Well, I finally did it. I finally started writing the season finale. Next to writing any of the first three and a half acts or doing the re-writes, actually starting the script is one of the hardest parts of the process. This morning, I decided to tackle the Tease (aka Teaser, aka Cold Open, aka Lord Pimsley’s Lugubrian Cache-Entrée). After a discussion with Paul – who is writing the penultimate episode which segues neatly into mine – I had a game plan. And after working out the broad strokes of the scene(s) over breakfast, I was ready to move onto the next step – a hot shower where I proceeded to run the dialogue in my head. Forty-five minutes later the bathroom walls were bubbling and I had my Tease. I hurried downstairs lest I suddenly collapse and wake up with an inexplicable case of amnesia like that woman in the first season of 24, and wrote it up. Four glorious pages! From here on in, it’s smoooooth sailing.

Until tomorrow when I have to start Act I.

Apparently, those lovably close-minded anti-foie gras protesters were at it again this past weekend, harassing people out for a nice night out. As always whenever they show, foie gras sales picked up at Fuel on the night. Unfortunately, clients of the neighboring restaurant, a Thai eatery that doesn’t serve foie gras, were serenaded with shouts and curses as well. When the manager of said restaurant stepped outside to kindly ask the protesters to keep it down, she was told that her restaurant would have to suffer because they weren’t doing more to stop Fuel from serving foie gras. For real.

Anyhoo, the restaurants actually serving foie don’t seem to be all that bothered by the demonstrators (as I said, their foie gras sales actually go through the roof because, shockingly, people generally resent being told what to do). Still, I was inspired enough to post the following suggestion on a local Vancouver food industry board:

“Well, it’s great to hear that the protesters are doing their best to boost foie gras sales. However, if you’re looking to annoy – and I mean really annoy – and undermine their message, I’d suggest taking a page out of their own book and join ’em!

Yep, gather a bunch of friends and put together some home made signs that read –






– and then protest right alongside them. Really work hard to grab the attention of those passing motorists and passersby. Maybe put together a petition or two to “Designate Vancouver A Meat-Free Zone!”, “Force City Hall to Build North America’s First Spider Sanctuary!”, or “Outlaw the Sale of Bug Zappers and Fly Swatters to Save the Lives of our Insect Friends!”. “

It may seem like a joke, but I’m serious. Apparently, last year, when a lone counter-demonstrator did something similar – showing up alongside the protesters holding up his own homemade sign (something to do with turkeys being delicious I believe) – the protesters yelled at him, called him names, threatened to accuse him of sexual harassment, then simply lost it and made such a spectacle of themselves that the police were called in to arrest the ringleader. Heh heh. Good times. Good times.

Oh, hey, look! It’s the Control Interface Room.










Look but don't touch.
Look but don’t touch.
Oh fer crying out loud!  What did I say?!
Oh fer crying out loud! What did I say?!



Today’s entry is dedicated to Gilder.


Mishmee writes: “Joe, you often mention beats when you are talking about script writing. Have you explained what you mean by beats? If not could you give me the Coles Notes version”

Answer: Sure thing. When I refer to “beats” I’m referring to steps in the narrative progression, the in-story developments that build the story (ie. Rush reveals he’s captured the Easter Bunny, Young attempts to contact Santa Claus’s spaceship to warn him, The Easter Bunny escapes with the help of Scott, They reach the shuttle only to find Father Time and his Minion of Mayhem waiting for them, etc.). A “beat sheet” is comprised of all of these general progessions – short and sweet- as opposed to the more “detailed outline” that is generally broken down into specific scenes.

Crayonbaby writes: “I wonder when they figure out DVD sales, they add in downloads from iTunes, Amazon, etc?”

Answer: They do but, according to the article, downloads didn’t make up for the drop-off.

Angelus writes: “Is it just me or are these pictures not clickable to see them in full detail?”

Answer: Nope, it’s not just you. I switched the settings for one pic and forgot to switch it back. I don’t know. I kind of like ‘em mid-sized. They make for fast uploading.

ADJM writes: “Working in the science fiction television creating business, and with the genre being so rich and deep in which to explore and produce such incrediable spectacles like Stargate, if I could ask, what is the thing for you that makes sci-fi such a great stand-out genre to work in, i.e. what it’s like to be creating stories for this genre in this medium?”

