Nothing kills creativity and story momentum like:

a) An ether leak

b) A 48 hour Who’s the Boss? marathon

c) Three successive blows to the back of the head with the butt of a gun

d) A two and a half hour discussion on script notes

e) All of the above

With Carl in town, we made terrific progress on Friday, spinning a new story and almost beating it out fully by day’s end.  I woke up this morning, raring to go, figuring we’d finish up and move onto the next one.  I was feeling good.  Feeling confident!  Hell, with Carl only in town until Thursday afternoon and things zipping along, I was certain we could get three stories broken this week.  I rolled out of bed, got ready to take the dogs out for their morning walks when – BING! – my iPhone alerted me to two new messages.  The first offered up some gorgeous pics of Place de la Concorde, gare de l’est, and potential police stations in Marseilles.  The second was from our script coordinator, Trevor, contained notes on the last two scripts.  Honestly. The least he could have done was wait until I’d had breakfast and then just broken a chair over my head and had done with it.

The notes were, uh, thorough, and we spent the morning going over them, deciding how best to address them.  By the time we were done it was lunch-time.  We grabbed some burgers, then headed upstairs to finish up Carl’s episode, then move on to a new story, spin it out, board it, and, hopefully, finish it.

Well, finish up Carl’s episode, then move on to a new story, spin it out, and board it.

Actually, finish up Carl’s episode, then move on to a new story, and spin it out.

In reality, finish up Carl’s episode and move on to a new story.

Okay, finish up Carl’s episode.


But I’m confident that, tomorrow, it’ll be smoooooooooooooooth sailing!

To those of you asking, the Transporter: The Series writer’s room looks like this: Robert Cooper, Alexander M. Ruemelin, Paul Mullie, Carl Binder, and yours truly.  In addition, designated hitter Ben Sokolowski has come in to pinch hit for us, delivering on what is going to be a terrific episode.  And that’s it.  No super-intelligent monkeys or trained Kodiak bears or highly advanced computers running virtual script software programs or writers from an alternate world who have already worked on the show in their universe and know which scripts were fan favorites so they’re going to go ahead and write them for us.

"Come gimme a hug!"

Okay, I’ve really got to find a new place to live.  The top floor of the apartment we’re in now is unbearably hot – but, in all fairness, only at night when we’re trying to sleep.  The main floor is actually quite cool, thanks to the air conditioner that is on its lowest setting and running full blast 24/7 despite the fact that it’s actually quite cool outside.  On the bright side, come summer, I’ll probably be able to bake tandoori chicken in the comfort of my own bed.

When last I left off my Stargate: SG-1 musings, I was discussing our ramp up to the big series finale!  We’d wrapped up the Sarah Gardner storyline, killed off a series regular, and written the scripts for the final four episodes.  At which point we learned we’d be coming back for an eight season!


Written by Michael Shanks and directed by Amanda Tapping, this one was all sorts of fun at almost every stage – pre, prep, production, and post.  The episode finds the N.I.D. screwing up yet another experiment, leaving Stargate Command to pick up the pieces (and dispose of the bodies).  Fans have long speculated on the full name of the nefarious organization and I’ve read some pretty good guesses: National Intelligence Directorate, National Intelligence Division, Next In Defense.  All great.  All wrong.  What it actually stands for is Not a Real Department.  N.I.D.  Simple, no?  Oh, right.  Well, it WAS originally N.R.D. but we changed into N.I.D. because it sounded better.


When Paul and I learned the show was going to be doing another clip show, we lobbied hard for the opportunity…Oh, you’ve heard this one before.  Never mind. Actually, as far as clip shows go, this one was a lot of fun, mainly because it afforded us the opportunity to throw in a twist at episode’s end by having company man Richard Woolsey actually demonstrates surprising strength of character by turning his back on the conniving Senator Kinsey and doing the right thing.  It’s the first step in the rehabilitation of a character who would eventually become one of my favorites to write for.  Terrific performances all around by Robert Picardo, Ronny Cox, and William Devane who had the gals in the production office all a-flutter after taking the time to autograph some pictures for them between scenes.


