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More on SG1: Ripple Effect...

Comments on some of Mallozzi's "missing scenes and intended scenes" stuff...

So I went and read the missing scenes that Mallozzi posted on Gateworld. Pretty cool, I must say -- and I feel his pain, for having to lose some of them. They would have added to the story. A few specific reactions:

"Now, one of the things I'm sure the nitpickers will seize upon is the change in uniform. The real SG-1 left in greens yet the first return team comes back in black. Surely someone would have noticed. Maybe -- but, in reality, probably not. SG-1 could have headed off-world a day or two prior to returning and there's no guarantee the same personnel would be manning the gate room."

Nice try, guy. But no. Because the uniform they wear out on a mission isn't ARBITRARY. It's based on the nature of the mission itself. People in the military don't just pick what uniform to wear willy-nilly.

The green BDUs tend to be the standard. BDUs don't come in blue, so blue is never worn offworld (unless you are in your class Bs or class As offworld, that is). Desert cammo is worn to... desert planets. It's a little unclear when forest cammo is worn, as opposed to simply the green BDUs -- the SG teams overwhelmingly wear the green BDUs even to forested planets, and over the show's run, they have only worn forest cammo on a handful of occasions -- unless they are Marines, for whom forest cammo is the standard. Finally -- the black BDUs aren't standard. The show has gotten lax about this in recent years, but honestly that's no excuse. It used to be that SG1 put on the black for very specific missions -- most frequently, for missions to interior locations like space-ships. (See the S1 finale for the first instance.)

So yes, Landry and others, knowing what mission SG1 was sent out on and what planet they were coming back from, should at least have been able to conjecture what the proper BDUs to wear on the mission would be. At least, in a world in which that choice makes sense -- not necessarily in the world of S9, where we wear the black BDUs apparently because we find them "sexy" (or for other color-coded reasons).


Scene 20: Tiger Blue SG-1 come through the gate to end Act I

Alternate takes of the team coming through the gate included a confused Tiger Blue Mitchell asking "What the frell is going on here?!" and "What the frak is going on here?!"

*snort* Okay, that would have been *hilarious*. I honestly wish they'd kept one of them in, even if it would have been VERY silly.

"The question begs asking: To what lengths would you be willing to go to save your Earth? In the case of Black SG-1, they're obviously willing to go very far -- but that doesn't make them bad people.

In fact, in the later scene on the Prometheus in which Black Mitchell explains to Green Mitchell why they're doing what they're doing, its very hard not to feel some sympathize with his position. It's clear that when push comes to shove, sacrifices will be made as evidenced by Landry's refusal to delay the mission, thereby stranding these various AU SG-1's and potentially damning their realities."

I'm really glad to see that they were thinking along these lines. And I didn't even comment on this good point here about how Landry is perfectly willing to strand the AU teams in "our" reality, but that's "okay" (no matter the potential damage to other realities) if it saves ours.

The only problem with that point is that it only holds up if you actually show our reality taking that final step. Not just meaning to do it, but actually *doing* the thing that has such serious consequences. However, it's a wash, in this ep. Our reality was prevented from carrying out that drastic solution -- they didn't voluntarily decide to change their plans. Similarly, the Black Team was stopped, they didn't stop voluntarily because they were swayed by our reality's arguments.

"In more than one take, Black Mitchell and Black Carter discuss as they head toward the elevator and then, inexplicably, take one another's hand and step inside. As the elevator doors close, they lean in for a kiss ... What the hell? I went down to set and asked Peter DeLuise, the episode's director, what the thinking was behind that scene. He explained that he was just offering up a visual cue to the relationship being hinted at throughout the episode.

Apparently, Peter had assumed that the references to AU Mitchell's dinner at the Hunan House (which didn't make the cut), AU Carter's pregnancy and honeymoon, all pointed to the fact that these two were "an item." An interesting interpretation I'd never thought of -- but not the one intended."

Heh! I'm quite interested by this, as an illustration of the way in which different interpretations/ideas can take hold even amongst the production team. So I guess we need to add Mitchell to the list of potential husbands the AU Carter/s could have had back in those AUs...


"...an old idea Brad had pitched the year before."

*is sad* So that means that this story was possibly pitched during S8 and we might indeed have had the AU episode with Jack in it. Ah well. The S9 version is plenty fun.

The whole "extra scenes" stuff, with way more than what I've quoted, is here:



( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 21st, 2006 05:42 pm (UTC)
I liked all of those alternative SG-1s, although as others have said, they should realistically have included one with Jack on the team (sigh). And in Janet's universe, Jack didn't leave the SGC yet, either. Although Sam's on maternity leave -- which makes me think Sam in that universe is married to Pete! Aha!

