September 3, 2020: More from the Stargate vault!

More from the Stargate vault…


The Atlantis gate.


Setting up the gate – White Sands, New Mexico.


Fun in the sun with Jamil Walker-Smith and Brian J. Smith.


Director Andy Mikita’s On-set Brain Surgery TED Talk – “The Shrine”


You get one trip through the gate.  Where are you going and who are you taking with you?


The dynamic desert duo.


Doing a thorough sweep of the area.


January 3, 2020: So far…in 2020!

So I was going through my blog archives in search of something else and I came across the following video from back in the day.  Actors Jamil Walker-Smith, Brian J. Smith, and David Blue watching the finished cut of SGU’s Time –

Good times!

I’ve decided to start a new feature on twitter titled – #AmazingPeopleWithWhomIHaveWorked

My modest attempt to add a little positivity to an overwhelmingly negative platform.  I’m going to try to post one a day.

The candidates so far…

Things have been quiet on the home front since Lulu’s passing.  We’ve noticed Suji has been a little more needy and has taken to circling the apartment, looking for her adoptive sis.

So, Akemi and I have started having preliminary discussions about getting Suji a friend.  On the one hand, she’s a definite alpha, loves being the center of attention and wants ALL the love; on the other hand, she was a lot more comfortable with another dog in the house, especially when we would go out.

Which brings up another problem.  On the rare occasions when Akemi and I traveled, we felt comfortable leaving Suji with a dog sitter because Lulu went with her.  Now that she’s alone, this seems a less likely option give my gal’s separation anxiety.

Meanwhile, 2020 has been a fairly productive year so far.  I’ve made it a point to stick to a bit of a routine and ensure I accomplish a few things every day.  Namely:

A morning work-out.

Two walks for Suji.

Half an hour of spoken Japanese.

Two exercises of written Japanese (hiragana and katakana).

Progress on any of my ongoing projects (the horror script, the outline for the second episode of TimEscape, various pitches, continued research on that comic book project).

A blog entry.

So far, so good.

December 28, 2013: Stargate Universe 1.5! The Japanese Girlfriend Edition!

Akemi and I finished watching the second half of Stargate: Universe’s first season today.  It’s been interesting to see her develop a genuine passion for the series.  “I love Stargate!”she declared this morning.  “Please call me, geeku-chan!”

Like any fan, Geeku-chan had her favorite characters, her favorite episodes.  Robert Cooper’s Time is still tops in her books.  She can’t get enough of that kino!

What follows are her thoughts on episode #11 through #20…


Being a big fan of the show’s visual effects, Akemi greatly appreciated this episode, especially the sequence of the ships exchanging fire (“Poom poom poom”).  She, did, however, have some reservations about the alien who proved disappointingly weak in her opinion.  She also wasn’t a fan of Young in the alien suit – “He looked like an oompa loompa!”.

Overall though, a solid episode in her estimation.  “I feel like I’m watching a movie.”


She found certain elements of this one confusing, particularly those related to the transfer of the ship’s control.  Still, she did find it suspenseful (“Jamil almost killed Patrick!”she exclaimed at one point) and loved the space walk.  On the other hand, she found the operation sequence “scary”, the part where Rush awakens in the middle of surgery especially distressful.


For some reason, she found this episode difficult to understand and expressed disappointment that we never got to see “the alien who built the Tokyo towerish thing”.

She did find the burgeoning/grudging friendship between Rush and Young interesting, noting: “I find science guy and old Young very friendly now but a few episodes before they were cranky cranky.”

As for T.J.’s predicament, she was surprisingly noncommittal: “Don’t feel sad for her because it’s personal situation going on.  No comment.”


“I watched twice and still don’t understand!”  Alas, yes.  She fell asleep the first time and then started from the beginning in the hopes that she wold actually understand it the second time around.  No such luck.  What was the problem?  Well, beside all the back and forth between reality and Rush’s world: “Very confusing because science guy very mumblesome.”


An emotionally strong episode for Akemi who was on the edge of her seat throughout.  She confidently predicted our intrepid foursome would make it back to the ship at the end of last episode and, when they didn’t, she was downright shocked.  So, when the remaining trio didn’t make it back in the nick of time a second time, she was incensed.  “F**ing scientist!  Why dial?  Give last five minutes to them.  It shouldn’t happen such bad timing!”  Sadly, it did and Scott, Eli, and Chloe ended the episode off-world with seemingly no chance of rejoining Destiny.

Akemi: “I like this episode because twisted.”

Me: “You mean because there was a twist.”

Akemi: “Yeah.  Twisted.”

Her appreciation for Ronald Greer/Jamil Walker Smith continues: “I like Jamil.  I mean Jamil’s character.”, “I like Jamil’s character more because he had bad experience as a kid.”, and “I like young Jamil with yellow t-shirt and crazy hair.”


This episode may not have been a fan favorite, but Akemi liked it just fine, especially the visual effect shots of the robot fixing the ship.  She did find it odd that T.J. (conveniently) didn’t knock when paying a call on Rush, simply opening the door to his room and catching him and Rush/Dr. Perry/Wray in an “awkward” moment.

This episode also begged the question: “When is geek guy going to get with her?  When will other guy die?”.  She’s apparently a Chloli shipper but likes Scott just the same.  “Very handsome,”she told me.  “But geek guy also very cute and unique.  In Japan, both would be equally popular.”


Right off the bat: “Why Young stop shaving his beard?  Depression comes from being father?”  I don’t know.  Maybe?

She thought this a good, scary episode with an ending that left her wanting more. Ultimately, a great episode “because written by Carl Binder-san.”


At some point, she started referring to a character as Chef.  Well, I knew “scientist” referred to Rush and “geek” referred to Eli, but “Chef”?  Turns out she was referring to Lou Diamond Philips because she remembers him from his varied Food Network forays.  Some of her comments on this episode:

“I like the scene of Jamil punching his face, stupid chef.”

“Why chef flip it?  How he get brainwashed?  I guess it is what it is.”

“Nice to see Mike Dopud.”

“Mike Dopud is alien?  Looks like human though.”

As for the episode as a whole: “I like but why stop there?  I’m curious and can’t sleep.”


She was on the edge of her seat from start to finish and, when the episode ended, requested we roll right into the next.  The highlight for her?  Eli’s courageous bid to keep Chloe safe, at one point literally sweeping her off her feet. (“I love geek boy.”).  The lowlight?  She didn’t like the fact that Young didn’t vent the the gate room the second the Lucian Alliance came through.  Chef be damned!



Not quite the consistent nail-biter that was Incursion I, Incursion II delivered big time for her in its last fifteen minutes.  “Very movie-ish!”was her take on the season finale.  BUT she didn’t like the fact that there was no ending.  “Not finished?  Not happy!”  The problem?  She feared for her favorite characters.  Why?  “I’m afraid because my boyfriend has no mercy.  I like happy ending but my boyfriend not all the time.”

Hmmm.  Makes me wonder what she’ll think of the series finale.

May 24, 2011: Transporter: The Series Pre-Production Update! Site Stats!

No turning back now!  The production machine is rolling along and picking up steam, speeding, faster and faster, toward the precipice that will launch us into glorious flight!  Provided the mechanical wings on this contraption hold firm.  Our European team is gearing up to start shooting in Paris, Berlin, Nice, Marseilles, and the south of France.  To that end, we had a conference call this morning to go over the storyboards for the early episodes.  The guys in France have come up with some terrific car action sequences that, like the ones in the Transporters film series, are fun, inventive, and holy-smokes-impressive!  I suppose this shouldn’t come as a surprise since a number of the key people on our car and fight stunt teams are the same ones who worked on the movies.

When car stunt coordinator extraordinaire Michel Julienne gets into town, I’m just going to start catching a lift with him in the morning.

I figure that’ll allow me to shave about fifteen minutes off my twenty-two minute travel time.

Every so often, I like to check out my site stats – Top Referrers, Top Posts, and, my favorite, Top Search Engine Terms that directed new readers to this blog.  I always find it very interesting.  For instance, here’s a sampling of the Top Search Engine Terms over the past six months…

Search Views
julia benson 59,088
joseph mallozzi 36,572
joe mallozzi 16,013
mallozzi 7,600
joseph mallozzi blog 7,581
elyse levesque 6,252
jennifer spence  5,400
alaina huffman  4,193
mallozzi blog  3,876
batman  2,914
joseph malozzi  1,882
julia anderson  1,766
joseph mallozi  1,751
vanessa james  1,659
stargate blog  1,553
amanda tapping  1,526
julie mcniven  1,450
jamil walker smith  1,047
brian j smith  984
elyse levesque hot  955
louis ferreira  932
jewel staite  895
patrick gilmore  882
joseph mallozzi weblog  865
joe malozzi  839
peter deluise  831
bermuda triangle mystery solved  751
mike dopud  744
david blue  727
malozzi blog  707
stargate universe destiny  706
stargate atlantis  693
leela savasta  693
iron chef chairman  455
michael shanks  454
joseph mallozzi’s blog  433
peter kelamis  428
lexa doig  424
paul mcgillion  416
mint leaves  313
icarus base  288
wraith todd  282
julia benson pictures  267
todd wraith  265
julia benson hot  263
andy mikita  263
stargate destiny model  243
todd the wraith  242
christopher judge  234
chocolate party  223
vanessa james sgu  217
julia benson actress  203
julia benson pics 192
“jennifer spence” 190
mark savela 189
butterscotch schnapps 189
stargate universe shuttle 188
sgu destiny 188
stargate universe julia benson 175 171
julia benson sgu 165
stargate universe chloe 163
vanessa james stargate universe 161
julia benson photos 149
joseph mazzolli blog 149
space shuttle interior 133
stargate atlantis city 131
seed ship 131
blog mallozzi 129
julia benson stargate universe 127
stargate universe ship 117
rodney mckay 117
2nd lt. vanessa james 109
batman pictures 109
destiny gate 109
“elyse levesque” 109
viscous 109
lieutenant james stargate 102
robert picardo 101
brad wright 101
sgu vanessa james 91
stargate universe cast 89
best atlantis episodes 89
stargate atlantis todd 89
ben browder 79
amaretto cream 79
stargate universe ships 71
paul mullie 71
coq au vin 67
carl binder 66
alien ship 55
teryl rothery 54
destiny corridor 54
the chairman iron chef 53
julia benson images 53
peter de luise 53
stargate destiny schematics 53
stargate universe kino 53
stargate destiny bridge 53
kobe beef 53
joe flanigan 51
stargate atlantis gate 50
jaffa stargate 50
julia benson picture 48
florida state cowgirls 48
dr rush 48
leaves 48
butterscotch liqueur 25
snow monkeys 19
fedora hat 15
Carl learns he comes in at 66 searches, beating kobe beef by 53 but falling well short of amaretto cream at 79. Also, for what it's worth, just a shade under "coq au vin".

More people searching the internet came here looking for “Julia Benson” than “Joseph Mallozzi” and “Joe Mallozzi” combined.  Searches for “Batman” (2914) beat out searches for “Patrick Gilmore” (882), “Stargate Atlantis” (693) doubled “mint leaves” (313), while “Joe Flanigan” (51) was trounced by “Brad Wright” (101), “Robert Picardo” (101), and “viscous” (109).

Even more interesting are the daily single digit search engine terms that range from the obscure to the downright bizarre.  Today’s stats yield a unique mix:

Search Views
sucking pig 3
brian j smith girlfriend 2
godzilla tokyo 2
mallozzi fondy divorce 2
janina javankar married or single 1
raccoon lottery 1
leon with pig puppet 1
psych symptoms include speaking in accents 1
confit brain 1
bermuda trapezoid 1

I would assume the first one was supposed to be “suckling pig” rather than “sucking pig”, but the fact that three different search attempts went with “sucking” gives me pause.  It’s nice to know there are people searching for love on the internet, doing their research to ensure their prospective future partners are indeed single: Brian J. Smith, Janina Gavankar, and my ex wife.  Also, I sincerely hope that whoever searched for “psych symptoms include speaking in accents” found the sound medical advice they were looking for here on this blog.  Finally, what the hell is a “raccoon lottery”?

May 15, 2011: The Apocalypse Approacheth! More SG-1 Season 6 Memories! Another Monster Mailbag!

Holy Smack!  So there I was this morning, minding my own business, perusing the internet for cornish game hen recipes when I came across THIS article in which a religious group alert us to the possible end of the world May 21.  The evidence is mighty convincing.  According to the article, the group’s elderly leader claims he arrived at the May 21st date through “a mathematical calculation that would probably crash Google’s computers. It involves, among other things, the dates of floods, the signals of numbers in the Bible, multiplication, addition and subtraction thereof.”  Multiplication, addition AND subtraction! Usually, you get one, maybe two of the aforementioned in your average doomsday calculation, but the fact that this guy made use of all three (division is for losers by the way) suggests a mind-boggling thoroughness and attention to detail.  If that’s not enough to convince the skeptics, the group’s leader also points to the many obvious signs that the apocalypse approacheth.  According to the story in the Washington Post, he “mentioned the massive earthquakes in Chile, Haiti and Japan, as well as the recent tornadoes in the South. And to top that off, gay people are thriving.”  Yes to the earthquakes in Chile, Haiti and Japan. Another yes to the tornadoes in the South.  And, the last time I visited my favorite cupcake shop in Vancouver, owned by a really nice same-sex couple, business was booming which seems to be confirm the final piece of the prophecy.

I’m of two minds here.  On the one hand, I’m horrified at the prospect that, in a matter of days, everything I know will cease to be.  On the other hand, this means I don’t have to kill myself to complete that pesky script rewrite.

Hell, I’m taking the rest of the week off!

