Our Thirteen Weeks for Thirteen Years (13-4-13) series continues as we now visit Stargate SG-1 during Season Seven. Amazingly enough, the show didn’t make it to the cover of the weekly television magazine TV Guide until this season (in the July 26-August 1, 2003, issue)!
Just like with Season Six before, the producers thought that Season Seven would be their last, but the ratings were so impressive after the show’s premiere in the summer of 2003 that the Sci Fi Channel announced their renewal for Season Eight after only four episodes had aired. What was even more exciting was that the Sci Fi Channel also wanted 20 episodes of the spin-off Stargate Atlantis to run alongside the new season.
Executive producer Robert C. Cooper took over as showrunner for SG-1, while Brad Wright put the groundwork in place to launch Stargate Atlantis. Amanda Tapping made her directorial debut, helming returning cast member Michael Shanks’ first script, “Resurrection,” while Christopher Judge penned his second script for the show, “Birthright.”
Joseph Mallozzi began writing his Production Diary during this season and gave Solutions first-publishing rights. Starting with the pitching of story ideas, this journal gives a detailed look at the writing and production process from the inside.
In the episode “Homecoming,” Daniel Jackson returned to the SG-1 team and Jonas Quinn returned to his homeworld as a leader, taking with him his year of experience in continuing Jackson’s work while living on Earth. As a result, Quinn’s actor, Corin Nemec, was not part of the regular cast this season. Solutions got to do a Q&A with him in 2003, and when asked which of the actors he most enjoyed working with, he revealed, “Michael Shanks. I really enjoyed working with him. I always enjoy working with Chris. And Amanda is great. The two of us really work well together. We had some great moments. Rick is obviously good to work with. But I really enjoyed working with Michael and would love to work with him some more. I feel really comfortable with him.”
Season Seven is when Hugo-nominated “Heroes” appeared. This episode is often referred to by the actors—even to this day—as their favorite and among the best that SG-1 had to offer.
SG-1 Season Seven
Watch the episodes and the come back and vote in our poll!
From “Perfect 10” in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: The Official Magazine, issue #17 (Jul./Aug. 2007):
“For me, that was the year that Robert Cooper really came into his own as an executive producer and proved himself to be a showrunner. I stepped back and took a number of weeks off in the summer just because I have to do that every now and then. I have a family and I wanted to spend some time with them—this can be the type of job that consumes you a little too much. But having said that, I wrote some episodes and stayed very much a part of the show and helped Robert with all the problems that arise when you’re in charge, so I was probably on the phone every day. When I tell my wife I took most of that year off, she says, ‘No you didn’t!’
“The highlight for me of course is ‘Lost City.’ I wanted to do that story so badly as a feature, and I can’t even say that what you saw as ‘Lost City’ was the feature, because it isn’t. It evolved so much, because it had to. It was just a natural transformation. It was, I think, one of our strongest episodes, one of our strongest two hours.
“‘Heroes’ is really good. What makes that remarkable is something that the audience could never know, and that is that it was written as a means of saving money. It was supposed to be a second-unit episode that was written and directed in fits and starts over many weeks, if not months. It was not supposed to be this epic reportage of this character in a two-hour episode. It was supposed to be one hour. And when he [director Andy Mikita] put it together, he realized he had a lot of film. We looked at each other, and said at the same time, ‘So, two parter!’ In a way, the additional scenes made it more epic than it was ever going to be, and therefore quite strong. But those are some pretty good pieces of TV right there.”
Robert C. Cooper
From “Stargate SG-1 Finale Focus: Robert C. Cooper, Showrunner” at M2Tv (Jun. 21, 2007):
“I sort of started here at Stargate.
“I went to film school at York University in Toronto and studied directing/writing. I worked for Northstar Entertainment. Their claim to fame was Prom Night. I wrote a bunch [of] low budget features for them. It was an education. I got stuff produced. It was nothing to brag about. They were all schlocky horror, teen movies, but being involved in the process was a real eduction. I got a couple of television gigs in Toronto and ended up writing for about a half season of Psi Factor (with Dan Aykroyd). That introduced me to television.
“I started out as story editor on season one [of Stargate SG-1]. I sat in on the read through at the pilot as a babe in the woods and I owe Brad Wright a great debt of gratitude. I also shake the tree and grab what I want. Jonathan Glassner wasn’t interesting in staying in Vancouver for long and I knew there would be openings, so I measured the office. [a quip.] Season five I became executive producer and took over showrunning duties for season seven.”
