13-4-13: Stargate SG-1 Season Three

The Team in Season Three

Season Three of Stargate SG-1: It’s classic and is often cited as the number-one favorite season for many long-time fans.

Join us as we continue with Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) by revisiting Season Three with Brad Wright, Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, and Christopher Judge as they tell us what it was like for them during this critical season in the show’s history…


SG-1 Season Three


DVDs or Hulu (US only), take your pick and sit down and enjoy Season Three with the rest of us. Then, make sure to vote in the poll:


Brad Wright


From “Perfect 10” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, issue #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):

Sha're

“I have to say, season three was difficult for me. We were still trying to continue the ‘Earth Culture of the Week’ thing that we had begun in season one—you know, where this is the lost culture of X and the god of whatever… and it was difficult to maintain that kind of structure. And it was also Jonathan Glassner’s last year. You could sense that he wanted to go home. So there was this kind of shift that took place during the course of that season.

“It’s actually not my favorite season in terms of the shows. Some of them are quite good, but some of them are not so good. There was not a sense, I don’t think, at least, of a unifying theme that went through the whole season. A lot of storylines ended—Jonathan ended the Daniel/Sha’re story [in “Forever in a Day”], and maybe it was a little early to end that. But it didn’t really matter, because we knew we were doing a fourth season. That was exciting.”

From “Gatecon 2000: Producers’ Panel” (Sept. 2000):

Added scene in URGO

“It was a joy to have Dom DeLuise on the set. It was a joy to watch dailies every day where Peter’s going, ‘Uh, no, no, Dad! Uh, just say this line because it is in the script!’ I have never gone into the editing room with more film. Richard Dean Anderson said to me, ‘There’s footage in this thing that I don’t think was… I think Dom did it back at the hotel with Peter, because I don’t remember being there!’ I think when I was finished cutting that one, it was a minute and a half short! So we added another scene. You remember the scene where Samantha is walking, and pretending Urgo is there? With the Doctor and Hammond? That was added afterwards.

Jack visits Daniel

“Let me answer the appendicitis question seriously. I got a private phone call at 5:30 in the morning from John Smith, our producer, with the news that Michael [Shanks] had a ruptured appendix, and we were all very worried about him first. And then when we came into the office, the issue was, how do we finish the series? We were in the second to last episode, it was ‘Crystal Skull,’ and he was obviously the lead in that episode. And I came up with this crazy, half-baked alien thing that was happening to him, and Robert came into the office and I pitched him the story, and Robert said, ‘Why don’t we just say he had appendicitis?’ And I think that the scene that Jack and Daniel did [in ‘Nemesis’]… they ad libbed a lot of that.”


Richard Dean Anderson


From Gate Crasher in SFX (Oct. 1999):

A Hundred Days

“Without giving too much away, it’s safe to say that each member of the SG-1 team and their associates confronts a series of personal issues which allows us to look deeper into our characters and what makes them do the things they do.

“I’ve always tried to shy away from standing on any soap-box or doing any moral plays or anything of that ilk, although Jonathan and Brad might have their own ideas about that and may be working to some kind of future game plan. Certainly I’ve tried to make O’Neill as human and as fallible as the next guy.

“Mike [Greenburg] and I have been friends and partners for a long time. We worked together on my past three movies and on a series and wanted to work together again, so joining forces on this project just made sense.

Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill in Season Three

“Having a relatively good idea of what the overview should look like and being generally comfortable with the editing and fine-tuning, I don’t find there’s much of a problem combining the acting and producing. I like working with actors in any capacity and find I can bridge the gap and be the liaison between what’s going on in one camp and helping out with the other. Plus I have too much creative/nervous energy to be restricted to just one function. On a daily basis, I have to be responsible to production. After all, the show has to be made. But on the other hand I want to make sure the actors are fine with the material they have to work with and enjoy what they are being asked to do.

“Mike and I work basically in an editorial capacity, with Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, our fellow executive producers leading the writers of the show. As scripts come in, we’ll get some notes on there and we’ll go with the best idea. If any difficulties emerge and it all gets quiet then we get together, they listen to our notes and we’ll work it out from there.

“I hate to sound like a living cliché but what we’re doing is not brain surgery. However I do want it to be as good as possible, and I think that requires me to be objective sometimes and make some decisions based on my knowledge of what a budget is all about and what my responsibilities are in terms of the overall project. Most decisions are pretty logical though. It’s not that difficult.”

