Today we bid a fond see-ya-later to the wonderful Jamil Walker-Smith, SGU’s resident warrior – Sergeant Ronald Greer. It seems like just yesterday we were watching his F bomb-studded audition stream (THAT got our attention!), marveling at his incredible onscreen presence. His unique charm completely won us over (and him the part), then continued to wow us throughout the season.
Trust me, he is damn likable both on camera and off. I’ll miss his infectious laugh, his easy-going humor, his way of delivering a line with his trademark delightful quirkiness. He’s a guy who’s as smooth and comfortable sprawled out on a couch in the production office talking about his weekend plans as he is firing off rounds at invisible aliens or lowering a Good Samaritan down a storm drain in search of the keys he dropped. Always good for a laugh and a story, and always great for a performance that never fails to amaze.
Ladies and gentlemen, Jamil Walker Smith has left the building.
But he’ll be back.
More spinning today in the writers’ room and more headway made on those first ten episodes. We ended up discussing the details of episode 1 (Paul will be doing the honors on this one), talking about the what’s and wherefore’s and, most importantly, answering Brad’s burning question: “How the hell are we going to get out of this one?!”. Carl has requested Episode 5 while I’ve cast my lot with Episode 2. Brad’s idea falls in the four slot, so he’ll take that one, which means Rob will be jumping on 3. What fun! One more day of broadstroking stories and arcs and then we get to breaking. If all goes as planned, we’ll each have a story in hand by the end of next week, meaning we won’t have to come back to the office in December – except for Carl, of course, as fire regulations necessitate an Executive Producer be on premises at all times.
Today’s entry is dedicated to birthday gal Anne-Marie Sloan.
Another whopping mailbag:
Cherluvya writes: “Okay, so what am I doing wrong in asking questions?”
Answer: Not sure. Are you asking the right questions?
Laura writes: “Do you ever stop reading a book that is not intriguing to you and how long to you give a book before you give up on it?”
Answer: A book has 100 pages not to lose me. Notice I didn’t say “grab me”. I’m already on board. All I ask is that you don’t lose me. And, every so often, it does happen.
Ytimynona writes: “Do you speak any other languages?”
Answer: Some Japanese. Nihongo ga sukoshi hanasemasu.
Dasndanger writes: “It seems many of the complaints about the Chloe/Scott thing revolve around the speed with which the two came together. I do understand how some could feel that it was a bit rushed. The problem? A lack of verbal communication with the audience. A way to resolve the problem? It would have been very easy to include a short scene between Chloe and Eli where she confides in him that she is attracted to someone – and Eli, of course, would jump to the conclusion it’s him. This way the audience is prepared for the reveal when Scott takes Chloe’s hand…and it would have also made Eli’s hurt more profound.”
Answer: Sure, we could have done that. Or had either Chloe or Scott clearly state in one of their bonding scenes: “I’m really falling for you!”. Or had another character comment: “Looks like those two are getting together.” I’ve always been of the opinion that viewers don’t need to be spoon fed and are fully capable of connecting the dots. Show; don’t tell.
Dasndanger also writes: “…but when you have an audience that is used to being told everything, sometimes it takes a while for them to catch on that they have to watch carefully, because sometimes the story isn’t being told in just words, but in body language and facial expressions.”
Answer: Ah, there you have it.
Thornyrose writes: “There was the threat that wasn’t a threat(no way Destiny and its passengers were going to die, and given the characters aboard the shuttle no doubt they would make it back safely).”
Answer: But every time the Atlantis team went off-world, did you ever expect there was a good chance they wouldn’t be coming back?
Thornyrose also writes: “It’s peculiar that the same people who were so confident the ship knew what it was doing at one moment suddenly decided that the Ancient technology had failed and that the ship failed to calculate a relatively simple properly.”
Answer: I think you mean problem. Rush stated that he believed the power issues were a result of their sudden, intrusive presence. Also, while one could hypothesize that Destiny may be responding to the needs of its crew, it requires a big leap of faith to dismiss all evidence to the contrary and believe you’re in no danger – especially when you’re headed toward a star.
Thornyrose also writes: “How does a ship that generates a shield powerful enough to survive immersion into a star get battle damage? How does the ship convert the stellar energy, and how does the power compare to ZPMs? Why the difference in energy sources between Atlantis and Destiny?”
Answer: Flying into the heart of the star would have destroyed the ship. Instead, it more or less skimmed the surface. It also makes sense that the ship was designed to draw energy from a naturally occurring and convenient power source, like a sun, rather than a ZPM that could be eventually depleted.
