Over the course of the series run, many an idea gets pitched out that never ends up seeing the soft blue light of a laptop screen. For whatever reason (production concerns, similarity to other stories, a failure to excite the other writers, the fact that your idea is shite, etc.), that seemingly golden notion that got you all excited when it first popped into your head while shampooing that morning languishes and dies in the writers’ room. Looking back, I’ve had more than my fair share of such pitches, story ideas I figured would be home runs that ended up being pop flies. The following are The Top 3 Atlantis Episodes I Never Got to Write…

1. The team returns to Atlantis following a routine two-day fact-finding mission. But the second they step through the gate, they are immediately surrounded by armed wraith hybrid in Atlantis uniforms. As a shocked Sheppard and co. are disarmed, they are welcomed back by the base commander: a hybrid Dr. Weir.

Sheppard’s team is informed that they have, in fact, been missing for several months and presumed dead. During their absence, things have changed. Armed with the knowledge he gathered in Allies, Michael has taken Atlantis with the help of his own aerosolized version of the retrovirus. With the Atlantis personnel transformed and the resources available to him in the city, he has successfully mass-produced enough of the agent to proceed with the next phase of his plan. With the help of his fellow hybrids, he intends to launch the agent through the gate and into Stargate Command, the first step to an invasion of Earth.

Pitched: Season 3.

Why I liked it: I simply loved the potential for visual impact provided by hybrid versions of characters like Weir, Zelenka, Lorne, and even Chuck. And, in terms of raising the stakes vis-à-vis the ongoing Michael storyline, this would have been a doozy.

Why no one else did: Not sure. I think it was the time travel angle.

2. As part of their freshly-formed alliance with the Genii, Atlantis prepares to embark on a joint op deep into wraith-controlled territory. The Genii have pinpointed a facility purported to be of immense importance to the enemy. It’s near-inaccessible positioning and never-before-seen security suggests a target of key importance that targeting it could very well eliminate the wraith as a threat in the Pegasus Galaxy. Curiously, despite the ongoing battles between their various factions, the wraith have put aside their differences in order to safeguard whatever it is that sits within the facility.

The joint op is launched. But, as the mission progresses, the team suspects that the Genii haven’t been completely forthcoming with them regarding what lies inside the facility. They claim not to know, but Sheppard and co. suspect they are lying. Upon gaining access to the facility, while the others are setting charges, the team breaks away to look around. And discover the truth.

The high-value target is, in fact, a nursery holding some twelve wraith children, females destined to be queens.

The team is faced with a huge ethical dilemma. Destroying the target will, without a doubt, deal the wraith a crippling blow. But at what price to the team’s conscience? And if they elect to pull the plug on the op, there’s the Genii to contend with…

Pitched: Season 4.

Why I liked it: I like the huge ethical dilemmas. Also, it would shed some light on wraith culture, particularly its child-rearing practices.

Why no one else did: Again, not sure. It could well have been because, at the end of the day, no matter what the team decided they’d have ended up making an unheroic decision (target innocence or walk away from an opportunity to eliminate the wraith threat to millions of human civilizations).

3. Ronon accompanies Weir on an off-world negotiation to the planet Drazia. Their potential new ally is a society of Genii-level advancement that, like the Genii, have managed to conceal much of their technological advancements from the wraith. Sheppard is in the gate room when they receive a transmission from Weir who informs him that, after careful consideration, she and Ronon have decided to abandon Atlantis for new lives on Drazia.

The team infiltrates the main city. Their investigation leads them to the underbelly of the society, an area peopled by the society’s disenfranchised: the weak, the sick, the infirm. There, they are approached by a decrepit old woman who claims to be Dr. Weir.

It turns out the Drazians have discovered a novel way to avoid being culled. Long ago, they realized that whenever the wraith came, they would feed on the strong and the healty and ignore the weak and sickly: the tainted. Seizing on this fact, the Drazians have been avoiding cullings by “swapping bodies” whenever the wraith draw near, transferring their consciousnesses into “the tainted” and sacrificing their former bodies (and society’s have-nots). With the threat gone and trapped in less-desirable bodies, they prey on any healthy visitors to their world, claming their bodies and banishing their consciousnesses to the city’s underbelly.

Pitched: Season 3.

Why I liked it: I’ve always enjoyed the stand-alone stories where the team travels off-world, gets into trouble, gets out of trouble, and goes home.

