The dogs prefer to hang out in my office, a spoiler-free zone.
The dogs prefer to hang out in my office, a spoiler-free zone.
How thoughtful of Carl!  No, scratch that.  How thoughtful of Carl's wife Karen!
How thoughtful of Carl! No, scratch that. How thoughtful of Carl's wife Karen!
Stargate without chocolate is like a crazy uncle without a glass eye.  All well and good but you can't help but feel that something is missing.
Stargate without chocolate is like a crazy uncle without a glass eye. All well and good but you can't help but feel that something is missing...
Writer, Co-Creator, Executive Producer, Amateur Mind Reader.
Robert C. Cooper: Writer, Co-Creator, Executive Producer, Amateur Mind Reader.
Alan back in the office.  Back?  He never left!
Alan back in the office. Back? He never left!
Beneath Lawren's suave, devil-may-care facade lies a wicked case of food poisoning.
Beneath Lawren's suave, devil-may-care facade lies a wicked case of food poisoning.
Brad multitasks, writing his next script in his head while pretending to listen to us.
Brad multitasks, writing his next script in his head while pretending to listen to us.
Marty G. pitches his big mutant squirrel two-parter...
Marty G. pitches his big mutant squirrel two-parter...
...while Paul looks politely non-committal.
...while Paul looks politely non-committal.
Hey, Carl, I have a note on your script, page twenty...oh...uh, never mind.
Hey, Carl, I have a note on your script, page twenty...oh...uh, never mind.

We were all back in the office today, spinning stories for season one of Stargate: Universe. In attendance: creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, Carl Binder, Martin Gero, Alan McCullough, Paul Mullie, and myself. The first order of business was, of course, catching each other up on what we’ve been up to since last we met. I can’t help but think that if everyone on staff blogged as well, we’d be able to access all of this information before going into the office and could thereby dispense with the niceties of social interaction and get right to work. Easier said than done however. Paul’s Commodore 64 is not internet-capable and don’t get me started on Carl’s IBM Selectric, the Queen of electric typewriters.

Our second order of business was providing notes for episode #1. Brad and Rob did a terrific job of kicking things off in thrilling fashion. The script is fast-paced and fun; its characters unique and engaging. My favorite: Dr. David Rush. Oh, he’s going to be a handful. Originally planned as a two-parter, Brad and Robert quickly discovered that there was simply too much story for such a tight frame, so the series opener is now looking like a three-parter.

In addition to that first script, Brad and Rob provided us with a beat sheet and springboards for several more stories. Brad has laid claim to #4, a story that is right up his alley. Speaking of perfect pairings, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Carl Binder to write #5. Rob is eyeing #6 which offers a most intriguingly SF door in, while #7 and #8 have yet to be claimed.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, Stargate: Universe is a series that draws on established mythology yet blazes a bold, new path for the franchise. It’s definitely more character-centered and intimate in its exploration of the interpersonal dynamics that will drive a lot of the shipboard developments (and, no, I’m not talking about romance). The premise of this ship hurtling through uncharted territories offers up unbounded story possibilities, yet also forces us to adopt a very different approach toward alien encounters and planetary investigation. Twin themes mentioned over the course of today’s conversations: survival and sacrifice.

Prep-production is progressing nicely. Rob showed me about eight different designs for the Destiny. According to him, they’re getting close. No casting news to convey but some interesting names are being bandied about. The search continues. Finally, another element I’m loving is the SGU version of the SG-1/Atlantis MALP (Mobile Analytic Laboratory Probe). Very cool.

Tomorrow, we discuss Brad’s first story following the big three-part opener, establish some of the big picture storylines and arcs we’d like to pursue over the course of the show’s first 20 episodes, and then start breaking Carl’s story.

The doggy daycare was closed so Jelly, Maximus, Bubba, and Lulu were running roughshod through the corridors today. I ended up herding them into my office and shutting them in so that we could work without being distracted. Fat chance. If they weren’t howling in protest, they were charging the door or trying the doorknob. Later, Lulu emphasized her displeasure by vomiting on the carpet.

Some Necroscope discussion:

Thornyrose writes: “The pacing of the book was handled nicely, and I was intruiged by the relationsihp between Dragonasi and Ferenzky.”

 

Answer: I really enjoyed the interaction between Dragonasi and Max Batu. I found Batu to be surprisingly endearing despite his (literally) terrifying ability. He seemed a lost soul, the sort who was always picked last in gym class and did a lot of sulking – before murdering the team member.

Drledeboer writes: “. So my main interest in this book remains the Wamphyri that use human bodies. BUT too much like Goa’uld, IMO, if I understand correctly that they are parasitic.”

Answer: They are parasitic but very different from the goa’uld. By the way, I believe this book pre-dates the introduction of the goa’uld.

Finally – thanks to everyone who sent presents. Now that I’m back in the office, I’m working my way through a backlog of boxes. And, before I forget, thank to Penny for suggesting the book club idea. Your first royalty check is in the mail!

