My fellow writer-producer Carl Binder is taking me out for a birthday dinner (Mine, I’m assuming; not his.), so I’m posting reasonably early today and turning things over to another much mailbag.
AnneTeldy writes: “I really dislike the use of the Stones for “family time”. It makes no sense. Mrs. Young, for example, wasn’t allowed to know her husband was base commander on Icarus but suddenly she’s allowed to know everything?”
Answer: When he was on Icarus, Young was still able to communicate with his wife and return home on a semi-regular basis. Now that he’s on Destiny, he faces the likelihood that he may never return. The same goes for everyone on Destiny and this places an enormous psychological stress on them – trapped, isolated, with no foreseeable hope of ever returning home. The home visits that the communication stones provide, though far from ideal, provide that glimmer of hope that will hopefully comfort them and keep them sane through the tough times ahead. Not granted them these visits home would have been the equivalent of abandoning them and even discounting the argument that they act on compassionate grounds, the SGC has a vested interest in keeping the Destiny crew happy and cooperative from a purely practical standpoint.
AnneTeldy also writes: “I’m hoping the women’s plotlines kick in soon. TJ is the only one so far with a story and a purpose. Chloe is annoying and useless. I hope to see some growth soon.”
Answer: Chloe is the biggest fish-out-of-water on Destiny, the equivalent to, say, any one of US being trapped on board with these scientist and military types. All I can say is it’s a long season and there will be opportunities to develop many of the unexplored characters – like T.J. and Wray.
AnneTeldey also writes: “I really dislike Camile Wray. I didn’t want to but, so far, I haven’t seen anything to like. She was yelling and throwing a fit at Rush and treating him like dirt in the first episode (”We don’t want to settle in; we want to go back!”). Then in “Darkness”, she had the nerve to reprimand other people about how they treat Rush. I also dislike the way she assumes she has authority. Definitely not likable.”
Answer: Fan opinions on many of these characters will change as we get to know them a little better. At first blush, Camile comes across as yet another in a long line of annoying IOA reps but, as the season progresses (and in particular after Life), we’ll get a sense of the real person beneath that tough, unfathomable façade.
SSJPAbs writes: “Why not get the show to air on a non-Friday night?”
Answer: When we air is a network decision.
PoorOldEdgarDerby writes: “Can Telford take over Young’s body indefinitely if he sees fit?”
Answer: No – for reasons that will become evident in coming episodes.
Skontel writes: “But can you at least tell me if this turns into some sort of pseudo-reality-TV, where the characters are constantly yelling at each other and figuratively stabbing each other in the back?”
Answer: Over the course of this first season, you’ll see this people at their very best and at their very worst. Granted, we’ve seen them at each other’s throats, but we’ve also seen them demonstrate surprising resolve and a willingness to self-sacrifice in the face of adversity. Take Air III, for example. Greer refused to leave Scott behind, risked his own life to find him and get him back to the ship
Skontel also writes: “There are quite a few things to like on the show so far. For example, colonel Young’s situation. He is respected and fully in command at the Icarus base, but the moment he gets injured, his authority isn’t as solid as it used to be. Everyone still seems to respect him, but you get the feeling the vultures would pick at his flesh if they could. It’s a very nice subtlety so far. It also better demonstrates burden of command, in my opinion, than the other shows did.”
Answer: Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown – something Colonel Young will discover firsthand in short time.
Skontel also writes: “I’ve seen many questions here and had discussions with my friends who watch the show, about the third Air episode, and the two characters that dial to another planet. Your response seems to indicate that fans shouldn’t worry much about those two characters anymore, and I’m fine with that. However, I feel that there is a conflict in what you’ve said. You claim that the planet they went to must have been unable to sustain human life, yet before they stepped through the gate they said that the readings were “better than on the ’sandy’ planet.” Faulty Kino readings?”
Answer: No. The suggestion here is that there may be many other variables beside atmospheric conditions that could make a planet dangerous, factors a kino may not be able to identify but which Destiny might.
