simply put, TV writers are original and whacked-out people.”

    Do you agree or disagree with his assessment?

    Patricia (AG)

  33. You’ve mentioned that the screenwriting software you use is Movie Magic Screenwriter. Why that one and not Final Draft? Is there a particular feature you are excited about that it includes?

    I also have Movie Magic and love it but was just curious about what others like about it.

    Sarah Beth

  34. Well I’m a Shep whumper and although today’s comments sound intriguing, combined with your previous comments, I have to say I’m more than a little nervous as to what your plans are – previously you made it sound like we’d be left disappointed by what happens.

  35. “Snow Globe” huh? I like it. It gives me the image of Atlantis with it’s shield raised… you could do that one for a Christmas episode…. Puddle Jumpers go to Hoth the Ice planet (I know, totally different universe, but humor me…) The PJ’s are piloted to Hoth and scoop up cargo bays full of snow. They return to the City of Atlantis where they then raise the shield and the Jumpers fly over the City dropping their load….(LOLOL, that sounded so wrong)…. Voila! Snow Globe!

    That’s it, isn’t it? I got it! I win!

  36. Someone beat me to it. Dobby the House Elf is coming to the Pegasus Galaxy?! I forsee Rodney harassment upcoming. 😉

    Stick to your guns, Joe. I like having a really dramatic episode, every now and then.

  37. hi joe,
    dark is good, go there with the story.
    i can finally see what you look like.
    I like DOVILs ‘brain in a globe’ suggestion.
    looking forward to a very very long mailbag.
    Wraith Cake, you melted my brain! or maybe somebody shook the globe? You and Das need to gang up so we can get some serious answers. Please respond to the serious comments Joe.
    When S6 rolls around pitch the wraith children story again, you can tell them all that the wraith nuts are behind you, we want answers!
    Also tell Alan M. he is a blabbermouth, and we love him for it!
    I forget the rest…. umm, wraith anatomy? Anything you want to tell us there? Face slits, human lunch wraps (defiant one) fight scenes?
    going now. waves

  38. Hey Mr Mallozzi. i got a few questions

    1:will we ever see an aurora class warship in our hands without it blowing up within a few eppies?

    2: How Alien are the aliens in ” first Contact” ? like, wraith alien, asgard alien, or more re’tu alien? or perhaps Gadmeer alien?

    3: What happened to the Gadmeer?

    4: How many of these insane/crazy/odd names for blog entries do you have?

    also a suggestion:

    Use this as entry name:

    Lesbians Sue Lesbians: Lesbian Fight Between Lesbians The Result

  39. Marty G. objected to my brutal treatment of Sheppard while Paul took issue with one particular Holy Shit Moment in that regard.

    Hmmm. Intruiging. Brutal treatment as in what other people in the episode are doing to Sheppard or brutal treatment in that you, the writer, are doing brutal things to the character and having him do things that fans will find shocking/brutal? Ah.. isn’t language wonderful? So open to interpretation… 😀

    Dovil said…
    I know the wumpers will be ecstatic, beating each other with joyous abandon and then passing out celebratory bandaids.

    Nooononono. You’ve got it all wrong. We would never beat each other up – it’s all about beating Sheppard up! Remember, “Whump Shep, not self!” 😀

  40. Please tell me you won that dispute with Marty and Paul about the brutal treatment of Sheppard, and the Holy Shit Moment. I can think of a whole slew of fans who will back you!

    Is that bad-ass rooster a fave guest star who’s back to surprise us?

  41. Joe,

    Thanks so much for taking the time everyday to update this blog. Your contributions to the Stargate Universe are tremendous, but your communication with the fan community is even better 🙂

    I was wondering if you are a fan of any other TV writers. I am a huge fan of ABC’s Lost and I truly respect the writers of that show, namely Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Like you, they communicate with fans, albeit through their podcast.

    What makes a good writer for TV versus a good writer for movies? What is the range of source material you use (outside of your plethora of knowledge on sci-fi, fantasy, anime, and cooking)?

    I am a huge fan of both the series and your blog. Keep up the great work!


  42. Your comment about Carl’s sensitivity to bad fonts reminded me of this article, where different writers weighed in on their favorite:

    Looks like the Courier font family has many admirers, but what about the SGA writing team? I wonder if there’s a correlation between a favorite font and your personality type? Do you write in Garamond? Palatino? Wing Dings?

    And if any of those fonts are too plebian, apparently you can make your own: I think your next script should be written in IronManic, just for Carl. (

    Finally, I am 39 years old today (June 11th). 🙁

  43. So, vacation begins on Friday. Not to be a party pooper, but when does it end???

  44. Hi Mr. Mallozzi,

    There have been episodes in the past that have gone over-budget, but have you ever had the problem of going under-budget?

