In early March of this year, I started a quest for my new favorite show by listing eight promising candidates (March 2, 2013: Help me choose my new favorite show!), shows I’d heard great things about but had yet to check out, and asking you all to weigh in with your thoughts. Well, two months later, I’ve checked out half of them.  

After five episodes in, I decided Justified simply wasn’t for me. Boardwalk Empire, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise in that I was expecting the first season to be slow but, instead, found it well-paced and absorbing.  Well written and great acting all around (including a couple of terrific supporting performances by Michael Stuhlbarg as Arnold Rothstein and Anatol Yusef as Meyer Lansky).  I’ve finished the first two seasons and, while I’m enjoying the show, I’m reserving judgement on the big end of season 2 shocker.  All things considered, I’m unconvinced by Nucky’s actions – all things considered. Of greater concern is the fact that the third season picks up 18 months after the fact, meaning we don’t get to witness the immediate impact and fallout of this dramatic development.  I also checked out the first season of Girls and, again, was pleasantly surprised.  I had no doubt it was a quality show but my expectations were low simply because I didn’t think the subject matter would appeal to me.  Well, I may not know much about twenty-something girls living in New York but what I’ve learned has been damn entertaining so far.  I’ll definitely be moving on to season 2.  Finally, I’m about halfway through Downton Abbey, yet another show I wound up enjoying a lot more than I thought I would.  

So, 3 out of 4.  Mighty impressive.  

I figure that by the time I’ve caught up on Boardwalk Empire (season 3), Girls (seasons 2 and 3), and Downton Abbey (seasons 2 and 3), I’ll be able to transition smoothly on to Game of Thrones (season 3) and Breaking Bad (final season) before moving on to Luther, Sherlock, Californication, Archer, and Shameless (on my friend Tara’s recommendation).  Looking forward to some great t.v. watching.  Yep, so long as I don’t end up having to produce a new series, it’ll be smoooooooooooth sailing.

Oh, in addition, I finally got around to checking out the Battlestar Galactica miniseries (which I quite liked), and have been watching Akemi’s favorite new comedy, Community.  Brilliant first season but we’ve found the second season a little uneven.  Finally, there’s Survivor, the only reality series I watch, and the only show I have to watch the same night it airs.  Three great tribal councils in the last three episodes.  If there’s a lesson to be learned from the past few eliminations, it’s to not double-cross your alliance too soon.  Now, my money’s on Cochran.    

I am also continuing my heard reading ways.  Just finished The Mammoth Book of Gangs (research for a potential series) and am about a third of the way through Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy, the wholly absorbing account of mob insider Henry Hill’s life in the mafia.  A tough book to put down.  I started it this morning and should finish it tonight.  

Some recent recommended reads: Zenith Lives!  The Tales of M. Zenith, the Albino, Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside, and Thanos Rising (Jason Aaron). 


Tam Dixon writes: “Did you decide on a location for your career path?”

Answer: Not yet.  I’m going to exhaust my opportunities here in Vancouver before deciding to move elsewhere.  Still waiting to hear on two projects that would, ideally, shoot here if given the go-ahead.  A third, the horror script, could also be shot here – but that one is a little more of a reach.  Another project, if green lit, would take me to Toronto.  If none of these pan out, Paul and I will be heading to L.A. for some meet and greets.  On the bright side, if I did sell my house in Vancouver and move south, I could get a mighty sweet please for comparative value.  I could even have a backyard pool I would never use!

Mike writes: “I’m curious about the safety glasses SG1 started wearing. They wear them for a number of episodes, then when they invade the base in season eight’s “Reckoning Part 2″, they are not wearing safety glasses, nor is the support teams.
Why did they start wearing them? Was this Workers Compensation Board order or an insurance issue?”

Answer: Unfortunately, I don’t remember the specifics but, given the past history of wardrobe and prop decisions, I suspect they wore them because it was felt they looked cool.  Which was the same reason the helmets were ditched very early on (they were uncool) and the P-90’s were adopted (they were cool AND comfy because they allowed the actors to rest their arms).

Laura writes: “Is anybody planning on doing a SGU/ SGA / SG1 continuation at some stage soon!????? I am dying out here ! Sci Fi is well… you know what I mean.. ridiculous without our fav. SG shows.. but i know.. perhaps wishful thinking.. has anybody considered reducing the production costs by using CGI ?”

