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SciFi Diner Podcast Ep. 72 – Our Interview with Torri Higginson from Stargate Atlantis

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Tonight’s Diners: Scott, Miles, John, & Chris

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Torri Higginson after our interview at Shore Leave 32


Listener Question:

What genre TV Shows are you looking forward to returning this fall?  Let us know!

Next week, we’ll be discussing the fall shows.

On the menu tonight:

  • Torri Higginson Interview
  • Star Gate triva
  • Gene Roddenberry’s Birthday
  • 10 most controversial ST Eps
  • Eureka and Warehouse 13 holiday episodes
  • Torchwood: A Whole New World
  • Katee Sackhoff
  • Star Wars: Two ways you’ve never seen
  • Hayden Christensen-
  • Book of Eli
  • TWIST: Pike Wants Outta his chair.
  • Radooz: Brings us his biggest 360 episodes in the SciFi Five in Five


Torri Higginson (born December 6, 1969) is a Canadian actress. She was born in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, and is best known for her roles in the TekWar movies and series, The English Patient, and Stargate Atlantis. She is also a theater actress and has appeared in Three Tall Women, Weldon RisingPicasso at the Lapin Agile. and

In 1995, two years prior to Stargate SG-1‘s premiere, Higginson starred in the movie Jungleground with three other actors from the Stargate franchise: Peter Williams (Apophis), JR Bourne (Martouf), and Lexa Doig (Dr. Lam).

Higginson took over the role of Dr. Elizabeth Weir from Jessica Steen in a guest spot on the season eight opener of Stargate SG-1. She was then carried over as the leader of the Atlantis expedition on Stargate Atlantis[1] and continued playing that role until the end of the show’s third season, afterwards being reduced from a main cast member to a recurring role in the fourth season. She did not reprise the role for the show’s fifth season.

Show News/Listener Feedback:

  • From Mike in regards to our interview w/ Dominc Keating. “Great interview just got to catch up with your back catalog now:) “
  • From Jay in response to me posting my Shoreleave pictures.  “Making me anxious for DragonCon here in Atlanta. “

This Week’s Trivia:

Trivia: What name is given to the Atlantian vehicle which can move through stargates ?

Prize: Two Starship Farragut Items: DVD of Powersource Animated Ep. and the Comic Book “Dearly Departed”

You will have till August 30th to answer this question. Send your answer with your mailing address to, call us at 18885084343, or DM us on Twitter at @scifidiner.

Podcast Promos:

The Main Course:

TV News:

* Thanks to Dayton Ward – Happy Thursday, peeps! Today would’ve been Gene Roddenberry’s 89th birthday. Hats off to the Great Bird of the Galaxy!

Top 10 Most Controversial Star Trek Episodes

Peter B-P

Star Trek is one of the most beloved franchises in television history. That doesn’t mean it has been without its share of controversy–from the production staff to the fans to TV networks. The most controversial episodes are discussed below.


The City on the Edge of Forever
Original Series, 1967

Tos City-On-The-Edge

With its classic time travel story, this episode is widely considered one of the best in Trek history. However, behind the scenes, it caused a firestorm between the producers and the writer. Harlan Ellison, a noted sci-fi author who penned the episode, was upset with the changes Gene Roddenberry and D.C. Fontana made to his story. These included the excision of a drug addicted Enterprise crewman and a hostile Kirk-Spock relationship. Ellison wanted his name removed from the final episode, but Roddenberry wouldn’t do it. There was bad blood between the two for years. In 2009, Ellison sued Paramount for failing to compensate him for all the decades of merchandising the studio did for the episodes. An LA federal court ruled in his favor.


Spock’s Brain
Original Series, 1968

Remote Spock

First episode of third season, and the first to air after the series was renewed. Too bad it would end up considered the worst Star Trek episodes of all time. As the title would suggest, it concerns Spock’s Brain–it’s gone missing, and the crew must find it. Leonard Nimoy says he felt embarrassed throughout the episode, though it’s possible to look back on the episode and think it’s so bad it’s good.


Plato’s Stepchildren
Original Series, 1968

P203 7 Platos Stepchildren.Jpg

Under the control of aliens, Kirk and Uhura kiss. It just so happens that Kirk is white and Uhura is black. Though often called the first interracial kiss on TV, it wasn’t; the kiss wasn’t even voluntary. However, NBC was frightened at the potential that southern TV stations would be angered by the kiss, and they did two takes, one with the kiss and one without. Only Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura, deliberately flubbed the latter take, so the kiss remained. There isn’t any evidence this show caused any real controversy when it aired, save for a single irate letter from a Southerner.


