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Posts Tagged ‘Stargate Univese’

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Have you told your friends?  Your family?  Their friends and family?  Neighbors?  Co-workers?  Casual acquaintances?  People you ride the bus with?  No?!  Well getting moving!  Only nine days until SGU premieres!

The excitement is certainly mounting on set and in the offices, often finding expression in a colorful lunacy that has gripped certain individuals involved in the production.  Things are getting mighty weird.

Take Executive Producer Carl Binder for instance – USC grad and diehard Trojan fan.  This was him the day after his team suffered a stunning upset loss at the hands of the Washington Huskies -

Yep, it's official.  He's lost it.

Yep, it's official. He's lost it.

In the meantime, just days after poking fun at Executive Producer’s Assistant Ashleigh for looking so much like WWII icon Rosie the Riveter -

rosie_the_riveter1

- I had to do a double-take while strolling by Ashleigh’s office today because the following pic was pasted to her office door (no doubt compliments of Lawren Bancroft-Wilson)…

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Out of the blue, for reasons unknown, Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela surprised us with a little gift.  Not t-shirts or caps or interesting books, but something he calls a Bacon Explosion (or was it Bacon Overload?)…

IMG_4586xFrom what I understand, it’s bacon wrapped around sausage wrapped around bacon.  Oh, and glazed with barbecue sauce.  For the guys who have everything.  Except bacon wrapped around sausage wrapped around bacon glazed with barbecue sauce.

And what the heck is going on over on Stage 2, the site of not one but two green screen off-world locations.  In a bid to give the place an out-of-this-world alien feel, they’ve trucked in tons of dirt and mud for the ground – and, for some inexplicable reason, what certainly smells like a half ton of manure for good measure.  Was this done to hint at some sort of methane atmosphere?  I’m not sure.

Still, despite the burgeoning craziness, it’s nice to see that some things remain constant – like, say, Ming-Na’s crazy furred footwear that she insists on wearing to set.  Yes, granted, we are in Canada – but it was 27 celsius (80.6 fahrenheit) today!  At this point, I think she’s just doing it to annoy me.

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A late post tonight as I was out to dinner with the lovely Ming-Na, and the equally lovely Carl Binder and Robert Cooper.  More on our amazin meal tomorrow along with pics (Atlantis) past and (SGU) future.

Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday boy (I’m guessing) Tim H.!

JYS writes: “I wish I could watch the premiere! But unfortunately, I’ll be in class. I went to DB Bistro today and had the DB burger. Maybe my palate’s really bad, but I didn’t taste any truffles.”

Answer: I’m not crazy about the DB version.  I mean, it’s fine, but the flavors of both the truffle and the foie are overwhelmed by the beef.  Interestingly enough, Diva at the Met served their own version (I believe they called theirs the DC Burger) that was actually more flavorful and included braised short rib as well.

Daniel writes: “Boston Legal alum!!!!! That’s my second favorite show after Stargate (all of them). Clues to who it is please!”

Answer: Female.

Phil writes: “Joe, what would you say to those who didnt watch SG1 or Atlantis (for whatever reason) to watch Universe?”

Answer: If you enjoy science fiction, action, adventure, exploration, discovery, character-oriented drama, or any and all of the above, then definitely check out the premiere of Stargate: Universe.  And if you’re new to Stargate, the beauty is you don’t really need to be familiar with what has come before.  Even if you’ve never watched a single episode of SG-1 or Atlantis, you’ll be able to tune in and enjoy the new show.

Airelle writes: “Just finished reading Stranger in a Strange Land. Not bad, enjoyable reading. Picked up another by Heinlein/Spider Robinson, Variable Star, looks promising as well, any other suggestions by him that are good Joe?? Heinlein I mean. “

Answer: I enjoyed The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress.

Tammy Dixon writes: “Ming Na was awesome in E.R. I’m rewatching it on TNT now. I’ve gotten to the episode where she is overworked and accidently kills a patient. She doesn’t look any older. What’s the deal with that?”

Answer: I don’t know.  Maybe she’s an immortal.  Seriously, after meeting her for the first time I was amazed by how much she hadn’t changed since The Joy Luck Club.  A lot of the time, certain actors look great on screen and then, when you see them in person, you’re floored by how much “work” they’ve had done.  In Ming-Na’s case, it’s just the opposite – you‘re floored by her natural good looks.  So, yeah.  Probably an immortal.

JES writes: “I have just received the Non Prop Rock of Mallozzi from a special courier cleverly disguised as a U.S. postal carrier. As I opened the seemingly innocuous package, I was struck by the overwhelming responsibility I was about to shoulder to preserve and protect this unique relic.”

Answer: Guard it well, my friend.  Before sending the rock on its way, it joined Carl and I for an evening of football.  As it turned out, the rock was an Ohio State fan and, well, things got kind of ugly…

The evening starts off amiably enough.  Everyone's all budy-buddy at kick-off.