    And is the McKay-Zelenka scene humorous or “touching”?

  45. When I was doing research a few years ago we were told we couldn’t say ‘Brain Storm’ as in a group creativity technique, designed to generate a large number of ideas for the solution to a problem.

    It was not considered politically correct and may cause offensive to epileptics (go figure!) and that we should use the term Cerebral Shower instead.

    So Joe would the changing of the episode name from ‘Brain Storm’ to ‘Cerebral Showers’ detract any from its content and context within the show?

    Would Martin mind and would RCC get the hump at his suggested title being dissed?


  46. Dear Joe,

    Sorry for reposting the same message over and over again these days… I justed wanted you to answer them whenever you got a chance to do the mailbag. Thanks again.

    1. When do you think (the earliest possible) we will know of the sixth season pick up.
    2. Any new earth ships in the near future?
    3. So far Remnants, the eppy you are writing, can be classified under what type of episode? For example: Sateda=action packed, BAMSR=Best special effects, First Strike=Suspenseful, Doppleganger=unique and frightful…..

    Thanks for your time sir….. again

    ps: check out my cellphone business if ur intrested in a phone I can make very very good deals

  47. That man-shaped doodle looks like an experiment gone badly wrong! Yep, me thinks someone finally crossed a human with a sheep…!

    Hope the story rewrites go well when you get time for them.

    Me, I don’t mind a bit of dark or whumpage, so long as it fits with the character and their development, and the whump isn’t something that would normally take years to recover from but doesn’t (unless there’s a healing device involved)… Maybe it is more of a mental whump, which I certainly like! Ah, but then I an such an angst bunny!

    Of course, me being somewhat (!!) Rodney-centric, and also loving Radek, I’m really looking forward to their scenes in Remnants! Snarkage between those two is also such good fun…and the odd scene like at the end of This Mortal Coil is also more than welcome!


  48. Don’t forget to give us the recipe for Vanilla Butter Tart ice cream please.

  49. Hi Joe!

    Dark “Holy Shit” moments? WooHoo! 🙂 It’s those few surprise moments that put Stargate over the top good for me. I don’t want them every week, but a few throughout a season keeps things fresh.

    Thanks and rock on!


  50. Please Please PLEASE keep much of the dark elements in Remnants…

    TOO OFTEN in Stargate we see our ‘heroes’ get out of a situation all peachy and all ‘good guy always conquers’ like. I have no idea what you have planned, but please make every effort to keep it in!

    Controversy is usually better… at least for one week ;). People want to see something new and different.

    Hey, that script elf actually looks like an awesome drawing for a new alien race…….

  51. Just a few things I forgot…but first, this:

    @ BlueJay – In Mr. M’s defense, he may not know how to answer our questions, for several reasons. Either they (the creators as a whole) haven’t decided on an explanation yet, or he has an explanation but can’t reveal it because it would be a major spoiler, or – and most likely – he reads our questions and and doesn’t know what the hell we’re talking about! I mean…sometimes we do ask some crazy things. (Though I still have hopes that I’ll get an answer to my ‘Todd – boxers or briefs’ question. 😀 ) I think sometimes we really just want to here, “Don’t worry, wait and see what happens, I doubt you’ll be disappointed. And if you are, well…there’s always fan fic!” 😉

    @ JM – Speaking of our questions being a bit convoluted – a clarification as to what I’m trying to get at regarding a Wraith stepping over their own moral line when it comes to their treatment of humans. I think the best way to illustrate what I mean is this: humans hunt, kill, and eat animals. We also use animals in scientific experiments. Many people do not see this as overly cruel – but a necessity for survival, much in the same way the Wraith view their treatment of humans. However, most humans are repulsed by the use of animals in blood sport (dog/cock fighting), and those guilty of it are punished. It would be interesting to see if the Wraith have such a line, one – perhaps – drawn at some type of torture, or human-against-human/animal blood sport, something that would exact punishment from the Wraith themselves.

    @ wolfenm – Sorry about your Alice. I hope she makes a full recovery. Poor thing…give her kisses for me! (Your Pepperony thing reminds me of a friend of mine – she, too, is now obsessed. 🙂 )

    @ Trish – I meant to – and forgot to – say that I was sorry to hear of your loss. *hugs* It’s been on my mind when I’m not on-line, and slips it as soon as I start surfing. I lost my last grandparent – my ‘nan’ – back in 2002. She was 101, and a wonderful woman right up to the end. Lived through so much – shared so much – and I still miss her lots.


  52. Joe, speaking of the episode “First Contact”, will there be any emotional or physical whump for Daniel and/or Mckay in the mid-season 2 parter? Will Daniel get to meet a wraith while he’s visiting “Atlantis”?

