Alan McCullough
Alan McCullough
Alien prosthetic treatment - The Daedalus Variations
Alien prosthetic treatment - The Daedalus Variations
Alien fighter design - The Daedalus Variations
Alien fighter design - The Daedalus Variations
Alien ship design - The Daedalus Variations
Alien ship design - The Daedalus Variations
Interdimensional Drive - The Daedalus Variations
Interdimensional Drive - The Daedalus Variations
Design for Spoils of War
Design for Spoils of War
More Spoils of War
More Spoils of War
Stil thinking.
Stil thinking.
Village design for Outsiders
Village design for Outsiders
Part of the big Pepsi tie-in campaign
Part of the big Pepsi tie-in campaign

Today, I turn the blog over to Alan McCullough. Some of you will of course recognize Alan for the close to 20 Stargate scripts he’s written to date. Others will recognize him for his boyish good looks that occasionally grace this blog. Still others may recognize him Man in Stall from American Psycho, Bip from Funny Things, or the irrepressible Ned Handleson from Jake Moxie. A couple of years ago, when Paul and I were put on the spot during a Comic Con panel and asked to comment on the writing staff, my writing partner said this of Alan: “Well, he chews with his mouth closed. Which is, I suppose, more than you can ask of any writer.” Truer words were never spoken. In addition to chewing with his mouth closed, the soft-spoken Alan also finds time to act as the show’s Supervising Producer AND supply the writers’ room with the odd hilarious zinger. Over to Alan…

Hi everyone. First of all, I’d like to thank Joe for letting me guest blog this week. I really appreciate all the comments and questions about “Daedalus Variations”. Hopefully I can answer them all. Before we get to that, though, I’d like to give a few shout-outs to people who helped make this episode what it was; in particular Andy Mikita, who did a fantastic job directing, James Robbins, who designed those incredibly cool aliens, and Mark Savela, whose team created some of the most spectacular visual effects battle sequences Atlantis has ever done. If you enjoyed this episode, guaranteed it has something to do with these three.

On to questions:

Linda Gagne writes: “I loved DV. When writing the episode did you intend on the team bonding/developing moments I got out of it (i.e. A lot of McKay/Teyla building on previous episodes where she seems to be able to get him to calm down and focus more as well as him beginning to value her more)?

Hi Linda. Yes, the team bonding moments were planned from the beginning. We knew this episode was going to air number 4 in the schedule, so Teyla would still be feeling her way as a new mom whose other job was saving the galaxy. Getting the team trapped together seemed like a good way to get these feelings out in the open. In addition, these scenes provided a nice breather between the action-heavy sequences.

Loved the McKay dropping the baby comment. It is so like him or at least I imagine it to be from watching the show. Also loved the McKay/Shep scene where McKay said he had to not think like himself and used Sheppards idea (I find a lot of humor in that kind of stuff). Liked that Teyla was knowledgable in how to use the computers on the ship. On a seperate note, your daughter is beautiful (yes, I read end credits). In S&R did she cry on cue in the birthing scene? Because that was very real sounding but it looked real too.”

Much as I’m sure young Annalise would benefit from my considerable parenting skills (“Car seat? What’s that?”), she is not, in fact, my daughter, despite the similarity of our names. For the moment, the only baby in my household is a two-year-old mini-Schnauzer named Monty. Re: S& R, can’t say for sure whether or not the baby cried on cue. My suspicion is the sound was added later.

Jason writes: “Hi Alan, I thoroughly enjoy your work on Stargate. I especially appreciate how you incorporate Major Lorne in so many of your episodes of not only Stargate Atlantis but also SG-1 where he played a prominent role in Road Not Taken. Is it a conscious effort to include Major Lorne in your episodes? Do you find the Lorne Character as interesting to write as the leads? Will we ever hear his first name spoken on the Show? I know from reading previous blog entries that he was suppose to mention that he was “Uncle Evan” in Spoils of War but that was cut during editing. Thanks for guest blogging and continued success in your career.”

Hi Jason, thanks for your comments. While I don’t go out of my way to include Lorne in my episodes, I’m delighted whenever I get the chance to use him. Kavan Smith is a first-rate actor who seems to hit it out of the park no matter what we throw at him. I definitely like writing stuff for our supporting cast, finding out more about them. I think it makes them more human and enriches the show as a whole. Unfortunately, if we are ever tight for time, moments like those are the first to go, as was the case with the “Uncle Evan” line.

