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:

#5: SAGE

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


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.


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.


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!


36 thoughts on “June 8, 2011: Marty G. rejoins this blog as a series regular! Your herbal top 5! Stargate: SG-1’s ninth season!

  1. Here’s a thought in case you find yourself with some free time in the next 2-3 years, and you want to take a sabbatical in Japan.

    “Kyoto Seika University announced on Tuesday that it will offer Japan’s first doctorate program in manga studies to new students, beginning in April of next year. The university in Kyoto has a 40-year history of academic study in manga and animation. The university was first to install a specialized area of manga studies in 2000, and it then created a Faculty of Manga in 2006. It was also the first to establish a master’s degree program in manga last year, when it accepted 20 students. ”


    I think you will agree that “Dr. Mallozzi” has a cool ring to it ..it even sounds a little super-villany.

  2. Uhh… You described The Pegasus Project in the Beachead bit, but yes, the lemon bit made it into the final airing.

  3. There’s no mistake with “Ex Deus Machina”, provided it’s intended to mean exactly the same thing as “Deus Ex Machina”. Because “deus” is only nominative (“machina” can be either nominative or ablative, but in this context it must be ablative because that’s the only case “ex” will take) and Latin generally uses word order for emphasis instead of meaning, “Ex Deus Machina” still just means “God From a/the Machine”, just with extra emphasis on “from”.

  4. Hi Joseph,

    Just wanted to point out that your comments under BEACH HEAD are actually suppose to be under season 10, episode 3 – THE PEGASUS PROJECT. Beach Head had no cross over in it…only the Ori taking over a planet and attempting to build an Ori SuperGate… just thought you would want to know…


  5. Your thoughts are getting a little intermingled, Joe. Beach Head was the episode that had the Ori building their supergate in the Milky Way galaxy. The Pegasus Project (10-3) was where SG-1 went to Atlantis to disable the Ori supergate. The latter episode was the crossover.

  6. Ok now I completely confused… I think you’ve mistaken “Beachhead” for “The Pegasus Project” Joe. Either that or I’m seriously losing it. Or both…

  7. Hmmmm…favorite herbs? Not really sure because I mostly love them all. I grow my herbs in pots since my soil is crappy. I have three varieties of thyme – regular, lemon, and variegated, parsley (which I mostly grow for swallowtail butterflies), sage, rosemary, oregano (Greek & Italian), marjoram, savory, tarragon, chives (I know, not an herb), mint, basil, and lavender. I think that’s it. I gave up trying to grow cilantro and dill because they go to seed so quickly and then they’re just no good.

    I love just snipping a few herbs in the morning, any combo, and adding them to my scrambled eggs or omlette. Nice to have in salads, too. Instead of commercial dressings, just chop up a few fresh herbs and add oil and vinegar or lemon – maybe some garlic – and it’s so much better than the stuff out of a bottle.

    As far as my favorite herb[s] go, well…that’s hard. I absolutely love sage, but rosemary ranks right up there, too…as does tarragon. Basil is certainly in the top five as well. You know, I think it really all depends on my mood, and the season. I eat a lot of basil in the summer, especially when I make Caprese salad (tomatoes, mozz, basil). Dill and cilantro also are good summer herbs. In the winter I’m drawn to rosemary, thyme and other hearty herbs. Like I said, it all depends.

    Joe, I’d like to recommend a nice cookbook from a noted restaurant out on the West Coast. I believe I mentioned it here before, but it’s a great book if you like cooking with fresh herbs: http://www.amazon.com/Herbfarm-Cookbook-Jerry-Traunfeld/dp/0684839768/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1307580595&sr=8-14

    Really a great book because it not only gives you the recipes, but it suggests pairings and substitutes, so it’s a great book for the creative cook to expand upon. I love it! (Well, I love it when I actually COOK. 😛 )


    PS: My type is scrolling again! Yay! Did you fix it, Joey? If so, thanks!

  8. Do you guys plan on doing any subtle stargate references in Transporter? After reading all this SG1 reminiscing, it seems like the writing staff has put in a number of little things that point to other shows like character names, etc

    Also do you think there might be any actors from the Stargate series showing up as guest stars in the Transporter?

  9. Mmmmm. Herbs! Sage is one of my favorite herbs – especially fresh from the garden; that’s why the recipe I submitted to Joe (long ago in a galaxy far, far, away when he asked us, his humble followers, to share recipes) featured crispy sage leaves. But during the summer, basil is a big winner. Like das, I love Caprese salad. And spaghetti with fresh chopped tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Yum! I also have regular thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, lavender and oregano. I think I finally killed off the mint. Nasty stuff. I gave up growing rosemary because it just doesn’t do well in my garden.

    I’ve got dill, too. Everywhere. Hey, das, my black swallowtail caterpillars eat my dill, not my parsley. What kind of swallowtails do you have?

    Joe, all of your Stargate memories make me want to go back and watch the ones I missed. There are a lot more than I realized.

  10. Martin Gero aka Golden Boy is back? Welcome back Marty G!! Is he going to be living in Toronto too? If so, I guess Toronto is starting to feel more and more like home for you Joe. That is great if he is there to stay awhile. Since he is back among friends, tell him he can get rid of that beard disguise. And look how he is wearing his spare glasses. Joe that is one place you can put yours.