From “Still Going Strong” at RDAnderson.com (ND/early 2004):
“I think everyone was a little surprised at how well we did out of the gate, just because I guess it’s unusual for a show to be stronger than ever in its seventh season. Before we even started shooting year seven, we’d been talking about season eight. I think that the success that we had early on in season seven on the network was just a reassurance that they were proceeding down the right path, the right course, that Stargate still had a life.
“The thing about season seven, I think, was that they are all kind of departures. Because we were dealing with the Rick issue [in scheduling], and because it was season seven, we took the opportunity to do some stuff that was totally different than anything we’ve ever done before. I think people probably watch it and say, That didn’t feel like a Stargate, but yet, it still was entertaining.’ I mean, it still was something that I think they enjoyed watching for that hour.
“One of the things we did last year more than ever, I think, was episodes that stand alone. We haven’t done serialization so much. ‘Revisions’ was, I think, more like a classic Stargate. The team goes to a planet, meets some people, gets into trouble, gets out of it, and comes home. We have definitely been doing much more of that. However, all of the episodes have some sequel element to them. ‘Space Race’ was about Warrick, who was in ‘Forsaken.’ ‘Avenger [2.0]’ was Pat McKenna’s character, Felger, from ‘The Other Guys.’ So they do have sequel elements to them.
“‘Grace’ was a wonderful sort of departure episode. Carter has to deal with the fact that, what if she dies out here in space, is this what she really wanted for her life? And I don’t mean career achievement, I mean personal life. She has to explore a lot of the elements of her personal life, and then the repercussions of that get played out in ‘Chimera,’ which is a wonderful parallel story of Carter dealing with a relationship on Earth, and Daniel dealing with his lost relationship with Sarah, who’s become Osiris. To me, it’s as interesting to tell that story, about how do you have a relationship when you can’t tell somebody what you do for a living? You can’t come home and say, ‘Gosh, I nearly died today, on another planet.’ So how do you have a relationship? And that’s why Carter has looked at O’Neill in a romantic way, because he understands what she’s going through. So in a way, he’s the perfect mate for her. And yet she can’t make that happen because of the Air Force and their respective divisions. So I don’t know how you DON’T tell those stories.
“Evaluating where her life was going came out of a conversation that Amanda and I had. I mean, she tends to be, in our scripts, the person who does all of the techno-babble exposition, and we sometimes lose track of the fact that she’s also a woman, who has a life, and we wanted to explore that too. So then ‘Chimera’ was about her meeting some guy, and this guy having to decide whether he really wants to be involved with someone like that. So, I think that’s all fun. We considered [Ben Browder] for casting [as Carter’s love interest]. I love Ben. I think he’d have been great. I would have loved to use him, and I think the crossover would have been a lot of fun. But he turned us down.
“‘Birthright’ explores Teal’c and his putting his lost wife behind him, and moving on, and how tretonin has changed him, and how he’s come to deal with those issues. Chris did a wonderful job. Chris is a talented writer. But that comes from being on sets as much as he has, from being an actor, from seeing the process, from reading the scripts and seeing what he gets on his plate every day that he has to perform, and having a good ear for dialogue, and then having the commitment as an actor to come and spend time in the room with us writers. I mean, it’s not like he just wrote a script and handed it in. He spent a long time with us, breaking the story, and listening to what we had to say about the process.
“And Peter DeLuise is sort of the same thing. I mean, Peter DeLuise is much much farther along in the process now, but he started as an actor, decided that maybe that wasn’t ultimately going to be a long term successful route for him, and became a very good director, and then also decided that he had it in him to want to write as well, and be a fully rounded contributor to the creative process. And you know what? He went through a real process of growing and learning how to be a writer, and he has achieved wonders now. I mean, his scripts are great now. He was heavily, heavily rewritten on his first scripts, and will tell you that it was a very frustrating process for him. But he’s learned. And it’s come from having had the opportunity to do it as much as he has, writing as much as he has, and that opportunity was given to him because he’s such a good director. I personally think his scripts last year, ‘Orpheus,’ ‘Evolution Part 2,’ ‘Enemy Mine,’ I think they’re some of the best episodes we’d done that year. He’s been rewritten to a certain extent for the sake of production drafts, things change in prep and stuff, but very much what you see was what he brought to the table. And he deserves a ton of credit for having come that far. And Chris, if he sticks with it, will one day get there.