From “Best of Both Worlds” in Dreamwatch (Apr. 2001):

Learning Curve

“We dealt with [O’Neill’s loss of his son] so psychologically we could have some closure, a bit of mending for the character so he could move on. I still have that as a background, and it gives Jack a reference point with kids that he does come into contact with, because of that loss. I support going in that direction with O’Neill because I love working with kids. Sometimes kid actors can have an unfortunate reputation, but we’ve been very lucky in getting talented and level-headed children.”

From “TV Guide Online” at AOL (June 29, 2000):

Nemesis

“There can’t be a more obvious cliffhanger than the finale with the bug on the debris. Martin Wood, who directed the finale, ‘Nemesis,’ did a phenomenal job. You just don’t see that level of production value in a lot of TV sci-fi. You have to make a commitment to making it look good technically, or else it just looks cheesy. I think that’s why Stargate gets set apart from most sci-fi. We’re not dealing with conjecture about where things are going in this world now, but we’re dealing with forces from without. What we don’t have to do is guess how our Earth is going to be. We can use current events and how they would be affected by attacks from another world.

“‘Nemesis’—I had fun, because it was good story, and well produced.

“It became a joke to me [on how many rounds we used in the finale], because first of all, here we are fighting these high-tech Legos… But, the joke to me was that we were using semi-automatic rifles to knock them down. And it was so funny because it was such, pardon the pun, overkill. And with me as somewhat of a pacifist, now playing with some justification a military guy… It was a blast.”


Michael Shanks


From “Loss of Innocence” in TV Zone Special #38 (Aug. 2000):

“When I look at some of the stuff we did in the first season it’s hard to believe that it’s the same group of people, and that includes myself. It really hasn’t been all that long time-wise, yet so much ground has been covered in terms of a TV series. It’s amazing to see how much our characters have grown.

Daniel Jackson

“As for Daniel Jackson, I think I’ve definitely made a break from James Spader’s interpretation of the role in the Stargate feature film. That was the initial niche that my character was put into. Rick was doing such a different rendition of Colonel Jack O’Neill than Kurt Russell did in the movie, and since James Spader’s portrayal of Daniel was successful, it was decided I would stick fairly close to what he did. This way, viewers wouldn’t have to get used to too many changes right from the start.

“Since then I’ve taken the character and made it more my own. I started off playing him with this childlike innocence and then as each season passed the writers and I have delved into darker aspects of his persona. Daniel has become somewhat less, I hate to say half, but I guess somewhat less innocent. However, he’s still very passionate about what he does.

“Some of Daniel’s innocence and naïveté was bound to wear off after a while. We can’t continue to play our roles the same way all the time. I think it’s a common theme in television that viewers become attached to a certain character on a show and it becomes so successful that no one wants to change it. Well, you have to remember Stargate SG-1 isn’t a film, it’s a TV series. As such, our characters experience new things every week that affect their lives and personalities in some way. After all, that’s what happens to people daily in real life, right? So I’m thrilled that Daniel and the others have evolved since day one.”

From “Out of Space” in XPose Special #11 (Apr. 2000):

Legacy

“This show covers so many different routes, the dramatic stories, the comedic stories… it’s hard for me to say that I got to do everything because just when I thought I’d covered about everything, the writers would come up with something a little bit special. Generally, I think we’re still in the big ‘home run’ sort of stories where we take the ball and run with it, but I’m pretty happy with the way things have gone for Daniel, especially last year [in Season Three] with the lovely mix of drama and fun.

“I would have to say that ‘Legacy’ was the most challenging for me and also the most rewarding from an acting point of view.”

From “Walk Like an Egyptian” in Frontier (1999):

“You have to be prepared to expose yourself. That’s basically the job description. The willingness to go to those places always has to be there. The ability varies, depending on how tired your are, who you’re working with. There are levels of comfort, and the family of people you’re working with. You have to be able to make the scene work, no matter what.”

From “Passion Player” in Sci Fi TV Magazine #9 (Feb. 2000):

Forever in a Day

“[‘Forever in a Day’] was very difficult, personally and professionally, to go through in terms of establishing the stakes for both the character and the actor. It’s funny because many fans reacted to it in a negative way. Not because it wasn’t our typical fare. It doesn’t have a happy ending. It was very sad, very dark. It’s very lonely. It was a risk on the writer’s (Jonathan Glassner) part and it was done in a way that’s not completely cut and dry. You have to pay attention to almost every frame of that episode to really understand what’s going on. I really like the fact that they didn’t dumb it down for audiences. It bothered people for seemingly the right reasons. They weren’t even evaluating it (in terms) of television production, but more from a story point of view, and that to me is very gratifying.”

