At the beginning of every season, the writers get together and brainstorm story ideas for the coming year. We sit in a room, eat Chinese take-out, and spin, pitching out and discussing notions that are eventually listed up on the whiteboard with placeholder titles. Sometimes, these placeholder titles stick, as in the case of season 5’s Search and Rescue and Ghost in the Machine. More often than not, however, they’re discarded in favor of better titles, which is why the Gateworld Forum Episode threads never encouraged discussion on the likes of: Beckett Returns (aka The Seed), Sequel to Reunion/The Return of Tyre (Broken Ties), Flowers for McKay (The Shrine), Heist (First Contact), Monolith (The Lost Tribe), or CSI: Atlantis (Vegas). Or did they? Anyway, by season’s end, there are always a handful of story ideas that didn’t make the final cut for whatever reason (ie. similarities to other stories being developed, production issues, the other writers are all jealous of you and purposely kill your ideas so that they can look better by comparison, etc.). Rather than being abandoned, these ideas are filed away, the likelihood of their receiving future consideration dependent on a host of variables such as a fresh approach to the original pitch, fortuitous circumstances that dictate the need for serious re-evaluation, and, of course, sheer desperation on our part.

Well, after the episode slots for season 5 were filled several months ago, I started a potential season 6 list that was made up of some of the story ideas that didn’t make the cut. The list was comprised of only three or four titles at first but then, as time went on, additional titles were added, some in jest, some in hopeful earnestness. At the end of the day, even though it was all for naught, it proved a fascinating exercise in masochistic optimism.

All this to say, it’s easy to put titles up on a whiteboard. What’s hard is coming up with the stories to go with them. Of the two title/ideas we put up under the Season 6 heading, how many would have actually made it to the small screen? Most? No way. Some? Unlikely? One, maybe two? Well, stranger things have happened. Remember Childhood’s End and Irresponsible?

For what it’s worth, here is how season 6 would have probably (not) broken down:

#1 and #2: Now What I and II?: Our big two-part premiere would have picked up where we’d left off after the shocking events of our fifth season finale: Enemy at the Gate. Would have picked up? What am I saying? WILL pick up since the idea originally conceived for the opening two-parter will now be the basis of the first Stargate: Atlantis movie, the difference being that we’ll be able to tell our story on a much bigger, visual effects-laden, character-centered canvas.

#3: Children of the Corn/Fantastic Four: This was a story I pitched early in season 5 that involved our team, on the Daedalus, coming across a seemingly derelict ship. They board and, while searching the darkened interior, discover a group of children in stasis. They revive the kids who explain they were enroute to a planet where they were to be reunited with their parents, colonists who had completed work on a new satellite community. The children are welcomed aboard and are being ferried to their destination when a mystery ship appears and opens fire on the Daedalus. Our heroes try to outpace their pursuer and, as a game of intergalactic cat and mouse ensues, the team begins to suspect that their young passengers may not be as innocent and harmless as they appear…

#4: Carl’s Replicator Story: If there are two subjects that Carl Binder embraces more than any others, it’s ghosts and replicators (see: Progeny, The Real World, Phanthoms, Echoes, Lifeline, Ghost in the Machine to name a few), so we simply assumed that when he returned from winter hiatus, he’d have a script for us that focused either one or the other. The placeholder title is Carl’s Replicator Story but it could just as easily have been Carl’s Ghost Story.

#5: Classic Atlantis: Marty G. wanted to do a story that took place in the early years of the Atlantis expedition, sort of a flashback to an adventure we’d never seen (along the lines of the Lost SG-1 Episode Rob had discussed doing years back). Given Torri’s reluctance to reprise the role of Elizabeth Weir in Ghost in the Machine (after all, the whole point of doing the episode would have been to reconnect with some familiar faces) and Paul‘s reluctance to do a flashback episode that begged the question “Why the hell DIDN‘T we see this in season one?”, the story was shelved.

#6: Carter Rashomon: This was a story idea that didn’t make the cut in season 4 and ended up in the season 5 slush pile despite the fact that Carter was no longer the base commander. It was originally envisioned as our spin on Kurosawa’s 1950 classic. Colonel Carter faces a possible court-martial and dismissal after an off-world op goes awry. During the ensuing investigation, we are offered three different flashback versions of the charged events. What happened and what was she being accused of? Guess we’ll never know. Since it didn’t make the cut in season 5, I moved it into the potential season 6 episode discussion list.

