Heading to Comic Con in a little less than a week to do a signing for my comic book, Dark Matter, and I thought it would be nice to offer those who swing by a shot at winning some cool giveaways.  In addition to copies of Dark Matter‘s first issue, I’ll also be offering up a shot at winning some Stargate-related merchandise like the signed script I featured in yesterday’s entry or this SG-1 100th Episode commemorative photo frame and keychain.  Awesome, no?  If you’ve got tickets for Comic Con (apparently they’re already sold out :() come on by for a chance to win:

Saturday, July 14th between 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at the Dark Horse Booth (#2615).

Hey, JYS – what restaurants have you got lined up?

A big thanks to Blake Linton, Kelley Hirst, Chad Hansen, Joseph Sardone, Martin James Keating, TheDudeDean and all the fans who helped Stargate: Universe clean up at the Constellation Awards the other day.  The show took home awards in the categories of Best Series, Best Actress (Ming-Na), Best Script (Twin Destinites), Best Technical Achievement (Joel Goldsmith), and Best Canadian Contribution to SF.

Congratulations also go out to my buddy James Coleridge who took home the prize for Best Gelato at the Florence Gelato Festival in (where else?) Italy.  I’m not surprised.  Ever since arriving in Vancouver, Akemi has always drawn comparisons between the food here and the food back in Tokyo.  It was always: “This isn’t very good. It’s better in Tokyo.” or “This is good, but it’s better in Tokyo.” or “This is great!  But it’s still better in Tokyo.”.  Until we went to Bella Gelateria (where James plies his tasty trade).  After sampling the ice cream there, it was the first and only time I’d heard her say: “This is better than Tokyo!”  Welcome to Bella Gelateria – Home of Old-World Handcrafted Gelato

Cool time-lapse video courtesy of the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory at the NASA Johnson Space Center:

Head on over and check out the cool space pics as well: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/03/this-is-our-planet-iss-video-tomislav-safundzic_n_1646944.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

Three more episodes left to discuss in our stroll down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane…


In its earliest inception (under the working title Charly, a tip of the hat to Daniel Keyes’ Flowers for Algernon), the story tracked the capture of the wraith, his transformation, and the subsequent attempt to keep him in the dark which, of course, ends in a spectacular failure.  It was interesting but lacked something.  And, it was while we were in Carl’s office, discussing the fact that it needed some sort of twist, that I suggested we tell the story from Michael’s P.O.V.  Rather than let the viewers in on it from the get-go, make them an audience to the mystery.  This would allow them to connect with Michael and sympathize with him – and be thoroughly blindsided when we pulled the rug out from underneath them with the big reveal.  It was a small change in approach but it made quite a difference in execution.

Writer/Producer Carl Binder came through BIG TIME, delivering a gripping, emotionally resonant story that is at turns suspenseful, thought-provoking, and surprisingly controversial.  I love the little hints he sprinkles throughout the beginning of the episode – the fact that everyone is wary with the exception of Ronon who is downright hostile, Michael’s identification of the wealth technology, his nightmare, Teyla’s anxious look when he pins her during their sparring sessions and slams his hand down on her chest.  Brilliant.   And equally brilliant is the shocking “DAY 12” – “DAY 10” – “DAY 1” session reveal.  As far as arc-driven episodes go, this one is seminal, developing the retrovirus and introducing one of the most complex villains in Stargate history.

Another standout guest star in Connor Trinneer whose portrayal of the confused and vulnerable Michael Kenmore elicits great sympathy, even in the darkest moments.

Rachel is equally terrific in this episode as Teyla demonstrates genuine compassion for a former enemy – something she will come to regret in later episodes.

Anybody catch McKay’s complaint about the lack of blue jello in the mess, an obvious callback to the blue jello references of SG-1?

One of the episode’s unintentionally amusing moments takes place in the infirmary where Michael spots the “Kenmore” calendar.  Perhaps even more startling than the coincidence of the shared name is the fact that Carson has marked one of the calendar days as “Dinner with Cadman”.  Word of advice to Carson: If you want to impress the girl you’re dating, start calling her by her first name.