Steve Eramo interviews actor Louis Ferreira (Colonel Young) here:

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to weigh in with their comments and questions.  I do read them all and, hopefully, will get around to addressing most.  Eventually.  In the meantime, my trip down memory lane continues with more Stargate: SG-1 reminiscences…


Although I liked the replicators when they were first introduced, I felt a little of them went a long way – which was why I loved their evolution into human form.  Same villain but new, improved, and far more dangerous.  What made this very good episode great was O’Neill’s double-cross of the all-too-trusting Fifth.  Was he right to do it?  Sure, an argue could be made for the fact that his actions do contain the replicator threat.  Of course, the double-cross comes back to bite us in the ass down the line when Fifth escapes the time dilation bubble.  So, would we have been better served taking him with us.  Again, hard to say.  And that’s one of the things I loved about SG-1.  Sometimes, amid the high adventure and humor, there were situations that offered no easy answers.


Boy, did I NOT like this episode, this despite actor Jodi Racicot’s brilliant turn as the beleaguered Vernon Sharpe.  My note at the script stage was: So what?. I mean, okay, people started glimpsing interdimensional creatures that caused them to “Freak out, man!” but, when it came down to it, those alien centipedes really weren’t much of a threat.


See if you can spot Peter Kelamis (SGU’s Adam Brody) in one of his first guest spots on the franchise.  Yep, that young little guy who gets clotheslined by Teal’c.  That’s him!  This episode also marked the return of one of my favorite characters you love to hate: Senator Kinsey played by the brilliant Ronny Cox.  It was always a pleasure to have him on the show.

The hotel at the beginning of the episode where Kinsey gets shot is actually located right across from The Bridge Studios where the show’s production offices are located.  Apparently, back in SG-1’s early days, a new writer joined the staff and was offered accommodations in town.  Instead, the writer elected to move into The Accent Inn!  I mean, sure, it was convenient in that all you had to do was walk across the street to get to work but there is nothing of interest in the neighborhood outside of the ABC Country Restaurant.  Sorry.  Strike that.  Nothing of interest in the neighborhood.


Robert Cooper’s long-standing distaste for arugula is finally revealed.  The mysterious plant Jack and Maybourne eat in order to survive apparently tastes horrible – not unlike arugula.  Not only that but, at episode’s end, we realize it’s the cause of the frightening hallucinations that almost get them killed.  Rob’s aversion to spicy leaf plants isn’t restricted to arugula alone.  Back in the day, we used do our annual trips to Vegas to celebrate our respective birthdays that all used to fall in the same month (Rob, Chris Judge, John G. Lenic, and myself).  I remember going to The Cheesecake Factory with him once and, when our two orders of corn tamales arrived, having him look down at the heavily cilantro-topped tamale he’d received and lamenting: “Hey, why do I get to have all the cilantro?” as if to imply I’d been left out because my tamale was relatively cilantro-less.  A clever bit of reverse psychology.


And the award for Most Awkward Seduction scene in an episode of Stargate goes to… Whenever I see the Nirrti’s Bedchamber scene, I vacillate between squirming and laughing out loud.   “Mrs. Nirrti, you’re trying to seduce me!”.  Poor, simple, innocent Jonas.

Another thing I recall about this episode was the gratuitously gory shot of the mutant exploding on the hospital gurney that ended up being cut.


Darth Novos writes: “MGM may own the rights but there is nothing stopping you from talking to other people about possible deals.”

Answer: Actually there is – believe it or not, MGM, who own the rights.

Marius writes: “I think your unwillingness to “wrap up loose ends” is what has driven the Stargate franchise down the toilet. […] It is obvious you´ve “gone with the flow” on both Atlantis (which also sucked) and Universe. […] I also want to add, that I have some genuine good ideas for an alternatively new Stargate series concept. […] I´m positive my ideas could generate a show that gathered good viewer ratings. If you believe in me, contact me via email.”

Answer: Clearly, you know what makes for a successful t.v. show better than any of us who were involved in Stargate’s 14-year run.  I’m forwarding your email to the Grand Councilor of Awesome Programming at MGM’s moonbase headquarters.  Good luck!

glennh73 writes: “1. Your comic Dark Matter, does it have any connection to the book Dark Matter written by S. W. Ahmed. Great Read!”

Answer: Nope.

“2. You stated Atlantis couldnt connect to Destiny with 3 zpm’s nor with the Ori Supergate. Well if the Anicents were still around, how would they of going back aboard?”

Answer: That’s a questions for the Ancients.  Or Brad and Robert.

“Honestly wouldnt a black hole powered ORI Supergate have more power than a Icarus type planet?”

Answer: Possibly.

“3. Oldie but goody. Daniels grandfather Nicholas Ballard. Those aliens he is with, were they the Furlings or even the Faith Aliens or something else and why didnt we get another story about him.”

Answer: Definitely not furlings.  We never did another story about him because, alas, no one came up with a good story idea that would have included him.

“4. From SG1, is there any storylines you wished you could of expanded on. Ex Daniels grandfather, the Aschen, Re’tu, ORi?”

Answer: While there were no specific stories I’d want to revisit, I would certainly love to revisit every one of those characters.

Shannon writes: “Just wondering if you can clarify here. Was it Destiny just trying to help TJ survive/cope or was this Destiny actively doing something (like, since it’s the latest fashion, uploading the baby to the Destiny computer)?”

Answer: It was the former – Destiny reaching out to T.J. and creating a scenario which would have made it easier for her to accept the loss.

tidusspear08 writes: “Did you have any plans to make Ginn a series regular?”

Answer: As much as we all absolutely loved Julie McNiven, there were no plans to make Ginn a series regular.

nm writes: “Assuming though that you are referring to the dvd market in general rather than specifically the SG1 sales figures, do you think if the movies could have been made within a year they would have been successful?”

Answer: Don’t recall the timing of the collapse in dvd sales (and, yes, I’m referring to the general marketplace) so it’s hard to say.  Back when Atlantis’s fifth season was drawing to an end, Robert Cooper floated the idea of rolling right into a production of a two-hour event (I dubbed “Project Twilight”) that, once completed, could have delivered as either a movie (in the case we didn’t receive the sixth season pick-up) or the first two episodes of season six (if we did receive the pick-up).  For whatever reason, we weren’t able to move forward on this idea which, in hindsight, probably would have been the best way to proceed.

detanfy writes: “First of all, what exactly did the Blue Berry aliens want with Destiny. I know you said they are collecting information to try and take over, but what do they actually want with the old gal. Do they even know about Destiny and her ultimate mission?”

Answer: This is something we would have discussed and detailed in time but the idea was that the Blueberry aliens had been aware of Destiny for quite some time.  It’s doubtful they would have been aware of her ultimate mission, but they certainly would have been impressed with her capabilities both offensive and defensive.

detanfy also writes: “How did the Blue Berry aliens discover Destiny?”

Answer: I imagine they encountered Destiny during one of her many refueling stops, attempted communications and, receiving no response, scanned the ship.  Their interest pique and assuming their prize was unmanned, they attempted to board Destiny – only to be rebuffed by the ship’s automated defenses.

detanfy also writes: “Can you tell us about any of Destiny’s past experiences before the Icarus crew got on board? She seems to have been through a hell of a lot of battles. I would imagine she would have just been in FTL all this time and would only drop out to recharge, so why all the battle scars?”

Answer: A lot of the damage could be attributed to attempts by the Blueberry aliens to capture the ship.  Of course I’m sure they weren’t the only alien life forms to attempt as much.

detanfy also writes: “Are the Icarus crew the first to gate to Destiny since its launch?”

Answer: As far as we know, yes, but I loved the idea of discovering some humanoid corpses during a search of the ships unexplored sections.  Along with those corpses, we would also discover a recorded account of what happened to them when they gated aboard.  Of course, the experience of the long-dead explorers would somehow help or hinder our crew (preferably both, first hinder, then help).  Again, one of those stories that never developed beyond that germ of an idea.

mike mcginnis writes: “Also was there ever a plan to bring ford back for another episode?”

Answer: Yes.  I believe the story is included as part of my AU Season 6 post.

Andrew Jung writes: “Being from Vancouver Island, would you have ever considered doing an SG shoot on the island, or other parts of BC outside of the Lower Mainland; like the Okanagan desert?”

Answer: Sure.  We considered all possibilities.  What it ultimately came down to was budgetary constraints, what we would really gain from shooting so far out of the zone and whether it would be worth the extra costs.

Andrew Jung also writes: “Was there ever any talk about having a point where the Stargate actually became public knowledge and start using the gates and ships for colonization?”

Answer: The possibility of the Stargate program going public was going to be the premise of the next SG-1 movie, Stargate: Revolution.

Don Matthews writes: “…was the idea of Destiny going into the past and creating a civilization that would stretch into the present partially designed to allow SGU to showcase human type aliens ALA SG1/SGA?”

Answer: Yes, it would offered us a plausible scenario by which humans would have colonized that section of space.

Don Matthew also writes: “Oh and frying the Wormhole drive, that was kind of a “this tech is too powerful/deux ex machina and we have to get rid of it” decision?”

Answer: Over the course of Stargate’s run, there have been several technologies the show introduced that I felt undermined drama or handcuffed the storytelling.  Off the top of my head, in particular order: beaming technology, the Asgard core, and the wormhole drive.

Don Matthews also writes: “And was there a big payoff to come with the “franklin getting absorbed by the ship” thing? We saw him but it was kind of ambiguous.”

Answer: Purposely so.  It was something we could have explored more in the show’s third season.

Don Matthews also writes: “Was the “disappearing fetus” story just a way of dispensing with a pregnancy that you didnt feel fit with the rest of what you had planned for season 2?”

Answer: Over the course of Stargate’s long run, the production has had been faced with a number of pregnancies.  In a couple of cases, we were able to ignore the pregnancies by shooting around them.  In another case – Rachel on SGA – the pregnancy became part of the storyline, as did the subsequent birth and associated motherhood issues.  Ultimately, we decided that, while Atlantis was a hopeful enough environment to raise a child, Destiny was not.  We wrestled with how we wanted to proceed, none more so than Paul who faced the challenge of scripting the season two opener and, eventually, came up with the ambiguous/mysterious solution.  It’s interesting to note that, even though it’s more or less stated that Destiny was responsible for T.J.’s vision, many in the writing department refused to confirm it one way or the other.

Don Matthews also writes: “Oh and any gate that was powered by a blackhole should have been able to contact Destiny since they were able to keep the supergate blocked indefinitely (Pegesus Project).”

Answer: Having slept on it, I’m now firmly uncertain as to whether or not it would have been possible.

ben writes: “Regarding your new series The Transporter, have you already cast the lead roles? I’m eager to find out who you will cast as Inspector Tarconi, since you both share an affinity for haute cuisine.”

Answer: Oooh, you’re in for a treat on the casting front.  Stay tuned.

Shiny writes: “Finally got to see a marathon of SGU on Hulu; was there a caveman lurking in background of Common Descent?”

Answer: Peter DeLuise loves unique-looking extras.  The producers, not so much so.  There was plenty more of him but Paul succeeded in cutting around him. For the most part.

paloosa writes: “You mentioned something about another series in the works? And are you still looking for a more permanent home?”

Answer: Everything I mentioned in my previous post is all I’ve got on the go.  And, yes, still looking for an actual house here in Toronto.

Dustin writes: “Judging by how far Destiny is away from earth could it be the gates left by the seed ships are sending back info to the other gate networks in the Pegasus and Milky way? ”

Answer: Theoretically possible, but not something we considered.

Spectrefire writes: “I read up on Netflix’s intentions on possibly footing the bill for shows and series that are about to be cancelled, and was thinking that Stargate Universe, or at the very least, a couple of movies might be right up the service’s alley.”

Answer: Agree.  I suggested this option to the studio.  The fact that it didn’t pan out suggests it wasn’t a viable option.

Arctic Goddess writes: “I have a question about Torri Higginson and something that Joe Flanigan said at the Creation Convention. I’m paraphrasing, but Joe said how good and serious an actress Torri was and how she fought for every word she got and was concerned that she only worked two days out of five, but that she got quite a lot of screen time in spite of that.

Then Joe said that the writers were all aiming for the young adult male demographic and did not write a lot of strong women parts. That the writers did not come to the conventions and see the wide audience that Stargate was reaching. and that the writers were not very receptive to Torri’s concerns.
Eventually when you keep getting that kind of reception, you stop going upstairs to talk to them. He said it would probably have been better if there had been a few women writers writing it.”  What is your opinion of Joe’s comments?”

Answer: Between seasons, we always made a concerted effort to bring in new writers by inviting them to pitch and, hopefully, sell a story that would allow them the opportunity prove themselves and land a staff position on the show.  No easy feat.  Many of the writers, while very good, simply weren’t able to offer us stories that we felt were right for the show.  Others did manage to sell us pitches but, for whatever reason (and, again, I have to stress that it often had less to do with talent than it did with their inability to “get” the show’s tone), were unable to get past the outline or script stage.  If you check the credits on past shows (particularly in the first half of each season), you’ll note that quite a few writers, both male and female, were given a shot.  Ultimately, what it came down to was the fact that the show (be it SG-1, Atlantis, or Universe) was tough to write for because, after so many years, it was backstory and mythology heavy.

I can’t speak to claims that the writers weren’t receptive to Torri’s concerns as I was never privy to any such conversations.  I do know, however, that Brad and Robert always maintained an “open door” policy with regard to the scripts and the actors (something Paul and I maintained when we took over as show runners in Atlantis’s fourth season).  I’m aware of many shows that simply ignore actor input, so I do take exception to the suggestion the writers weren’t receptive to any serious issues the cast may have had – especially since I would often see the actors in discussion with either Brad or Robert.  To be fair, there is a difference between “not being receptive” and “disagreeing with a take on a particular scene.  Simply drawing from personal experience, I can tell you I had great conversations with Bob Picardo, Beau Bridges, and the late Don Davis about their respective characters and was always receptive to any input they might have had.  The same was true for other actors like Jason Momoa (whose desire to go darkside resulted in my writing Reunion and Broken Ties) or Jamil Walker-Smith (who’s crisis of confidence story in The Hunt came about as a result of a visit he paid me one afternoon).