Why no one else did: Don’t recall.

4. While off-world, the team rescues a young girl from a frenzied mob of villagers. The villagers believe the child is possessed of a dark evil and no amount of reasoning will convince them otherwise so, kid in tow, the team beats a hasty retreat back to Atlantis.

On Atlantis, Teyla forms a bond with the young girl who, frightened at first, gradually begins to come out of her shell. As Teyla looks into finding a new home for their young guest, she learns of the supposedly dark circumstances befell her community: suspicious deaths, mysterious accidents – all attributed to the youngster. The team dismisses the villagers’ medieval fears – until some decidedly dark circumstances begin to befall Atlantis personnel, in particular those falling on the young girl’s bad side.

Ultimately, the team return to the planet and discover the truth. As it turns out, she grew up a normal little girl. But, one day, while she and her friends were playing in the catacombs located beneath a series of ancient ruinss, something happened – something that changed to her. She became withdrawn, quick to anger – and accidents befell those who displeased her.

The team explore the catacombs where they uncover an Ancient lab – and an open stasis pod holding the body of a long-dead Ancient. They realize that, while playing with her friends, the young girl inadvertently released the Ancient from his deep sleep. Near death, his mind addled, the Ancient transferred his consciousness into the only available vessel: the little girl.

Armed with this knowledge, the team returns to Atlantis to face off against a very pissed off and confused little girl possessed of the abilities of a near-ascended amnesiac Ancient.

Pitched: Way back in season 2.

Why I liked it: I’ve always wanted to do a creepy kid run amok story.

Why no one else did: Apparently, I’m the only one who did.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in with their happy Atlantis memories.  Tomorrow is the deadline to get in those questions for Paul Mullie.  Tomorrow also marks the beginning of discussion of On Basilisk Station.  Let’s hear your thoughts and start posting your questions for author David Weber who will be paying us a little visit.

Finally, check out the run-through of Atlantis’s final scene.

 

 

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Oblonsky
Oblonsky

Um, just my two cents. The story with the Wraith queens would have been a great one for Atlantis, a show that is often given the misnomer of “dark”. Unheroic, no right decision to be made–these are the types of stories that make the audience sympathize with the team. These are the kinds of stories that SG-1 did all the time that allowed the audience to relate to the characters. This story would have been worth fighting for.

Sorry, but the others sound like they fall into the “shite” category for me.

Patricia Lee
Patricia Lee

Well I liked your pitches… they seemed very reasonable & the cool factor would have been off the charts! Thanks for sharing and for the video… Awesome!

Mellow Yellow
Mellow Yellow

Hey Joe,

I would have loved to see story idea #2. I always wondered where all the Wraith females were and how one became a Queen!

Can you do a blog dedicated to the Wraiths? I would love to know how they reproduce..I know how they make the mask warriors but how do the others come about? What type of family structure do they have? Did Todd have loving parents? smile

WillySkilly
WillySkilly

Any chance that if Atlantis gets a second movie it would be Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow? I personally thought it was a great idea, possibly the best time travel concept Stargate has come up with.

Georgia
Georgia

Like the creepy kid!! Can you find a way to work it into SGU?

sulien
sulien

I can see the good and bad points of all of those stories, but I really wish that the other PTB had let you run with that second story idea. That is exactly the kind of dilemma that science fiction is so good at addressing and one of the things I’ve loved the most about the genre through the years. I would be very interested to know how you decided to handle the situation in the end.

How would you have written it? Would Rodney be the one to step forward and point out exactly how bad the idea of killing innocents would be? Would Ronon or Teyla have pointed out that by destroying the Wraith’s future generations they could save thousands, or even millions; that the dilemma was not really one of ethics but long term strategy? Would Sheppard have flashed back to a situation in Afghanistan and given us some insight into one of the myriad reasons he is so emotionally withdrawn? *sigh* Seriously, Joe, I really do wish that you had been allowed to run with this one. It probably would have been one of the better episodes of the series.

Yeah, I know, I’m an old Gene Roddenberry fan who thrives on that kind of social commentary and the exploration of humanity’s morals. I think you would have done well with this one.