Squall78 writes: “Question for Alan. I enjoyed Daedalus Varaitions a lot, I think the plot was excellent and hope we get more of these kind of episode. My question is will we see anymore episodes with this enemy? It seems this enemy in the alternate reality have establishment and Sheppard points out the certain symbol on the ship and then on the dead alien. I think it would be excellent if in a future episode the team comes in encounter with a ship or facility on a planet with that symbol and perhaps the enemy themselves.”

I agree with you Squall78 — I think the enemy in this show turned out incredibly cool and would love to find a way to meet them in our own reality. As far as this season is concerned, that’s not going to happen. But I wouldn’t rule out an encounter in the future, should the show get renewed.

Cat1 writes: “ In my opinion, SGA works because of the balance between humour and serious issues, between action and relationships – “team” especially.

Do you have a particularly fondness for one element of the stories, or do you prefer to write a mixture of humour, drama, action adventure or whatever?”

My favorite SGA episodes combine a nice mix of the three, so that is what I prefer to write.

Lorr54 writes: “Were there any AUs you would have loved to include, but couldn’t? What was the hardest to cut and why did it lose out over what we saw?”

There weren’t any AUs that we cut, per se. Early on, I had conceived of a reality where the Ancients won the war against the wraith and thus had never left Atlantis. But it didn’t fit with the story we were developing, so I eventually dropped the notion.

Cyn writes: “I noticed at your page on IMDB that you were ‘man in stall’ in the movie ‘American Psycho’. Care to elaborate on the experience?”

Yeesh. If I could crash the internet and remove all traces of my former acting endeavors, I would. We did 18 takes of my “big scene”, no exaggeration. Try saying “Can you keep it down? I’m trying to do drugs” 18 times while standing on the wobbly seat of a public toilet. You would start looking for a new career too.

Dvid writes: “I enjoyed daedalus variations alot.but i did have a question. how come the starmap on the bridge was orange instead of green? was it meant to point out the fact that the ship is from a alternate universe or was it a prop error?”

Good catch. As you guessed, this was intentional, one of a few things our art department threw in to highlight the fact that this Daedalus was not our own.

Linda Gagne writes: “More questions for Alan: In one of the realities Atlantis was using F302’s for fighting, are we to presume that reality doesn’t have puddle jumpers or theirs were all destroyed? Also for the new Alien race, did you choose how they’d look or was that a group effort? Will other shows coming up use some of these reality scenarios to work with in some way?”

We can assume that either the puddle jumpers were destroyed, or perhaps taken by the Ancients when they left through the gate 10,000 years ago (I always wondered why they didn’t do this in our reality) In any case, the F-302s were salvaged from that reality’s Daedalus before it was destroyed, and were used as an effective fighting force. Re: the design of the alien race, James Robbins was the mastermind behind their look, as he is with virtually everything that appears on our show.

Aboleyn24 writes: “Does the Daedalus have an automated response to turn life support down to minimal when no life signs are detected? If not did the other team have a reason for doing so?”

I’m assuming the other team powered down the Daedalus to conserve energy, in much the same way as our team did during the episode.

Kristen writes: “I wanted to thank you for all your wonderful episodes since season four, you’ve become one of my favorite writers on the show. I’m not sure if its the stories you’re assigned or just your muse, but to me, you’ve done the best job of balancing all the characters in your scripts as you did in “Tabula Rasa, “Spoils of War” and of course the “Daedalus Variations” Everyone always has a vial part or aspect and your stories also do a wonderful job of juggling tense, fast paced plots, and character moments.

DV was the best team eppy this season and I especially enjoyed how you write Teyla’s continued use of technology and the awesome banter between John and Rodney and what I thought was a nice homage to Star Wars with Sheppard and Ronon using the rail guns.

So, yes, questions

In “Tabula Rasa” was it in the script the way it was shot with a filter to give everything that fuzzy feeling or was that the director’s choice? Did you write Ronon’s line about it ‘never getting old’ in regards to stunning Sheppard or did Jason ad lib that? Also Ronon’s speech to John to get him to lower his gun was awesome, you nailed their relationship right there.

In “Outcast” there was no mention about Sheppard’s mom in regards to if she is alive or dead. Was this your choice or because it pertained to Sheppard’s back story…it wasn’t allowed in? I loved the fact that Ronon went with Sheppard to Earth.. again was this your choice or was it a scheduling thing?The scene where he joins John at the gate was a wonderful moment.

Lastly, is there any particular character you really love to write for or whom you feel you ‘get’ the most?”