Anyway, I was particularly pleased with the universe where Sha're is still alive and living on Abydos. That made me squeee.
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:25 am (UTC)
That made me squee, too -- though seriously, they should have found a way to leave that in, and cut something else. I don't know what, but something.

At the time of watching it, I was very aware of the production-required implausibility of every team that came through being led by Mitchell, and none being led by Jack. But, at the time, I was forgiving of it since I just said, "production limitations".

I also came to this conclusion: while there were a few ways they might have "included" Jack, as a team-leader of one of the teams that came through, I probably would have been *more* frustrated if they'd included a token Jack, but then he had nothing to do with the story (which of course he couldn't have). I mean, character-wise. I had this thought that they could have dug up some old footage from somewhere and been creative with it to show a Jack-led SG1 coming through the Gate or being led away in the background... or of course they could simply have mentioned a team or teams that came through that remained off-screen. But that would have bugged me more. Because I can't imagine *a* Jack being involved in that story, and him and his team *not* bulling their way into the forefront of the action, if you see what I mean.

That's another facet of the idea that if you're telling the AU story well, then you have to treat *every* AU team as believing that they are the stars of their own show, that they are the protagonist SG1. As it was, I was bugged a bit by the structure of this episode (after I went away and thought about it, that is), in the way that only the Black Team pushed themselves forward. I didn't get *enough* of a sense that the rest of the teams weren't participating because they were being detained, or because they were losing out in the competition for face-time. It's like... in the scene with all the Sams, which I otherwise enjoyed, most of the Sams seemed a bit too passive to me.

So I guess that having no Jacks at all was no worse, at least, than being teased with a Jack who would have, strangely, remained passive and in the background for the whole story.

What I would have liked to see instead was: first, a toss-off mention that interviews of the other 15 or so teams had turned up more who had an SGC commanded by Jack. Second, more of an effort to at least *show* some teams not led by Mitchell, even teams that didn't include him at all. I personally would have liked to see an effort to show a few teams led by Sam, with some other 4th perhaps. Or, as betacandy suggested, a team led by a military Daniel. Hell! A team led by Sheppard! He's on the adjacent lot, just go grab him...

That, for me, would have minimized the conceptual problems slightly. And honestly, if they had done this ep when RDA/Jack was still around... I would still have thought it would have been a better multi-AUs ep if they'd done the same thing (shown some SG1s with different memberships, or not led by Jack.)
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)
Oh, those are all *excellent* ideas. I wonder about the writers, sometimes: they get these ideas, but the ideas never go beyond a certain point. As if they can't follow their own logic all that far.

And a military Daniel? Oooooh. We did sort of get a glimpse of that, with the Tough SG-1 With the Big Guns, in the blue-ish camo. (And the terrible thing on Teal'c's head.) I wouldn't have minded seeing more of them. And we also did get an SG-1 with *only* Mitchell, and the rest of them in the armbands.

I wonder what can be parsed from a multi-verse in which *every* Jack O'Neill has left the SGC? Hmm.
Jan. 23rd, 2006 08:40 am (UTC)
I wonder about the writers, sometimes: they get these ideas, but the ideas never go beyond a certain point.

Yeah, I'm not sure what it is. I'm not sure if some of it isn't armchair-quarterbacking by us, too. Like, it's easy to come up with all this cool stuff after the fact, riffing on what's already there, because we aren't under pressure. I sometimes wonder too if the writers train themselves not to get too wacky because they're always aware of the limitations of what can be achieved in the time allowed or with the production budget or whatever.

Plus, I realize that they have a limited amount of time in which to brainstorm before they have to get things rolling, to meet the deadlines of a hectic schedule; and that they're usually doing a bunch of things at once. I try to keep that in mind... sometimes, when I'm thinking, "well, I would have done it this way" or "I would have approached it this way". I've been in writing situations, particularly with deadlines, where it was only later after things were done that something would occur to me that I could have done, but just didn't think of.

And a military Daniel? Oooooh.

Oh my god, I have *such* a kink for somebody doing a really good military Daniel and geek!Jack... *sigh*

Yeah, the glimpse of the Mitchell-led team wearing the Atanik armbands was awesome. Nice little throwaway, there. So if they could come up with that... then they should have been able to think of doing a Sam-led team, or showing up some teams without Mitchells.

I also dearly wish we could have had the all-Tok'ra SG1, or the all-Jaffa SG1 (the latter of which would have been *so* easy to do).

I wonder what can be parsed from a multi-verse in which *every* Jack O'Neill has left the SGC? Hmm.