Answer: SF on its own allows you certain creative freedoms denied a writer in most any other genre. That said, one of the great things about writing for Stargate is that it allows you that much more freedom. Rather than adhere to a strict narrative structure, the Stargate concept allows us to tell very different stories each episode. We can do grand space battles or quiet introspective stories, visit bizarre alien worlds or explore Earth-bound mysteries, tell a story over multiple episodes or present a self-contained stand-alone adventure, do military SF, fantasy, or horror… The possibilities are endless.

Rebecca H writes: “I just finished Banks’ Use of Weapons and it was one of the most depressing books I’ve read in a long time. However, it’s still an excellent book.”

Answer: Yeah, I liked it enough. And then when I got to the end – Whoa!

Vecturist writes: “Joe, what’s your reaction to articles like the following: http://www.scifiheaven.net/index.php/2009/07/14/why-stargate-universe-is-destined-to-flop

Answer: Well, I was alarmed as you can imagine. “Why Stargate Universe Is Destined To Flop”. Destined! What had we done to offend the gods? Why have the Fates reserved us to these woes? Should we take a day trip down to Delphi and make an offering? No? Too late for that? Well, I guess if we’ve been “destined to flop”, then there’s nothing we can do but strike the sets and go our separate ways. Thanks for coming everybody. Last one out turn off the lights…

Oh, wait a minute. Upon closer scrutiny, it would seem that I’ve been led astray. While the title of the article says the show is “Destined To Flop”, the article itself is only Chris’s opinion. A thoughtful, nicely presented opinion, but an opinion no weightier than yours or mine or those who thought SG-1 wouldn’t last or those who predicted Atlantis would crash and burn. Ultimately, it’s up to the fans. If they like the show, they’ll watch it and we’ll continue to produce it. If they don’t like it, they won’t watch it and I’ll finally be able to pursue my dream of owning my own petting zoo.

At the end of the day – meh. It’s easy to predict failure because the vast majority of shows do fail. It’s nice to see though that, just in case, Chris hedges his bets (“ Does the current writing team have the talent to pull of a directionary overhaul? I fear not, given how Atlantis turned out. Could they surprise me and create a good show? Absolutely.”).

Take THAT, destiny!

53 thoughts on “July 15, 2009: Getting Started! Protesting the Protesters! The Control Interface Room! And Some Mailbag!

  1. Anne Teldy writes: “ Mr. M., my birthday is the 27th of July. Any chance of my promised autographed script page arriving before then? You said “soon” on May 25th.”

    Answer: Sorry. I was trying to track down another autograph. Unfortunately, you won’t receive it for your birthday (the production offices are closed through July) but will receive it as a belated birthday gift in August.

    You are the sweetest man and I love you to pieces. I am so excited! Something to actually look forward to!

    Anne Teldy

  2. anneteldy I hope that you are well on the 27th and that your script does arrive and cheer you up.

    Maybe one of the dogs will sneak into the envelope and leap out and give you a cuddle.

  3. Destined to fail? Bet he doesn’t know about the clowns and rainbow ponies. You cannot fail with clowns (fear) and rainbow ponies (joy).

    Don’t mind me, I’m tired from helping Borderline shop for a new used car, she was T-boned last week. Two lanes of traffic let her in on a left turn and an assclown gunned it down the shoulder. She wasn’t hurt, and her dogs were okay, but she now has to find a car “we” can afford. We may have found a nice Scion XB, good for burner purposes. Still, I need more pony, less clown.

  4. Fresh new ideas? Creative? 24? Really?

    I love the show and all, but it’s the same concept, structure and plot each and every season.

    I don’t think this guy has any idea what he’s talking about.

  5. Hi joe and über awesome blog commenters… Miss me?

    Thanks for uploading all those destiny pics… Really excited to see the ship.

    Oh and also… You said downloads don’t count for the drop off.. Huh!!! What drop off.. I thought season 5 was selling very well.. Was I wrong?

    Oh and one other question.

    A pole was taken and 88% of people said they wouldn’t watch universe.. doesn’t all the negative buzz scare you… Just a tiny bit?