The Next Generation, 1988


Parasites infect the Federation, threatening to take it over. The controversy comes from a particularly violent scene at the end of the episode. Picard and Riker confront Remmick, a Starfleet officer infected by the parasites. They shoot him with phasers, causing his body to explode, and revealing the mother bug inside. This scene was so violent that the BBC removed it when airing the episode, and the Canadian sci-fi channel still runs it with a warning.


Shades of Gray
The Next Generation, 1989


Star Trek’s only clip show. Riker falls into a coma and the only way to save him is have him relive painful memories. Paramount told the makers they wanted to do a clip show because other episodes had big budgets. And thus this was born. Even a co-writer thought it was pretty bad, calling it a “piece of shit.”



The High Ground
The Next Generation, 1990


This episode concerned terrorism and a planet who wants the Federation to join their fight for freedom. Again, the Brits are to blame for the controversy. Data has a line in which he says Ireland was eventually unified by terrorism in 2024. Sensitive about such a mention when the Troubles in Northern Ireland were still ongoing, the BBC cut the line when the episode first aired. The episode has never been shown on Ireland’s RTE channel, and sometimes when the episode is aired the UK the line is still cut.


Deep Space Nine, 1995


Star Trek is infamous for avoiding overt references to homosexuality, something fans have complained about for decades. This is one of the few episodes to make even an oblique reference to it, showing a female kiss. Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn are Trills, an alien species that lives on in symbionts implanted in host bodies. Two of their previous hosts had a romantic relationship that was never resolved, hence the same-sex kiss. One TV station in the south removed the scene, and the producers received a large number of negative calls in response.


To the Death
Deep Space Nine, 1996


Notable because most of the controversy happened before the episode was aired. “To the Death” was the first Star Trek episode ever cut for violence. When the DS9 crew travel to a planet with an Iconian Gateway–a portal to practically anywhere–they encounter hoards of the vicious Jem’Hadar. Hand to hand combat ensues. Originally, 52 Jem’Hadar were shown getting killed, but this was was trimmed to 20, losing 45 seconds of the episode. The BBC censored it even further. Fans complained the result felt choppy and disjointed.


Voyager, 2000

P Hirogen Und Seven Tsunkatse

Seven of Nine is forced to compete in an alien gladiator sport. Among her combatants is an alien champion played by…The Rock. To many fans, “Tsunkatse” was simply an attempt to cash in on the popularity of another UPN show, WWF Smackdown! (now WWE). The Rock even used his signature moves and eyebrow raising, to the delight of his alien crowd. Despite negative fan reaction, the episode was the highest rated of the season, and you can be sure that’s what the producers wanted.


Enterprise, 2004

Screen Shot 2010-03-17 At 5.06.03 Pm

Romantic tension between the Vulcan T’Pol and Commander Trip Tucker culminates in a “love scene” where T’Pol lets down her garment and displays her bare backside, including her naked rear end. Ten days before the episode aired, Janet Jackson had accidentally displayed her bare breast at the Super Bowl–surely factoring into the network’s decision to crop the scene and hide the bare bottom. The scene was shown without cuts in Canada and exists intact on the episode’s DVD.


Syfy orders holiday episodes of Eureka and Warehouse 13

Blastr Stories Details

Syfy is enlisting Judd Hirsch (Taxi), Paul Blackthorne (The Dresden Files), Chris Parnell (Saturday Night Live) and Matt Frewer to create stand-alone holiday episodes of Warehouse 13 and Eureka that will air in December.

On Warehouse 13, Pete and Myka will go on a mission to hunt down “a malevolent Santa Claus.” Meanwhile, in time for Hanukkah, Artie and his estranged father, Isadore Weisfelt, reunite after 30 years. Hirsch will be appear as Artie’s father, and Blackthorne will play a businessman terrorized by a thief dressed up as Saint Nick.

On Eureka, “as the Global Dynamics employees celebrate the season at the company holiday party, staff member Dr. Noah Drummer (Chris Parnell) nearly absconds with a volatile experiment. The halls get seriously decked when Dr. Drummer’s unstable hydrogen crystal starts to grow at a frightening rate.”

Frewer, who was an early regular on the series, will return as the character Taggert.

Stan Lee will be making an appearance as well.

Torchwood: The New World: New details emerge!


There’s a lot we still don’t know about Torchwood: The New World. After all, the 10-episode season won’t start filming until January. But Starz released some additional info today as to what we can expect—and about the as-yet-uncast new character Rex Matheson.