Hey Kristen, thanks so much for the compliments. As to your questions, the filter effect in “Tabula Rasa” was the brainchild of Martin Wood and Jim Menard, the director and DOP, respectively. I had envisioned some kind of visual distinction between the timelines, but what they came up with was way cooler than anything I conceived of. Can’t take credit for Ronon’s line either — “Never gets old” was all Jason.

In “Outcast”, there was a fleeting reference to Sheppard’s mom in my draft of the script — something along the lines of “…after mom died” — but I’m pretty sure it got cut before the script went to camera. In my mind, however, Sheppard’s mother died of an illness, which drove a further wedge in an already fractured relationship between him and his father. Perhaps we’ll find out more about this down the road?

Ronon accompanying Sheppard back to Earth was largely driven by scheduling (“Outcast” was shot opposite “Trio” so David H. was out, and Rachel was having her baby) but I’m really glad it worked out the way it did. I absolutely loved the interactions between them in this episode, some scripted, some not, e.g. Ronon appearing behind Sheppard as he stood by the coffin, but knowing better than to interrupt.

Airelle writes: “questions for Mr McCullough:
-Did they happen to bring one of the neat alien weapons with them to their reality?
-Could they have gotten into the space suits to get to the hangar bay for the jumper?
-thank you for taking time to answer questions.
—Linda Gagne said–[i]On a seperate note, your daughter is beautiful (yes, I read end credits). In S&R did she cry on cue in the birthing scene? Because that was very real sounding but it looked real too.[/i]

—-I thought the ending credits said Torren was Annalise MacCulloch? different spelling?not sure?!? that print is tiny and then they shove it all to the side to show yet another commercial….”

1) While we never saw it happen, I like to think that the team did bring one of the weapons back for study. 2) Theoretically, they could have put on the space suits and gone to the jumper, but it would have taken longer since they would have had to repressurize the jumper as well as remove Sheppard’s space suit so he could fly it. 3) Good eye. As I mentioned above, Annalise MacCulloch is not my daughter.

The SkyPig writes: “Questions for Alan: How did you come up with the science to explain the incredible reality jumping in TDV? Did you have to consult knolwedgeable people or reference works to ensure that the science made sense? PS: Loved the episode.”

Thanks SkyPig. The science in this episode was the topic of some discussion among the writers. Not only did we need to describe how the drive was supposed to work, but also what went wrong and how to fix it. Sadly, the “expert in alternate reality drive mechanisms” I found on Craig’s List turned out to be a fraud, so we had to come up with the solutions ourselves.

Thornyrose writes: “Some questions for Mr. McCullough. First, thank you for taking the time to participate in this forum. In regards to Tabula Rasa, how did you decide on a virus that affected memory?

Re: Tabula Rasa, I believe the concept of the virus affecting memory was something that came from my host this afternoon, Joe Mallozzi. In fact, my original pitch for this episode involved a virus that attacked the city, not its occupants — essentially rotting it from the inside out, making it no longer seaworthy. As we spun the story, this idea was discarded for the memory one.

What sort of medical research, if any, was involved?

I did a fair bit of research for this episode involving which areas of the brain are responsible for memory, and about how we access stored memories. However, much of the research in this area is still theoretical — so I had to fudge a bunch of stuff as well.

How much of a story do you have mapped out in your own mind when first presenting it as a possible story; a bare outline, or do stories seem to spring full blown to mind?

Most start out as a simple idea that is fleshed out as we discuss it as a group. For example, in Daedalus Variations I knew I wanted the team to find a device that shot them to other realities, but couldn’t be shut off. In my original pitch, the device was located in a room on Atlantis, but this was problematic for a variety of reasons — most notably, what would happen if they went to a reality where Atlantis didn’t exist? Through discussion, we arrived at a solution: put the device on a ship. From there it was a short step to making it the Daedalus, having it show up from another reality, etc.

What aspect of working on a show like Atlantis is most rewarding, and what is most challenging?

Challenging? The writing, bar none. Rewarding? Working with Joe Mallozzi. Did I mention how great he is?

Do you see yourself going on to directing episodes, or do you have some other career goals?

Directing interests me, but I have no plans to tackle it in the short term.

DasNDanger writes: “Questions for Alan:

1. In a recent GW interview, you talk about the cloning tech used in Spoils of War. Are we to understand that ALL Wraith (faced and masked) are supposedly cloned? Does this, in turn, mean that the males are sterile?

To clear up any confusion: there is a distinction between the way the wraith reproduce normally and the cloning technology seen in Spoils of War. Both require the queen to secrete genetic material into pods, but in the case of the cloning facility, that genetic material is then copied many times over to create hundreds of wraith all at once. Normal wraith reproduction takes place on hive ships. While it’s never been established, my feeling is that some part of the male wraith’s DNA is used in the process.