“I think Andy Mikita did a wonderful job directing ‘Heroes,’ and I think the cast really raised the bar a little bit on their performances, and embraced what we were trying to do with it. I hope people watch the show and appreciate it for what it is. I think it’s one of the things that makes Stargate good. People say why is Stargate successful, why is it good? Well, you know what? The jeopardy that we put our characters in is real. People do die. And ‘Heroes’ is kind of a tribute to all of them as characters and what they do.
“As far as the movie goes, the script that Brad and I were paid to write as the, quote, feature film, in Brad’s original plan, was supposed to be the stepping stone, the intermediary creative step between SG-1 and the spin-off. When SciFi and MGM began to talk about doing a spin-off concurrently to SG-1, in order for them to order more episodes of SG-1, to keep that going, suddenly having a transition, a hand-off, the passing of the baton so to speak, wouldn’t work. You couldn’t end one and start the next one, which is what the movie was designed to do. So we had to rethink everything, and ultimately turned the story that was the feature script into the season seven SG-1 finale.
“We had been building towards it for a long time now. Where is the Lost City, who are the Ancients, the confrontation with Anubis, all those things were something we had been building to, and we couldn’t postpone that for another year. It just didn’t make any sense. So rather than resolve all those issues in the feature script, we took that feature script and we turned it into a two-part finale for season seven that would introduce concepts and characters that will ultimately head off in the spin-off series. [Ending with a cliffhanger] was certainly not how we would have ended the SG-1 series. Had we thought this was going to be the last year, we wouldn’t have ended it that way.”
From an audio interview with SCI-FI Overdrive on Interstellar Transmissions (Jun. 15, 2003):
“We think our crew is the best ever. We don’t really hold back when we’re talking about these guys. We have two Directors of Photography—Peter Woeste who also directs and Jim Menard—who are just fantastic. Our camera guys are great; Will Waring is our camera operator who also does some directing and our steady-cam guys—everyone—including Michael Greenburg who is another Executive Producer and is basically on set every minute of every day from—I’m sure he’ll tell you—from five o’clock in the morning until what ever time we finish shooting. And they all really give one hundred percent in terms of making this show as visual as we can.
“And Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise are both Producers on the show. They’re regular directors. They each do about seven episodes each a year. And having directors who are full-time on staff makes such a difference to us in terms of developing the look of the show and having them being a part of the preproduction process as opposed to just walking in and hanging their hat and coming on set and deciding what to shoot. They help us design the look of sets and from the point of view of ‘how am I going to shoot this.’
“I think our show has almost a feature level of quality to it and it’s very much because of the people behind the scenes and their efforts.”
Richard Dean Anderson
From “Executive Orders” in Cult Times Special #26 (Jun. 2003):
“On a personal level, I am delighted Shanks is back. I’ve missed him. There is no doubt there is a certain chemistry between us and we both enjoy the interplay between our characters and enjoy our scenes together and have fun with the roles. Feedback suggests that the people who watch the show also enjoy what we do so it’s all good.
“I think the greatest thing about the whole concept of Stargate is that we have this wonderful prop, this ring that we start with every week, and who knows where it’s going to go or what kind of story is going to unfold. Sometimes we do stuff that is out and out fun. Sometimes the story leads us to investigate some strong moral dilemma issues and sometimes we delve into stuff that is very poignant. ‘Heroes’ has elements of all of the above and is a very strong and different kind of story for Stargate SG-1.”
From an online chat hosted by Sci Fi (Jun. 18, 2003):
“It was odd [to work with Michael Welch as a young O’Neill in ‘Fragile Balance’]. When I arrived on set he’d already been working so I was able to see the dailies of his work and I could see his audition tape. We had to calm him down a bit. Some of his ‘O’Neillisms’ were too mature. It was fun working with ‘the young me.’ I thought I would be much taller. 🙂
“My job as executive producer is not the classic definition. My duties have become more limited as time goes on. In the early going, as we were finding our rhythms to the whole franchise, I’d be involved with my partner in editing, script editing and development and such, mostly fine tuning what comes out of the writers’ cage. In some regards I became a liaison connecting the writers with the actors, connect some of the problems the writers were having in relationship to the script and the storylines. To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what retirement means to a work-a-holic like myself. I may afford myself some time off when all of this goes away. By then I’ll have to pay attention to what my priorities are. At this time it’s my daughter. At this time I will not fall into the trap of saying that I will not work again. But I’d like to enjoy some of the fruits of my labor.”