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  6. I hope they’re not too loud. I’m doing a stage at Fuel Sun – Thurs. Maybe I’ll have a sign ready for them. Any suggestions?

  7. @anneteldy…

    Huh, autographed script page. Just curious… What compeled Joe to make such a crazy descision? :p. LOL cool though. Though I just had a birthday… Yet no script page… Hmmm interesting. 😉 🙂 🙁

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  8. I used to comment as Rachel, but there’s another Rachel who comments more often, so I’m using my nickname so no one gets confused… not that anyone probably cares.

    I used to be all “anti-fois gras” myself, because hey, ducks are cute. Until I saw a documentary (it might even have been linked in the comments of this blog). As it so turns out, unless you’re getting your fois gras ducks from cheap back-water duck farm, those birds are actually treated quite well. Ducks don’t have a gag reflex, and the feeding is surprisingly quick. They’re even given more room to wander than most livestock are. Apart from the whole “dying young” thing, they really have it made.





  10. Hey joe is it me or are there 2 typo’s in today’s blog? Far be it for me call you on it , as I am HORRIBLE at spelling, but you? You never make 2 mistakes in the same blog! Just tired I guess. Well the shuttle FINALLY went up, and I missed it! I was TOO busy eating dinner! @ Deni, hope to see you in 2 weeks!! Sheryl

  11. Just thought I’d pop by for a quick visit since I’m off work sick tonight(apparently our lovely foreman’s ‘helper’ decided to gift our crew with the black plague or something). Have been trying to keep up(the 13 3/4’s nights are killer) and just wanted to say thanks for the SGU updates.

  12. @anneteldy

    You’re sick… Oh I’m sorry… Again I’ve been absent so sometimes I miss things.

    Whoops…. Hope my other message didn’t offend you.

    Well hope you feel better and happy birthday!!!!

    Major D. Davis

  13. Thanks, Joe. 🙂

    For my fellow blog readers, I’ve had very uncomfortable symptoms off/on since early May. Seeing specialist this Friday. Prayers and positive thoughts would be appreciated.

    We now return you to Joe’s regular programming…

  14. I think it’s my British cultural history, but I look at that console and automatically think bastard son of the Tardis. Looks cool though.

  15. I love the job they did on the metal texturing (flooring and power column fixtures). I’d swear that coloring is an attempt at mimicking a gradient in the thickness of a thin film oxide across the boundaries of macrograins. Such TLC for the details.

    To get other beautiful colors in high tech metals:

    Cycle nickel alloys through high – and I mean HIGH – temperatures to get a brilliant dark blue powder.

    Blue-etch anodizing of titanium gives you the purple the Tok’ra used to make their zatarc detectors – almost.

    Part-to-part variations in thin film coatings of the right thickness range give a rainbow when parts are side-by-side – beautiful for heat exchangers.

    Don’t get me started on alodines.

  16. More pictures. Just what the doctor ordered!!! Keep them coming Joe!!!

    Went to see the newest Harry Potter tonight. Very good movie.

  17. Jeez, Joe —
    “Rush reveals he’s captured the Easter Bunny, Young attempts to contact Santa Claus’s spaceship to warn him, The Easter Bunny escapes with the help of Scott, They reach the shuttle only to find Father Time and his Minion of Mayhem waiting for them, etc.”

    Did you really have to spoil the season finale so thoroughly? Now no one will bother to watch it.

    Of course, the Destiny may have met its destiny before ep. 20 then and have been pulled for failing to meet Chris’s criteria for onscreen excellence. (24? Really? The only good thing they’ve done in years was hire Michael Shanks and have him half nekkid for most of 2 episodes.)

  18. Major D. Davis
    Way back when, in a time before you were born, Joe ran a competition on his blog (one of many competitions back then). Our dear Anne Teldy won said competition and was lucky enough to have a character named after her on Atlantis. Hence the script.

    How the hell are ya Joe?
    Just catching up on some entries.

    While I don’t agree with foie gras, I do believe in a person’s right to choose (which is a concept that is disappearing rapidly). And you’re right, no one likes to be preached to or met with aggression. It’s human nature to respond with equal force and thus losing any message that was trying to be conveyed. **jumps off soapbox** Ow, my ankle.