2. With the exception of Todd, individual (pure) Wraith have not been developed beyond the ‘grrrr! I’m gonna eat you’ expendable villains they started out as, even though we now know that – as a whole – the Wraith are far more complex than first thought. Any chance of seeing other Wraith developed beyond one, deadly episode, perhaps even moving a few into the more survivable gray area – as neither friend nor foe?

No plans for another wraith “ally” à la Todd, but we make a concerted effort to write wraith with personality, and cast actors who can bring a human quality to them.

3. In Spoils of War, when Teyla insisted upon waiting for Sheppard to return to the hive ship, Todd became a bit snarly there for a moment. Was this an attempt to show the limits to the character’s patience, or was he just hoping to get away with the ship, and a few ‘hot meals’, before Sheppard could interfere?

A little of both. Todd is a fun character to write for because he’s always got his own agenda.

4. Are you guys aware of how very important the Wraith are to a certain percentage of fans out there?

Don’t worry, the wraith aren’t going anywhere. We love them too.

5. Have you ever considered shaving off your eyebrows, painting yourself green, and plopping a white cotton mop on your head?”

I’m afraid I’d look too much like Carl.

PG15 writes: “ For Alan (and maybe Joe as well): If you can, please share with us the alternate realities that you guys thought up that didn’t end up in the episode; like, I don’t know, a reality where New Lantia was actually Unicron or something. Thanks!”

See above. We also left out the universe where Sheppard had a mustache.

Jean writes: “Do you have a favorite character to write for?

In DV, when they jumped back to the reality with the alternate Atlantis and were bailed out by the F302s, where did the fighters come from? Are they able to be launched from the surface?

1) Vala was my favorite character until SG-1 got cancelled. As for Atlantis, McKay is a lot of fun to write for. In both cases, it’s because of the opportunities for humor these characters present. 2) The F-302s came from the city. They are able to launch from the surface.

Michelle writes: “ My questions for Alan M. re DV, which I enjoyed very much:

1. In the spinning/breaking stage, did you envision that the VFX would be so huge (and playback too)? Was it supposed to be more of a bottle episode?

We always knew the VFX budget for this episode would be big, we just didn’t know how big. Luckily, we were able to save some money in other areas, e.g. sets and additional cast.

2. Which VFX shot cost the most or was the hardest?

Consulted Mark Savela for this one. He said the hardest shot was the sequence where the F-302s first engaged the enemy fighters. The choreography was particularly complex, especially since he didn’t want to give away who was firing until later in the shot.

3. How do you imagine the other team died? They didn’t really look starved or ill (just dead, heh). I loved that they lay down together, though. Sniff.

I suspect they died of dehydration. But they stuck together right to the end.

4. I love the new aliens. Do you have a backstory for them yet? What is the red glowing light in their foreheads? Whose idea was the green weapons fire/beams? Nice new color for Stargate, I have to say!

No backstory for the new aliens yet; however, we do have an idea for a special power they might have, should they ever come back. As for the red lights in the forehead, you’d have to ask James Robbins when he assumes guest-blogging duties. Re: the green weapons fire, you’d be amazed how many decisions on this show are reached by people saying “That would be cool!”

5. This may be more for the director, but in quite a few scenes, the actors were alone, reacting to radio conversation or computer screens. Do they get to hear each other’s dialog, or see something played back on the screens? How do you or the director convey to them what they’re supposed to be seeing? I thought they all did a great job, btw, but it must have been hard!

Lines are fed to the actor from off-camera by the script supervisor, in this case the lovely Amanda Alexander-McLean. When the actors have to react to a visual effect that isn’t there, it’s up to them to sell it, with help from the director. Luckily our actors/directors are the best in the business.

6. Did David Hewlett threaten to harm you for all the techno-babble he had to memorize?”

I did my best to stay clear of him during the shoot…

Paloosa writes: “I love the episodes that isolate the team together and this was another great one! Would you have written DV differently if the network hadn’t required five act breaks for the US market? If so, how would it have been different?”

Not sure I entirely understand your question. We make a seamless version of the show for DVD, without act breaks. Do you mean would we have changed the story if we had more time to play with?

Bailey writes: “What kind of stuff can you not put through Ring Transport?
And what would happen if you did?”

Little touches like this demonstrate the genius of our art department in creating a realistic world for our characters to live in. As for what can’t be ring transported? Joe M’s action figures, of course.