Thornyrose also writes: “Wray has been undermined as a potential leader, having shown her instinct for self preservation overrides her concern for the whole.”
Answer: How so? She stated her case and then reacted when Young threatened to take her name out of the lottery.
Thornyrose also writes: “Why would Rush allow the shuttle to be loaded with supplies and leave if he knew Destiny was safe? Why would he come up with a solution to retrieve the shuttle if he wanted to be rid of the other occupants of the ship?”
Answer: All good questions. The likeliest response could be that he suspected, but had no way of knowing for certain, that the ship was designed to draw energy from the star. He planned for the worst but hoped for the best.
Thornyrose also writes: “I am hoping to see more developments in the characters, especially developments that make the characters more likable.”
Answer: Oodles of character development to come. Water, the next episode, does a wonderful job of exploring Scott, Young, and their relationship. There are also some terrific moments for Greer, T.J., Eli, and Rush.
Thornyrose also writes: “Any idea on when you’ll get official word on the show renewal?”
Answer: Could be as late as December.
Belouchi writes: “ 1. Is that Pyramid shaped building on the back of the Destiny crew and general quarters?
2. Will we ever know who or what put all those holes in the Destiny?
3. What do you think of the Audi S5…. hint hint”
Answer: 1. Not sure what you’re referring to. 2. Possibly. 3. Looks nice. Why, are you thinking of getting me one as a belated birthday gift?
EternalDensity writes: “Is Destiny millions of years old (necessary for it to be older than Atlantis, have the potentially oldest stargate, and be a millions of years long trip from Earth) or is it under a million years old (which seems to be indicated by a couple of lines of dialogue in SGU)?”
Answer: I’m going to say millions.
Arctic Goddess writes: “To Chloe, having sex with Scott may be a twisted kind of need to feel loved and protected. Which would be something she had gotten from dad and now she is trying to replace with Scott.”
Answer: Sure. Or she could have been infected by one of those alien sex parasites like in Cronenberg’s Shivers. Or Scott could have been hallucinating that she was James. Or, hell, they may have both been attracted to one another. Who knows.
Bailey writes: “All I can say is that John Sheppard was a gentleman and Lt. Scott is a horn-dog.”
Answer: Uh, yeah. Right.
Skontel writes: “You mention how different Louis Ferreira is in person from the character he plays. Would you say his is the biggest person-to-character difference, and if not, who is even further away in real life from the character they play on SGU?”
Answer: Louis, Bobby, Ming-Na and Jamil are VERY different from the characters they play. Alaina and Elyse are also quite different from T.J. and Elyse. On the other hand, David does have a bit of Eli’s adorable geek in him, and Brian is as sympathetic and noble in spirit as Scott.
Shawna Buchanan writes: “If he’s still religious, it annoys me to see him being so hypocritical without any acknowledgment of that fact.”
Answer: Some religious individuals are flawed – although the majority, of course, are perfect human beings beyond reproach who pay the church a yearly tithe amounting to 10% of their annual income.
Grace writes: “UCLA got a sneak peek of “Boondock Saints 2? tonight. Writer/director Troy Duffy and actors Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and Clifton Collins, Jr. attended the event. I spoke with Flanery afterwards and mentioned that I was a HUGE Stargate fan, loved him as Orlin, ecc. and he sung everyones praises. He seems to be a nice guy.”
Answer: He is a very nice guy.
Michele writes: “how did this darker tone for this spinoff come about? Also was wondering what was the most exciting part of creating season one and what was the hardest?”
Answer: These are questions that could be best answered by the show’s creators, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper (I’ll twist their arms and get them to do a Q&A before long). From what I understand, they felt that in order for the franchise to continue, rather than end with Atlantis, it needed to be revitalized and taken in a new direction. And SGU has done just that.
Erik writes: “Also, I don’t know if I would call Eli “immature” if he ignored Chloe. “Hurt” maybe, but I think that sometimes, to save oneself from too much hurt, distance can be the only solution.”
Answer: Sure. And that would be Eli’s decision to make. On the other hand, it’s kind of silly to expect Chloe to end her friendship with him.
gatelady writes: “In other words, Lt. Scott is not anywhere close to John Sheppard or Jack O’Neill as fan favs.”
Answer: Not yet.
Gatelady also writes: “Gateworld and Syfy forums both have polls for fav and least fav characters. Chloe is at the bottom, with Lt. Scott second from the bottom, at both sites.”
Answer: Well all the more reason for fans to get to know these characters and get past those first impressions. Hell, before the show even aired everyone HATED Greer. Suddenly, he’s on everyone’s favorite list and those people complaining about him earlier have suddenly developed a case of convenient amnesia.