I don't know... ehn. I just can't buy it. That's the problem, when you give us a story that has so many possibilities. I mean, prior to this, it never bugged me that both AUs we'd encountered lacked a Daniel and had a non-military Sam (involved with Jack). Because that was only *2*, out of *so many* possibilities. A striking coincidence, but no more outside of the realm of possibility than rolling Yahtzee twice in a row.

With this ep, of course, there's that extra 50 SG1s about whose composition we know nothing. So all we know is that we're looking at a sampling of 18 out of nearly 70, and that sampling of 18 is skewed in a certain way. But at that point, I'm inclined to step back a little bit, meta-wise, and acknowledge that apparently the sampling of 18 is skewed because the writers for one reason or another did not try to vary it more. I'm afraid that's the writers' fault, not the multiverse's fault.

I bet if I took a sampling of writers from my flist, and said, "as of S9, sketch out for me 20 different AU SG1s to come through the Gate in one episode", EVERY one of those writers would have come up with a better-varied list. I bet that the flist sampling would have come up with a more varied list even if I had laid down restrictions from the start, in order to mimic the production restrictions that the show's writers were under. (However, I would probably have allowed people to cheat on the inclusion of Jack, if they could propose ways to include SG1s led by Jack that were within the capabilities of the show's production team, leaving aside the question of whether that would create storytelling problems.)

Of course, it's *possible* to roll 4 dice, and come up with a longish string in which no 6s happen to come up. Which is the equivalent of saying that you could dip into the multiverse "randomly" 18 times and come up with SG1s composed of mostly the same 4 people. Which, of course, they didn't. Only 16 of the SG1s appeared to have the same composition. 1 had Mitchell but 3 random others; and 1 had Mitchell and Daniel, but lacked Sam and Teal'c.

Probability-wise, it was perhaps less strange than it was dissatisfying for us from a storytelling viewpoint. With 70 SG1s, though... well, then it becomes less likely that all 70 would have included Mitchell, or not included some Jacks.
Jan. 23rd, 2006 10:34 am (UTC)
I think you should, I mean ask "as of S9, sketch out for me 20 different AU SG1s to come through the Gate in one episode" and not just purely for my entertainment, though it would be cool. But also, because I'd like to see what concepts come up the most, especially after I found out they cut the live Sha're thing, which seems blatantly obvious to me.
Jan. 23rd, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
Hmm. Yeah, maybe should do it after all. I thought about it briefly, and then I wondered whether it would still be as meaningful an exercise, because now all of us would be doing it *in reaction to* this episode and the choices *it* made. And part of my implied point was that even if this question had been asked beforehand, I think that people would have on their own come up with more variation than the SG writers did. But now, it's easy to show up the SG writers after having seen, in effect, their entry.

However, you're right, that doesn't mean it might not be interesting to see what people would come up with anyway.

You also bring up a good point, in that we'd have to remind people that they can indicate background differences in the SG teams' world situation, not just physical differences that are apparent visually.

(I *do* give the SG writers some props for the creativity that they didn't get to keep in the ep, due to time constraints. That was, at least, conceptual creativity.)
Jan. 24th, 2006 03:08 pm (UTC)
Jumping in here...

My fanwank on the lack of vaiety have to do with the Ripple Effect itself. I haven't yet posted this on my LJ but I will eventually.

If there was a start point, and our SGC is the hub, then the effect ripples outward. I would guess, then, that all nearby AU's would bare some similarity to our universe, will minor changes. So it would be expected that most teams coming through the Gate that are SG-1 would have Mitchell and the rest of the SG-1. Some variations could include a team Mitchell had to pick since the rest of SG-1 did not rejoin (Daniel went to Atlantis; no Vala incident; Jack was promoted; Sam stayed at Area 51; Teal'c joined the Council.) This could also include variations like the one we saw in Black SG-1 with Selmak and Sam going on her honeymoon (probably with Pete). But, as the ripple reached farther and farther from the hub, there would be more changes. This is reflected in Desert Cameo SG-1 where Jack was still with the SGC and Janet was alive.

Conceivably, there should have been a Jack, but I can argue this much anyway and keep myself satisfied.
Jan. 27th, 2006 09:00 am (UTC)
I think that this is a really good theory for how the titular ripple effect was working -- I buy it as an explanation. Did the ep itself indicate this, or were they too busy trying to explain their theory about how it was that they were getting wormholes from a bunch of different worlds? I remember Sam gesturing at some diagram and technobabbling about how the wormholes were passing "through" the black hole, but... frankly, it was a little *too* much technobabbling for me. (Also, I felt rotten; I missed things due to coughing, and junk.)

It makes me wonder if this was the conceptual idea that the writers in fact had... consciously, or even unconsciously. I mean, in terms of the basic science fiction concept of AUs and fitting it in with the way this show has approached AUs, I think it is a reasonable concept via which to approach this story idea.