William Francais writes: “I wish you would have brought Jack’s clone back, did anyone in the writing room want to bring him back years later?”

Answer: Yes, revisiting Young Jack was suggested on a couple of occasions but we were never able to find the write story for the character.

scottland7 writes: “… why did Hammond get reassigned? I think I read because of Don Davis’ health problems started around this point. Is this really the reason he was written as being reassigned?”

Answer: I don’t recall the circumstances.  There was a point in the series when Rick was scaling down his appearances on SG-1, resulting in quite a challenge for the writing department.  I remember Don coming up to the production offices one day and volunteering to have his character retire so that O’Neill could take over as the commander of the SGC and thus make things easier from a creative standpoint.  That was typical Don.  Incredibly generous.  We didn’t take him up on his kind offer but, later on down the line, that more or less became the scenario that was adopted.  To my recollection (again, I wasn’t privy to these discussions), the call to have Hammond reassigned was a mutual decision on the part of Don and the show’s Exec. Producers.  He enjoyed a semi-retirement of sorts, focusing on his art but still finding the time to do the occasional guest spot for us.

MNP writes: “Also, what did Jonas do during the Ori invasion? Did he lead a resistance movement? Go into hiding?”

Answer: In my mind, he led an underground resistance movement.  Following the defeat of the Ori, he retired from public office.

Lance W. writes: “1. What does Eli do for those two weeks when he’s not fixing his stasis pod? Did he even attempt to fix it, or did he know it couldn’t be fixed? Does destiny come across problems that he alone must fix? Does he take a final trip back with the stones?”

Answer: Presumably when he’s not working on the problem, he’s eating and sleeping.  I assume if it was the 11th hour and he realized he wouldn’t be able to fix the problem, he would use the stones to pay his mother one final visit – but that’s awful pessimistic.

“2. Did Rush volunteer, knowing that Young would deny him and instead choose himself? Was Rush hoping to get rid of Young, despite how well they’ve been getting along?”

Answer: I think Rush volunteered because he wanted to be the one to stay and fix the problem, but there’s no doubt he suspected that Young might disagree and insist he be the one to stay.

“3. What year and month did they enter the pods? I wish to make a note on when the three years is meant to be up.”

Answer: I suppose whenever the episode aired: May 9, 2011.

“Finally, I’m grasping at my last straw here, but this episode seemingly left it open to a film after three years, is that even a possibility any more?”

Answer: It’s a nice thought but, given the fact that the sets are about to be struck, very unlikely.

Lisa R writes: “When you planned your original five-year arc, was it planned for the Destiny to be in a different galaxy each season as they got closer to their goal or would there be more time spent in one particular galaxy?”

Answer: That’s was the original plan – but plans change.

Phillip writes: “Were the mindless drones in SGU a metaphor for the unsupportive fans that wanted to see SGU the show end?”

Answer: Ha.  Apt but no.  Reminds me of a similar theory way back in early SG-1.  During a warehouse shootout, a bullet ricochets off a fan.  The following days, some fans were claiming this was wish fulfillment on the part of the producers = shooting a fan.  No kidding.  Well, I’ll say the same thing to you now as I told fans back then – you’re reading too much into it.  Entertaining theory though.

zakhar writes: “I was wondering if there was every any plan to further explore Alan McCullough’s unknown aliens from The Daedalus Variations episode in Atlantis.”

Answer: Another idea that was floated but ultimately shelved.

Greg writes: “Why would the blue aliens have to transform Chloe when they had access to Destiny ? I make that conclusion based on their ship detaching at the end of the one episode.”

Answer: That assumption is incorrect.  They were able to attach a scout ship to Destiny’s hull, but that doesn’t mean they were able to gain entry to the ship. And the only reason they were able to do so in Space was because the inexperienced crew was running the show (cutting off power to a section of the ship, thereby bringing the shield down and allowing the alien ship to attach and penetrate the hull) instead of Destiny’s automated defenses.

Greg also writes: “How did Chloe suddenly become Bruce Lee by changing into a blue alien when Rush was able to take one out with a metal bar ?”

Answer: Chloe wasn’t transforming into a Blueberry alien but mutating into a hybrid alien form with similarities to them – and another species they had experimented upon.

Elliott writes: “1.) Did you ever discuss who built the ruins from “Human” and “Lost”?”

Answer: Not to any significant length, no (and by significant, I mean to the point where it would offer us a kernel of an idea we could use as a springboard for another story).

“2.) Who is your favourite character from each of the Stargate shows?”

Answer: Which ones did I have the most fun writing for?  SG:1 – Vala, SGA – Ronon and Woolsey, SGU – T.J. and Greer.

“3.) Why didn’t you mention that the Odyssey’s secret mission in “Enemy at the Gate” was the search for an Icarus planet? I think many assumed that it was “Revolution”.”

Answer: I didn’t write the SGU premiere so I can’t answer that.  I assume Brad and/or Robert changed their minds and did, in fact, shift Odyssey’s mission to Revolution.

“4.) If you could change anything about each of the Stargate shows (besides cancellation, greenlighting movies etc.), what would it be?”

Answer: Probably the aforementioned tech.  I’d have lost the beaming tech, Asgard core, the Earth fleet, and wormhole drive.  I’d have maintained Atlantis’s isolation from the Milky Way.

“5.) Any idea when “Dark Matter” will be released?”

Answer: January of 2012.  Will have a firm date shortly.

John T. Williams writes: “So how’re the two types of statis chambers different? Do the Destiny type freeze completely so that the occupants don’t actually age whatsoever?”

Answer: Yes, that’s the way they were designed to operate.

Airelle writes: “How are the pups doing in day care, have they taken over the place yet?”

Answer: They’ve been attending two different daycares.  Lulu and Bubba passed the rigorous screening process and are now attending St. Roch’s Academy for Gifted Canines where they are learning arts & crafts, proper table manners, and elementary Latin.  Jelly and Maximus, meanwhile, are occasional attendees at a more downscale every-dog institution.

Lloyd writes: “How did you get into the world of Stargate?”

Answer: Our Canadian agent got us the opportunity to pitch.  We came up with five story ideas, two of which we sold.  One, Scorched Earth, was the script that landed us a position on staff.

“Have you watched before Season 4 Stargate SG-1 before coming to the team?”

Answer: No.  In fact, I had only seen one episode of the series – Emancipation – and hated it.  It wasn’t until we got the opportunity to pitch that we started watching episodes and realized – hey, this show is pretty good!

“When you watch an episode of Stargate (SG1, SGA, SGU), you have the eyes of a fan (or viewer) or a critical eye on your work?”

As with every film or television series, I view it through the eyes of a writer first and the eyes of a producer second.  My ex used to hate going to see movies with me because I’d spend most of my time sighing and muttering angrily to myself in the dark.

“If the MGM offers to return to something new: about Stargate, Will you join in?”

Answer: I’m committed to other projects and, unfortunately, would be unable to participate.  Provided Brad Wright was in charge, any new project would be in excellent hands.

“Is there some episode you remember most? and why?”

Answer: A few.  Harmony, Whispers, 200, Ripple Effect, The Hunt to name a few.  As for why – well, you’ll find out when I get around to reminiscing about their particular seasons.

“Today you have another project (the series “The Transporter”), how would you like your job, compared to Stargate?”

Answer: To be honest, Toronto has been a major adjustment (still ongoing), but I can’t say enough great things about Transporter: The Series.  I can honestly say that I enjoy going into work and that speaks to the show and the people involved.

“If you had to summarize in one word, all your work on Stargate, which one? ? and why this word?”

Answer: Fun.  That’s what I set out to do (have fun) every time I envisioned a story and sat down to write a script.  If the viewers at home had fun watching, then mission accomplished.

“Finally, what do you think about the cancellation of ALL projects Stargate?  (“Extinction”, “Revolution”, a film SGU) Why all of a sudden?”

Answer: I think 🙁 .

Jeff writes: “obviously the ancients had to create a ZPM to power their ships, bases, and atlantis, so i guess my question is, didnt they leave directions in the ancient database on atlantis on how to actually create a ZPM?”

Answer: You would presume so but the fact that this was never discovered suggests that either: a) it wasn’t uploaded to the Atlantis database, or b) is there somewhere but is so top secret it will take a while before scientists uncover it.  Ideally, they could have uncovered it in time to come up with an alternate power source capable of dialing Destiny and sending a retrieval team to the rescue – but that’s a story for another fan fiction.

Jeff writes: “btw, the wedding is october 29, where should i send your invite?”

Answer: Just tell me where in Vegas you’ll be.

Alex writes: “in your mind was the earth Stargate still at the SGC in Colorado or was it moved to Homeworld Command?”

Answer: In my mind, it would make sense to have moved it to Homeworld Command – but the nostalgic part of me says it’s still inside Cheyenne Mountain.

C-Verse writes: “1. Given that Atlantis was more family friendly, do you think the darker tone of Universe might have discouraged people from watching it?”

Answer: I’m sure it turned off some people.  On the other hand, I’m sure it attracted new viewers as well.  It’s a double-edged sword, just like the word Stargate in the title.

“2. Again concerning the darker tone, do you think Universe would have had better luck, if it taped more in the Battlestar Galactica fanbase, than the old Stargate fanbase?”

Answer: Sorry.  Don’t understand the question.

“3. Do you think Universe could have survived if it had a smaller budget?”

Answer: I don’t think it would have made any difference.

“4. Given that more people are now downloading shows instead of watching them, do you think Sfy-Fy should put in more effort in advertising it shows online, rather than traditional media?”

Answer: Eventually, we’ll all be going that way.

Michelle writes: ” fans reacted more to how Daniel was treated than to his screen time, anyway: Jack didn’t seem to give a crap about Daniel going off undercover with the system lords; in fact, he seemed irritated at him when he made it back alive. Seriously? And on and on.”

Answer: Again, because I wasn’t privy to any discussions Michael may have had concerning his character, I didn’t realize there was an issue.  In fact, having written episodes like Scorched Earth, The Curse, and Summit (and looking at season 5 episodes like Beast of Burden and Menace), I still have a hard time seeing it.  In the case of Jack seemingly not giving a crap, being irritated with him, or not even broaching the subject that he almost killed him (Scorched Earth), I can see it but this was a source of frustration because these reactions (or lack thereof) were not scripted.

Michelle also writes: “As far as it being Michael’s decision, there was a rumor he changed his mind after filming Meridian, but Brad and/or MGM told him to get lost, they’d already found another 6′ actor to fill his role. Any truth to that?”

Answer: Again, I was out of the loop but I’d bet my last dollar that Brad and/or MGM did not tell a guy they had worked with for the last five years to “get lost” or any variation thereof.  If there was an issue, it would have been with the fact that they’d already signed an actor to a one year deal that made it difficult for Michael to come back as a series regular.  I stress again, I was out of the loop and don’t know what happened, but I’m quit certain all parties discussed the decision at length before taking the next step.

Michelle also writes: “And I know it is hard to accept, but, just as with SGU vs SGA, not liking Jonas was not solely a reflection of missing Daniel. Convenient to blame it on that, but also inadequate.”

Answer: True.  There were fans who simply felt Jonas didn’t work.  But there were also fans who, quite clearly, had not intention of ever giving the character a chance.  Some of the arguments made against him at times felt a little suspect.  For instance, the fact that he turned his back on his people led some fans to brand him a traitor and untrustworthy, yet these same fans had no problem with Teal’c who did the same – and also had the deaths of hundreds of innocents weighing upon him.

Joe Cooper writes: “At risk of sounding harsh about something that happened like a million years ago, Jonas was written as a bit of a “mary sue”; his only real flaw was that others around him (namely Jack) wouldn’t accept how ridiculously awesome he was. Over and over again everyone would be shitting bricks and then Jonas would come along and fix everything.”

Answer: That’s fair.  In an effort to make his inclusion and eventual (necessary) acceptance as part of SG-1, we built up the character in such a way that he came across as a little straight and one-note.  In retrospect, given the time, we would have been better served adding a little more depth to the character by taking our time and not worrying so much about making him an instantly beloved and accepted teammate.

Dave writes: “I’ve always wondered, was any thought given to which SG unit Young commanded before being assigned to Icarus base? Was he on an SG team back in the days Jack led SG-1 or was it more likely during the Mitchell years?”

Answer: We never got into this but I think it’s more than likely, given their respective ages, that Young and Mitchell crossed paths at some point.  Hell, it’s likely that Young and O’Neill crossed paths at some point as well.

Rachel Grizzot writes: “I was looking through the old notes about what could’ve been the Season 6 of SGA and one of the topics were ‘Carls replicator story’
can i assume that maybe that was a attempt to bring back Elizabeth Weir ? or not?”

Answer: Yep.  That was the plan.

DeanGrr writes: “With a a reputation earned by years on Stargate, why not try it to support a new or cancelled production? ”

Answer: Again, you’re approaching the wrong guy.  The only entity that can make this happen is MGM.

DeanGRR also writes: “What is Dr. Rush’s true motivation, given that even with all the power of the Ancients, he cannot bring his wife back?”

Answer: The answer to this is tied to the conclusion Brad and Robert imagined for the series.

November 21, 2010: The Stargate: Universe Season 2 Wrap Party!

Last night, we celebrated the end of another production year with a wrap party at Vancouver’s Gotham Steakhouse.  But before we hit Gotham, a bunch of us met for dinner at Market in the Shangri-la Hotel…

What better way to kick off the pic parade than with a shot of belated birthday boy Lawren.
The sesame-crusted tuna.  Awesome appetizer.
Soy-glazed short ribs.  My go-to dish, but I decided to opt for something a little different this time out…
Curry chicken.  Good, but didn’t love it.  That’ll teach me to try something new.
Perennial party gal Michelle

I ended up seated between Brad’s wife, Debbie, and Paul’s wife, Michelle, who spent much of the dinner discussing potty training. Check that.  LOUDLY discussing potty training in an effort to be heard over the restaurant’s accoustics.  For some reason, they elected turned down my offer to switch seats, preferring instead to shout through me.