    Was checking out your twitpics. Baby’s whiskers has something in common with a baby Wildebeest’s eyebrows.

  19. Bonjour,
    The foie gras comes from Canada or they are imported from Europe (France, Pologne …) to North America ? In France, there are anti-rabbit protesters and anti-pigeon protesters, not anti-frogs, anti-snails or anti-oysters, no just the rabbits and the pigeons. It’s not a question of animal rights. Ducks, rabbits and pigeons are just cute.

    Conclusion, plus c’est mignon ou laid et plus c’est délicieux ! (more it’s cute or disgusting and more is full-flavored)

    A plus tard. Ciao

  20. I like your thinking but hope everyone thinks carefully on what they write. There are idiots out there who will take even the silliest signs seriously. I do think Ponytail’s offerings are all terrific. And I like the goldfish and sheep signs too. A few of my own’ “Save Energy; Ban wearing Clothes.” “Liver Discrimination is Unfair. Eat Goose Lungs and Tongues Instead!” (yes, I know geese don’t have tongues) “Go Green. Bath only when it Rains” “Watch more Sci Fi. It’s a better use of time than standing here holding a sign”.
    @Das. Hope you got my email and my apologies for the delay.

  21. Wow, I gotta say, Joe, businesses in Vancouver are more tolerant than many of the ones in my home town. If a group of protestors were demonstrating at one business but disruting another and were asked to tone it down but refused, the police would be there in minutes because business owners and managers around here don’t stand for that kind of action by demonstrators. They’ll support your right to protest and will often help the demonstrators out with glasses of water or soda on hot days or hot chocolate on cold days, but be stupid enough to interfere with their business as well and you will be talking to the police.

    I love the counter-demonstrator! Perhaps there will be more people counter-demonstrating soon.

  22. Silly question… What is Colonel Telford’s first name? It’s not listed on the MGM SGU character pages.

  23. Hey, that turkey protest thing isn’t funny….my sister served a tofu turkey once for Thanksgiving (without warning any of us) in protest to the whole holiday slaughter thing. We were not amused. And, yes, it had the opposite effect on all of us!

    As do most protests.

    It’s like telling me (& apparently Carl) “Don’t Touch”!

  24. If the Atlantis movie doesn’t make it to production, are there any chances that the script of it gets released? I’m sure there are lots of people out there interested in seeing how things would’ve turned out.

  25. You will zip thru that season finale in no time, I have confidence in you. Look to chocolate for inspiration if you get too bogged down. Hmmm 45 mins in the bathroom, hope that wasn’t all in the shower, least you look like a prune, hah. but if it helps the thought process, then go for it. Have a grand day!!
    -Glad to see you back with us Anne Teldy.!

  26. As Lucius Lovin might say, I “perused” through the presented Destiny set pics and am getting a decidedly 1930’s vibe.

    Does anyone else feel that vibe? The console displays seem to scream skull caps and capes and characters of sonorous speech. I LOVE it.

    Looks like Mr. B. is also captivated with the console’s vibe.

    Just re-watched BAMSR last night and was “WOWED” once again. The scene with Teyla, Sheppard and Ronan as she divulges her pregnancy was simply wonderful. Gero and Mikita did a helluva job on that story. Very creative overall, fabulous spaceship battle sequence and amazing SFX. So long Pegasus replicators. Too bad the last scene with the evil replicator Weir was left as an unresolved loose end.

    As to Chris’s article, SGU did bring on some new writers to replace McCullough and Gero, no? Mr. Scalzi is also onboard as a script advisor. Doesn’t that count as “new writer blood”? AND, I’m of the opinion, that the longer a writer remains with a project, the more insightful and rich the writing becomes. Familiarity with the history of the characters and past stories allows for a foundation upon which to draw and build anew. Yes, sometimes original ideas become harder to come by, but not until after a long, long while, at least in my experience.

    Your thoughts Joe? And my fellow writers out there?

    Well, that’s my 2cents.

