Archive for the ‘Stargate Universe’ Category

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Cast your vote for our June Book of the Month Club pick!  We’ve got a nice, wide-ranging selection this month:

1COLDBROOK by Tim Lebbon

Coldbrook is a secret laboratory located deep in Appalachian Mountains. Its scientists had achieved the impossible: a gateway to a new world. Theirs was to be the greatest discovery in the history of mankind, but they had no idea what they were about to unleash.

With their breakthrough comes disease and now it is out and ravaging the human population. The only hope is a cure and the only cure is genetic resistance: an uninfected person amongst the billions dead.

In the chaos of destruction there is only one person that can save the human race.  But will they find her in time?

1THE DRAGON BUSINESS by Kevin J. Anderson

King Cullin may be known as “the Dragon Slayer,” but he fears his son’s legacy will be as “King Maurice Who Speaks with Proper Grammar.” The boy keeps his nose buried in parchments, starry-eyed at the idea of noble knights and eager to hand royal gold to any con man hawking a unicorn horn. Tonight, though, Cullin will educate the prince in the truth behind minstrels’ silly songs of glory…
Long ago, in a kingdom, well, not that far from here really, young Cullin traveled the countryside as squire to brave Sir Dalbry, along with Dalbry’s trusted sidekick Reeger, selling dragon-protection services to every kingdom with a coffer. There were no dragons, of course, but with a collection of severed alligator heads and a willingness to play dirty, the trio of con men was crushing the competition. Then along came Princess Affonyl.

Tomboyish and with a head for alchemy, Affonyl faked a dragon of her own, escaped her arranged marriage, and threw in with Cullin and company. But with her father sending a crew of do-gooder knights to find her, the dragon business just got cutthroat.


In the far future, a young man stands on a barren asteroid. His ship has been stolen, his family kidnapped or worse, and all he has on his side is a semi-intelligent spacesuit. The only member of the crew to escape, Hari has barely been off his ship before. It was his birthplace, his home and his future.

He’s going to get it back.

1LAGOON by Nnedi Okrafor

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.


SCHRODER by Amity Gaige (paperback release in the U.K.)

Attending a New England summer camp, young Eric Schroder-a first-generation East German immigrant-adopts the last name Kennedy to more easily fit in, a fateful white lie that will set him on an improbable and ultimately tragic course.

SCHRODER relates the story of Eric’s urgent escape years later to Lake Champlain, Vermont, with his six-year-old daughter, Meadow, in an attempt to outrun the authorities amid a heated custody battle with his wife, who will soon discover that her husband is not who he says he is. From a correctional facility, Eric surveys the course of his life to understand-and maybe even explain-his behavior: the painful separation from his mother in childhood; a harrowing escape to America with his taciturn father; a romance that withered under a shadow of lies; and his proudest moments and greatest regrets as a flawed but loving father.

Finish up Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation!  Our discussion begins tomorrow!

Continuing our Stargate: Atlantis rewatch…


Akemi is right back at it, into the franchise and enjoying the series.  Although SGU still ranks as her favorite, she has a greater appreciation for Stargate: Atlantis and its much-improved visual effects.  Also, I think she kind of missed McKay.

Of course, as always there was much praise for the job of VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and his team.  Whenever we an establisher of Atlantis, especially at night, it’s always: “Wow!” or “Beautiful!” or “Two moons!”.

She didn’t get caught up in the whole Beckett vs. Keller debate because, by this point in the series, they’re both present and acting members of the expedition.  She likes them both but offered the following comment on Keller: “Everybody would love to have such a beautiful doctor.” Maybe.  “Too bad she doesn’t have a doctor’s outfit.”  I guess.

Still not feeling the love for Sheppard 22 episodes in.  She finds his loose cannon attitude annoying (“Why Sheppard is always so arrogant?  He should listen to older people.”) and, I suspect, very unJapanese.  After Beckett informs Sheppard that the shoot could kill him: “This is second chance for him to die so that handsome guy can become leader.”   Alas, another missed opportunity.

On the other hand, when Ronon gets choked out by the tendrils and collapses, she was genuinely concerned: “Oh, I hope he’s alright?”

“What about Sheppard?”I asked.  “He got skewered by a tendril.  Do you hope he’s alright.”

Grudgingly: “Okay.”

Later, she bumped on his amazing healing abilities: “Why sometimes he recovering very magically quickly and sometimes very slow?  Because he is typical superhero?”

Another favorite character of Akemi’s is none other than Radek Zelenka.  She practically squealed with excitement when he came onscreen like he was an adorable puppy doing something unbelievably cute.  She finds him very convincing: “I can’t believe he is actor.  Looks like real authentic geek!”  Ah, the magic of television.