Skontel also writes: “o be more specific, are you guys at all concerned with the actual science, and do some checking to make sure that science that goes into it has some basis in reality? Or do the writers just imagine things and explain them in ways that “sound good.””
Answer: We try to walk that fine line between scientific accuracy and compelling drama. Someone who has had great success doing this is author John Scalzi (http://whatever.scalzi.com/) – so it should come as no surprise that he is a consultant on the show.
Hegemonmonster writes: “Why is there such a big gap in the chain of command? We go from Col. Young to 1st Lt. Scott…why didn’t anyone/rank in between land on the ship as well?”
Answer: Unlike the Atlantis exposition, this wasn’t a planned mission. As a result, Destiny is now crewed by a most unlikely group of explorers.
Shawna Buchanan writes: “It did occur to me while watching Air III, why don’t they just have, say, McKay and Carter use the stones to switch places with some of those people on the ship who are sitting around doing nothing?”
Answer: This issue will be addressed in an upcoming episode. Earth actually.
Mary writes: “Again on the realism point: if this were real, those people would NOT be sitting around yapping, they wouldn’t be recording their images, thoughts and feelings to a camera that will never be seen by anyone on earth, they wouldn’t be chasing after the girls to see them naked, they wouldn’t be wasting water and power. They would ALL be doing their best to stay alive today and to figure out how to still be alive tomorrow.”
Answer: What would you expect them to do? There’s a huge difference between saying you’d like to do something useful and actually doing something useful. Most of the crew do not have the skills necessary to make any sort of contribution in this regard. Yes, there are plenty of marines with weapons and Icarus base personnel skilled at cooking and cleaning, but they are hardly in a position to start learning Ancient. In the midst of all tragedy life goes on – people eat, take showers, sleep, even find comfort in one another.
Gilder writes: “Any suggestions for insomnia?”
Answer: If you come across any, do share. I was up through most of last night.
Sean writes: “Is it possible or likely that the vortex (wind/sand) alien life form – from “Air (part 3)” – is not from the desert world at all but, rather, while in its natural state as “Air” (or wind) actually resided aboard the Destiny and traveled – undetected – through the stargate with the 7 individuals who stepped through to the desert world; and, that the same Air-based life form was helping Lt. Scott possibly so that it could return to the Destiny (undetected) with them, where they would fix the air on the ship, also rescuing the life form?”
Answer: It’s certainly possible. As to whether this is what occurred…stay tuned.
J writes: “And, when the first opportunity to use it as a MALP to run a scan of the earth to look for the element/mineral arose, and the destiny crew didn’t use it in lieu of aimlessly searching in groups, people asked questions.”
Answer: The kino sent back data on atmospheric conditions. Where was it suggested that it could actually take soil samples?
Thornyrose writes: “I like the Young/Telford friction. This is an issue that’s going to have to be addressed fairly quickly.”
Answer: Things will come to a head sooner than later.
Airelle writes: “Getting closer to Tokoyo time, are you packed yet?”
Answer: Not yet, however I have touched base with my Tokyo friends and have filled all but two of my restaurant slots. I’m going to have to find alternates for Dazzle (booked for a private party the night I want to go) and Quintessence (I’m third on a waiting list). I was thinking either going for the wild mushroom dinner at Muroi, the foie gras soba at Okina, or the roast Iberico pork at Tamao.
Airelle also writes: “Any more info on the comic or the short story?”
Answer: Hoping to have a deal in place for the comic book soon. As for the short story – the anthology will be out next year, date and cover artist TBA.
Tammy Dixon writes: “Pet sitters are catching on here. You could try calling the vet and seeing they could recommend someone.”
Answer: I did. Apparently, plenty of cat-sitters out there but no dog-sitters. 🙁
SebiMeyer writes: “Completely off topic, but I thought this would definitely interest you:
In Japan restaurants are increasingly showing off their menus by putting fake versions of their dishes into their windows.”