#7: The Red Shirt Diaries: Carl wanted to do a story told from the POV of a red shirt, one of those ubiquitous no-names we lose over the course of various off-world ops who are instantly mourned then quickly forgotten in the episode tag when the team is yukking it up in the cafeteria. In this particular episode, Carl posits the possibility that this supposed red shirt aint so red after all and, rather than being killed in the line of duty, is captured. Of course, Stargate teams have a standing “No man left behind” policy and it isn’t long before Sheppard and co. mount a rescue op…

#8: Sheppard D.O.A.: Hey, remember the brilliant thriller starring Edmond O’Brien as a man who had been poisoned and had only a few days to find out who killed him and why? No? Remember the actioner starring Jason Statham as a man who has been poisoned (by a drug that will kill him if his heart rate drops) and has a limited amount of time to seek out some answers and dole out revenge? Yes? Well, close enough. It’s a great premise that would have been fun to do – seeing Sheppard race to uncover the truth about who afflicted him and why – except for a couple of problems. First, we were already doing an episode in which one of our characters is afflicted and living on borrowed time (qv The Shrine). Secondly, what made the original DOA so great (and Crank interesting) was that our protagonists were doomed. The light at the end of the tunnel wasn’t a cure. It was nothing more than the answer to great mystery. Well, the answer to a great mystery and, quite literally, a light at the end of the tunnel.

#9: The Replacements: Brad pitched out a story in which the team run afoul of an alien race and, while being pursued, end up victims of a temporal effect that catapults them six months into the future. They return to Atlantis to find they’ve been given up for dead and replaced. As they attempt to settle in to their new positions (and work with their replacements) the alien race indirectly responsible for their predicament pays Atlantis a visit…

#10 and #11: Mid-season two parter: Had we received that sixth season pick-up, we would have inevitably tossed around ideas for a big season arc or two. Atlantis ends up trapped in a pocket of space-time that completely cuts them off from Earth? With the help of some mysterious allies, the wraith become a resurgent threat to the Pegasus Galaxy? When the Atlantis Expedition becomes the target of some well-executed attacks, it becomes clear to all that a former friend is out for revenge? You pick. Whatever the big season arc, we would have undoubtedly touched upon it here.

#12: Hamster Ball: Sometimes you come up with an idea fully formed. Other times, it may be nothing but a vision. In this case, a vision of the individual team members trapped in giant hamster ball-like containment vessels. How do they get trapped? How do they get out? And, most importantly, what the hell else happens in this episode? You’ll have to ask Alan.

#13: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow: McKay’s experiments with a time-traveling puddle jumper send the team both backwards and forwards in time. The story jumps from five years into the past (where one version of the team struggles to acquire the puddle jumper and undo the damage done without affecting the time line), five years into the future (where the wraith have taken over Atlantis and another version of the team is attempting to acquire the jumper so that they can warn their past selves), and the present (unaffected team) with developments in each timeline influencing events in the other. At the end of the day, despite my detailed, color-coded outline, everybody else’s head threatened to explode so the story was shelved.

#14: Hexed: Ah, the infamous Sheppard story that didn’t make the cut, much to the chagrin of the whumpers. While visiting a primitive off-world village, Sheppard is cursed by a resident witch. At first, Shep and co. laugh off the incident – until Sheppard runs into a spate of bad luck. Very bad luck! Suddenly, the team isn’t so sure what is going on and their search for answers turns up some very alarming complications. A fun premise that we shelved because, at the end of the day and despite being played for laughs, it would have painted Sheppard in a comical and potentially unheroic light, something that wouldn’t have sat well with Joe.

#15: Entropy: Paul wanted to do a story in which the effects of the McKay-Miller gate bridge have serious other-worldly repercussions for the city. As it turns out, we ended up doing an episode in which the McKay-Miller gate bridge ends up having serious all-too-worldly repercussions for a bunch of stranded scientists in season 5’s Brain Storm.

#16: Revenge: A certain alien race seeks revenge on Atlantis after we screw up their plans (qv that season 5 episode in which we screw up the plans of that alien race).