Here’s how the Starz describes the coming season, and its three lead characters:

When C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy, he finds himself unearthing a threat which challenges the entire human race.

The answers seem to lie within an old, secret British institute, known only as Torchwood. But Torchwood was destroyed, years ago, and the keys to the institute are held by its only two survivors—former Police Officer Gwen Cooper, who has long since disappeared along with her husband and child, and the mysterious Captain Jack Harkness, a man whose history seems to stretch back centuries.

With Rex under attack from all sides, in both the US and the UK, he soon discovers there are forces at work within every level of society, determined to stop Torchwood’s return. As a chain of events across the world links together the most disparate and unlikely individuals—including a surgeon, a killer, senators and CEOs—a new Torchwood team takes shape. But this time, the threat is much closer to home, as they realize that their greatest enemy is mankind itself …



Jack looks like a hero. But he’s so much more than that …

He’s American, handsome, with a killer smile and a classic coat. But you don’t expect heroes to be this much fun. He’s witty, fast, subversive and there’s a reason for that glint in his eye—he’ll sleep with women, he’ll sleep with men; if aliens invade, he’ll sleep with them too. Got a problem with that? Tough!

His dashing style hides a secret. There are mysteries about Jack—a man going under his name seems to have a history stretching back to World War 2, or even earlier, to the Nineteenth century, the Eighteenth …

Truth is, Jack Harkness is immortal. A fixed point in time and space. The only one of his kind. For thousands of years, he has never been able to die. When killed, he comes back to life—seconds later. Though his tragedy is, he feels every death. It hurts—and so does the passage of time. He can never love anyone for too long, because he will always lose them. As a result, he’s lived many lives. He’s been a conman, a thief, an adventurer—though more a rogue than a villain, because his perspective on human life makes him appreciate this world all the more.

Jack once ran the Torchwood Institute, a British organization dedicated to fighting the strange and bizarre. He was king of his own little world for a while, the happiest he’d ever been. But Torchwood fell. His friends were killed. The Institute closed down, and Jack disappeared, to start yet another of his many new lives. And yet …

The only thing that could call Jack Harkness back is his unstated love for Gwen Cooper. And when a new, epic danger affects the whole planet, Jack finds himself back at the center of events, fighting not just for his own life, but for everyone on Earth. But this time, are the stakes too high?


All Gwen wants is a quiet life. Honest.

She’s Welsh, lives in seclusion, far away from the city, on a cliff top in the wilds of South Wales with her devoted husband, and baby Anwen—it’s a rural idyll.

And it’s a lie. Gwen is in hiding, because she once lived the most extraordinary life. She was the heart and soul of an organization called Torchwood, a freelance band of fighters who fought the strange and unexplained. She was a defender of the human race.

But no more. Torchwood was destroyed. Her colleagues died, or fled. And Gwen hid herself away, for the rest of her life, to protect her loved ones. But knowing, just knowing, that one day trouble would come calling again.

She lives the ultimate double life: the funny, salty, earthy woman who loves home and family, combined with the tough, ruthless warrior, who loves the thrill of the fight. She’s both selfish and selfless. And never doubt it—when Gwen’s in a crisis, she is magnificent. Gun in both hands, baby strapped to her chest, she’ll run and fight and never give up.

It’s passion, in the end: Gwen’s all about passion. She loves her man, she loves her child, she loves this mad old world, and maybe she loves Captain Jack Harkness just a little too much. But when the events of this story push Gwen to the limit, she’ll need to call on resources she never knew she had, to take action and make the most terrible decisions, on behalf of all mankind.


He’s 28, the golden boy. Has been, all his life. Harvard education, fast-tracker in the C.I.A., destined for success. Though he’s never taken it easy—Rex hustles, seduces and campaigns to get where he is today. He can talk his way into anything, then charm his way out, fast. He’s made a lot of enemies, but his friends and lovers would defend him to death.

His choice of career is significant. Someone like Rex could make a fortune in Wall Street, or Hollywood. But choosing the C.I.A. says a lot about him: that for all his swagger, he does believe in justice. And will fight for it.

Slowly but surely, we see him make friends. He’s thrown together a bunch of people known as Torchwood, the only people who might have the answer to a global mystery. To Rex, at first, they’re a bunch of freaks. Welsh women and World War 2 Captains, what’s that about?! But as they race from one crisis to another, dodging assassins, blackmail, corruption and conspiracy, from Washington to Wales and the slums of Shanghai, Rex forges friendships in the heat of fire. He learns to trust his new colleagues. And they realize that this dangerous, dazzling, reckless man is the best friend they could ever have, in a world going to hell.