Eventually, we finished up and walked down to Gotham for food, fun, and frightfully horrible DJ tunes (Seriously.  It’s been ages since the last time I heard Funky Town).

Mike Dopud and his lovely wife.
Peter Kelamis and his lovely waitress.
David Blue looking buff.
Louis Ferreira already on a roll.
Me in my morning coat.
Carl is all smiles.
Jamil Walker Smith, and buddy, dressed for success.
Ready to party.
Master Chef Steve leads the catering crew.
Carl and Karen.
Kelly.  Her eyes!  They burn!
Kerry and Alan.
David and Peter.
Troy and his better half.
Ken gettin’ all Holywood.
Ivon and Sara
Carl and Ashleigh
Patrick Gilmore raises a glass – to you!
Ashleigh and Patrick.  Oh, and Louis.
Jen Spence.

Julia and Peter…

Mike brought his baby.  Or borrowed a baby in the hopes of attracting women.  Can’t remember which.
Kelly.  Again with the eyes!
Kerry and Ashleigh.  Oh, and Lawren.
Will and Kathy
Brian J. Smith gets ready to chow down.
The ladies of hair and make-up.
The VFX gang.
James “Bam Bam” Bamford
Ashleigh and James
Elyse and Devon
Carl and Julia
Lisa and Akemi
Lisa and Tio

A quickie mailbag:

Judy in SATX writes: “I’ve always wondered, is ‘Furling’ the real spelling? When I first saw the episode I thought it was ‘Ferling’, maybe because it’s not so Ewok-evocative.”

Answer: Nope.  The far more Ewok evocative “Furling” is, in fact, the correct spelling.

Randomness writes: “Speaking of the Gate network the seederships are laying. It’s reasonable to think that any alien species with enough knowledge could use the gates even without a remote right? Kinda like how Earth used the gate without a DHD by making a dialing program.”

Answer: Yes, that is another reasonable assumption.

Ponytail writes: “What is that building in the first picture? Garage, guest house, pool house, dog house, maid’s quarters, playhouse, neighbor’s house, detached office?”

Answer: Garage/guest room for visiting in-laws.

Freeman writes: “Also i have one last quick question for you Joe, I’m not sure if you read all of these or not but I was wondering if you get requests for people wanting to send you a “new idea” or a “partial script” that they have made up as something to spark a new path in the stargate story.”

Answer: I don’t receive as many as I used to.  I suppose most know by now that I can’t read or accept unsolicited scripts or story ideas.

JJA writes: “Have you read the Lost Fleet series of Jack Campbell??”

Answer: Nope.  You can check my (approximate) read list here:

JJA also writes: “Also about Destiny: Does it have its own manufacturing section of the ship?”

Answer: No, it doesn’t.  Only the seed ships have been outfitted with that capability.

BTW writes: “…who’s job is it to choose the typeface used in the opening/closing credits?”

Answer: SGU co-creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper had the final say on everything from the Destiny design to the typeface used in the opening/closing credits.  THAT is hands-on producing.

Mika writes: “As your resident scientist who has worked for a few years in a research laboratory focused on the cosmic microwave background radiation, I’m obliged to point out that seeing circles is like finding patterns in the static of old sk00l tvs. (Literally, just like it — a percentage of that static IS the Cosmic Microwave Background!)”

Answer: Hey, Mika!  I think I saw you at the bar last night, then when I turned around you had disappeared like two protons colliding at high energy.

Lloyd67 writes: “A new Stargate spin-off ? by Robert C. Cooper? Seriously?”

Answer: No.  Not seriously.

Major D. Davis writes: “Given recent developments, are you still confident about a renewal. I know theres a lot more to it then numbers, so fingers crossed!”

Answer: Neither confident nor pessimistic.  We produced a terrific second season and, at the end of the day, that’s all we can do.  Things like what night we air, what segment of our audience records or downloads, are elements beyond our control.

November 19, 2010: And that’s a main unit wrap!

Yesterday was the last day of principal photography on Stargate: Universe’s second season.  We marked the event with woodfire pizza, champagne, and, oh yeah, shooting those final scenes.

Cast and crew hanging out on set. Pictured left in the hat - Tio, whose fantasy football team my Snow Monkeys will be beating this weekend.
Executive Producer Carl Binder on set, ensuring production runs smoothly. And pizza is eaten.
Editor Rick Martin takes a break from the many days spent working on The Hunt.
Ashleigh drops by for pizza. And to criticize Andy's directing.
Kerry and Jen practice their "You're the best friend I ever had!" lament prior their post-open bar Saturday night celebration.
The crew had a choice between pulled pork sandwiches and woodfire pizza. The pizza apparently won by a landslide.
They actually brought along their woodfire pizza oven. I mean, how else are they gonna do it, right?
With special guest chef Louis Ferreira.
The Ferreira Special. May include nuts.
Jamil Walker-Smith calls it a night. And a season.

It’s been a great year and, looking back over the 20 episodes produced for SGU’s second season, I have to say I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished: great stories, grand arcs, wonderful character moments both big and small, set-ups, pay-offs, and more than a few surprises.  As much as I’ve enjoyed working on these episodes, I’ve enjoyed hearing your reactions even more.  So, thanks to everyone out there who has supported – and continues to support – the show!  You aint seen nuthin’ yet!


November 7, 2010: Snow Monkeys about to win! The challenges of scripting comics! Jamil’s new, personalized head shot!

An exhausting day today spent watching every NFL game televised (and that was all of ’em, folk!).  God bless the NFL package provided by my local satellite provider.  At one point, I was flipping between five different games in order to track the progress of my fantasy roster.  Looks like week 9 was kind to my Snow Monkeys who are poised to notch their fourth victory of the season and put them within sniffing distance of a playoff spot.  Provided their fifty-some point lead heading into tonight holds.  I won’t jinx it by declaring the win but let’s just say I’m feeling confident.  Still, I’d like to give credit where credit is due.  Thanks to RB Arian Foster for yet another monster game.  Thanks also go out to Atlanta QB Matt Ryan, Baltimore kicker Billy Cundiff, and the Ravens D (nice to have you back, Mr. Reed) who between ’em served up a little under 43 points.  Thanks for nothing to Chargers RB Darren Sproles, a purported week 9 sleeper who ended up doing just that – sleepwalking through his game enroute to a 0.90 point outing.  And thanks-in-progress to Green Bay RB Brandon Jackson, the latest addition to the Snow Monkey line-up via trade, who is well on his way to a killer game versus the hapless Dallas Cowboys.

I’m sorry.  I don’t want to give the impression that all I did today was watch football.  I did stop to eat and drink.  And, this morning, I did spend about an hour revising those my scripts for the first two issues of my (coming soon!) comic book series.  Damn, scripting for comics can be damn tricky.  Some of the biggest challenges I keep coming up against:

1) Keeping the panel per page count down.  Ideally, you want average about five panels a page.  You’ve got to keep your story concise, but entertaining.

2) Saving the dramatic reveals for the next page.  You time the beats so they build on one page, then deliver that visual or dialogue revelation on the following page.  What you’re gunning for is, quite literally, a page-turner.

3) Knowing when to go big.  Like I said, I’m trying to average about five panels per page.  Some might have  a little more, some a little less, but five feels about right.  But the occasional page may just have one big glorious panel.  I figure these are like Jagermeister shots.  You want to go easy on ’em, so it’s a matter of being very selective about when you splash.

4) Given the limited amount of space available, another obvious challenge is to keep inform the reader without bogging down the narrative.  The script guide my editor sent me warned writers to keep the word count down to 25 words per dialogue balloon, 50 words per panel and limit the per panel exchanges to, at most, a comment, a response, and a counter-response.  ‘taint easy.

5) Do comic book writers still use thought balloons?  They strike me as kind of old-fashioned, so I’ve avoided using them in my scripts.  Of course, that just meant I had to find another way to convey what my characters are thinking.  It forces you to be more subtle in your approach – and I prefer subtle (ie. check out the set up and final reveal in my short story, “Downfall”, appearing in the Lou Anders Masked anthology of superhero-themed fiction).

By the way, with regard to those creative head shots I displayed in a previous post.  Yes, the Indy Volker was compliments of our very own Chevron7.  Not to be outdone, actor Jamil Walker Smith (SGU’s Master Sergeant Ronald Greer) put his own photoshopping skills on display…

Looking ahead to a short week on the production side.  Prep on Stargate: Universe’s second season ends as we head into production on the season finale, Gauntlet.

October 4, 2010: Snow Monkeys Rule! SGU numbers! Pics from work! Interpret my dream! Gauntlet!

Great news!  My hitherto winless Snow Monkeys are about to notch their first Stargate NFL Fantasy League win.  By this time tomorrow, they’ll have clawed, chewed, and poo flung their way into a three way tie for last place in our division, looking ahead to next week’s big match-up against the (looking-like-they’ll-be) undefeated Tim Holtby’s Milita. Led by quarterback Matt Schaub and running back Arian Foster, and anchored by RB’s Frank Gore and Jason Snelling (not to mention a wide receiving core made up of Brandon Marshall, Donald Driver, Lance Moore, Percy Harvin, and Dez Bryant) the Snow Monkeys are the fourth highest scoring team in the league – with the bad luck of having the top three highest scoring teams in their division.

Speaking of numbers, here’s something interesting.  This past Friday’s Canadian premiere of Stargate: Universe’s second season was up 16% over the season one finale.  And yet, south of the border, the premiere was down 19% from the season one finale.  Very strange given that the two are usually in sync.  So what gives?  I suspect the move to Tuesday nights may have taken many of our casual viewers by surprise.  Well, hopefully word of our new night has finally found them and we’ll see a bounce tomorrow night. Meanwhile, more evidence that A LOT of our fan base download the show.  SGU is the #1 t.v. season download on iTunes Canada and in the #4 slot on the U.S. iTunes (last time I checked).

Pictures from work…

High school has always been cliquey. For as along as I can remember, it was always the jocks, the nerds, the preps, and the Lucian Alliance.

Lisa from accounting all dressed up for the beginning of the new school year at Hogwarts.

And more casual but no less magical looking.

Creepy-looking, no? And the doll too.

Mike Dopud (a.k.a. Varro).

Jamil Walker-Smith (a.k.a. Master Sergeant Ronald Greer)

So last night, I had a weird dream (as opposed to your standard, run-of-the-mill dreams that are simply a reflection of your daily life where absolutely nothing odd occurs).  In the dream, I’m running a bath.  It’s an exceptionally deep tub as I suddenly realize that I’ve inadvertently submerged two turkeys.  As I rescue the turkeys from the drink, I’m horrified to discover my dogs are in the bath tub as well. Fortunately, I’m able to fish them out in time, one by one, saving all four.  So, dream therapists, what does it all mean?  I should mention that on the run-of-the-mill daily life side of things, all four pooches have been dealing with health issues: Jelly is recovering from her stem cell therapy and slowly regaining use of her hindquarters, Lulu has just gotten over a recent ear infection, Maximus requires surgery to deal with a nasty cyst on his upper eyelid that has bled out on three occasions already, while Bubba will also have to go under the knife to address some pigmentary keratitis that, if left untreated, could leave him blind.  I don’t actually own any turkeys but, if I did, I’m pretty sure they’d be dealing with health issues as well.

Started work on the script for Gauntlet, our season two finale.  Five pages down; only forty-five (ish) to go.  Ideally, if I continue on this torrid pace, I should have a first draft completed for the week of the 19th.  Of course, ideally, I should also be ruler of my own independent principality commanding an army of super-intelligent robot chimps but obviously things don’t always work out quite as planned.  Yes, to the army of super-intelligent robot chimps but, sadly, no to the independent principality.

August 19, 2010: Another SGU-related Q&A! Carl’s acting up! Mailbag!

First there was the Save Daniel Jackson campaign.  Then, there was the Save Elizabeth Weir Campaign.  Then there was the Save Carson Beckett Campaign followed by the Save Stargate: SG-1, Save Stargate: Atlantis and Save the Stargate Movies campaigns.  But those campaigns paled in comparison to the biggest fan campaign of all: the campaign to save THIS character…

When last we saw him, Vince Kwan and a handful of his fellow crewmates had elected to abandon Destiny in favor of the paradise-like environment of a mysterious planet.  We all assumed we’d seen the last of him but soon after the episode aired, the production offices were inundated with phone calls, emails, letters, and postcards demanding we change our minds.  Fan campaigns to save Vince popped up all over the internet as mass demonstrations (most notably during a live broadcast of game seven of the NBA finals) made everyone take notice.  Both the studio and network were so overwhelmed with calls for Vince’s return that all of the show’s major players assembled at a hastily convened meeting to discuss this unprecedented groundswell of fan support.  I can’t reveal what we talked about in that six hour meeting attended by the likes of Montel Shapiro the Prime Minister of SyFy, Father O’Flannery the Archbishop of MGM, CIA Director Leon Panetta, and the cool dude from the Mac commercials, but I can say that steps were taken to quell fan unrest.  And, the first of these steps, was the decision to announce the following guest Q&A on this blog…

It gives me great pleasure to announce I am accepted questions for Bill Y.W. Butt (aka the briefcase-hugging Vince Kwan), last seen being left behind on a planet way back in the twelfth episode of Stargate: Universe’s first season.  Bill has worked twelve years a background performer, putting in recurring appearances on a host of shows including Dead Like Me, Stargate: Atlantis, Defying Gravity, Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman, and Eureka.  And now, he wants to work on YOUR questions!  So start posting!