 

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Deni B.
Deni B.

I can’t wait to see what SGU is going to turn out to be. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with a little romance! Also, if you like Gabo, “Memories of My Melancholy Whores” was excellent.

Shawna
Shawna

Three-parter, huh? Very cool. I’m also excited to hear that it’s more character-driven, as that’s the part of Stargate that I love best. (Action is all well and good, but the character interaction and development is why I watch.) And I’m glad you’re not talking about romance. I certainly would hate to see this become some big soap opera where half the plot is who’s-shagging-who.

Can’t help but notice an overabundance of testosterone in that room. Is this just because there aren’t many good female writers in sci-fi TV or what?

pg15

Joe.

I love you.

That is all. For now. I shall let that slightly-disturbing comment hang for a while.

But then I’ll be back.

Jean
Jean

Hey Joe,

Glad that there will be more Stargate to look forward to after Atlantis ends its series run. I see you still have the AU Season 6 up on the board – who’s going to be the one to finally rub it out? Or is it in permanent ink? 100% ethanol will do the trick, unless of course you have other uses for it (the episode list, not the ethanol wink ).

Jean

Arctic Goddess

Hi Joe:

My congratulations to Brad Wright for remembering to wear his poppy on such an auspicious occasion. What was the excuse for the rest of the writers? There is no picture of you, so, I’m sure that you were wearing yours, even if we couldn’t see it. Right?

Patricia (AG)

Mellow Yellow
Mellow Yellow

Joe,
You sound excited about SGU! From the little things you mentioned I’m very excited..but at the same time sad because I won’t be seeing the Sheppard, Ronon, Teyla, and McKay on this new adventure.

Carl takes the best pictures! Love the pups, I know they aren’t pups anymore but they are so cute.. smile I knew Lulu was a trouble maker.

Piers
Piers

Well, I’m honestly a bit gutted to see the same faces that have been bringing us Atlantis. I was hoping that Universe would be able to shake things up after what has been a mostly stale outing for Stargate over the last few years. And I’m not trying to purposely disparage anyone. I just think it’s very, very obvious that Universe is going to need some new, fresh writers and ideas along with the best of the old team to really make it. There’s too much complacency among the Atlantis writers. There seems to be no competition to be the guy who writes the different, unique script; there’s no desire to do anything different. And instead of taking risks with the story the focus is on doing something “because it’s cool”, not because it makes sense or is good. Please, Joe, tell this steadfast Stargate fan that Universe isn’t just going to be Atlantis all over again with the writing.

Narelle from Aus

Oi! Don’t knock the Commodore 64! It was my first ever computer. I remember it with fondness and the total of 3 games it ever played. If you had a tape drive your parents were soooooooo rich.

As an owner of an arcade table with 1064 of the bestest old-style games, I get all sentimental over the earlier forms of technology.

I will be waiting until I see SGU on my screen until I form an opinion on it. Even then it will take me a few eps.

While my two dogs may equal more in weight than your four dogs, it sounds like a hair-pulling day when you have all of them out together. Lucky you have the Italian blood which contains good hair genes.

In relation to your Father’s sayings from the other day, the most insightful and profound saying from my Dad, “Always remember, opinions are like a-holes. Everyone has one.”

Have a good night.

Angel B
Angel B

You know how Das feels about y’all’s treatment of the Wraith?
I think I understand a bit how she feels, cause when I saw all the pictures of the writers and producers for SGU my first thought was “Show Murderers!” and felt like you were dancing on the grave of SGA….
It was just a gut reaction.
I won’t say I won’t take a look at Universe, cause I might, but for some unfortunate reason I will feel like I’m betraying a loved one.

StellaByStargate
StellaByStargate

Hi Joe,

Nice to see pictures of the gang back at work. And more Stargate on the way. I’m already missing Atlantis, but I have to say…I’m intrigued with SGU. Can’t wait to hear more.

Realizing, of course, that Brad and Carl are very busy with the new show, I was just wondering how things were coming on that 3rd SG1 script? Any word on a deadline for that or on the SGA movie I know you’re so diligently working on as well? More than few of us are awaiting news on that front with baited breath!

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

I’m scared. Not only can I recognise all the writers/producers/creative geniuses by picture, I identified the dogs also. This blog is getting dangerously addictive.
I’ll admit to a modest interest in the goings on for SGU. The cancellation of SGA is still affecting my enthusiasm for the new show. Seeing who is “coming over” is helping, but it’s going to be tough getting me to invest in the new show. I will give it a go, but I just am not ready to commit to a show that will be pulled just as it is really taking off. Not that I blame you Mr. M. Or even other parties. Decisions had to be made, and as a fan I know I don’t have all the info behind it. Still….
So, did the dogs tear apart the office? Did productivity fall through the floor because of the “aww they’re cute” effect?
Reference the Dragonasi/Batu relationship. Yes, that was another one of those relationships that was horrifyingly fascinating. But I still think the “father/son” relationship was even more hypnotising. Something about a disembodied voice speaking in the character’s head. And the fact that after Dragonasi’s opening scenes, such a character could creep me out even more just made the twisted familial relationship more intriguing to me.
Thanks for the great pics, and progress report. Loved the Commodore 64 and Selectric comments, btw. A sad commentary that I can recall working on both devices at one time. Well, working on a selectric. Playing on a Commodore. To think we were there at the birth of a entirely new Age of Mankind. Or is that the birth of the Age of Machines that will rule Mankind?