Answer: CGI (visual effects) are one of the biggest line items in a budget so using more would actually increase expenses.  If, on the other hand, you’re talking about using virtual sets, I believe I fielded this one already.  Virtual sets LOOK like virtual sets.  Until the technology improves, they’re a poor substitute for the real thing.

Joanie writes: “You said a while ago you were thinking about dedicating a blog about writing. It that something you still have planned?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Over the many years I’ve been blogging, I’ve dedicated many entries to the subject of writing (Here are a few: Writing | Josephmallozzi’s WeblogDecember 12, 2008: Beating Out the Beat Sheet).  Was there something in particular you were wondering about the process?  

Randomness writes: “1. How are your projects going Joe? Well I hope? Hang in there!”

Answer: Thanks and see above.  Still in a holding pattern but making alternate plans nevertheless.

“2. Watching any anime shows lately?”

Answer: The last anime series Akemi and I watched was Sword Art Online.  Loved the premise and the first few episodes but it began to feel repetitive after a while.  Then, when they switched game settings, they lost me.

Randomness also writes: “In the episode Full Circle, as well all know, Anubis destroyed Abydos. When Stargate Command were able to re establish contact with the planet again, Skaara explains that what they’re seeing is mearly an illusion.

Would you say that he recreated Abydos as a way of saying goodbye? Or do you think he basically manipulated time in some way and brought back an echo of the real Abydos, but without the people?”

Answer: What the team saw was an illusion, recreated for them by Skaara.  

majorsal writes: “Can you get brad wright to tell the fans the scene of how sam and jack were going to be confirmed to be together in the 3rd sg1 movie?”

Answer: I can certainly ask him for the specifics the next time I see him.  From what I remember, it’s a scene that sees Jack and Sam out for dinner.  Their conversation pretty much confirms they are together.

livingforcreativity writes: “In a perfect world…and all things being equal…which TV project/movie is your top choice to work on?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Tough to say.  Given the deep backstory we’ve established for Dark Matter, it’s a series that would be a lot of fun to write – and allow us to re-team with a lot of the same crew we worked with on Stargate.  On the other hand, the last pilot I wrote which has generated some very promising interest is a rare non-genre entry – and attractive because it would be so different from everything else Paul and I have worked on to date.

The Old Payroll Tax Lady writes: “Do you know any of the writers on Psych? A few weeks ago they talked about pugs, showed a picture of a black pug, and introduced a new character named Maximus. Was this a shoutout?”

Answer: Someone else mentioned this on the blog a while ago.  Alas, I don’t know any of the writers on Psych.  Would’ve been nice though.  

oups writes: “what about Veronica mars, a film will be made because of the fans and Chuck, an other serie, want to have his own film?”

Answer: Unlikely for the reasons outlined here: March 14, 2013: Veronica Mars fans are finally getting their movie …

Kathode writes: “Alas, I don’t see myself going to Fable Kitchen anytime soon. 5 out of 8 dinner entrees contain mushrooms.”

Answer: I’m sure they’d be more than happy to substitute something else for the mushrooms if you asked.

Lauren writes: “Sorry, off topic comment, but did you see this tweet?  James‏@bellagelateria12h
So yes we are developing a gelato mochi & should be ready & available in May! Stay tuned for more details.  Thoughts?”

Answer: I’m not a huge mochi fan but Akemi is, of course, intrigued.  She’s very curious about the finished product.  After all, mochi is a labor-intensive process.

oups writes: “in 2011, you’ve said that you will do a comic book if no movie.”

Answer: That would be the studio’s call and, even if they did give a comic book continuation the green light, I wouldn’t be the guy to write it.

Buster Frank writes: “Was looking for a place to post this. I was wondering if Joseph was aware of this:

Answer: One third of the way there!  Impressive!

DP writes: “What was the word on those projects?”

Answer: See above.  Still no word.  Which leaves me plenty of time for other pursuits like reading.

“Mammoth Book of Gangs…you read about some colorful folk. Professional research?”

Answer: Yep – that rare non-genre pilot I mentioned.

“What’s your opinion on whether the writers of The Walking Dead (TV Series) have done their research on psychopaths?”

Answer: I don’t know what kind of research they’ve done, but The Governor certainly fits the bill.

