Crazy as this may sound, I think I may be getting older.  No.  Really.  I was sitting up in bed last night, reading the entire first volume of Morning Glories when I realized I was having trouble focusing on the text.  I gave myself an impromptu vision test, covering first the left eye, then the right, and realized that my right eye seemed weaker.  Hmmm. This might explain my recent headaches.  I thought it was simply a natural reaction to my writing partner’s incessant yammering.  Our trusty exec producers’ assistant, Trevor, has arranged for me to visit an optometrist later this week.  He warned me that my appointment may include a pupil dilation that would make it very difficult for me to perform basic functions like reading, driving, and firing a sniper rifle.  As a result, I’m going to have to ask him to help me out.  For that afternoon, I’ll have to count on him to find and read aloud various amusing online articles, provide detailed explanations of the hilarious goings-on in those failblog videos, pick me out the choice lunch sandwiches, unwrap my chocolates, and, of course, complete my rewrite on episode 3.

I spent most of today waiting. Waiting in the passport office, waiting for lunch, but mainly waiting in traffic.  It took me an hour and twenty minutes to drive in to work today.  That’s about an hour over my average time.  I’m sorely tempted to start a new blog called Traffic City Toronto so I can have some place to post pics of the city’s traffic gridlock, douchebag double-parkers, and endless construction zones devoid of any construction workers.

Prep continues on Transporter: The Series in advance of tomorrow’s (and Wednesday’s) big broadcaster summit.  We checked out some camera tests and a bit of early stunt footage compliments of our car stunt coordinator, Michel Julienne, in Paris.  Looks pretty kick-ass.  Also went over the new storyboards for the car action sequences from the pilot and Carl’s first episode.  Also pretty amazing.  Can’t wait to see the real thing.

On the comic book front, my editor at Dark Horse, Patrick Thorpe, forwarded me two of artist Garry Brown’s new takes on the ship design for our upcoming series, Dark Matter 

Really like the rotating engines on the second vessel.  My only suggestion was that the ship itself should be a little bigger, more imposing.  What do you all think?

Continuing my SG-1 season 8 reminiscences…

ICON (805)

One of the last things we, as writers, do (and, often not very well) is come up with titles for our damn episodes.  Up to the point where the episode gets an official title everybody can be equally unhappy about, it works its way through the notes and rewrite process with a placeholder title.  On very rare occasions, usually when everyone is looking the other way, one of those placeholder titles may actually become the official title (see: Watergate and Enemy Mine).  If that had happened on this episode, instead of Icon, your t.v. listings would have read English Patient Daniel.

Two things I remember about this episode (beside the fact that I thought it was one of Damian Kindler’s best).  During the dailies, we would argue at length about the fact that a bicycle appeared in one of the scenes on this alien world.  Some argued that it was “too Earthy” and took us out of the scene, while others (Paul chiefest among them) argued that, if aliens were to build a bicycle (or a hammer or a glass or a fork), it would probably look a lot like the ones we had on Earth. Amid all the back and forth on bikes, we completely failed to notice the smoke detector in one of the interior scenes (or, as I later called it, “the alien humidifier”).

A lot of debate on that final scene in which bad guy Soren steps out of the room and is shot dead.  In the script, he comes out of the bunker, raises his gun – and Carter(I believe) shoots him.  The other regulars in the scene argued that they would act just as swiftly and be in on the kill.  Then there was a debate over whether or not Soren should raise his weapon and whether our heroes would essentially execute a man who was surrendering.  In the end, we solved the problem by having one of the guest stars shoot the villain in cold blood.  And, of course, get admonished for it.

AVATAR (806)

I’ve never been a huge fan of virtual reality episodes as there are only so many ways you can go with them.  Still, what makes an episode special isn’t so much its premise but the light it sheds on our main characters – in this case, Teal’c.  So, what do we learn about Teal’c in this episode?  Well, for starters, we learn he has a really big head.  There were two versions of that VR helmet he sports in the episode.  The first was built prior to any proper head measurement and, as a result, would only fit us mere mortals.  The prop department had to come up with a completely different helmet to accommodate Chris’s, er, roomier head.