#17: Payback: Not to be confused with Revenge. A certain individual seeks payback on Atlantis after we screw up said individual’s plans (qv that season 5 episode in which we screw up that individual’s plans).

#18: Turn of Events 2: Okay, there was no original Turn Of Events. Almost – but not really. Years ago, we bought a freelance pitch from a writer who suggested the aforementioned title for the episode. Seriously. Turn of Events? Why not Suspense to Climax? Or A Teaser and Five Acts in Focus? Or The Happening? The fact that we didn’t use it notwithstanding, it proved such a popular title within the writing department that Alan thought it only right that we include it in the season-that-never-was mix.

#19: Pre-finale: Remember that big season-long arc we discussed earlier in the year? Well, this episode sets up the big pay-off.

#20: Finale: Our big VFX-studded season finale sees the pay-off to that significant story arc, the answers to lingering questions, a few surprises, and the cliff-hanger ending that will smoothly segue into our season 7 premiere…


Some further thoughts on Sarah Langan’s The Missing:

Antisocialbutterflie writes: “I loved the slow build of suspense through the tension of the characters rather than the overall description of the actions. It made me feel more attached to the characters, their lives, and their decline.”

Answer: Which goes to what I was saying about the importance of creating characters the audience (be they readers or viewers) can connect with. Like you, I loved the fact that, as events developed, we weren’t simply served up a blow by blow description of events. Rather, we experienced the horrifying developments through characters, predator and victim alike.

Antisoscialbutterflie also writes: “Fenstad (whose name I loved) was a whole different kettle of fish. He added a whole different dimension to the story in that he wasn’t infected but he still broke down and became homicidal. His madness was natural rather than a result of the infection. I thought it provided a nice counterpoint to the insanity of the virus.”

Answer: Yes, that was very interesting. It leads one to wonder how many would become totally unhinged when faced with such a scenario. Courage or insanity, there’s strength to be derived from both.

Antisocialbutterflie also writes: “ The virus was totally cool. It was manipulative, constantly keeping everyone off guard, and it was adaptable, recognizing it situation and adjusting to not only survive but thrive. It was sneaky and insidious, and evil, and awesome.”

Answer: And, again, that’s what I found so frightening. At least in the case of regular zombies, you have the mental edge. In the case of the virus in The Missing, your matching wits with neighbors, friends, and family members who, in the end, may know you better than you know yourself.

Iamza writes: “I was initially put off by the complete unlikeability of James Walker, who struck me as a somewhat stereotypical bad kid with no redeeming qualities.”

Answer: We never really learned as much about James as we did the other flawed characters in the book (since he was compromised so early) so it didn’t really bother me that much. Had he stuck around a little longer, I’m sure we would have found out a little more and, if not sympathized with him, then at least understood him a little better.

Iamza also writes: “I really liked that, in this novel, none of the characters is particularly good, and with the exception of James, none of them is all bad.”

Answer: True. They’re alternately likable and loathsome – just like regular people.

Iamza also writes: “I also wondered a bit as to how the darkness spread so quickly across the world. I mean, the infected seemed to turn very quickly, and I couldn’t really see how they’d get on a plane without arousing suspicions…especially once they started trying to eat the other passengers. Perhaps I misread, though, and it was a purely North American phenomenon.”

Answer: Hmmm. I never really thought about it but now that you bring it up, that’s a very good point. The outbreak did spread very quickly, even if it was limited to the United States.

Terry writes: “ . Since we jumped from one sightly off-balance character to another, I found it difficult to engage with the characters or to care much when things started to unravel.”

Answer: Certainly there were some characters I liked more than others, but I couldn’t help but sympathize with, say, Meg, despite her affair and marital issues, and Lila, despite the fact that she killed and dismembered her own children. I appreciate colorful characters.

Final day to post your questions for author Sarah Langan!

Today’s blog entry is dedicated to Maggiemayday and her brother, and birthday girl Jennifer H.

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Shawna Buchanan

Wow, thanks for the rundown. I have to say, some of those would have been great to see. The classic Atlantis story, if something could have been worked out, was a great idea. That would have been a lot of fun. The Redshirt Diaries… man, I’ve been hoping you guys would do a story about one of the nameless peons for years, so I would have loved that. The Replacements sounds terribly interesting, too. And Hamster Ball… *snerk*… I have no idea, but it gives me giggles just imagining it.