From “Out of Space” in XPose Special #11 (Apr. 2000):

Urgo

“But the episode I enjoyed the most was ‘Urgo’ with Dom DeLuise. It was such a rare opportunity to get to work with someone who has such a prestigious background… someone that I grew up watching on television and who was so quick off the mark and so sharp. We really had to work hard to keep up with him. [He] is a consummate entertainer as well as a truly unique individual. The off-camera stuff was hilarious. Dom had everyone cracking up at his behavior. It was the most fun we’d had in the three years of the show. Fortunately, we have very good editors who eliminated all the scenes where we laughed out loud.”

From “Loss of Innocence” in TV Zone Special #38 (Aug. 2000):

“Daniel. for all intents [and] purposes, has been booted around the block. His parents died, his foster parents, well, we don’t really know what happened to them because they’re never spoken of, his wife is and the Harsesis child is gone. You think, ‘Jeez, the poor guy.’ Something positive had to happen in Daniel’s personal life, hence the discovery of that one last thread of family. Of course. getting him and granddad together wasn’t easy.

Daniel and his grandfather

“‘Crystal Skull’ actually evolved from a script that [executive producer] Michael Greenburg wrote involving Jack O’Neill’s past. When Rick decided that he didn’t want to go down that road, Michael approached me about it. I had been asking the writers to do a story about the myth of the crystal skull for a while, so I suggested it to Michael. He and I worked together to incorporate that angle into his script, which he changed to focus on Daniel Jackson. I thought it worked out nicely and I had fun playing out the emotional aspects of the story.”

From “Passion Player” in Sci Fi TV Magazine #9 (Feb. 2000):

“There has been a maturing process going on.

“[Daniel] has certainly been put through the absolute wringer—with his parents dying and his foster parents being a mystery. Then there’s a storyline at the season’s end about his grandfather not really wanting him and his wife dying in season three. Well, it is difficult for me, given all that, as well as all the pure experience he has accumulated, to continue to play him with rosy colored eyes. There had to be a bit of an edge developing.

“He’s a bit more humorously sarcastic. Whether that can be attributing to my working with Richard Dean Anderson or Daniel working with Jack O’Neill, who knows? There’s also more realism and the understanding that not everything is going to work out the way it might.”


Amanda Tapping


From “What’s That Noise?” in XPose (Apr. 2000):

Carter gets promoted

“I think any show needs time to find its feet and I think with us, probably our first six or seven episodes were not that great because we were still finding our feet as the characters, the writers were still trying to figure out what the best format to use was and [were] figuring out the relationships between the team members. So when you compare it to halfway through season two or season three, in a way it’s almost a totally different show. I think probably the critics were right in a sense, but ultimately I think our production values throughout have been outstanding; the special effects have been amazing.

“The relationships are stronger, the characters themselves are stronger. Because of the [series] bible, certain integral things have come up in the arc, and we now have so much more to draw from. The interconnectedness of it all, it takes a while to build that up. Because we have so many dangling threads, we have a wealth of stuff to draw on.

SG-1 in 'Learning Curve'

“You know what’s really amazing is even before the pilot, at the auditions, Michael [Shanks], Christopher Judge and myself had no idea who each other were, or who was going to end up getting the parts, but we sort of hung out together and had a really good time. All through the first season was really amazing, then in the middle of the second season we started sibling rivalries and I thought it was interesting because it was just like a family. Now we’ve just finished the third season and we’re back where we started, just really enjoying each other’s company. And even when things were sort of rocky, we laughed every single day.

Carter kills Seth

“I think the first season was pretty much exploratory and as the characters have grown and as the relationships have grown, the easiness of the relationships between the characters is more apparent and out of that the humor is bred, and the ability to be silly with each other, just like you would with your co-workers. Our show is kind of irreverent at times, but that’s, I think, because we’re human beings. We’re not like some shows, where it’s a very distinct mission. We don’t know what we’re gonna come up against every time; we do tend to make a lot of mistakes when we go to these other planets. SG-1 has not always been the most diplomatic unit.”

From “Officer at Ease” in Sci Fi TV (Oct. 1999):

“[For the writers] to create a believable, intelligent woman who knows so much about astrophysics is amazing. But also they’ve allowed me some really nice emotional beats. I think probably the biggest challenge is actually being on a series, trying to keep this character fresh and interesting every day.

Alternate Carter in 'Point of View'

“They don’t allow characters to stagnate. They really want to keep drawing new stuff out of them. And they’re allowing our voices to be heard as actors, in terms of where we think they would go and what we think they would do.

