What is Stargate? My friend Michelle gave me the heads up that the answer, pictured above, appeared on a recent episode of Jeopardy. And, yes, apparently, someone had the right question.
Siege Part 3 earned a hard-fought victory to secure a playoff spot in our Stargate: Atlantis Greatest Episode Tournament. But second place finisher Duet put in a strong showing, assuring itself of a wildcard seed. Now, we move on to season 3….
Well, the final results are in and fan favorite Window of Opportunity has been crowned champion of the Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament. I know, I know. Many will disagree – some passionately – but that’s what makes democracy so great: the fact that a majority of others are directly responsible for your unhappiness. So let’s celebrate with some WoO trivia!
So, now that we’ve crowned our SG-1 champion, it’s time to move on to Stargate: Atlantis. Yes, the Stargate: Atlantis Greatest Episode Tournament is officially underway. Head on over to twitter and vote – or click on the link below. P.S. If your favorite isn’t listed, then make sure to include it as a write-in candidate.
The #StargateAtlantis Greatest Episode Tournament is underway! What was the best episode of #Stargate Atlantis's first season? Don't see your favorite? List it as a write-in candidate.
And the polls are now open for the final showdown in the Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament. Window of Opportunity is out to an early lead over Lost City Part 2, but there’s still 14 hours left to cast your ballot. Things can change. So head on over to twitter and vote or click on the link below:
It's time for the #Stargate#SG1 Greatest Episode Tournament Championship! Choose between –
Once we’ve crowned our SG-1 champion, we’ll be moving on to The Stargate: Atlantis Greatest Episode Tournament! So, who you got?
Well, hey, after mentioning the fact I had been keeping in touch with that old Dark Matter gang of mine – with the exception of Anthony Lemke…guess who called last night? Yep, none other than THE Anthony Lemke. We spent a good half hour catching up and reminiscing about the show. Count one more former cast member as IN whenever we get the green light for that wrap-up miniseries.
Oh, also, forgot to mention the magical Jeff Teravainen (Lieutenant Anders) among the Dark Matter vets I’ve been keeping in touch with. More than keep in touch, I actually worked with him for four months on my last show, Utopia Falls.
As promised yesterday, here’s little more from the Dark Matter vault. These are photos from the season 2 gallery shoot taken by the amazing Norman Wong –
And that about wraps up today’s blog entry unless there’s anything else to add..
Let me think…
Oh yeah, Akemi and I swung by City Hall yesterday and got a marriage license. We now have 90 days to get married. If we do not marry within that designated period, my understanding is that we will be arrested for wasting the bureaucracy’s time and face a fine at best, possible jail time at worst.
You’ll often hear people talk about members of a production as family. And, yes, while it may often sound cliche (and, occasionally, a little suspect depending on the production), I can honestly say it’s a pretty accurate description of the people I worked with on Dark Matter – most of who, uncoincidentally, I worked with on my last show, Utopia Falls.
A couple of months ago, Akemi and I had dinner with actress Ayisha Issa (Solara Shockley) before she left to go work on an out-of-town production. Last month, we hung with actress Jodelle Ferland FIVE) who was in town to shoot a short. A couple of weeks ago, I met up with actress Torri Higginson (Commander Truffault, Elizabeth Weir) while in Montreal. Last week, it was burgers and shakes with Alex Mallari Jr. (FOUR, Ryo Ishida). And then today –
If this acting thing doesn’t pan out, actress Zoie Palmer (Android) could transition seamlessly to a career as a pizza cutter. She is THAT good.
An antipasto, two pastas, one pizza, and a tiramisu later, and I was ready for nap time.
Great catching up with Zoie. And I am heartened by the fact that she firmly believes some day, one day, the gang will reunite to finish our Dark Matter story.
Later this week, it’s dim sum with Dark Matter Production Designer Ian Brock and pizza with actor Roger Cross (SIX) who is in town shooting his new show, Coroner. Actor Marc Bendavid (ONE) is also in town shooting something, so it’s only a matter of time before we do lunch, dinner, or one of those fancy coffees with the condensed milk and chocolate. Hoping to catch up with actresses Melissa O’Neil (TWO), Melanie Liburd (Nyx Harper), and Ellen Wong (Misaki Han) while we’re in L.A. Also, got to track down the ever-elusive actor Anthony Lemke (THREE) the next time I’m in my hometown of Montreal.
