Hey! Friday and Monday are production holidays! I’m always the last to know. In fact, I suspect that everyone in the office didn’t tell me on purpose in the hopes that I would come in on Friday anyway, realize it was a holiday, head off and enjoy the long weekend, then come in on Monday only to realize we were STILL on holiday. I’m sure Carl spearheaded the campaign as he’s been quite bitter since I informed him that fire regulations necessitate at least one producer be on site at all times during extended weekend holidays and since his last name is first up in alphabetical order, the task falls on him. Sadly, he won’t be able to spend the four days visiting his family. I would have suggested they come to the lot and keep him company but, alas, security regulations prohibit any unauthorized visitors. Still, we’re not completely heartless. As a show of gratitude, the rest of us chipped in and got him a hamster so he can have someone to talk to on those lonely afternoons.
So, Brad will be starting his pass on Incursion I and II this weekend. In retrospect, I reconsidered my earlier critique and told him that, believe it or not, I had no notes and thought the scripts were pretty good as they were. He thanked me and pointed out that I’d written them so he wasn’t really expecting me to have notes. On the other hand, Paul and Carl had a few. And Brad had some terrific ideas that will make the finale one helluva ride. I wish I could watch the reaction of the cast as they read the scripts. NO ONE IS SAFE!
And a little Atlantis…
In my bid to improve my Japanese language skills beyond the expertise of a very polite four year old boy, I’ve started to watch more anime (in the original Japanese with subtitles of course). I’m presently watching a fun ninja battle series called Basilisk and a surprisingly creepy little horror series called When They Cry. Truth is, I’m a big anime fan, my library is immense, and I have a heck of a lot to choose from. Given the wide variety, picking a series can be a tough choice. I’ll base my decision on reviews, word of mouth, box art, and, of course, the title. In the case of the latter, some titles are so good they can almost convince you to check out an anime all on their own. Others are so awkward or plain bad that they’ll make you think twice about proceeding. Below are my lists of my very favorites and my not-so-favorites.
Bastard: Okay, I’m instantly intrigued. All the more so when, on reading the back of the box, I realize it’s a reference to the series anti-hero. And, yeah, he turns out to be quite the bastard.
Berserk: Another title that screams “Check me out!”. I did – and this series ranks in my top ten.
Cowboy Bebop: I’m both intrigued and confused. A Jazz Western? Really? Yep. And another one of my top ten favorite anime series. The fact that Keanu Reeves has been pegged to play the lead in the live-action version actually pains me.
Death Note: A title that tells you exactly what the series is about – a deadly notebook. No, really. And it’s a damn good series.
Ghost in the Shell: A brilliant title for a brilliant series.
Grave of the Fireflies: The title instantly evokes imagery both haunting and melancholy – perfectly suited to this grim and poignant story of a young brother and sister struggling to survive the ravages of war.
Infinite Ryvius: What is a Ryvius? Search me, but that doesn’t stop me from loving this title. And, eventually, loving the series as well. P.S. Turns out Ryvius is the name of a ship.
Irresponsible Captain Tylor: Sounds like goofy fun. And it is.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures: Haven’t checked it out yet but when I do, those adventures better live up to the hype and be pretty damn bizarre. I have a feeling I’ll be disappointed though.
Last Exile: A cool title for a very cool series. The greatest zeppelin warfare sequences ever seen.
Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi: Wasn’t at all sure about the title – until I saw the series. Now, I love it! It’s perfect!
Neon Genesis Evangelion: A lofty title for one of the headiest and most ambitious anime series ever produced.
Noir: Ah, the beauty of simplicity. An ultra-cool series.
Paranoia Agent: Another title that does a bang-up job of conveying a sense of the series atmosphere.
Read Or Die: Perhaps silly to the average consumer but as a writer and reader, I love it. A great series too.
Star Blazers: One of my very favorite titles for an SF series. Next to Stargate: Universe of course.
The Twelve Kingdoms: Reminiscent of the grandeur and majesty of Chinese mythology. And the series does justice to the title.
Voices Of A Distant Star: Another title that does a pretty good job of evoking the emotion underlying the series. Poignant.
All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku: Wha-wha-what the hell is going on here? Okay, presumably her name is Nuku Nuku and she’s a cat girl. But what the heck is “all purpose” supposed to imply? She’ll clean your room AND do laundry? She’s also, presumably, well-cultured, which is great if you want to take her to one of those fancy parties frequented by moustached men with monocles.
Assemble Insert: While All Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku goes to great lengths to tell you exactly what the series is about, the makers of this series apparently picked two random words out of an English dictionary for their title. Despite the fact that I’ve actually seen this anime, I still don’t know what this means.
Baki the Grappler: Seriously? Is that the best you can do? Not Baki the Crippler or Baki the Smasher or Baki the Slammer but Baki the Grappler? Grappler? Grappling went out of style around the same time Randy Macho Man Savage started sporting feather boas. It’s an antiquated move rarely seen outside serious wrestling and the Olympics. Who wants to watch that?