Jenny Robin writes: “Ok, mister writer-man extraordinaire, can you compose a haiku about one of the episodes you’ve written this year?”

Vessel of lost hope

Flying Dutchman, no way home

Throw it in reverse.

Squeakiep writes: “How is it that Sheppard has learned to manage all stations on the big D? Seems he handled weaps, flight, and miscellaneous engineering.”

Sheppard is a highly skilled pilot who has spent much time on the Daedalus. He’s been given basic training in most of the ship’s systems.

Elf-ears writes: “My question. Sheppard has been shown as both A) Smart and B) able to fix ancient tech. Why was he being a pill and demanding Rodney fix it when it would have been much faster and more productive if he HELPED RODNEY?

Come on! We like Sheppard being smart. And it’s cool he’s learned from Rodney. This was a good chance to put it into action. Yes, nice to work in showing Teyla is learning things. But they all three could have been helping Rodney. (and Teaching Ronon as well), or Teyla could have been on the bridge. They didn’t show her how to fire the guns?”

Sheppard can make basic repairs to some systems, but when it comes to complex programming, he’s out of his league and McKay is the man for the job. Re: Teyla, it’s not that she couldn’t have fired rail guns, but she was in Engineering when the ship made its surprise jump back to the battle reality.

Chevron7 writes: “Thanks Alan for guest blogging. When I saw your photo on the Gateworld interview page I thought you looked like someone else. Maybe Tobey Maguire? Perhaps grow a beard and don a Spidey suit and I can decide. Anyhoo, on with the questions……

1. Do you have to be very disciplined to be a writer?

2. Do you ever watch the episodes you’ve written?

3. Which character (main or supporting) do you enjoy writing best?

4. What’s your favourite word?”

Coincidentally, Tobey Maguire has just been hired to play me in the upcoming summer blockbuster Man in Stall 2.

1) Writing takes a lot of discipline. Especially when you leave it ‘til the last minute.

2) We watch every episode at least four times, at various stages of completion, in addition to time spent in editing.

3) See above.

4) My favorite word is “catamaran”.

Arctic Goddess writes: “It seems, with Joe’s latest taste testing endeavor, that you are surrounded by crazy people. Someone once told me that most of the entertainment industry is completely insane and that, with my background in psychology, I’d fit right in. I am working toward script writing. Do you feel you are the normal one in a room full of lunatics, or do you include yourself to be as wakko as everyone else?”

I’m not crazy. But at least three of my multiple personalities are.

Caitlyanna writes: “What was/is the most difficult or interesting script you have written, for Stargate Atlantis or any others and why?”

“Tabula Rasa” takes the cake. Keeping track of both timelines nearly killed me.

Flygirl writes: “The new “bad guys” in DV are very different from anyone else we’ve met on SGA. They reminded me of the “Cardassians” (sp?) from Star Trek-Deep Space 9 and a bad version of the old “Rock ‘Em, Sock’ Em Robots”. Did they turn out the way you initially envisioned them to be? Was their “Kamikaze” actions an attempt to board the Daedelous or destroy it?”

I was thrilled with how the aliens turned out. The dive-bomb was an attempt to board the ship.

Rosie writes: “ In each of your episodes, there is always at least one great McKay/Sheppard friendship moment. Is that by design — in other words, is there a conscious effort to include such moments in your episodes — or is it just a by-product of the plot? Whatever the reason, your episodes are some of my favorite of the series. Thank you!”

Thanks Rosie! Most of the time such moments arise as part of the plot of the show, but I try to make the most of them when they occur!

Beverly writes: “How hard is it to write all the technobabble? Do you have a science background or do you have to do much research when writing the script?”

No science background. To be honest, a heavy science background would probably get in the way on this show.

Leesa Perrie writes: “Of the episodes you that have written for Stargate, are there any that didn’t turn out quite as well as you had hoped? Were there any that turned out better than you had hoped? Also, which is your favourite episode, whether written by you or someone else, and why? Thanks.”

That’s a tough one. I think “Off the Grid” is my least favorite episode of the ones I’ve written. A lot of things didn’t quite work for me on that one. My favorite episode that I’ve written is “Tabula Rasa”, although I also like “Dominion” a lot. My favorite overall episode (at least since I came on board) is probably “Collateral Damage”.

Cheeky Lil Devil writes: “Alan – *waves* I’ve noticed in the episodes you tend to write that there’s very much a time/space element to them; The Road not taken, Tabula Rasa, TDV, Line in the sand. Does this element of story writing come naturally to you, or have you had to research AU’s and shifting realities to make sure you get the science correct?