    2cats in NJ
    … where the oppressive humidity and heat hang like a ball and chain upon one’s neck… ah, summer days

  27. Re Chris McQuillan’s article: To me, he came across as a devoted SG1 fan who only grudgingly allowed himself to like Atlantis, and only because there were crossovers with Tapping and Anderson, and who absolutely won’t like Universe… unless it turns out to be really, really good, in which case he’ll reluctantly write some positive things about it.

    My only fear is that Universe might turn out to be a weepfest like BSG was in its later seasons. I love dark drama as much as the next fan, but relentless despair and hopelessness can drive me to switch the channel. So I hope Universe will not be BSG Redux.

  28. so this guy is saying that Universe is “destined” to fail, but at the same time, they could pull it off. With psychic skills like that he should be gambling not wasting his time on tv shows!!

  29. Hi Joe!

    Articles about Universe’s “destined” floppiness will be lauded by doomsayers and ignored by those of us (like me) who want to see if we’ll like the show all by ourselves.

    Thanks for the Control Room Interface piccies. 🙂 🙂

    Just watched/listened to the commentary for Broken Ties with you and Jason M. Good interaction and great to hear from Jason, as I haven’t heard or read an interview with him before.

    If you don’t mind a bit of advice, try to keep a good balance between herbivores and carnivores in your petting zoo. You want to keep the number of eaten children down to just a couple per year (for the news writeups – any promotion is good promotion, eh?).

    Take care!


  30. Hey Joe

    Just wanted to say that I’m really looking forward to SGU. I’m a fairly new to the Stargate franchise, and I’m kind of excited to follow this new installment from the beginning.

    Well, so far the Burrard Bridge isn’t *too* bad. But that lane sure is usefull for the FIVE bicyclists I see going across it in the mornings 😛 I’ve been avoiding it in the late afternoons/rush hour.

    I think I’ve asked this already (in which case, sorry), but have you read Mary Doria Russell’s “The Sparrow”, and the sequel “Children of God”? If so, which do you prefer?

    I myself loved the way the story-line was split so that you work from both beginning and end towards the climax. I also found it extremely thought provoking, in terms of first contacts with alien races.


  31. Wow nice pictures great you can zoom in and see the god damn finger prints on the equipment

    You should put some sort of Electrical Current flowing through it so when people touch it when they shouldnt they get a minor or major jolt depending on your Mood lol

    But overall great work on the set i really like that guys Tattoo’s lol but oh yea back on topic great set really like the look of it looks like the Ori and Ancients built something together for once lol

    Cant wait for the show to Air just hope this Delay between the Us and Uk is not too long i hate that hay actually whats the deal between the Air dates ?

  32. Ok fine no one misses me. LOL

    Cool, so that where teldy came in. Cool!!! I thought it was the other way around. Lol. Still, are you sick, cause some one was wishing you to feel better.

    Thanks so much,
    Major D. Davis

  33. 2cats –

    Mucho agreement on your statement:

    “As to Chris’s article, SGU did bring on some new writers to replace McCullough and Gero, no? Mr. Scalzi is also onboard as a script advisor. Doesn’t that count as “new writer blood”?”

    And, maybe I’m nuts, but who wouldn’t want to see someone like Robert Carlyle exercise his acting chops in a role like this as well as see what other great performances this obviously talented cast will be bringing to this party?

  34. Coucou =) vous allez bien?

    Moi super!! je suis de retour et j’ai passée 5 super jours! Contente de vous retrouvez!
    Merci pour toutes ces photos de SGU!! C’est trés intéressant!

    Je suis trés contente car mon meilleur ami ma offert la tenu intégrale de john sheppard ♥_♥ ahh j’en rêver depuis si longtemp^^!!

    Bisou Bisou!
    A bientôt!

  35. I figure out a title for you season finale, “Conflict” ok maybe “Stuff Happens” or “Twilight of Nevermore”, and theres always the trusty fallback “Dark Gambit”?

  36. No how about Last Stance or Last Resort

    Or my personal favourite Power Struggle 😀

    But hay I’m not a Writer lol

  37. So, What exactly does a “Control Interface Room” do?

    Is it like the bridge of the Destiny, Or rather a small engineering station?

    If it’s not the bridge, Will we get to see the bridge soon? 🙂

  38. Maybe it controls systems like life support etc etc

    I don’t really know maybe Joe will answer your question just wait and see.