    You said “The Powers That Be” was Martin’s first script. But how did he come about writing for the show? Had anyone worked with him before or did someone accidentally leave the back door open one day? Come on Joe. You are suppose to give us the behind the scenes on everything!

    Nice to see the old gang getting together in some way. I’m sure you are loving it!

  11. Hmm. See, rosemary bothers me. I occasionally like it in a chicken rub, but anywhere else and it just gets stuck in my teeth. My favs are definitely bay leaves, oregano, cilantro, and parsley. Mmm.

  12. Re MG: What’s that thing on his face?!!!!!! Yikes!

    And he always seems to have an Untitled Project in the works. He really should name a show that one of these days.

  13. I use thyme a lot more than I do basil, though I actually like the flavor of basil more. I just find tyeme works better with more things. But then again, I am of the put a dash of thing and a bit of that in a recipe. I never end up with quite the same ratios in my dishes. And I still have a long ways to go on learning about herbs and the best times to use them. It’s fun learning, though my initial attempts to grow fresh herbs iwas pretty ugly. Eventually I hope to keep enough of the little things alive long enough to use them in a dish.
    Looking forward to more MG stories, and glad the two of you have hooked up. Should make living in Toronto a bit esier for you to bear. Thanks for the posts, and please keep up the good work.

  14. Marty G. Yay!

    I think that I love growing the herbs more than I do actually using them. Many of them are so pretty where I live. Rosemary gets huge. I tend to kill basil, although it is my favorite. There are so many varieties that you can put in your garden. Thyme is another herb that looks great in a garden. Lavender can literally take over other plants. The one problem with lavender is you’re not supposed to cut it back because that could kill it.

    I don’t know why but the fact that Ben Browder was told her could not do any more stunts made me laugh. Who delivered the bad news? I’m sure he didn’t like it. He seems to really get into the action of acting.

  15. Joe! I randomly thought about your blog tonight as I enjoyed a fantastic dWINner at Fabrizios this eve. Long time no read! Life got crazy and work has been the same but glad to see your still blogging! (I’m the random chick who sent you the foodie game FYI) lol…

    I’ve been without tv since I moved back to my old house ( long story involving a certain scifi guy supposedly paying to have the poles removed from the street and lines run underground and me not being aware of this in my 2 year absence and a certain greedy tv company wanting $30k to run lines to my house) so no new Stargate for me and am awaiting DVD release. Booo. And no, Satellite isn’t an option since the hill my house is on just happens to block satellite signal!

    Good times…

  16. Marty and Joe are back together again. I look forward to all the stories you two will generate over the next few weeks/months. I hope TO is now a better place for you to live.

    My #1 fav herb is Basil. Love it! Next is Rosemary (with Garlic flakes), then Oregano. It’s a good combo for a lot of things. I have never tried tarragon. Thanks for the info. I will have to try it.

  17. Hmm, the comment thingy has changed.

    Anyway, I was going to point out the Beachhead Pegasus Project mistake, but it’s already been done.

    I agree with your choices of herbs. Thing is, I eat a lot of egg whites and chicken breasts, due to my bodybuilding hobby. Thyme and green peppers are an excellent way to spice those foods up.

    Baal is my favorite Goa’uld. The scenes he shared with RDA and later with Amanda Tapping are extremely entertaining. And he could also act as the comic relief, while being a system lord. Great acting all around.

  18. BABYLON was fantastic! Ben Browder’s fight scenes were amazing. Who did the choreographing on most fight scenes for the SG shows?

    Beach head: There was a scene where Shepperd pulls out a lemon from his pocket and gives it to (?) Mitchell. That was hilarious! Nice Touch writers!!!!

    The Powers That Be: love Claudia and the background was informative.

    EX DEUS MACHINA: I enjoyed seeing how Baal would fit in on earth. Cliff Simon looked mighty fine in that suit 😉 .

    Basil would be my number one herb. I have it growing in the front and back of my house during the summer. Anytime I’m making a pizza, I run out and grab a handful of fresh basil leaves. Rosemary would be next on my “must have” list. I don’t think I’ve ever used fresh tarragon. I may have to try it now. Fish, chicken and in butter? Hmmmm….

  19. Hey there Joe, just picked up your blog from about a month ago from GW and decided I’d try a swing at the questions. It’s very kind of you to take the time out to converse with and support your fans.

    I have two questions if you don’t mind.

    1. In the wake of Craig Engler’s remarks on the cancellation of SGU, can you shed any insight on who made the decision for a DVD-only release, and why? Caprica was disappointing enough, but considering that S1 was released (and purchased!) on Blu-ray, I have sufficient OCD that I find it difficult to purchase S2 on a different media format.

    2. Do you think it’s time for a “premium” science-fiction channel? Perhaps a venture by Netflix? I don’t think the economics would allow for ad-free like HBO, but I think a great deal of sci-fi fans are committed enough to the proper treatment of their genre that they’d be willing to shell out a few bucks a month to save it from wrestling and faux reality shows. After all, SG-1 got its start on Showtime, and Game of Thrones is doing marvelously with HBO.

