Done and done.  Sort of.  I finally finished the first rough draft of the miniseries.  Now, I switch off and go over the first part which Paul has been revising and rewriting.  I think it’s coming along quite nicely – a suspenseful, near-future four hour television event.  They’re looking to go to camera in July which, on the one hand, means the turnaround on the rewrite is also going to be tight, but on the other hand means that our work will be complete by July.  As much as I enjoy producing, I like the fact that we were basically hired guns on this one.  We write the script and then go on our merry way.  I was hoping “all the way to Hawaii” but it looks like our dog-sitter is fully booked so I’m going to have to hold off on any trips until July’s Comic Con in San Diego.  Well, that’s the plan anyway.  Anyone else going?  I will, of course, be there to talk Dark Matter in advance of the trade paperback release collecting the first four issues of my comic book series, but if you’d like to chat Stargate, scifi, or my Snow Monkeys’ chances heading into this next fantasy football season, then by all means let’s chat.

I picked up about a dozen fresh spot prawn the other day and, while we were cleaning them, Akemi asked whether I wanted to prepare them head on or head off.  She’s squeamish about certain things (ie. eating a face with beady black eyeballs) and leaned toward tossing the heads which I found altogether unJapanese.  Why, I recall that one of my favorite menu items at a tempura joint in Ginza was its deep-fried prawn heads.  And so, I decided “Why not have the best of both worlds?”.  We decapitated the prawn and I prepared the heads as a side dish.  Like so:

May 31, 2012: My Fried Crispy Prawn Head Recipe!
After washing the prawn heads and patting them dry, toss them in flour. You can add some salt, pepper, maybe garlic powder or paprika as well but I’d avoid any herbs or minced garlic that could overcook and turn bitter in the extended frying process.  I was considering using egg or even some soda water, but Akemi advised against it.
May 31, 2012: My Fried Crispy Prawn Head Recipe!
Heat some canola oil in a wok (or deep-fryer of your choice) and heat the oil to somewhere between hot and really hot (380 degrees, let’s say?). Pop your prawn in and cook ’til crispy, about five minutes.
May 31, 2012: My Fried Crispy Prawn Head Recipe!
Sprinkle with salt and serve.

They were quite good but, of course, nowhere near as good as the ones I enjoyed in Tokyo.  In retrospect, maybe I should’ve gone with the egg and soda water.


Ponytail writes: “I can’t think of any 70′s show that might have had a “bible”. Can you? Each week was basically anew again.”

Answer: I’m quite certain that whether or not they had a series bible had nothing do with its serialized or stand-alone structure.  SGU, for instance, was somewhat serialized – we knew where we were going – but we were never working off an official “bible”.  We had a series overview and character breakdowns to get us started in addition to the plan creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper had in mind, but there was never a detailed blueprint for the show that a “series bible” implies.

Michael Carney writes: “Joe: how fleshed-out are series bibles typically before a series begins?”

Answer: It really depends on the show.  Some productions prefer to have a highly detailed bible in place before moving forward on a show while others prefer a less-detailed series overview.  I personally prefer the latter because the more detailed your game plan in the beginning, the more difficult it will be to make changes as a series progresses – and there are always changes.  Somethings work out better than expected while other things don’t work out at all.  Opportunities suddenly present themselves and it’s nice to have the ability to respond in stride and allow the creative to evolve rather than paint yourself into a corner from the get-go.

Michael Carney also writes: “And, in a related question, does a network being pitched a series like SGU or Fringe need details of the story arc and its eventual conclusion before giving the green light?”

Answer: A network will certainly want to know where the show is headed, and see proof of concept in the form of a pilot script, but it won’t need to know the conclusion in order to green light a show.

Ponytail also writes: “Joe those two elder pugs you’re trying to adopt aren’t getting any younger. What is the problem with that organization? They are starting to make me really mad!”

Answer: I’m to blame for the delay.  I’ve been busy working on this miniseries and haven’t had time to gather all the necessary documentation.  I just got a letter reference from my vet and will be forwarding that tomorrow.