Overall, a solid episode in her estimation but: “I liked yesterday’s episode more.”

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1Check out our houseguest, the love of my buddy Tio’s life, the lovely Petunia.  She’s here for a sleepover and has come armed with her own pink bed, pink blanket, and snacks.  According to Tio, she’s a snuggler, so tonight will be interesting.  Four dogs on the bed.  Just like old times!

But Petunia wasn’t the only houseguest we entertained.  Earlier today, our friends Jeff and Barb dropped by for pecan pie, ice cream, drinks and, of course, dogs…


Lulu and Barb hit it off.


Jeff and the Yamazaki 18 year old whisky also really hit it off.


Family shot!

And, for no other reason than the fact that I’m already posting dog pictures, here’s a photo I snapped of Bubba last night sporting his samurai helmet…


Samurai pug!

I received an email today from our old friend, Trevor in Toronto, who alerted me to GraphTV, a site that charts a show’s performance based on viewer response over time.

Stargate: SG-1…

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.52.31 PM

Stargate: Atlantis…

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.54.30 PMAs Trevor pointed out, a lot “of shows fluctuate quite a lot, either up or down, but the what is clear from the graphs is SG-1 and Atlantis are some of the most consistent series ever made.”

As for Stargate: Universe, the breakdown is also telling…

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.57.17 PMAnd, again, Trevor says it best: “and it’s painful to see the SGU graph, because clearly that show was awesome and gaining momentum…”

Check out how your favorite shows fared here: http://io9.com/these-graphs-show-precisely-when-your-favorite-tv-show-1554419978

Or do your own research here: http://graphtv.kevinformatics.com/

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MFB writes: “Since I like this kind of stuff I thought I’d share some boards that I’ve collected from writers’ rooms of other shows and one movie.


About the Breaking Bad boards: The stories were spun and broken to cards in the room. Then the cards were taken off of the board and photocopied and the photocopies were used as outlines to write the scripts from. (I found it odd that there wasn’t any deviation from the board to the outline.)

Joe, it would be much appreciated if you could post pictures of boards from any episode but in particular a board from “Wormhole X-treme!” would be great. It is one of my favorites and includes a cameo from one of my favorite writers(guess who?). It would also go nicely with my script of that episode.”

Great stuff, MFB.  And thanks for the link.  Unfortunately, I don’t have photographs of any of the stories we put up on the white board.  Right after we’d finish breaking, I would copy everything to my laptop and work off that word document, filling it in as I built my outlines.  I do know, however, that Martin Gero used to snap a photo of his white board breakdowns and work off those.  I don’t know if he kept any of the pics for posterity’s sake (or “prosperity’s sake” as one of my former girlfriends used to say), but you could ask him over at: https://twitter.com/martingero

As for the various photos (history of the Stargate writers’ room whiteboard – see yesterday’s blog entry), I offer you the following insights:

1. CARL DIGGING IN: The writers’ room was also the defacto screening room, impromptu meeting room, and lunch room.  Pictured here, our mischievous fellow Executive Producer/Writer about to dig into his bag of take-out.  Behind him, on the white board, initial work on the episode that would become Millers Crossing.

2. SNACKING: Over the course of my time on Stargate, I would occasionally receive gifts in the mail from fans.  Here, I sample a sweet treat compliments of longtime blog reader Carolina who, in addition to tasty dessert, also sent along some canned duck!  Behind me, the breakdown of Miller’s Crossing is complete.  And, as usual, we would always include a little note for the cleaning crew: DO NOT ERASE!

3. THE RED IMP: This little goblin compliments of artist (and former in-house digital and playback supervisor Krista McLean).  She put it up on a far corner of the white board and there it remained for over a season – until my writing partner, Paul, eventually got creeped out and erased it.

4. SURVIVOR STARGATE STYLE: Martin Gero pitched out an idea for the episode that would eventually become Trio.  In his basic premise, McKay and…someone ended up trapped for the entirety of the episode.  But who?  Should we trap him with Carter?  Or Keller?  Or maybe both Carter and Keller.  After much discussion, we decided to put it to a Survivor style vote.  Each writer scribbled their anonymous picks on a piece of paper.  Martin each one in turn and let the democratic process decide!

5. FOXY LOXY WITH FLOPPY SOCKSIES: Every time I would upload a photo from the writers’ room to this blog, I would be extra careful to ensure I never unintentionally revealed spoilers for the upcoming season.  In this case, I decided to go the opposite route and “unwittingly” intentionally post the breakdown of a fictitious episode in which every act ends with our heroes facing certain death…only to come back after commercial where we reveal it was all a simulation designed to train them for the REAL mission.  After a string of successive fakeouts, the team  is finally ready to head out on the mission…which will have to wait until Part II.  I was surprised that a couple of eagle-eyed fans were actually able to decipher my scrawl and offer a clear translation of the story.  Even more surprised that a couple of fans actually said: “This would make a great episode!”

