By Joseph Mallozzi
Writer and Executive Producer, Stargate SG-1
Over the course of seven years, SG-1 have had their fair share of adventure -- battling evil aliens, helping oppressed off-worlders, occasionally saving the world for good measure. But no matter what, when all was said and done, they would always return to Stargate Command to find the ever-calm General Hammond there to welcome them back. And I would always wonder -- "What does Hammond do while SG-1 is away? How does he spend his days?"
Well, with O'Neill finally receiving his promotion this season, we finally got the chance to answer those questions as we explored "A Day in the Life of General O'Neill." Well, that was the working title anyway, but Robert Cooper felt "Zero Hour" would be more appropriate. I don't know. I kind of liked "Day in the Life ..." Of course, I'm the same guy who wanted to call Season Five's "Enemies" "Serpent's Hat."
A couple of weeks before this episode went to camera, we learned that Stargate SG-1 had been mentioned on the Conan O'Brien show. In a segment called "Recliner of Rage," Pierre Bernard expressed his passionate take on the show's direction. It was a funny bit and we, of course, appreciated the fact that Stargate had been mentioned. Days later, we were contacted by one of the producers of the Conan O'Brien show. It turns out that Pierre was such a huge fan of the show that they wanted to know if they could bring him up for a visit and a possible cameo in an upcoming episode. We were more than happy to accommodate him and so, "Zero Hour" marks the acting debut of Conan's own Pierre Bernard. He plays the erstwhile young technician at the controls at episode's end when the gate room comes under attack. A star is born.
Way back in Season Four, the writers were in the room pitching out stories when Brad Wright threw out an idea he'd been looking to incorporate into a story. Well, more an image than an idea really. He imagined an episode in which the S.G.C. is overrun with plant life, the gate literally buried under foliage run amok. Unfortunately, at the time, it was just a notion in need of a story. Fast-forward four years to this story.
Bill Dow, who reprises his role as the amusing Dr. Lee in this episode, has worked on many Vancouver productions ranging from local theatre to The X-Files. As a point of interest, the character was introduced in Season Four's "Prodigy" and, originally, the role was scripted for an Asian female (the last name gives it away).
Another Stargate semi-regular is Technician Walter Harriman, played by Vancouver native Gary Jones. One of the interesting things about the character is that he used to sport the name "Davis" on his uniform. Somehow, some of the writers came to assume his name was Norman Davis. Then came "2010" in which the character was referred to as Walter Harriman (and has been referred to as Walter ever since). For my part, I made peace with the incongruity by coming up with my own plausible reasoning for the switch: Harriman is his married name.