August 23, 2019: Whirlwind Day!

This morning it was work, workout, and walkies.  Then, taco lunch with friends followed by chocolate chip cookies, chocolate-covered pistachio gelato bars and…

Fan Expo!

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These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.

The Green Room.

Somebody help me move this bar cart into the lobby.

This kid’s a natural!

Then, it was another round of walkies and dinner…

Note the Gudetama theme.

And, finally, it was a brief walk over to SOMA Chocolates for…what else?

Oh, and pistachio gelato.

I capped off my day with more walkies…and work.

BIG upset today in our Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament!  

I honestly thought Abyss was positioned to take it all.  But #14th seeded The Pegasus Project had other plans!

The tourney continues and, once again, the underdog is ahead…but not by much!  Click on the link or head on over to twitter and vote!

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August 22, 2019: Lunches! Lunches! Dinners!

Today, I had lunch with former Dark Matter line producer Norman Denver.  Yesterday, it was lunch with Utopia Falls writer Andrew Burrows-Trotman.  Tonight, it’s dinner with former Stargate Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper.  Saturday, it’s dinner with writer Gail Simone.  

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Lunch at Buca with ABT!  We killed those desserts!

Aside from all the eating, it’s also all systems go on the development slate.  Three pitches more or less locked down, and two to go.  But perhaps more important than nailing down those pitches is nailing down the restaurants Akemi and I will be checking out while we’re in L.A.  Any recommendations?

The Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament continues!  The Fifth Race secures its spot in second round action with its big win over Solitudes.

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Next up, it’s Abyss vs The Pegasus Project.  And it’s surprisingly close early on.  Click on the link and cast your vote:

 

August 19, 2019: The Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament is set!

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.

 

August 17, 2019: The calm – and octopus balls – in the eye of the storm!

Over on twitter, four episodes are battling it out for a wildcard spot in next week’s Stargate: SG-1 Greatest Episode Tournament.  Seven hours into the voting, and it’s surprisingly close.

Have a feeling this one is going down to the wire.

Rainy day here today, but we took advantage of the occasional sunny breaks to take the dogs out – and us over to the Chinatown Festival where we enjoyed giant scallops, molten takoyaki, various meat sticks, lobster dumplings, banh mi, and my favorite: the pistachio popsicle!

Oh, hey, here’s some interesting new:

James Wan To Produce Horror Camping Movie The Troop

If The Troop sounds familiar, it was one of my recommended horror reads back in the day – written by one of my very favorite horror author Nick Cutter (aka Craig Davidson)…

…who I also happen to be collaborating with on an adaptation of another one of his novels, Little Heaven.  Perfect timing as Craig and I are just finishing up our pitch for the project.  If all goes as planned, we’ll be taking taking it out next month.

Spent the better part of last night watching KPop videos.  Now, I can’t get Blackpink, Fanatics, Momoland, and BewhY out of my head.

 

 

August 15, 2019: Akemi is Hufflepuff – and doesn’t like it one bit!

Over on twitter, I’ve been posting polls asking fans to vote on their favorite episodes for each season.  Today, we complete the preliminary entry round of our Greatest SG-1 Episode Tournament with Season 10.   Click the link and cast your vote for one of the following four episodes:

OR submit a write-in vote.  10 winning episodes from each season will make the tournament along with 6 popular wildcard entries!

August-15-2019

Today, I had back to back meal/meetings.  First up was breakfast with former Utopia Falls Production Assistant Leah Tomlinson.  We discussed writing, directing, producing and, of course, Seinfeld.    

Then, it was lunch with former Dark Matter director and stunt coordinator John Stead (who also did a little work for us on Utopia Falls) – who really should be on more production radars as he is really one of the best directors I’ve ever worked with.

So, I’m circling the last week of September to be in L.A.  There are a lot of people I want to meet, a lot of places I want to visit, and some major projects I want to pitch.  Yes, sir – pitch in September, receive word of a green light October-November, put together a room for early January, be in prep for April and in production on the show’s first season by June.  After that, it’ll be smooooooth sailing!

Finally – Akemi is upset because I informed her that the Sorting Hat would definitely place her in Hufflepuff.  I assured her that, even though I was Slytherin, we could still be in the same classes – just different houses.  She’s not having it.  

August 14, 2019: Week’s Best Comic Book Covers!

So, yesterday’s blog entry ended up getting posted to my back-up site and I didn’t notice until this morning…

Captain Harlock: Dimensional Voyagevol. 9 (cover art by Kouichi Shimahoshi)

Captain Marvel#9 (cover art by Mark Brooks)

Event Leviathan#3 (variant cover art by Jay Anacleto)

Flash#76 (variant cover art by Yasmine Putri)

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man#10 Cover art by Andrew Robinson)

Hawkman#15 (variant cover art by In-Hyuk Lee)

Miles Morales: Spider-Man#9 (cover art by Patrick O’Keefe)

Powers of X#2 (cover art by Yasmine Putri)

Silver Surfer: Prodigal Son#1 (cover art by Mico Suayan)

The Watcher#1 (cover art by Marco Mastrazzo)

Unearth#2 (cover art by Baldemar Rivas)

Wonder Woman#76 (variant cover art by Jenny Frison)

Xena: Warrior Princess#5 (cover art by Rachael Stott)

So, which were YOUR favorites?

August 13, 2019: Watching a lot – Enjoying a little!

Least year was my best reading year ever.  An insane number of books.  This year…not so much.  Blame it on the fact that I was in production.  Or juggling multiple development projects.  But, really, you can chalk it up to the fact that I’ve been watching a lot more, catching up on film & television.  Yes, I’ve been watching a lot -but, surprisingly, enjoying very little.  Or maybe it’s not all that surprising.

Among the shows I’ve watched over the past few months and enjoyed:

Fleabag

Barry

The Good Place (seasons 1-2)

The Boys

Euphoria

And then roughly four times that number of shows I started and abandoned. Finding a good genre show has been especially tough.  Why?  Well –

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Yes, yes.  BIG ASS budget.  Yes, yes.  Stellar casting.  Yes, yes plenty of buzz.  But is it any good?  Do I LOVE THE CHARACTERS?  More often than not – no.

In all fairness, there are plenty of sci-fi shows I’ve yet to watch – the new Star Treks namely.  And, like most, I am particularly looking forward to checking out the new Picard series.  But, really, given the number of new genre shows that get released on a monthly basis, you’d think the batting average would be somewhat better.

Oh, don’t get me wrong.  Every show will have its fans and your mileage may vary. I’m just coming at it from the point of view of someone who has produced 350+ hours of genre television, written 100+, showrun 100+, but, more importantly, has been a HUGE sci-fi/fantasy/horror fan all of my life.  And, interestingly enough, it would seem that I’m not the only one who has grown tired of the recent wave of dark, dreary, mean-spirited entertainment.  Certainly audiences, but not the decision-makers.  Not yet anyway.  

Which strikes me as altogether bizarre.  As new shows crash and burn and executives scramble to figure out how to produce the next big hit, I’d suggest looking at what has already been a hit – and why – then reverse-engineer.  Take Supernatural for example, a series that has run a mind-boggling 15 seasons. What’s the secret of its success?  Is it its supernatural underpinnings?  Its monster-hunting premise?  Or, perhaps, could it be the brotherly bond at the heart of the show?  

Stargate: SG-1 ran for 10 seasons.  Why?  Was it the cool wormhole effect?  The creepy alien villains?  Or, maybe, could it have been the camaraderie at the core of every episode?

What about Star Trek?  What do its various incarnations have in common besides spectacular visual effects and awesome spaceships?  Well, there are the various crews at the center of each series that feel very much like a family.

Oh, come to think of its, there’s one more like variable.  All of the afore-mentioned are also a lot of fun.

Hmmmm.  A fun genre show.  Imagine?  That couldn’t possibly work outside of the shows mentioned (Supernatural, Stargate: SG-1 and Star Trek).  And Star Trek: Atlantis, Farscape, Doctor Who, The X-Files, Firefly, The Orville, Stranger Things, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and all those DC Universe shows.

Yep, the secret of successful television will remain a mystery.

To some.

August 9, 2019: Targeting September!

So that’s the plan.  September.  That’s when I want to be in L.A., pitching my new show.  I’ve got a couple of great projects, approximately 400 hours of produced television experience, a dedicated and talented crew, and a loyal fanbase.  Honestly.  What else could they ask for?  

Of course, I just have to, uh, finalize a few things between now and then.  Strategize.  Get some answers.  Book the meetings.  And then it’s go time!