6. THE BW SPECIAL: Placeholder titles are always a pain in the ass.  They ranged from all-encompassingly general to annoyingly specific.  In this case, we all knew what a BW (Brad Wright) Special promised: a strange scenario, cool SF elements, and great character moments.  The rest invariably wrote itself.

7. ATLANTIS 5: After production had ended on a season and the cast and crew had left, the writer-producers would assemble and start preparing for next year.  There was nothing more frightening than a blank white board, so one of us made the effort to get us started.

8. CARL’S GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST STORY: It seemed that half of the scripts Carl Binder wrote for the show were ghost-related.  Either our heroes were seeing ghosts or dealing with ghosts or becoming ghosts themselves or some variation thereof.  So we thought it only appropriate that we assign him the special Stargate Christmas episode.

9. PREPPING SEASON 5: Martin Gero goes through some ancient documents from the storage closet.  On the white board behind him are the seeds to some season 5 story ideas, some of which made the cut (Joe’s Ronon/Tyre story became Broken Ties) while others did not (my Wages of Fear story would have rocked…if I had actually been successful in coming up with five acts and a tease).

10. SHHHHHH: The secrecy of the writers’ room.  In response to the network’s request for a “Green episode”, Martin Gero comes up with Snow Globe – which would later be renamed  Brainstorm.

11. SQUIGGLE GUY: I honestly don’t remember.  I want to say it was our artist’s rendition of the unintentionally hilarious Pepto Bismal monster from Ephiphany, but the timeline doesn’t match up.

12. AU SEASON 6: Ah, what might have been.  I offered insight into these potential stories here: September 30, 2008: An AU Season 6!, including Alan McCullough’s infamous Hamster Ball pitch.

13. DOSTOYEVSKY IN THE ROOM: The breakdown for SGU’s Crime and Punishment which would later be renamed Justice.

14. 12 12 12: Heated debates on the logic of proposed SF, particularly time travel-related pitches would always involve diagrams.  This was, I believe, a rather straightforward explanation of the time travel logic grounding Twin Destinies.

15. CARL AND…?:  I honestly don’t recall.  What were we discussing here?  Ship to ship transmissions?  Gravity wells?  Oreos?

16. SPACE FLOWERS: Well, that’s definitely Destiny.  Not sure what the deal was with the space flowers.  Perhaps some drawings to inspire us for the episode Faith?

17. PURSUIT: Pretty obvious, huh?  Alien vessels/drones pursue Destiny, forcing it to fly through a nearby star to lose them.

18. IT WAS ALL A DREAM: A gag, sure, but we’ve done plenty of variations (Home, The Real World, Remnants) to name but a few.

19. INCURSION: The rough beats to the Incursion two-parter that was originally envisioned as a one-parter.

20. DESTINY VS. THE SPACE DOLPHINS: Ah, the space dolphins.  A riff on the whales we introduced back on Stargate: Atlantis. In a later episode, First Strike, it was suggested Atlantis abandon the planet, leaving it to be destroyed.  Robert Cooper objected to this solution on the grounds that we had gone through all the trouble of establishing and saving those whales, only to abandon them.  I suggested a compromise where, as Atlantis rises up off the planets surface, we see the whales sprout wings and fly off for safer skies.  Martin Gero dubbed them Whangels.  Alas, they didn’t make the cut. :(

21. ELVEN FOOT: I believe this is one of those cases where we misheard the actual title, but the mistaken title was simply too good to dismiss.

22. POST-LUNCH MALAISE: A typical post-lunch scene includes a sleepy Lawren Bancroft-Wilson, my hot sauces, and remnants of lunch.  Behind Lawren, the breakdown of an episode involving Amanda Perry.

23. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE: Ship to ship communications?  Gravity wells?  Oreos?

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The other night, Akemi and I finally wrapped up our viewing of Stargate: Universe. So, what did she think?  What was her take on the final ten episodes?  The finale?

Well, what follows are her unique thoughts on episodes #211-220 (Stargate: Universe 2.5)…



While she appreciated the action in this one, she did bump on the seemingly impeccable timing with which our crew was able to extricate themselves from danger…managing an FTL jump with seconds to spare.  She also found the aliens had equally impressive timing.  Either that or they were just being polite by waiting until Scott and Chloe complete their kiss before interrupting them: “Everything so perfect timing.  And by the way, bad alien very polite too.  Wait until kiss before interrupting.”

She wasn’t sure why the alien ursuni sacrificed themselves to buy Destiny time (“I don’t get seed ship.  Why they sacrifice themselves?  Why so nice?”), but did find the moment touching nevertheless (“So sad.  Sad story.  Sad alien.  Just like seppuku.”).