“Why were you researching autism spectrum disorders?”

Answer: I was researching it for yet another pilot that I’ve placed on hold for now pending word on the other projects.  

“If two years from now I were writing a trivia pack on the topic of science fiction, what question could I include then that wouldn’t make any sense now? If you need to be more cryptic, you could provide a redacted question and/or assume the question falls under an informative category name.  What science fiction trivia question would be too niche-audience to ask now, but could be asked two years from now because the relevant story-line will have reached a broader science fiction audience by then?”

Answer: Er…I don’t follow.

Ponytail writes: “Did Carl ever mention what the worst weather part of living in California was? Do you realize they got it all? Earthquakes, high winds, fog, rain, mud slides, fires, Lindsay Lohan. Beautiful place but deadly.”

Answer: Carl never mentioned a specific “worst weather part of living in California” but I do know for a fact that he isn’t  a big fan of earthquakes.  

“What would you live in, in California? Apartment, high rise, condo, rent house, hotel suite, with friends?”

Answer: Marty G. suggests that if I do make the move, I should buy a house – but Akemi would certainly push for a condo.  

“How is Bubba and his paw doing?”

Answer: Much better thanks.  He’s keeping the weight off his new bandage.  Obviously doesn’t want to scuff it up.

“If you cannot get a television series for Dark Matter, what’s next for that project? It is too good to be just put on the shelf for later.”

Answer: We’ve been waiting for the final piece to fall into place on the Dark Matter front for – well – quite a while now.  In the event of an 11th hour collapse, we still have enough players – and potential players – to make it happen elsewhere.  But it would take time.

“Do you have a favorite #1 book of all time? And why?”

Answer: Don’t know if I actually have a #1 book of all time.  Among my favorites – The Dark Beyond the Stars, Old Man’s War, Joe Abercrombie’s First Law series, George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, The Empire of Ice Cream, Use of Weapons, The Player of Games, Camp Concentration, Stories of Your Life and Others, The Princess Bride,  The Speed of Dark, The Scar, Glasshouse, Armor, The Ophiuchi Hotline, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series, The SFWA European Hall of Fame, Lord of Light, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, Heroes Die, The Somnambulist, Misery, Fool, City of Thieves, The Man Who Ate Everything, It Must Have Been Something I Ate, Flashman, Lost At Sea: The John Ronson Mysteries, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry.

mamasue9 writes: “Star Trek(CBS) is premiering a web series at Phoenix Comicon May 24 titled Star Trek Continues. It picks up where TOS left off. Any word from MGM to do something like this with Stargate?”

Answer: Alas, no.  It’s been all quiet on the studio front re: Stargate for years now.

22 thoughts on “May 3, 2013: Reading, Watching, Answering!

  1. Sorry about not being more clear on those questions. I was just trying to come up with different ways to ask for hints on science fiction projects that are coming up that you know about, but we don’t.

  2. majorsal writes: “Can you get brad wright to tell the fans the scene of how sam and jack were going to be confirmed to be together in the 3rd sg1 movie?”

    Answer: I can certainly ask him for the specifics the next time I see him. From what I remember, it’s a scene that sees Jack and Sam out for dinner. Their conversation pretty much confirms they are together.

    i would very much appreciate you asking him, joe!! 🙂

    hollywood loves to revisit their once popular entities, hoping to rekindle the love. *this* gives me hope for stargate!

  3. I’m surprised you found Sword Art Online repetitive Joe, if anything I thought it was paced quite well, they also never gave the show too many episodes, obviously they’re trapped inside the world, and have to complete all 100 floors to free themselves. The show did of course shift to the relationship between Kirito and Asuna. Though Kirito was more a loner type character, I believe he solo’d a lot before joining up with people randomly.

    I assume you got past the first story arc? Where Kirito is now freed and realizes that Asuna is trapped within another game?

    It basically becomes an issue of Kirito rescuing Asuna, and doing anything humanly possible to achieve that. That being said a lot of people found the second story arc a lot weaker and a lot less enjoyable than the first.

    @Answer: What the team saw was an illusion, recreated for them by Skaara.

    Aww, I was hoping for a more technical answer. Because the Gates can’t connect to illusions, I was wondering how he did it if anything. Was the actual planet there, if only for a brief while? All so confusing. That said I’m happy to accept the original explaination.

