I called up my mother today and caught her at the worst possible moment – while she was watching the opening credits of Stargate: Universe.  In instances like these, real conversation is impossible.  Today’s discussion went something like this:

Mom: Stargate Universe.  It’s the new show?

Me: That’s right.

Mom: Brian J. Smith.  Elyse Levesque.  They’re all new?

Me: That’s right.  New cast.

Mom: They are walking through what looks like a desert.

Me: That’s the third episode.  They’re on a planet –

Mom: Did you write this one?

Me: No.  Brad and Robert did.

Mom: Did you write any?

Me: Yeah, but my episodes won’t air until later in the season.

Mom: Consulting producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullensi.

Me: Mullie.

Mom: Producer John G. Lenic.  Executive Producer Carl Binder.

Me: Yeah, so anyway –

Mom: Created by Brad Wright and Robert Cooper.

Me: Anyway –

Mom: The sand is so white.  White white.

Me: Yes, we shot the episode at a place called White Sands.

Mom: Oh, it’s sand.

Me: What did you think it was?

Mom:  I don’t know who are the men and who are the women under their big hats and sunglasses.  They’re still walking.  I think they’re looking for something.

Me: Yeah, they’re looking for –

Mom: Now the woman is testing the sand.  She’s throwing out the water.

Me: (SIGH)

Mom: Now they’re getting up and walking again.  (beat)  I’m going to change the channel and come back when they find something.

Which is in itself an achievement of sorts given that most of my relatives simply wait until they see my name flash up on screen before turning the channel.  Yes, there’s nothing quite like my mother’s play-by-play of an episode I’m already intimately familiar with.  If she ever entertains a late-life career change, I highly recommend she provide audio overviews for the visually impaired.  “People are flying through the gate.  Now more people are flying through the gate.  And still more people flying through the gate.  Somebody gets hit with a suitcase.  More people flying through the gate.  Now some kid is playing a game in his room.  He’s talking to a friend.  He answers the door and Richard Dean Anderson is there with another man.  They talk to the boy.  Still talking.  Still talking.  Still talking.  The boy goes up the stairs.  And he’s on a space ship….”

I accomplished approximately nothing today.  My attempt to deposit a check proved fruitless as I didn’t have the account number handy, I was unable to drop off my jackets because the tailor was closed, and Les Amis du Fromage were out of my favorite cheese.  There was no parking at either of my two local grocery stores and I forgot to pick up butter.

No, scratch that.  I did accomplish something (which is a tad north of approximately nothing).  I caught up with the mailbag.  Enjoy!

Crystal writes: “That portable people meter sounds like an even bigger invasion of privacy than we have.”

Answer: How so?  No one is forced to participate.  It’s voluntary, not unlike the Nielsen system.

Matt Boesch writes: “How many times was the two-hour (sorry 3- hour Pilot) rewritten?”

Answer: This is more a question for Brad and Robert who actually wrote Air I, II, and III.

Berry Morris writes: “ I was wondering, on some episodes of Stargate Atlantis that you and Paul wrote, you provided kind of an outline of the way the scenes were written. I loved it! Any chance of that happening for Stargate Universe?”

Answer: Sorry, no, not for SGU.

Shiningwit writes: “*HUGS* for Carl, he’s not skeevy at all, he reminds me of a retired greyhound I know called StigJ”

Carl Binder writes: ““…a retired greyhound”?!!!!!”

Shiningwit writes: “He’s a really sweet retired greyhound….”

Answer: Okay, referring to my buddy Carl as skeevy is one thing, but comparing him to a retired greyhound is going too far…

Greyhound

IMG_4995x

Oh.  Uh, never mind.

Marie-Lyne writes: “The picture of Marty G., behind Carl on the wall… does it really say “Thanks for the baby”? Hahaha, what’s up with that?”

Answer: When you’re in show business, fans tend to gift you with all sorts of cool items like chocolate, artwork, and the occasional baby.  I prefer chocolate.

Chevron7 writes: “Joe, just did a search and apparently you can check your feed stats through the dashboard. Worth a look.”

Answer: Oddly, this feature doesn’t display on my dashboard.