Alli Snow

(and, no, I’m not talking about romance)

Way to kill the buzz, Mallozzi. wink

What’s wrong with romance?

ytimynona
ytimynona

Thanks so much for the Universe update!!!
I can’t help it: I get more and more excited about it every day!!!

Who is Dr. David Rush? Did he replace Eli Hitchcock???

Ponytail
Ponytail

I don’t understand why Brad Wright found SGA so boring he dismissed all the actors and decided to start over. I just don’t understand.

NeKo
NeKo

Universe sounds great i can’t wait to see it!

AV eddy

Hi Joe!

Great pics of the Gang! smile But Carl sure looks scary – in a polite way – in that last pic! Actually, he kinda looks like this sorta hippie technician guy my hub used to work with, but with shorter hair.

Ahhh, the IBM Selectric. My dad had one in his office. In fact, I think it’s probably still there, even if he isn’t. (He’s not dead – just retired.) Orator was my favorite font ball.

So…what ep number are you? Maybe you’ve mentioned it before, but I have a headache, so my brain isn’t working too well right now.

Destiny, eh? Better than Hippoforalkus, but not as good as the Mallozzi. Hmmm…I might be sucking up a bit too much there. Please ignore. Nothing to see here!

I can totally go for the name Dr. David Rush. Goes well with my RUSHisaBandDammit fandom. You guys have done very well in the past with picking handsome, talented men, so I’ll leave you to it. (For the show! I meant for the show!)

As a caretaker of a 70 lb black lab with abandonment issues (I promise! I was only gone five minutes!) and a beagle/terrier with a penchant for garbage contents, I understand your pups howling, charging, and vomiting (ugh), but I have a hard time believing your sweeties could get anywhere close to the doorknob. Even on their hindlegs, cuz theys gots stubby legs. Very cute stubby legs, but kinda stubby, eh?

The discussion of Necroscope has me interested, but I’m leery because of the alleged gory scene involving Dragonasi? I don’t do well with gory.

Headache’s getting the better of me and SGA: Rising the book is calling. G’night!

eddy

Rhonda
Rhonda

Glad to hear you’re enjoying working on SGU. I can’t wait to see it, but I have to ask – is that a list of episode titles for SGU over Lawren’s shoulder?

Rose
Rose

Joe,

I’m puzzled every time it’s said (and it’s said a lot) that SGU will be more character-centered than SG-1 and Atlantis. The reason I eagerly tuned in to Atlantis every week for over four years is because of the characters. I looked forward to watching Sheppard, McKay, Ronon and Teyla, not the green screen stuff. Can you explain the difference?

Best,

Rose

Bailey
Bailey

Yeah, tell those other dudes to start blogging ASAP!
Interesting to hear about how a series starts off like this, how do you write for characters that you can’t exactly visualize, since the actors have not yet been cast?
What if you write a comedic scene and then find out that that particular actor sucks at comedy?
I hope that SGU will be good for you guys, are most of the behind the scenes crew going to be able to come back to make the new series?

iamjohn
iamjohn

Joe since it looks like the team will be much more isolated will there be more of a “galactic community” feel that you see in shows like babylon 5? It’s always kinda bothered me that we so little of the other race really interacting and running around doing there own thing.

Hachi
Hachi

While I won’t be watching Universe (I keep my promises), I wish you luck on the new series.
Hope you have a good time writing for it.
You should have a ship’s cat or dog or something for the series, Lulu would do great and you wouldn’t have to negotiate much in regards to her salary. A few chew toys should suffice.

Shawna
Shawna

Hey Angel B and Ponytail — The writers/creators didn’t kill the show. Sci-Fi did. And as SGU is pretty much made by the same people as SGA, why would it be a betrayal to watch? You don’t think reading one novel by an author is a betrayal of a previous novel by the same author, do you?

fsmn36

Later, Lulu emphasized her displeasure by vomiting on the carpet.

And that, is why I do not have a pet. LOL

SGU sounds exciting! Can’t wait.

Jenny R.
Jenny R.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but Carl and my high school band director look a lot alike. To the point where it’s almost scary. Anyway, he used to get that look on his face, among many others, to voice displeasure without talking. The man still intimidates me when I see him and I graduated two years ago.

Cat

I second the poppy question from ArcticGoddess.

I went to the cenotaph and stood in the rain for an hour this morning. Got surprisingly not wet, no thanks to all the Vancouverites who don’t know how to wield an umbrella properly.