    Anyway hope you get some positive news on your projects soon Joe 🙂

  4. Ah, I always love mailbag posts! I’m hoping something clicks soon on the career front for you, Joe. I do miss watching your work! I have my fingers crossed for Dark Matter, as I loved the comic books. It’s too bad the series about Autism isn’t panning out. My daughter has Autism and I’m always eager to watch shows that treat those with the disorder as the amazing people they are.

    Also, can I get a shout out for the Woohoos over on GW? Mr. Martin Wood had to cancel a con appearance and my buddies are pretty darn bummed.

    On another front, maybe my fellow blog readers can help me out? If you don’t feel like passing the message along, I will totally understand. I help run an animal rescue (Co-Director, go me!), and I’ve been fostering a sweet mama dog and her 8 pups. Only one of the pups has been adopted, and I’m just at my wit’s end. It’s because they’re Staffordshire Bull Terriers. “Pitties.” Anyway, does anyone know of a good “Pit bull” organization that might be able to help me network for these sweeties? I know there are many, many animal-lovers in this awesome bunch, and I would greatly appreciate any wisdom or contacts they could share.

    Give Bubba hugs! 🙂 I hope the rest of the crew aren’t feeling left out of all the fun, haha.

    Also…um…hm. No, I guess that’s it. Unless you want to post pics of yourself to feed my slightly stalker-ish art habit (?). *hopeful look*

    As always, fangirling you from afar.


  5. Cochran for the win! If he doesn’t get blind-sided. Been a lot of that going on.

    Although I am rather fond of Malcolm and his long flowing locks. Sigh.

  6. Your plan sounds reasonable. Good news on a possible sweet deal on your house. I don’t doubt Mr. Binder but buying a house sounds very permanent. On the plus side, I’d use your pool. Why wouldn’t you use a private pool with only “your”cooties? Isn’t that why you didn’t like public pools because of the germs? Oh, you’d you have to get some kind of alarm for a pool. If any of your pugs fell into a pool……

    I’ve worked up to 1 ½ mile daily through the weekdays at the YMCA pool. It’s great exercise and I stay cool.

    Break a leg…good luck…what’s the correct thing to say about your projects? Don’t want to jinx you.

    JeffW: I’m really loving the Arugula ricotta pizza! I’ve made it 3 times so far.

    If anyone is looking for a good pizza crust: We’ve been playing around with cooking techniques for the crust. So far, we’ve discovered cooking the crust on the bottom rack, with a pan on the top rack (slowing the top from cooking too fast) works great! Crispy crust and the top isn’t too brown. 475F for 15 minutes seems to be the ideal, so far. I suppose it depends on the oven though.

  7. I ask for your #1 most favorite book, and you list 30. I should have known better. 🙂

    “oups writes: “in 2011, you’ve said that you will do a comic book if no movie.”

    Answer: That would be the studio’s call and, even if they did give a comic book continuation the green light, I wouldn’t be the guy to write it.”

    Are you referring to Dark Matter? If so, would you have any say in the future story and what happens if it takes an unsavory direction you had never envisioned?

  8. I hope so of those project blockers are removed soon. Love to see Dark Matter on our TV screens. Although what you going to do if all of your projects get go ahead at the same time?

    Never got into Shameless. I do recommend UK Channel 4 brilliant Utopia tv series, being a fan of comic books I think you will enjoy it. IMHO it the best new series of the year so far. BBC3 In the Flesh is a good show as well.

  9. How about new or slightly new good movies you’ve seen, Joe? I can highly recommend Safety Not Guaranteed, Headhunters, both on DVD. I haven’t seen Oblivion, but now that I know Jaime Lannister has a part in it I will rent it when it’s on DVD.

  10. Serious question here: I will be making a short film where one of the main characters is watching a sci-fi show on her laptop. I was hoping she would be watching SGU, who would I have to contact for getting that clearance? The scene would likely show a clip of it over her shoulder and make mention of the show she’ s watching. Thanks!

  11. psst…Cookie….my son saw Iron Man 3 today and said it’s missing something. He said the acting was good and the movie itself was better than Oblivion and The Host.

  12. Forgot to mention in my original post but there are 2 additional Sword Art Online arcs out there, which are quite long but haven’t been made into an anime yet.