    But my best bet would be Life Support Systems and such

    And the Bridge of the Destiny wouldn’t it just be called The Bridge lol.

    Or it might be the Room like on SGA basically the Gate Room
    With the Controls for the Gate.

    Guess we will need to wait and see or maybe Joe might give us just a little clue of what it is or what it does lol. 😀

  39. @Tim Gaffney

    You are rousing poor Das with the Chris H link. Now we will hear lots from Das.

  40. Heh. But re “Outlaw the Sale of Bug Zappers and Fly Swatters to Save the Lives of our Insect Friends!” – did Flygate not get reported up north? The recent interview where Obama snatched a fly that was buzzing around him on a morning show, then was chastised by PETA, because flies are people too? (I may be paraphrasing.) Yes, they have officially become their own SNL parody.

    About the link – I’m an SG1/SGA fan, and I agree with most of what he says. SGA had different faces and personalities, but it all seemed like more of the same in the same green universe. I’ll never understand why the ancient, millions-of-years-old, holder-of-who-knows-what-mysteries, city-spaceship wasn’t the central location for most of it. Why we got Ye Olde Ren Faire Village instead of exploration of/problems with/movement of the city. Why you liked it when an actor brought humanity to an alien character (alien as in, a different species) – why should a wraith act human? He isn’t! Etc.

    Ok, so I still (usually) enjoyed it. Why do I doubt SGU will come off as y’all say it will? Because in commentaries and interviews, TPTB talk fairly often about how different/darker/whatever SGA was. And I just don’t see it.

    Sadly, I don’t have cable. So unless SGU gets picked up by free TV (is there any likelihood right now?), I won’t get to find out for myself. 🙁

  41. @Major D Davis:

    Most of us come and go from the blog without much fuss or ceremony, so don’t feel bad that no one commented on your presence or absence. It’s pretty much the norm around here.

    But welcome back!

  42. @ Anne Teldy
    There ya be, girl! So good to hear from you again. You kicked that 103-degree fever in the pants, didja? Good for you! Knew you had it in ya. Congrats to you and the health staff for knocking out another “intruder.” (Even get-well wishes can sound SciFi, can’t they? 😉 )

    @ the DogFather / BlogFather
    Thanks, Joe, for all the canine TwitPics, and now that you’ve been unleashed, the SGU pix. Yay! The set atmosphere does look very industrial and retro, kinda like the Geni’s underground digs. The episodes to come will fill us in on that, yes? Can’t wait for more unfettered information. 🙂

  43. I remember reading an article when Battlestar Galactica was going to air its miniseries, and they did press. They were fielding all these questions from reporters about how the show wasn’t going to be great, the fans hated it, etc. Edward James Olmos said to them something like, “Then I suggest they don’t watch.” I guess people thought it was so incredulous but the reverse psychology worked. Ratings on the first night came in but they were actually higher on the second night.

    Perhaps we need to start a reverse psychology campaign?

  44. Hopefully seeing how well designed the Destiny Is, will stop the negativity that existed in a few people.

  45. Jenazz, if you are looking for “dark” in SGA, I recommend Season 4, where “dark is the new black,” as I coined.

    No reason to not believe SGU won’t be shown on free TV. I watched SG-1 and SGA that way.


  46. Opinionated? Was it that same type of individual Opinion which resulted in SGA being dumped?

    Don’t answer that, we’ve long since passed any mode or method where we can save our beloved show. SGU is an incredibly biased show, if you don’t know what I mean by that— tis cool. You’d have to walk in the shoes of the fans long enough to understand the feelings behind those words. And no it isn’t that you guys continually boasted risky characters with special interest, so lets shoot that bit down before sit starts. Though I don’t care to see said character(s), as Opinionated reasoning goes; I’m me and they’re they, and you are you, and each of us have feelings on everything and anything— though surprisingly, only YOU have the power amongst us, to do as you see fit.

    Beyond all my desires and misconstrued reasons to find you guys and punch ya’ll in the gut repeatedly shouting; “Not Funny Ya punks!” I digress and say finally: Sweet designs, the ship looks awesome.

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