I never really remarked on this before. I do love a good AU story, but I’m also drawn to stories where our characters are isolated, trapped away from each other, e.g. Line in the Sand, Road Not Taken, Tabula Rasa and the upcoming “The Queen”.

Also with episodes like Tabula Rasa (which I adored) how difficult was it to write the timelines for it and have them finally merge into a central point? And were there any particular obstacles you had to overcome writing that ep? Did you literally write a timeline and then fill in the gaps? What was your writing process for that? Sorry, I should have warned you that i’m extremely long-winded.”

As mentioned above, Tabula Rasa proved extremely difficult to write. I wrote it straight through, jumping back and forth in time. But at one point, I was going so cross-eyed I rearranged the script in chronological order, just to see if it still made sense. I found several errors, e.g. Teyla referring to “the soldiers” when she hadn’t been affected and still had her memory.

Tam_Myst writes: “Question about the AU team that died on the Daedelus: How did they die? If they were starving why didn’t they use their puddle jumper t abandon the the ship and get down to the planet’s mainland or was every AU they came across worse than starving?”

Even if the planet had been there, it would have been very risky to take the puddle jumper down to it. If the Daedalus had jumped while they were gone, they would have been stranded forever I think it says a lot about our team that they never gave up trying to find a way home.

Kim writes: “Thank you Alan for a wonderful episode on Friday. I’m not sure if you can field this question but after listening to the commentary to “Outcast” the idea was mentioned that Dave have returned for “Hexed”. Since I think, I’m not sure, you might have been the one who was asked to pen that script….and now that its been shelved.

Could you tell us what that one would have been about? I’m very curious even though it’ll never see the light of day what would have brought back John’s brother in the picture not to mention elsewhere it was mentioned that Sheppard’s hair would have needed to be flat for the eppy.”

I don’t want to say too much about “Hexed” in case the idea resurfaces for season six. Suffice to say it could also be titled “Sheppard’s Really Bad Day”.

Debi writes: “I have to admit that your first SG-1 episode “Prototype” got me upset concerning Daniel’s not forgiving Woolsey at the end. But, after some time, I’ve grown to list that episode among my favorites.

Was there any debate in the writers’ room concerning Daniel’s ending scene with Woolsey? Did you have something else in mind?

What did you do to prepare to write “Prototype”? Were you afraid that there was too much “previously-on” history in the episode and that it would get bogged down? If you had had more time, what else would you have included in the story?

I also read that there was a scene that was originally written for Cam that was given to Daniel instead. Is there any truth to that rumor, and if so, which scene was it? Why was it changed?

I was living in Toronto when I pitched “Prototype”. At the time, I wasn’t that familiar with the franchise, so Rob Cooper said he’d send me some reference materials to help out. A couple of days later I got a call from my agent saying he’d received a FedEx box with 20 episodes of SG-1 inside: everything from “Metamorphosis” to “Meridian” to “Lost City” to “Threads”. I thought it was a joke. Little did I know how much history would play into that story. As for the Daniel/Woolsey scene at the end, the intention was always to end with some bitterness between them. To my mind, it’s justified by the fact that Woolsey refused to listen to reason and nearly got them all killed. Re: the scene written for Cam given to Daniel, I’m not sure which one you mean. Do you have any more details?

How was your transition to Atlantis for Season Four after having written for SG-1 for two years? Do you miss writing for the SG-1 characters? Do you identify with any of them? Do you wish that you could write a cross-over episode in SGA just so you can have a chance to write SG-1 characters again?”

I definitely miss both the cast and the characters of SG-1. They were wonderful people and a pleasure to write for. I’d love to write a crossover episode someday.

LcShepp writes: “Comment for Alan. I enjoyed DV very much especially McKay’s comment to Sheppard about being opposite of himself and Sheppard praising himself for McKay’s benefit. The team’s reaction to that was hysterical.

Question for Alan. In ‘Outcast’ what were your thoughts when you decided that Sheppard would come from a wealthy family versus middle class or needy? I enjoyed Sheppard’s interacton with his older brother Dave. Lot of feelings/emotions expressed in those few short minutes they had together.”

Hi LcShepp, thanks for your comments. Having Sheppard come from a wealthy background was something we had been tossing around for awhile — not sure who originally came up with it. But it seemed to fit with what we knew about Sheppard’s character.

Thanks again, y’all. Hope you enjoy the rest of the season!


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Margaret Clayton

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger, Pepsi! No Coke!