Shawna
Shawna

Wow, the first three of those sound awesome! I would have loved to see those made, because:
1. — I love Michael. — I love seeing known characters turn into other (known) races.
2. — I’ve hoped for a while now that more would be explained about wraith kids, especially the queens. — Anything that would make the heroes face ethical questions about the wraith, particularly something that might lead to them deciding not to kill wraith, is always good, and would have been a nice counterbalance to some of the other wraith interactions.
3. — I love body-swapping eps.
As for the fourth, I’m afraid I’m also of the mind that scary kids run amok are a bit overdone.

sylvia
sylvia

Of the 4, my personal opinion is I would have loved to see the first 3. Thanks for sharing this. LOVED the video!

Opps, the BOTM listing had the week of Jan 14 – so, I was thinking you changed the book report day to Wednesday. NOT. Gotta go finish my homework…. That will teach me not to ask questions.

Jon K.
Jon K.

Really interesting story ideas that never got pitched, i think my favorite of the 4 would have been the last one with the possessed little girl running around Atlantis. It would have been a fun standalone story.

On to Basilisk Station, I have to say I found this book really interesting in many ways first and foremost was the way the political and military clashes were played out throughout the novel. I feel that you can really see this with what is going on with navy leadership in particular Sonja Hemphill, who is in charge of weapon development completely revamps Honor’s ship the Fearless in what seems to be a very politically motivated move on her part.

I also like the fact that Honor doesn’t just have to contend with one enemy but many, from political forces against her at home, to the Havenite’s, the Medusan’s and to a lesser extent the other criminal types that had been calling Medusa home until Honor showed up. It was more then just a simple A vs B scenario which really made the book more interesting and fun to read.

I also like the way Weber handled the role of gender in this novel, i’ve read many scifi/militray novels that make most women the “had to face all the hardships of being a woman in the military type”. Yet in this novel all respect Honor earns from her crew is all earned on her actions.

The think however the made me really enjoy this novel was the detail in which Weber was able to articulate the space battles. The last battle as the Fearless goes up against the Q-ship made me feel like I was right in the middle of the battle with Honor and the rest of her crew, that is what really made this novel….and the other books I’ve read so far in this series so fun to read.

Questions for David Weber.

1: When you first came up with the idea for this book did you see it as a multi-part series?

2: When starting a series like this, before writing the actual book did you have to sit down and spend a lot of time coming up with the science, back story and other elements of the universe before siting down to write the actual book?

3: Looking back on this first novel, On Basilisk Station, is there anything you would have liked to change in the story or for that matter in the universe as a whole?

Ponytail
Ponytail

I would have loved the creepy kid runs amok story! Damn!

theConundrumm
theConundrumm

nice ideas… two words for you…

graphic & novel

grapesofwraith

I liked all the pitches, Joe, but speaking of unwritten stories, will you be able to upload your color coded outline of that time travel story – “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, I believe you said in the AU season 6 list.
Also, from that list, was the “Children of the Corn/Fantastic Four” story about coming across children on a ship based off your wraith queen children story? And was the “Hexed” story about Sheppard being cursed based off the pitch of the young girl/ancient?
Too bad you didn’t produce pitch #4 – another time to see that village set. Again. By the way, is that set still standing, or has it been taken down?

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

I think that pitch # 2 definitely had serious potential. Though given the similiarities to Reunion(other half of the combined team having their own motives), it could have been played the opposite way. The team comes across the fledgling queens as the Wraith, the Genii, and possibly a third party come hunting them. Any way it was approached, this was definitely in intriguing premise.
Pitch #4 also had some potential I think. It brings to mind the Bill Mumy Twilight Zone episode, and could have been played as an off-world team episode as easily as being played out back at Atlantis.
Ok, so I’m tired. My apologies for telling you how something might have/should have gone. But it’s so much fun rolling the ideas around in my head, I couldn’t resist. Thanks for sharing, and looking forward to the discussion tomorrow.

majorsal
majorsal

hi, joe,

seeing as sam was in ‘enemy at the gate’, what are the chances of her being the the 1st atlantis movie?