    There is also a manga series called Sword Art Online Progressive which starts up in June which covers EVERY single floor in Aincrad(The floating castle), could be kinda boring.

    Either way, we’re likely going to see a new Sword Art Online anime series in the new future.

    Also another series which is quite popular and done by the same author, which has an anime and is worth checking out Joe, called Accel World.

  13. Joe:
    I’ve watched Community from the beginning, it’s gone down hill since season 1, and since the director changed it’s really gone downhill. They have tried to make it into a more mainstream show which has ruined it. The writing seems to be making the actors going overboard now in their characters.

    My adult daughter suggested I watch Adventure Time. It’s a children – teen cartoon, but it’s hilarious. Each episode is about 11 minutes long, two episodes per show. YTou might want to check it out, especially on a day you need a laugh.

  14. Oh, I just remembered another two shows I’ve found interesting, first Orchard Black. I’ve found it more interesting and engaging every episode. An orphaned self absorbed con artist woman finds out she’s a clone and someone is killing off her clones. She wants to run with her estranged child but finds herself being drawn into the intrigue and is falling for her dead clone’s husband.

    I watched the first episode of Utopia. A British series about sinister agents hunting down the only copy of a graphic novel. They will kill and torture anyone to find it, and destroy anyone who who has been in contact with it. The show itself is very violent and strange, but I found myself being fascinated with it. There is a conspiracy theory surrounding the graphic novel, that it predicts the future downfall of human society and the series of catastrophes that bring it down and if the novel can be deciphered the disasters can be prevented and human civilization saved.

    Book: Currently reading S. M. Stirlings Island in the Sea of Time.
    Stirling writes a number of series loosley based on this first novel in which the Island of Nantucket is sent back in time to 1000 BC, and how they cope to survive.

    One series starting with Dies the Fire is based on the present day world where just off the island of Nantucket something huge lands in the ocean and sinks to the ocean floor. The world has changed. Gunpowder no longer works, neither does electricity or steam engines. Massive numbers of people die. Then strange things start happening. When a Wicca performs a ceremony everyone involved sees and hears something answering. Miracles start happening. A war between good and evil begins.

    It’s a good series, except for the latest book. Some of them are a bit long and over inflated.

  15. I don’t know quite what to make of Girls, I think because I’m too old! I just don’t get her relationships with men. But it is very funny. Glad you succumbed to Downton Abbey — amazing how many genre fans are into it. Must be some genetic crossover going on. 🙂

    Hope you hear something positive on the Dark Matter front asap!

  16. Survivor has been rather boring to me lately. Andrea’s boot should’ve had some entertainment value (and it did, a little) but overall this season, I’m just… meh. I just wish they would stop bringing people back. Over, and over… and over…

  17. On the Anime front if you haven’t seen it check out Attach on Titan / Shingeki no Kyojin.
    Synopsis – Many years ago, the last remnants of humanity were forced to retreat behind the towering walls of a fortified city to escape the massive, man-eating Titans that roamed the land outside their fortress. Only the heroic members of the Scouting Legion dared to stray beyond the safety of the walls – but even those brave warriors seldom returned alive. Those within the city clung to the illusion of a peaceful existence until the day that dream was shattered, and their slim chance at survival was reduced to one horrifying choice: kill – or be devoured.
    Generally I am not fan of the horror type genres but so far this one has caught my attention.

  18. Glad you are finally watching Battlestar Galactica. Keep watching.

    You MUST watch The Following.

    <> Intriguing. If you want a great character to model off of, watch Alphas and Gary if you are looking for higher end of the spectrum. If you ever wanted to come down and do some on-site research, I know Patrick’s school would welcome you with open arms. Of course, CARD in Los Angeles is excellent too and I know that Lou Diamond Phillips is on the board of directors so he’s got connections.

  19. I preferred the Sword Art Online light novels to the anime. It’s even better if you don’t read past the first story arc (ie when they finally get out), because then the story was actually and properly finished. The second story arc in Elfheim isn’t too bad if you you’re interested in the aftermath and it finishes. The third story arc isn’t so interesting. It’s as if the author is running out of ideas or his ideas run so far ahead of him that he can’t write them fast enough. You can find an English translation of the light novels on Baka Tsuki’s website. Google her and you’ll find it.

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