Cyn writes: “Do you look back, Joe? Do you look at SGA or SG-1 and say nobody did that like us or we did a hell of a thing? Do you miss it? Will Stargate ever come back, you think?”

Answer: I do reflect back fondly on my Stargate days.  I worked with a great group of people – generous and immensely talented – and really miss the camaraderie and the incredible results of all of our hard work. Nobody did do it like us, especially with regard to our visual effects. Our VFX team, led by the great Mark Savela, was continuously producing viz effects at least a step or two ahead of anything else being done on television at the time.  It’s a damn shame they didn’t receive the recognition they deserved. As for Stargate’s future – I don’t know. It’s a valuable franchise that, someday, will be reborn, probably in the form of a feature.  Whether or not it builds on the mythology and characters developed in its television incarnation is the big question.

JeffW writes: “Any other “must try” restaurants in Gastown? Macarons?”

Answer: Boneta is also a nice restaurant.  Cobre is terrific but, alas, closed until September.  Cartem Donuterie is within walking distance.

24 thoughts on “May 31, 2012: My fried crispy prawn head recipe!

  1. Oh great, now I’m going around the house singing “Prawn heads, prawn heads, yummy yummy prawn heads…”

    Anyway, congrats on finishing the script! I’m sure from here the rewrite will be smooooth sailing. I wish I could make it to Comic Con in San Diego, but my Jully will be filled with either working or hiking in New Hampshire.

  2. Speaking of Stargate, a simple way to rehash it would be for an old enemy to hit earth with something that sends it back in time thosands of years, during a time the system lords were in full control, at the height of their power.

    Doing this would cut earth off from atlantis and all allies and would essential reboot/rehash old ground.

    Would love to see the system lords again personally lol.

  3. I’ve been enjoying books by Shannon Hale (The Goose Girl, Princess Academy, Book of a Thousand Days, etc) recently. They are an author’s take on certain fairy tales, but it’s mostly the author’s style I enjoy. I know they aren’t your usual genre, but have you read any of them before?

  4. Two quick questions
    1. can please do an SGA trip down memory lane?
    2. if you get shanks to answer questions, could you also ask hewlett to stop by at one point and maybe flanigan?

  5. Shrimp heads, shrimp heads, rolly-polly shrimp heads.
    Shrimp heads, shrimp heads, eat them up, yum!



  6. Congratulations on finishing the first rough draft stage of your miniseries! I can’t wait until “we” all go to Hawaii. Sorry that trip is delayed a bit.

    Prawn heads with eyes? Boiled, fried, baked, grilled, sauted, dipped in chocolate, it doesn’t matter. Still gross.

    Thanks for all your explainations of the thoughts behind, and inner workings of, a TV series. Fascinating. I’m wondering if when you reflect back on your Stargate days, if the problems you had with production or people involved don’t seem so bad anymore, and you recognize it was all just a part of the process?

    By the way, Mark Savela and his crew rocked!!! The special effects in Stargate were motion picture quality, hands down!

  7. I find prawn heads too mushy. Don’t like them much. Eating them (to me) is like eating the prawn without pulling out their intestine. You get that sort of mushy, powdery texture.

  8. G’day Joe.

    I’m curious about the origins of this mini series.

    Was it an idea that you and Paul had on the shelf that your agent was shopping around? Or were you approached out of the blue by the producers?

    If the latter, how much of the story was already decided by the producers before you started writing? Were you tightly constrained by certain elements or did you have free reign?

    How much interaction do you have with the producers during the writing process? Are you sending them regular drafts and receiving notes? Or will you just dump a finished manuscript in their laps in a week or two and say, “There you go, lads. Have fun! I’m off to Hawaii.” and if there’s anything they don’t like their own story people will re-write?

    I’m just intrigued because if cameras roll in July the producers must be pretty confident they’re going to get what they want from you.