I was feeling nostalgic today, so I dug up the following files from the vault.
A t.v. spot for the Dark Matter premiere courtesy of Canda’s Space Channel –
The Raza bridge –
Concept art from Episode 301 courtesy of artist Henry Fong:
Our submission for a CSA (Canadian Screen Awards) nomination in the Visual Effects Category. I believe this was another year we were snubbed –
The season one line-up:
More goodies coming your way in the coming days!
Meanwhile, we’re on to the finals in our Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament! It’ll be Window of Opportunity vs Lost City Part 2. Head on over to twitter (@BaronDestructo) tomorrow and vote!
So, if you love Stargate and Dark Matter (and, for that matter, other fun character-driven sci-fi adventure like Farscape, Firefly, and Cowboy Bebop to name a few), click on the link (or visit @timescape_hq) and give them a follow. Get the early scoop on what will no doubt become your new favorite sci-fi show!
I’ve already mentioned the things that I think make for a great science fiction series: action, adventure, humor, twists, turns, surprises, a compelling character-driven story, a sense of friendship and family. But I’d like to know what draws YOU to sci-fi. Especially fans of Stargate and Dark Matter. What was it that you loved most about those particular shows?
Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section!
Now, on to the Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament!
Ripple Effect’s close shave victory over Foothold (51%-49%) closed out the first round of our Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament. The initial field of 16 has been halved and starting tomorrow, the Elite Eight will face off in Quarter Final action. The advancing episodes have been re-ranked based on total votes received in first round action. So THESE are your second round match-ups…
#1 Window of Opportunity vs #8 Moebius Part 2
They’re two of SG-1’s most humorous episodes, yet both invariably deliver an emotional punch as well. Can Moebius spring the upset on the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that is WoO?
#2 The Fifth Race vs #7 Ripple Effect
Ripple Effect has its hands full taking on another big first round winner in The Fifth Race. But do a roomful of Carters and underwear Cam have the fallatus to take down the Asgard?
#3 Lost City Part 2 vs # 6 Heroes Part 2
It’s a battle of the Part 2’s, both written by Robert C. Cooper and both hugely important episodes in the Stargate: SG-1 canon.
#4 The Pegasus Project vs #5 Children of the Gods
On the strength of a solid upset victory over favored Abyss, The Pegasus Project sets its sights on the pilot that started it all: Children of the Gods (both written by Brad Wright). This one may well go down to the wire.
So, place your bets! Who will be in our Final Four?
We have our last two contestants. The field is set. Here are your first round match-ups:
#16 Urgo vs #1 Window of Opportunity
The hottest episode coming into the tournament, Urgo rides a write-in vote and upset victory in the playoff round to capture the last seed. But it has a tough first round match-up against Window of Opportunity, a perennial Top 5 favorite that sailed into the tourney on the strength of a commanding seasonal win that saw it garner 71% of the vote.
#15 Solitudes vs #2 The Fifth Race
Shippers, rejoice! The Sam and Jack-centered Solitudes defied the odds and secured one of the last playoff spots as a late wild-card. But it’s going to have its work cut out for it up against one of show’s seminal episodes. Will The Fifth Race, another longtime Top 5 favorite, secure the victory or are things going to get cruvis?
#14 The Pegasus Project vs #3 Abyss
Two of Brad Wright’s best SG-1 episodes go head to head. On the one hand, you’ve got that much-anticipated SG-1/Atlantis crossover; on the other, there’s Jack and Daniel and, also, Ba’al at his nefarious finest. Still, Abyss may be the odds-on favorite to not only advance, but, perhaps, win it all.
#13 Threads vs #4 Moebius Part 2
Coincidentally, two of the episodes that wrap-up the Jack O’Neil era of SG-1 face off here in first round action. Which one will have the final word in the tourney remains to be seen, but if there was any match-up that was primed for an upset, this would be it.
#12 Heroes Part 2 vs #5 200
One of the saddest episodes of the franchise’s 17 season run goes up against, arguably, one of its finest as fans are asked to choose between the poignant death of Janet Fraiser or puppets and invisible Jack.
#11 1969 vs #6 Lost City Part 2
The more humorous episodes continue their strong showing in the tourney with time travel romp 1969. But it is up against an enormously significant episode, rich with mythology – and boasting one of the greatest space ship skirmishes in franchise history: the Battle of Antarctica.
