Had a phone conversation re: our comic book series, Dark Matter.  It was actually a prelude to a much bigger conference call scheduled for next week, a creative discussion with a network rep.  To be honest, the notion of doing Dark Matter as a feature has also been floated and, while I certainly wouldn’t say no to the idea, I would certainly say: “Okay – provided we’ve exhausted all other possibilities.”.  Creatively, I feel strongly that DM would work much better as a television series or mini-series because of its serialized nature.  Realistically, if it goes the feature route, I can’t expect much involvement (outside of the occasional set visit), so all the more reason to produce it for television where I’m in my element.  Of course, having said this, who knows? Everything is a longshot in this business, which is why it’s always a good idea to diversify…

This weekend, I have to sit down and write up pitches for a couple of the series ideas Paul and I came up with last week, identifying the concepts that would, hopefully, be a good fit with the network we’ll be approaching.  While I honestly don’t mind doing it, I doubt the potential for making a sale based on a pitch (unless, of course, you happen to be J.J. Abrams).  More often than not, what happens is you pitch out an idea, the network representative imagines the worst possible execution of said idea, and that’s that.  I’ve always preferred to go out with a finished script as proof of how the idea can be realized. Of course, even that doesn’t guarantee a sale.  Still, at the end of the day, even if it doesn’t sell, it offers you a calling card in the form of a writing sample.

Exacerbating matters is the fact that, sadly, Stargate is relatively unknown in Hollywood.  Few are familiar with the show and those that do know the show aren’t anymore receptive.  In their years at the helm of one of the biggest, most successful science fiction franchises in television history, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper made the studio tons of money and helped build a network.  Why these two haven’t been signed to some sort of an overall deal is altogether bewildering.

The more I think about it, the more I believe we really should be down in L.A., taking meetings, getting to know people, making connections.  On the flip side, I’ve grown comfortable in Vancouver and, after those 11+ years on Stargate, it’s not as if the dogs are going to starve if I elect to stay where I am.  After over a decade working on Stargate, followed by a truly dreadful year in Toronto, 2012 is an opportunity to unwind, relax, travel, write some scripts, and push thoughts of producing to 2013.  But, in the next 4-6 months, I’m going to have to make a decision.  Do I want to continue to push or am I content with where I am and what I have?  Or is there some other, totally different, opportunity I may choose to pursue?

Picking up where we left off on our trip down SGA memory lane…


For some reason, at some point in his Stargate career, Carl Binder got pegged as “the ghost writer”, possibly because it seemed that very second episode he wrote happened to involve otherworld apparitions or a variation thereof.  Aurora.  Echoes.  Pain.  In Phantoms, the ghosts are hallucinations that, beside offering the usual serving of suspense and high adventure, also allow us some insight into Sheppard’s past (specifically regarding his time in Afghanistan and the actions that resulted in charges of misconduct) AND gives us a nice little twist in Beckett’s story (one which I thought was pretty damn well executed).

Longtime Stargate mainstay Martin Wood directed Phantoms, the type of  episode we termed a “run and jump” for its heavy action and movement, elements that played to Martin’s strength as a visually dynamic storyteller.

Sad(?) news from Cookie Monster’s camp.  His people report that monster has been unable to get his furry blue mitts on a copy of The Specials, this Monday’s Supermovie of the Week Club selection.  As practically every single on of you know, this blog hosts a weekly Supermovie of the Week Club in which, every week, a different superhero-themed movie is screened and reviewed – by guest reviewer, Cookie Monster.  Last week’s movie, X-Men (2000), received the first passing mark (8 out of 10 chocolat chipppe cookies!) in many, many weeks of supermovie viewing.  I have a feeling the trend was NOT going to continue with The Specials, so maybe it’s just as well we skip it in favor of Spiderman (2002).  Watch/Re-watch it, then drop by Monday and weigh in with your thoughts when Cookie Monster offers his learned opinion.