They frighten us, men like Rex. We wish we were him; we never will be.

So what do you make of these clues to the new season?

Bhardin:  Katee Sackhoff has a blog up about her motorcycle ride on her blog.

Movie News:

The greatest fan-made Star Wars project EVER is finished

Blastr Stories Details

The announcement of those Star Wars Blu-rays was awesome, but here’s something even MORE awesome. That crowd-sourced project we told you about last year in which fans were asked to re-create the complete Star Wars story in 15-second bits—is DONE! (And believe us, you’ll want to go watch it NOW!)

Casey Pugh had a killer idea. Have fans claim 15-second sections of Episode IV—A New HopeStar Wars. which they’d reshoot in any way they wanted—live action, animated, LEGO, ASCII art … anything! Then cut them together into a complete retelling of the original


The result may be the greatest project Star Wars fans—or any fans—have ever pulled off.

We wish we could embed the whole thing here for you to watch, but the rights still need to be sorted out. As the site reports, “we are working through the legal issues in order to bring that to everyone as soon as possible.”

But here’s one scene to stand in for the rest:

Star Wars Uncut – Scene 113 – “Hello there” from Malcolm Sutherland on Vimeo.


Star Wars Uncut – Scene 113 – “Hello there” from Malcolm Sutherland on Vimeo.

Now head over to Star Wars Uncut to watch the complete film. And then come back here and let us know what you thought of it!


Fan made video shows ‘Star Wars’ as a Blacksploitation film

Written by Jordan Maison

A new Star Wars fan-film exudes 70s charm and hilarity in a trailer about the exploits of the galaxy’s baddest man: Lando Calrissian.

Personally I’m a fan of those old films, and the recent Black Dynamite had me rolling on the floor.  In fact the first short film I made in college was in the same style as the old black exploitation films.  So when I stumbled across this video today, I just knew I had to share it.

Blackstar Warrior is a trailer for a film (that’s unfortunately not real) set in the Star Wars universe, and chronicles the adventures of Lando Calrissian.  The video nails the genre right on the head, from the narrator to even the quality of the picture.  The whole film feels like it was pulled straight out of that time period.

It’s hilarious, irreverent, and just hits all of the right buttons.  Who knows, maybe if this becomes popular enough, the creator will decide to make the full film.


Hayden Christensen freaks in 1st trailer for Vanishing on 7th Street


We’ve always loved those movies in which the world falls apart and a small band of strangers struggles to survive. Because we all think we’d manage to be one of the survivors, right? But the spooky first trailer for Vanishing on 7th Street shows that maybe … maybe we’re better off NOT surviving.

Vanishing on 7th Street, from director Brad Anderson (The Machinist), stars Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo.

Here’s the offical synopsis:

A mysterious, seemingly global blackout causes countless populations to simply vanish, leaving only their clothes and possessions behind. A small handful of survivors band together in a dimly-lit tavern on 7th Street, struggling to combat the apocalyptic horror. Realizing they may in fact be the last people on earth, the darkness hones in on them alone.

DVD News:

Book of Eli –

BHardin – Both of them are awesome! Discovery has a show, “The Colony” that is like Survivor meets Post-Apocalypse. I’m loving it so far!



“I Just Want To Get Out Of The Wheelchair” Says Bruce Greenwood, On Captain Pike posted by Subspace Comms


We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it a thousand times, Bruce Greenwood as Captain Christopher Pike was simply amazing in Star Trek XI. We would love to see him reprise the role as our beleaguered Captain, ahem, Admiral Pike. According to an interview with, Bruce would also like to see Pike return in the upcoming sequel to “Star Trek”. Not only in the sequel, but Bruce jokingly explains that “there should be a whole offshoot of Pike’s adventures”. We’re with you there Bruce. Put us down for a Hamilton, we’d definitely be on board for that.

Bruce also explains that he doesn’t know if Pike will return in the next J.J.-verse sequel, or whether or not Orci & Kurtzman have even started the script. The scuttlebutt we heard at Vegas Khhaaan! was that the script was close to completion and that the Gorn would be making an appearance as the nemesis in the next installment. We can’t say where we heard it or who we heard it from, but he works in the industry and he used to rock a mullet back in the 90’s. You make the call.

Check out the excerpt from the Collider / Bruce Greenwood interview below.

Q: Do you know if you’re going to be in the next Star Trek?

BRUCE: I know that I don’t know.

Q: We know they’re still writing it.