#10 Children of the Gods vs #7 2001
It’s the one that started it all vs. the encounter that may have ended it all via a massive bio attack. Although 2001 is the higher seed, Children of the Gods is in a great position to pull the upset here.
#9 Foothold vs #8 Ripple Effect
Two classic sci-fi concepts – alien invasion and alternate universes – go head to head in our final first round match-up. Foothold was the surprise winner of the season 3 poll, edging out Nemesis by a mere 1% of the vote while Ripple Effect eked out a somewhat easier win (by 3% of the vote) over Camelot in its seasonal match-up. Both episodes are a lot of fun and clearly have a lot of fans – but it’s the end of the road for one of them here.
The Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament kicks off tomorrow. Follow me on twitter (@BaronDestructo) for the latest – and don’t forget to vote!
Finally, while we’re on the subject of Stargate, I hear that Ben Browder’s latest movie, Hoax, is being released tomorrow and is now available for pre-order on iTunes and Epic Film’s Dread Central. Check out the trailer.
Early evening sound design meeting for Utopia Falls’ first episode tonight. Things are moving fast!
Hey, over on twitter, I’m doing daily polls to find out what the fans felt were the BEST episodes of each season of Stargate. We are presently through the first three seasons and, so far, these are the results:
No surprise to see Children of the Gods taking the first season crown although my vote would have gone to There But For the Grace of God. Solitudes got some heavy write-in votes that put it in contention for a wildcard spot. And no surprise to see The Fifth Race win for season 2 – but will 1969’s voter support give it a wildcard spot in the next round? Finally, in a surprise result, Foothold wins a close shave victory of Nemesis, while Urgo gets plenty of fan write-in love.
The 10 winning episode (1 from each season) will be joined by 6 wildcard episodes after which the 16 will face off in our Stargate: SG-1’s Greatest Episode Tournament! Head on over to twitter and follow me, @BaronDestructo, for tomorrow’s Season 4 Best Episode poll. Who will our four contenders be?
Whenever someone asks me about the likelihood of a new Stargate series gracing our screens, my response is always: “It’s not a matter of if, but when”. Now people assume I must have some insider knowledge, but the truth is I know about as much as any of you do about what MGM has planned for the franchise. But simple logic dictates a few things:
1 – Stargate WILL return in some form, in all likelihood a television series.
The original Stargate movie did respectable box office, but it was the television series that really blew the doors off the vault. Stargate, in its television form, made the studio a TON of money. Certainly a hell of a lot more than many of the franchises and IP’s that have found new life on the big and small screen of late. And yet, we’re still waiting.
Look, Stargate is an incredibly lucrative property and it just doesn’t make sense for the studio NOT to revisit its greatest television success story. At the end of the day, the entertainment industry is a business and decisions are based on the bottom line. And when it comes to Stargate’s bottom line, we’re talking a lot of dollar signs.
2 – The studio is being VERY cautious about launching a new series.
Given the immense value of the franchise, the studio wants to get it right. They want to be certain that the show they launch will appeal to a huge viewership. Thus, they are faced with a little dilemma – although, really, it’s not a dilemma at all if you really think about it. The studio, no doubt, feels caught between established fandom and new viewers, incorrectly assuming that it’s either one or the other. IF they launch a show within the established t.v. universe, they assume they’ll simply be appealing to old fans while leaving new viewers out in the cold. IF, on the other hand, they reboot the series and dismiss the existing t.v. canon, they face the prospect of an angry fanbase that will, in all probability, not only ignore the new series but actively campaign against it. So, what’s a studio to do?
EASY. Launch a new series that offers the best of both worlds – one that exists within the established t.v. universe but offers a fresh start for first-time viewers. The new series could introduce us to new characters, a new team, who know nothing about Stargates – and we, as the audience, could join them on their journey of discovery. It’s been some 15 years since the last episode of Stargate aired. Who doesn’t need a refresher?
The new series wouldn’t be as mythologically heavy as previous incarnations, yet – amidst the action, adventure, humor, and exploration – nevertheless offer up a little backstory on the Stargate program. Characters from the previous shows could make an appearance, but they would be introduced as though for the first time – and while new viewers will get to know them, longtime fans will get reacquainted with these beloved characters all over again.
3. The old guard should be at the helm of the new series.
So, who do you think will be playing quarterback for the New England Patriots this season? Will it be 536 career TD, 6 time Superbowl champ Tom Brady? Will it be an unproven rookie? Or will the Patriots try to lure Brett Favre out of retirement? The incorrect answer could not only cost the team their season, but have terrible repercussions for years to come.