Phil writes: “ What does that scene with Greer stripping down and (what appeared to be) meditating meant to symbolise? That he’s cleared his mind and bared his soul?”
Answer: That’s a great way of looking at it.
Joshua Meyers Extraordinary Teenager writes: “Wouldn’t you think Rodney or for that matter Daniel be a little more interested in the 9 chevron address in the database??”
Anwwer: Sure, but the project has been ongoing for a while and there’s no reason to believe they weren’t consulted.
duneknight writes: “i dont think eli or Scott had enough time to actually have real feelings for chloe. did you push this love triangle early on to grab as many viewers possible from the beginning? otherwise there was no need to introduce this relationship at this time.”
Answer: There was no need to make the corridor lights blue or put T.J.’s hair up rather than cut it short, but we did it anyway.
Rich G writes: “Young is one of my favorite characters. Authoritative, no-bullshit, straight-forward. He’s even been nice to Eli right from the get-go (saying it was time to eat after they’d been working for hours and hours in Air part I) instead of treating him like he’s just getting in the way.”
Answer: Yep, one of my favorite moments in the opener. That small exchange and the smile he throws Eli said so much about the character.
DemonHunter writes: “I haven’t watched any SGU episodes (no access to them yet) but it seems from reading the mailbag that the show is mainly just a bunch of stranded people having sex. Is that where most of the story lines come from?”
Answer: Pretty much. At the beginning of the season, we write all of the characters’ names down on little pieces of paper and put them in something we call “the sex hat”. Then, we reach in and pull out two names. This random pairing are earmarked to have sex in a given episode and, from this notion, we spin out a possible story.
Gen writes: “Think we can get a Q&A out of him, please please?”
Gilder writes: “As time goes on, I start to wonder if show creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper included various shocks and surprises to distract us from more obvious plot developments.”
Answer: Be careful. They also do this thing when one of them crouches down behind you when you’re not looking so that the other can shove your over.
Matt writes: “Is the crew of the Destiny going to encounter any Jaffa, Ancients, Goa’uld, or any other familiar races out there?”
Answer: The Magic 8 Ball says Most Unlikely.
Abby writes: “Are we ever going to find out where Eli’s dad is?”
Answer: Hey, David Blue asked this very question yesterday. Suspicious…
Joesmom writes: “There is a huge difference between romance and sex. We just hope the writers realize this.”
Answer: Absolutely. It’s like the difference between a rose petal-strewn bed and the cold linoleum of a bathroom floor.
Brooke writes: “Women like guys who are sensitive and caring (like Scott shows after Chloe’s dad dies), but not guys who move pretty quickly from one girl to another.”
Answer: Right. You know who thinks this way? Sensitive and caring guys.
Michael writes: “I loved the cameo of Peter DeLuise, it was a nice nod to the SG-1 days. Will we see any over-sized wrenches?”
Answer: Alas, the big wrenches were a Martin Wood/Dan Shea thing and they are not working on SGU.
Michael also writes: “Since SGU is much more of a serial than its predecessors, will there be less guest villains and one or two reoccurring Big Bad?”
Answer: Oh, there may be a recurring big baddie or two.
Majorsal writes: “i like the tj and james female characters; anything for them?”
Answer: Yep. More goodly character stuff upcoming.
Genevieve writes: “I was wondering, will there be any lasting division or resentment between the lotto winners and the losers?”
Answer: No, for a couple of reasons. First and foremost is the fact that those chosen to get on the shuttle had no hand in the decision-making process. It was Colonel Young’s call and the selections were random. Secondly, those who ended up aboard the shuttle ended up in far more danger than those who stayed behind.
Genevieve also writes: “Does Chloe actually know that Eli feels more romantically towards her than she does towards him?”
Answer: That remains to be seen.
Rednor writes: “Well, I think Chloe is immature and opportunistic, and Scott is a horn-dog. I’m not buying any deep connection, and I doubt either is capable of such a thing. I know you keep “saying” it’s there, but I’m not “seeing” it.”
Answer: Surface impressions can be hard to break through. If you want to pass judgment on the characters because they don’t aspire to some romanticized notion you may have, then no amount of further development will change your mind. Not to make you paranoid but I guarantee that there are people in your life who have done much, much worse than have sex out of wedlock. And you just don’t know it. Who could it be? Who……..?
Maddog316 writes: “I smell 2nd season for SGU!”
Answer: That’s what I thought I was smelling too, but it turned out it was the chicken cutlets I made for dinner. They share a very similar scent.