Al-most there!  I hit the 54 page mark of my second script for Transporter: The Series today.  I’ll take the night to think about the big showdown, then write it tomorrow along with the final scenes (surprise, goodbye, flashback, and SHOCK – in that order) after which I’ll be all done.  On the first draft anyway.  Paul continued work on his script for (what will now be episode 2).  And Alexander…oh, he kept busy as well…

The conference call scheduled for this afternoon has been rescheduled to tomorrow.  Rather than head home to consider the unique qualities of the episode 5 beatdowns, I hung around to do a quickie interview for Canada’s Space which will follow up Tuesday night’s series finale, Gauntlet, with a special Stargate-laden installment of Innerspace.  From what I hear, they got A LOT of interviews with Stargate personalities – David Blue, David Hewlett, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Louis Ferreira, Alaina Huffman, Brian J. Smith, and Jewel Staite (to name a few) – who’ll be talking about the franchise and its fans. Don’t miss it!

Producer Mark Askwith conducted the interview. Apparently, Mark is a huge comic book fan (he shares company with the likes of Warren Ellis and Neil Gaiman in the Batman: Black & White collection) and has alerted me to an upcoming comic book show this weekend.
Michael does the heavy lifting. And shooting.
Sweet ride, no?

Interesting editorial over at Gateworld today: http://www.gateworld.net/news/2011/05/how-wrestling-is-killing-science-fiction/

Also, file this one under “You just noticed?”: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/business/media/03television.html?scp=1&sq=tv%20ownership&st=cse Thanks to Chad for the link.

Also, couldn’t resist including a link to one of the stupidest articles I’ve read in some time – http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/eerie-links-between-harry-potter-184109  The “eerie links” cited?  Well, both Bin Laden and Voldemort are bad guys with bad minions (Al Queda and the Death Eaters respectively), Obama has been referred to as “the anointed one” by critics which is how Harry is referred to in the books (!), and Bin Laden died on May 1st while Voldemort perished on May 2nd (only one day apart!!!!).  Compelling, no?  No, I didn’t think so either.

Continuing our trip down memory lane, I pick up where I left off in the middle of SG-1’s fifth season.

One of the things I’d often heard about was the toxic on-set atmosphere on certain other shows.  I remember being told that things got so bad on one SF series that, the second the director yelled “Cut!”, the actors would march straight back to their trailers with nary a word or a look exchanged.  The crew was always on edge and it made for a very difficult working environment.  This was in marked contrast to Stargate where the mood was almost always relaxed and, dare I say it, a hell of a lot of fun.  Everyone enjoyed being there, and much of the credit for that rested with Richard Dean Anderson.  It’s often been said that number one on the call sheet sets the tone, and it’s true.  If your number one is miserable, he’ll make every single person on set miserable as well.  If, on the other hand, your number one is a t.v. veteran who loves what he’s doing and feels life is too short for petty on-set squabbles or power plays, then that positive attitude tends to influence the entire production.  Hey, I’m not saying it was always easy and that people never disagreed (ie. Boy, did Rick ever hate Prometheus) but there was always that mutual respect and sense that, in spite of any differences, all the parties would be back at it the next day, sharing a laugh and having a great time.  Rick, as I said, set the tone.  He was always good-humored and charming.  Amanda was an utter sweetheart, adept at pulling off the most challenging of tech talk in front of the camera, yet incredibly and down to earth behind it.  Michael was passionate and incredibly focused, but also kind and thoughtful.  Chris was the exact opposite of the stoic character he played: magnanimous, boisterous, generous.  And then there was Don, the southern gent, who, in many ways, was very much like the character he played: amiable, principled, and very likable.  And, over the years, through the show’s many changes, that’s how they remained.  Simply great people to work with.