AFFINITY (807)

Believe it or not, actress Claudia Black (who some of you may remember from such seasons as nine and ten) was originally considered for the role of Krista but was busy with the Peacekeeper Wars mini-series at the time.  Good thing too as, in retrospect, she would have been all wrong for the role (Erica Durance nailed it) but all right for the part of Vala the following year.

Around the time this episode was being written, we decided it was silly to always be pinning the blame on the N.I.D.  To those who didn’t any better, you’d think they were an evil organization bent on world domination rather than one of the good guys.  We squinted, looked the other way, referred to them as “rogue elements of the N.I.D.” and, eventually, came up with a name for a whole new group of bad guys.  After much consideration and working our way through a host of possibilities, we decided on one that hadn’t been taken on any other show – which was a lot harder than it sounds because Alias went through a slew of them. Anyway, we decided to go with “The Trust” and wrote that into the script.  Only to find out during prep that Alias had used it in a recent episode.

COVENANT (808)

Hmmmmmm.  Not one of my favorites.  We really dig ourselves into a whole only to dig our way out and go back to square one.  During the big press conference, I wanted one of the reporters to ask: “Hey, does this alien thing have anything to do with that aircraft carrier that mysteriously disappeared last year?”.

Stargate Command was in a tight spot, with the truth about its entire operation – and alien connections – about to go public.  How were we going to get out of this one?  Well, while we were brainstorming ideas, someone (won’t say who) suggested Thor offer the SGC time travel technology that would allow them to go back in time and undo everything.  Wha-huh?  The Asgard have time travel technology?  Why had Thor been holding out on us?  More importantly, with this convenient new technology, the SGC could simply go back in time whenever things didn’t go their way (ie. someone got killed, SG-1 didn’t save the day, the Nuggets failed to make the playoffs).  Needless to say, that idea didn’t fly.

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Lisa R
Lisa R

Sorry Joe. I think I’m as old as you are, and I wear bi-focals. Really, it’s not that bad. wink It will make things a lot clearer.

I hate traffic. I remember one time we were going back to Michigan from Wisconsin and got stuck in Chicago traffic for four hours. Yuck!!

Liked the Dark Matter pictures. The ship could be a little bigger though.

I think I liked Icon the best out of this set of eps. And you’re right, it did remind me of The English Patient.

Have a good night!!

Randomness
Randomness

@No. Really. I was sitting up in bed last

You’re probably just tired Joe, can imagine your new Joe being both stressful and enjoyable, maybe you just need to catch up on your sleep or something.

@Really like the rotating engines on the second vessel. My only suggestion was that the ship itself should be a little bigger, more imposing. What do you all think?

Depends on the context in which the ship will be used, will it be a battleship, or the kind of ship that swoops on in, picks up the crew, maybe holds its own a little before flying away, in heroic kind of way, saving the day.

Back on the episode discussion.

Loved Avatar, thought it showed a side to Teal’C we all knew he had, the fact remains he would never give up until his people are free, until the Goa’uld are defeated, if one needed proof of Teal’Cs true loyality, this is it.

Randomness
Randomness

*your new Joe

Meant to say your new job lol

Anyway forgot to mention, that Transporter news tidbit you gave sounds promising, best of luck with that stunt stuff and what not.

Also, how many episodes have been written/planned so far Joe? all 12?

Shirt'n'Tie
Shirt'n'Tie

Hi again Mr M!

Just a line to say, further to previous contact, I have been appointed as a Columnist with The Irish Times (the biggest national newspaper in Ireland)
My column will appear monthly in the Health Supplement.

My first offering, which I feel is universal (!) is here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/health/2011/0531/1224298132961.html

If any of the gang here click on it, they can read it.
The more hits…the better for my new bosses!!

Thank you Mr M and one and all!!