The evening starts off amiably enough. Everyone's all budy-buddy at kick-off.

Things quickly turn ugly as Carl and the rock get into a heated argument.

Things quickly turn ugly as Carl and the rock get into a heated argument.

Carl has had enough.  He's through talking.

Carl has had enough. He's through talking.

Carl is exhausted.

Carl is exhausted.

Bubba consoles the rock following the Ohio State loss.

Bubba consoles the rock following the Ohio State loss.

Tim H. writes: “Could you please do the same 5 and 5 with the NHL? I’d be really interested in seeing your picks.”

Answer: Although I’m not a big hockey fan (I know I know.  Shamefully un-Canadian.).. Top 5 Favorites (5. The Chicago Blackhawks – They’ve been perennial losers for so long that I’ve taken pity on them. 4. The Phoenix Coyotes – The only thing crazier than the thought of hockey in Arizona were those wacky Aztec coyotes they used to have on their jerseys.  3. The Buffalo Sabres – For some reason, this was my NHL team when I was a kid so I still have a soft spot for ‘em.  2 The San Jose Sharks – I miss the garish teal jerseys.  1. The Montreal Canadians – Strangely enough, I hated the Canadian when I was living in Montreal but, since leaving la belle province, I’ve re-adopted them as my team.  To 5 Hated (5. The Toronto Maple Leafs – Surprising only because I used to like this team until I actually spent some time with their trash-talking fans (Ivon Bartok).  4. The Philadelphia Flyers – Chalk this one up to an Eric Lindross hangover.  3. The Boston Bruins – The Canadian’s biggest rival.  2. The Minnesota Wild: What’s a wild?  Is it anything like a Laker?  1. The New York Rangers: The equivalent to baseball’s Yankees and basketball’s Lakers – both of which I also hate.

Jimmy writes: “Are there any space battle scenes planned for season one? I am a big fan of sweet explosions…”

Answer: Yep.  There’ll be several, both small and large-scale battle sequences.

Narelle from Aus writes: “Hey Joe. Where did you study for your Marketing degree?”

Answer: I don’t have a Marketing degree.  I do have a Masters in English Lit if that helps though.

For the love of Beckett writes: “How’s your Mom? Has she had her knee operation yet?”

Answer: Mom had the operation and is now at home, with sis, recuperating nicely.  Thanks for asking.

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Awaiting judgment - Stargate Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Awaiting judgment - Stargate Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Well, this takes me back.  Going through the MGM Atlantis photo archive, I came upon snaps from the season five Ronon-centric episode Broken Ties, a sequel of sorts to the previous season’s Reunion.

Hey look, Das!  He's smiling!  - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Hey look, Das! He's smiling! - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

This particular story partly came about as a result of a request from actor Jasono Momoa who wanted to see his character go darkside.  He pitched out a bunch of ideas for the prospective story including a scene in which Ronon shaves his head as a symbolic break from the past.  (In truth, the desire to lose the dreadlocks also had a lot to do with the neck and back problems Jason was experiencing at the time, the result of lugging around some 4 pounds of hair.).

Ronon attempts to impress the wraith with his guitar skills - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Ronon attempts to impress the wraith with his guitar skills - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Well, I wrote the script and that head-shaving sequence, but, alas, the network didn’t want the Ronon character to lose the dreads and so, as a compromise, while Jason did lose the dreads (taking a load off his neck and back in the process), Ronon did not, and Jason ended up being wigged for the show’s fifth and final season.

The wraith are less impressed with Tyre's kazoo prowess - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

The wraith are less impressed with Tyre's kazoo prowess - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

I know, I know.  This is old news.  But what I struck me about this particular script and another one I wrote later that season, Remnants, are the structural similarities of the two that, quite frankly, made them atypical of most Atlantis scripts and, surprisingly, more characteristic of the type of scripts we are writing for Stargate: Universe.  Rather than focusing on a single action or plot-driven A-story, or an unrelated A and B story, these episodes spotlighted multiple characters in multiple thematically-linked through lines that delved into their respective psychologies and backstories.

Ronon gets an ouchy - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Ronon gets an ouchy - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Broken Ties, for instance, focused on three seemingly disconnected stories – Ronon’s capture and subsequent turning, Teyla’s struggle with motherhood, and Woolsey’s settling in to his new position as commander of the Atlantis expedition – that, upon closer scrutiny, actually dealt with the like themes of belonging, change, and the ability to accept the past in order to move on to the future (similar to season four‘s Reunion).  Remnants, on the other hand, dealt with three more seemingly disparate storylines – Sheppard trapped on the mainland with one of his greatest enemies, McKay and Zelenka working to solve the mystery of a piece of alien technology, and Woolsey’s struggle with loneliness – all of which end up dovetailing at the end of an episode that, it turns out, has everything to do with hidden, deep-seeded desires brought to light.

