Today, we were paid a visit by one of the Stargate franchise’s biggest supporters and all-around nice guy – Charlie Cohen, MGM’s Senior Executive Vice President. We spent most of the day talking about the future (Atlantis, SG-1, and, of course, Universe) but the high-point of the lengthy conversation came when the subject turned to the new American Gladiators series and the prospect of getting our stunt coordinator, James “Bam Bam” Bamford on the show as a contestant. Seriously. Couldn’t you just imagine our Bam Bam up against the likes of Nuklo or Lady Mayhem or even Brunhilda the Bratislavian Beast Woman, doing noble battle with oversized Q-tips over the Pit of Death (a.k.a. cushy foam insulation)? Somebody get over to the Ask Bam Bam thread over on Gateworld and convince him to do it.
As we near the start of production on the Atlantis’s fifth season, we are putting the finishing touches on season four. The Day Two mix of The Last Man is done (kudos to Joel Goldsmith for his beautiful score) and the last of the finals are landing on my desk. Meanwhile, the order of season five’s the first three episodes has been locked. It’ll go Search and Rescue, The Seed, and Broken Ties.
Spoke to Jason last night about the hair situation. He’s feeling a lot better without the dreads and I’m sure is not looking forward to the two full days he’ll have to spend getting them re-attached for the start of the new season (continuity’s sake and all). Jason is of two minds. On the one hand, he is happy to be free of the heavy dreads that were causing him great discomfort. On the other hand, he is aware that the character of Ronon is distinguished by his unique do. I suggested he consider compromising and trim them, but he didn’t seem too thrilled with the idea. To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s even possible (It’s been years since I’ve had dreads so I can‘t remember. I cut them off shortly after my reggae career came to an ugly end. But that’s a story for another time).
Today was also John N. Smith’s birthday. We all took a break from work to celebrate with song and lemon meringue pie, then silently shuffled back to our respective offices.
By the way, if you’ve read The Crooked Letter, get your comments in before the end of next week as I’ll be announcing the lucky winners of the second book in the series, The Blood Debt, soon after.
Today’s blog is dedicated to Jenny Robin (and her new fancy-pants position) and Neko (and her new fancy-pants university). Congrats.
The mailbag -
Annie from Freemantle writes: “Well thanks to your recommendation Joe, I’ve watched ‘Grave of the fireflies’.”
Answer: The saddest animated movie ever! Fondy was sobbing throughout. I wasn’t, of course, but only because my heart is made of stone.
Steph writes: “Have you ever seen Hogan’s Heroes?”
Answer: When I was growing up, I used to race home after school every day to catch the Gilligan’s Island, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes trifecta.
Jason writes: “Will you be following LOST when it returns at the end of the month?”
Answer: I lost interest halfway through the last season. But Fondy has expressed an interest in getting back into the show.
Tenmongaku writes: “Have you seen the anime “Samurai Champloo”?”
Answer: Samurai Champloo is another terrific anime series.
RAF writes: “Since I know you guys are gearing up for production this year, can you tell us if there’s been any word on whether or not another SG1 movie will be filmed along with Atlantis’ production?”
Answer: No new SG-1 movies on the short-range sensors.
M4ndy writes: “Am I being racist to say all Asgard look the same?”
Answer: I prefer the term “speciest”.
Patricia writes: “Will you be at April’s STARGATE SG-1/ATLANTIS 2008, VANCOUVER, BC CONVENTION?”
Answer: Which one? If it’s Gatecon, I don’t know. I was asked last year but, as always, it’s production-dependent.
42 writes: “…are you at all interested in hockey?”
PG15 writes: “Hmm…maybe I can just make up something on the spot?”
Answer: Next year, I’m commissioning you to write the spoiler poem.
amac251 writes: “I thought it was very humorous when you explained how you and Paul are often lumped into “one” entity. What are the differences between you and Paul?”
Answer: He’s a little taller. Other than that, nothing really comes to mind.
Aurelie a ecrit: “Est-ce que vous comprenez bien le Français ou avez-vous besoin d’un traducteur en ligne ?”
Reponse: Je comprends le français assez bien.
Sort of translation: I understand French well enough.
Aurelie a aussi ecrit: “Quels études avez-vous faites pour devenir scénariste ?”
Reponse: J’ai lu un livre ecrit par Syd Field.
Sort of translation: My screenwriting studies consisted of reading a book by Syd Field.
