Just want to reiterate how much I love this thread!
Many thanks to MajorSal for starting it!
The following are just a few of the Sam Carter/Amanda Tapping scenes that stand out for me (both for the character of SC and the acting of AT).
1. The scene with Martouf in the episode The Tokra (part 1) where she is sitting on the sand dune with her knees pulled up (talking about Jolinar and schizophrenia) -- I can still see this scene in my mind. As many of you have noted in previous postings, this was a stellar perfomance.
2. The scene near the end of the episode in Singularity where Sam tries to leave Cassandra but can't.
3. The scene in Death Knell where we first see Sam hiding from Anubis' drone -- AT had no lines, and the scene was very short, but AT's acting was exceptional -- as Chopin Gal stated, what AT can do with a facial expression! AT portrayed the exhaustion and relief so perfectly!
4. The scene at the end of Death Knell where O'Neill asks her if she wants to get up (stupid question, btw - he should have started assessing her injuries). AT stated that she was uncomfortable with the way that this scene was written... it could easily come across as the weak woman collapsing against the strong male saviour (a cliched ending if there ever was one). So, I was blown away with how AT played the scene - she definitely did not come across as the stereotypical emotional woman who falls on the male... no, AT claimed that scene as she played the exhausted soldier - with no emphasis on her sex. She simply played it so believably!
5. The scenes at the beginning of Space Race... where Sam wants to join the race - for the fun of it.
6. The episode ‘Grace’ surprised me. Surprised and impressed me.
I have been watching and reading science fiction for over 30 years (scary how fast the years pass), and the episode ‘Grace’ goes beyond standard TV science fiction.
First, I had heard and read synopses of the show… Carter is stranded alone on the Prometheus… and has some time to think about her life. Now, stranding main characters on a ship is an old TV sci fi plot device, so, to be honest, the episode sounded fairly… boring. But then I finally got to watch ‘Grace’ (on the DVDs) – and I was stunned at how well the episode was constructed, filmed and acted. The story was never boring… and in fact, the episode seemed to reach the end all too quickly. I have actually watched this episode three times now (and that was a first for me with a TV show episode), and I see more commendable attributes with each viewing!
Amanda Tapping’s acting was simply stellar - five-star ! She truly acts – she doesn’t just stand in the scenes, say her lines and let the scene play out around her (as many TV actors do). She put forth an exceptional performance worthy of the cinema or theatre – and she was believable – and that believability, that veracity is what is so outstanding. And AT does this all the time, not just in Grace. And it's what makes AT stand out head and shoulders above almost all other actors.
Of note, AT deserves special commendation for the following scenes:
(and please note that these are only a few of what could be included)
Sam to Daniel: Were you this annoying when you were ascended?
(an absolutely wonderful line, perfectly delivered by AT).
Daniel: I don't know, depends on who you ask. I thought I had a certain je ne sais quoi. Timing was so so.
(The interaction between Sam and Daniel was wonderfully played by both actors.)
Daniel: Look, you just need some help, that's all. Can't you just try to go along with this?
Sam: You're me talking to.. me?
(another perfect delivery by AT).
Daniel: Well I think you're going about this all wrong.
Sam: This is helping?
(and again another perfect delivery)
When Sam fights for consciousness and slides down the wall while ‘Daniel’ is trying to get her to consider the possible sentience of the cloud.
(superbly acted by AT… and that slide down the wall looked painful)
Sam wakes up on the floor: This is real. This is real.
(excellently acted by Amanda Tapping)
The entire scene with Jacob.
Sam watching the bubbles at the end and AT does a fantastic job of showing on her face when the inspiration hits her… when she connects the bubbles to a possible way to get out of the nebula/cloud. Again, her facial expressions and reactions are simply believable and, somehow honest – and that is the very essence of an exceptional actor – one who can act and yet it doesn’t seem like they are acting.
Grace: What you looking at?
Sam: It's complicated.
Grace: Try me.
Sam: I'm gonna try and save myself with a bubble.
Sam: The hyperdrive won't fully engage because of the cloud but maybe it doesn't have to. If I can dial down the power flow to the hyperdrive emitter theoretically I should be able to cause a partial shift into hyperspace, essentially taking the ship out of the cloud's space time. Hopefully just enough to eliminate its effects on the sub light engines.
(Sam talking technobabble to herself… and her enthusiasm showing through – beautiful. AT plays this with such positive enthusiasm that it’s hard not to smile along with her)
The writing for this episode deserves 4-stars .
The ensuing story effectively interwove Sam’s efforts (and voice-overs) with Sam’s periods of unconsciousness, her hallucinations… and the little girl citing the words to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star… along with a couple of looks at what how the search was progressing from the SGC-side. The incorporation of Teal’c, Daniel, Grace, Jacob and Jack into Sam’s hallucinations was wonderfully executed and integrated.
Grace was actually a complicated, yet ‘tightly’ woven episode. There were so many different threads and perspectives… the writing, directing and acting were amazing! For a TV show? Almost unbelievable – this type of quality is so rare that it’s almost non-existent. Grace is not standard one-hour TV-episode fare.
Just a few of the exceptional lines and scenes are below (in addition to the ones cited earlier):
The action and story set-up at the beginning was wonderfully thought-out and filmed. Lots of action, suspense, science fiction storyline and good integration of secondary characters
Teal’c: That's not all. Everything may not be as it seems.
Sam: Well thank you but the fact that I'm talking to someone who's not really here kind of speaks to that.
Daniel: Hey! Have I told you my latest theory yet? It's really cool. Lose something?
Sam: Did you see a…
Daniel: Little girl?
(Love the dry humor)
Sam: The cloud is alive?
Daniel: Yeah, it's a sentient being like feelings, memories. Space born alien entity if you will.
Sam: That's crazy.
(The different theories presented via the personas of Teal’c and Daniel were nicely executed… in character for T&D, but also right down ‘plausible science fiction plot lines’… great writing to have these conversations show how Sam is trying to work through the possibilities).
Jacob: I know it sounds corny but you get to an age, you get to an age where you think of everything you did wrong as a parent. Don't take this the wrong way.
Sam: I know, I don't look so good.
(Love the dry humor and that these folks don’t take themselves too seriously)
Jacob: I wanted so many things for you Sam. And look what it's brought you instead.
Sam: Sure, the massive headache really takes the edge off it all.
(very effective gallows humor)
Sam: Dad, I am happy. I've seen and done things most people couldn't even dream of. I have an incredible life.
Jacob: And yet you're alone.
Sam: Well lately the dating scene's been a little stale but then again I am marooned on a space ship.
(Loved this last line)
Sam: I'd let you go right now if I knew.
Jack: That easy?
Sam: I didn't say it would be easy.
Jack: Will you guys shut up? Let her work.
(And Jack trusts her – an exceptional line)
These excerpts from the Grace transcript are from the Stargate SG-1 Transcript website
I deliberately tried to stay away from most of the ship/non-ship lines or implications as that would spark numerous additional pages on a topic outside the scope of this thread. My feelings on J/S ship are fairly well portrayed in my fanfics such as 'Come Fly With Me' and'What Will It Take' (all available on Fanfiction.net, Heliopolis and Gateworld).
If you like Carter-centered fanfic, I have written
'Nine' - about a young nine-year old Sam at the present-day SGC
'Overtime' - Sam as the heroic, competent soldier
'A Beautiful Mind' - The NID get their hands on Sam.
I have other recommendations for Carterfic at http://www.fanfiction.net/u/599721/
If you have a chance, please check out Chopin Gal's newest fic 'Head Trip' at Fanfiction.net.