Michael Jones writes: “The dust devil that led Lt. Scott to the lime… an Ascended Ancient bending the rules?”

Answer: I don’t know.  At the risk of spoiling the rest of the season for me, I haven’t read any scripts past those for the first three episodes.

Michael Jones also writes: “What became of the fools who went through the Gate to that other planet the ship had locked out?”

Answer: That remains a mystery.  But the fact that they didn’t respond to Eli’s communication attempts suggests the worst.

Michael Jones also writes: “Who or what took the Shuttle that detached from Destiny at the end?”

Answer: That wasn’t a shuttle.

Michael Jones also writes: “And exactly why did they not use the Keno to scout for the lime?”

Answer: The kino can test for atmospheric conditions, even send back telemetry like a MALP, but it can’t go digging for soil samples.

Thornyrose writes: “But it’s contrived that not only was this secret base attacked(I strongly suspect that the issue will be covered in later episodes) but that the relatively minor surface damage was sufficient to trigger a planet wide explosion.”

Answer: Yes, more on the circumstances of the attack later in the season.  As for the “relatively minor surface damage”, it was actually some major damage to a very specific section, the power conduits feeding massive amounts of energy to the gate from the planet’s naquadria core.

Scott Boyd writes: “Of course, why her mother had clearance to know what had happened in the first place….”

Answer: She’s the wife of a U.S. Senator heavily involved in the program.

Sylvia writes: “WHy did Telford in Young’s body start giving commands and trying to take control of what people on the Destiny were doing? Generally, this can be so counter productive when there are limited resources.”

Answer: Yes, it can be pretty darned counter-productive.  Stay tuned.

T’loc writes: “Do we find out what happen to the 2 individuals who went through to the other plant?
Do they have enough knowledge of stargate ie gate addresses to dial gates ala the mcKay-carter gate-bridge to get home?”

Answer: We’re left to wonder, and the fact that they went through without a remote also suggests they won’t be dialing out from their new home planet.

Juralas writes: “Jamil’s delivery of every line in that scene made it my favourite for the episode.
“You think that’s why I’m annnngry?”
“WALK OR DIE HERE. It’s your choice, Mr….Decision Maker.””

Answer: YES!  One of the many things we love about the guy.  He’s got an incredibly dynamic onscreen presence.

Matt Boesch writes: “My Question is this (more like two questions) “will there be a Opening Credits scene (like a full one minute one or the current one being shown? and two why is there no title at the beginning after the cold opening like “Air, Part 3 and then the guest stars name after that?”

Answer: Nope, sadly no open credit sequence like SG-1 or Atlantis.  As for the lack of onscreen episode titles, it was a creative decision.

Deni writes: “Elway’s finally back home as of yesterday evening, but will be going to the neurologist at the University of Florida on Monday, just to make sure he’s ok.”

Answer: Hoping the best for Elway.  Please keep us posted.

Alex Deva writes: “Was the sand creature always CGI?”

Answer: Yes.

Alex Deva also writes: “The new device you use on stage for the Stargate puddle, it’s like a solid (projection?) screen, right? So when Eli pokes his arm through it, that’s CGI, correct?”

Answer: That is correct.

Michael Linn writes: “Now onto what’s been bugging me, since the Beginning of SG-1 the gate(s) on earth have had room for a nine symbol address, other then location, what made the Icarus gate so important?”

Answer: It was the planet’s naquadria core that could provide the vast amount of power necessary to dial a nine symbol address.

Flappo writes: “ As I’ve seen the third episode I think Rush had a real hard life in his youth, working two jobs for being able to sudy. Will we get more backround information about the other characters to?”

Answer: Yes, as the series progresses, we’ll learn more about all of our main players.

J writes: “You say ” … we were limited by time and simple logic. ” I get the timeline part of this. But, not to be harsh, don’t you all create the logic?”

Answer: Yes, but there’s a difference between including something that fits easily within the body of the story you are presenting and forcing an element into the mix.

Rex Carter writes: “ Also any puddle jumpers on the destiny or just the 2 shuttles and will they be able to use the shuttle sen armstrongs body is in and also bury him?”

Answer: No jumpers.  We’ll learn more about those shuttles in time.