As you say, though -- at some point, the ripple would spiral out enough to have to start including teams still led by Jacks, or whatever. The question of course is -- when does that point come?

What interests me is that if your theory holds, and the Desert Cammo team represented a farther-out ripple because of the ways in which their AU differed significantly from Our Show... they weren't that far "out" in terms of teams encountered, were they? They were within the original 18, weren't they? And the ep then went on to indicate that they encountered up to *50* other SG1s, beyond the 18 they allowed to come to the SGC.

I can understand and sympathize with the inability of the ep to deal with those 50 in any meaningful way. But I think that I would have been more satisfied with the ep's story if they had done two things.

One, if they had somewhere put in a short explanation of the theory you've just outlined ("Huh," says someone, "isn't it weird that all these teams are led by Mitchell?" or something, and "Actually," responds Sam, any Sam, "if we take the first team as the catalyst of a spreading anomaly, it would make sense if..." etc.). Although... hmm... I wonder if they couldn't have done this, and maybe purposefully didn't do it, because they were trying to hide the causality of the phenomenon as something that the Black Team did *on purpose*?

And, two -- if, when they mentioned later in the ep about the 50+ other SG1s they'd turned away, they had added something like, "and we're getting evidence that the make-up of the teams we are hearing about now are diverging farther and farther from us and from the first team that went through - 75% of the teams contacting us now are still led by Colonel O'Neill..."

(That would have covered them, by "including Jack", but by explaining that they weren't allowing any more teams through to the SGC, including the Jack-led teams, they would have sidestepped the "problem" I brought up of how I would have expected any included Jacks to try to be involved in the unfolding story -- that would have explained neatly why he wasn't.)
Jan. 24th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)
I love the points you make in this post and the comments. Especially about the BDUs! And also the ethics of 'our reality is the only one that matters' where all we have to go by is stated intent, and everybody was saved from actually having to do the drastic thing.

This also brings to mind how dearly I wish the DVDs would include deleted scenes.

I can understand not including blooper outtakes. Only a limited number are actually funny, and the actors have enough stake in not flubbing their lines without having to worry that every lapse is going to be fodder for the audience to laugh at. I get the feeling that this show in particular protects the privacy of its set and its people, and I respect them not embarrassing cast and crew by publicizing their mistakes.

I can also understand not including scenes discarded because they took the story to places the writer or director decided it shouldn't go. They made those choices for a reason; if they'd wanted it in there, it would have been in there. But they should really, really include scenes cut for time, like the one where alt.Daniel mentions Sha're.

In the case of this episode I'd argue strongly for including both, because stuff like the Mitchell-Carter kiss in the elevator is a 'path not taken,' too, and that's thematically pretty cool.

Not that they should edit scenes back in for an extended version a la LotR, although that would be awesome. (Unlikely, since the one time a DVD did diverge from the broadcast ep, it was a shortened version of 'Threads.' But awesome in theory.) Just a value-added extra little menu of deleted scenes, like the ones some movie DVDs include. I'm sure it's costly to do that, and as I understand it half the S8 DVDs don't even have audio commentary ... and maybe the more popular the show gets, the fewer bells-and-whistles they bother including to entice us to buy box sets we'll buy anyway ... but it would be so cool. Especially for this ep.

In some places in Mallozzi's article, I'm unclear about whether something was filmed and then cut for time, or never filmed because they already knew it would make the ep too long. It sounds like the opening Landry-Harriman scene was 'scripted' but never filmed. But about 'Mitchell interviews Black Daniel,' he says 'in trimming the episode, the following exchange was lost for time.' Trimming in the script phase, or after filming?

I guess knowing for sure that footage of that scene was lying around somewhere would just make me more nuts. Still curious. I would wonder if Mallozzi was purposely vague about it so that fans wouldn't start clamoring to see the outtakes, except that he said they did film Mitchell and Carter kissing, which you'd think would be more clamor-inducing than a passing mention of Sha're in dialogue.
Jan. 24th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
Ohhhhh... I agree about deleted scenes. I wish they would do this, if they *have* the scenes. I don't need them cut into the eps a la LOTR. Just give them to me to click on in the menu, as you say -- that'd be fine.

I haven't gotten S8 on DVD yet. I heard there was some problem with "Threads", which I had then heard they fixed... or, that you could get a replacement copy of that disc that would contain the original-broadcast extended version of the ep. I vaguely paid attention to that with the thought that I might need to know, when I got the set, should I have found I got a set with the wrong version of Threads. But I haven't gotten the set yet so I haven't looked into it.

You're right, I had a hard time telling from the article whether he was talking about something that they wrote but didn't shoot; or something shot, but not used because of time.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )