SGU This Week: “Life”

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Camile Wray during a more quiet moment in “Life”

“I was immediately attracted to this story,” writer Carl Binder told the Official Magazine (pdf file), “because it’s all about Ming-Na’s character, who is the IOA member on board the ship who, prior to this, has projected this tough exterior and been very by-the-book. We thought it would be interesting to put her into a situation where she could completely fall apart and you get to see a vulnerable side to her. We also discover some things about Lt. Scott’s past in ‘Life,’ as well.”

We’ll make these discoveries about the two characters via the body-swapping technology of the communication stones. You’ll meet the mysterious Sharon that Camile Wray spoke about in her “message in a bottle” from “Light”: “If, um…if anyone finds this within the next…I don’t know, forty years. Tell Sharon…my last thoughts were of her.” And, for Lt. Scott, you’ll find out more about Annie, someone Scott barely knows but holds a life-altering secret.

While these two are visiting Earth via the stones, TV Guide says, “On the Destiny, the crew explores new sections of the ship, which yields the discovery of a promising Ancient device.”

“Life” will be shown tonight, November 20, on the Syfy Channel (US) and Space (Canada) at 9 PM ET and 10 PM ET, respectively. The episode will be broadcast by Sky One (UK) on Tuesday, November 24, at 8 PM, and finally, on Friday, November 27, on the Sci Fi Channel (Australia) at 8:30 PM.

After viewing, you’re invited to return to the site to vote in the episode poll on the main page and discuss the episode here (in the comments), in our on-site forum, or at our LiveJournal Companion.

Guides to the Season One episodes can be found in our Stargate Wiki. And don’t forget the episode chatter that’s bound to take place from the actors, writers, producers, and the press that you can read from our Stargate Twitter Superfeed.

Last Week’s “Time” Ratings

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Last week’s episode “Time” had 1.802 million viewers, according to TV By The Numbers, up from last week’s series low numbers of 1.626 million. (These are the “Live Plus Same Day” ratings.)

Creative consultant Joe Mallozzi mentioned that official word hasn’t been given yet on a season two, but just in case, the writers are busy outlining the first few episodes. There are several steps an episode takes before it ever gets filmed, so here’s just a quick rundown of the terms used by Mallozzi in relating what’s happening in the production office among the staff writers:

Pitch – An idea gets “pitched” out to the writers.
Spin – Everyone “spins” the pitch into a workable idea.
Break – As with SG-1 and SGA before it, SGU episodes include a teaser and five acts. The writers then “break” their ideas down into these acts in order to get the story’s “major dramatic beats.”
Beat Sheet – The story broken down into its teaser and five acts.
Outline – Working from the beat sheet, the writer creates a “blueprint” of the story: the outline. This is the scene-by-scene breakdown of the episode. The writers hand in their outlines for peer review and receive notes.
Script – Once an outline gets approved, the writer finally pens the script. Page count is important, since that gives them an idea of how long the “script is running” for filming. Each Stargate series had their own page formatting details, so the page counts are different among them, but with SGU, the average script runs around 50 pages, which translates into the approximate 44 minutes of screen time. There may be several iterations of reviews and rewrites before the script is ever taken before the cameras.

For more information about the writing process, visit Joseph Mallozzi’s Production Diary and his current weblog.

[Images from MGM.]

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1 thought on “SGU This Week: “Life””

  1. So that was what, 1 part scifi and 99 parts Days of our lives?

    Pity it had to end like this.

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