So, who created and ran the highly successful Stargate television shows that spanned 15 years, 17 seasons, 334 episodes, 2 movies and made the studio hundreds of millions of dollars? THAT is who you want running the new series – someone who has not only proven themselves, but can craft that bridge between the established fandom and new viewers, the beloved classic Stargate and a fresh, bold new direction.
4. Soon, soon.
I know, I know. It’s all so screamingly obvious – yet I have no doubt the studio will get there. They just need to get their ducks in a row, dot those I’s, cross those T’s, and complete whatever cliched idioms one needs to complete in order to get everyone on board. A simple meeting with all the suits would do the trick. Pack all the decision-makers into a conference room, then use an overhead projector to cast an image of how much money the Stargate television franchise made over the years. Then, quickly, before anyone’s mind can wander, switch out that huge bottom line number with the Created by credits for the Stargate t.v. shows. Alternate quickly back and forth between the two to ensure all in attendance make the painfully clear connection.
They’ll get there sooner than later.
Meanwhile, how many new Star Trek shows will be on the air by year’s end?
Came across this little gem on one of my old hard-drives – what appears to be footage from an extended hallucinatory wraith feeding sequence. It’s actually surprisingly disquieting. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to name the episode.
I celebrated Canada Day by completing my latest (and last?) revision on that big comic book pitch. I’ll give it a once-over tomorrow with a set of fresh eyes, then send it off for the final stamp of approval. Or further discussion prior to further discussion prior to further discussion before final approval.
Also this week, I’m hoping to get some feedback on the second draft of the pilot for my Untitled Awesome Project.
And, of course, I’m looking forward to four days on location shooting Utopia Falls. Fortunately, only the final three days are outdoors. Unfortunately, those are the only days this week in which rain is in the forecast.
Finally, about a week out from wrap, I’m looking ahead to my next big move – and have decided a little house cleaning may be in order…
So, last night I found myself with a window of free time between my two scripts and my episode 1 cut (that never materialized) and seized the opportunity to go through the various discs, DV’s, and hard-drives I’ll be shipping out to MGM this week. I can’t access a good 95% of the material, but if the descriptions scrawled on the labels are any indication, fans are in for a real treat…
Interviews with Michael, Chris and Colonel Carter no less. Also crash burn and explosion tests.
Oodles of Atlantis stuff: McKay playing with a wraith torpedo, Atlantean gadgetry, and…the SG mascot?
Burning Vala, Atlantis stunt coordinator James “Bam Bam” Bamford, the complete Atlantis set, and a cast read-thru.
THIS is gonna be fun.
Also a lot of fun is this short excerpt from that Stargate: Extinction script.
I came across this interesting Screen Rant article today by Toby Symonds which offers up his take on what he felt were ridiculous plot twists (and a few that weren’t) on shows that aired on syfy. Among the culprits was the decision NOT to kill of Ronon Dex in the Atlantis finale and the decision to reveal SIX as the mole at the conclusion of Dark Matter’s first season.
I love nothing more than a discussion or heated debate about the creative decisions made on a production I was a part of. And, while I appreciate Toby taking the time write the article and point out what didn’t work for him, I can’t help but disagree with a few of his points and weigh in –
My response –
First off, thanks for taking the time to feature the series. We didn’t have a lot of money to make the show, nor did we receive a lot of support from TPTB while we were making it, but we had a great cast and crew, and an even greater fanbase that’s still very active online.
Second, I wanted to respond to your take that: a) SIX lacked motivation and b) was an illogical choice to be the traitor.
I started developing Dark Matter way back when I was working on Stargate: Atlantis. The plan was to complete the final season of Atlantis and segue smoothly into the first season of Dark Matter. As it turned out, however, we had two seasons of Stargate: Universe and about a year of development work before Dark Matter finally saw the light of a t.v. screen. Between that gap and the years I spent developing DM while working on SGA, I had a good five years to develop the show. As a result, going into the writers’ room for that first season, I had all of the character and major story arcs mapped out, along with a five-year plan. I approached each season like an installment in a book series, with a beginning, middle, and end. And so, season 1 kicks off with the revelation that our characters are wanted criminals and ends, appropriately enough, with them being hauled off to prison (In season 2, our character come together, finally united, in common purpose – to redeem themselves and do the right thing…only to have it blow up in their faces – quite literally – with the destruction of EOS-7 which ignites a galaxy-wide corporate war).
