View Full Version : The dawning of `Atlantis' expands `Stargate' franchise

July 6th, 2004, 05:12 PM
From the San Francisco Chronicle:


The dawning of `Atlantis' expands `Stargate' franchise

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

(07-06) 14:11 PDT VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) --

Brad Wright appears as weathered as the rugged Canadian landscape on this misty morning on the Bridge Studios lot.

"I've never worked so hard in my life," says the co-creator and executive producer of the Sci Fi Channel's "Stargate SG-1," and his fatigue is showing.

For the last six months, he's been spending many a late night writing for both the long-running space series and its much-anticipated spin-off, "Stargate Atlantis," as their season premieres rapidly approached.

In the time it once took to develop 20 episodes of "SG-1," Wright and producing partner Robert Copper are having to write twice as many shows because they're writing for the two series. And they're only halfway done.

But Wright's not complaining, saying, "It's one of the classiest problems you can have."

The eighth season premiere of "Stargate SG-1" -- presented in two consecutive one-hour parts -- airs 9 p.m. EDT Friday and "Stargate Atlantis" debuts with a two-hour movie 9 p.m. EDT July 16. Then on July 23, "SG-1" and "Atlantis" begin their regular schedules (9 p.m. and 10 p.m.).

Based on the 1994 feature film, "Stargate SG-1" was acquired by the Sci Fi Channel two years ago after five seasons on Showtime.

Richard Dean Anderson, who rose to TV fame on the popular "MacGyver" series, stars as Jack O'Neill, leader of a covert military commando squad. Also on the crew: archaeologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), astrophysicist Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and alien warrior Teal'c (Christopher Judge).

With "zat guns" at the ready, and plenty of computer-generated effects, the "SG-1" team steps through the shimmering Stargate each week to be transported around the universe to fight the Goa'uld, evil overlords who kidnap and enslave humans.

In the season premiere, Anderson's O'Neill will take over as commander of the Stargate program. The actor will have less screen time this season as he reduces his work schedule to spend more time with his 5-year-old daughter back home in California.

Anderson won't say whether he'll sign on for a ninth season, but "the likelihood of my coming back is very slim," he says before leaving the cavernous "SG-1" soundstage for one of his frequent trips to Los Angeles.

"I harbor a little guilt about my situation here," he continues. "It becomes a mad scramble to get production done to accommodate my schedule. But it was the only way that I could come back for an eighth season."

What's probably of more concern to "Stargate" fans right now is whether O'Neill and Carter will ever become an item.

"I think she should just go fishing with him," Tapping says about her character. "He's always asked her, and she's always said no. So I think she should say yes, and let people imagine what they will," she laughs. "And they will."

Item or not, there are no plans for O'Neill and Carter to be involved in "Stargate Atlantis," which centers on a team of civilians journeying via the Stargate to the ancient city of Atlantis in the unexplored Pegasus galaxy.

Led by Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir, and co-starring Joe Flanigan, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett and Rachel Luttrell, the explorers have only enough energy to power a one-way trip through the Stargate.

Not only must they contend with unknown technologies, they encounter a sinister new enemy, the vampirelike Wraith, which they have unknowingly unleashed on a civilization that has so far managed to avoid the life-suckers.

"We just keep showing up on planets and screwing up the worlds with all the best intentions," says David Hewlett, who reprises his "SG-1" role as Dr. Rodney McKay on the new series. "That's the human dilemma in itself, and we see that in all different facets of society."

But for Wright and his creative crew, the real challenge of "Atlantis" is twofold. "It's gotta be different, and it's gotta be the same," he says.

"'Atlantis' will be more like an exploration to Antarctica," Wright continues. "We're living on our own resources and our survival depends on our wits, and there's fun to that and challenges to that that are slightly different than `SG-1."'

Nor is "Atlantis" resting on the laurels of "SG-1" for its success.

"We know that there's a built-in fan base for people who are going to be interested in finding out what this show is all about," says Luttrell, who plays alien ally Tyla. "But if this show doesn't hold its weight on its own, then it doesn't matter."

Actually, American audiences are just catching on to this global TV phenomenon, which has long been a hit in France, Germany and England. MGM, which produces the series, sells more "SG-1" DVDs overseas than James Bond DVDs.

"It's really odd to be in the eighth year of a show and we're still talked about like a new show," says Judge, who after seven seasons as the bald alien is getting a mixed response to his new short Afro on the show's numerous fan sites.

"It's kind of risky, but I want to start humanizing Teal'c more, because that is the next logical step in his evolution," Judge says.

Despite Judge's hair-raising surprise, the show has remained amazingly consistent over the years.

"By being a smaller show, by being on cable, something that does not have the glare of what network shows have to deal with ... you get a chance to make your show," says Cooper.

So could another "Stargate" spin-off be in the offing?

"Like Stargate Miami?" quips Sci Fi Executive Vice President Mark Stern. "I don't think this is the last you'll see of an incarnation of `Stargate,"' he says. "It's definitely our crown jewel."




Richard Dean Anderson Fans

July 6th, 2004, 05:37 PM
Maybe a Stargate series from the enemy's perspective....ooooh....that would be cool :)

Anthro Girl
July 6th, 2004, 07:35 PM
Nice to see Stargate getting lots of publicity, SG1 and Atlantis! I'm always amazed to see how popular it is because I'm convinced I have no sense of perspective. I've been watching since the beginning on Showtime, so it's always popular in my house! ;) I'm also glad to see Brad Wright "back", although I know he never left. He's probably been buried under mounds of paper for the past year.