View Full Version : Zap2It: Stargate Atlantis Gets Its Feet Wet on SciFi

June 30th, 2004, 11:06 PM
From Zap2It:


(There's a cast photo at the site.)

TV Feature Story

'Stargate Atlantis' Gets Its Feet Wet on Sci Fi
(Monday, July 12 12:02 AM)
By Kate O'Hare

If an actor can't stand the color green, he or she should avoid working in science fiction. Similarly, aversions to feeling silly, reacting to nothing, or being stuffed in cramped spaces for many hours are not conducive to a career in that genre.

"I've been in the puddle-jumper all day," "Stargate Atlantis" star Rachel Luttrell says. "I'm well-acquainted with the puddle-jumper."

Luttrell -- whose character, Teyla, is a human from a world in a distant galaxy -- has been cooped up in the tight confines of a set that looks like a small spaceship, doing seemingly endless takes of battle scenes against the ships of evil, rapacious creatures called Wraiths, represented by dots on a green-screen background.

In fact, when "Stargate Atlantis" premieres with a two-hour episode on Friday, July 16, on Sci-Fi Channel, there won't be anything reminiscent of the planet Earth. That is, except for pine trees, the inevitable consequence of shooting in the forests around Vancouver, Canada.

For seven seasons now (No. 8 started last week), Sci-Fi's "Stargate SG-1" has been using ancient alien portals to send American military teams through wormholes onto distant worlds -- but always returning back to a base on Earth. "Atlantis" begins on Earth then goes far, far away.

In the opening episode, "SG-1" regulars Gen. Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and archaeologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) head down to Antarctica to help diplomat Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson, replacing Jessica Steen, who played Dr. Weir last season on "SG-1") explore a newly discovered portal and some superpowerful alien hardware.

Before long, Weir and astrophysicist Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett, reprising his "SG-1" role) discover that the portal leads to the fabled lost city of Atlantis, which, as it turns out, is in the Pegasus Galaxy (in the "Stargate" universe, most myths have alien origins).

Reckoning they have enough power for a one-way trip, Weir assembles a team of military personnel and scientists to explore the city. The military contingent includes two pilots, Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), who has a genetic ability to interface with the alien technology (and a problem with authority), and the eager Lt. Aiden Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks). Their commander is Col. Marshall Sumner (guest star Robert Patrick), who isn't nuts about answering to the civilian Weir - who has bigger problems than Sumner's ego.

"Right now," Higginson says, "Weir is so excited and overwhelmed at this opportunity. Eight months ago, she didn't know Stargates existed, so this is brand new to her. She learns that aliens exist, and now she's having a conversation with them.

"It's a huge mental leap. I'm having a hard time doing it in television, I can't imagine doing it in real life."

Once arriving at Atlantis -- a sleek set that combines Frank Lloyd Wright elements into a sort of "Alien Deco" -- Weir and her team learn that Atlantis, which has been slumbering for eons, is not quite equipped to handle the visitors. So, exploration begins immediately for fresh sources of power.

"'Atlantis' does not take place underwater," says executive producer-writer Brad Wright, who also works on "SG-1." "However, to find the city of Atlantis, it is underwater.

"We made up our own Atlantean mythology. If it's based on anything, it's based on the mythology we created in the 'Stargate' universe, of the Ancients. So Atlantis was a city of the Ancients. When we find it, it's pristine and untouched."

The team's first mission brings it into conflict with the pasty, insatiable Wraiths. These galactic baddies with serious dental issues hear about Earth and immediately start thinking of it as an all-you-can-eat buffet.

But Earth likely can rest easy for a little while, because, for practical and story reasons, Wright intends to keep the "Atlantis" crew off in the Pegasus Galaxy for at least the show's first season, during which "SG-1" will play out its eighth and supposedly final season (but never say never).

"We fully expect to find our way back to Earth," Wright says. "We want that door open."

Along with the mythology, "Atlantis" keeps the storytelling style of "SG-1," which includes saving the galaxy one wisecrack at a time. It's a tradition that began in the original "StarGate" movie in 1994, with Kurt Russell as a cranky O'Neil, and continued with Anderson's droll, nonplussed O'Neill in the TV version.

In "Atlantis," the humor comes from the comedy duo of McKay and Scotsman Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion), who can be counted upon to bounce one-liners off each other.

And one never knows, McKay just might wind up also being the romantic hero of the piece.

"I'm not saying there's no romance in 'Atlantis,'" Wright says, "I'm just saying that we're not starting off with presumptions about romances that are going to take place between our core characters. But I think that McKay, secretly or not so secretly, believes that all women want to be with him."




Richard Dean Anderson Fans

July 1st, 2004, 12:42 AM
Is it me or isn't this article supposed to be published until 11 days from now...? :confused:

July 1st, 2004, 07:44 AM
and did they say they found a new portal? does that mean there's a new gate in Antarctica BESIDES the one found there before?

Ugly Pig
July 1st, 2004, 07:59 AM
and did they say they found a new portal? does that mean there's a new gate in Antarctica BESIDES the one found there before?If that is what they mean to imply, then they are wrong.

July 1st, 2004, 08:04 AM
its probably journalistic laziness that produced this misunderstanding.

Ugly Pig
July 1st, 2004, 10:12 AM
its probably journalistic laziness that produced this misunderstanding.
Journalistic laziness/inaccuracy is the root of all evil.

July 1st, 2004, 11:18 AM
I like the note about McKay and Beckett being a comedy duo :D

July 1st, 2004, 12:47 PM
Journalistic laziness/inaccuracy is the root of all evil.

yeah, ESPECIALLY when we're hanging on every word/phrase/inference about this new as-yet-unseen show, trying to fill in gaps and scrutinizing every hint! Guess we can't blame non-Gate writers for a little ignorance here and there.

July 1st, 2004, 04:17 PM
Yes, apparently Zap2It has a secret time paradox heisenberg quantum flux capacitor problem with it's search feature...


July 1st, 2004, 04:30 PM
scotsman...is he seriously a scotsman? is there some funky accent too?

July 1st, 2004, 04:36 PM
Yes, apparently Zap2It has a secret time paradox heisenberg quantum flux capacitor problem with it's search feature...

you left out the word "phase" :P

And from the preview you can hear a few short words, and his accent isn't bad (But I suppose you'd need a Scotish person to judge that really)

Matt G
July 2nd, 2004, 03:51 AM
Any ideas if Paul McGillion is actually Scottish, Canadian, American or what. IMDB doesn't have a clue.

July 2nd, 2004, 09:44 AM
Okay, I'm confused. Is Dr. Beckett going to be a regular, or just a recurring character? Is he just in the series for a two parter?

He's in so few of the cast photos. Is that because he was cast later? Or they wanted to bring him on as more of a "suprise" character? :confused:

Ugly Pig
July 2nd, 2004, 10:18 AM
He wasn't mentioned on the DVD preview either. Interesting.

July 2nd, 2004, 08:43 PM
I read somewhere (SciFi Magazine, maybe?) that Paul actually is Scottish, so doing the accent is getting back to his family roots.

I believe he is a recurring / semi-regular, like Teryl on SG-1. She has been in a few of the SG-1 cast photos.