The plan (actually “plans” since it was fast becoming a habit) was to wrap up the show and then cap it with a movie.  Lost City was going to be that movie – until we got the eighth season pick-up, at which point it was rewritten and turned into our two-parter season finale.  This episode saw the introduction of Dr. Elizabeth Weir.  Blonde in Lost City I and II, she goes brunette by the time the Atlantis expedition gets underway in Rising I and II (In case you failed to notice).

One of my favorite moments of this season comes when all of SG-1 gathers for what they think may be the last time.  With Jack facing an uncertain future, Sam unexpectedly drops by for a visit.  As they sit down for a beer, there’s a knock.  O’Neill opens the door to discover Daniel at his front door.  Not long after, Teal’c comes a-calling.  As much as I enjoyed the show’s high-adventure, I especially enjoyed these scenes – moments that brought the team together, demonstrating that they weren’t just teammates but good friends as well.


A great series-ender that sets the stage for game-changing events, particularly with regard to Anubis’ destruction of an aircraft carrier.  I mean, holy smokes! How the heck is the government going to cover something like that up?!  Great, great question.  Guess we’ll find out next season!

Or not.

Making a special appearance in this episode is General John P. Jumper, former Chief of Staff of the United States Airforce.  I remember running into him in the production office the day before he was to shoot his episode and asking whether he had any plans to explore further acting opportunities in the near future.  He chuckled and assured me his Stargate appearance was a one-time-only thing.  “You sure?”I asked.   “Next week, I better not turn on the t.v. and catch you on Moesha.”

42 thoughts on “May 23, 2011: So, where were we….?

  1. Hey, Joe!

    Well, Judgment Day (Sat.) came and went, and we are still here.

    Just wondering… if you knew that it really was your last day what would be your final meal?

    And would you cook it, or have someone cook it for you?

  2. Ah so there are 5 of you writing The Transporter episodes, somehow I thought there were 6(Thats why I asked days ago, if you’re doing 2 episodes each), unless someone is using a Sodan Cloaking Device in the room lol

    I need to pay more attention I guess =/

  3. I liked all of these episodes–especially Lost City 1 and 2. That was some epic stuff. Glad the script-writing is going fairly well. 😉 Maybe you’ll be more productive tomorrow.

    Sorry about the apartment issues. If things work out with the one job that hubby is trying for, we will be looking for a new place to live in a new state ourselves.

    Speaking of which, there is no news yet on either of the jobs he interviewed for last week. We’re hoping we hear something SOON!!

    Have a good night!!!

  4. Yes, the destruction of the aircraft carrier…with a crew of 5,000+ people and its escorts always bothered me a bit the way it was portrayed.

    A meteor shower? Okay, where were the tsunamis that should have resulted as well?

    Or..maybe I’ve just laid a good foundation for a conspiracy-theory centered stargate epiode?

    And we won’t even talk about the cargo ship that crashed into the Pentagon. That was an extremely localized seismic event that resulted in an isolated partial structural collapse. Problem solved 🙂

    Seriously though, can’t wait to hear more plot points from the SG-1 movie that would have revealed the SGC’s existence.

  5. Lost City is my favorite episode of season 7. Great action, beautiful character moments, a huge battle over antarctica, and the first ZPM! You won’t know it, but I have a little obsession with ZPM’s. My friend (who is, like me, a massive Stargate fan) and I spent a whole day (actually a lot of days) discussing how it works and how to build a prop. Of course, we couldn’t find out how to build one (or we were just too lazy to put more effort into it)… Maybe you can share some photos of the designing (and/or building) process, if you have some? I’m sure a ZPM would look fantastic on my desk!

    And we also have the best clip show I have ever seen. I think it was actually the first one I really enjoyed. What? Someone can’t enjoy clip shows!? How’s that possible? 😀

    Have a good night!