  20. Hey Joe,
    just wanted to point out that the events you described for “Beach head” actually occurred in “The Pegasus Project” in season 10. And also in that episode….the citrus reference did in fact make it into the finished episode. 😛

  21. Ascending/descending, Beachhead/Pegasus…Toronto really is taking a toll. [shakes head]

    My favorite dish with tarragon: poached egg with tarragon white sauce. Which white sauce? Don’t know. I just follow the recipe. Scrummy!

  22. Yes, Cliff SImon was excellent as Lord Baal, great job, and he looked rather good in any of his outfits,,yesss,thanks. I thought it looked like Ben in his own stunts,wow, and ouch. I miss Stargates, fun tv, so little to choose from now, until this new show Transporter comes out, I hear it will be a runaway hit. 😉 Best of luck!
    Tried to grow rosemary , not much luck, and I also grow the parsley for the butterflies.
    AND Welcome back Marty G!

  23. Nice, a new comment system, not sure if I should use twitter or something to comment, I’ll think about it anyway, just obviously after using this name here, and only here for years it’d seem strange lol


    Any decision regarding SGU on DVD/Blu Ray is MGM territory, as SGU is produced in HD, it seems odd to do it in DVD format only, I would imagine the DVD boxsets outselling the Blu Ray ones for Season 1, and thus the Blu Ray format not meeting MGMs expectations.

    As its being released in other countrys in Blu Ray, I would imagine the US/CA release being just a matter of when, not if.

    And speaking of Caprica, that was produced by Syfys parent company, MGM had no involvement.

  24. Mailbag question

    Had SG1 recieved a Season 11, were there any plans to do another Sodan story?

    Speaking of the Ori Galaxy, were there any plans for SG1 to use the Gate to travel to random planets in the Ori Galaxy at some point?

    Were there any plans to introduce more Ori personalitys had SG1 got an 11th Season?(By personalitys I mean the way the Goa’uld had figureheads aka System lords with their own unique personalitys)

  25. Coucou! ça va ? oh je vous ai laissé un message ce matin mais je crois que ça n’a pas fonctionné =/

    Je vou disez que ça me faisait très plaisir devoir Martin 🙂 Tiens, il s’est laissé pousser la barbe? ça lui va bien :)!

    Je suis d’accord avec le numéro 1 de votre Top des herbes mais pour les autres places..:
    1# Thym
    2# Ciboulette
    3# Persil
    4# Basilic
    5# Romarin

    Passez une bonne journée!
    Gros bisous 🙂

  26. Does FOX own some of the MGM dvd distribution rights now? I noticed their logo brurb on SGU season 1 dvd set…would this mean FOX has a determining influence on MGM green light/red light to projects? Just wondering, thanks.

  27. I always felt that SG-1 Season 9 was the most uneven of the entire series. It had some good or great episodes, but it also had a lot of poor ones. In many ways SG1 9-10 was a different show than 1-8 and not just because of the cast changes. That said I was very sorry to see SG-1 end, I thought that the writing staff was starting to really find the show again in Season 10.

  28. Joe,
    I like your selection of spices while I would replace Tarragon with chile peppers. I also use a curry rub for my roasted chicken that makes a great soup base. Basil is a must for Thai food.
    While on a trip I was able to watch cable TV and a food show. THis show took the host to China and to eat some of the spiciest food ever(?). One dinner had a setting of 64 courses, wow. (Chinese cooking does not use ghost peppers)
    I really liked that you were able to get both Ben and Claudia on set. They both did great work as part of “Farscape.” When I saw them in Season 9 and Vala in season 8 I thought it was great to see then again. I had some question of the cross over but their talents and the quality of the show far exceeded any concern I had as a view . It is a shame I do not see Ben on screen (large or small) more often. However, think I have seen some cross over between Farscape and SG1 for some time. Dave Kemper did write a couple of episodes early on and in looking at the Tok’ra base’s their tunnels in their self titled two parter look fairly similar to Moiya’s hallways. Farscape was full of animatronics as SG1 used some in particular with the Asgard. I think it was smart to put the interplay between Daniel and Vala instead of with Cam. Claudia has always been a great and prolific actress. Even in Farscape where her character was serious, as in Claudia’s excellent performance in The Choice, she showed comic depth. I must say Claudia looked GREAT in The Powers that Be. If not for the dvd I would have lost much of the dialog do my effort in watching her in that outfit, POW. The costumers should have won a Juno! Claude was outfitted in some great costumes. It is a bit strange because in some of her commentaries in Farscape she did make some personal derogatory (I would say unwarranted) remarks of her form.

    While SG1 had many funny moments and indeed some humor written in, it did have some serious episode. Cam was far more serious in tone than Criten. But, SGU was very serious and more dark. Was there any discussion as to bringing in more humor or was it decided early on that the show would not go in that direction, and would you think it was one the shows short comings that disallowed the series to capture a larger audience?

    Thanks for telling us about your impressions and your recollections of some of the actors involved in the series. It does help fill some of the gaps and those appreciate involved more.

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