To check out Cookie Monster’s past reviews, head on over here: Film reviews by resident film critic Cookie Monster

Reviews to date:

X-MEN: Wowee!  Watching dis movie like eating an Oreo after a steady diet of Grover’s moms “half de sugar” shortbread cookies (taste like dry sadness)… (X-Men)

MYSTERY MEN: Awesome!  Fantastic!  Amazing!  All words monster use to describe The Mystery Men.  Soundtrack.  Some terrific tunes in dis movie.  Terrific! On de other hand, words monster use to describe de aktual movie =… (Mystery Men)

STEEL: Making fun of dis movie be like taunting Grover’s cuzin Edwin, de one who eat candles and walks into walls.  Too easy.  And where de fun in dat?  Well, okay, still some fun…(Steel)

BATMAN AND ROBIN: Batmand and Robin be de filmic equivalent of explosive garden vegetable diarrhea. Exciting, sometime pretty to look at, but it still crap.  Dis movie be Joel Schumacher’s master piece (of shit). (Batmand and Robin)

THE PHANTOM: Or, like me prefer to call it: Purple Unitardo and de Temple of Doom! (The Phantom)

SPAWN: Ever have it when you need to write skript for movie, but tings are going slow so you invite Count and Big Bird to your place for drinks but you do too many jagermeister shots and one of girlz Count bring wit him slip roofie into your beer chaser and you wake up next morning wit no pants, no wallet, but finished skript you wrote in drunken, drug-addled, three hour stupor?  No?  Well, monster suspekt screenwriter of Spawn VERY familiar wit dis scenario… (Spawn)

THE SHADOW: Who knows what evil lurk in de hearts of men?  De Shadow knows! How he know?  Search monster.  Me having hard enough time trying to make sense of dis movie. (The Shadow)

BATMAN FOREVER: Batman Forever.  Well, at almost two hours running time, it sure feel dat way.  After box office suckcess of first two Batman movies, studio reward Tim Burton by replacing him as direktor and… (Batman Forever)

MIGHTY MORPHIN POWER RANGERS: Most superhero movies me have reviewed so far make monster so angry he want to go back to video store and punch and slap around employee, den kick him in de grapes. But dis not de case wit Mighty Morphin Power Rangers movie.  Instead, me just want to go back and punch and slap.  Not as much grape kicking. (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie)

FANTASTIC FOUR (1995): Dis movie nowhere near fantastic but, all in all, not de worst fan film monster have ever seen. (Fantastic Four (1995))

BLANKMAN: Calling dis movie “a comedy” be like calling orange soda “juice”. Blankman aktually offer less den 5% of de daily rekommended serving of laffs. (Blankman)

METEOR MAN: Meteor Man written and directed by Robert Townsend.  To be honest, me prefer his Chinatown. (Meteor Man)

BATMAN RETURNS: Batman Returns remind monster of solid gold eggz Big Bird get by mail order.  Nice to look at but empty and when send complaint, company stop taking your callz and it all end wit director filing restraning order against you. (Batman Returns)

CAPTAIN AMERICA (1990): From direktor of Kickboxer 4: De Aggressor and Nemesis III: Prey Harder and producer of Breakin’ 2: Elektrik Boogaloo and Super IV: Quest for Peace (uh oh) come Captain America, de greatest American hero since Superman.  Oh, and de Greatest American Hero. (Captain America (1990))

DARKMAN: In his most understated performance since role of Rob Roy in movie me can’t remember name of… (Darkman)

THE ROCKETEER: Zzzzzz.  Snort.  Hunh?  Me awake!  Sorry.  Monster up all night trying to finish Rocketeer for todayz review.  Movie is trowback to old cereals from de 30′s and 40′s your grandpa used to love. (The Rocketeer)

BATMAN (1989): Finally, a supermovie dat not completely suck.  Only partz involving wet noodle main charakters, a butler who can’t keep a sekret, and bad guyz dancing to Prince. (Batman (1989))

THE PUNISHER (1989): Monster really looking forward to not seeing dis movie.  So looking forward, in fakt, dat me make planz to visit Wildwood New Jerzey for jellyfish mating seazon instead. (The Punisher (1989))

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: Hoo boy.  Take one good idea wit promise, sell out and make it for kiddiez to cash in on merchandizing potenshul, den make movie about it but don’t bother paying for decent script.… (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