  6. Real world’s been leaving me barely enough time to follow your blog, and not time to respond. Still loving it all, though I am alarmed at your apartment issues. Not so much you sweating your way through the summer, but Akemi and the dogs deserve better.
    Co workers are actually getting interested in your blog now, thanks to the new series. your efforts to take over the blogosphere proceed as planned.
    Thanks for the great posts and hope you manage to keep up the work pace. And don’t forget to treat Carl to a nice meal while he’s in town…

  7. 1. @ Lisa R. – Turtle bottle bugs DO exist…in my head. I mean, in my imagination/subconscious, not literally in my head, eating my brain or anything like that.

    I don’t think… 😕

    2. @ Sparrowhawk – I wish I could write a real story…but alas, I run out of juice by the first page. ADD is a bitch. 😛 The only time I was ever able to write a ‘story’ was back when I suddenly developed hypergraphia the day I received news of a dear friend’s death. I wrote for 20 hours a day, slept for 4…for 4 months. Then as suddenly as it came, the impulse to write died, and so did my creativity. I never went to see a doctor because I thought, ‘Oo! I’m suddenly SO creative!’, never realizing that I was probably suffering from a near-nervous breakdown. 😛

    3. @ archersangel – Thanks! I think… 😉

    4. @ Ponytail – Stay out of my head, Professor Xavier! 😡


    I’m sure some of that may be spot on, but I will also offer you this: I had been cleaning my grandmom’s house on Wednesday to make it ready for new renters, I’ve got stink bugs all over my office, I just had my house treated for termites a couple weeks ago, and we have squirrels coming out the boogie here where we live. The only thing I can’t figure out is the turtle part…unless it was that turtle I saw trying to cross the highway last week…

    But some of the stuff you mentioned hits a bit close to home, too. I don’t long for love, but I do for traditional values since humanity has turned so crass and obnoxious. My defenses are always up, I deal with a lot of anxiety, always have some obstacle to overcome…and the hoarding part could very well be my desire to purge my house from all the crap I have and don’t use or need. Oh, and the turtle? Yeah. 😛 I’m slow, always hiding in my shell, but loyal to a fault. Still, I stand by my house cleaning, stink bug, termite treatment and squirrel-filled yard explanation. 🙂

    5. @ Joe – Those script notes. Does that mean your story sucked? 😉 In all seriousness, can you tell me how things like script notes help to make you a better writer? Also, if it makes you feel any better, at 7 am Saturday morning my husband got a lock call. Was it an emergency, like a lock-out? No. It was some lady who ‘had a lot to do’ and didn’t want to waste her day waiting on the locksmith. Turned out that she was really nice, but lord…if it’s not an emergency don’t call before 8 am! (Because EVERYone should be awake by 8 am. 🙂 )

    6. Prayers and thoughts go out to all those in Joplin, Missouri, a city devastated last night by a horrific tornado. Last I heard 116 dead, and SO much destruction! 🙁 One man said his son saw another man impaled and pinned to a wall by a 2×4, then ‘he stopped moving’. I just can’t imagine witnessing that sort of devastation and loss of life. Just horrible.

    Okay…gotta go. Take care, Joe, and best to you on that script.


  8. Any episode with William Devane is a good episode in my book. The guy just brings so much weight to a scene. You gotta love him.

    It’s neat to hear you enjoyed doing those moments (as you wrote about re: “Lost City I”) when the team gets together as friends, because those moments are often what made the show so great.

    When a show makes you feel like the characters could your friends, it’s succeeded, and SG-1 did that so well.

  9. @das: Well, I’m glad they’re not actually eating your brain. 🙂 There’s still so much you have to offer us. Hope things settle down for you soon.

  10. I was always curious about the change in actress for Elizabeth Weir. I’m a fan of Jessica Steen and, not to take away from Tori’s performances, is there any particular reason that you all went with a new actress for the next season? Ms. Steen wasn’t available, you all preferred Ms. Higginson instead, some other reason you can’t pass on?

    PS. Good luck with the new show and with Toronto. I’m going to be in Montreal the first weekend of the jazz festival next month. Any suggestions for a fairly nice, reasonably priced, standard-fare place to eat in town?