S’n’T

DALLAS MARSHALL
DALLAS MARSHALL

Regarding fur kids….you showed us yours; here are mine: http://tigerkittyent.blogspot.com/

G T :)
G T :)

RE “rotating engines on the second vessel” – that was also Firefly’s design of Serenity …….. :0) – used very judiciously at one point, to destroy a ‘reavers’ ship – yes, but unfortunately, like SGU, the show got banished by unimaginative people ……

:O)

Janet
Janet

G’day Joe

Yes you are getting older. But we all are, I have three pairs or glasses for different types of reading and I am younger than you – so haha.

Any word on an Australian broadcaster for Transporter – The Series.

Getting cold now in my new town, winter starts tomorrow. There is already snow on the mountains

noelm
noelm

Let us know what your optometrist says. I’ve been experiencing the same, and putting off an appointment for months. I had to put on reading glasses yesterday to take a tick off kid #2, who was back from cub scout camp. And you don’t want to know where the tick was!

me
me

Affinity is when I became a huge Erica Durance fan. She is great.

MNP
MNP

The interesting thing about Avatar was that when I first saw it, I thought it was tremendously stupid. But as the years have gone by I’ve realized it really highlights not just Teal’c but the bond between the entire group. What seemed almost awkward in season 7 (the beer gathering) seemed so natural here just the team relating to each other in a team situation.

I think it furthers the sense that they might not quite know how to behave with each other in regular situations but if it’s a life and death matter they pull together instantly.

Tammy Dixon
Tammy Dixon

Affinity was a episode I still think about. Thanks for the memories!
Glasses? It sucks getting older. I hope your day is better tomorrow.
Epcot was okay, I sampled all the food representing different countries.
I would like to be the only person walking on my feet though.

jreeths

@Lisa R.
My sister went to UW Madison, yet we live in Michigan. I have often gotten stuck in traffic in Chicago. Never as long as you, though. At least, not yet. I drive to Madison this Thursday.

On the construction front, again, I live in Michigan. One time my friend decided that there is no real construction, the DoT has simply run out of places to store orange cones.

Last summer they were rebuilding a bridge near my house. It’s about 20 yards long and they worked on it for months. At one point there was a wooden sawhorse at the site. Why the hell did they need that? Road construction makes no sense.

Sparrow_hawk

I like to think that reading glasses are a sign of Maturity. They give one an air of Dignity. An Intellectual je ne sais quoi .

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

If it’s just reading that’s giving you trouble you can probably just pick up a pair of inexpensive reading glasses at your local drug store. If they do that in Canada. But best to get your eyes checked to make sure you don’t need them for distance and near vision.

Sparrow_hawk

@Shirt ‘n’ Tie: I read your article. Well written and very true.

Ponytail
Ponytail

Usually, after the age of 40 is when you begin to notice vision changes. You just need some reading glasses. Don’t worry, they will probably make you look smarter or more distinguished, and you can get a chain and keep them around your neck for quick use. Think of them as a piece of jewery. Getting older is a blessing. Would you rather not?

Good luck with your big 2 day Summit. It sounds scarey!

dasNdanger
dasNdanger

From my experience, a man who wants a bigger vehicle is compensating for…ya know… somethingwink

In all semi-seriousness, it’s hard for me to tell since I don’t know what sort of space ships these are: are they little single-man fighters, or big ships boasting a crew of thousands?

Big day today – big relaxing day – out early for breakfast on an open air deck (feta and asparagus omlette – yum!), a little boardwalk shopping, back home for a nice, restful afternoon in the back yard with my kitties, a good book, a some beer…and later a bit of bourbon (Pendergast made me do it!), then out for dinner on another open air deck, then back to the boardwalk for some custard and a stroll. I felt like I was on vacation all day! grin

das

Debra
Debra

Sigh, I just told my daughter I have to get both new driving and computer glasses as my vision is very much worse than last year. I’d worry but they did the whole exam, dilation, etc… so it’s just old age. And I am older than you so it’s expected.

LOL I’d like to see douchebag parking pics. Can we submit? I actually have printouts in my glove compartment that berate such parkers and I actually put them on their damned windshields.

@iom666
@iom666

Try some dark sunglasses, or an eye patch ! wink
Failblog ? You probably meant http://dogs.icanhascheezburger.com/ !

