I’m past the halfway mark, reflecting back on SG-1’s tenth and final season…


My many years of playing Dungeons & Dragons finally paid off in this fantasy-themed two-parter.  And mom and dad thought I was wasting my time! Again, loved the double dose of villainy in this one with the indefatigable Adria in dogged pursuit while our team of heroes is saddled with the ever-entertaining Baal.  The production did a terrific job offering up various looks for various planets.  My favorite was the snow planet.  It was beautiful. And, in retrospect, a pain in the ass because the stuff they used for the falling snow ended up sticking to the bottom of my dress shoes and just wouldn’t come off despite my best attempts.  In the end, I ended up having to throw the shoes away.

I recall that, in the first draft, it’s Mitchell who races out to take on the dragon with the C4.  Exec. Producer Rob Cooper suggested giving the moment to Teal’c and the script was rewritten.  However, on the day, the scene was first up that morning and actor Chris Judge was still feeling the effects of a late night celebration.  Director Andy Mikita took great delight in running Chris through the sequence.  Several times.

Writing for the Baal character was a lot of fun because he was such an insufferable ass.  I remember writing his scenes with Carter and thinking that, if he’d copped that attitude with anyone else, they would have punched his lights out.  And then I thought – Why the hell not? Carter slugging Baal was my second favorite beat in the script.  My favorite?  Baal yelling: “I’ll go get help!” and attempting to beat a hasty retreat before getting blasted.


This episode stands out to me for the great one on one character sequences, Vala and Tomin, and Carter and Mitchell.  In the original pitch, Mitchell was going to be the injured party and Carter would have had to see to him while scrambling to save the day.  Ultimately, it was decided to switch things around since Mitchell had been injured at least twice in recent episodes.  Again, we made effective use of the village set that had been used in previous episodes (Morpheus comes to mind) and would be used on both Stargate: Atlantis and, one last time, in Ark of Truth. That enormous set was eventually struck and the stage (VFX Stage, we called it) became the home of the wraith hive ship set as well various other Atlantis- related locations (ie. the cafeteria balcony looking out on the water).


I love AU (alternate universe) stories.  I love them so much that I had come up with an AU story late in the show’s tenth season.  Titled Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, it saw the team jumping back and forth through time, influencing events and being influenced by past actions in a story both ambitious and, admittedly, fairly complex.  So complex, in fact, that I took the time to produce a detailed, color-coded outline clearly delineating the different time periods and alternate worlds.  Unfortunately, at about the same time I was working on my story, Robert and Alan had spun another AU story involving Carter. There wasn’t room for two AU stories in the back half of season ten but I wasn’t about to give up my story without a fight. Ultimately, it was a conversation with Exec. Producer Carl Binder that put things in perspective for me.  After I’d weighed the merits of both pitches, Carl threw me a look and said: “None of that matters.  You just do the better story.”  And, in hindsight, this episode was the better story.

One of the things I love about AU stories is that they allow us to use our pre-established characters in slightly different roles.  Or, in some cases, in roles in which we aren’t accustomed to seeing them.  This episode brought General Hammond and Major Lorne back to the SGC and offered up a more somber take on the Cam Mitchell character.  In this reality, Rodney McKay is a millionaire but still a jerk – who ends up doing the right thing.  And the President of the United States?  Why, none other than Hank Landry.  And in universe, fans of the franchise finally got what they’d been asking for: the existence of the Stargate program was finally made public.  With predictable results!  The decision to reveal the program to the public would have formed the core of the third SG-1 movie, Revolution.  After beating out the story with Brad Wright, Carl Binder got as far as completing a first draft before the project was shelved.

And only seven more episodes to go…

24 thoughts on “November 2, 2011: Reminiscing on SG-1’s Tenth Season!

  1. I miss stargate a lot I’m actually going through sci-fi withdrawl for which syfy is not providing a fix and to add insult to injury I just learned that syfy is killing battlestar gallactica blood and chrome and didn’t even finish the pilot what’s happening to sci-fi on television after all sci-fi is doing well in the box office.

  2. Would have been interesting to see that movie. On the other hand, that’s a Pandora’s box, can’t un-reveal the Stargate program, and I’m not sure I’d really want to see what kind of world it would make.

    That said, I also adore AU stories.

  3. “The decision to reveal the program to the public would have formed the core of the third SG-1 movie, Revolution. After beating out the story with Brad Wright, Carl Binder got as far as completing a first draft before the project was shelved.”

    all those possibilities… 🙁

  4. I remember requesting dragons, and later saying thanks, on this very blog.

    Thanks for including the photo of Don. He was looking good then. I know he would credit Ruby for that.

  5. Sounds as if it would have been a treat of an episode. I don’t know if I’m not just a bit sad that it didn’t get produced.

  6. I loved all those eps. Was sorry when SG-1 was canceled. Now, on to my news of the day. I’m at 6010 words on my NaNoWrimo novel. Yeah!!!