Laura H. writes: “You guys really love Anna Galvin, don’t you? The first non-regular to be in all three shows.”

Answer: Along will Bill Dow (Dr. Lee) and Harriman (Gary Jones).

Malibunextyear writes: “I still only have one question, hoping you can pass it along! Where is my damn poster???”

Answer: Great question!

Rednor writes: “She introduced herself as her father’s aide, not his daughter. When he started his speech at the dinner, she started guzzling wine. There was definite conflict here, or inconsistency in the writing.”

Answer: How so?  She prefers that someone’s first impression of her be based on her accomplishments rather than who she is related to.  In the dinner scene, she was embarrassed by the attention her father was throwing her way.  How is this inconsistent?

Tammy Dixon writes: “Are you saying that you aren’t talented enough to convey this relationship without a sex scene?”

Answer: Uh, we’re not the ones that who had a problem with the scene so it was never an issue for us.  It would be like me accusing you of writing an untalented comment because you wrote it in English rather than French.

Col. Mustard writes:  “Something that I noticed about Air II while watching Air III, what was Dr. Lee doing in Rush’s body while Rush was in Lee’s?”

Answer: Yes.

Rebecca H. writes: “It was my impression that the communication stones could be used only once, by one person, and that there are only five of them. Are they reusable, and by multiple people?”

Answer: Yes, they are reusable by multiple people as will become clear in upcoming episodes.

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Gracey
Gracey

I enjoyed Air III, man was it bright after being so dark. I loved Eli’s Planet of the Apes reference……

I liked TJ taking charge and saying that it wasn’t right that Telford was not taking care of Young’s body…

So flipping channels and stopped at SciFi – happened to notice a few familiar faces..Nicole deBoer, Sebastian Spence, the guy from the Aschen (love those episodes)….So was curious and looked it up on ImDB….8 of the actors on the first cast page had been in either SG1 or SGA. It’s fun to see familiar faces, but not watching the movie NYC: Tornado Terror, as the SCFI orginal movies have been horrible…

t'loc
t'loc

Regarding the 2 that went thru to the other plant, is it possible that the reason why the gate addresses were “locked out” was because those gates are space gates and the ship realize that its shuttles are not operational so it allows only the planetary gate to be opened.

boookal
boookal

Joe, there are 3 O’s in my name!! Good thing though is that it keeps those that don’t pay attention from spamming me.

On a side note, I’ve looked and looked for the KINO videos and can’t find them. Can ya point me in the right direction?

Gracey
Gracey

oh and my intitials before marriage were TJ..Though my name is not Tamara, it is Tammy.

I just watched the video, it’s cool.

Jason "The Chef"
Jason "The Chef"

“As for the lack of onscreen episode titles, it was a creative decision.”

Mind re-instating that next season perhaps? I really like the title of the episodes being shown. You should also maybe have more fun with it like Japanese sized episode titles like “The rat finds no purchase in life without hair color.” or “Some say we walk with a little tilt” What gripping titles those would be!

Deni
Deni

Thanks for the good wishes, Joe. He did much better today, actually went outside with Mr. Deni to play “soccer” (he scores many goals), had a blast and is now sleeping soundly, finally. The problem is that he usually has seizures while he sleeps, so I can’t take my eyes off him for a few days, but at least he’s resting. He’s had a bad case of Mommyitis today and that worries me because it usually precedes seizures, but so far, so good. The neurologist that sees him at UF is a brilliant guy, so I’m cautiously optimistic it’ll just be a matter of re-adjusting meds.

Otherwise, skipping through any comments on Friday’s show, hoping to watch on Monday! Have a good night wink

sylvia
sylvia

Cool clip – love the appearance. Won’t make any comments regard the photos of Carl and the Greyhound.

Guess you have a bit of a moral victory in that Mom did tune into the SGU without your telling her to.

Yeah, like Gracey said – viewing other shows and seeing familiar faces is cool. And, also agree, sometimes what is there is difficult to watch in spite of the familiar faces. sigh.

Thanks for the clip and mailbag.