SUPERMAN IV: Wow.   Superman IV VERY impressive.  It achieve someting not even General Zodd and Leks Luthor able to do = kill off Superman. (Superman IV)

SUPERGIRL: Blargh!  Supergirl most nauzeating movie since Big Bird sex tape released online. (Supergirl)

SUPERMAN III: Superman III so bad it make Superman II look like Superman I! (Superman III)

CONDORMAN: After terruble Superman films, Condorman a nice change of pace.  Not so much terruble as trooly horruble.  It be movie made for kidz – at a time when kidz not know any better… (Condorman)

SUPERMAN II: Superman II is great movie for kidz!  Rotten, notty kidz who you want to punish but not allowed to spank, so dis torturus movie next best ting. (Superman II)

SUPERMAN (1978): When time for Monster to sit down and watch Superman movie, he select Speshul Edition because, letz face it, me very speshul.  But monster not realize dat “speshul edition” over two and a half hours long!  (Superman: The Movie (1978))

HERO AT LARGE: Kwestion #1: When is superhero movie NOT superhero movie?  Answer #1: When hero in movie NOT have any superpowers.  Kwestion #2: So why monster watching dis movie? Answer #2: Becuz somebody (ie Joe) tell him to watch for Supermovie of de Week Club.  Kwestion #3: What de deal with Bert Convy hair? Answer #3: No answer to dat one. (Hero At Large)

BATMAN (1996): Many not know dis but Monster on short list to replace Simon Cowl on Amerikan Idol.  Deal almost closed (with jenerous chocolate chippee dressing room rider) when show hire Cookie’s bitter enemy = Jennifer Lopez! (Batman (1966))

SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE MEN: Cookie Monster come down with flu – or maybe bug picked up from Grover jacuzzi party – and not feeling one hunerd persent so sorry if dis review make less sense den movie.… (Superman and the Mole Men)

And a couple of non superhero-themed film reviews:

THERE WILL BE BLOOD: Dere Will Be Blood. Eventually. But it take a while. A loooong while. Almost two and half hours! (There Will Be Blood)

SNAKES ON A PLANE: Snakes on a Plane be good, old-fashioned fun popcorn movie. Minus fun. And not very good. Or old-fashioned. Also, no popcorn. (Snakes on a Plane)

Today’s entry is dedicated to Birthday Boy Carl Binder!

25 thoughts on “August 10, 2012: Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! Phantoms! Our Supermovie of the Week Club! Cookie Monster film reviews!

  1. That’s a tough one—on a possible move to LA. We were kind of forced to move last year when hubby couldn’t find work in our old state. While B’ham has been very good to us, moving was very tough. I don’t envy you a bit, but I know you’ll make the decision that will be best for you. Looking forward to the movie review. My brother (the one you met at Comic Con) was an extra in Spiderman.

    Have a great night!!!

  2. Poor Cookie sure has reviewed some dreadful movies! You should give him a raise or at least combat pay!

    re: Phantoms. It was a good episode, but not as memorable as some.

    I would love to see Dark Matter as a mini-series! I agree that it would be an ideal format. Just a question: if someone wanted to acquire the rights to DM to make a movie but would not allow you any creative input would you go for it?

    @ das: I really enjoyed your posts this morning (or yesterday morning depending on when this hits the blog and when you see it). It provided a much needed laugh!

    Hey! WordPress hasn’t been making me sign in every time I post! What a nice change.

  3. Personally I wouldn’t like to see Dark Matter as a movie, if anything because it likely wouldn’t get another one after that, regardless of how popular it could be it to me sounds like a one shot and done kind of thing. If that happens you should try and get them to at least leave the door open for more, and structure the movie so it essentially introduces the Dark Matter universe/characters and opens up a new chapter in the characters journey.

    I would love to see it as a mini series or a series personally, a mini series if popular could lead to a full series pickup by the network, that if anything is a major plus. Plenty of shows start with very short seasons(6-8 episodes) and end up with 13+ episode pick ups if successful.

    >Why these two haven’t been signed to some sort of an overall deal is altogether bewildering.

    If anything they should be helming a Stargate reboot series if anything, if MGM loved money, the two guys that made Stargate what it is, returning to the roots of the francise would no doubt be a good thing.