sally =D

mary
mary

J
I liked #2. The queen bee becomes a queen because she is given royal jelly. A few males are born to mate with the queen but the rest are females. It would have been very interesting to go into the hive society. Maybe the young queen would remember the humans that helped her and try to find a new source of food. After all there aren’t enough humans to go around now and maybe there’s a better source of food than humans. Since they feed off the energy of humans maybe a new source of energy which would give them an almost endless supply.
mary

ytimynona
ytimynona

#1 sounds good, but here’s a question: how are they gonna get out of it without killing all of them? Unless Beckett was off-world with them and somehow managed to not get caught with the team AND managed to synthesize a cure that could be dispersed easily in aerosol form, it seems pretty much impossible. (okay, okay, so maybe I can think of a couple other ways for them to get out of it… but it wouldn’t be believable)
#2 was good!!! This SOOO needs to be expounded upon! It would have answered many of our pressing questions about the wraith, as well as given us a completely different side of them to think about. And I think everybody loves a good moral dilemma. As depressing as it was, I *loved* the ending of SG-1’s Ethon, because it really made me feel the full weight of the battle with the Ori and how it effected SG-1.
#3 was way to complicated to explain completely in 42 minutes! It sounds like it would make a good movie though!
#4 was maybe too similar to the Shifu storyline in SG-1? Except he was not a kid run amuck…

Blehhh classes start tomorrow, but I’m excited about beginning discussions about On Basilisk Station. Haven’t finished it yet, but hope to have done so by tomorrow!!!

Davidd
Davidd

Hey Joe.

I liked the first idea the best. I always thought you should do an episode, whether in an AU or not, where the Wraith successfully overrun Atlantis……maybe in the movies.

Thanks Joe!

**QUESTION FOR PAUL**

Hi Paul. First of all, thanks for 5 great years of entertainment! Secondly (if that’s a word), I have a couple of questions if you don’t mind:

1) What has been your favourite episode of SGA you wrote?

2) Is Joe often hard to work with, or usually easy-going?

3) Why do you choose to write as a partner wth Joe, as opposed to on your own?

Thanks again!

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

I, too, would have loved the Creepy Kid story! The Bad Seed all over again!

I also would have loved the Wraith nursery story, only – at the end of the day – we all know the choice that would have been made…the facility would have been blown up, the children killed, and ‘yay! We’re so much better than those nasty Wraith and their evil, life-sucking ways!’ roll

Sometimes I’m glad the show’s been cancelled. smile

das

ytimynona
ytimynona

Oh, also, I think #2 would have worked out better without the Genii involvement. There would have been enough of a dilemma without the added need to make their new allies happy.

mary
mary

J
The queen could be called Elizabeth after Elizabeth Tudor. A young queen who used her brain to keep her people from going to war.
mary

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

@ Perragrin – *waves* I know yer lurking… I’m pretty sure my comment under yesterday’s entry got gobbled up in the 200+ replies. Just heal up quick, I miss you around these parts! *hugs*

*goes off to think up questions for Mullie…*

das

Mellow Yellow
Mellow Yellow

Hey Joe! Its me again..here are my questions for Paul.
Hi Paul,
Thank you for your time and Thank you for the great stories you have given us over the years! I’m not just saying this to be nice. The stories you, Joe M, and Carl have written are really some of my favorites. I have a few questions if you don’t mind..

1. How do you and Joe work together; Do the two of you come up with ideas together or does one of you come with an idea and then you both work on a story?
2. Do you have a favorite character to write for?
3. Which of the SGA episodes you’ve written is your favorite? And why?
4. While writing a story with Joe is there anything you wanted to add/leave in (or the opposite) and had to argue with him to get him to agree it with you? If yes, can you tell us what it was?

Thank you!

Craig MD
Craig MD

Story idea #1 is the most interesting of the bunch. Story idea #3 reminds me of an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, and idea #4 reminds me of the Charlie X episode of the original Star Trek series.

PoorOldEdgarDerby
PoorOldEdgarDerby

I liked the body snatchers pitch best, personally.

Kevin
Kevin

Hay Joe,

I just wanted to say congratulations on 5 great seasons. it’s too bad it couldn’t have gone further. That final episode was GREAT…. out with a bang!!! Way to go.

Reading you story ideas brought to mind a story that I had thought would be interesting for SG-1. Now I’m no righter but had a sudden inspiration. It would have been in season 10 when I thought it would have been cool to find a way to bring one of my favorite characters back, and that was Jacob Carter. I thought it would be cool if somehow the Ori or a Prior in a cloaked ship came to earth with the intention of bringing someone back to life and make a prior out of someone that would really tug on the heart strings of SG-1. Then of course SG-1 would find some way to save him and as a result he would lose his prior abilities. Just a thought I had.

Kevin