    I LOVE the picture of your office script elf. *ROFL*


  53. Hey Joe! Forgot to say – don’t forget Cheeky Lil Devil & Co and coming to visit you today! Hope you get chance to pop down to the set and say hi – and give Cheeky a hug for me! 😀

  54. Out of curiosity, who holds the present top rank of having made the most comments/questions/etc. (not counting ‘anonymous’) to your blog this year?

  55. Can you reassure me?

    I hope the writers do not show the wraith (faced wraith) as all being clones–five of twenty-five. People have so many hang ups about clones as it is, and in truth the wraith are already so utterly different from us. The only thing, so far, that makes them similar to us is they are somewhat “humanoid” in their features. I want to see how they are more like us, not less. Also, it decreases our ability to see them as complex, or to truly be terrified by them if they are carbon copies of one another. Oh well, I have no control over this. If I don’t like what I see, I can just stop watching the show right? Not that I want to, but I am only one fan.



  56. “dasNdanger writes

    Actually…I’m going to say something that WK will hate me for…but…

    I also have no problem with the idea of cloning for higher (faced) Wraith. Cloning would explain much, and it’s not unlike what happens in the insect world.”

    I’ll always love you Das, but cloning–no. Why do you think there is an ethical whirlwind debate already out there about cloning humans and farming their body parts? Because we have a hard time accepting that clones are also human. To most minds, clones are not the real McCoy ie they are disposable! Therefore DAS! therefore, I know you don’t want to plant the idea that the wraith are expendable…don’t set the writer’s wheels working on the idea and the wraith are written right out of SGA, or worse yet the writers write this in and fans start to believe they’re not interesting, therefore they die a literary/dramatic death anyway. Good example: Do we care about the masked wraith? No. Does it bother us that they get killed all the time? No. They are clones, we don’t see their faces they are expendable. Do you want this for the rest of the wraith? None of us do. So, Down with Cloning–There should be a petition.


  57. “dasNdanger writes
    Actually…I’m going to say something that WK will hate me for…but…
    and it’s not unlike what happens in the insect world….Doesn’t make it unnatural, since something similar happens in the insect kingdom anyway….”

    As for wraith being bug like in their anatomy this would mean:
    Steve’s anis is next to his esophagus?— like mole weevils? Ass Breath Steve.
    And the dark stuff: Bob wasn’t spitting blood—he was scheitting as Sheppard had ruptured his throat colon?

    And do wraith whack the pony between their shoulder blades and lower back like African Bees?
    Or chase the Queens with the big wraith mamba out of their belly button? And spit out of their feet and wear rib cage hats? (exo-skeletal?)

    No, no. The wraith have bug benefits, but they’re nothing as simple as insects.


  58. Ah…WK – you are starting to sound like…me. 😳 (PSSST! Ixnay on the anicpay, or Mr. M will start to think we’re all a bunch’a freakin’ loons) 😉

    I hope that, by now, the PTB realize that the Wraith are more interesting alive then dead. There is so much to explore about their social structure, biology, history, and morality, as well as their interactions with humans…the latter being both amusing and thought-provoking at the same time. Maybe they didn’t expect their creepy green villains would have such a passionate following – but they do, and now they’re stuck dealing with it. Probably hard trying to please the likes of us, and those fans who hate the Wraith and want them all dead.


  59. Question: Have you ever come up with a cracking title then had to develop an idea around it?

    On a selfish note, will you be updating your blog daily whilst on hiatus?

    Whatever you do have a good one.

  60. Hey Joe!

    Well, we survived! I drove Wolfen M. and her bunny all the way to the vet. And I only got lost ONCE. But my Honda nav saved me. It’s a glorious thing, that navigation!

    I hear bunny Alice is recovering well. *does happy dance* And Wolfen, Allie, and my younger daughter, Erin, were able to catch a showing of “Kung Fu Panda.” It’s an adorable kid’s film. Since I’m never going to grow up, I loved it. 😀 I hereby declare yesterday a success.

    How are your plans for Ice Cream Friday coming along? I saw some ice cream at the Super Target today and I thought of you. Weird, right?

    I hope the doggies are all doing well.

    Trish 🙂

  61. I must admit that the thought of something horrific happening to Sheppard makes me uneasy. Be gentle, Joe! I suppose, as long as you don’t kill him or kick him off Atlantis or do something else that will have him missing from the rest of the series I might survive…

    I just finished reading Old Man’s War, Joe! I rather enjoyed it, though not nearly as much as The Android’s Dream. With TAD I was anxious to finish the book and find out how everything worked out. I honestly didn’t have that same reaction to OMW. I wanted to finish it, wanted to know who survived and how, but I wasn’t staying up far too late to accomplish that. I also wasn’t quite as attached to any of the characters (except perhaps Alan, who isn’t really a central figure), and found myself dissatisfied with Jane. But the writing style was infectious, the introduction of the various alien species was creative and fantastic, and the whole idea of an army made entirely of “old folks” was ingenious.