Col. Mustard
Col. Mustard

Col. Mustard writes:  “Something that I noticed about Air II while watching Air III, what was Dr. Lee doing in Rush’s body while Rush was in Lee’s?”
Answer: Yes.

Of course! Now it makes complete since. I can’t believe I didn’t see that.

Marjorie Liu

Fantastic episode, and a wonderful start to a new series. I know I’m in love with a show when I find my mind wandering back to the characters, wondering/imagining what will happen next to them.

As well as where they’re going to get more toilet paper when that runs out. smile

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

The greyhound/Carl pictures were priceless. On the plus side, greyhounds are handsome animals, and there’s no shame in resembling one. Equally priceless is your recounting of the conversation with your mother. How lucky that you have someone so capable of deflating any hint of an obersized ego. ” They’re still walking”. You can’t even get angry because she is giving an accurate, if hardly complete, account of what is happening in those scenes.
The mailbag is appreciated as always. not that I expect an answer, but does the “not a shuttle” that left the ship have something to do with the more-battered than would be expected condition of Destiny?
As far as the now infamous sex scene, my attitude is “ho hum”. Randy, healthy young people in exotic places are probably not going to settle for cold showers to relieve their hormones. But I do think that a warning for those who have children watching, or who avoid those kinds of scenes would have been appropriate. Something the PTB might want to consider. If nothing else, it might help attract those in the demographic groups that they are seeking. The biggest concern I have here is that there is pressure for the show to be more like BSG, and that such scenes will be thrown in simply to keep that demographic group watching.
One last thing I’d like to comment on is about Rush. Over the last few days I’ve seen comparisons of Rush to Dr. Smith of Lost in Space fame. I’d like to point out that the Dr. Smith of the pilot and first few episodes was one of the great villians of tv history. He had intellegence, nerve, and a strong survival instinct that kept him from being spaced by the Robinsons. It’s a shame that LiS was dumbed down and Smith turned into a cartoon character. I’d be thrilled to have a streak of the original Dr. Smith to be manifested in Rush’s character. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and keep us entertained with pictures, videos, and all the other fun stuff you do here.

belouchi
belouchi

Joe!!!! Come on man…. I know patience is a virtue but this is killing me. Maybe tomorrow is my day smile

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Joe – about that sex scene. I was gonna let it drop, but (youpickedontammy)…

I think the ‘issue’ those of us who were offended by it have is this – NOT that there was a sex scene, but that the scene was not tastefully done. What might seem tame to you may be quite shocking to others, afterall, not everyone who has a tv set watches porn, or nighttime dramas, or soap operas, or Showtime and HBO. Many of us (it seems) are not regularly exposed to in-yer-face sexual intercourse in the shows we choose to watch, and will avoid those that step over the line. For me, that scene stepped well over the line, and far beyond my comfort zone.

The complaint (and concern) that I have is that I know there were many other ways to handle the scene without it being so explicit. That makes me (can’t speak for others) suspect that it was done in that particular way solely for shock value and/or titillation…or worse, for desensitization. Whatever message it was meant to convey was lost on me, despite reading comments about explaining the purpose of the scene. So, from where I am standing it was a pointless, ineffective scene that made me embarrassed for the actors, and put me off the first half of the episode. I wouldn’t say that it was a very smart move, whatever the purpose for it was.

das

Airelle
Airelle

If you look closely at the end shot(well ok slomotion) you can see its ship firing up after exiting the surface of the Destiny, hmm, the plot thickens. Oh goody another mystery!! Those sunburns made me feel for the actors, like they were for real. good job.I am thirsty also, thanks a lot.
@deni, hope your baby will be better. and you get some rest.
-I love your conversation with your mom Joe, she seems to have lost interest when you weren’t involved in this one, she’s such a cool mom. and I will look for the friendship cake recipe again. I need cake!!
Have a great day!!