“Turn of Events” reminds me of the movie “All I Want”. It was originally called “Try Seventeen”, which was at least a somewhat more interesting title. I keep thinking of “All I Want” as “What I Want”, which is only slightly worse in the way that it could pretty much be the title of any movie ever. What is with TPTB wanting to change weird but interesting titles into boring crap that says nothing? Like when they brought “Treed Murray” to America and decided that American audiences couldn’t handle it, so they changed it to “Get Down”.

“the McKay-Miller gate bridge”? Some weird combination of the McKay-Carter Intergalactic Gate Bridge and the McKay-Miller Universe Bridge?


Carter Roshomon! Why not Sheppard Roshomon? Not that it matters; whichever character the story revolved around would have been great. What are the chances that we may see one or more of these stories in movie form, on the probably optimistic premise that MGM and Sci Fi will indeed give us more than a single movie? Thanks for the great breakdown on the “might have beens”. Besides Roshomon, I think Hamsterball would have been my favorite. At least until the next episode would have appeared.. Now, are we not due for another peek at the pups? Not that I want to be greedy or anything….


Yay, thanks Joe. I think Yesterday, today and tomorrow would have been a neat episode. I like the episodes with time travel or flashbacks/flashforwards. (Tabula Rasa and the Last Man were two of my favourites of last season).

First Contact was an amazing episode and I can’t wait until the Lost Tribe. I saw the spoiler video (because I couldn’t wait) and all it did was give me more questions.

I’ll be starting the Traveler Thanksgiving weekend as I don’t have anything due at school that week. I want to start it now but have to study for my chem midterm tomorrow (midterms already!?!?, school just started!) and have papers due next week.

Linda Gagne
Linda Gagne

Ok well, no suprise here, I would go with #8 and just make it that they end up finding a cure so he lives. As I am a weekly movie viewer, I have seen both shows and if the second one is the one I think it is, I was not ready for how he keeps his heart beat up (lol). Yup, my friend and I looked at each other and then her husband, it was strange and awkward if it is the show I am thinking of.

Also I would still go with #14. Everyone has to get a good laugh at themselves even my favorite sheppard. Really, you think Joe F. would of had a problem with the comic relief of the episode? Don’t get me wrong, I love him as the hero more than not, but I also like a good laugh.


Thanks for sharing the list with us! Maybe some of the ideas will make their way into future movies.


I have to say, some of those suggested story pitches sound quite interesting. The Carter Rashomon and the Red Shirt Dairies episodes to mention a couple. Just one more reason to mourn the loss of SGA….

Have any decisions been made yet as to when production might start on any of the movies? And do you know if there plans to release them on dvd soon after their SciFi broadcast or would there be a typical 4-6 month wait? For those of us who don’t get SciFi.

Oh, and further congrats on what is turning out to be a very entertaining Season 5!


Oooo, I’m a HUGE Sam fan, I would have LOVED to have seen Carter Rashoman. Too bad we’ll never know what happens.

Thanks for going into detail about those eps. Loved hearing about them!


Oh man. I would’ve loved to see Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. I’m sucker for time travel episode, and the more twists and turns in them, the better. The act of figuring it all out separates the normal people from the geniuses, like myself. Though I think I would’ve included 1 or 2 more time frames that were REALLY far from the present, like 1,000,000,000 years into the future. Imagining tracing the cause and effect of the events of Atlantis to that far into the future! It can result in virtually anything!

I remember you talking about it around the time Ripple Effect premiered, and though I understood at the time that it was a tad similar, it’s been a while since then and I would totally go for an extremely screwy-yet-ultimately-mostly-logical time travel episode.

Moebius was nice, but it needed more knots in the timeline. Seriously. The more the better. The fact that this episode may have that saddens me greatly that we won’t see it.

Maybe for Universe?

Oh, and Hamster Ball would’ve totally been the Awesome. Alan clearly has a gift for writing.


Season 6 would have been so amazing! I always wanted to see from the perspective of a minor character–The Red Shirt Dairy would have been perfect. (Maybe I’be also been hoping for a Zelenka and/or Lorne centric episode.)


