Oh, sure. As a viewer, your mileage may vary. But, looking over the list of 100+ episodes of television on which I’ve been credited or co-credited as a writer, THESE were the ten I had the most fun writing…
The Ties That Bind/It’s Good To Be King (Stargate SG-1)
Yeah, it’s always the way. You decide to do a Top 10, put together a long list, start narrowing it down and, in the end, you’re always left with 12. So, rather than cast them aside, I include these two as Honorable Mentions, two scripts that were much fun to write but, to be honest, for one reason or another, didn’t fully deliver in the end.
No one can truly appreciate the banality, frustrations, and sheer ridiculousness of producing television unless they actually work in the industry… OR watch a show in which it is mercilessly lampooned. Sci-fi handwavium, ruthless broadcasters, sexy female alien-obsessed executives – it’s all here.
The only thing I love more than a good time travel episode is a good alternate reality episode, and this one was a blast delving into the colorful personalities of the badder versions of our bad guys.
One of the things I loved about Stargate was the creative allowance it gave us to write humor. I always reflect back fondly on this episode as one of the first instances in which we were just let loose to script the story as we envisioned it — conspiracy kook, Teal’c on the motel massage bed, and all.
I’ve always been fan of multi-story scripts, especially when those seemingly disparate tales neatly dovetail at episode’s end. Still, the highlight of this episode for me was Robert Picardo’s Woolsey, a character who had come such a long way since his introduction back on SG-1. He’d gone from pencil pushing jerk to principled ally and in this episode, his journey to redemption is fully completed thanks, in large part, to the terrific comedic timing of Bob Picardo who made Woolsey at turns vulnerable, sympathetic, and gosh darn lovable.
What did I just say about those various moving pieces of the narrative ultimately falling into place? Yes, in the worlds of Hannibal Smith: “I love it when a plan comes together.” and the moment FIVE utters this episode’s title phrase, it DOES come together in fast and furious fashion.
This delightfully bonkers episode will forever hold a special place in my heart as probably my favorite episode of Stargate for its humorously bizarre instances involving varied AU SG-1’s, a dark timeline team, and that scene with Cam (Ben Browder) in his underwear.
This one kicks off with a shot at Syfy’s failure to promote the show (Mitchell: “They cancelled it? Really? I didn’t even know the new season had started.) and ends with Teal’c unwittingly attending a reading of The Vagina Monologues (I remain convinced that, at that point, the network had stopped vetting the scripts because I don’t see how else they would have let this one go). Fred Willard is a comic genius, Claudia Black gets to show off her expansive acting chops, and, oh yeah, more shots at Syfy –
Yeah, you knew this one was going to be in the Top 3. The original pitch for this episode was quite dark, but Executive Producer Robert Cooper steered us toward a more comic take. After listening to his notes, I said: “But that’s Groundhog Day.” To which he replied: “Right.” And so, we went ahead and wrote the Stargate version of Groundhog Day – which ended up being one of the franchise’s most beloved episodes.
By this point in the series’ run, I was in a writing groove pretty much wholly due to my wonderful cast. I knew that whatever I wrote for them, they would deliver – and boy did they ever. TWO’s heartfelt yearning for the quiet life, THREE’S suburban rogue, a reminder that our FIVE is still very much a kid, SIX’s bike mastery, and Android’s not-quite-know-it-all attitude – all combine for an episode that, more than any other, leaves me with bittersweet memories of a show ended way too soon.
Was there ever any doubt? I wasn’t even working off an outline when I sat down to write this script but from the moment I started, I was on fire, blazing through a first draft with almost no interruption. I was in the zone and this one came together beautifully in all of a day (A record!). Whenever I watch the THREE/Android duet, I get downright wistful at the thought of where these two characters were headed had our audience been rewarded for tuning in.
Addendum – Since so many asked, 200 didn’t make the list because I was one of many writers who contributed to that one. Having said that, the segments I wrote WERE a lot of fun…