BRUCE: (raises his voice, teasing) How do you know that?!

Q: Maybe not “still” writing. Maybe they’ve yet to “start” writing it.

BRUCE: You’re not going to trap me into saying anything about their writing it. (Laughs) I’m joking. I don’t know. I hope so.

Q: I want to know if Captain Pike is still there.

BRUCE: I think Captain Pike is an essential component to the whole franchise. I think there should be a whole offshoot of Pike’s adventures.

Q: You had plenty of them leading up to his initial appearance once in the series so…?

BRUCE: There’s nothing that says Pike can’t get up and out of that wheelchair, get his own ship and go off on some adventures of his own. I’m now an admiral but I just want to get out of the wheelchair.

Q: It’s the future. They can do that.

BRUCE: I know. I had a long conversation about that with J.J. (Abrams) early on because he wanted the hair to go [white]…because in the script it says the hair goes all white. I said (crying) “Do we have to get so Malcolm McDowell about it?”

(interview excerpt source


ScifFi Five in Five:

My top five Love to Hate 360 turnarounds – My top five Scifi show I original had high hopes for, but faded away as autumn leaves tend to go. Raduz (pronounced Radooz) from Vancouver, BC, Canada

#5 Star Trek TOS.
I never watched Star Trek the original series as a kid as I was born after its run ended. However, I have watched all the Kirk era movies and really enjoyed them. Especially the one with the whales. But seriously, the movies are mostly pretty good. If not great. So I was thinking. What the heck, no matter how cheesy the TOS might look like they must be worth watching in order to get the back story right.
I tried, I swear I really tried watching the series without prejudice three times. It was a no go for me each time. No matter how much I love all things Star Trek, I just couldn’t stomach the cheesiness and amateurism of the production. I can appreciate how these must have looked eye popping in the 60s and 70s, but I’d rather read transcripts, then watch. So the bottom line is that my Star Trek experience starts with the fist motion picture and I don’t think this fact is going to ever change.

#4 Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
The hype surrounding Buffy was so high, that I had no choice but give the famous series a chance. I was quite captivated at first, breezing thru the first season quite fast. Boy did the things get repetitive and old in the 2nd and 3rd seasons. Girl, Boy, High school shenanigans, Vampire, kill, repeat. I even skipped ahead to the fourth and fifth seasons only to find the same old, same old. Perhaps I did not give it a fair chance, but more likely this one was not made to be my favourite.

#3 New Battlestar Galactica.
I was really, really excited after watching the first mini series of the new BSG series. Dark, gritty, full of wonderful story lines and awesome battle sequences. I was expecting the same from the follow up series. It started pretty good, with plot and character developments that made sense and were quite interesting. Things got really frustrating and boring for me when they brought Richard Hatch back and the writers started slowly, but steadily turning a scifi show into a Law & Order type political drama. Presidents, Parliaments, Meetings, Trials, constant bickering and arguing at round tables. I just wish admiral Adama flushed them all out the airlocks.
I have to say here, that I really liked the ending of the show. Still the bitterness about hours wasted trying to fast forwarding to some interesting is real.

#2 Heroes.
Time Travel, Super heroes, Super villains, Super events. How can you go wrong with those ? Hmmm. Easily, I guess. If you loose your focus and try to do too many super things without staying true to what the show was originally intended to be. I wished they just picked one or two story lines and followed them all the way through. I lost interest with the constant jumping between dozens of characters and story lines. Shortened second season and an awfully long layover between the 2nd and 3rd seasons did not help at all. I enjoyed the first season very much, but did not have the will to finish the third at all. Too bad, it could have been so much more.

#1 Stargate Universe.
First I have to say, I am an avid Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 fan. I got on-board after watching the whole SGA series and then following it up by ten wonderful seasons of SG-1. At first I was very sad when SGA got cancelled. Then I got super excited about this new Stargate series, dismissing all the negative hype surrounding its launch. Boy, were the nay-sayers right. Out of the twenty episodes only one sticks out as Stargate franchise worthy for me. It’s called Time and has all the elements that I liked so much in the SGA and SG-1 series. Time Travel, mystery, strange environment, gate travel, suspense.  I don’t care for the whole “hopelessly lost on a ancient ship trying not to kill each other while screwing around with the communication stones” premise at all. They might have been stuck in an underground bunker for that I care. Except for Robert Carlyle as Nicolas Rush and Brian J. Smith as Lt. Scott I don’t care for the cast or stories much at all. I will keep watching, but only because a SGA/SGU crossover has just been announced. Good for them, I was pretty much done with the show.


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