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Speaking of meeting – today, we caught up with the amazing Jen Blood who has been gifting us a slew of awesome Sujia and Lulu-themed gifs on twitter.    

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Jen is in town for EH Con Canada, but took time off from her busy schedule to come downtown and check out the local chocolate scene – namely SOMA Chocolate.

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Then she swung by our place for what was undoubtedly the high point of her Toronto trip = actually meeting Suji and Lulu.  P.S.  Nice shirt!

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Checking out Suji’s masterpieces.

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She also came bearing gifts – this snazzy Spider-Man outfit for Lulu.  And a Vikings jersey so that the dogs will have to split their allegiances between Minnesota and New Orleans.

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Good times!

August 5, 2019: That special Stargate scene!

As part of last month’s SDCC Stargate: Atlantis panel, attendees were treated to a reading of select scenes from the unproduced Stargate: Extinction movie.  But since actress Torri Higginson was in attendance, I decided to include an original scene for the occasion, a scene that perhaps could have been canon had the show continued past its fifth season finale.  For those of you who weren’t there to witness the live reading, HERE is that scene…

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August 3, 2019: My Stargate way of thinking!

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?  

August 2, 2019: Back at it!

I caught an early flight out of Montreal this morning and arrived in Toronto to find THIS waiting for me at the airport –

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How Suji convinced Akemi to surprise me, I’ll never know.  But it was thoroughly unexpected.

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I can’t tell you how nice it is to be back.  I missed the gals (Lulu couldn’t attend on account of her bad hips but was no less thrilled to see me upon my return).  I also missed having pretty much everything I need within walking distance.  Like, say, lunch.  

Today, we checked out that new Northern Chinese restaurant that specializes in bao’s.  We enjoyed a bao-dumpling medley, and a plate of sauteed snow pea tips.  And then –

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It was back to the old routine – chocolates and mocha at Soma

I’ve started lining up my lunches and deadlines for next week.  But, this afternoon, was a day of relaxation.  I sat down and finished watching The Boys. 

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Now I know this series won’t be for everyone, but after checking out – and immediately losing interest in – three other genre shows, THIS series was a pleasant surprise.

Anyway, the Mature Audiences trailer gives you  a real sense of the tone.  Check it out if you’re intrigued –

Now, I need something else to watch.  I hesitate to ask for suggestions because chances are I’ve already given it a shot.  But what the hell.  Let’s hear your recommendations.

To date, recent shows I’ve checked out – and enjoyed – in addition to The Boys =

Fleabag

Barry

The Good Place (first two seasons)

August 1, 2019: My Final Day in Montreal – for now!

To celebrate my sister’s birthday, we decided to go out for lunch.  It was to be me, Andria, Daisy, and actress Torri Higginson who is in town shooting a new series.  Well, Daisy ended up bowing out to oversee some home repairs.  And then sis cancelled because she was feeling unwell.  So it was just Torri and me celebrating over spicy-salty Chinese food – and then some delicious mochas.  I have no dined with Torri in four different cities (Toronto, L.A., San Diego, and Montreal).  Here’s hoping we get to add New York and Vancouver to the list eventually.

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On a somewhat related note, here are the results of a little poll I posted to twitter yesterday.  Which was your favorite Stargate series?  SG-1, that produced slightly twice as many episodes as Atlantis got received slightly twice as many votes, while Universe, that produced roughly a third the episodes of Atlantis received roughly a third its vote total.  

So what is the take-away?  How about the fact that 3,670 people voted!  MGM, take note!

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Came across these in mom’s garage.  Yes, the Dungeon Master Guide is conspicuously absent – but only because it’s sitting on a shelf in my Toronto apartment.  Ah, the good old days when it was Nick (Lawful Good Paladin), Paul (Lawful Neutral Monk), Cas (Chaotic Good Fighter), and yours truly (Chaotic Neutral Goblin Thief).  Our character personalities perfectly paralleled our own.  Today, Nick is a computer consultant, Paul is t.v. writer, Cas is an actor (currently headlining The Expanse), and I’m a blogger reminiscing about my  D&D days.

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Also came across a few of my favorite reads from back in the day.  (Not pictured: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, the Fafhrd & The Gray Mouser series, the Elric of Melnibone series).

Homeward-bound tomorrow morning!  I’ve got a lot of work – and lot of lunches – to catch up on!