QueenSerenity42 writes: “I really don’t understand everyone’s obsession with Cowboy Bebop. True, the mushroom episode was hilarious, but I found the rest of the show pretty dull. Some anime I’d recommend: Vision of Escaflowne (watch the subtitled version–the dub is painful and massacres the plot), Full Metal Alchemist (ditto with the subtitle rec), Nadesico, and Vandread are all really good somewhat-serious shows with a great balance of drama and humor. For outrageous silliness, try Azumanga Daioh or the short-lived Master of Mosquiton. If you’re after an angst-fest, look up Vampire Princess Miyu, X/1999 (the series, not the movie), or Neon Genesis Evangelion.”
Answer: Some interesting recommendations. Cowboy Bebop is among my top ten favorite anime series. Evangelion, Escaflowne, and, yep, Azumanga Daioh are among my faves as well. I liked both Nadesico and Full Metal Alchemist, but wasn’t blown away by either. X was interesting but didn’t really grab me either. Vampire Princess Miyu and Vandread were fine. Haven’t seen Master of Mosquiton. Plenty of other great series that you I would recommend: Berserk, Samurai Champloo, Kino’s Journey, Last Exile, GTO, Infinite Ryvius, Patlabor, Now and Then Here and There, Utena, Rurouni Kenshin, Trigun, Video Girl Ai. I’m sure there are plenty I’ve missed.
Matt S. writes: “For the better part of its 10 years, SG1 seemed to thematically deal largely with social and political issues, human rights issues, and exploration of cultural development. It seems, from these first four years, that SGA has a much more metaphysical underpinning, addressing what it means to be human (particularly in the Asuran vs. Human juxtaposition, and has further delved into the concepts of ascension, human legacy, and life and death. Would you make this thematic differentation, and is it something that goes into the planning of episodes?”
Answer: You make an interesting thematic distinction between the shows. When Brad and Robert set out to create Atlantis, they wanted to produce a show that was connected to the Stargate universe yet be able to stand on its own as separate entity. I don’t think there was ever an overall attempt to distinguish the show in a thematic sense but the elements put into play very early on established a direction that was both, in a sense, familiar yet unique. The tone of the show and types of stories we tell evolve from what has served us well in the past (ie.particular characters, villains, or arcs).
Mrs. B108 writes: “Will Michael and Teyla share some heavily intense moments?”
Francois writes: “Are we eligible if we live in Québec?”
Answer: If you have a name, you are eligible.
Amber writes: “What do you have that other people use more than you?”
Answer: My name.
Nathan writes: “Does the Iris on that watch open to reveal hands or is a non-functioning watch?”
Answer: No, it’s fully functional. But you actually have to open the iris to check the time. It’s a great way to keep intruding eyes off your watch!
Andrea Leigh writes: “How can you tell who the million(th) visit will be from?”
Answer: The combined site meter stats from my old blog site, and the wordpress blog stats from this site will tell me when I hit 1 000 000 – and I will award the prize(s) to the first person to comment after the one million mark has been reached.
WAMS352 writes: “I would have thought the “Six Million” dollars reference was pointing agent Wexler toward Austin (TX) perhaps – as in Steve AUSTIN – the six million dollar man? How could Wexler be so oblivious to such a clue?”
Answer: Holy crap, you’re right! Wrong zoo. And wrong limpy chimpy.
Jason writes: “Is Major Lorne officially the second in command of the military on Atlantis?”
Answer: Sheppard outranks Lorne, so he would be next in line. Lorne would follow Sheppard.
sgazkaz writes: “Just one question doses Daniel or Sam have the ancient gene natural or otherwise.”
Answer: They do not.
Ishshah writes: “Yesterday I got an email from the FBI news alerts entitled (Alert: Scammers Sending Fake FBI E-mails Seeking Personal Information) telling all about the latest Scams using the FBI LOGO and letter head.”
Answer: Yeah. I copied their FBI logo and pasted it on my reply.
DeeinSouthAfrica writes: “Joe, I know you like the feel of genuine tree bark in book form, but have you even tried to read an e-book?”
Answer: Nope. Reading off a computer screen (which I do a lot of) tires my eyes. When it comes to leisure reading before bedtime, I prefer a nice book over a disquietingly war of a laptop.
Astrumporta writes: “I don’t think you ever mentioned, who replaced Nora O’Brien as your Sci Fi “boss”?”
Answer: SciFi’s new point-person on Atlantis is the sharp and savvy Chris Sanagustin.
Fred writes: “I believe that you once mentioned that Jewel Staite would appear in seven episodes this season…”
Answer: I did?
Steph writes: “Which part of the 200th episode of SG1 did you write?”
Answer: The zombie sequence, invisible O’Neill, and the Farscape parody.