    1. jessica steen HANDS DOWN was a better weir. strong performance all around. i was irritated when the character came on the scene but bravo take on the character and she took ronnie cox on beautifully. the girl who took over was just too soft and weak. just not believable. (sg-1 marathon bringing it all back tonight). really a shame the role was taken from her despite her wish to continue. w steen in the role, maybe atlantis would have lasted longer.

  11. Wow! What A great smile!

    @Das the pictures of Missouri are just heart breaking!

  12. @ das – you should have just said you ate something too close to bedtime. I eat too late and usually have a fitfull night dreaming of bugs in my bed. 😮

  13. NID… I always though it was “National Intelligence Directive.”

    I think the greatest thing about what you did with Woolsey in this episode was that looking back on his future appearances, you can see that turning the information in wasn’t some sort of big change of character for him. It was instead just who he is, a good honest bureaucrat.

    As for Lost City, well I was always disappointed that you couldn’t somehow go back and edit out Jessica Steen with Torri Higginson but of course that might be too much work and too disrespectful to both actresses.

    Finally for the record I always thought the meeting with the team members in Jack’s house was in fact quite awkward. I always got the sense that they saw each other at work so much they didn’t do much together outside of work so that it was only in these moments when they realized they were actually friends, they had related to each other so little in a non-workplace situation that they didn’t quite know what to do.

  14. Carl has such a happy face. Bet he and Sunshine get along great 🙂

    Did I miss where US folks will get to see Transporter?

  15. While I loved Chris Vance in “Mental” I would have really loved to see Jason Stratham be the lead in the Transporter series.
    1. Was there any attempt made to secure him for the role?
    2. Will the series be available on Itunes?
    3. Do you think if it does well the next season will the more episodes (20)?

    Now for the Stargate questions:
    Disclaimer: I’m a huge Sam/Jack shipper
    1. Was there any attempt to “ship” Cam and Sam together? (I’ve heard there was supposed to be a kiss in “Ripple Effect” between them and you nixed it plus the cookies and kiss in AoT)
    2. Why didn’t Jack get got at least a mention in “Unending”? (he was the star of the show for 8 years and Daniel’s, T’s and Sam’s best friend)
    3. Why wasn’t Sam/Jack confirmed in “Continuum”?
    please be sincere:
    4. Do you think Sam/Jack would have been confirmed in the 3rd movie or ever?

  16. Joe,
    you say you had the last four scripts written before you found out about the season 8 renewal. does that mean you originally had a different season finale planned if Lost City was to be the movie?

  17. Hi Carl!!

    You’re lookin’ good Sir!! It’s nice to see you again…

    That shade of green is really your colour!!


  18. What?! No mailbag ’til later this week?! 🙁 Joe, you’re gonna have to send me one of those time traveling puddle jumpers… giving it some thought, a life-size puddle jumper prop would be fine too 😉

  19. Hi, Joe —

    Adam Baldwin would have been interesting casting in SGA, but would Dave Dixon really have left his 4 kids in a different galaxy? I mean temporarily just to get some sleep, but possibly forever? He was a character I wish SG could have revisited.

    Besides, Joe Flanigan turned out to be perfect for SGA.

    I too have always wondered about the change in the actress playing Weir. I did feel at times that Torri was too young for the backstory given the character.

    I’ve never understood all the scorn heaped upon poor Pete Shanahan by sections of the fandom. It made sense to me that a cop would check out the secrets surrounding the woman he was beginning to fall for. I mean he gets paid to investigate. My problems with Pete come later in Threads when the character is written as a total dork rather than the smart, sweet guy portrayed before.

  20. Regarding finding a new home have you considered looking outside Toronto ? You’d have to commute a short distance but the real estate would be considerably cheaper. Theres plenty of nice cities/towns outside of Toronto (although most Torontonians think the world ends outside city limits) I’d recommend not looking in Scarbourough… Burlington, Milton… possibly even further into the Niagara Region. All depends how much you want to drive.