  9. LOL @ Ponytail— you are so right and I am soooo not eating them right along with you.

    You need a backup pet sitter. I know it’s traumatic, but truly if something happens, or something wonderful occurs suddenly and your regular can’t do it, have someone who has come in enough to know your guys.

    Speaking of your guys, did I miss an update on the older adoption pair you wanted?

  10. “Our VFX team, led by the great Mark Savela, was continuously producing viz effects at least a step or two ahead of anything else being done on television at the time.”

    I’m sorry Joe, and while I loved the VFX on Stargate – this quote is just wildly inaccurate. The stuff done on BSG was groundbreaking, not even surpassed in SGU. The stuff we’ve seen on Stargate is relatively generic by comparison, with nothing really setting it apart too much from Trek or even Dr Who. It certainly wasn’t ever a step or two ahead of the rest of TV, in render quality or just how dynamic the shots were. If it excelled anywhere, it was in getting the most out of the budget available. This isn’t a hate post, I’m just being realistic. The suggestion that Stargate was ahead of the game is just so far wide of the mark that it needed pointing out.

  11. I thought prawns were just big shrimp? I’ve never seen them prepared like that. I’d try them. My BIL used to live in Louisiana, so I asked him about crayfish. (he calls them crawfish) I’ve heard about eating crayfish but have never seen it here. While he was instructing me on pinching the crayfish head off and sucking out the body out, hubby was silently gagging in the background. Have you ever tried crayfish?

    JeffW: My favorite was the “Tea and Tattle”. Well…the pizza looked pretty darn good too.

    Thanks for the mailbag. I was wondering about the “series bible”. Good luck with the pugs! When does Akemi’s visa come through? I hope you can time it with your trip. She’d be a sad bunny staying home. 🙁

  12. And congrats on finishing the first rough draft of the mini-series, going to camera in July, the actors already on board? whew this is fast, guess this is the entertainment industry. Take a breath, eat a macaron(and one for me). Have a great day!

  13. I like mine rock salt style.


    Here you go: the list of words to avoid to supposedly keep the Department of Homeland Security from cyber-stalking you. Some of these words are so common, I’d be more suspicious of someone who suddenly stopped using them all as soon as this list came out.

    Hey, militia IS on there. Government hates competition.

  14. That’s interesting on the prawn pictures. I’ll have to try that at some point. Listen, question for you. I will not be able to go to Comic Con :(, but it would be cool to meet you in person. However, my brother will be there as he goes every year. If I send my copies of Dark Matter to him, would you autograph them? (Pretty please, 🙂 )

    Have a great day!!!!!!

  15. I did a google search of BaronDestructo. Interesting… I obviously missed out on some hijinks back in the day.

  16. I’ll be at SDCC selling my wares – booth 1335, look for the guy with all the colorful puzzles – It would be great to say hello!

  17. @ gforce – Seems you and I had the same song going through our heads, though I find ‘shrimp’ rolls off the tongue easier than ‘prawn’. ‘Prawn’ sounds too pretentious to my American hillbilly ears. 🙂

    @ Joe – The Zombie Apocalypse is SPREADING!!!!!!

    BALTIMORE – June 1, 2012 (WPVI) — A 21-year-old college student accused of killing a housemate told police he ate the victim’s heart and part of his brain after he died.


    I don’t know about you, but I’m stocking up on shovels, cricket bats, old vinyl LPs, and 16″ cast iron skillets (since bullets are absolutely useless against zombies). Wish me luck! Baltimore is just a hop, skip, and a leg-dragging jump across two bays and a peninsula from me.


  18. I agree with Akemi, my food shouldn’t be able to watch me eat. Ick.

    And yeah, I know for a fact I don’t like prawn heads, no matter how skillfully prepared. Ick.

    Joe the Hired Gun puts me in mind of cowboy hats ad six shooters, but I just can’t get the imagery. You’re more of a fedora and something sleekly lethal in a violin case kinda guy, no? Wonder if all those hit men actually could play the violin, or if there were dozens of young musicians lugging their instruments around in pillowcases because Uncle Max used borrowed the cases?