    So, while I still prefer TAD, I enjoyed OMW enough to check out the second book in the trilogy and start reading. Thanks (again) for introducing me to a new author!

  62. @dasNdanger: Thanks so much. I appreciate your kind words. 🙂 My mom lost her mother a few years ago. This was her father. He was the kind of person that told great war stories. He was living in Pearl Harbor when it was attacked. He remembers seeing the plans fly over. He said they flew so low he could see the pilots’ faces. Allie will always remember that Grandpa has given her the secret to killing a person with a ball point pen. 😉 That story makes us laugh every time Allie tells it. We joke that ball point pens shouldn’t be allowed on planes. That’s how we will remember him. Fondly and with humor. 🙂

    @crazymom: Hang in there. I’m pulling for you! Maybe the next time the trainee starts to you cry you should start to cry. I think it would be hilarious. 😀

  63. Joe,

    Can you please provide us with recipes for your ice creams mentioned in your post a couple of days ago, particularly anything butter pecan-ish or Grand Marnier-ish?

    My red Cuisinart does a well enough job of making ice cream, and I am always on the lookout for well-loved recipes.

    Thank you kindly,
    Jenny Robin

  64. “dasNdanger

    Ah…WK – you are starting to sound like…me. 😳 (PSSST! Ixnay on the anicpay, or Mr. M will start to think we’re all a bunch’a freakin’ loons) ;)”

    Ha ha ha ha ha–this is true.


  65. a couple of things.
    1. “the office script elf” reminds me of dobbie from harry potter and the chamber of secrets.

    2. i thought of more book suggestions for the book club;


    firebird by Kathy Tyers (sci-fi/romance with christian undertones)
    the one i have is 3 books in 1, but here are the individual titles:


    fusion fire

    crown of fire

    the mists of avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (fantasy)

    and any of the prequels in the avlon series by the same author.

    3. if you pick any book(s) that a commenter to this blog suggests, with there be a prize?

  66. Sounds grreaattt! Don’t give in (lol). Shep needs a challenge and as long as he survives and stays on the show (lol) throw it at him it makes it more edge of the seat watching.

  67. <@ Trish – – Well, they do say the pen is mightier than the sword… 😉

    And it sounds like you have very nice memories of your grandfather, as I do of my grandmother. She took care of me when mom worked, and was an amazing person. Went to work at age 16 (in 1916) – when women didn’t work outside the home – for the Quartermaster, then the Navy Yard, in Philadelphia, and she raised my mom and her cousin, kept a perfect home, and did volunteer work. No wonder she lived to be over 100! As far as funny stories, she gave me my name (Deirdre), thinking it was French. When I was about 16 I told her it was Irish, and she said, “Oh, no! That will not do! We must change it!” 😕

    Didn’t change it – and with her slightly southern accent she said it so nice, ‘Dee-ah-drah’…while I just say it the flat, nasally New Jersey way, Deeer-druh. :p

    Now – back to your regularly scheduled blog…


  68. Do you now enything about when the trailers for season 5 is starting?

    Do you or someone in the stargate crew ever been in norway?

  69. Hey Joe…nice pictures!

    No question today as you probably have alot to answer as it is.

    Thanks Joe

  70. Joe-

    May I shamefully request a blog dedication in honor of my birthday (28) and my second week at this cool new jobby job? 🙂

    Jen Kirk

  71. Joe, I hope you realise that your hope to dedicate a blog entry to our questions is basically a journalist’s dream come true. When I have a bit more time I’ll be typing out some burning questions for you.

    But for now, overall how do you feel about the feedback for Remnants so far?

  72. Well a month or so left for the season 5 finale (I can’t wait) and it has all ready been sent to the so called important people at;img;0&om_act=convert&om_clk=gumballs

    Do you know what date season 5 will air on sky one in England?

    Which episodes should we look forward to for special effects which can rival or be good as the best Stargate Atlantis episode (to date) “Be All My Sins Remember’d”?

  73. *giggles at the elf and doodle*

    Please, please, please, don’t listen to Martin G. Keep whatever you’re planning for Shep. As long as he survives and stays in the show, of course 😀
    I love dark Shep and I love whumped Shep 😀

  74. Ever thought of letting people email you some idea for your crazy blog titles? Sure some would come up with beauties AND get a thrill out of seeing their title on your blog!

    New Alien ships eh? Cooooooll..

  75. I just saw David Nykl as a bad guy on another SciFi show. It’s a shame he never gets to show what a handsome man he is on Stargate Atlantis!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.