From “The Road Back” at RDAnderson.com (Sept. 11, 2003):
“The source of it [O’Neill’s infatuation with Mary Steenburgen] is my cell phone message. When I first got up here, I programmed in Mary Steenburgen. ‘Hi, this is Mary Steenburgen. Please leave a message…’ It was my phone, my voice, the whole thing. And I have no idea why, except that I really liked the sound of her name, and there was just an oddity involved in having people who, either I knew or didn’t know, friends or never to be friends, calling and getting a voice message for Mary Steenburgen. People who really knew me knew enough that I was just kidding around, and playing, and being mischievous. I had a lot of hang-ups early on, you know? [laughing] But it just kind of bled over, and I think I might have ad libbed it on set after all that. It just kind of came up, so I played with it. There was a speech [in the episode ‘Heroes’] where I’m walking down a corridor, and Saul Rubinek is about to pester me with questions as a reporter, and I said my favorite color is peridot, and I think Tibet should be free, and if I could spend any time with anybody it would be Mary Steenburgen. I mean, the color peridot?? Nobody says that! [laughing] I think what was written was my favorite color was salmon, or something like that, so I just played with it. Who’s ever heard of peridot? So anyway, it’s just one of those Rickyisms.”
From “Richard Dean Anderson” in SFX (Apr. 2004):
“I can’t pretend to know what the state of the universe is, but the franchise certainly could be a little more resolved. Robert and Brad and the boys really hadn’t drawn the series to a proper conclusion in the seventh year, and in a great part, that’s why it made sense for me to come back and be a part of an eighth year. I know it doesn’t all revolve around me, but I wanted to make sure that we did have the opportunity to bring some closure to the franchise. That helped me to make a decision, and MGM and the producers here were all able to accommodate my needs.”
From “Stargate SG-1’s Descending Order” from Zap2It.com (Jun. 6, 2003):
“There has to be a catharsis for the character that could justify why he wants to come back. You know, you’re sitting on a cloud, hanging with the gods. You get the wings, you get the space babes—everything’s smooth. Why would you want to go back to the mess that it was before?
“He’s been chewed up and spit back out, shows up buck naked in a field in Surrey. It’s very tastefully done. I’m not spread-eagled on a plate of grapes. So, he’s spat back to Earth, and as a result, he has no memory of anything. The team comes across him at some point, as they’re searching for the lost city to which he tipped them off [last season]. Over the course of the season, he gets his memory back of who Daniel Jackson was, but he still has no memory of the Ancients or where he came from—a sort of heaven.
“When he interfered, he was faced with the ultimatum of, ‘You have a choice with us. You can either stop screwing around and interfering, or you can go back to being human.’ And he chooses to go back to being human, because he believes his journey is not complete on Earth.”
From “Back to the Gate” in CFQ Magazine, August/September 2003 issue (Jul. 2003):
“Daniel was a peaceful explorer, an archaeologist, a linguist and a member of SG-1. He was the person who, when dealing with a military organization, was bent on resolving that organization’s agenda. Daniel thought he had to be that voice reminding them not to wave flags. He had to be the one to suggest that maybe there was a better way. No matter what circumstances he was in, he always thought peace was a better solution for everyone. His soul is pure, and sensitive, and he has a shyness and passion within him. But now, since his descent, the character has changed dramatically.
“In a lot of ways, he’s more enthusiastic, but he’s also more stubborn, more of a soldier. He’s more confident and he knows he has a clear duty to his people. He’s had to make tough decisions, and those decisions led to his return. In an episode called ‘Orpheus,’ he realizes he’s come back to do something proactive, to push forward their cause, not just be the passive observer all the time. He realizes that his journey is not the end. It’s just the beginning.
“The Jack and Daniel relationship is at more of a crucible. Daniel is getting his memories back, and the love/hate relationship creeps back on them. There’s a lot more gentleness and appreciation for one another. Less bantering will happen this year between the two. They’ll be trying to put things back in proper perspective. They are like good brothers, like a father and a son, and you know, also like an old married couple. I think that it’s getting much tighter, stronger, and closer in every way than before.”