DESPERATE MEASURES (511)

A couple of things stand out for me about this episode.  The first was that ridiculously long search sequence near episode’s end that included endless shots of Teal’c and Daniel going up and down stairs.  Yes, the episode was short!  Another thing was a slight dialogue change in O’Neill’s scene with the homeless man.  In the original version, O’Neill says “Yeah, and I’ve got a closet full of Playboys…”, but after some consideration (aka – getting a note requesting we change it), we elected to go with “National Geographics” instead which, while less Jack O’Neill, was certainly more Richard Dean Anderson.  Also the original draft of the script had a couple of very funny exchanges between the doctors who perform the procedure but after further consideration (aka – we received a note that O’Neill provided more than enough comedy for the episode and we didn’t need the guest stars delivering as well) we decided to love them.

WORMHOLE XTREME

Oh, boy, where to begin?  Over the years, I’ve referenced the multitude of in-jokes in this episodes, from the red spray-painted kiwis (a dig at Director Peter DeLuise who used those very alien-looking fruit in Beneath the Surface) to Hank Cohen’s cameo as a studio executive who suggests the show needs “You know what this show needs is a sexy female alien.” (art imitating life).  There’s our faux t.v. hero trying to negotiate a veritable minefield of corpses (a call back to The Fifth Man), someone ridiculing the one shot stuns, two shots kills, three shots disintegrates abilities of the alien weapon (Hello, zat guns), further ridiculing of doing an episode involving “out of phase” physics (we did plenty), another character’s assertion that they’ll surely win an Emmy…for visual effects (the best any scifi show can hope for), and much, much more.  The part of Grell, the Teal’c clone, was actually played by Chris Judge’s stand-in, Herbert, while the episode offered a host of cameos from behind-the-scenes personnel including a much heavier yours truly who demands to know “Hey, what happened to all the doughnuts?!”.  I recall Director Peter DeLuise making me do three takes, directing me: “You’re hungry!  You want some doughnuts!  But there are none!  You’re really hungry!” then “No doughnuts and you’re REALLY hungry!” and then: “Okay!  REALLY HUNGRY!”.  The day that scene was shot, I found my wardrobe awaiting me in the office: a lime green shirt and a pair of atrocious lime green plants.  I wore the shirt but passed on the pants.  Apparently, our Costume Designer did not take the news well.   “Writers,”she apparently muttered with a roll of her eyes.

I would love to dig up the outtakes and extra footage on this one.  One scene that ended up on the cutting room floor involved the character of Teal’c.  SG-1 and Hammond are watching the Wormhole Xtreme trailer at which point we do a PAN OFF the screen, across the briefing room table to Teal’c laughing uproariously and enjoying the hell out of the show – much to the bewilderment of his fellow team members.

PROVING GROUND (513)

Some episodes you hate at the pitch stage but end up warming up once the story has been broken.  Others, you hate at the outline stage but end up actually liking once the script comes in.  Still others, you may hate at the script stage but love once the episode is completed.  This is one of those rare episodes that I took issue with from start to finish and, to this day, ranks as one of my least favorites.  Why?  Because it’s not about our characters.  That and the all-too predictable late twist that anyone who has ever watched television before will see coming a mile off.  On the other hand, the episode was notable for an appearance by a then relatively unknown Grace Park as one of the young cadets.

48 HOURS (514)

The working title for this episode was Teal’c Interrupted, but later changed to 48 Hours.  I was extremely disappointed.  I figured, hey, if you can call an episode Watergate, you should be able to call another one Teal’c Interrupted!  The episode kicks off with the shocking death of Tanith, shocking insofar as he was a mid-major villain who suddenly and all too quickly buys it in spectacularly unspectacular fashion.  From what I recall, we were unable to reach a deal with the actor on another episode and, rather than leave the character dangling, elected to write him out instead.  This episode also saw the introduction of one Dr. Rodney McKay (“Rodney?”I remember asking Rob at the time.  “Is that the name you want to go with?”), an insufferable ass who, over the course of the franchise’s run, ended up redeeming himself in surprising fashion.