I’m just rushing out the door, but would like to thank Alan so very much for answering the questions, both my own, and those of others. It has been a very rough week, and a bad day, and he’s given me something to smile about. Secondly, I’d like to thank you, Joe, for providing this opportunity for us.

“To clear up any confusion: there is a distinction between the way the wraith reproduce normally and the cloning technology seen in Spoils of War. Both require the queen to secrete genetic material into pods, but in the case of the cloning facility, that genetic material is then copied many times over to create hundreds of wraith all at once. Normal wraith reproduction takes place on hive ships. While it’s never been established, my feeling is that some part of the male wraith’s DNA is used in the process.”

Thank you – I understood the cloning process (that the first were created from the queen, the rest cloned), but was wondering what was up with the more advanced, faced Wraith. This gives a little more clarification, and makes for great speculation.

“No plans for another wraith “ally” à la Todd, but we make a concerted effort to write wraith with personality, and cast actors who can bring a human quality to them.”

Oh, poo. I prefer the ‘bug’ quality to them. wink

“A little of both. Todd is a fun character to write for because he’s always got his own agenda.”

Todd has been wonderfully written. We love him lots. You guys better not screw him up now, or you’ll have a whole swarm of worshippers after your butt!! lol

“Don’t worry, the wraith aren’t going anywhere. We love them too.”

Best news I’ve heard yet. If Joe would just say something like this once in a while, there would be a lot less whining on my part.

“I’m afraid I’d look too much like Carl.”


Can’t believe that Joe actually put that last question forward… :p (for the record, I think you’d make a fine figure of a Wraith wink )

Thanks again! You guys know how to make someone’s day!



Alan McCullough wrote:
“To clear up any confusion: there is a distinction between the way the wraith reproduce normally and the cloning technology seen in Spoils of War. Both require the queen to secrete genetic material into pods, but in the case of the cloning facility, that genetic material is then copied many times over to create hundreds of wraith all at once. Normal wraith reproduction takes place on hive ships. While it’s never been established, my feeling is that some part of the male wraith’s DNA is used in the process.”

Can’t you reconsider that, please? Don’t do that to me….*burst out in tears*

Enzo Aquarius
Enzo Aquarius

Hey Joe!

Great Q&A session, really puts insight into Daedalus Variations, which I absolutely loved. smile

The ice cream also looks and sound oddly good, but also sounds very weird. Glad you found a winner!

Thanks as always!

– Enzo Aquarius


Cheddar corn ice cream?

Joe, I’m betting your tastebuds start screaming for mercy sometimes…-shakes head- On that note, ever tried tongue tacos before? I know it sounds sick, but there’s these Mexican supermarkets here in the US, Vallarta, I don’t know if you have them in Canada, but most of them have a mini Mexican food court, and I had those once when my mom, grandmother and I were shopping for things to make tamales(yum) and menudo(which I honestly hate, but oh well).


Thanks AM for the great Q&A!

Hey Joe.

One more day until England! Same question as yesterday: Any chance that, if there is a S6, Kate Hewlett will be featured more?

Thanks Joe.

Laura Dove

Thanks for the great pics (as always) and the Q&A with Alan McCullough!

One of the answers bugs me a little: “Was this an attempt to show the limits to the character’s patience, or was he just hoping to get away with the ship, and a few “hot meals”, before Sheppard could interfere? -> A little of both.” As much as I imagine Todd having his own plans and wanting to keep the hive for himself, I can’t imagine him eating the expedition members. Fantasising about it, yes, but actually considering it? I would think he is intelligent enough to choose possibilities of further mutual help over immediate and transient pleasure.


A cheese/corn Ice-cream… *raises an eyebrow*

Yup, The Earth is most definitely doomed.

LoL, Leave it up to Canadians to find Ice-cream flavors noone would ever in a million years possible think of razz

Rebecca H

Cheddar corn ice cream does (unlike some of your other offerings) sound good. This is the second video from that place with the wide windows. Where is it, and did you do this second video at the same time you did the other one (which food I don’t remember at the time, because you obviously didn’t enjoy it)?


is that the same restaurant as the shrimp chips?

on another note; i’ve been showing my brother the “weird food of the day” clips & he recognized the shirt you wore for the rose-fizzy drink as an anime one. forget which series he said it was though.