    If you haven’t explored the Niagara Region its worth the time, St. Catharines, Niagara on the Lake, Niagara Falls… just driving along the Niagara Parkway is nice. They’ve really made Niagara Falls a huge tourist trap but theres a few nice places you might like in particular,

    If you happen to be on Lundy’s Lane visit The Balkan Deli my friend owns it 🙂 he’ll make you a nice sub just say you know me 😛

  21. Say hello to Carl from me. Love that smile in that picture.

    I’m headed to LA tomorrow for the American Idol finale so I won’t be catching up on your posts until the weekend.

    I will miss you all very much. Keep good thoughts for Patrick. He developed these weird tic movements that have been going on all day. I’m still going, but worry for him. Jeff will take him to the doctor if they don’t clear up on Thursday.

    I heard U2 is now playing at the results show (where I will going).

  22. Hi,

    I have a question about the change in hair color for Elisabeth Weir. I never read why this was the case. I loved Torri Higginson’s version, but I am just curious because I thought the Elisabeth Weir from Lost City also did a good job. Sorry if this question was already raised earlier but I am only following your blog for the last year or so.


  23. SGU questions:

    in “Twin Destinies”

    1. They could not send a radio signal back to Earth through the Gate, so how did Telford not splat into the Earth gate iris? (since he could not send an IDC) Telford does say that Eli warned earth they would be coming, but how would earth know it was Destiny and not Lucian Alliance dialing in at that particular time?

    2. Rush asks Rush if he told the truth about what really happened when they dialed earth – the response “I told you what happened” played like there was something else going on. Also the choice to use the chair seemed like a way Rush could redeem himself for whatever mistake he made, or perhaps the death of Telford? Perhaps this was left vague to be revisited later in season 3?

    At the start of “Blockade” the fate of the descendant refugees was explained away with one line, where Eli says he wished they hadn’t all left. The assumption being they got dropped off on the other expedition planet? This feels like a huge story hole since the drones seemed to be waiting almost everywhere after that point, but Destiny managed to drop off the refugees without incident? Also – did the other descendants on the other expedition planet have any technology or info that could have helped Destiny’s crew?

  24. Hey Joe,
    Can we have more informations on the original script of “Lost City” (movie version) ? And the differences with the two-parter version?

  25. @ Ponytail – I can’t blame it on food. The dream happened in the morning, between 7 am and 7:45. I have some of my weirdest dreams in the morning, after I’ve woken up to use the bathroom, or something, then have gone back to bed. I also tend to remember them more vividly because they are fresh in my mind when I wake up. This morning as I was falling back to sleep around 6 am, I started dreaming about ‘otter turtles’ 😕 …and I was all like, ‘what the hell is it with me and turtles lately??!’, and it woke me right up, and I haven’t been able to get back to sleep. Friggin’ turtles. 😡


  26. Hello! Vous allez bien? Moi oui il fait un temps superbe ici!Carl!! ça fait plaisir de le revoir!!!! 🙂

    Ahaha pourquoi vous avez reçu ces photos de Paris..?? vous allez venir ici????? *le rêve* ….je ne comprend pas le rapport avec les postes de polices de Marseille?

    La saison 7 est géniale, surtout “Lost city” ♥

    Aller gros bisou!

  27. Joe, this is only slightly relevant, but last night just because I felt like it we re-watched “Window of Opportunity.” I’ve always laughed at the episode, and last night was no exception. But I particularly appreciated the poignancy of the resolution with Malikai when Jack tells him that he really does know how he feels.

  28. A few questions about the Daedalus (I’ll ask again)
    1) Would it be correct to assume that the Daedalus is powered by a scaled down version of the Neutrino-Ion reactors that the Asgard use?

    2)What is the yield (in megatons) of the Mark VIII tactical nuclear missiles?

    3)Does does the Daedalus use ion drives based on hebridan designs?

    4)Just how many missiles exactly does the Daedalus have when fully stocked?

    5)Given that a year passed from Air Part 1 and Gauntlet, what is the name of the next 304 and which country does it belong to?

  29. I agree with libkat about Pete. It only made sense a cop would check out his girlfriend.

    I hope you get Carl’s episode done today!