This episode opens up the floor to some interesting moral and ethical debates.  An exchange late in the episode nicely encapsulates the dilemma:

HEIGHTMEYER:  We can’t kill him, Ronon. We’re the ones who put him in this position.

SHEPPARD: Hold on a minute, Doc. If we hadn’t given him the retrovirus, he’d still be a Wraith. We wouldn’t think twice about killing him.

TEYLA: But we did give him the retrovirus. We made him human. Now we have the responsibility to treat him as we would any other …

DEX (interrupting): He’s not human. He’s a Wraith.

In retrospect, the Michael experiment delivers mixed results.  On the one hand, it is a failure in that it costs an expedition member his life and creates a powerful new enemy with dangerous knowledge of Atlantis’s existence.  On the other hand, the transformation does work – albeit briefly – and offers hope of a powerful new weapon against the wraith.   And there’s something to be said for Sheppard’s “If we hadn’t given him the retrovirus, he’d still be a Wraith. We wouldn’t think twice about killing him.” argument since, despite the criticism directed at the retrovirus, it IS a far more humane alternative to simply killing the enemy.

What do you think?

29 thoughts on “July 8, 2012: 6 Days to Comic Con! Days of Stargate: Atlantis Past! Michael!

  1. It is more humane and gives birth to some intriguing episodes in later seasons. Hubby and I enjoyed watching this one as we liked Connor Trinneer in Enterprise. Looks like some nice prizes for Comic-Con attendees. Hope everyone who is going has a good time.

    Have a great night!!!
    Lisa R.

  2. Joey, why on earth didn’t you do this in the winter, when I had more time to slam the Lanteans for the emotional, physical, and psychological rape of the Wraith they named Micheal? Oh, and then later (not this ep so much) putting all the blame on him for what he eventually became as a result. While the idea was more humane, it never should have been undertaken against his will, or the will of any other Wraith. Todd later showed that it was possible to convince some Wraith that finding a solution to their limited dietary need was to their benefit, but the key to making it work was mutual agreement, not forced experimentation. I’ll leave you with that, because right now I’m off to watch a BRAND SPANKIN’ NEW EPISODE OF INSPECTOR LEWIS!!! Woooooooo!!!! Time for a scrumptious helping of Detective Sergeant Hathaway!! 😀 I wonder what his hair will be doing this season…


  3. Way to go SGU!!! (gone but not forgotten, and very appreciated!!!)

    Michael was one of my favorite episodes of that season. Casting Connor for the role was perfect, especially how the character developed and how he got his “revenge” by meddling w/ Carson’s DNA two seasons later.

    I always figured that the episode idea was one of Carl’s throwaway scripts from ‘DR. QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN’ and that’s why the character was named Michael as an in-joke. *said out of sarcastic humor, not seriousness*

  4. Hi Joe! Was without phone/internet for 3 days (AT&T supposedly came out, nothing worked, finally got them to come out today), so I need to catch up, It’s been a very busy weekend moving. Still much (MUCH) work to do, but at least we’re in the new house. 🙂 Mosquitoes in this part of town are insane, have never seen anything like it in my 30+ years in Florida. Good thing my dogs are on heartworm prevention, they are covered in bites, as are we. Have a good night!

  5. SGU doing so well in the awards area is just a reminder of how this show didn’t deserve to die. Makes me feel sad thinking about what could of been with the show.

    That said, virtually all the veteran cast members have moved on to have successful spells on other shows, such as Rob Carlyle on Once Upon a Time(Season 2 is due to go to camera soon, so The Bridge should be busy), then you have Lou Diamond Phillips on Longmire(Another show thats doing well), and of course you have random Stargate actors on Continuum, also doing well on Canadian tv(Random people from SG1, and SGU like Jen Spence on this show).