As always, the visual effects were the star of the show (“Very interesting to see computer graphics in fighting scenes.  Very cool.  I like it.”)



More sadness – and some confusion – abounds in this episode.  Interestingly enough, she felt sadder for a miscalculating Eli than the rest of the crew who presumably perish in the unstable wormhole: “The geek boy’s mathematics wasn’t correct, right?  Too bad, geek boy.   Very sad for him.”

She found the “stay or go” decisions by the various characters very interesting, particular Dale Volker’s desire to stay: “I was surprised the fact Patrick wanted to stay on the ship.  He was the third person!  Do you believe it?”  I asked her, given the choice, if she would choose to remain on Destiny.  Her response: “My character not very important so maybe writer send me back to Earth.”  The cold realist.

Overall, though, she really enjoyed this episode: “I liked this episode.  I like expensive episodes I guess.  Very cool.”



Another stone episode complete with confusing body-swapping.  Still: “I kind of liked it.  Exciting bomb situation going on.”

Again, she appreciated the visual effects and the “weird looking bomb”.  She also patted herself on the back for being instantly suspicious of Andrew the second he boarded the ship: “Andrew creepy.  Very suspicious from the beginning.”

One question she asked that I didn’t have the answer to was with regard to the old timey paintings that adorn the halls of Homeworld Command – and one in particular: “Why people pick Carl Binder’s picture over other writers?  Maybe because is more sophisticated.”  No, I’m sure that wasn’t it.



While she didn’t enjoy this episode as much as the previous visual effects extravaganzas, it did have its moments.  And some of those moments engendered some interesting responses…

When Ginn first shows up in Chloe’s body: “TWO girls in one body!  So great for him [Eli]!”

But then, when Ginn kisses Eli: “What the fuck?!”  And later: “I didn’t like the fact geek boy kiss because he was not nice to scientist guy when he wanted to kiss. Don’t forget – your body’s not really your body!”

When Rush is in strapped into the chair, experiencing the VR love-making with Amanda Perry, Akemi wondered if he had an erection and how embarrassing that would be considering the number of people in the room.

As for the B story: “I’m happy the fact surgery went well.  Team Curly!”



Her reaction to this episode was similar to mine: “Why such a stupid plan?”

Yes, she found this episode incredibly confusing: “What kind of mission were they trying to do?  I still don’t get it.  But it was nice to see Bob [Picardo]!”

After explaining the mission to her numerous times, she seemed to get it: “Stupid Chef!  Always pushing ideas and fail it.”

She wasn’t quite sure what to make of McKay (“Suddenly McKay show up.  He talk a lot.  Very arrogant.  From Atlantis.  So he is famous.”), but I assured her he’d grow on her.  She agreed to defer judgement until she’d had a chance to watch SGA.

But she wasn’t buying the body switching, especially the notion that a couple of people from Earth could so effectively impersonate a bunch of human aliens they’d never met: “Very hard to copy somebody’s actions.  I think some people may tell. Chotto henna [kind of strange] episode.”

The biggest eye roll came with the revelation that the parameters Amanda Perry set for their VR romantic encounters was their love for one another: “How to measure love?  What if more than like but a little less than love?  Not very scientific.”  So true.



I was actually surprised by how much she enjoyed this episode, her new favorite alongside season one’s Time.  She loved this episode for a number of reasons, the chiefest being the fact that her favorite character, Ronald Greer, is front and center. She also enjoyed seeing another side of Rush, the playful prankster very much in control.

“I liked this episode so much,”she said.  “Because so funny and I liked scientist’s sneaky face.  Reminds me of my boyfriend.  I liked the scientist so much in this episode.”

On Lisa Park’s potential romantic relationship with Volker: “She’s everyone’s girlfriend!”

Following the night time attack that kills off most of Varro’s people: “How many people you killed?  My boyfriend likes to kill people.”  And then: “A lot of Lucian Alliance people living together and you kill them all except your favorite Mike Dopud.” But on a more serious note: “Feels like you’re killing so many people every episode and math doesn’t go.”  Oh, it goes.  Trust me.  It goes.

As the end credits rolled: “I liked the computer graphics, the animal creature.  I liked to see Mike Dopud in the episode very much.  I liked scientist doing sneaky thing. I’m chotto sad the fact Patrick’s love situation.  So he’s still single?”  And: “I liked as much as Time.  Easier to understand.”



Akemi found this episode a bit of a head-spinner.  “Very confusing.  Robert Cooper’s episodes always so complicated.”  I prefer “complex”.