Thank you so much for taking the time to share with us some ideas that were being considered for season 6 (if it were to occur). My heart skipped a beat when I saw the season 6 title, it took a minute for the AU part to really sink in. sad

It’s bittersweet to hear of the episodes that are never meant to be. Out of all of them, I’d have loved to see the Carter court martial one play out. The second on the list would be the witch cursing Sheppard, because it would definitely have tremendous potential to be one of the most entertaining episodes in SGA with the witty lines, which we love, to the well written action and drama.

Carter and Sheppard are my two favorite characters in the whole SG series. They really draw you in to the show and their characters’ emotional depths the best. So, maybe I’m a little biased on my episode opinion.

I guess it’s really time to say that SGA is truly ending as a series. *sniffle*

Those were brilliant ideas, and it’s such a shame that we won’t get to see them all come to life.

I say…All Abroad the Alternate Universe Express!

I would not mind if SG – Universe stood for SG1, SGA, and the new series combined. Or at least SGA for 13 episodes and SGU for 13 episodes. Ghost Hunters does this sort of thing with their Ghost Hunters main show and GHI (their international show). Each series shows for half a season. grin Best of both worlds!

Anyway, thanks for everything!


I enjoy those time travel episodes, so here’s hoping Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow is seen sometime in the future. Universe perhaps?

Trish (aka whovian)

I think I would have loved a “ghost replicator” story. grin Carl could have COMBINED his two favorites and I would have eaten that epi up with a spoon.


Let me start by saying that so far I’ve managed to read “pocket of space-time” as “pocket book time”, “turn of events” as “turn off vents”, and “what I want” in the comments as “Wal-Mart”. I’m doing well with the whole reading comprehension thing today.

That aside, some of those ideas sound intriguing. I like the Children of the Corn/Fantastic Four story. I have three nieces that are 6, 4, and 3. I know children are not as harmless as they appear EVER.

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow would have been fun to watch. I probably wouldn’t have understood a damn thing going on, but I’d have enjoyed it.

And I really had hope for the Red Shirt Diaries. It’s a shame we won’t be seeing that one.

Trish (aka whovian)

Oh… I just read yesterday’s post. So you ARE mad at me. But I’m OK with that. You are just jealous because I’m totally fabulous.

Or maybe I ask super-annoying questions and make really irritating remarks. I’m just glad we cleared the air between us. You can be mad at me. I’m totallly fine with that. And I’m not crying right now. I just have something in my eye.

Also: Narelle: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I know it’s late but I still hope it was great. grin

And Becky: (((((hugs)))))) to you. I’ve been thinking about you all week. You have my e-mail if you want to talk.


Hi Joe!

Sorry, it’s less than two minutes since I last wrote, but it’s getting late and I wanna get some sleep.

Thanks for the breakdown of the Season That’ll Never Be. They sound like interesting stories, especially The Red Shirt Diaries, Sheppard D.O.A., The Replacements, and Hexed. Heck, even at his most comical and unheroic, Shep is always sexy and heroic. It’s how he rolls. smile

CotC/FF reminds me a lot of that Star Trek ep, ‘And the Children Shall Lead.’ Rather creepy ep. Any show with creepy kids is just creepy. Kinda like that really cool SGA ep we recently saw, Whispers. Boy, was that creepy!!

Other cool names that’d work with Turn of Events might be:

The Bad Guy Gets Killed at the End

The Good Guys Always Win (even in the ’80s!)

The Big Surprise Ending When McKay Gets His Hand Cut Off

Plot Twist #42

Have a superb night, eh?



Linda Gagne said:

Ok well, no suprise here, I would go with #8 and just make it that they end up finding a cure so he lives. As I am a weekly movie viewer, I have seen both shows and if the second one is the one I think it is, I was not ready for how he keeps his heart beat up (lol). Yup, my friend and I looked at each other and then her husband, it was strange and awkward if it is the show I am thinking of.

Also I would still go with #14. Everyone has to get a good laugh at themselves even my favorite sheppard. Really, you think Joe F. would of had a problem with the comic relief of the episode? Don’t get me wrong, I love him as the hero more than not, but I also like a good laugh.