I was chatting with Carl and Ashleigh this morning when the conversation suddenly shifted to So You Think You Can Dance.  I retreated to my office where I had my breakfast, then returned some twenty minutes later to find them still yakking away.  “Are you still talking about So You Think You Can Dance?”I innocently inquired, “or have you moved on to the Sex and the City movie?”.  Carl responded quite rudely.  I won’t repeat what he said, but suffice it to say it was shocking. Maybe not as shocking as Jamil Walker Smith’s new look –

– but shocking nevertheless.  I’m not sure what’s gotten into the guy, but I suspect it may be all that rock ‘n roll he’s been listening to – the devil’s music!  One minute he’s listening to Chicago and the next he’s slamming an office door in my face for questioning his masculinity.  What gives?  I think it’s time for one of those interventions or deprogrammings, whatever you call ’em (or whichever one sticks better).


dasNdanger writes: “So, Joe – can you guess which of the Secret Six so far is my favorite?? Can ya, huh, huh???”

Answer: For some reason I’ve got you pegged as the Ragdoll type.

antonio chavez writes: “hey joseph,can you provide me a way to contact you i have lots of ideas for SGU.”

Answer: Sorry, Antonio, but the show doesn’t accept fan pitches.

antonio chavez also writes: “can you give me a clue of destiny’s destination”

Answer: Check out Stargate: Universe’s second season (premiering Tuesday, September 28th on SyFy) for surprising revelations about Destiny’s mission.

Kymm writes: “Who are you most like Joe?”

Answer: Hmmm.  Even though I possess characteristics of all four (Jelly’s stubborness, Maximus’s enjoyment of the finer things in life, Bubba’s propensity for worry, and Lulu’s strong sense of pride) I think I’m more of a Lulu because of my knack for getting into trouble.

Nathan writes: “Are you guys ever going to address the “weakness in wraith technology” mentioned in “Aurora” (Season 2 episode 9) in any of the future movies of Stargate Atlantis?”

Answer: No plans to address this in Stargate: Extinction.

SG7 writes: “Just curious, if you have ever read Roger Zelazney’s “The Amber Series”? If so what did you think of it?”

Answer: Yep.  Read and enjoyed the first book in the series.  Have yet to move on to the second.  Loved Lord of Light.  It had a real early SG-1 mythology feel to it.

Zoomeister writes: “Even though he’s busy with Sanctuary, could you guys have Martin Wood (and sadly, now Coop) come back and freelance for SGU once in a while, like you had Martin Gero do for Earth and Lost last season (in fact, it would be cool to see him back once in a while too)?”

Answer: It’s extremely unlikely the ultra-talented Martin Wood will be doing any guest directing for us any time soon.  As much as we love the guy, he is way too busy on Sanctuary.  And the door is always open for both Rob and Martin to tackle a script or two should they have a terrific idea that begs to be written.

Zoomeister also writes: “Do you have any thoughts on why Lost (the TV show) won the Emmy award for Outstanding Drama Series and Battlestar Galactica didn’t?”

Answer: Sorry.  I didn’t watch either show so I can’t offer an informed opinion outside “more people who voted preferred Lost”.

Gabriele writes: “1. My favorite character in the entire STARGATE franchise is Samantha Carter. Is there a chance to see Brigadier General Samantha Carter in the future?”

Answer: The possibility hasn’t been discussed.

“2. Is there a chance to have the Goa’uld coming back, maybe on STARGATE UNIVERSE? I would love to see them again.”

Answer: Extremely unlikely.

“3. Can you please give us a very little clue about the movies’ general plot?”

Answer: The action starts on Earth, then shifts to Atlantis, then shifts to a planet, then back to Atlantis.

BackStJoe writes: “After I finished I got a bit bummed out. Atlantis ends so abruptly (couldn’t they have at least done a 90 minute finale?)”

Answer: No because Enemy at the Gate was never intended to be a series finale.

Serenity writes: “Has there been any changes in the camerawork from the first to the second season of SGU?”

Answer: Nope.

Sean D. writes: “Heyerdahl’s website lists “Stargate: Extinction”, saying it’ll be made in 2011 and is in pre-production. Is that accurate information?”

Answer: Not in production, no.  Unless they’re keeping it a secret from me.

July 12, 2010: House of Suns by Alastair Reynolds

In the year 3000, the wealthy Abigail Gentean, inspired by dreams of exploration and discovery, creates nine hundred and ninety-nine clones of herself.  These “shatterlings” and her original self (indistinguishable from her duplicates) are subsequently dispersed to the far reaches of space – to colonize, investigate, learn and, eventually, meet up every two thousand years to share the memories they have gathered over the course of their travels.  Some six million years after the Gentean line first left the Milky Way on their galaxy-spawning odysseys, two clone siblings, Campion and Purslane, enroute to one of these reunions, receive a troubling message.  The gathering was ambushed by unknown forces and most of their numbers killed.  Only the fact that Campion and Purslane were running late saved them from a similar fate.

Campion and Purslane must place their trust in an enigmatic ally, the amnesiac Hesperus, a robot of the machine people, if they have any hope of finding out  why the Gentean Line has been marked for extermination.  As it turns out, the shocking answer may lie with the mysterious House of Suns…

Alastair Reynolds is an author with an impressive academic background firmly rooted in science.  To be honest, when I heard that he was a former research astronomer with the European Space Agency, I approached my first Alastair Reynolds novel with a certain amount of trepidation.  Let me be frank.  Most of the SF authors I’ve read who straddle the worlds of science and science fiction tend to come up short in certain key areas of story-telling – namely character, plotting, and a prose style that doesn’t have you skipping whole pages to get back on the narrative track.  Still, having heard good things about Reynolds, I was cautiously optimistic when I started reading Revelation Space.  Eventually, that cautious optimism turned to relief, then surprise, and, ultimately, utter delight.  Revelation Space became a fast favorite because it delivered on so many of the levels I’d found wanting in other hard SF writers.  As for House of Suns?  Well, in my opinion, it’s even better.

One of the things I love about Reynolds’ books – and it’s a characteristic of the works of Iain M. Banks as well – is their ability to serve up BIG ideas: multi-century spanning narratives, inventive technologies, and unique takes on future/alien cultures.  Lesser writers would be content with introducing one, maybe two such cool concepts and making them the center-point of the story.  Reynolds throws about a dozen at you, each one helping to build the narrative in its own unique way, from the surrealistic game play of palatial to the Andromeda-dwelling First Machines and so much in between: the information-gathering beings known as The Vigilance, cloning and communal memory-sharing as a means to advancement, ever-evolving machine intelligence possessed of god-like abilities, vast solar system-containing devices known as stardams, the miraculous all-purpose aspic of machine, and, my personal favorite, the time dilated interrogation of prisoners.

Reynolds peoples his novel with interesting characters.  I felt for both Campion and Purslane and was wholly invested in their stories although I had a particular affinity for Hesperus who was undergoing his own parallel journey of self-discovery.  The one nitpick I had was with some of the supporting players, those surviving shatterlings, who, with a few exceptions (notably Mezereon and Betony), didn’t really distinguish themselves from one another.  As a result, the reveal of the mole-in-their-midst wasn’t quite as powerful as it could have been.

Overall, the story was very well-paced, striking a perfect balance between the establishment of some fairly lofty concepts and timely plot advancement.  The shifting point of view between Campion and Purslane in alternating chapters was admittedly damn confusing at first, but easy enough to follow once I’d caught on.  And I found the Abigail storyline equally engaging.

I’ve heard some complain that they found the ending abrupt or anti-climactic.  I disagree with the latter.  I loved the fact that despite the building suspense, race against Cascade and Cadence, and looming spectre of vengeance for the mass genocide, the First Machines have developed to a point where they are beyond it.  Their decision offers hope for all sentient beings, something that is reinforced in the book’s final moments.  Yes, the ending is abrupt – but perfectly so.  Campion is told that his lover has survived, housed within the protective gold sarcophagus created by Hesperus in a final act of sacrifice, and as he prepares to free her with the help of a descendant of the race his people almost wiped out, one can’t help but feel that sense of hope and anticipation, of looking forward to something long sought-after finally within reach, a sense of wonder that pervades House of Suns, perfectly distilled and crystallized in its closing paragraph:

“’Then I’ll help you,’the glass man said as my fingers du their useless nails into the fused seams of that golden mask.  ‘After which, with regret, I shall have to be on my way.’”


Well, those were my initial thoughts.  What did everyone else think?  Weigh in with your thoughts and questions for author Alastair Reynolds!


Randomness writes: “Joe wouldn’t you say those aliens from Daedalus variations could just be a random alien race from another Galaxy that just so happened to come into conflict with Atlantis?”

Answer: Yes, that was the original conceit.

Chevron7 writes: “Joe, are we sure that the Joe Flanigan space suit incident was an accident? I suspect foul play.”

Answer: At the time, a straight-faced N. John Smith defending the crew member, insisting “It wasn’t malicious.”

sgugeek writes: “I know the cast is on holiday now, but if I mail my fan mail for Ashleigh today, will she get it?”

Answer: Not unless you post it on this blog and she happens to read it.

Michael writes: “1) I’ve read that SGU is moving to Tuesday but has the timeslot been announced?

2) I didn’t recognize Louis Ferreira in that robe and floppy hat, how the heck did he get past security?!

3) Why haven’t you done any commentary, the world needs to hear your genius!!”

Answers: 1) Not that I know of.

2) That was just one Friday.  You should see what Jamil Walker Smith wears on a daily basis.

3) I’ll limit my genius to this blog, but thanks for asking.

afg1 writes: “So, then, as regards the SGA movie, there’s no point in you pushing for it until MGM gets better and the SG-1 movie gets made? Is that the idea?”

Answer: Partly.

J. Chris Tucker writes: “Why are you and Paul credited as co-writers on scripts if you don’t actually co-write them?”

Answer: When we first started working on Stargate, we would write a script together, bouncing dialogue back and forth in the room.  One of us paced while the other typed.  Eventually, as we grew busier, we started working on the script separately, bouncing it back and forth between us.  He would write a scene and send it my way.  I would rewrite it and write the next scene.  He would rewrite what I’d written and write the next scene and so on.  Eventually, as we grew even more busy, we started writing scripts separately and merely doing final passes on each other’s drafts.  Eventually, we just started writing our scripts separately.  The reason we’re credited as co-writers is because while I’ve done mostly originals, Paul has done a fair amount of uncredited rewrites. And so, out of fairness (given that Paul is never credited or receives an extra script fee for what occasionally amounts to page one rewrites), we share the writing credits on the original scripts.

for the love of Beckett writes: “How long will Jelly be at the vet’s?”

Answer: She’s in all day tomorrow.  I pick her up Wednesday, then bring her back in on Thursday for the stem cell injection.

otros ojos writes: “Hey, people better not mess with the octopus. (Just saying, based on what Jeffrey Ford’s psychic octopus did in The Drowned Life.)”

Answer: True!

Angelus writes: “Judging from the Pineapple Diaries, Louis doesn’t seem very camera shy, Are there any cast members or have there been cast members who don’t like to be photographed and put in your blog?”

Answer: No, so far so good.  I tend to head down to set and snap pics on the quieter shooting days and always get the okay from the actors before proceeding, getting them to sign off any pics before posting.

Angelus also writes: “My guess is Bobby doesn’t like to be photographed considering I can’t remember a single time he appeared in your blog?”

Answer: Oh, he’ll eventually make an appearance.

Angelus also writes: “How about guest stars?, Robert Knepper perhaps?”

Answer: No, I missed out on Robert but I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded.  Very nice guy.  As for guest stars – the same rule applies.  I always tell them what it’s for, get their permission, and have them sign off on any potential public pics.

Angelus also writes: “And, Did anyone ever freak out about you posting a picture of them in your blog?”

Answer: No one ever freaked out, but Jason Momoa once suggested I ask him before posting any pics.  I thought that was very cool of him and gave him a break – which resulted in him tracking me down to take his photos for the blog, like these ones –

E writes: “What SGA episode are you talking about? Only similar title is “Submersion”.”

Answer: Right.  Submersion.

Gabriele writes: “1. Will we see Colonel Samantha Carter again in season two of “Stargate Universe”?

2. Will we see any of the Earth ships in season two of “Stargate Universe” and in the movies?”

Answer: Maybe to both questions.

andrew writes: “Anyone on the cast or crew have an ‘out there’ favorite food?”

Answer: Carl is a big fan of Chili’s.  Does that count?

Kymm writes: “What hockey team does Ivon cheer for?”

Answer: The hated-everyone-in-Canda-except-Toronto Maple Leafs.

Luis writes: “Speaking of you and Paul’s Comic Book Series..Hows that going for you guys???”

Answer: Great.  Next step: the comic book company is assigning an editor to the project.

Michelle writes: “I offer the following translations for your Atlantis movie diplomacy:

a. MGM is in so much debt, even the SG-1 movie has a .001% chance of getting financed, the SGA movie even less. Why should I waste my time?
b. Flanigan has said negative things about SGU’s ratings and prospects; no way am I fighting to get him a gig.
c. You fans are so naive. The sets are gone. SGA is over. Get a clue!
d. Have you not noticed I’m branching out to fiction and comics? I won’t be around long enough to make an SGA movie.
e. MGM never paid me for the script. I don’t work for free.

Care to comment if any of those are accurate?”d

Answer: MGM certainly did pay for the script and I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of time before it’s business as usual with the lion, at least with regard to features and television.  The direct-to-dvd market, however, will probably continue to be a big question mark.  As for the sets – it’s much cheaper to put them in storage and put them up when needed rather than leave them standing and pay the cost of the stage rental.

June 24, 2010: Oh and one more thing! Gift in the mail! Jelly update! Pics!

