January 27, 2013: Hot Chocolate Fest! Blog-hopping with Mandy Hager! Doggy Blues! Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! First Contact!


Vancouver is celebrating a month long Hot Chocolate Festival and I am trying my damndest to sample most of the 63 flavors available at the 23 locations around town.  I got off to a late start but I’m making up for lost time.  7 down, (about) 56 to go!  I’ll have a full report for you in about three weeks.

If, while you’re waiting, you too would like to check out the festival, head on over here for all the details: http://www.cityfood.com/events/hotchocolate2013/


Just received word that author Mandy Hager has posted the responses to the 10 Blog Hop questions!  Head on over to her blog to get the scoop on her latest book, The Crossing: 


Sadly, to today we bid adieu to our dog-nanny, Christine, who heads east for job training for her new career.  The dogs will no doubt miss her, but Akemi and I will miss here even more since we now have to find someone to step into her dependable dog-sitting slippers.  Yep, all we need to do is find someone with experience who we can feel comfortable leaving behind to take care of our dogs – and home – while we’re away.  Or we can put thoughts of a Vegas getaway or another Japan trip on the back back back burner.  I mean, seriously.  Jelly is almost 14!  I think she’s ready for the responsibility of taking care of her siblings.

Continuing our trip down SGA memory lane with…



Over time, writer/Exec. Producer Martin Gero became the go-to guy for our Atlantis big event episodes.  And, really, you couldn’t get any bigger than this fifth season midseason two-parter chock full of action, dazzling visual effects, shocking twists, Stargate mythology, and topped off with a visit from none other than Daniel Jackson himself. Honestly, what more could you ask for?

The thing I remember most about the shooting of this episode was the visit by a special needs boy and his family.  They’d won a set visit and, as thrilled as they were be there, they were triply delighted to be meeting and spending time with Dr. Rodney McKay.  And spending time with actor David Hewlett, I’m sure, far exceeded their expectations because he was nothing short of delightful company.  I watched him interact with the kid and his family, making the time to sit and chat with them between the various shots, genuine in his interest and enthusiasm.  And then, later, hurrying over to catch them before they left for the rest of their set tour to arrange a lunch meet-up.  Really nice to see.

Friday Night Lights alum Daniella Alonso steps into Jill Wagner’s boots as Traveler’s rep Katana Labrea (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Art Department design for Lost Tribe exo-suit.
And, the finished product (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Under all that (faux) armor = Stunts Coordinator James “Bam Bam” Bamford (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Todd adjusts his bluetooth (photo courtesy MGM Television)
Every season, we we would measure to see how much taller our guest star Asgard had grown.  Another two inches! (photo courtesy MGM Television)
David Hewlett and Michael Shanks = BFF!
Writer/Exe. Producer Martin Gero directs the Rodney/Daniel scenes.  JacKay?

Resident film reviewer Cookie Monster drops by tomorrow as our Supermovie of the Week Club reconvenes to discuss Superhero Movie. Don’t forget to watch!

No.  On second thought – don’t bother.

September 25, 2008: A First Contact Sneak Peek, Underrated Authors, and the Mailbag

If there are two things Martin Gero loves, it’s show tunes and heist movies. So, very early on in his Stargate career, he was presented with an irresistible challenge: How to combine these two greatest passions into one hugely awesome episode of Atlantis? “Impossible!”you say? Well then, I would have to agree with you. But how about going with one or the other? Say an episode in which the team travels to a planet with a civilization built upon the worship of Broadway musicals? Or an episode in which the city of Atlantis is the target of an SF-style heist? Okay, let’s go with the latter.

Martin had wanted to do this story for a while. As far back as season 2, I remember him pitching it out only, in the original version, Atlantis was compromised by a crazed Aiden Ford (and equally crazed cohorts) who had taken the city in order to get their hands on something special. Something very special. Something so special that, at the time, none of us could think of what it could be. So the story was tabled.

Flashforward to earlier this season. Martin is still spinning this heist story, but this time as the possible mid-season two-parter. I had pitched out the idea that given the wraith’s weakened position in the Pegasus Galaxy as a result of the heavy losses they had suffered over the past year, it would make sense for advanced civilizations that had been in hiding for hundreds of years might seize the opportunity presented by the shift in the galactic status quo to make themselves known. We went back and forth on who these aliens might be until Rob came up with a clever spin on a familiar notion. So we had our villains and we had their backstory. All we needed now was a motive. And it came compliments of Alan McCullough who pitched out an idea about the team discovering a secret lab on Atlantis that was once the workplace of the enigmatic Ancient Janus.

With all of the major pieces in place, Marty G. took the week to spin it in his head, we all gathered and broke the two parter, then he wrote the script. That was easy part. Then, it came time to design the look of these new interstellar baddies. Well, we knew what we wanted. Something cool-looking. And we knew what we didn’t want: lycra, shiny plastic bits, and enormous cod-pieces (q.v. SG-1 super soldier). After much discussion between Mary G. and Production Designer James Robbins, the villains were given their look: sleek, nefarious, body armor chic. Check ‘em out in the posted pics. And in tomorrow night’s episode, First Contact, the first part of our spectacular mid-season two-parter.

Hey, you may have noticed I host a little book of the month club here on this blog, the purpose of which is to introduce readers to new authors and offer a forum for discussion on literary works in the fields of SF, fantasy, and horror. With our October/November selections set, I was looking ahead to January 2009 and started thinking it might be nice to consider some underrated or underappreciated authors, authors who, for whatever reason, aren’t getting the recognition they deserve. So who, in your opinion, should we be considering? Pitch me your Top 5 Underrated Authors.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gals Narelle from Aus and Rachel. And an extra special dedication to regular Becky L. who is undoubtedly going through a very tough time right now.

Today’s video: Bam Bam shows off the suit.

Today’s mailbag:

Missy writes: “Has there ever been a story idea that you really wanted to write for Stargate Atlantis but never got the chance??”

Answer: In the coming days, I’ll post a rundown of certain episodes that did not make the cut (a.k.a. story ideas that got shelved that we would have inevitably reconsidered had we done another season).

Sector24 writes: “So when the network decided to end the series and make a movie, did they tell you “hey guys, give us ideas about a SGA movie”, or they have a starting point and it’s like “hey guys, we have an idea about SGA movie about…” and you go from there?”

Answer: We’ve only discussed the story for the SGA movie internally.

Cat1 writes: “I enjoyed the vid very much – it’s fun watching everyone having a good time at work!
But – and it’s a very small but – didn’t Marty G go (not quoting accurately here): there are two cups of tap water (pointing to two of them) and two cups of bottled water (pointing to the other two. With the camera, that is. Pointing. Subtly. Argh. You know what I mean!)”

Answer: Marty G. was just doing some general pointing. No one in the room knew which cups contained what with the exception of Paul who set up the taste test.

AnneTeldy writes: “Mr. M wrote: Carl got to work on his beat sheetBeat sheet for what? A Universe episode? An SG-1 movie? A second Atlantis movie?”

Answer: I was wondering whether anyone would notice that. No, Carl is presently working on neither a beat sheet for an episode of Stargate Universe nor a beat sheet for the second Atlantis movie.

Terry writes: “On another note, does Paul always seem that grumpy?”

Answer: Oh, yeah. It’s one of his most endearing qualities.