    Always did think Tony Amendola(aka Bra’tac) was a great actor, and his role as Edouard Kagame kinda proves that point, he has a presence on the screen and really does well in his roles. And as the head bad guy in Continuum it looks like he’l be having a ton of screentime.

    Speaking of that show, wanted to see Mike Dopud in something for longer, and they go and kill his character off in Continuum in episode 2 lol.

    Just proves that the casting for Stargate in general was spot on, full of talent and awesome people.

  6. This episode is why I am a Stargate fan and I give all the credit to Connor Trinneer who I adored in Enterprise. I knew about Stargate but never had watched it but when I heard Connor was going to be a guest I tuned in and the rest as they say is history. Even though Michael is labeled as the bad guy I actually felt some degree of sympathy for him.

  7. Michael was one of my favorite episodes. Connor Trinneer was great, a very likeable actor. But I’m with Ronon all the way on this one. He’s not human. He’s a wraith. With or without the retrovirus, he is still a wraith. He still has his subconscience wraith insticts. I think the experiment is impractical when you think about it. What are they going to do? Collect all the wraith and give them daily shots for the rest of their lives so they don’t viciously feed on humans? Just kill the suckers. What did Sheppard say in the end, something like, “we’re going to need more fire power.” But glad this was not the end of Michael. He is an interesting “subject”.

  8. That episode was good. I named a couple of my kids after it.

    Connor Trineer rocked that episode. He pulled off some tough scenes and knocked them out of the park. That scene where he just reads something and you know he knows…that’s a fine actor right there.

  9. Ahhh. Michael.

    Michael, Michael, Michael. Hands down my favorite villain on SGA. We all like Todd, because you never knew where he stood, but Michael….he was so much more. So much vengeance, so much ire, so sinister. Connor Trinneer was fabulous in this role. His “smoldering”, as I call it, where he’s just standing there, still, but slightly jittery and yelling. Awesome, awesome, awesome stuff. Can’t say enough good about Connor’s performance here.

    On other former SG actors doing other stuff, how’s Shanksy’s Saving Hope doing? I watch it on demand because I always seem to miss it when it airs. Interesting show, starting to get into it more and more. Could do without the lens flares, though. Who’s directing this, J.J. Abrams? Maybe if the lens flares meant you were in his world, fine, but they he annoying when they cover people’s faces.

    Also, that new show Revolution on NBC this fall looks fairly sweet. Really cool to see the guy who played Tomin on SG-1 get a somewhat starring role. Tomin was another guy that while you knew he was the enemy, you really liked him, a lot. It takes a great actor to pull that off(and great writing 😉 ) and he’ll hopefully get more and more work after Revolution.

    -Mike A.

  10. @ JeffW – No need to explain! When I make boo-boos, it’s usually due to sheer stupidity and/or a failure to proofread. At least you have a good excuse. And I know what you’re saying. Hubby just got a Droid and I HATE. IT. The whole ‘dragging’ thing is a pain in the arse, my fingers are too fat to press the right button/icon (my sister has a similar phone – she uses a special ‘pencil’, which is just something else to lose, imho), and if you do touch/drag/press the wrong thing it takes forever to correct your mistake. And I really, REALLY hate when these ‘smart’ phones try thinking for me. Grrr! The only advantage is when we’re away from the house and need to check something on the internet, like the weather. That’s a nice thing. But for the most part I don’t see any real advantage over my simple mobile/cell.

    It’s 3 am, and I’m still awake. 😛 Sergeant Hathaway got me all ‘cited and now I can’t sleep! lol. No, that’s not it – I’ve been researching silverplated flatware patterns. I brought home a box of well-used and assorted knives, forks, spoons, ladles, cocktail forks, and jelly servers. The oldest pattern dates back to 1892, and there’s a couple from 1917 and from 1923, and the rest are from the 30s and 40s. Nothing of real value (maybe $20-30 for a ladle with plating intact, but most pieces are worth about $5), so I’m just going to polish up a few things I want to use (like the cocktail forks, a sugar spoon, and a few other items), and the rest I’ll just store for now. It’s been fun doing the research, discovering the pattern names, and especially learning the dates when the pattern was first introduced.