She had another question I didn’t have the answer to – as it turns out, a question I had at the time that I never got an answer to either: “What is the answer to question at beginning of episode about fruit?  Good for women and don’t want to tell male? What is that?  Maybe if you eat it you don’t get pimple?  Something like that?”  Yes, something like that I imagine.



Akemi found this episode quite touching: “So sad episode.  Everybody so old looking.”  In particular: “I find very sad.  Very super old Young.  Old Young’s life seems very sad for me.”

And Varro’s heroics weren’t lost on her.  After he saves T.J. from plummeting by catching her, then swinging her to safety: “I liked that Mike Dopud helped her.  So cool.  Coolcoolcool.”



She was very impressed with the visual effects in this episode, one sequence even prompting a bewildered: “How to do that?”

Highlights included: “And I find set is so cool too.  And Mike Dopud.  Bazooka!  I liked it!”

She did have some questions about Park’s ability to get out of the pool and reach the exit despite her lack of sight: “If she can’t see, how she’s able to reach the door?”

But her closing remarks were reserved, not for this episode, but the upcoming finale: “Wow.  Very interesting.  How to end?  I don’t think they make it back to Earth.  So I feel like not happy ending.  Depending on the ending, I may not like the season.” How’s that for pressure?  “I’m investing for a happy ending.  If not happy ending, my boyfriend have to tell me the story every night to give me a happy ending.”  I referred her to THIS blog entry: May 12, 2011: Stargate: Universe, Beyond Season 2! What Might Have Been!



Finally!  The finale!  I feared she would hate it since there is no happy ending. Instead, we leave Destiny with the crew in stasis and Eli alone on the bridge, with two weeks to fix the damaged pod and save his life.  Her response?

“I LIKED IT!  Kind of happy ending.  Nobody die.  Three years.”  And, doing the math: “So supposed to be this year!”

She loved the spectacular visual effects, the destruction of the command ships in particular, but still found the episode bittersweet: “I really feel sorry for her, the blind girl.  Daisy?  Lisa?  So sad about her and Jamil.”

“I liked it.  Happy ending.  At least they figured out the possibility to survive.”

Yes, presumably the Destiny crew is out there, somewhere, drifting, perhaps only years away from waking up once again and continuing their adventures.

NEXT UP: Stargate Atlantis!  Who wants to take part in the official re-watch?!

We’ll kick things off, viewing an episode a day starting Friday, January 31st with the series premiere: Rising I.  And we’ll continue through the show’s full five season run – provided Akemi remains onboard!  Who’s in?!

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The suspense is unbearable!

The suspense is unbearable!

Akemi and I have reached the halfway mark of Stargate: Universe’s second season. On re-watching these ten episodes, I’ve discovered a new appreciation for the series. The show really started to hit its stride in season two and it’s a damn shame it came to such a premature end.

But, really, who cares what I think?  This is  Stargate Universe 2.- – The Japanese Girlfriend Edition!  What did Akemi think?



“Do you remember what happened in the last episode?”I asked Akemi as we sat down to watch the season premiere.  After all, it had been almost two weeks since we screened the season one finale.

“Yes,”she said.  “Everybody die.”

Close, but not quite.  And it didn’t take long for her to get caught up (Thank you, previously-on) and into the suspenseful season premiere.

Most of this episode’s high points were character-related.  She was thrilled to see Toby (Peter) who has come over to watch football on occasion, and of course Mike Dopud who we’ve gone out to dinner with several times.  And, as always, she likes Jamil – even though I have to point out that Jamil is the actor’s name while the name of the character he portrays is Sgt. Greer.

As for the low points, she wonders what took a topside Scott and Greer so long to figure out they should retreat to the underside of the ship to avoid the radiation: “But they’re stupid.  They should have hide under ship sooner.  Why scientist guy make them run?”  Nevertheless: “Still, it was fun.”

She also bumped on Scott and Greer’s shooting prowess – and the enemies’ lack thereof: “Jamil and handsome guy shoot very well but bad guys not so good.  Why?”

“Better training,”I offered.

She threw me a look, brow furrowed, not buying it: “You sure?”

Although saddened by the loss of T.J.’s baby, she was philosophical: “If baby is on the ship then different kind of tension.  Scary things happen – but with baby. Problem, I think, from Walking Dead experience.”

Overall, though, a most enjoyable outing for her: “Time to sleep but I want to watch one more episode.”



An even darker episode sees the crew lose one of its own.  A very sad episode so far as Akemi was concerned.  Still, there were bright spots in the darkness.  She loved the discovery of the bridge which she found very cool.  And she also marvelled over Haig Sutherland’s final turn as Sgt. Riley: “He didn’t blink at all.  How did he do that? His eyes must be super dry!”

She continues to have a love/hate relationship with Rush: “I didn’t like the fact science guy decided to stop [drop out of FTL].  It was dangerous and he kind of knew it.  He killed the skinny guy.”  And then, after a brief consideration: “Actually, writer killed him.”