  19. I agree, Stargate had good VFX. Not so much in the first few seasons but the replicator stuff impressed me more, Asgard too.

    The replicators especially in the scenes where they are either actively assimilating raw material, or engaging the SG teams i.e swarming at them was kinda scary in a way lol

    I would say Stargate Atlantis had the best and most consistant VFX, especially the attacks on the replicator homeworld, the beam weapon striking Atlantis, the city also flying up into the atmosphere.

    So I agree with your comment that Savela was doing superb work, I also think SGU had some good VFX but really it wasn’t on long enough to consistantly show its quality against Atlantis, so I’m going to side with Atlantis being the best in that department.

    Worst I’ve ever seen was that Dragon in The Quest(Stargate SG1 ep), that was the most un natural thing I’ve ever seen.

    Also loved the Ice planet effects when Young and Matt Scott were on that planet and he’s trapped in the ice, and he looks up into the sky.

    Needless to say I could write an entire list of stuff I loved from Stargate in the VFX area lol

  20. @Joe:

    Boneta is also a nice restaurant. Cobre is terrific but, alas, closed until September. Cartem Donuterie is within walking distance.

    Thanks again, Joe! That’s perfect. So far I have L’Abattoir reserved for Friday (June 15th) and only needed to setup dinner venues for Wednesday and Thursday. And since I was also thinking about trying Fat Dragon, that means I can take in Boneta on the other night.

    I’ll try to sample some doughnuts from Cartem Donuterie as well, but their hours at the Pop-Up-Shop (the closer of the two) may be a little restrictive depending on my meeting schedule (they’re open from 10am to 6pm…or whenever they run out of doughnuts). Or maybe I can talk the rep into stopping there so I can bring Doughnuts to the customer for my 11am meeting on Thursday?…That could work! 😀

    Thanks again for all the great suggestions!

    On the Prawn heads, that’s the kind of stuff I would tie some string to and throw it in the bay to do some crabbing with back in Maryland 😉 I have eaten it (in Taiwan for example and in that case the rest of the prawn came with it), but I prefer most of my shellfish as meat (without the extra organs).

    If I’m going for organs, I’ll take it as ground up paste, like Pate or Scrapple. Apparently there are several recipes for “Shrimp Head’s Juice Pate” on the web (amazing what Google will tell you these days 😉 )

    @Tam Dixon:

    Actually, I thought Tea and Tattle was okay, but not the best tea I’ve had. That title goes to “The Pump Room” in the Roman Baths in Bath:

    It was there that I feel in love with the Elderflower Presse Cordial (in soda water). I’m not sure Joe would like it given his aversion to fruity things, but it reminded me of the dandelion wine my grandfather used to make when I was a young child. Delicious!

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to the west country this trip, so I had to miss out on the Pump Room.

  21. I should never read this blog before going grocery shopping. I had a hankering for Oyster Stew (from yesterday’s post), and had to get some oysters. Then I wanted scrapple (talked about scrapple yesterday), but I couldn’t find any (I don’t think they know what scrapple is here in the midwest). So I then found some Old Wisconsin Pate (yeah…I had a weak moment) and some lumpfish caviar and water-crackers.

    Then I got home and found I forgot the oyster crackers. . . Sooo, another trip to the store tomorrow to get oyster crackers. Guess it’ll be oyster stew for dinner on Saturday.


    Barb is back in Maryland visiting family and was stuck on the DC beltway during the worst of the storm. She made it through driving okay, but the storm ended up canceling the Washington Nationals game she was going to. I’m also hoping that everyone does okay there.

  22. Mailbag question:
    Any chance in hell that the script or story or book form for SGA: Extinction and SG1: Revolution will make it out to fans? Still gutted that it won’t be seen on screen, but it’d be interesting to at least know how things would have been tied up for both.

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