From “Resurrection Dan” in SFX #107 (Aug. 2003):
“There was one scene from the first episode back [‘Fallen’], a strange scene that Robert Cooper had written, about Daniel recognising something again about Jack because he’s lost his memory. They’re in the locker room getting changed and he sees a picture on Jack’s locker of Charlie, and says, ‘Is that your son?’ It’s a strange conversation that takes place. Except that it was originally written with Daniel walking in after just having had a shower, with a towel wrapped around his waist, and he starts getting into this personal conversation with Jack! I was just like, ‘Oh my God, this is so… so… like a ‘drop-the-soap’ kind of conversation!’ [laughs] I don’t know if Robert had written it to get that point across, or whatever, but we just said, ‘Look here…[I just can’t do that]!’ Because the actual interaction in the conversation was very personal, and it was upstaged by this whole not-so-heterosexual context. So we asked if we could remove the distraction, so to speak, and make it about the content of the scene, so we did that. They’re pretty savvy and they’ve gotten better over the years with not asking you to do things that you’re not comfortable with.”
From Q&A at Fan Odyssey Convention (Jun. 2003):
“A great acting challenge was ‘Lifeboat’ by Brad Wright. He wrote it originally back in the fifth season and didn’t get the chance to use it. … In this episode I got to play many different characters that are downloaded into Daniel. All these characters are played different from each other. They all have their own agendas and their own personalities. The fact that they (the writers) trust you that way is respect enough and that’s a great honor that Brad could give me the credit that I could pull this off. It’s a great gift.” [Note: Michael Shanks won a Leo Award for his performance in this episode.]
From Sci Fi Overdrive radio broadcast transcript at Solutions (Jan. 12, 2004):
“I actually didn’t write it [‘Evolution’]. It’s listed in the TV Guide that I co-wrote it, which isn’t even true at all. What I did was that at the beginning of the year I pitched a story for a completely separate episode concept which I came up with which was sort of a continuing saga of the ‘Crystal Skull’ episode we did in the third season [with] Nick the grandfather who ends up going off with the aliens. I wanted to continue that story and sort of end up in another mythological quest, which is the quest for the Fountain of Youth. So they liked the idea and they thought that instead of having a stand alone unit, they thought it could be incorporated into an episode that was already being fleshed out. So that’s what ended up happening with ‘Evolution 1 and 2.’
From Gatecon 2003 Q&A transcript archived at Unlock the Universe (Sept. 2003):
“[For me to write a script is] kinda like putting a square peg in a round hole. I have a real story notion for broad strokes, and I suck at detail. So, like any good ex-University student, I waited till the last possible moment. There’s a reason why final exams and deadlines were created. That’s the sense of ‘This is it, pal, hand it in.’ So it was very frustrating for me. It’s not my forte. I’m really good at coming up with some idea and putting it down on paper. But when I have to turn it into rapport with dialogue, I kinda suck. Rob did a good job at polishing [the script for ‘Resurrection’], so I’m pretty happy about it.
[Amanda and I] spent so much time together on set, before I even went off and wrote it, so that we had so much time to talk a lot about it—about different ideas and sorta meet the two in the middle. It was pretty straightforward. She was very reverent to my ideas for it, and I was very hands-off once I wrote it and handed it to Rob Cooper, and he…did what Rob does. So at the end of the day, once I handed it off—I think that’s the best way. I watched Christopher Judge rewrite ‘Birthright’ and…pull what little hair he has on his head out, so I’m very emotionally attached to the fact that…here’s the baby writer, you take the script, you hand it in, they make the changes for whatever reason they want to, and then you should just emotionally back off and have no more say in it. And I watched Chris stand by and say ‘No! Don’t cut that!’ and stuff. So I think after awhile, I just handed the script in and let Amanda do her thing. There was great symmetry, so…
“[Between writing and directing,] I realize that the writing is the one I’m probably the least talented at. Directing, definitely in the future. Although I think the confines of science fiction TV, in terms of what kind of stories you can tell—I think I’m much more of a character piece kind of director, more than a technical director. So I think I have a lot more of that to learn before I can be confident directing highly technical stuff. And the acting thing, I think I’ll do a little while longer, until they kick me out of the club.”
From “Star Man” in Dreamwatch #111 (Nov. 2003):
“‘Heroes’ has probably some of the best work we’ve ever done. We have the culmination of some great guest stars mixed with some of our funnier moments and some of our most angst- and pathos-ridden moments. I think they all blend together into a wonderful combination, and the story allows us to see a side of the SGC we’ve never seen before. The episode puts you on a bit of a sentimental roller coaster and I think the audience will really get a kick out of it. We enjoyed making it and I think it’s turned out rather well.