And the Destiny suffers another loss in this episode, losing Colonel Telford – or, as Akemi refers to him, Chef due to his frequent Food Network appearances.  Her reaction?  Kind of surprising given her initial dislike of the character.  I imagine he’s rehabilitated himself in her eyes following the reveal that he was a victim of brainwashing all along: “Of course I feel sorry for Chef.”

Overall, it was an emotional roller coaster ride: “Scary at first.  But very sad.  Again. I don’t like sad episodes.  But I liked the alien.  Very cute.”

And, specifically with regard to said alien: “How did you do alien?  Model?  Why didn’t you ask me?  Big head and small legs.  Perfect.”  Okay, maybe next scifi series.



Another Binder-san episode with a action, suspense, and a great emotional core. This one elicited a range of responses:

“I like geek people because always nice.”  Here, presumably, a reference to Eli.

“Eli brinkles a lot.”  Akemism for “blink”.

She found the scene where Greer and Simeon face off in the corridor, with its discordant background music, unbearable: “Didn’t like Jamil and Jerk Guy facing each other and peeeeeee sound.”

BUT, she loved the part where Eli’s mother visits Destiny and finally learns the truth about her son: “Favorite part was when mother came to the ship.  She was happy; I was happy.”

Other observations: “Scientist guy not nice.  Just use everyone.  Not nice.”

“I’m surprised Chloe has diary like I have.”  At which point she pulled our her diary, packed full of equally weird doodles.  [Note to self: Am I dating an alien?]



Mixed feelings on this episode which she equated to: “Watching old t.v. show.”

As usual, she loved Greer’s heroics, his willingness to risk all for his friend.  On the other hand, she was less enamored of the wedding sequence which she found “chotto cheesy”.

She also bumped on the 11th hour turn: “Can I ask question?  How can they give blood if not the same blood type?”

“Maybe they were,”I said.

“And magically the same blood type?”  She wasn’t buying it.

She did, however, think Chloe looked gorgeous on her wedding day and loved her dress.



Although she liked this one, she was confused by the whole simulation explanation. Instead, she focused on the character moments, particularly the ones involving Eli and his new love interest, Ginn.  She adored Greer’s big brother approach (“I’m going to take my time.” being her favorite line), but had some reservations about Eli’s shifting allegiance: “I was sad the fact geek boy turn for new girl so quickly.  He liked Chloe!”  Still, she wished the new couple all the best: “Now geek boy doesn’t care about Chloe anymore.  Geek love.  Hope they do well.”

Other observations: “I liked the part where Scott punches old Young’s face.”

On Rush: “He wash his hair?”

And: “I like Jamil all the time.”  No kidding!



A suspenseful episode, much of it that went completely over her head: “The part scientist talk about mission blah blah blah I couldn’t understand.  Less than two percent.”

Still: “I liked it but I thought Colonel Young kill scientist.”



Another Robert Cooper extravaganza, this one with a Western twist.  And another very sad episode: “A lot of people passed away.”  Including Ginn: “Why Robert Cooper hate geek love?”

She loved the pyrotechnics (“I liked a lot of bombs going off.”) but didn’t like her favorite getting injured (“Didn’t like that Jamil was shot.”)



She was intrigued throughout this episode but was left disappointed by the conclusion.  As the end credits rolled: “That’s it?  What is that ending?  What’s that? Continued next episode?  That’s it?  So many mystery!”

While she liked Greer’s honest conversation with Chloe (“I liked the fact Jamil is very sad and say sorry to Chloe.  Jamil is nice guy, ne?”), she didn’t like the fact we were offered no answers regarding the mysterious reappearance of the new and improved shuttle and former crew members: “Why alien do that?”  Off my shrug: “You should know because you’re writer.”  True.

I explained that the aliens took pity on the recently deceased and reanimated them, returning them to their home (Destiny).  Unfortunately, despite their advanced technology, the resurrections were short-lived.  The bodies broke down and the people died all over again.  I figured that would satisfy her.  Instead, I got: “Are you sure?  Is it answer?  But you didn’t say that during episode and you’re telling me now.  Why didn’t you tell everybody?  Everybody so sad.”  Beat.  “And what happened to baby by the way?”

“It was a dream created by the ship.”

Met with a dissatisfied: “Hunh.”

Interestingly, two of her biggest objections were with regard to the Peter character played by our friend Toby Slezak.  “Why Toby has such small part?  And why his name Peter?”  In fact, for some strange reason, she got really hung up on the name Peter: “Nice to see Toby, but his role is so small and his name is Peter.  Why Peter? I hope I not offend every Peter in the world but Peter chotto…He doesn’t look like a Peter.”