    And now I’m hearing thunder, so I hope I can get to sleep. T-boomers make me ascareded. 😛


  11. I actually didn’t like Michael the first few times I saw it. Finally figured out why. I couldn’t imagine Carson going along with the idea of this experiment, especially as the transformation took so long and was so painful. Beckett is not a nazi doctor, and this level of experimentation rates up there.
    Still, it is an excellent episode, and does move along the ideas started in Instinct. It also broaches an interesting possibility. Warfare is generally about killing enough of the enemy to get them to submit, or to destroy them. Now we have a chance to defeat an enemy by removing their ability to feed on humans. But would that destroy, or simply transform them? The Wraith would trade immortality for what? Until the Atlanteans hurt them enough to threaten them as a species, there is no gain for the Wraith. But then, these are all issues that get addressed later, so enough for now. Hope you have a great time in San Diego, and hope you have a great time. To those lucky enough to go, good luck on getting some of the loot, and please get some pics for us!

  12. This is one of my favorite episodes, and one of the episodes that make the Stargate franchise so special. All three Stargates were more than just funny, action-packed shows, and Michael is one of the best at diving into more complex moral and emotional concerns. And Connor Trineer was the absolute perfect guy to play the role.

  13. Michael was one of those eps where there was a lot of grey area. Nothing was black and white. I love that. It showed how moral values or ethical values can be challenged when in unorthodox situations. Michael transformed into human but he still had the heart and soul of a Wraith. The urges of a Wraith were still there. I liked how Ronon was the only one to see that Michael was still Wraith even though he was human. Great episode! 🙂

  14. Connor Trineer was excellent in Michael! Of course, I’m a big fan of his from Star Trek. We don’t see enough of Connor. I wonder if he switched to ..behind the scenes stuff? As for Michael being a guinea pig, I can see both sides. However, I’m not a big fan of animal experimentation and the ethics are similar. There are some lines that should never be crossed. That being stated: I would have ok’d Michael’s experiment. He was not beaten or starved JUST to see the effects. If the vaccine had worked? It would have saved millions. Back to Connor though, he predicted SGA would be canceled at season five. He said they did the same thing to Enterprise.

    I loved the pictures from yesterday; Bright faces and beautiful/happy people. That is always good to see.

    Das: The temperature is near 80F today!!!!!! I’m trying to get my teenager to go out and mow while it’s cool. Hard getting a teen going on a school vacation morning, sigh.

    My hubby opened his mouth and volunteered to re-write our son’s school band website from scratch. We just put the site live. I’ve been doing hours of data entry trying to get current information on parents/students entered before the school year starts. I had no idea that people would be so bitchy about it. We just got the site on-line and people are complaining because the pictures are from last year. We have a big “Under construction sign” on the front page and there are NO new pictures because it’s summer. However, it would serve them right it I just put pictures of my kid on the front. That would probably make them crazy (er) 🙄 .

    1. @Tam Dixon: My husband says it’s always the people who don’t know anything about computers or putting together websites that complain the most. Good luck!

  15. @ Tam Dixon – 77°F here today, but it’s been cloudy, and the sun is just coming out. Not sure what it’ll get up to, but right now I won’t be happy until the daily highs are 68°F. I am soooooooooo done with summer. 😛


  16. This episode made me very uncomfortable though out. While their motives were well intentioned, what Atlantis did was essentially play God. They criticized the Hoffans for what they had done, but what they did to Michael was hardly any different, and in the end their actions wreaked much more devastation. What also surprised me was Carson’s role in this. He took an oath to do no harm – so what did this quality as? Certainly it can be argued that it was ‘humane’, and it was intended to save people from a deadly enemy – but they experimented on Michael without knowing exactly how it would turn out.