  30. So Joe, your memory really good. Scary good. Can remember every event of every day? Did I already ask if you have that Autobiographical Memory where you have perfect recall of each day? Cuz I cannot believe you can remember all of these amazing details for 10 seasons; I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last week I’m that dotty but your memory is scary keen. Here’s the 60 mins ep on Autobiographical Memory:

  31. My personal opinion of clip shows…. I hate them. I have always wondered why any writer would come up with something like that. Really, every single fan has watched the show usually from the beginning and if not, catches up later because of it’s epicness. So why throw some cool events and stories cluttered into one episode, when their full potential only shows in their full form. There have been series that have showed such clip shows before and I always turned off the tv or switched the channel.
    Not so with Inauguration. I watched that episode, um, maybe 2 or 3 times in a row, because it was the first time showing someone with brains learning about the Stargate program and I really loved Bob 😀
    Kinsey getting his ass kicked and Wolsey turning into a good guy was just really awesome. So I would say, “clip show with a real story in the episode? Keep it coming!”
    So nice job on that one!

  32. Speaking of clip shows (and I apologize, I’m sure it’s been asked before and I just missed the answer), but why did SG1 have so many? I’m assuming to cut down production costs and allow the actors a break? Yet, SGA really only had on clip show…

    As for Dr Weir, did you originally try to keep Jessica Steen and she wasn’t able/willing/whatever to join, or did you recast Weir purposely for SGA?

    As always, thanks for these SG1 behind-the-scenes tidbits!

  33. ” This episode saw the introduction of Dr. Elizabeth Weir. Blonde in Lost City I and II, she goes brunette by the time the Atlantis expedition gets underway in Rising I and II (In case you failed to notice).”

    I never warmed up to Tori H. playing the role of Weir. The previous gal, I don’t know her name, worked much better for me. Not that it matters now. But it did take me awhile to get into Atlantis because of Tori. Too … perky, or sumthin’.

  34. @SteveN

    In regards to your first question, pretty sure Telford or someone else mentions having used the stones to let Earth know they’re coming.

    My memory sucks at times, but I’m almost certain that is the case in the episode.

  35. Okay, okay…I’m startin’ to freak the hell out!

    There was a smushed TURTLE in the road in front of my house today!!! 😮 😯


  36. Hi. I loved a lot those episodes, The Lost City I & II, in the SG myth, it was a great “turn” to find the city of Atlantis.

    Also, i have doubts about SG-U, because i really don’t see The Lucian Alliance like a great threat, in the technologically field, this is the military field, with all the asgard tech, the Earth is beyond the power of any Goaul’d mothership, if a Daedalus Class Ship can take down Hive Ships, Replicator’s Ships (Aurora Class Ship), Ori’s Ship ->

    How is possible for the Hammond not to take down a few Goauld Ha’taks?

    And I really don’t think the Lucian Alliance have the ways to upgrade a Ha’tak’s Shield, and is far more difficult to create an Icarus Project, because to use tech doesn’t mean that you can know how it works, the USA Army took many years going through the stargate and the help of many civilizations (mainly Tok’Ra and Asgard), the Atlantis database, going to 4 galaxys to be able to create the Prometheus and the rest of the tech, also I don’t believe the Jaffa Nation wouldn’t be spending a little time attacking a enemy like the Lucian A. Yes, they are a threat and deserve to be attacked but i can’t see how they can be a threat of the size of the Goaul’d or is possible that Ba’al took the body of the Leader of the L.A.?

    Srry I wrote so much. 🙂

  37. SG-1 question :

    The people who made the Ascension (like Alterans, or Abydonians who made the Ascension) are called “The Ancients” or “The Others” ?

  38. As I mentioned before, my aunt is watching SG-1 for the first time. Her thoughts on Lost City I and II: She loved it, but…she felt it strange that O’Neill showed more affection to Teal’c than to Carter. Had she been consulted she would have suggested that O’Neill at least shake hands with her or something.

    I thought the Teal’c/Jack moment was nice – brothers saying goodbye. I also liked the moments at Jack’s house.

    Prayers for the tornado victims.

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