Pursuant to yesterday’s post pursuant to the previous day’s post pursuant to my post of two day’s earlier, I’d like to say “Brian, relax.  You’re still loved.”  Everybody makes mistakes (Except me, of course.  My record is spotless.).  I simply took issue with the assertion that Rob Cooper had no interest in seeing Atlantis go another season – specifically because he DID go to bat for us at crunch time.  Also, and this is something many fans may not be aware of, while both Brad and Robert very much looked forward to launching the third Stargate series, they were fully prepared and more than happy to wait a year for Atlantis to run its course with a sixth and final season.  Back in early January of 2009, Brad participated in a fan Q&A in which he said as much: “My preference would have been another season of Atlantis, alongside two new movies, then Universe.”  Unfortunately for Atlantis fans, it didn’t work out that way but, in retrospect, Stargate fans in general have greatly benefited from a great show, Stargate: Universe, that has kept the franchise alive and well and forward looking.

Hey, look’t what I got in the mail today from blog regular Maryanne…

Thanks, Maryanne.  Much appreciated.  Carl is envious.

Speaking pugs, I took my pug, Jelly, in for a consultation the other day.

She's the one not in the pink.

Apparently, she’s a good candidate for this stem cell transplant I mentioned in a previous post. The poor old gal suffers from hip dysplasia and arthritis of her elbows, but the vet believes she could be helped by a procedure that involves harvesting tissue from the fat deposits in her belly (she’s got more than enough to spare), sending it to a lab in San Diego that uses a centrifuge to separate the stem cells therein, then having the lab send the concentrated stem cells back to the hospital where they’ll be injected into the problem areas. Judging from the online research I’ve done, early returns are positive and the vet I spoke to says he has performed nine such procedures, with eight of the nine showing promising returns.  It’s a hefty price tag – about the price of a business class ticket to Tokyo – but I’m willing to sacrifice now so that, years from now in my old age, she’ll no doubt do the same for me.  Anyway, she’s scheduled to undergo the treatment in mid-July.  I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, by the way, Maryanne – sorry about your Aussie soccer team not making the cut at the World Cup.  Also, my condolences to fellow Italian soccer fans who witnessed their team…well, they didn’t witness much as Italy was barely able to muster a couple of ties before bowing out to Slovakia today.  I’m not making excuses for them, but I suspect they were sitting back hoping to win the game in the penalty shoot-out – not realizing there are no penalty shoot-outs in the first round.  Also, condolences to French fans who saw their team melt down, mutiny, and refuse to practice.  The cherry on the crepe suzette was French coach Raymond Domenec refusing to shake the hand of South African coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after the conclusion of France’s final match, a 2-1 loss to South Africa.

Quelle horreur!

In keeping with the soccer theme, I received a red card from one of the on-set officials today.

Frankly, I think it was a bullshit call.

On my way back from Stage 4, I passed by that new building that just went up on the lot and caught a peek at what construction was working on for an upcoming episode.  Spoiler alert!

Then, a halfway across the parking lot, I came across this handsome fella –

Jamil Walker Smith takes over for Kiefer Sutherland in newly announced next season of 24.

Today’s entry is dedicated to Briangate 78.  Grey skies are gonna clear up!  Put on a happy face!  Blah blah robubba jibbub!  Put on a happy face!  Zub nub nub all over the place!  So put on a happy face!

June 22, 2010: My Rob Cooper Top Ten!

I was perusing the internet this weekend when I came across the news that Stargate Show Runner Robert C. Cooper would be leaving the franchise after losing a bet to his Exec. Producer Assistant, Ashleigh, and that he was to be replaced by the Stargate Production Office Mascot, Kerwin the chimp, who is rumored to have ghost-written several of his finer episodes.  Well, I didn’t believe a word of it, until I came across this – – which pretty much confirms it.  After fourteen wonderful years, Rob is stepping away and I speak for everyone when I say that we’ll miss his sense of humor, his master spinning skills, and his patented Rob Cooper buddy hugs.

“So, what’s next for Rob?”you undoubtedly ask.

And “How the hell should I know?”I respond.  “Why don’t you ask him yourself?”

While many of us will look forward to his new projects (off the record, I’ve heard word of a beatbox album), just as many of us will look back fondly on his innumerable contributions to the Stargate franchise.  Thus, I’ve dedicated today’s blog entry to My Rob Cooper Top Ten, my ten favorite episodes scripted by the man over his 330+ episode run.  For purposes of this particular list, I’ve only included episodes for which he is the sole credited writer.  So, although Rising and Air I, II, and III were terrific, they weren’t considered for this rundown.  Similarly, scripts which he wrote (actually “rewrote”) but which have been credited to other writers were not considered either (which, quite frankly, is a shame because I can think of at least two that would have definitely made this list).

Anyway, here it is.  My Rob Cooper Top Ten!

10. Sateda (Stargate: Atlantis, Season 3)

Runner introduced the Ronon Dex character in fun, fine fashion, but it was Sateda that truly fleshed him out, offering up glimpses of his backstory, suggestions of a painful past, fast and furious action, and that crazy goggle-wearing wraith (because 8:00 to 9:00 is wraith free swim, y’know!).

9. Heroes I and II (Stargate: SG-1, Season 7)

A powerful and thought-provoking two-parter with a shocker of an ending no one saw coming, least of all Stargate Command’s longtime CMO Dr. Janet Fraiser, killed by an errant staff blast.  A sobering reminder of the dangers our heroes face every time they step through the gate.

8. Meridian (Stargate: SG-1, Season 5)

Another touching send-off as Stargate bids farewell (albeit a temporary one) to its beloved Daniel Jackson.  His friends say their goodbyes, his squiddly essence departs, and we’re treated to one of the most heart-rending scenes in SG-1 history as Daniel steps through the gate one last time.

7. Human (Stargate: Universe, Season 1)

Nicholas Rush’s bittersweet reunion with the love of his life is at turns poignant, maddening, and thoroughly enthralling.  Its stark, desaturated visuals offer the perfect compliment to the good doctor’s melancholy memories.

6. The Fifth Race (Stargate: SG-1, Season 2)

An episode that perfectly captures the essence of Stargate: exploration, discovery, friendship, and humanity’s potential for greatness.

5. Vegas (Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5)

In contrast to Human’s muted style, this is an episode that draws its visual inspiration from CSI’s cool blue tones, delivering some colorful eye candy in a rocking AU procedural pitting grizzled detective John Sheppard against a serial killer unlike any other.  It also boasts some atypical (to Stargate) but spot-on song choices, from the wraith prepping to Marilyn Manson’s “The Beautiful People” to Sheppard’s final exit to Johnny Cash’s “Solitary Man”.


4. Aftermath (Stargate: Universe, Season 2)

The best laid plans of mice and men…  Things come apart in a big way, and our heroes are left to pick up the pieces.  Gut-wrenching.

3. Unending (Stargate: SG-1, Season 10)

Fans bid the show a fond farewell in a wonderful time-travel episode that explores the lives and loves of our favorite characters, suggesting what could have been and what may still may be, yet assuring us that despite it all SG-1 will still be out there, exploring, adventuring, and keeping the galaxy safe.


2. Malice (Stargate: Universe, Season 2)

They say that vengeance is a dish best served cold, but this episode makes a great case for serving it hot – as in the scorching environs of an alien world where a deadly game of cat and mouse plays itself out.

1. Time (Stargate: Universe, Season 1)

A trippy time-travel story with something for everyone: creepy aliens, grisly deaths, character revelations, and my favorite ending to a Stargate episode since Tealc’s accidental attendance of The Vagina Monologues.


Loren Fay writes: “How do you know all of these awesomely amazing SGU actors?”

Answer: I friended them on facebook.

NarellefromAus writes: “How did you get your reading mojo back?”

Answer: I finally read a really good book.

Jon writes: “How did you land your first staff gig, and how did you make the progression into full-time teevee?”

Answer: Started writing for animation, then made the leap to teen sitcoms, then from there to one hour syndicated action drama and, finally, to Stargate…where I’ve been for the past 12 years.

dasNdanger writes: “I know you said before that you don’t do any gardening…but do you at least grow herbs?”

Answer: In fact, I do – thyme, oregano, rosemary, and chives.

bookal writes: “How hard is it to potentially end a series without knowing if will be picked up for a second season?”

Answer: We don’t worry about it.  We have a five year plan.

Becky writes: “Joe, I’m a fan of science fiction classics, and have had a hard time wrapping my mind around more modern works. I have read and re-read practically everything written by Frank Herbert and Isaac Asimov – and while it’s fun to find new things in old friends, I’m looking to expand into something more contemporary. Any suggestions?”

Answer: Old Man’s War or The Android’s Dream, both by John Scalzi.

jinx writes: “One of my favorite characters on the show is Sgt Greer played by Jamille Walker Smith. Needless to say I would rate the Lost episode tops as Greer’s back story and Jamille’s portrayal was on point. Will we see more of this character’s story and will you feature Jamille in one of your up and coming mailbags?”

Answer: Yes to more of his story provided he survives the events of our first season finale.  As for a Q&A – I’ve already gathered questions and sent them his way.  Just waiting for his responses.

MrsB writes: “Will the Varro/TJ storyline develop more next season? And moreso a Varro/TJ/Young storyline?”

Answer: Possibly.

DP writes: “Who is this person doing the “speak no evil” pose in your car damage photos? Why does she wear a winter coat?”

Answer: Hey, now that you mention it, that IS the same person in both shots.  Weird.

Luis writes: “You headed to San Diego yet???…Comic Con???”

Answer: Not this year. 🙁

June 16, 2010: WTF does Google Maps have to do with my blog? My gal’s hip problems! And some mailbag!

WTF?  What the hell does this mean?

“The Google Maps API server rejected your request because you do not have permission to use this service over SSL.”

I ask because the message pops up every time I attempt to update this blog.  And, by some unhappy coincidence, my html keeps screwing up, line spacing is off, paragraphs are run together, and I’ve inadvertently offended someone on Skype (although I’m not entirely sure the I can lay blame for the latter on Google Maps API server, I’m going to try anyway).  All signs point to a plug-in issue.  Or, at least, the google search for the aforementioned phrase points to a plug-in issue.  How to address?  Should I switch web browsers?  Check the firewall settings on my internet security software?  Apologize?

Paul popped his head into my office yesterday and asked: “Hey, what’re you doing the last week of July?” almost sounding as though it was a perfectly innocent question.  Almost.

“I think I’ll be in Chad,”I informed him, “doing missionary work.”

“Now, you see,”he said, fixing me with a look of feigned disappointment.  “If you’d said you were gun-running, THEN I might’ve believed you…”

I knew this was about Comic Con, that he’d been asked, couldn’t attend, and was looking for me to go instead.  Unfortunately, I really did have plans for that particular week.  Not missionary plans or gun-running plans, but more possibly going to Montreal plans.  Plus, I think the fans get enough of me here on this little corner of the internet.  I wouldn’t want to overextend myself.  First it’s Comic Con and the next thing you know I’m endorsing Fritos and doing a guest spot on Cougar Town.

Damn.  After five straight days in first place, I relinquished my spot in our Office World Cup Pool to – of all people – fellow Exec. Producer Carl Binder!  I’m now tied for second alongside Paul and Brad.  Fortunately, Carl has picked Greece in one of tomorrow’s match-ups.  And, fortunately, I have not.

Hey, have you met my Jelly?

She’s the eldest of my dog crew, an eleven year old pug who aint quite as spry as she used to be on account of some hip problems.  Once a speed demon, she can barely get around anymore, relying on me to carry her up and down stairs, on and off the bed, in and out of the house.  Although a complete hip replacement is an option, it’s a fairly invasive surgery, one I’m not at all certain she’d be able to handle, so, instead, I’m managing her discomfort with medication and consigned myself to being her chauffeur for the foreseeable future.  Then, the other day, I came across this interesting article –,8599,1817572,00.html – detailing the use of stem cell therapy to help animals suffering from hip dysplasia and similar degenerative conditions.  Tissue is removed from the pet and sent to a special lab where a centrifuge is used to extract the stem cells, then the cells are sent back and injected into the problem area.  According to studies done since the Time magazine article was first published, the treatment has seen very positive results.  No side effects to speak of, although some pet owners have complained of feeling lighter in the wallet.  The procedure is pricey. BUT I figure if I can spend the money to go to Tokyo, I can sure as hell spend the money to help out my favorite gal.  If the treatment helps by restoring even ten percent of her original hip function, it’ll have been worth it.  Hell, even if it has no discernible effect, it will have been worth it because at least I’ll know I tried everything I could to ensure her golden years are as comfortable as possible.  After a preliminary discussion with our vet who believes the treatment may hold some promise, I was referred to a specialist.  They’re sending him the x-rays and Jelly and I have an appointment to see him next week.

Today’s entry is dedicated to blog regular Das.  Get yerself fixed up!


Ian Z. writes: “While I’m not against it. What made you (and fellow writers) decide to have the Lucian Alliance use Earth weapons instead of Goa’uld weapons? Are we to assume that Earth has superseded the Goa’uld in arms dealing?”

Answer: No particular reason.  As I said in a previous entry, the Lucian Alliance is made up of disparate groups who have helped themselves to any and all tech (rudimentary and advanced) available since the fall of the goa’uld.  When it comes to handheld weaponry, that covers everything from zats to crossbows.  We decided to go with Earth (Earth-like) weaponry to differentiate Kiva’s faction from previous factions we’ve encountered.  Also, they’re cooler in a firefight.

Ian Z. also writes: “Also, have you checked out Stargate Resistance yet?”

Answer: Nope.  I’m sure it’s wonderful, but I’m not a gamer.

Mark writes: “1.if the crew of the destiny finds a seedership, could they change the programming of the seedership to build a supergate from the collected materials?

2.If the Seedership is not big enough to produze a supergate (to get the destiny through the supergate (if they could control it) to earth) they could change the programming to build more modern stargates, to change the limit of the range?”

Answers: 1. Highly unlikely.  2. Again, highly unlikely.

Simon writes: “1) What do you think of the ratings in total for SGU’s first Season?

2) When’s that Jamil Walker Smith Q&A coming?

3) If SGU where to end shorter than expected, are you prepared for that?

4) Similar to the question above. If that DOES happen, will there be more of a chance of getting the SG-1 and SGA movies?”