“We’re confronted with the alternate reality Carter. What would have happened if she hadn’t gone into the military? Who would she have fallen in love with? It was a really interesting thing to flesh out, but it also made Sam aware of the possibilities as well. Everything that they give me opens her up more.

Sam and Jacob Carter

“I love that they’ve written this Jacob character, and I love playing it with [actor] Carmen Argenziano. That has only helped her open up, made her warmer.”

From “What’s That Noise?” in XPose (Apr. 2000):

“Y’know, O’Neill’s got a wife and a son who passed away, and Teal’c’s got a wife and son on another planet, and for years Daniel for years has been pining away for Sha’re. Carter just has her dad, and has no sort of love interest in her life, has never been married, doesn’t have children. So I’ve always thought I was the one unconnected to anything. I’ve mentioned that, and I think that’s why the writers introduced the character of my father. As an actor you kind of want to be able to do everything, and I have had enough action episodes and good fight sequences and good running through the woods with my gun stuff. It’s nice once in a while to have a really emotional story, just as an actor, to be able to spread yourself that way.

The team less Daniel with Thor in 'Nemesis'

“Richard is actually quite adamant about not doing cliffhangers… so we did one anyway! Michael had an emergency appendectomy the day before we were to start shooting the final episode. And so we actually had to rewrite it. They wrote it into the script, and then we had to rewrite the rest of the episode. Basically, all they did to rewrite it was to give me Michael’s lines, so I sent him a card in the hospital saying [in a threatening voice], ‘Thanks a lot! Get better.’ … We were all bugging the executive producers and writers, saying ‘What’s gonna happen, what’s going on?’ They won’t tell us a thing. I think [it’s] because they realize that ultimately anyone could get the information out of us if they tried really hard: ‘since you asked so nicely, okay!'”


Christopher Judge


From “Christopher Judge: Profile on Teal’c” Special Feature in Season Two DVD Set (2002):

“My character is—he’s all those heroes throughout history that have bucked the system and that have wanted or have desires of making a change and have actively pursued it. When I read the pilot, I was so excited to play this part because Teal’c is a rebel in a society that doesn’t give room for rebels—it’s very regimented—you follow the orders of these Goa’ulds, and for him to take that step and veer off from the status quo, I just thought that that opened a world of possibilities.

Teal'c's tattoo is seen as a mark of the Devil

“This brand [the forehead tattoo] is actually worn by the race that I am, known as the Jaffa, which signifies the imperial guard—the Imperial Serpent Guard—and we are in service to the Goa’uld—the gods, for a lack of a better term—and the gold in it symbolizes that I am the First Prime, which is the leader of all the Serpent Guards. And these are actually branded on us when we are young and as we go through the different ranks, they are different colors.

“When I defect, I mean I can discard all of my armaments—all the apparel that I’ve taken—but once I’ve decided to leave the Serpent Guard, this is the one aspect of that that I am left with and that I will carry for the rest of my life, even though I have broken away from the Serpent Guard.

Teal'c takes command in 'Rules of Engagement'

“My character is a 97-year-old Jaffa, and I carry, once again, I carry the larval form of the gods and through my 97 years, I have traveled in between many worlds that we have placed these Stargates on. And I have seen many different life forms, different species of life. I interject my knowledge of life that I know about, along with the scientific knowledge of Carter and the historical knowledge of Daniel Jackson and just the kind of tongue-in-cheek knowledge of O’Neill, and that kind of makes up the whole complete team.

“Well, a lot of the times it can be a burden, because I can see where the human race is straying off the course and I can interject little tidbits here and there.

The two Teal'cs face-to-face in 'Point of View'

“I think that when you use situations on a parallel world that mirror situations on Earth, then maybe that’ll make people stop and think about the wars we fight and what they’re for and the way we treat people and what is the result of how we interact with people and the thoughts that we think of other races or other cultures or other religions.

“This show has such a great humor in it. Not only the humor that is interspersed just between the differences of our characters, but just seeing just some of the rituals and customs of other worlds that we go to that we think are strange or what have you. And just the rituals that we have that they think are strange and just the out-and-out hilarity in some of the situations and just the way we interact with each other.”

From “FACTS Q&A” (Oct. 17, 2009):

Teal'c in 'Urgo'

“[The most challenging scenes to do were] when Don DeLuise was there. ‘Cause Dom DeLuise made it his mission to make me laugh. And no matter who he was talking to, he would always direct whatever he was saying at me. And make a funny face, or, I was trying to say my lines, he would literally step off camera [and make funny faces] … it was just his mission. And that’s why I’m in that episode so little, is because I couldn’t keep a straight face. So I’m there very little. That was the hardest one.”


Solutions


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