Ah, by this point, she’d become a savvy viewer.  When the crew identifies one of the crippled ships as similar to the one Rush and Young visited episodes earlier: “Where’s Chef?”she wanted to know.

When Chef, aka Telford finally showed up, she felt vindicated – then somewhat saddened by the fact his new alien allies pulled a precautionary double-cross.  Sympathetically: “Chef manipulated by bad guys and now he’s manipulated by aliens.”  Poor, dumb, trusting Chef.

She loved the action, was on the edge of her seat for the Chloe scenes and, in particular, the race from the derelict ship back to the shuttle: “Jamil, Scott and curly hair drunken guy [here, no doubt, a reference to Brody's still] running back to ship. Most exciting part.”

She did take issue with one seemingly inconsequential element in this episode: “I thought Patrick had too much tan.  Only he has nice tan.  What happened, he went to Vegas?”

But when we cut to the end credits, she was absolutely beside herself, insisting we roll right into the next episode.  But it was late.

Here’s hoping she’s as equally enthusiastic about our Stargate Atlantis re-watch!

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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.

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After dating me for almost four years, Akemi finally decided it was time to take the plunge.  Yes, after all these years, she finally made the BIG commitment.  She actually started watching Stargate!

I gave her a choice between the three series – SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe .  She elected to go with the latter because, apparently, next to spiders and moldy cheese, crappy visual effects are one of her biggest fears.

So, over the last week or so, we watched the first ten episodes of Stargate: Universe.  I was surprised by some of her reactions, and not all that surprised by others.

What follows are her thoughts on the first half of SGU’s first season.

AIR I and II


She found the opening two-parter very confusing with the jumping backwards and forwards in time and the various locations.  And then, when the stones were introduced… Ten episodes in, and she still couldn’t fully grasp the concept.  On the other hand, she did find the two episodes incredibly exciting and was very impressed with the show’s visual effects.  Curiously, she expressed the most admiration, not for a singular character, but for a piece of Ancient technology: the kino!  She likes “kino-chan’s” honeycomb style lens and desperately wants one.  She also found the fact that a character named Young is played by an older actor curious and amusing.

“First episode is most exciting for me.”



By the third episode, we start exploring the characters.  The ones who stood out to her in this outing were Rush, Greer, Eli – and, of course, the kino (which warrants a mention even though it isn’t actually a character).  Some of her thoughts:

On Rush: “I liked Scottish guy at first and very much liked his accent but chotto (kind of) getting kowaii (scary) now; becoming angry bird.”

On Greer: “I like his character actually.  Very tough.”

On Eli: “I like Eli because he’s cute.  Like bear.”

On the episode itself: I kinda liked it.  Episode made me thirsty.”



I was curious to see what she thought of this episode because of its, er, languorous pacing.  Well, not surprisingly, she wasn’t  huge fan.  She found the dialogue-heavy scenes difficult to follow, but had great respect for actress Jennifer Spence’s wordy/techy kino scene.

Akemi: “Who wrote such crazy sentences?  Who decides who says what?”

Me: “Well, she plays the part of a scientist so that’s the type of dialogue she has to learn for the role.”

Akemi: “So, just bad luck.”

Me: “Yes, bad luck she was cast as a scientist.”

Given that certain fans didn’t exactly warm to Chloe, I wondered what Akemi would think of the character.  Her take:

“I don’t like Chloe’s dress.  It looks like her father picked it.  I like her though.  She is beautiful.”

As for the episode itselfL:

“This episode I had a hard time understanding because a lot of talking instead of happening.”



She got back on track with this episode, mainly owing to the stunning – the star sequence, yes, but also the scene in which Greer strips down in his quarters to await certain death.



This episode caused her to reconsider the show, not because it was bad but because the suspense proved too unbearable.  Every time the swarm appeared, she was on the edge of her seat (or the bed in this case), asking a multitude of questions: “What is that bug by the way?  Where are they from?  Stalker?”  When I asked her why she could sit through American Horror Story without flinching yet practically crawl under the covers while watching this episode, she said: “I don’t believe in witch but unconsciously I’m afraid of aliens so chotto kowaii (kind of scary)”.

She did fear for Lieutenant Scott, stuck in that crevasse, commenting on the possibility and romantic ramifications of his death: “I though he gonna die.  Then, if he die, geek guy and beautiful girl be love-oo love-oo.”

As for the episode itself: “The episode was a little scary for me.  I can’t watch Stargate anymore.  One of the most scary episodes I’ve ever watched.”



Fortunately, by the next night, she had reconsidered and was eager to get back to it.  While this episode was certainly NOT scary, I was curious to see how she’d respond given how polarizing the episode had been among the fans.  The verdict?  “I liked this episode so much.  Very nice episode.  Not scary.”