“I also think the two-part season finale is something to look forward to. The script was originally the feature film that was intended to be made at some point, but the producers decided that because of the path the series was going in, we’d shoot it now as two hours of television. It was hugely ambitious and it was shot like a film. I think the audience will be very excited by the outcome. The episode also goes back to the old dynamic and it’s wonderful for all four of the characters to be in a scene together at the same time.”
From “Back to the Gate” in CFQ Magazine, August/September 2003 issue (Jul. 2003):
“It’s been a philosophical journey, but I think that the real reason the show’s a success is because it involves what every human quests for, the search for answers. Modern-day people have a chance to step through this amazing portal and go to some place completely unknown, where there are no guarantees, just like on the original Star Trek. As human beings, we all ask the same thing: What is out there, how did I get here, who am I? I think Stargate plays into that universal curiosity, and here we have a doorway that opens out into those answers. And also—even though it’s an alien perspective—it’s intriguing to think that there are other people out there who want to know about us. That kind of scale is somehow relevant to the form we’re taking in the show. I think that’s pretty rare.”
From “Star Man” in Dreamwatch #111 (Nov. 2003):
“It’s very important to grow as an actor and I think that’s what an eighth season would continue to provide for me. There’s always something new to learn and because we do have a very nice, family atmosphere on the set, you feel comfortable enough to latch on to new things easily. I’ve had a great time on season seven and I’m looking forward to season eight.”
From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):
“Corin did an admirable job coming in. It created a very different dynamic on the set and I think it was actually very good for all of us. But having Michael back seems to have brought us all full circle. It’s just comfortable; it’s the way we started out. We’ve got the team back together again. For all of us, it was great. I felt bad for Corin, but it was good for the dynamic and what was happening on the show, and bringing Michael back was also very natural. From a personal perspective, it’s been wonderful.
“When we started doing the show I was very interested in writing, but now I’m leaving it to the experts! I found that when I tried to write a Stargate episode, I was almost too close to the characters. I had a hard time doing it, I could come up with really great stories, but I couldn’t come up with the dialogue. So I think if I were to write anything, it would have to be something that wasn’t Stargate.
From “Major Player” in TV Zone (Feb. 2004):
“[‘Grace’] was a difficult one because my character is suffering from a head injury for 90% of the story and she’s hallucinating. As an actress, it’s my job to make that believable and yet not go over the top with it, so I chose to play my scenes very softly. There are some neat moments between Sam and her team-mates and also her dad Jacob [Carmen Argenziano]. Then, of course, there’s this little girl named Grace. Who is Grace? There are varying beliefs on that. Some people think she’s Sam’s inner child. Others feel she’s Sam’s child if she had chosen family over career. That’s the one I’m going with. The actual character of Grace is played by this gorgeous little girl, Sasha [Pieterse], who is so sweet.
“It’s interesting because in this story the guys aren’t their typical selves. Daniel is somewhat different, Teal’c is more laid back, and there’s the ‘big’ moment between Sam and O’Neill, who’s not quite himself either. I think this has to do with the fact that this is my character’s subconscious view of the guys. For example, this is the first time Teal’c calls her Samantha instead of Major Carter. I’m sure it’s something she’s always wanted him to do, so in her hallucination he does. Chris Judge and I had a blast with those scenes. We started out very low key and then ramped things way up to where he wasn’t speaking at all like Teal’c but a regular dude. We were laughing so much we were in tears.
“A great deal of ‘Grace’ was shot using the second unit, so it took over a month to finish because I was going back and forth between it, ‘Death Knell’ and ‘Chimera.’ Talk about a bit of a head-trip for yours truly. It was really funny because on ‘Death Knell’ we shot two days where Sam is running from a super soldier and she’s covered with blood and is just dirty and filthy. The very next day we did a scene from ‘Chimera’ where I’m completely dolled up and wearing lipstick, and smart little dress and high-heeled shoes. It was like, ‘Whoa, where am I today?’ I didn’t know whether or not I was coming or going.” [Note: Amanda Tapping won a Leo Award for her performance in ‘Grace.’]
