Hey! Look who it is! No, not Joaquin Phoenix. It’s Martin Gero (Stargate: Atlantis, Bored To Death) who is in Toronto to Executive Produce his new show (which I’m calling Untitled Martin Gero Project or UMGP). We met up Sunday night for chat, laughs, and this odd cocktail containing pimms, gin, lemonade, ginger beer, and cucumber. Then, we met up again last night for more chat, laughs, and octopus. Given the fact that we’re both fellow foodies, our dinner conversation tends to be atypical of most guys. For instance, instead of discussing the NBA finals or Stanley Cup playoffs, the topic of discussion turned to matters of far greater import – specifically, our favorite herbs.
Martin put basil at #1 and, as much as I like basil (it’s a solid #3 in my books), nothing comes close to my #1. And #2 is a bit of a dark horse, admittedly, but I really feel people should give it a try.
My Top 5 Herbs in ascending order:
A little strong, granted, but it works really well, fried crisp, with chicken or veal saltimboca.
Also possessed of a very pronounced flavor. A little goes a long way. But terrific with roasted chicken and potatoes.
There’s nothing like fresh basil in tomato sauce, on pizza. pasta, or buffalo mozzarella.
Why doesn’t this herb get more love? Great with chicken and fish, it marries perfectly with butter, imparting it with a delicate sweetness.
Goes well with everything – chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, carrots, potatoes. I even like it in my chocolate!
Looking back on SG-1’s ninth season, I think it and the proceeding season were the most creatively satisfying years for me on the franchise. Writing for the combined talents of Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Ben Browder, Claudia Black, and Beau Bridges was easily the most fun than I’ve ever had on a show. I guess it should come as no surprise that fully half of the episodes that made My Top 10 Favorite Stargate Episodes list came from the show’s ninth and tenth seasons: August 15, 2010: MY Top 10 Favorite Stargate Episodes
THE POWERS THAT BE (905)
Martin Gero’s first script for Stargate: SG-1 offers a peek at Vala’s dark past, her potentially bright future, and her very colorful present. This episode was actually made up of two different pitches: one about Vala returning to scam a world she once ruled as Qetesh, another involving the healing device and the dilemma it presented. The latter was a notion I’d pitched out but was going nowhere until we started talking about the first story and realized it made sense to marry the two. As with most every episode, that’s the way it worked on Stargate. Despite the onscreen credit, everyone in the writers’ room participated in the creation of each story – discussing the initial pitch, spinning some ideas, beating out the story, structuring the narrative, and providing notes on the outline(s) and various drafts. If we were going to be precious about our individual ideas, then longtime Executive Producer Robert Cooper (the master spinner) could have easily laid a co-story credit claim to fully 90% of all episodes produced.
BEACH HEAD (906)
Although Exec. Producer Brad Wright had his hands full with Atlantis, he took the time out to write this episode of SG-1, a big crossover event that quickly became a fan favorite. At one point in the episode, Mitchell pulls out a lemon and shows it to McKay in an attempt to keep the high-strung Rodney in check (Actually, now that I think of it, I remember seeing it in dailies but don’t recall if it made the final cut). McKay’s citrus allergy was a long-standing in-joke, a reference to a member of the production team early in SG-1’s run who, every time they’d go out to lunch, would insist he was violently allergic to citrus. “One drop could kill me!”. This despite the fact that, unbeknownst to him, most every salad he ordered at the local restaurant did, in fact, contains citrus.
EX DEUS MACHINA (907)
While we were spinning this story about Baal hiding out on Earth, I suggested he could be working in a garage under an assumed identity, thus giving us the opportunity to title the episode Deus Ex Mechanic. Paul pointed out that, given the fact Baal was an ex goa’uld “god”, an even more appropriate title would be Ex Deus Machina. Well, when we finished breaking the story, the mechanic idea was out the window, so we settled with Ex Deus Machina. One of my very favorite titles – made all the greater by those outraged fans who called us out for such an obvious mistake!
This episode also gave us the opportunity see my favorite System Lord, Baal – played to deliciously evil perfection by actor Cliff Simon – take his overlord act to the environs of planet Earth. And, best of all, dress the part!
Director Peter DeLuise had long lobbied to have actor Tony Todd (Candyman) on the show and, finally, the perfect opportunity/role presented itself in this episode in the form of Haikon, the leader of the Sodan. Tony’s was one of many great performances in this episode, but special mention goes to Ben Browder who went all out, even performing some of his own stunts – with bruising results. He went all out – so much so that, after watching one alarming set of dailies, the producers made the executive decision to revoke the lionshare of Ben’s stunting privileges!