What are you looking at? - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

What are you looking at? - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

Ultimately, however, at the heart of these episodes are our characters and their relationships with themselves and each other: Sheppard’s drive to protect those near and dear to him, McKay’s secret respect and affection for Zelenka, Ronon’s struggle to come to terms with who he was and how he’s changed, Teyla’s attempts to reconcile her established role as warrior with her new role as mother.

What're YOU looking at?! - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

What're YOU looking at?! - Stargate: Atlantis, Season 5, Broken Ties (photo courtesy and copyright MGM Television)

In short, less about the threat-of-the-week or the running and gunning and more about who these people were, who they are, and where they’re headed.  Which pretty much sums up our approach to Stargate: Universe and its diverse crew.  Yes, there’ll still be plenty of action and humor and exploration and discovery and incredible space battles but, at their core, the SGU stories will be about the characters.  And a terrific bunch of characters at that.

Toughing it in the jungle (Josh Blacker, aka Sgt. Spencer)

Toughing it in the jungle (Josh Blacker, aka Sgt. Spencer)

Like, for instance, the character of Sgt. Spencer played by actor Josh Blacker, a hard-ass military type who proves himself a bit of a loose cannon with a hair-trigger temper facing the strain and tensions of an unforeseen jaunt through distant space.

Josh buttoning up for his next scene.

Josh buttoning up for his next scene.

He is one scary dude but the actor playing him is quite the opposite – an incredibly gracious and altogether friendly guy.

Josh Blacker standing by for his next scene - and maybe doughnuts from the craft service tent.

Josh Blacker standing by for his next scene - and maybe doughnuts from the craft service tent.

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Over the course of the many weeks I’ve spent researching restaurants for my upcoming Tokyo trip, I’ve made use of numerous resources: professional reviews, personal blogs, the Michelin guide, and, of course, several Japanese food sites. Negotiating the latter has not been without its share of frustration, however, owing to the fact that many of these sites are not in English. Fortunately, Google offers a handy translation service that allows you to translate a page almost instantly – with often bewildering or hilarious results. A recent google translation of a restaurant’s home page yielded the following tasty menu items:

“Liver appetizer dish of sand”

“Zestfully zanthoxylum, side dishes and a menu”

“Shanghai ‘catching drool’ hemp ‘oak Yamato’“

“Vegetable empty cores this month”

“4 old boiled beef”

And the following helpful suggestions:
“People who are bad, please call the voice when you order.”

“Ingredients not in your mouth, please consult us in advance what the charge and any allergies.”

Hey, finally received notes on both scripts today. Thankfully (and most importantly) everyone agrees that it’s a two-episode story. “I can’t believe we thought this was only one episode,”were Paul’s words. Anyway, some terrific suggestions that will help clarify certain elements, address a few outstanding issues, and generally tighten things up. I tend to hate rewrites, but this one (technically, these two) actually looks like it could be a lot of fun.

Ah, the life of a writer. Given your profession, you’re expected to come up with clever contributions or witty turns of phrase upon request. Take this afternoon for instance when Lawren and Ashleigh marched into my office and Ashleigh asked me: “What do you write in a wedding card?“

It took me all of three seconds to come u with the obvious answer: “Come to my wedding.”

Apparently, this wasn’t the scenario they had in mind. I wasn’t the one getting married. I was writing a card for someone else who was getting married. Ah, they should’ve been more specific. Not that it helped. I’m a notoriously terrible card-writer. Still, I thought about it and, as I was heading out, I poked my head into Lawren’s office and suggested what I thought was a fairly brilliant: “May your love prove as everlasting as the Saw franchise”. (Seriously. I think they’re up to Saw 7). Don’t know if he used it, but at least I was able to head home feeling I’d made a great contribution.

Well, off to Carl’s birthday dinner tonight. But, before I go, I’d like to thank everyone who took the time to post some wonderful, incredibly supportive comments. They were very much appreciated. You guys are the best!

Also, before I go, I leave you with a few snaps from a couple of visitors to my office. First up is VFS Supervisor Mark Savela who dropped by to discuss fandom. Visual effects, and t.v. in general. Holy smokes! I thought Martin Gero was a t.v. junkie. Mark Savela actually puts him to shame. He watches everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING! Except, for some reason, Top Chef which Rob Cooper was convincing him to check out as I was leaving the office.

VFX Supervisor Mark Savela talks Big Brother and House.
VFX Supervisor Mark Savela talks Big Brother and House.

Actor Jamil Walker Smith also dropped by my office today, sporting some wacky purple he was only too happy to model for us. Trust me. If you’re throwing a party, this is a guy you want at the top of your invite list.

What the - ?!
What the – ?!

 

Yep, they're purple alright.
Yep, they’re purple alright.
Jamil Walker Smith IS the hip, new Agent 86.
Jamil Walker Smith IS the hip, new Agent 86.

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