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Well, this is interesting.  Apparently, Canadians are HUGE fans of science fiction television:

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“During the 2014-2015 broadcast year Canadian TV sci-fi series Orphan Black on Space (4.3 million viewers*), Dark Matter on Space (3.7 million), Between on City Total and Killjoys on Space (both 3.2 million) each reached roughly 10% of the Canadian population. In addition, these shows performed above their respective channel averages in the very desirable 18-34 demographic.”

That’s 10% of the Canadian population that tuned into our little show.

Tell me more…

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Not bad.  It brings to mind another scifi series that far surpassed expectations when it aired on Canada’s Space Channel several years back.  I’ll give you a hint…

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Speaking of Stargate, the giveaways are enroute.  We sent off the last one this morning.  Akemi, as always, personalized each envelope…

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Pictured above: Canadian bunny, coasters in hand, on his way through the stargate to gforce’s house!

Toronto-bound tomorrow morning!  Hoping I can get some writing done on the flight.

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Well, well, well.  Look who it is.  Director Martin Wood (Stargates SG-1 and Atlantis) hits the streets of Toronto – in his trademark shorts.  Yes, if there are two thing I remember about Martin Wood from our days on Stargate, it’s: 1) His penchant for wearing shorts year round, and 2) His onscreen cameo character, Major Wood, always lugged around a giant wrench.

Alas, no giant wrench on Dark Matter (but who knows?  We’ve yet to shoot his episode, #111) but the shorts are still in full effect!

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We had our final (?) notes session with Executive Producer Jay Firestone the other day.  Soon after, we made the necessary changes and released our season finale, episode #113.  As I may have mentioned, I want to approach each season as a instalment in a book series.  And so, #113 offers answers to many of the questions we set up over the course of our initial 13 episode journey and includes one HUGE reveal.  But I made a point of scripting it in a way that keeps the mystery reveal a secret…until our very last day of production.  A LOT of theories swirling around set right now…

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B 1st Assistant Camera Marcel Janisse enjoys lunch in the infirmary’s isolation chamber.

I’m thinking it’s high time for another mailbag.  If you’ve got questions about the show, post away.  I’ll answer later in the week.

I’m also thinking of doing one of those reddit AMA’s.  How do they work?

Finally, here’s another look at the Dark Matter teaser trailer:

Over 47k+ views and counting!  Share!  Share!  Share!

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We’re heavy into prep on episodes #101-102 and, with the commencement of principal photography about a month away, sets are coming together nicely.  Our ship, The Raza, has come a long way in the past couple of weeks.  The corridors have been textured with faux-grate flooring, pipes, vents, and grills, its walls painted in metallic hues, sliding doors installed; the quarters are coming to life, the sub-level cargo hold and walkways finished, and the bridge…the window are in, front AND top, and the consoles went in today.

Meanwhile, work is being completed on the shuttle (the Phantom Class Marauder) interior design.  We’ve gone back and forth on its various elements – width, depth, seating layout, windows, and location of the door – and are in the process of finalizing the look.  I wanted something similar to the puddle jumper in terms of layout with a little more of the depth of the SGU shuttle.  Ultimately, I think we’ll also incorporate an element of the SG-1 cargo ships with its sectioned cockpit and separate hold.

Anyway, I contacted Stargate Production Designer James Robbins, who has been doing some fabulous design work for us on Dark Matter (Can’t wait to show you his work on The Marauder, the space station, and the various cruiser, destroyer, and shuttle class versions of the Ferrous Corp, Mikkei Combine, and Galactic Authority ships!), and asked him about the dimensions of those smaller Stargate ship designs.  He sent me the following which I thought were too cool not to share with you –

SGU Shuttle_Dimensions_R001

As James points out, the dimensions are from our VFX department and may not reflect what was actually built.  80 feet long for the SGU shuttle seems a bit much, but the 40 foot length of the Atlantis puddle jumper sounds about right.

ships small 01

Takes you back, no?

Many thanks to James for digging these up from the archive!

Prep continues with non-stop meetings.  Today, it was the concept meeting followed by visual effects, playback, and impromptu hair meeting, stunts, and special effects.  Tomorrow, it’s an Art Department review, props, paints, another hair meeting, and not one but TWO gun meetings!

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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…

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Lulu and Barb hit it off.

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

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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…

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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…

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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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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)…

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DELIVERANCE

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.”)

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TWIN DESTINIES

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.”

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ALLIANCES

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.

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HOPE

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!”

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SEIZURE

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.

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THE HUNT

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.”

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COMMON DESCENT

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.

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EPILOGUE

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.”

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BLOCKADE

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!

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GAUNTLET

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?

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INTERVENTION

“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.”

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AFTERMATH

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.”

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AWAKENING

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.

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PATHOGEN

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?]

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CLOVERDALE

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.

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TRIAL AND ERROR

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!

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THE GREATER GOOD

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.”

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MALICE

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.”)

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VISITATION

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.”

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RESURGENCE

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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