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.
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.
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…
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?”
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?”
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.