SUMMIT (515)

Boy, the costume department had a field day with this one!  This episode was a try-out of sorts, an audition for future system lords.  I drew on a variety of different cultures, creating a colorful rogues gallery.  The hope was that if one popped, we could use him/her in future episodes.  Well, one did: the exquisitely evil Baal played by Cliff Simon.  I remember working on a rewrite of my first draft when we received word that actor J.R. Bourne would not be able to reprise the role of Martouf due to scheduling conflicts.  As a result, my rewrite was a little more extensive.  Rather encountering the Martouf we knew, we encountered his symbiote, Lantesh, who had taken a new host.  It worked but, alas, was nowhere near as powerful as it could have been.  I publicly toyed with the idea of not using a host body and simply having Carter bid a tearful, smooch-filled farewell to the little rubber snake – but it was more an attempt to irritate my fellow writer-producers than a serious pitch.

LAST STAND (516)

Back in the old days, SG-1 used to kill Jaffa with gay abandon.  They were little more than cannon fodder for our team, nondescript bad guys who deserved everything that was coming to them.  Except, as time wore on, knocking off the goa’uld’s foot soldiers wasn’t as easy as it used to be because we started to explore an aspect of the Jaffa that had been glossed over in previous years: the fact that they were essentially pawns.  Unlike the ruthless goa’uld who were motivated by a thirst for power, the Jaffa were misguided and knocking them off grew increasingly problematic.  At the end of this episode, we massacre a slew of them with the deadly toxin that targets their symbiotes and, while it may have seemed a smart strategic move at the time, like the food pyramid, asthma cigarettes, and Coca-Cola for kids print ads, it was the sort of thing that eventually went out of style.

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Chad
Chad

You’re welcome!

Lisa R
Lisa R

Lots of good links today. And the memories of Season 5 were great too! My favorites of this bunch were Wormhole X-Treme and The Summit.

Question for the mailbag: Is there any chance that those Space interviews could be made available on the Internet after they air in Canada for those of us that aren’t Canadian?? Pretty, pretty please!!!!!!!

Have a good night!!!!!

Lou Zucaro

First off, last night’s episode was fan-flippin-tastic! Man I really am looking forward / not looking forward to the last ep. After the cornucopia of emotions you said we’d feel, well, we’re already starting to feel them. This is probably the most maddening cancellation since ‘Firefly’.

Ugh.

Second, ‘Wormhole Xtreme’. Yes, hilarious on many different levels, but also so enticing on one big one: The ‘what if’ of ‘what if this is all really how ‘Stargate’ came about in the first place’. That’s my favorite aspect of this episode: The geektastic daydream.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

That was fun!

Stryse
Stryse

Curious… did RDA have any hand in what would become the Prometheus’ destruction? I was certainly a little leary of Earth having star ships… that it would supplant gate travel (and then beg the question why we had a stargate command anymore). That, obviously, never happened.

I do recall a GateWorld poll around Atlantis’ premiere on what fans would want another spin-off to revolve around.

Stargate Prometheus won, hands down.

Given Destiny, an interesting foreshadow as it turned out.

(Which I kind of find interesting, given some of the initial denouncement of Universe as simply Stargate Voyager: Lost in Space… here I had thought fans wanted, and sort of asked for, a stargate show set on a spaceship.)

Anyway, as the finale looms over us… I did want to express my thanks to you, as well as everyone else involved in Universe, for giving me a show worth watching.

I’ll certainly have to get Cinemax now. smile

Lisa R
Lisa R

@Lou Zucaro: That’s what hubby and I say about Wormhole X-Treme every time we see it. And we joke all the time about what would happen and how we think people we know would react if the Stargate program was actually real.

Stryse
Stryse

Oh, and Rodney remains an insufferable ass, just grew into a loveable one. smile

Oh how I miss my weekly visits with Rodney Meredith McCay, of the Barcelona McCays

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Another great post. I’m becoming more and more convinced you need to do that book. And I’d say Alexander has the best job on the writing staff. So when are you going to knock him off to get hold of the cool toy? Whenever it is, we ask you don’t break him too bad. We need more Sunshine in the world.

Speaking of sunshine, I wish to ask the readers here to keep the family of Lt. Bobby King, CHFD. in their thoughts and prayers. Lt. King, a part time med-flight paramedic, was killed in a car accident late last night. ,Bobby was true good people, and his loss leaves a gaping hole in the hearts of those who knew him. My apologies for the downbeat post, but Lt. King was a truly special person deserving of rememberence.

JeffW

Thanks for the Season 5 memories Joe!

Still curious if Peter DeLuise was referencing someone’s proclivity for large explosions when he was yelling “Bigger!” for more of a fireball (perhaps a running gag?), or was it just an ad-lib?

I did read through the Gateworld article and thought it was well thought-out with a good compromise solution…any comments?

gforce
gforce

Thank you so much for the SG memories, Joe. I’m really enjoying reading them. It’s making me want to dig the DVD’s out and rewatch the episodes. Of course, maybe I’ll just dig them all out and start from the beginning right up to the end of SGU!

That was indeed an interesting article on Gateworld, and also how Space is planning such a big InnerSpace blowout for the finale. It’s just so interesting how the show has been treated by Space Channel versus that “other one”.

Good luck on finishing that script!

Ponytail
Ponytail

I agree with the Gateworld editorial. It seems SyFy has a problem and they need to seek help now. I too was adicted to Wrestling a long time ago for about 2 years. Nothing good came from it. Even the Texas wrestling family I watched ended in pure tragedy and death. The Von Erichs. SyFy needs to come back to it’s science fiction roots and totally get rid of Wrestling. Come on SyFy, imagine greater, not bashing a steel chair over someone’s head. There is lots of uncharted space out there just waiting for discovery.

Sg1efc
Sg1efc

“things got so bad on one SF series that, the second the director yelled “Cut!”, the actors would march straight back to their trailers with nary a word or a look exchanged.”

Please don’t give us a bit of dirt, without giving us at least a hint to the name of the show, you know? I’m sure that there are others besides myself dying to know which show you are talking about. smile

Sg1efc
Sg1efc

“I would love to dig up the outtakes and extra footage on this one. One scene that ended up on the cutting room floor involved the character of Teal’c.”

Really seems like MGM is missing out on some extra bucks by not including as much outtakes and extra footage as they have, on DVD releases. True fans of any show will gladly pay extra for these DVD’s, I know I would.

Deni
Deni

“Obama has been referred to as “the anointed one” by critics…

You meant “Osama”, right? LOL, I don’t care either way, but it was kinda funny. smile

LOVED “Summit”!

@iom666
@iom666

Space is what Scifi channel used to be.
I enjoyed so much Innerspace SGU edition! So much fun to see SGU backstage and occasionally have a member of the cast comment the episode of week afterward, that was a total blast.

For those who missed it, its on http://www.spacecast.com/InnerSPACE.aspx
Consider using a Canadian proxy if it doesn’t let you see it (this is what Hulu looks from Canada BTW so don’t complain).

Space rules !

Greg
Greg

What about Ben Browder & Claudia Black ?

Deni
Deni

Disregard the Obama thing, just read the entire article (OMG)…

HBMC
HBMC

So what did RDA hate about Prometheus?

I liked that episode. Wasn’t a fan of the one that came after it (but then again I’ve never been a big fan of the Replicators, human-form or otherwise), and overall it didn’t feel like part two of a two-parter as it the original story had been dealt with, but still, I thought Prometheus was a lot of fun.

So what didn’t RDA like, and why was it such a big disagreement that you remember it to this day?