    To answer your question, I think Sheppard and Ronon were the most honest people here. Killing Michael then might have been a cold act, but at least they weren’t hypocritical…

  17. Great episode that raised many moral questions. I think finding a way to stop the Wraith from needing to feed is the only alternative they have short of total annihilation of the Wraith race. So the intent was honorable and necessary. We cannot meet the dietary requirments, as someone once said. The unintended consequences, however, are a lesson in “best laid plans…”

    Have fun at Comic Con.:)

  18. @Joe on “Michael”:

    I’ve noticed in a lot of these episodes it is Teyla that is often the “voice of reason”; offering the moral and/or cautious approach.

    Overall, I enjoyed the Michael POV approach to this episode; it made me appreciate his predicament. It didn’t makes Sheppard’s point less valid though…what do you do with an intractable, un-pacifiable enemy? The only answer is to defeat them or eliminate the means whereby they can defeat you.

    @Tam Dixon:

    I’ve done volunteer website work, and unless the group is very small, your hubby is likely buying trouble. There is no way to please everybody, and it’s hassle enough if you’re getting paid for it, let alone when you’re doing it gratis.

    For some reason people seem to think that a special built website is as easy to build as a Facebook post! Good luck to you and your husband. Due to my bad experience doing “volunteer website work”, I’ll never do it again.

    If you get too many “why didn’t you use such and such picture” kind of complaints, you can always tell them to start a Facebook group and then they can post all the pictures they want!


    On the smartphone thing…I was camping and had no other internet devices with me. Posting a comment from a cellphone while camping certainly makes me look internet addicted ( 😉 )…in reality, it was hot (104F…41C?) and humid and so I was hiding in the camper in the A/C while waiting for the sun to go down and for the heat to break.

    Saturday was much better (only 89F), so I did a lot more outdoor activities then.

  19. lisarrrr: Thanks! Hubby told me to hit the next complainer up for the volunteer position of “Content Admin”. I must say, I’m looking forward to the next malcontent…. 😉 .

    Deni: When things slowdown from moving in, have your hubby put up a bird feeder. Some of the finches eat mosquitoes.
    How is Lauren?

  20. This is probably one of the best episodes of the entire series. Michael is such a compelling character and I loved how you all told this story. I can’t say enough of how delightful of a twist that was handed to us as fans.

    When the entire truth comes out about Michael, I really wanted to like him. I kept on liking him even after the killing. Even when he got Teyla, I still did.

    The character of Michael is probably one of the more unique and memorable characters that’s ever been created in the Stargate franchise.

    There is much more I want to say, but that will have to come later when you discuss other episodes with Michael.

    You all really outdid yourselves here and you deserve all the accolades for it. I love this episode.

  21. @Tam Dixon: Good idea! The squirrels usually get all the bird food, but we can try. Lauren’s doing great, a tiny baby bump (so cute) and a huge appetite! Thanks for asking! Riley gets spayed on Wednesday…oy, I hate this!

  22. Michael was and still is one of my favourite episodes, although I caught it on TV at the time of the big reveal, and then got to watch it from the beginning with the previous information he was a wraith.
    I always thought that everyone at Atlantis deserved all the trouble they got as a consequence of that misguided experience. Seriously, especially after the events portrayed in Misbegotten? But that is a discussion for another time. How legitimate and humane is to change the essential nature of a being, without his/hers prior consent? As much a Becket could consider it an affliction, how could this not be viewed as highly unethical, and against the “do no harm” principle?
    Michael the wraith gave, quite effectively, a human quality to the wraith, and made a lot of the fans identify with the supposed villains of Pegasus.

  23. Really enjoyed this one – one of my favs from the series. Netflix is dropping the series on August 1st, so I thought I would revisit as many as possible. Landing Connor was great, as I liked his work in ST:E; but his portrayal here is much more intense and ultimately satisfying.
    Thanks for the terrific work you did on this series!

  24. Michael is still one of my favorite Atlantis episodes to watch and one of the few that I love to watch with the DVD commentary on as well.

  25. And…

    If there had been a season six, would Michael have still been killed at the end of season five and brought back again in season six or was the plan all along to kill him in season five and just leave him dead?

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