When they first use the stones -

Akemi: “How many times can they use the stones?”

Joe: “As many times as they like.”

Akemi (critical): “So convenient.”

On Young having sex with his wife in Telford’s body: “WTF?!”

When Chloe complains about the fact that her best friend has slept with her boyfriend: “But she’s sleeping with Scott!”  Good point!



Given her response to Water, I considered skipping this episode but she insisted on checking out.  And it turned out to be an excellent call because she absolutely LOVED it, declaring it her favorite episode of the show and instilling in her great respect for Rob Cooper (“Not just your friend and good at making pizza, but great director!”).  Not surprisingly, she found the time travel aspect a little confusing, and I talked her through it as best I could.  She was able to get on board thanks to her childhood viewing of the anime Doraemon about an alien cat-like creature that travels to the present from the future, armed with a host of far future tech like: “A door that when you open it and think of where you want to go, you are there.  A sort of hat that lets you fly.  A special pocket that you can put as much as you want inside, doesn’t matter the size.”



She greatly enjoyed Earth.  Would she enjoy this similarly themed episode in which we explore the lives-left-behind of a couple of other characters.  In a word: no.

Her take: “I feel like I am watching a different show.   Affair.  Not affair.  Like Real Housewives.  Chotto ralakkuchan (kind of relaxed).  I don’t like when the kino doesn’t show up very often.”



And, finally, we capped off the first half of the show’s first season with this shipboard court thriller.  It made her nostalgic for Time.  She bumped on Eli, casually searching Young’s quarter, suddenly keying on the vent of all places.  She not only couldn’t understand the details of the court scenes but questioned why a court had to be assembled at all given the lack of evidence.

A few other thoughts:

“Nice to see Patrick (Gilmore).”

“Why commander left that science guy on the planet?  They need him, no?”

Agree with Akemi’s takes?  Disagree?  I found it very interesting to revisit these episodes after a few years and was surprised by my own responses.  Two of the biggest: Justice was an episode I really liked back in the day but after a repeat viewing with some distance, not so much at all.  On the other hand, Time was an episode I absolutely loved when I first watched it three years ago and loved even more on the rematch.  Just brilliant.

And there you have it: Stargate Universe 1.0!  The Japanese Girlfriend Edition.    Stay tuned for Stargate Universe 1.5!  The Japanese Girlfriend Edition!  Coming in January of 2014!

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Okay.  Pursuant to yesterday’s blog entry, some careful strategy is required.

I think that, rather than striking out now as everyone – especially those in a position to make the decisions – prepares for the holidays or, in some cases, is already off on holidays, the campaign should hold off in order to maximize its efforts.

Plan and coordinate now, then launch in the second or third week of the New Year when everyone is back at the office – and eager to start green lighting those new projects!

I leave you to pick a target date.

And, speaking of planning, what do you all have planned for the coming holidays? Visiting relatives?  Staying close to home?  Getting away from it all with a trip to an exotic locale?  Bora Bora?  Fiji?  Vegas?

Given the choice, if you could spent the holidays anywhere in the world EXCEPT home (or the home of a loved one), where would it be?

My Top 5 NOT Home For the Holidays Destinations:


5. Christmas in Hawaii

Well, why the hell not?  Sure, there’s nothing like a white Christmas, but after one too many festive deep-freezes in my home town of Montreal, I think I’d appreciate a little change of venue.  Maybe less snow and more sand.  Less spruce and pine and more palm.  Less roasted chestnuts, more poi.  And, oh yeah, the beach.

14. Christmas in Hong Kong

The view from Kowloon of the colorfully lit buildings lining the Central Hong Kong across Victoria Harbor is absolutely stunning.  Not quite the rest and relaxation offered by a Hawaiian getaway, but certainly a hell of a lot warmer than an east coast winter, and maybe even more cosmopolitan.  If you’re looking to shop away the holidays, this is the place!

13. Christmas Tokyo

Well, of course.  Tokyo out Christmases most North American cities with its stunning seasonal displays and spirit.  Granted, the Japanese don’t quite celebrate the holiday like some of us do, eschewing family in favor of romantic dinners for two, but it’s hard not to get caught up in the festive mood.


2. Christmas in Savannah

I chose Savannah, Georgia because I’ve been researching the city of late, but I’d happily do Charleston, S.C. as well or any other down home American city that offers a southern take on the holiday complete with pecan pie and bourbon-spiked eggnog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA1. Christmas in Las Vegas

Well, surprise surprised?  Not really.  Unlike any of the other places listed, Vegas is only a few hours away, offering fun, sun, and restaurant lineup to rival New York and L.A.

So, let’s all start planning for next year!  Where are we all going?

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