Deni
Deni

@Das: Yesterday, you said to me “I dangled that nipple out there to see who would bite. Figures it would be you. ”

Nope. You wrote “@Deni”. See? I’m not the perv here…

Diane
Diane

I just discovered your blog, and it’s great fun. I do have one comment regarding the SG-1 shipper debate mentioned earlier. As for me, I liked the way the Jack/Sam issue was dealt with on the show. It wasn’t my only reason for watching, but I think it added a believable and necessary layer to the show. And in the end, when they did not get together, I just wrote my own alternate ending, and they lived happily ever after. wink

sparced
sparced

that gateworld article is interesting, but doesn’t seem accurate.

Syfy has a lot of scripted programming in the pipeline and there’s plenty of other scripted series doing well on the network. Just because Stargate died, doesn’t mean other scripted shows won’t come in and replace them. It’s sad to see Stargate go, but the audience voted their thoughts on the series by not watching the show on TV.

I’m not sold on the day of the week argument either. Networks can’t plan for every show to air on Fridays. It’s not feasible as Syfy has too many new scripted shows that have to air.

archersangel
archersangel

count me in the camp of wondering what RDA didn’t like about prometheus? are you saving that for your season 6 reminisce? or will talking about it just stir up stuff?

paloosa
paloosa

I’ve finally been able to catch up with the last two episodes (thank god for video-on-demand), and wow!

As so many other folks here have said, “Epilogue” was great storytelling. Carl did a fabulous job creating the history of a people with all of it joys and tragedy’s from one generation to the next. From beginning to end, it was a symphony of writing, acting, directing, special effects and so many other elements, including the final note of Joel Goldsmith fantastic score. And the one scene I am so thankful for, was when Scott told Chloe get under the table during the first quake. Carl in one quick moment has shown more people how to save themselves during a quake than I have in the last 15 years giving my walk. And I can’t be more grateful for that moment, it’s a lifesaver!

Then you guys nearly killed me with “Blockade”. The drones stalking everyone in the city was terrifying. Equally terrifying was what poor Lisa Parks suffered. I couldn’t stand the suspense, and had to fast forward. Considering what a visually grizzly fate she could have had, I was thankful she was only maimed. The exchanges between Eli and Rush were riveting, and again, another stunning episode.

Although I can’t wait to see what happens next, like everyone else, I dread next week. But I’m going to buy Season 2, and when I can afford it, eventually Season 1.

And the Gateworld article nailed it. Syfy is too busy creating endless numbers of shows without thought for quality. I absolutely believe now that SGU was scheduled for failure. I so wish Americans could get Space Channel. They know what sci-fi fans want, and they know how to deliver it.

irish pete
irish pete

Could Brad give an outline of how he wants to end the series to an author for 1 book or maybe a handful? Sabine C. Bauer has wrote (for me anyway) the best stargate novels. James Swallow also did a great job on the sgu pilot novelisation. It can safely be said that the million or so viewers who tuned in every week are the hardcore fans of sgu. I bet that the majority of them would buy a book(s) continuing the story. That would be a lot of sold books. Now i know that maybe Brad might not want to go down that route but its a possible avenue. Would i be right in assuming that only mgm, and not syfy, would be needed to sign off on it. I’d like your opinion on it if its at all possible. The last 3 episodes of sgu were epic and the final one looks even epic-er-er-er-er.

Anais
Anais

Coucou ça va today?? Moi super, il fait un temps magnifique!!!

Je vois qu’il y’a aussi une bonne ambiance à votre tavail wink vous ne devez pas vous ennuyer!

Dites, je pense à quelque chose…comment vais-je faire maintenant pour vous envoyez votre cadeaux d’anniv annuel? Quand le temps sera venu il faudra que vous me donniez l’adresse du bureau de Toronto wink

Vous aimez le Hockey? Je regarde de plus en plus mes amis Québécois mon transmit la passion du Hockey je crois^^!

WORMHOLE XTREME est vraiment l’un de mes épisodes favoris, il est tellement drôle! J’ai une question, que pensez vous de la future serie “Captain Starship” avec Paul.M dans le rôle principal? wink

Aller, bisou!!
Anais