    Have a great day!!!!!

  7. I love reading your memories about SG-1, but every time you talk about specific episodes I have to get out the dvds and watch them. Then those episodes remind me of other episodes I love, so I watch them. And then the day is over, and I’ve done nothing that I really needed to do. I need an alternate universe where all I haveto do is watch Stargate all day!

  8. Love the AU stories, and time travel , what fun you could have, thanks for enabling my imagination to travel by all your wonderful stories and the terrific actors who played them so well. ~sigh~ miss stargates…~sigh~ give us some more please.

  9. Arghhh! One more reason to hate the economy, the politicians, MGM, Syfy, the unions, the trash collectors, and that teacher in 5th grade who tried to break me of reading sci fi. To have finally seen the Stargate program made public…I mean, come on, by season 10 there had been enough anomolous astronomical “events”, enough money spent, and enough soldiers injured or killed, internationally, to have roused suspicions. Never mind that there is NO way to keep such a secret when tens of thousands of people know it. One can only hope that someday a SG revival might see the project resumed.
    I’m also a lover of AU stories, and the Stargate franchise has always done a fantastic job with them. Road not taken aong them. Of course, now I’m wondering what the other AU offering might have been. Any chances of some hints?
    Thanks for posting, as always. Now, off to try and figure out how to use my new I phone. It’s a bit disturbing when the phone becomes smarter than the user….

  10. Finally, my favorite episode, The Quest. 🙂 Oooh, The Road not Taken, also one of my favorites! Wish the show would have continued for a few more years! Problem is (IMO), there’s no good sci-fi to watch these days.

  11. I love AU stories as well, very much to say the least. I made a whole fanfiction based on it, but well. I’m not a writer at all, which is why it all exists only in my head.
    Joe, do you ever have that problem of going over a chapter or part over and over again and you get so fustrated, because you don’t think it’s good enough? Because that is my problem and the reason I never get over… maybe 5 pages MAX. I tend to delete things then, which I always regret in the end.

    Anyway, man, I would have LOVED to see that movie. Damn, I always thought, the SGC should go public. I always wanted to see what you writers would come up with to make and awesome story.

    I miss the old SG1 days…

  12. Thanks again for the SG1 memories, Joe. Man, I wish there was at least SOME kind of SG show on the air right now, or at least in planning. TV is not the same without it.

    I hope you’ll continue with SGA once the SG1 reminiscences are over!

  13. I’ve always liked the Stargate AU’s, I’m glad to know that they’re a favorite of yours too.

    I would really like to read that AU outline that didn’t get done. And the draft of Revolution would be awesome to read too.

    I miss the Stargate universe so much. It’s great that you do these episode thoughts with us. Anything about episodes that didn’t get done would be a treasure.

    I’m also happy to hear that Maximus is doing so well. I’ve become very fond of him, in a cyber-space way. *sending virtual ear scritches*

  14. Even though Stargate Atlantis was my favorite of the Stargate family, I am really enjoying your looking back over your years on SG1. Thanks for doing this Joe.

  15. Since the movie is shelved I vote for a novel!!

    Got the results of my MRI as suspected it is a tumor however apparently if your going to have one this is the one to get! It’s called a lipoma. Described as a benign tumor composed of fatty tissues. They can grow anywhere in the body but rarely in the brain (which is where mine is). It currently measures 3cm wide and about 1cm thick. I see a neurologist tomorrow and I will know more and hopefully know when/how they will take it out! Wish me more luck!!

  16. Hey Joe

    I haven’t played D&D for years…. lets see, about ’79 or ’80 was the last time I played.


  17. Baal certainly is a favorite character. Loved it when Carter slugged him.

    You love AU too? When it’s done right, it’s really, really good. Thanks for the memories.

  18. I just watched, Season 3 episode New Ground (19). At the end of the episode it seems like Naian would have become a recurring character. Were there plans to make him a recurring character and the actor was unavailable? Was he considered to be the fourth member of SG1 for season 6? Or was he just supposed to be that guy in the background you create stories for in your head? lol

    thanks, Ian

  19. Thanks for the reminiscing. It’s entertaining 🙂 but it makes me sad ‘cos there’s no more Stargate on telly 🙁 still, it’s always in my heart 😉

    AUs…you can never have enough AUs. Or time travel. Or Baal.

    I’m with Shawna, though, on revealing the Stargate to the world. It would be such a game-changer and mean that the world in Stargate and the Real World would be so divergent I would find it harder to suspend my disbelief in all the crazy shenanigans that go on in the Stargate universe.

    But if it had been written that way, I wouldn’t have stopped watching, I’d still be interested in seeing what was done with that storyline. And maybe it would all turn out to be an AU. Or a dream. 😉

    Wishing you loads and loads of luck. 🙂

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