Answers: 1) No matter what ratings your show receives, you always want it to do better.  That being said, the key demos have been fairly consistent as have the +7 numbers.  Ultimately, any discussion of these ratings, while interesting, is neither here nor there.  Our second season pick up was predicated on a strong first half performance of our opening season.  The third season pick up will depend on the first ten episodes of the show’s second year.  And, with our scheduled move to Tuesday nights, I’m feeling pretty good about our chances.

2) Good question.  Jamil?

3)  Oh, sure.  I’ve been prepared since the end of SG-1’s fifth season.  It’s been a fantastic twelve season ride for me and I would never take anything for granted – still, if I had to put money on it, I’d say that, same time next year, you’ll be quizzing me about a possible fourth season pick up.

4) Er, quite the opposite actually.  Some fans, either because they’re ignorant to the workings of television production or simply refuse to see reason, assume that the only thing holding back the movies is continued production on SGU.  In fact, the hold up is a studio decision based on various financial factors that have nothing to do with Universe.  Continued production on Universe is what is keeping the franchise healthy and open to the possibility of future movies. As things stand now, Stargate: Universe carries the mantle of the Stargate franchise while the two movies – with scripts already in place – await the greenlight for production.  If, in a worse case scenario, SGU were to wrap production earlier than expected (unlikely but, hey, let’s play “what if?”), then I suspect that it would assume first position in any potential film schedule, pushing SG-1 to the temporary back-burner.

dasNdanger writes: “1. Did you mention the publisher? For some reason, I’m thinking either Vertigo/DC, or Dark Horse…but that may be for something else I was looking into.

2. Any time frame for release? Next year sometime??

3. What’s the difference between scripting a tv show, and scripting a comic book?”

Answers: 1. I haven’t mentioned the publisher, but will make the announcement once the deals have been finalized (just awaiting a few contract signatures now).

2. I’m hoping sometime early next year.

3. When script a comic book, you assume the role of both writer and director.

myhelix writes: “1) Will we have a episode in Season 2 that focused on Dr. Rush and Col. Young´s and Rush and Eli´s relationship ?! These three are a blast to watch, they have a great on-screen chemistry.

2)Will the Destiny crew ever stumble across a planet with a whole alien society on it?”

Answers: 1) Possibly.  2) Again – possibly.

June 12, 2010: Actress Julia Benson Answers Your Questions!

Exec. Producing Stargate: Universe is not unlike coaching an immensely talented sports franchise.  You go in to each script – or game – confident in the talent you’re working with, solid starters and a deep, deep bench that never lets you down.  And, on many occasions, even though you’re expecting them to excel, they still manage to surprise and delight.  Take Julia Benson (SGU’s Lieutenant Vanessa James) for example, an actress who started off strong in the opener and just keeps getting better, delivering everything from throwaway humor (Space) to  emotional intensity (Pain) with the skill and professionalism of a seasoned performer many years her senior.  It’s not surprising that, between the time I announced this Q&A and today’s entry, Julia picked up the Leo Award for Best Supporting Performance by a Female in a Dramatic Series.

Congratulations to Julia on the win, and a big thank you for taking the time to field our questions.

Over to Julia…

Chevron7 writes: “Questions for Julia:

1. What’s your workout routine? Did that change when getting the role of Lt James?

JB:  I am always changing up my workout routine, otherwise I get bored!  But I have a chocolate lab that I run with almost daily.  That is definitely my favorite form of exercise.  When I got the role of James, I did start working out with a trainer.  I find it helps with the weight training. I did some kickboxing to toughen up physically and just recently I have been taking kickboxing classes with Sharon Taylor from Stargate Atlantis.  She’s amazing!

2. Which cast member would you most like to beat in an arm wrestling contest?

JB: Jamil, just for bragging rights!  He’s not only in incredible shape but we have a fun banter with each other and it would be awesome to bug him about something like that! Lol

3. Some people are surprised at James’ reaction to losing Scott to Chloe. I see it as a normal reaction exacerbated by the fact that she’s in close proximity to them in a stressful situation. How do you see it?

JB:  I agree with you.  Regardless of what the exchange was for Scott, James developed feelings for him.  It would obviously be different if his relationship with Chloe wasn’t in her face constantly.

4. I loved the scene of James looking after Franklin in Sabotage. I sense a backstory there, like she’s been the primary carer for someone in her past. Any clues?

JB:  I love this scene too.  Mark Burgess who plays Franklin was so amazing to act with.  He was so powerful.  I can’t give away too much back story as we have yet to explore that on the show, but I will say that James has had some challenges to face in her life.

5. What was the first job you ever had? – Acting or non-acting.

JB:  First Acting Job was on a show called Tru Calling.  I guest starred in an episode in the first season with SGU’s Patrick Gilmore!

The first Joe job that I had was at a restaurant in West Vancouver called Trolls.  I was a waitress, a terrible waitress at that!  I was 16 and I think people felt sorry for me, because I got amazing pity tips! Lol

6. Do you like to cook? If so what’s your fave dish to make?

JB: I love to cook!  My family is full of amazing chefs and I was the last to jump on board.  My go-to is Chicken Parmesan, with Marscapone pasta.  Both the recipes came from my dad.  He makes the best pasta ever, second only to the pasta I have had in Italy!

7. What are your aspirations for Lt James in Season 2?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up and be a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed at that.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

Tanie writes: “So, questions for Julia:

1. What sort of research did you do for this role?

JB:  For me the most important aspect of the research was to find out as much as I could about being in the military.  I have a family member that was in the Canadian Army so that was a great resource for me.  I did a ton of reading about the different ranks and tried to get a good grasp of the mental state and the discipline that I would have in my life to be in this role.

2. How do YOU think James has grown or changed over the course of S1?

JB:  In Season 1 we saw James struggle to find her place on the Destiny.  She definitely started to break down with the loneliness and isolation.  Hopefully in Season 2 she gets to keep developing her strength.

3. Have you had any ludicrously early calls to set as yet?

JB:  Whenever you are shooting a series you will definitely have early calls.  I think I had to set my alarm for 4:30 one day and that was the earliest.  However my sister works in the stock market and is up every day at 5 am so I am cautious to complain!  I always call her on my way to set just to tell her I am up!

MyNameIsNada writes: “Yeah for a Q&A with Julia!
Her are some questions:

1) Do you think Lt. James is as cool as I do?

JB:  Lol- Of course I do!  I love playing James and think that she is a great character.

2) Do you think Lt. James will ever confront Lt. Scott? Speaking of, you can’t expect to go through a Q&A here and not spill some details on those sex scenes. So, feel free to share anything.

JB:  I don’t know what the writers have in store for James and Scott.  Maybe it’s time James moved on and found a new love interest….

3) What are some things we the fans can do to ensure your survival of the series?

JB:  Ahh, that is sweet!  Just keep sending the love for James…you guys have been amazing!  I hope to get to a convention soon, so I can meet some of the fans!

4) Lt. James has yet to really be given a chance to come into the spotlight-what do you think she has best to offer Destiny and the rest of the crew?

JB:  Well, I think that James has had some time to shine in Season 1 :)That being said, she still has a lot more to offer on the show.  She is a fighter with a lot of compassion and that is an interesting balance to explore.  I think James has the potential to step up in combat and get into some fun action!  It would be great to keep exploring her tough side!

5) Finally, pretending you, yourself, are stuck on Destiny. What would you do to preserve your sanity?”

JB: I would find routines in any way that I could.  I would give myself goals to help me feel like I am still growing and moving forward in life.  I always want to be learning new skills so maybe I would organize a group where we all teach each other our skill set.  I would also need to laugh as I think that is so important.  So, games night would be a must and Brody’s still would come in handy!

Mr Anonymous writes: “Question for Julia:

1) Have you ever been on the lonely end of a love triangle (similar to Lt. James?)

JB:  Fortunately I haven’t been in a similar situation.  Not that I haven’t experienced heartache but not like James.

2) You play a military officer convincingly. Have you had military training?”

JB:  Thank you.  I haven’t had any official training but we did a few days at the beginning of our season with our military advisor Ron Blecker and he was incredibly helpful.  He was often on set throughout the season and we have people there to advise us as we go along.

Lou Zucaro writes: “For Julia:

1) As a couple other people have touched on, James has shown an interesting duality, being both tough / strong as well as almost a bit desperate as far as the relationship / romance part of the character goes. Do you relate to any part of James?

JB: Absolutely, I don’t think any one of us is one thing.  People are so complex and have different strengths in different parts of their lives.  As far as relating to James, I actually just answered this question on my blog @

I relate to the fact that she is in a situation where she has to live by a certain set of rules.  Part of her wants to lead and prove her worth in the eyes of Young.  I think what I keep learning in my life is that no matter who gives you validation, it only lasts if it comes from within.  So that is something that James is going to have to conquer.

2) Do you think the controversy regarding James’ freakout re: inhabiting Amanda’s body in Sabotage was warranted or not?

JB:  What controversy are you referring to?  I know that there was some controversy about an early draft of Sabotage.  It is tough for writers as they cannot reflect every single person’s outlook on every issue.  Every script I have read from SGU has dealt with delicate matters with class and respect.  When James had a hard time in the body of Amanda it was not meant as any disrespect to anyone in Amanda’s situation.  I saw it as one character’s response to a situation.

3) When James, TJ and Chloe dress up as Charlie’s Angels in the Very Special Halloween Episode™ of SGU, which Angel do you want to be and what are you prepared to do (as James, of course) to keep TJ and Chloe from calling dibs on your favorite? Who should dress up as Bosley?”

JB:  We are a little to young to remember the TV show but if we are talking movie- Alaina for Drew Barrymore’s part, Elyse for Cameran Diaz and I would take Lucy Lui’s character.  I bet Louis would do a great Bill Murray impression so he has to be Bosley!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Cat4444 writes: “Q for Julia:

1. What do you think of the criticism that you were only cast for your “chest” rather than your ability to do the job?

JB: To be honest, I really don’t pay much attention to criticism like that.  I am an actor who happens to have a large chest. Period. So I think people can think and say whatever they want.  I can only control what I think.  I know why I was cast, and that’s all that matters!

3. Is there a particular storyline, or type of storyline, you’d like to see for your character?

JB: I would love to see James put in a position where she really has to step up as a leader.  And then I would like to see her succeed.  Like all of us her confidence goes in and out, but James is a fighter and she has a ton of strength in her.  As an actor I have loved any opportunity to do fight scenes and stunts so I would love her to continue in that direction.

4. Lt. James seems to be having a hard time getting over Lt. Scott. Why do you think this is? She appears to be a pretty self-reliant and confident woman and it seems kind of odd that she would moon over him to such an extent.”

JB:  I agree that she is self-reliant and confident, but people are different in love.  James has been burnt by the whole Scott/Chloe situation and to top it off, she has to live in very tight quarters with them.  I think she will get over it, but it may take some time.

CrayonBaby writes: “Questions:

1) Have you ever accidentally hit one of the cast members while filming a fight scene? I know sometimes accidents happen. Or someone ate the last doughnut. Or took you parking space.

JB: Louis, Jamil and I almost accidentally ran somebody over in a golf cart.  It didn’t go over that well. 🙂

2) Are you hoping for in season two that Lt. James will be happier? Poor gal has been put through the ringer this season so far.

JB:  I think it would be great if James found some happiness in her accomplishments.  If she were successful in some of her missions then it would be great to give her some moments to let that sink in!  I would also like to see James continue to have bonding moments with the girls, particularly TJ.  I think that they could continue to find comfort and friendship in each other.  Maybe out of that would come some happiness 🙂

3) Who on the set makes you laugh?”

JB:  Everyone!  But off the top of my head-Louis Ferraira and Jamil Walker Smith

Arctic Goddess writes: “Question(s) for Julia:

– Why did you decide to get into acting?

JB: I got bitten by the acting bug at 13 when I did my first play.  I had been competing as a dancer for years and always loved performing, but once I did a play there was no looking back.  It’s all I have ever wanted to do.

– Do you have a Facebook or Twitter page?

JB:  Yes I do!  My facebook fanpage is under Julia Benson and my twitter is Julia_Benson!

Michael Jones writes: “Question for Julia:

I’ve noticed that James has been said to be the only person to be friendly to Spencer (though, it’s described as “tolerating” him, that’s more than anyone else did), and she’s seen to take an active role in caring for the unresponsive Franklin, who was also reasonably unpopular.

Do you think James is starting to take up a position of caring for the crew’s “lost sheep”? Do you think this is a result of how isolated James herself feels, or is a remnant from the abandoned idea of her having a paralyzed brother she cared for?  Also, I just want to say I love where your character is going. James has easily become one of my favorite characters on Destiny.”

JB:  Michael, first thank you for your support and for such a thoughtful question.  Two things, I do think that there was a nice parallel storyline in the original draft of that script that tied in well with James caring for Franklin.   I also think that there are definitely different divisions amongst people on board the ship, beyond the natural divide of the military and the civilians.  James is not always kept in the loop of what is happening and there are times when she bonds with people in a similar situation to her.  James is somewhat of an outsider herself and so she does relate to people as individuals and has compassion for their situation.  This was the case with her and Spencer.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Major D. Davis writes: “Questions for Julia….

First off thanks so much for doing this Q&A… been looking forward to this Q&A for a while!!

1. What is your favorite episode in season 1?

JB:  My favorite episode is Space.  I love the balance of action and drama and I think the aliens were incredible!

2. What is you favorite episode in season 2…which one do you think will be a fan favorite(of the ones you’ve read and shot so far)?

JB:  So far in season 2 Malice would be my favorite episode.  It was written and directed by Robert Cooper and we just finished shooting this week.  I think that the fans will love it because there are high stakes and lots of good action.  There is also some great stuff between Rush and Simeon.  When two actors like that get to square off it is explosive.  I also got to do a fun stunt, which I love, so maybe I am biased!