BTW, because of your Stargate memories I am actually renting all the Stargate SG1 DVDs. I didn’t watch it before season 8. Oh man I am having so much fun!
Richard Dean Anderson is a pearl, I have been laughing so much because of him. I also understand that after 10 seasons of this you guys wanted to do something different like Stargate Universe. All things happens for a reason. Maybe it was really time to close the Stargate chapter.
When I see SG1, SGA and SGU, I think you writers really tried everything there was to try for Stargate (including the Groundhog Day episode).

My only regret is to not see Telford get fried/killed/alien gang banged one more time wink

majorsal
majorsal

hi, joe,

1- why doesn’t mgm want to do a combo movie (to provide closure for sg1/atlantis/sgu)?

2- can you please ask carl to come on over to your blog, to answer some s/j questions regarding stargate: revolution?

i hate, to the highest levels of hatred, that there’s no closure for not only sam/jack, but the three stargate series storylines. such massive disregard, for such beloved shows and characters…

BMc
BMc

@Shirt’n’Tie –
Oh, dear lord, what nightmares you did re-awaken.

Dara Lundy
Dara Lundy

Perhaps Transporter will become a regular show and you will get to live in Toronto for five or ten years.

Ponytail
Ponytail

@ Shirt’n’Tie – read and very much enjoyed your article. I like how you intertwined humor and facts. Nice style. It makes reading about dentistry fun. I’ll click on it several more times for you (and your bosses). Good luck!

DP
DP

The first ship looks like you’d have to buy a whole new one if a part broke. It’s the kind of complexity that could look delicate. I don’t know your characters, though. Maybe they value a fancy look over being able to repair the ship w/ parts from an Aerostream trailer.

I am fired up by the first ship’s Transformers vibe, though – you could work with that.

The second’s engines look too intimidating to be directly beside living quarters – I’m assuming there’re living quarters. Blade outs and disc ruptures – holy cow, the momentum involved when a part breaks away while spinning at those rpm’s – yowza. I did crunch some numbers on various scenarios of that back in my days working with jet engines. I don’t remember the numbers, but I remember the yowza. You can’t make the engine shrouds too beefy.

If sub-light maneuvers are involved, beef up the joints between the engines and fuselage, especially for the second ship. Spread the support forward along the fuselage more, too, even if it takes some flying buttress looking parts. I see that ship flexing too much as is. Never mind, that would be ugly. I’m tapped out – maybe some wholly new takes on the ships would jog my taste.

So much of an opinion on the ships depends on what your characters and stories intend to do with them.

Hauling freight? Needs more of an interchangeable parts/ tractor-trailer look. How can you pull them up to a port or hitch a load?

Just hauling ass and nothing else? There’re concepts in those sketches that could get you there.

Occasional landing on planets? I like that they look like something a monster truck could climb. The profile of the first one could put the pilot eye level with a land-based story, not just waiting on the landing pad for the countdown clock.

sylvia
sylvia

@Shirt’n’tie – nicely done.

paloosa
paloosa

I’d blame Toronto for your blindness. I think it’s aging you beyond your years.

There was a flock of WWII navy fighters flying around the San Fernando Valley for Memorial Day this afternoon. I’ve loved airplanes since I was a kid, and ran outside armed with a camera every time they flew over my apartment building. I’ve gone to military air shows and air races many times over the years.

So I was thinking about the ship designs. The second rendering looks like a futuristic Osprey, with vertical take off and landing capability. If this is a spacecraft, why does it need to do this in space? Although boring, wouldn’t smaller directional thrusters be just as effective for both space and atmospheric maneuvering?

Also, like other folks here, I don’t have a sense of size. Although, since they both have bridges, I assume they must be pretty massive. And are they being used for battle or exploration?

@Tim Hendrix My deepest sympathy for your loss of Rhet. But as everyone here has already said, you did the right thing. Your pup was family.

I would love to have a pet, but I honestly can’t afford one. The cost of food and vet bills are just more than I can handle. I’ve loved animals all my life, and I just visited a friend who has six dogs, big dogs. I was mauled, and loved every second of it. I hope in time you decide to bring home a new family member.