Two scoops before the taste-test? Were you just feeling optimistic, or did you do an off-camera rehearsal first?

va fan
va fan

you cheat!
that is not a new weird food try for a *new* day
that’s the same restaurant as the day before and you are wearing the same clothes (black- but of course i dont think you have any clothes in your closet other than black, do you?), and i think that the woman behind you in the pink shirt is on yesterday’s video, too.

someone mentioned cheesburger, cheesburger. thats actually a restaurant chain down here on the east coast. could be years old, i just noticed one that opened here last month. they have bizarre topping additions for you burger, like chocolate chips, i think? and they do mild shakes with about 70 different flavors you can combine as much as you can stomache. like mango marshmallow peanut butter mint

Margaret Clayton

SNL, John Belushi, in case no one got the reference.

I’ve got a nice bout of Bad Chicken going in my guts, so the ice cream just about did me in. Joe, you almost owe me a keyboard cleaning. Urk! And normally, I’d like the thought of … oh. Wait. Nevermind. Guuuurg.


No new episode?!?!? How did I miss that??


Dear Joe,

Its been a while my friend. I hope all is well, I recently got my graduation present an Audi S5. I was wondering if you heard about it or tested it before, because it would suit well my friend or at least better than the Q7; not that there is anyrhing wrong with it. I also went to M Brgr on Drummond and I can say that you have great taste in restaurants… the Kobe Burger was a delight.

By the way Bravo for a spectacular first four episodes for season 5, really you guys are pushing the envelope and for what it counts I’m very proud of you, my fellow Montrealer.
A quick question if I may: This concerns season 5.
1. Will our team of Atlantis get another spaceship, either Daedalus design or other during this season?
2. Will we get to see gorgeous space ship fights or cool ancient tech in future episodes other than the mid season two parter?

Thanks buddy


dear Joe,

With all due respect sir, did you know that ice cream looked very similar to a circumcised male reproductive organ. I don’t know if that was your intention for a joke, but I didn’t want some doofus to joke on you or somethin.

Take care



Looking forward to Man In Stall 2. smile

Thanks, Alan.


Hey Joe,

Given the fact that certain sci-fi shows (such as Star Trek) have explored issues of homosexuality directly or indirectly in certain episodes and more the more recent show Torchwood has openly gay characters in a relationship, do you think it’s time for Stargate to include some gay characters as well and be more representative of the general population?

I do appreciate the multi-nationalism which you’ve always made a point of including but have to focus on Americans because obviously, the SGC is an American organization. Also, due to the American military’s archaic policies concerning homosexuals, it would be difficult to work this into the storylines, but you are including other militaries and civilians from all over the world. Personally, I’ve always found it sad that people like me aren’t included in media in the same natural way in which women and people of certain ethnicities are these days. Since sci-fi has always been the trendsetter in society in terms of social development, isn’t it time that Stargate included some openly gay characters who aren’t just ‘in the background somewhere’?


Ah bugger, why is it that whenever I ask a question that I’d love to get an answer to the next entry is always a guest blog and so therefore there is no mailbag?? Is my timing bad or what?

I still blame you for my sore throat, I’m totally convinced it’s your fault now… or it could be my sister’s boyfriend’s fault…

I too noticed the restaurant was the same as yesterdays and I did wonder whether you recorded them at the same time or whether you just like the restaurant that much that it required a second visitation.

Anyway I was just wondering, are there any name ideas picked out for the 100th episode yet? Or any you would like to name it?



Thanks for the guest blog, Joe! And some great answers. It was a pleasure to read.


First off, thanks for today’s bit with Alan.

Secondly… There was something about yesterday’s entry that was just nagging the back of my brain — didn’t surface until AFTER I went to bed!

You were with *Dave Foley* – and there isn’t even ONE photo taken of your “fingers” squishing Marty’s head!!!? [Or anyone else’s for that matter!?]

JOE!!! Such a missed opportunity!!!

[Gany shakes her bowed head in utter disbelief… Must have been the shrimp chips…]

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

It’s Friday and NO SGA… BooHoo!

Cheese and Corn Ice Crean was your dessert from yesterday’s lunch… Eh?

So what if Joe Cheated…it still counts as weird food choice …just on the same day!

Hey Joe writes the rules…we follow!



Good Joe, glad you found a keeper on the weird food of the day choices. I like cheddar and corn and would consider it in an ice cream environment.. so Yummy! Thanks.
and Thanks for the Q&A with Alan, a great job, and a very nice looking fellow.
-still reading on Cordelias Honor, working on Barrayar, wow good reading..
Have a great weekend!


Hey Joe,
The cheese ice cream sounds great. Where did you try it?

Annie from Fremantle
Annie from Fremantle

Cheesy corny icecream.. glad you indulged…hehehe..

Love these weird food purchases. Keep it up!