Answer: It’s amazing. There’s a district in Tokyo, kappabashi (kitchen town), where you can find all sorts of tasty-looking reproductions.
Ryan writes: “can Destiny dial eight-chevron addresses?”
Answer: It’s unlikely that the ship possesses the necessary power requirements.
Ryan also writes: “Power issues (and Rush’s apparent committal to stay on that ship at any cost) aside, is it possible for the Destiny team to ‘backtrack’ along Destiny’s flight-path, for instance to re-dial that Desert Planet if they run out of lime again?”
Answer: Destiny can only dial planets within range. Once a planet falls out of range (ie. the ship travels far enough away), dialing it directly becomes impossible. However, it would be possible to say, dial a planet within range and use that planet as a launching point to dial another planet within range of that original world. Of course, eventually, you run into all sorts of problems with regard to which planets are, in fact, capable of sustaining human life (there are only so many kinos after all and, once you run out, you’re stepping blindly through the gate into potentially deadly conditions).
Mary writes: “I’d have to agree – the puzzle here is why he hadn’t already pulled them together. Except for people who were temporary guests at Icarus, the rest of the people were supposed to be part of the Icarus team. They were familiar enough with each other that they can’t stand Rush – so it’s not like they’re all new to each other like Eli is. They’ve been together some period of time. So they should both know him and each other.
I could chalk a lot up to his injuries, but if he’s a good enough commander, more should be getting done per his orders while he is resting. “
Answer: I’d submit that there is a huge difference between being stationed on an off-world research base and going back to Earth on occasion and being stranded on a spaceship with no hope of ever returning home. These people aren’t robots programmed to respond to any and all eventualities, they are people – frightened, emotional people, most completely out of their element – scrambling to survive as best they can.
Mary also writes: “Knowing what we have learned of Stargate Command in the last many years, I can’t believe that anyone would be sent to a post off of Earth without being forced to undergo some kind of training. Eli and the Senator and Chloe are perhaps exceptions, but anyone who was going to stay there should be trained.”
Answer: I’m sure they’ve all watched the necessary videos and taken the requisite weapons training, but THIS they definitely have not trained for. These people are out of their depth.
Mary also writes: “I myself gave up on X-Files when they went the horror route; I can’t handle horror (except for vampire fiction, much of which isn’t really horror).”
Answer: Off topic but X-Files went the horror route from the get-go. It wasn’t the result of a sudden change in direction.
Mary also writes: “Another point that hasn’t been addressed: if power systems have failed everywhere on the ship, why is the kino system working and why do they have gravity?”
Answer: That’s like asking why cell phones and radios work if the power in your house goes down. The fact that the kino was operational off-world indicates that it possesses a portable power source that, yes, is charged by means of the ship. If the ship was looking to conserve energy, it might draw power from unaccessed kinos but the kinos “in play” would probably be the last things to give out depending on how long they’ve been in use.
Ponytail writes: “Why is David Blue (my favorite) being written as a 15 year old. How old is David? He is no kid anymore and does not look like a kid, yet he is peeping at women in the shower, and he is being treated like a young nerd. His character needs to be taken more seriously as an asset and his knowledge and intelligence be put to greater use.”
Answer: He’s being treated like a young nerd because, well, he is a young nerd. That said, he is far more mature than McKay was in his early years.
AmyG writes: “Also, in the command structure of the survivors, there doesn’t seem to be a woman in any position of power. Wray seems to be some sort of liason between Young and the civilians, TJ is a paramedic, Chloe was her father’s secretary. There don’t even seem to be any women on equal power footing as say Lt. Scott or the other male soldiers under Commander Young.”
Answer: T.J. and Scott are of equal rank and on equal footing. She is “relegated to playing nurse” because she’s the best qualified to provide medical assistance. Wray isn’t an official liason but will step up to play a bigger role in the onboard politics. Lisa Park is a scientist as well.