Shadow Step
Shadow Step

Last time on Stargate Universe: “Answer: Really? Her father just died! Should she have just sucked it up and moved on to more important matters?” Well she could, however she could have flagellated her self, impaled her self on sharp objects and cried an ocean of tears – as long as we didn’t have to see it. Kino shutting the door: “And how exactly were they supposed to do that?” Regardless of explanation, I would say the (production) team failed big time on this: Everywhere I go, in newsgroups, on blogs, or with real life humans (you can touch them!) the vast majority of them are all saying “why didn’t they use the kino” and have opinions ranging from bad writing to stupid characters. Perhaps one of those lantern moments. Sex scene: I’m with DasNdanger and wonder if 10 years from now the special directors cut blueray edition of the pilot will have a commentary track talking about how the scene was removed since it was not necessary but the studio thought it would go down well with the younger demographic. “But Jamil Walker Smith blew us away with his audition and landed the role.” Well he’s certainly good at presenting a totally unlikeable character of the kind where you hope death will claim them at the first opportunity. Perhaps an unfortunate episode with an airlock? “Also, it will be interesting to read the response to the Greer character after tonight’s episode. ” Still rooting for the airlock. “After we were done, I asked them which character they liked best”. Lieutenant General O’Neill. “True, but anywhere he dialed he would have been putting lives at risk.” Isn’t a better retcon: He only knows the address to Icarus base, he hasn’t memorized the rest of the phone book! *g* (Also, Icarus – tempting fate – next they’ll change the name of the ship to Titanic!) “Any aliens originating from any of these new galaxies will be very different from the aliens we’ve encountered in either the Milky Way or Pegasus.” I say, didn’t that desert dust cloud have a guest role in SG1’s Absolute Power? “She’s the wife of a U.S. Senator heavily involved in the program.” And friend of the president. But then aren’t we all. And now, the continuation: Well, rarely do you get an episode where you need sunglasses, was half expecting them to run into a red double decker bus. However not enough spaceships, and too much whining from people I don’t know and don’t care about. Though its an excellent re-use of the stones – lots of potential for guest stars (are we sure Adria is dead? I’m sure Morena Baccarin will be available for a guest shot as soon as they cancel “V” Would i would have liked to have seen: Sending the Kino way up and pan around, and chose a direction based on that. And a lot of swearing and possibly a bit of punching. (Perhaps less sex and more swearing? That’s young… Read more »

Margaret
Margaret

*Spoilers*

So… Lt. Scott is an angst-ridden orphan who was raised by an alcoholic priest after his parents died in a car crash and who blames himself for the priest drinking himself to death after Scott’s 16-year-old girlfriend had an abortion.

Seriously?

Are you sure you didn’t mix up his back story from an upcoming SNL parody?

Dusty Owens
Dusty Owens

Hi, loved the show so far. And interesting that the Col. emptied a bag to put the stones in the bag to take with. Meaning they were part of the bases normal equipment, plus DR. Lee was sitting by the other stones in Home World Security.

1. Is the stones regular off world devices now?

2. During the dinner Chloe started to drink a little too much… then later on in part three her mom did the same thing when learning of them being on a far off ship. Could that be a sign of problems to come later on? Granted there is not much wine for anyone to drink on the ship.

3. You have said the planet had a naquadria core. Thus it can cause a big bang like destroying the planet. Since we did see that in SG1 when the new (after hammond quit) general used a nuke to set a planet of naquada on fire.

But from what I recall the naquadria was just known in Jonus(sp?) home world. And that was later shown to be because a gould created it from experiments but naquadria was not natural. Does that mean Icarus base was modified by the same gould in the past?

4. I dont know if I buy that the Destiny was never maned before. Because why would their be crew quarters with beds, life support or shuttles in the first place if no one was ever to be on it?

5. I dont mean to be nit pickey but how many places can some officers be assigned? Walter and Lee now at the Pentagon, plus how many ships can (think his name is Marks) he serve on?

Airelle
Airelle

P.S. Joe, Are you doing anything special for your birthday?

Jeff O'Connor

Oh, man. Joe, your mother sounds a bit like mine. Love her dearly, I do, but I do believe the two of them could get together and pull a joint stint for those audio overviews.

SGU is getting better every hour.