    Ah well, some things in life just don’t make much sense. Guess all we can hope for is MGM making a ton of money off The Hobbit, so much even that they think to themselves, ‘Hey, ending Stargate was a stupid move, let’s bring it back’!.

    Also Happy Birthday to Carl Binder!

  4. Happy Birthday to Carl! I loved Phantoms for the Sheppard backstory it gave us. And that end scene with the “You shot me.” “You shot me too.” “I’m sorry for shooting everybody!” is a classic.

  5. In their years at the helm of one of the biggest, most successful science fiction franchises in television history, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper made the studio tons of money and helped build a network. Why these two haven’t been signed to some sort of an overall deal is altogether bewildering.

    i think it’s because sci-fi gets no (or little) respect in hollywood. i could be wrong (a totally hollywood outsider here) but if they had been at the helm of a medical or law show, it would be a different story.

  6. How can you go to L.A.? They’ve banned foie gras! You’d STARVE, Dude!!

    Stay in Van. Do a “FOOD TRUCK WARS” series…

  7. I happen to know one of the SPIDERMAN stills photographers. Dropped him a line about the upcoming review.

  8. Hi Joe,

    Thanks for sharing some info regarding your future projects. Since I took the “Business Insider to Film and Television” at USC, an intense and thorough look at the groundwork of the entertainment industry, I can finally start to develop an appreciation for all that you do. It’s a brutal world, a lot harsher than people think.

    Re: The move to LA.

    The traffic is brutal as I’m sure you’ve noticed from your visits. Beyond that however, LA is one of my favorite places in the world.

    This last year in North Carolina I was drained and depressed. I go to a small private high school where very few if any around me are passionate about production. I had to do a lot of projects solo. There are very little resources and few partners to collaborate with (and production is ALL about collaboration). When I got out to LA two months ago, I was amazed at the sheer amount of artists and resources. (I’m currently writing this from the airport gate at LAX. As I wait for the plane to take me home, I’m already thinking of when I’ll be able to return)

    Through the sheer amount of aspiring artists make for a lot of competition, it also creates so many possibilities. The amount of connections I made in less than 2 months (at USC and beyond) have already opened doors and I’m still just in high school. I can’t wait to move out there and continue to network and get opportunities to work in the field, even if it’s as a student, grip, volunteer intern, P.A., or assistant….

    You are one of the most talented writers/producers out there. What you did with Stargate was phenomenal, and I am inspired by your passion and love for visual storytelling (be it TV, Film, comics, anime etc). I know Vancouver is a hub for Film and TV, but LA really seems to be the mecca of visual storytelling.

    Granted, I know there are many factors involved, and that makes the decision all the more complex…. but I really would be excited for you if you do end up moving to LA. I say go for it!

    Also… my fourth column is up on Airlock Alpha.. let me know what you guys think…


    Thanks so much,
    Major D.

  9. Is it Carl’s birthday? His birth date seems to be missing from the internet. Lets just say I bet he is about my age. Happy birthday Carl!! Phantoms is one of my favorite episodes. Thanks for writting it. Must be because I love ghosts. I thought it was interesting what everyone was seeing. I just watched it again and I can’t remember if it explained why Teyla was unaffected. And I also loved the end humor…”I’m sorry for shooting everyone” scene. Too funny!

    Here is my two cents . . . Dark Matter should be made into a TV series. You can keep the change.

  10. I was wondering where I was going to find a copy of The Specials.

    For those that can’t be bothered watching Spiderman here is a great summary from none other than “Weird Al” Yankovic:

  11. When my husband was retiring from the Navy, a friend of mine offered us both decent jobs in an aerospace company, in L.A.. We looked carefully at the cost of living, and even with two generous salaries, it would have been sufficient to live on, but nothing fancy.

    We ended up in Utah, where one modest salary allows us to do what we want in a less hectic environment. I’d be heavily medicated daily had we stayed in California. Even laid back San Diego was setting me on edge; I’m a Californian by birth but cannot live there for extended periods of time. I think the coastal sunshine mutates my brain cells.