3. Will we get to see you character visit earth in season 2, or at least get to know more of James’ past?

JB:  That is a question for the writers…..Joe? lol

4. What TV shows do you watch beside SGU?

JB:  I have quite a big list of shows that I watch, in no particular order:

Friday Night Lights, Grey’s Anatomy, Glee, Lost, Six Feet Under, Modern Family, The West Wing, True Blood, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance and Celebrity Apprentice!

5. Who is your favorite character from SGU(or maybe what character do you respect the most or relate to the most)?

JB: I find Colonel Young fascinating.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders and is constantly making impossible decisions.

6. What was the hardest episode to film so far… and what episode did you have the most fun filming so far?

JB:  The hardest episode to film so far was “Pain”.  It was incredibly intense and exhausting, but it was also the most rewarding for me as an actor!  I loved getting to play so many different emotions with James in this episode.  Going away to New Mexico with the cast to shoot Air Part 3 was the most fun!

7. What do you do to pass time on set? What are you favorite hobbies(on or off set)?”

JB: Last year I was working on a series that I created with my husband Peter and another colleague.  In the down time, that kept me very busy both on and off set!  When I wasn’t working on that, the rest of the cast and I would hang out in between scenes.  Our set is a ton of fun to be on and there is always someone to catch up with.  Someone usually has music playing, our trailer doors are typically open and we all really enjoy spending time together!

Shawn Cassidy writes: “Question for Julia,

I thought you were absolutely fantastic in “PAIN”. The emotion and pain was obvious in your eyes and on your face when you broke down sitting on your bunk when Col. Young came in. I felt for your character. That’s something only a gifted actor can deliver. What is your process as a actress when prepping that scene? Was it a gut and go kind of thing or did you need to invoke some long lost torment from your past to deliver the goods?

Thanks Joe and Julia, keep up the awesome work!!

JB:  Thank you Shawn!  My process is different depending on the scene.  For something this intense I do as much work at home as I can, trying to get into the mind set of what she is going through.  I always drill my lines so that the last thing I am thinking about is the lines.  Then I trust that if I am present and really listening to my scene partner, the emotion will be there.  Over the years I have learnt that trusting yourself as an actor is half the battle.  In the episode “Pain” I did use music to ground me and keep me focused and then I let it all go and played the scene!

Shiny writes: “My question for Julia Benson is did she do her own stunts in the scene where James rifle butts that Civvie in “Divided”? Cuz it was very satisfying to see one of the more whiny Civvies get a beat down by James. And will Julia get to do more fight choreography in the future? I love BamBam’s work. Great work on James, she’s quickly become one of my all time favorite SGU characters!”

JB:  Yes Shiny that was me and yes BamBam is awesome!!  He has been so instrumental every time we have a fight scene.  He knows when to push me and makes me feel like I can do anything.   I am hoping that James will get to do some more fight choreography and stunts!  Thanks so much for your question and comments!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Questions:
Are you a cat or dog person? How does your family like that you became an actress?
Have you always wanted to be an actress?
How did you get interested in playing “James”? What kind of hoops did you go through to try out for “James”?

I really enjoy your work as “James”! “James” has a bigger story to tell. So, I believe the writers should give you more!”

JB:  Hi Tammy, thank you!  I am honored to play James and hope to keep exploring more and more as the episodes go on!  So for your questions:

-Dog person, love cats but my husband is allergic!  We have a 3.5 year old chocolate lab named Bauer.

-My family has always been incredibly supportive of me.  My mom taught me to follow my dreams and spent most of her life driving me between dance lessons, theatre and figure skating!  She is one of the main reasons that I followed my passion.

– To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions. First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

Amara MacLeod writes: “Julia, you and the SGU cast are fantastic. I am very glad to see your character being given intriguing depths as we go on.

Now for a silly question (meant completely tongue in cheek no insults or evilness attached): Was it fun for you to kill Brian Jacob Smith?

Sorry. Couldn’t resist. *grins* If I am too inappropriate, please, at least pass on the comment.

Thank you for being on SGU!”

JB:  We are lucky to have such a great cast!  Not only is everyone amazing in their roles but they are also fabulous people, which makes going to work so fun!  I have tons of respect for Brian J. Smith.  He is a dream to work with and he plays his role with such conviction.  Fun, terrifying, emotional, adrenalin inducing…these are some of the words I would use to describe that scene.  It was intense.  I know that you were joking when you asked but truly there were so many crazy emotions running through me when we shot that scene!

Randy White writes: “For Julia:

1.) It has been asserted in some comments by women (most notably a GateWorld podcast basically involving two women) that the writers do not let women be complex characters, typically using juvenile male stereotypes for writing the female characters. Would you agree, or would you say that you have been able to display a fairly broad range of your acting ability and the depth of your character on SGU, given the (still) less than one full season that has been aired?

JB:  Given the amount of screen time James has had, I think that we have seen many sides of her character.  In general I think the writers do a great job of exploring the complexity of humanity in both their male and female characters.

2.) Without revealing too much about season two, are you looking forward to showing even more of your (and the other actors) abilities and the depth of your character, going in directions not even contemplated yet?

JB: Absolutely!  The great thing about being on a sci-fi series is that the possibilities are endless.

3.) How do you feel about the decision to cut the scene more fully explaining your inability to transfer consciousness with a person restricted to a wheelchair and on a respirator?

JB: As an actor, you never know how scenes are going to be cut together.  I trust that they edit to tell the best story and in this instance I don’t think we needed to see more of what James was going through.  The episode was truly about Wray’s journey at home and Perry’s journey on the ship so they needed to get to focus on those stories.

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

Bolbait writes: “Here are more serious questions for you:

1) Who do you hang out with on set? Off set (other than your husband)?

JB:  We all spend time together off set.  We like to get together and have Poker nights, which usually end in Rock Band.   Louis Ferreira, John Lenic and I all have dogs so we often go for dog walks together in any one of the amazing trails we have in Vancouver.

2) How much time do you devote to running your lines before filming a scene?

JB:  It depends on the scene, but I always drill my lines until I know them so well that I don’t have to think about it!

3) I really enjoyed watching you “kill” Scott. You showed a great range of emotion, not only in the act, but also later when you were surprised that he was still alive. (This isn’t a question, is it?)

JB:  No but…thank you!

4) Any other characters you want to kill?

JB: No….James didn’t want to kill Scott- I look at it as her fear of what she could be capable of.  Have you ever been so mad or hurt that your mind goes somewhere that scares you?  I think that is what happened for James during that hallucination.

5) Do you think you’re character will ever get together with Eli? It seems that lots of “shippers” would like to see that happen.

JB:  Lol- David Blue and I are always joking about this happening as it seems to be of interest to a lot of the “shippers” as you say.  I think so far Eli and James probably have better chemistry as friends, but who knows….anything is possible on The Destiny!

6) Do you have a lot of input to the writers about what your character would say or do? Or, do you pretty much do what is written down?

JB:  The writers have your storylines mapped out before you get to see all the scripts, so although you have input when you are on set in terms of how the lines are said and what your character is feeling in that moment, I don’t have a ton of input on where my character is going.

7) Do you enjoy the Kino video’s as much as us fans do?”

JB:  I think the Kino’s are great.  It is a great opportunity to show the fans every day life on the ship and for the characters to have fun with each other.  We have such a big ensemble cast that it also is a nice way for you guys to get to know everyone a bit better.

Craig writes: “Question for Julia Benson: are we going to see Lt. James hook up with one of the other men on Destiny (Eli?) now that Scott isn’t available? And are we going to see Lt. James get to kick some ass in “Incursion” or the second season?”

JB:  Good questions!!  Unfortunately I can’t give anything away but James does get some fun stuff to do in Season 2.

Michael writes: “Questions for Julia Benson:

1) What was it like playing one of Lucius Lavin’s six wives in the Stargate Atlantis episode, “Irresistible”?

JB:  Atlantis was great!  I loved working with Richard Kind.  He was hysterical and very down to earth.  I had a wonderful time on that show!

2) On Stargate Universe, what would you rather explore in Vanessa James’ backstory and why: her empathic nature (as she seems to care about others on Destiny like Franklin or tolerating Spencer) or her assignment in Iraq (that she mentioned in “Air” Part 3)?

JB: Both!! Lol, but if I had to choose I would love to explore her life at home.  It would be great to delve into what drew her into the military.

3) What was a bigger challenge to you as an actor and why; the body switch with Dr. Amanda Perry in “Sabotage” or the hallucination sex scene from “Pain”?”

JB:  They were both challenging scenes but the hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place, which can be very draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left your body!

Photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television.

E writes: “What do you think of James/Scott relationship?

JB:  I think it is like a lot of relationships….complicated!  On the one hand, James has a lot of respect for Scott and on the other….she has been very hurt by him.  I don’t know if it will happen but it would be great for James and Scott to have a scene together where they get to talk about what happened.

James is easily one of my fav secondary characters. Will we see more of her in the 2nd season?

JB:  Thanks E!  Yes James is around in Season 2!

Where do you see your character in, say, a few years from now?

Most fun experience you’ve had while working on SGU?

JB:  Hmm good question, hopefully James and everyone on board The Destiny are still around in a few years! If so, I hope that James has kicked some serious alien butt!

The most fun days are when everyone is around and the weather in Vancouver is good!  Those days the music is playing and everyone is usually laughing…when they are not working of course!

What’s your fav James moment in SGU S1? Mine was in “Space”, where she talked about Caine without knowing that he could hear her. That was funny, hehe.”

JB:  I love that scene as well! There is always so much intensity on the Destiny that it is great to have a bit of fun with the characters.  I also like the moment between Chloe and James in Water when she tells Chloe about Scott.  I think it was a powerful statement about the kind of character James is.

Freeman writes: “How do you like your character and do you think that the series will have an episode on her past?

JB:  I love the character and I think it would be great if we got to see more of her past.

How do you like working with so many people from some many different backgrounds on the show and behind the scenes?

JB:  It is one of the best things about this business.  You are always meeting and working with tons of different people.  Everyone has their own story and bring such different experiences to the table.

Kabra writes: “Quick get know you questions:

1. Q: Bottled water or tap?

JB: Perrier

2. Q: Beach or Mountains?

JB: We’ve got both in Vancouver, but beach if I had to choose.

3. Reading or watching SGU?

JB: Watching SGU of course!

4. Q: Joe’s homemade ice cream or Ben and Jerry’s.

JB: Ben and Jerry’s!

5. Q: Diamonds or Pearls?

JB: Diamonds!

6. Q: Dogs or Cats?

JB: Dogs.

7. Q: Brothers and sisters?

JB: 4 sisters and 1 brother

8. Q:Hockey or Football?”

JB: Hockey, I am a Canadian Girl thru and thru 🙂

PBMom writes: “Julia Benson question (since everyone has asked some really good ones, this is the only other one I could come up with):

For a SGleeU episode, what song would you like to sing and why?”

JB: Oh tough one PBMom.  Let’s go with “You Give Love A Bad Name”- Bon Jovi.  It seems appropriate for the situation James is in and who doesn’t love to rock out to Bon Jovi! Lol

Sgugeek writes: Questions for the amazing Julia Benson

1) What would be the ideal gift to get from a fan? What is the coolest thing a fan has ever given you?

JB:  Umm…how about a house, the real estate market in Vancouver is crazy! Lol

A longtime fan of Stargate named Ian made me a website. He continues to work on it with me and has been very generous with his time! He also made me a great poster from a shot in “Darkness”.

2) Do you ever feel like James gets lost in a sea of main characters?

JB: It’s such an ensemble cast and as a supporting character, I think the key is to try and make all of your screen time count.

3) Do you have any convention appearances coming up? Would you like to go to a con, if invited and your schedule permitted it?

JB: I would love to do a convention.  I was supposed to do one at the beginning of the year but scheduling didn’t work out.  So I am working on getting to some soon!

4) When you were little, what were your career aspirations?

JB:  I have always wanted to act or perform in some capacity.  I grew up in competitive dance and always loved being on stage.  As soon as I did a play, there was nothing else that I wanted to do!

Yazid writes: “What is your favorite scene/episode from SGU ?

JB: On the whole, I think that “Space” is my favorite episode, but I also love “Divided”.  There are so many great scenes throughout the season that it is hard to pick one.  That being said the scene between Rush and Young fighting in “Justice” was incredibly intense and will always be a favorite of mine.

You seem to have fun on set, what’s your favorite moment?

JB: Peter Kelamis is a standup comedian and he was doing impressions of the crew one day.  His Peter Deluise is bang on!

What are your similarities/differences with Lt James?

JB: As a lot of people have noted, James has a strong mix of strength and vulnerability.  I am very similar.  Luckily for me the big difference between us is that James hasn’t been very lucky in love!

Did you know Stargate before playing in SGU ?

JB:  Yes I did.  Stargate has always been a huge part of the film and television industry in Vancouver.  I had also done an episode of Stargate Atlantis called “Irresistible”.

Did you cast just for Lt James or any other character ?

JB: To get the role of James I had to go through several rounds of auditions!  First I read for the character, Andrea Palmer, then I was in consideration for the role of Riley, and then they asked me to come back and read for James. I knew instantly that this was the role I wanted.  It just felt right!

In your opinion, how the relation between James and Scott is gonna progress ?

JB:  I think James will have to get over him…not saying that it’s going to be easy but he ends Season 1 very attached to Chloe.  Can’t tell you what happens in Season 2, you will have to wait and see 🙂

What was the hardest scene to shoot ? The funnier one ?

JB: The hallucination scene in Pain was emotionally exhausting.  You have to throw yourself in and go to a very dark place and that is incredibly challenging but also draining.  It’s interesting though…you don’t realize how tired you are until the end of the night when you get home and all the adrenalin has left you!

Shooting scenes with David Blue in “Darkness” was fun!

Few words in French ?

JB:  Bonjour je m’appelle Julia.  That’s all I’ve got!