The Big O: Uh, come on now. Surely someone with a command of the English language (say, the North American distributor) should have pointed out the title is, accidentally or not, a euphemism. Alas, nothing of the sort. Just a lot of big robots battling it out in a city suspiciously similar to the animated Batman’s Gotham City.
Burst Angel: Sounds messy. “Hey, it’s raining. Better grab an umbre- Whoa, wait a minute! That’s not rain! It’s BLOOD AND FEATHERS!!!”
Get Backers: A series about two super-powered guys who recover lost or stolen items. See, they GET stuff BACK. Clever, no? Okay, no.
Glass Fleet: Okay, let’s hope to God those shields hold! I’m immediately reminded of the running gag in the writers’ room whenever someone mentions SGU’s seeder ship. “So these cedar ships,”says my writing partner Paul, “were they really the best the Ancients could come up with? You’d think they’d have gone with oak or pine maybe…”
Marmalade Boy: No, it isn’t a series about a boy with marmalade-based super powers. Disappointing, no?
Mermaid Forest: It’s like calling a series Horse Pond or Penguin Desert.
Princess Tutu: Okay, the series is obviously not up my alley but, come on. You’d be hardpressed to come up with a more saccharine title.
Pumpkin Scissors: Yeah, no idea.
Trouble Chocolate: As someone who enjoys his chocolate, this one makes me uneasy.
Any anime fans out there? Can you do any better? Or worse?
Rich S. writes: “You mention the markteting man Grey Munford doing a wonderful job, but I haven’t seen a single thing in the UK, zip , nada, nowt…….”
Answer: Hey, Rich – Grey actually responded to this one himself. He writes ‘Mr. Robert Carlyle is coming to town and an onslaught of SGU promotion is coming with him. If he still feels the same way in a month, then we’ll talkJ ”
Lisa S. writes: “Joe – What’s your take on the purchase of Marvel Entertainment by Disney?”
Answer: I’m adopting a wait and see attitude. To be honest, I don’t think it will have much impact on the Marvel creative. After all, things like Marvel’s MAX line are what has helped the company solidify its male readership, and said target audience was one of the reasons Disney made the purchase.
Narelle from Aus writes: “Have you thought about the injection substitutes for the Metacam?”
Answer: Injections of what? A fellow fan has helpfully suggested I look into Rimadyl and Devil’s Claw as possible alternatives.
Iamza writes: “Probably a stupid question, but if Destiny is seeding the far side of the universe with Stargates, is there some kind of robotic stargate installer that sets up a platform prior to gate installation? or is Destiny strictly a gate address quality control device?”
Answer: Sorry, I’m not sure I understand the question. The specifics of how the seeder ships actually seed a planet have yet to be revealed. However, it’s safe to assume it’s an automated process that involves the planetary establishment of both the gate and platform.
Sherry Harris writes: “The pics of Brian J Smith are my favorite!”
Answer: Okay, Sherry. Just for you.
Sherry Harris also writes: “Also, I predict the Cowboys are going to suck and the Raiders will finally get to the playoffs!”
Answer: That would make me very happy – and Exec. Producer Robert Cooper miserable. Just for that, here’s another one.
Alexandria writes: “Actually the main question that I do have is…did I miss Joel Goldsmith’s responses to the Q&A?”
Answer: Nope. He’s still got them. But what with the new show and all, I’m willing to cut him some slack.
Fsmn36 writes: “I think GBP will be back in a desperate attempt to show they can win without Favre.”
Answer: So does Carl. He selected the Packers as his Dark Horse pick.
Bailey writes: “ Many of us have been feeling left behind/left out of this entire SGU experience. (Ex: not a single SGA character so far in SGU but quite a few SG1 folk)”
Answer: Given the circumstances of where the characters from SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe are situated at the time of the SGU premiere, it makes sense for some of the SG-1 crew to be involved. On the other hand, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to include characters from Atlantis given that they’ll have their hands full with “more pressing concerns” from the of Enemy at the Gate, through Stargate: Extinction, and on.
DasNDanger writes: “New Avengers is okay, but rather stuck in sorcery stuff right now, and never been a huge fan of that element…”
Answer: I share your anti-magic stance. If there’s one element that keeps me from fully embracing the fantasy genre, it’s that. Also, re: New Avengers – is that the Bendis title? Couldn’t get into it. Too many team members for me and I just don’t buy Wolverine as an Avenger.
DasNdanger also writes: “I see you’re reading 1985 – I loved that story! It was just something a bit different, and I was satisfied with it from start to finish.”
Answer: Agree again. (Weird). It’s definitely my favorite of the stack I went through last month. It resonates with every kid (at heart) who has imagined manifesting the same situation.
DasNdanger also writes: “Mutant abilities first manifest themselves at puberty, so he’d just be a normal kid until that moment when stress or anxiety or his first pimple (ya know, anything traumatic for a teenager) would cause his mutation to manifest itself.”
Answer: Right, but his mutant abilities first manifest themselves when he hits puberty – yet his growth rate continues the same as any human (ie. Rose and he are roughly the same age) until he reaches adulthood and then, for some reason, stops. I suppose you could simply say that’s the way his particular mutation works, but I just found it an odd and convenient way to explain the fact that he is over a hundred years old. Which brings me back to my initial point – I don’t know what his lengthy life-span adds to the character. I’d argue that by demystifying the character, you undermine many of the elements that made him so appealing.
DasNdanger also writes: “Not really sure what you mean by “copping the identity”. Do you mean him taking (well, being given by Rose) the name ‘Logan’? I thought that was an interesting twist, since the story strongly insinuates that he’s Thomas Logan’s son, not John Howlett’s.”
Answer: Yes, that’s what I’m referring to. I’m not saying it wasn’t a cool twist, just that it was very reminiscent of a very similar twist writer Joe Kelly used to cap off his run on Deadpool.
Otros Ojos writes: “I know a lot of us pick favorite teams based on things other than geographical ties, but what led to your connecting with Oakland in a “my Raiders” sense?”
Answer: My affinity for villains made the Raiders a natural fit, especially back in the days when Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes used to run the corners.
Otros Ojos writes: “Is surgery a possible option for Jelly?”
Answer: It is, but she’s almost 11 and from what I understand it’s major surgery that will result in a painful and difficult recovery. If she was younger, I’d certainly lean toward the surgery but, given her age, I’m not sure it’s the best option.
Cherluvya writes: “Are any of your pups related?”
Silver_comet writes: “I don’t like SGU. Period.”
Answer: Impossible. You can’t like something you haven’t seen yet. Maybe you don’t like the snippets or trailers you’ve seen to date, but you can’t “not like” a show that hasn’t even aired yet.
Meils writes: “So have you guys come up with any interesting prizes/ forfeits for the picker of the best/ worst teams?”
Answer: We’ve put our entire annual paychecks in a big pot. Winner take all. Losers get jobs at Target.
Meils also writes: “Any chance of some wraithy/ Michael picks?”
Answer: Possibly. Alas, not from Search and Rescue but maybe from Prodigal.
StClare writes: “Joe M im confused thats the first time ive seen a definate “atlantis wouldnt have continued anyway wether SGU was made or not”
Answer: Actually, that’s not what I said. I said that SGU would have gone forward regardless of Atlantis’s fate. In other words, it may have been picked up, it may have been cancelled, but the decision would not have impacted or been impacted by Stargate: Universe.
St.Clare also writes: “As for the promotion MGM & SCIFI seem to be hitting it harder than they ever did for SG1 or Atlantis.”
Answer: I disagree. There was a huge amount of promotion in the lead up to the Atlantis premiere.
Idylioness writes: “Is it known yet if SGU will also be available on Hulu, like the wonderful Warehouse 13, and if so, will it be closed captioned (again like W13, but not like the SG-1 eps, which makes me sad)?”
Answer: Sorry. No idea.
AJT1982 writes: “1. How far behind the Seeder ship is the Destiny? Are we talking a few decades/ centuries/ millenias?
2. Are we to assume that the Seeder ship lands on each planet?
3. We know it manufactures the gates, but does it also manufactur the ramps that lead up to the gate?
4. Where does the Seeder ship get the resources from to manufacture all of these gates?”
Answer: These are all questions that will eventually be answered on the show.
gemgem writes: “Is it wrong of me to think that SGU is trying too hard to be completely different to what we all know and love about stargate???”
Answer: That’s the assumption of some fans but as someone who has been privy to everything we’ve shot to date, I can honestly say that much of what fans have loved about Stargate will be present in Stargate: Universe.
Major D. Davis writes: “1. Is Andy Mikita directing Lost?
2. Is Alex Chapple directing Subversion?”
Answers: 1. No.
Abren writes: “When Dr. Weir comes back home to Simon,
Simon says that when Weir said she has to go somewhere and she won’t tell him where, he said his first guess was Israel. Why did he think that Weir would move to Israel?
Because of her job in the U.N or Is Weir Jewish?”
Answer: His assumption was that her work would take her to Israel.
Shanise writes: “PS: the pic of Joe in the cockpit of the dart ship holding the baby, which is the sweetest thing, but who’s baby was it??”
Answer: It was a very young actor. Actually, actress. Baby Torren was actually a girl. As the character grew older, however, we switched to an actual boy.
JoJoB writes: “Also, the Atlantis pics don’t build up anticipation for SGU, they just piss me off even more that they’ll be no more eps to see.”
Answer: Well then avert your eyes from this blog for the next little while as I make my way through the Atlantis picture archive.
Gracey writes: “How did it change from a spec script to the version shot?”
Answer: I don’t really remember. However, one element that was in the original script that didn’t make the final cut was a moment of reconciliation between Jack and Daniel. It was scripted but for whatever reason wasn’t shot. As a result, the tension between the two characters remained unresolved.
Gracey also writes: “I can’t tell, who the heck is being shot out of the gate at high speed in the promos…”
Answer: That was Exec. Producer Carl Binder. The guy really knows how to make an entrance.