Before I even sat down to write the pilot, I already knew how season 1 would end – with their capture and the reveal that one of them was a traitor and former mole/agent for the Galactic Authority. And I also knew that character would have to be SIX. It really couldn’t be anyone else given their respective backstories. More importantly, one of the central themes of the series was the nature vs. nurture debate. Are you born bad or are you a product of your environment? Dark Matter, like much of the research that has been done on the subject (check out the excellent Three Strangers) posits the answer is: a little of both. SIX is the crew’s moral center (although you could argue FIVE parallels these values). He is/was a principled law enforcement officer tasked with bringing in this galaxy’s most wanted and, despite the mind wipe, demonstrates these honest and right-minded outlooks throughout the show’s first season. Although he possesses no memories of his past, aspects of who he was inform who he is post-mindwipe (In the same way we see these post-mindwipe characteristics bleed through in, say, TWO’s brutal takedown of the casino staff in Episode 4, and execution of Wexler at the end of Episode 11).
One of the great things about having a detailed game plan going in is the opportunities it affords you to seed in clues that pay off later on down the line. Like the Android’s strange but seemingly innocuous comment to TWO prior to her space walk in Episode 3, a comment that hints at TWO’s reveal as a bio-engineered construct (hinted at in more obvious fashion, two episodes later, when her wound miraculously heals). In Episode 8, SIX flashes back to his past and receives the truth about who he is via an undercover Lieutenant Anders. In one of the episode’s final moments, an overwhelmed SIX sits alone amidst the destruction only to have Anders get the drop on him. In the next scene, ONE and FOUR arrive on the scene – but Anders is long gone. Why did he leave and let SIX go? What happened off-screen? It’s a huge red flag.
In the ensuing episodes, we see a sudden shift in SIX’s character, culminating in his emotional plea to FIVE to leave the ship. At this point, he knows that it’s going to end badly. And, after the delivery of the white hole bomb that ends up destroying the Mikkei facility and the planet, claiming thousands of lives, he finally makes the call on the decision he has been mulling over since Episode 8. These people are dangerous and he has to bring them in. And so he sets his plan in motion…
A second important theme in this series was the notion of redemption. Throughout the show’s first season, we peel the onion on the crews’ histories and they must come to terms with their past lives, their past actions, and look to start fresh, be better. In season 2, this theme is studied in another light, through the prism of SIX who seeks redemption for his betrayal. While the rest of the crew is looking to turn over a new leaf and “do the right thing” (spearheaded by TWO), SIX seeks to regain the trust of his former friends. And it’s not something that happens overnight. It takes theentirety of the show’s second season for the crew to accept SIX back into the fold. In short, like most of the character developments and reveals on Dark Matter, I wanted it to feel earned.
Anyway, all this to say that, perhaps despite appearances, we were never making it up as we went along. There was always a good reason (at least so far as I was concerned) that we did what we did. Every narrative decision was tied to character or thematically linked. As for that Ronon decision on Stargate: Atlantis…
My response –
The only thing I can say to this is that Enemy at the Gate was never intended as a series finale. In retrospect, yes, we could have killed off Ronon, perhaps even destroyed Atlantis itself, but the plan had always been to come back for a sixth season. Had we done so, AND killed off the Ronon character, the show would have been poorer for it.
Just a few nitpicks –
Regarding SG-1 – The plan was not to have the show bow out after two seasons. The show had a two season order but the plan was always to go the full five. When Paul and I joined the show’s writing staff in season 4, it was with the understanding that the show would go one more year and conclude with its fifth and final season.
Also, the creative dream was not to end the show after season 7 either. We were simply under the assumption that season 7 would be SG-1’s last – but, in all fairness, we made the same assumption for season 4, 6, 8, and 9. The show’s tenth season, ironically, was the only one I felt confident would NOT be its last – so, of course, it was.
And finally, on a show I never worked on – but watched the hell out of and loved…
Could let this one go without putting in my two cents –
Regarding the critique of the final moments of the Farscape finale (a show on this list that I was not a part of but I watched and loved) – in all fairness, I’m sure it didn’t seem like such a gamble at the time because, from what I understand, they had already been informed they’d been picked up for another season…only to have the pick-up rescinded.
Check out the article. There are takes on other productions as well: SGU, Wynonna Earp, and BSG to name a few.