    All depends on what drives you, and what you can bear to have in your life, or live without. Only you know if it is worth it to move your little tribe down there. How much will you sacrifice and how much will you gain?

    Personally, I find Los Angeles to be a sad, dismal place with good weather. Money puts a nice finish on the area, but I’ve only known the middle class life of my relatives, it seems a real struggle just to keep up with a cramped home and a vehicle-centric life.
    Although I have to admit, my great-uncle George had a marvelous little bungalow in Hollywood he purchased in the 1940s, he and Aunt Gert were very comfortable there. So maybe…..

    Sorry about the ramble, that was one of my AU lives flashing by.

  12. I think Dark Matter is a natural fit as a series. If the show gets a decent start, the character development and plot twists would help hold and build an audience. As a miniseries I fear it would air and disappear before an audience realizes its on.
    As for California, well I can understand the appeal career wise. And certainly, as the core of western entertainment, the move would be a
    Lu’s. But taxes, traffic, and a different atmosphere from Vancouver may make the move a bit… Uncomfortable. And I would suggest waiting till our current election cycle is over before deciding. It may be that the election will affect the economy in a way that will I fluency your decision.
    Dang, that many movie reviews already? I’ll be ready come Monday night review. Meantime I hope everyone has a great weekend.

  13. Finally got some sleep. Fairly sure my ears are spider-free this morning. I can’t quite say the same for the the rest of my house. 😛


  14. @sg1efc

    I would say more Stargate not being on any big networks during its run if anything in America.

    Syfy channel aside, it hasn’t had the exposure on a network like CBS, NBC, ABC etc had it done so and was as successful as it was on Syfy it would be quite well known.
    (Shame SGU wasn’t on NBC, think it would of been that show hitting targets, not a huge success but just getting by and being renewed every year).

    That said, millions of fans worldwide, huge amounts of money being made from said shows, and a passionate fanbase.

    Who cares about Hollywood, Stargate is famous enough.

  15. I loved “McKay & Mrs. Miller.” Loved Kate Hewlett in all her appearances. (When are we going to see her on TV again??? Or Kate Hewlett and David Hewlett together???) I agree, they were incredible in “A Dog’s Breakfast.” They had a web series online too. Also funny. 🙂 The interaction between them is a stitch. It reminds me of when my brother and I are out in public together. We aren’t so much snippy as playing off each other. He’s quieter than I am, but somehow I end up being the straight man to his witty zingers! My bro is one of my favorite people.

    Happy Birthday, Carl! How did you celebrate? Phantoms was a great story, and it was great to peek at the interiors of Sheppard and Beckett.

    Carl, what did you think of the latest Pixar movie “Brave”? Merida may have to be one of my newest heroines. Redheads unite! My hair looks like that after a shampoo, only a lot less orange. 🙂 All the actors were terrific in their roles, but I especially liked Emma Thompson and Billy Connolly as the parents. Oh, and wouldn’t it be fun to ride a horse like Angus? 😀

    Joe, why not go to LA, if Paul & his family can go with you? You can always come back, like after Toronto. Why drive yourself nuts wondering what might have been? Just go. Spend time making contacts. We’ve all noticed actors, actresses, writers, and directors who get work all the time. They’re known for being hard workers, dependable, down-to-earth people, and fun to work with. Why shouldn’t you and Paul be on that first-call list?

    Carl will put in a good word for ya, won’t you Carl? 😀

  16. What was the first nugget of an idea that Dark Matter sprang from: a story to tell, a setting that needed exploited, a character dynamic to hash out, etc.?

    How early did you think about throwing your experience with what makes a setting or set of character profiles story-rich into Dark Matter?

  17. Joe, I’ve been so busy lately that I totally forgot to comment on Phantoms. This was one of my favorite eps, probably in my top ten. I loved the way each character’s fears were exploited by the Wraith device, Sheppard’s backstory, the humor at the end, and especially how hot Bam Bam looked in Wraithy locks. 🙂


  18. You mentioned working on show pitches etc. Would it be a better to make a few web pitches/sketches and presenting those after they circulate for a bit? Get a public reaction and the network execs would know how the format was supposed to work.

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