View Full Version : SG-1 Spawns Spin-off

July 8th, 2004, 01:43 PM
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:


Last update: July 8, 2004 at 11:54 AM

'Stargate SG-1' launches its eighth season by spawning a spinoff
Anita Gates, New York Times
July 9, 2004 STARGATE0709

Finally, an age-old mystery is solved: what happened to the lost continent of Atlantis.

The island's people, threatened by an awesome enemy, deliberately submerged it beneath the sea. That's sort of what the Greeks believed -- except that it happened in another galaxy. In 2004, when a group of well-meaning Earth explorers visit the galaxy of Pegasus, they cause the force field surrounding Atlantis to collapse and the city to rise, after many millennia, to the surface. The found city becomes a haven for Athosians, one of several cultures that have managed to survive under the constant threat of the Wraith, vampire-mouthed zombie types in leather coats with waist-length straight white or punk-red hair and an appetite for the human life force.

Thus "Stargate SG-1," the sleeper Sci Fi Channel hit, introduces "Stargate Atlantis." The new series, which begins next Friday, is partly set up in "SG-1's" two-hour season premiere at 8 p.m. today, but it is not a spinoff in the old-fashioned "Rhoda"-"Frasier"-"Joey" sense. It's a brand extension: same formula, new cast, new location.

Similar franchises -- such as the "Law and Order" and "CSI" series -- have worked, so the "Stargate Atlantis" cast members should be feeling awfully sure of themselves. They say no.

"Actors are never confident about anything," said Torri Higginson, who plays Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the serious-minded new head of the Stargate program.

Joe Flanigan, who plays Maj. John Sheppard, the irreverent ranking military officer, is equally uncertain.

"Television is going through these tectonic changes," he said. "I don't know what exactly is successful and why."

Unlike his stars, Brad Wright, co-creator of both "Stargate" series, can relax a little, now that "SG-1" is entering its eighth season and has been declared a worldwide phenomenon. (It is broadcast in 64 countries with more than 17 million viewers a week, is a leader in syndication in the United States and is reportedly the No. 1 show in Britain, France and Germany with the 18-to-44 set.)

"People are finding 'Stargate' now in a new way," Wright said. "They think: 'They haven't gone away. OK, for God's sake, I'll watch it.' "

"It" began with the 1994 feature film "Stargate," which starred James Spader as an Egyptologist, Kurt Russell as a military leader and Jaye Davidson as the sun god Ra, who was not a nice guy. Wright and Jonathan Glassner borrowed the premise -- a series of wormhole-dependent "stargates" built by an ancient race as portals from Earth to distant galaxies -- and turned it into an hourlong series on Showtime with Richard Dean Anderson in the Kurt Russell role. It moved to Sci Fi five seasons later.

One reason for the success of "SG-1" might be its lack of solemnity, which "Atlantis" plans to carry on.

"Part of it's the humor," said Wright, who got his sci-fi start as a writer and producer on the 1990s version of "The Outer Limits."

In an old "SG-1" episode, when someone uses the phrase "beam it up," the alien -- the alien -- replies: "What am I? Scotty?"

As Wright points out, both "Stargate" series take place today, not in the future. Sheppard, we learn, got into trouble for disobeying a direct order while serving in Afghanistan.

Sheppard and Weir are primed to be the Kirk and Spock (emotional vs. logical) as well as the Mulder and Scully (skeptic vs. believer) of the new series. Flanigan even looks a little like David Duchovny from some angles. And Higginson, like Duchovny's "X-Files" co-star, Gillian Anderson, is attractive in an understated way and wears a lot of business suits. So do they, uh, like each other?

"We find that the audience perceives sexual tension when we didn't see it," Wright said. "You don't even have to plant it."

(Well, surely, there were some meaningful looks exchanged by Sheppard and Teyla, the Athosians' beautiful leader, played by Rachel Luttrell.)

The lost-continent myth just happens to fit into the "Stargate" scheme of things. Since the beginning, "SG-1" characters have referred to "the ancients," the gatebuilders who established the network of stargates throughout the universe. Those ancients, the producers decided, would turn out to be the people of Atlantis.

Higginson, who likes the fact that science fiction allows open treatment of sensitive political issues, sees a widespread appeal in the Atlantis myth, especially considering the "very selfish culture" we live in.

"There's a romantic idea that there was a past, there was a wisdom that was lost," she said. "I think we hold on to the idea that there's a wisdom within us, and we've just lost it."

And for some fans, science fiction is the place to imagine finding it again.




Richard Dean Anderson Fans

Anthro Girl
July 8th, 2004, 01:49 PM
Okay, not the greatest (or most accurate) article I've ever seen, but hey...at least it's some publicity, right? ;) Thanks, Morjana!

July 8th, 2004, 02:12 PM
July 8th at 8 pm is not when it airs. Its July 9th at 9 pm...

July 9th, 2004, 01:02 AM
Okay, not the greatest (or most accurate) article I've ever seen, but hey...at least it's some publicity, right? ;)

Funny, this is one of the many articles that I enjoyed most (yes, not very accurate at some points, but hey... ;))