Mary
Mary

@ Joe – I liked Air 3 a lot better than the premiere. It made a lot more sense to me, people-wise. I also liked Greer, and I think that Jamil is fantastic. Everything Greer did in Air 3 made a lot of sense to me, even things that may have seen a bit off the wall, but in that episode, it all made sense. In fact, in this episode, Greer was my hand’s-down favorite. Honestly, though, regarding Greer, looking at Air 1 and 2, can you not see why there would be at least some criticism of the idea of the way his character was introduced (ie, the stereotypic angry young black man)? It really could not have been more stereotypical if it were deliberate (which I’m sure it wasn’t). The first time you meet him, he’s locked up, and then he almost attacks an unarmed and much smaller woman. He’s the only person we see stealing food. Now, eventually we may buy the reasons for those things, but that’s how he was introduced. It was like watching the evening news not so many years ago when the first thing one heard if a young male was accused of a crime was the color of his skin; also, his almost-attack of a woman and the fact that he was stealing, again, bad, negative, even vicious stereotypes. In Air 3, though, everything he said and did made sense in context, and, although I was somewhat uncomfortable with the way he treated Rush, Rush deserved it and Greer actually saved his sorry life. And Jamil is fabulous. Back to Air 3 – I really liked the dust devils. That was cool. I agree with Das – I like it that there was a mystery about exactly what they were, but I assumed that an Ascended Ancient was behind them. Or at least some kind of alien life form. It was also plausible to me that some folks would think they knew better than the others and would try to go off to another planet, especially if they had the dialing-thing with them. So Curtis and Palmer are stranded and probably dead. Harsh, but that would be the reality they’re dealing with. Everyone has to learn to live together and find a way of dealing. Or they’ll die. I liked TJ and thought her actions made a lot of sense; I liked her taking charge and being the medical officer she has to be. Of course, Telford is going to be way pissed at her, but I liked her attitude about it. Aside from TJ and the idiot who went through the Stargate to God-knows-where, the women might as well not have existed in this episode. Not to mention that one of the idiots who went to their deaths was a woman who was a scientist and otherwise smart, so a woman who otherwise had some brains was killed off right away. It’s 2009 already, nearly 2010: in real life, women have… Read more »

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

Just for Carl…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6bDxCN8IYY

smile

das

AV eddy

Hi Joe!

Watched Air III twice and really enjoyed it both times. Again with the “Wow” factor. smile

SPOILERS
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Really liked how it all came together and the White Sands area was so gorgeous.

The inter-character dynamic was interesting – how Curtis & Blonde Science Lady (sorry, forgot her name!) were so distrusting of Rush they were willing to risk going to another planet without a way to return. (With unhappy results, I believe.)

I wasn’t sure if I’d like the Ancient comm. device, but I see a lot of potential in using them to connect with Earth, but still be separate by many, many, many galaxies.

I’m not sure I’m into Chloe yet. I did like her scenes with her mom, but one small thing is her mom’s drinking seemed a bit cliche. I dunno. It’s not that her mom couldn’t handle this extremely stressful situation by drinking, but the whole pouring whiskey into a crystal glass just felt a bit OTT. Anna Galvin was great, so it’s no criticism on her acting.

Overall, loved the storyline.

@ Margaret No one said Lt. Scott drove his priest guardian to drink himself to death.

Really loved the Planet of the Apes ref by Eli.

Gotta go – pets are demanding attention.

eddy

Angelus
Angelus

I guess I must’ve missed the opening credits, Only thing I saw was the 5 second SGU flash intro Syfy likes to air.

Will episode 4 have the official theme song intro?

Debra
Debra

Took me FOREVER to get to your page last night, then when tried to post wouldn’t let me.

Anyway, I have to be honest… I really do. OMG, loved last night’s episode. I am hooked. It was exciting, fun, intense. Leora said she is addicted. I am a happy camper. Thank you.

Ponytail
Ponytail

I am also with Das on the sex scene. It could have been handled a different way. A way that conveys they are having sex, without actually showing it. If I described on your blog in writing what I saw, it would be pornography. You said this show was targeting a younger audience yet I would not let any child of mine, under 18, watch that. Unfortuneately, sex sells and you guys know that. I still don’t understand what kind of character traits you were trying to impress. Are graphic sex scenes going to be a recuring event aboard the Destiny? Tammy Dixon was right. The writers lack discerning awareness of who could be watching.

Zac B.

Is there any chance you could post some shots of the Kino remote?