In Crank the main character’s name is Chev. Cool! I looked up a review to see what you meant about keeping his heart rate up, as I had a few ideas. Yep, looks like that wasn’t all he kept up. LOL!

Regarding Hexed, I love some Shep Whumping but I don’t think he should be ridiculed and I think there’s a difference between laughing with a character and laughing at a character. I wouldn’t have wanted the episode to ruin all of the fantastic work that Joe F and the writers had done. I’m looking forward to Remnants. Of course they wouldn’t have to go with Hexed as a comedy.

Cheers, Chev

Tim Gaffney
Tim Gaffney

I agree with the majority: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow would have been a great episode. It could have been tweeked to become the mid-season two parter. It might even be something that could become an upcoming Atlantis movie. Time travel is cool. Time travel on Atlantis is even better.


“carter rashomon”….

aah, i want to know what happened!!

thanks, joe, for the what-might-have-beens.



I would have truly loved to see Red Shirt Diaries, it is always fascinating to me to see how the main characters are perceived by the people around them.
And Hexed would have been fun, I’m sure you could have made Shep heroically comedic and preserve the dignity of the character. But I always liked the way Shep wasn’t portrayed as the uber hero, can’t remember which episode it was in, but when he tried to break the stick over his knee like Teyla did and just ended up whacking himself, I loved it.
Turn of Events sounds so dopey it probably would have been great.
And I’d pay good money to see everyone, most specially Ronon and Woolsey for some reason, in Hamster Balls, with the Hamster dance song playing in the background. Da do da da


Thanks for sharing the never-to-be-seen epsiodes =)

For a moment there, I thought you were gonna spoil the movie… but only for a moment…

re#12: I actually had a dream once that I got stuck in a hamster ball… it was quite alarming, actually!


Hey Joe,

I definitely would like to see “The Replacements” and “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”. I find those ideas VERY interesting. Too bad we couldn’t see them play out :(.

How did the spinning session go for the new Atlantis movie? Any teasers?

Narelle from Aus

So many good ideas. Such a shame. Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow sounds like one of those episodes I would buy the entire box set for. I love time travel episodes. Despite it giving me a headache if I think about it too much.

I’ve tracked down and have in my hot little hands (well my Reader hard drive) a bunch of recommended time travel novels, I’m feeling in the mood for some confusion… more so than usual. Just thinking about reading those 8 novels could be the cause of this 2 day nasty-arse headache.

Thanks Trish – it turned out to be a great day.
I’m going to post some pics/video on my blog soon of the arcade machine in action that Hubby got me. It’s sooooo much fun. I went to sleep the other night to the sounds of Frogger coming from the lounge. It was strangely soothing. I have a sneaking suspicion he wanted this as much as I did.


Nice ideas. I wish we can see some of them in Universe. smile

Can you tell us the rating of First Contact?

va fan
va fan

book recommendation
the “rachel morgan” book series by kim harrison. the author has a good and twisted sense of humor. its set on earth about 10 yrs into the future and there has been a plague that decimates a good portion of the human population, leaving the non-human or almost human population mostly untouched. altho, i think the elves are mostly killed off. the plague starts from genetically modified tomatoes, so its a banned substance now. so there goes all the good pizza and no ketchup. can u imagine a future w/out marinara sauce? anyway, with so much of the human population dead, the others decide its time to step forward. the humans have now tended to move into the cities and the others have taken more toward the out edges, kind of like vampires in the suburbs. they’ve created parallel societies and there are the equivalent of 2 police depts, the other’s is called Inderland Security. the main characters are a witch, a vampire and a fairy. they decide to leave there current employment with IS and start their own detective, security agency. in an abandoned church, that has a ley line running thru the kitchen and its own cemetery and garden perfect for the fairy and his large family. at one point, they are looking for a large fish, stolen from an aquarium of a werewolf group and its their mascot. also, they run into a leprechaun and each get their own wish. the fairy asks for a vasectomy, because fairies breed like … i don’t know, mice, cockroaches… and he’s finding the 200 kids he has already more than enough. did i mention that all her book titles are take offs of clint eastwood movies? “dead witch walking”, ” a fistful of charms” and the last one, ” the outlaw demon wails”.

there is also lots of death and destruction, blackmarket salsa, evil and bus tokens.