From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):
“The episode [‘Chimera’] is mostly about Daniel and Osiris, and then you have this storyline where Carter gets a boyfriend. It’s very funny because when we finished that episode I turned to Michael and said, ‘This is so not a Stargate episode!’ In ‘Chimera’ I’m in a very sexy dress with three-inch heels! I had a chance to show that other side of her—the sexy, flirtatious and fun Carter—but I don’t want her to be the ‘girly girl’ all the time.”
From “Who’s the Boss?” in Sci Fi Magazine (Aug. 2004):
“I’ve actually upset most of the female population by having my character have an affair with this very delectable young man, because I’ve betrayed my one true love, and lost complete integrity of the character as a human being. At least according to the letters I’ve been getting. There’s a very interesting, very big section of fandom called ‘Shippers, and they find the whole relationship with Pete quite distasteful. And yet I say to the ‘Shippers, Carter has had no relationship experience in the truest sense for over seven years. I mean, the last relationship she really had was with her ex-fiance, who turned out to be a megalomaniacal freak. You might recall the episode in season one [‘The First Commandment’] when she went back and he had taken over a planet, as one’s ex-boyfriend does. I don’t think that outcome did much for her confidence, and I think the relationship with Pete does.
“I think it’s rounding her out as a person, and I think that any experience she gets in the love department, in terms of how to foster and keep a relationship, and how to open herself up and open her heart up, will only serve her for the future when she does eventually get together with O’Neill.—No. I don’t really mean that.—I mean, for sure, Carter loves O’Neill. She adores him, and she’s allowed herself the knowledge that she cannot keep pining for this man that she can never have. Plus, as a professional and as a woman, it’s bordering pathetic if she hangs on. It doesn’t mean that she has any less feelings for O’Neill or that she’s not attracted to him. She still has deep feelings of love for him, as is evidenced even after she meets Pete. She still shows it to O’Neill, and that’s never going to go away, but I think what she’s learned to do is to be a pragmatist about it and say, ‘OK! I can’t have this guy, and he’s pretty fantastic, but this guy over here is not so bad either.’
“I think it’s really smart that she thinks like that. I know some fans aren’t pleased. I know that they call him Stalker Pete because he did a background check on Carter, and again I say, she didn’t know. She is not aware of what he did. She knows he followed her to the stakeout, but that’s his cop instinct. It’s just human nature to be inquisitive, and if you add to the fact that the person is a cop, and knows that the person you love is going to be in danger, his actions are completely excusable. I would do the same thing, so I don’t think any less of him for that… Plus, he’s cute and he’s charming and is a great kisser.”
From “‘Heroes’ Worship” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):
“[‘Heroes’ is] a great showcase for every single member of the cast. It was directed by Andy Mikita, who did an amazing job, and it’s got every element of Stargate in it. It’s a huge drama, it’s got a bit of comedy and it’s also a great science fiction story. It’s told from the perspective of a documentarian who comes to do a documentary about the SGC. You get to see all the characters out of their element a little bit because they are being interviewed and they don’t know how to deal with that! I think that’s one of the highlights of the year.”
From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):
“[Directing ‘Resurrection’] was highly stressful but really fun. It was difficult in that I was shooting beforehand. Normally a director gets days of prep before shooting an episode, but because I was acting in the previous episode I didn’t have as much prep time. But I absolutely loved doing it. Michael Greenburg, our on-set executive producer, was there every step of the way for me. If I wanted to talk through any of my ideas for a shot, I knew he was there. He was phenomenal. Michael Shanks and Christopher Judge were so supportive, as were the guest stars and the crew. Everyone was great. And being so comfortable with the crew and knowing how talented our camera department is, I was able to come up with some really crazy shots and I knew that they would be able to pull them off.
From “Get Carter” in Sci Fi Magazine (Feb. 2004):
“It was amazing: All our directors stepping up on this, everyone wanted to give me advice, which was wonderful. Because what I didn’t expect was the sheer volume of questions that I got, and the immediacy in which people wanted answers. The first day of directing was my birthday. The first time I said ‘Action!’ it was very exciting. It’s not just that I’m an actor who’s been on a series for seven years and wants to direct an episode. I want to be a director. As a woman in this industry, I know that I need to have other skills. Eventually, there comes a time when no matter how talented you are, no matter how valid you are, only a very small percentage of older women get work.” [Note: Amanda Tapping was nominated for a Leo Award for Best Direction for this episode.]
From “Amanda for All Seasons” in Dreamwatch (Feb. 2004):
“There was a part of me creatively that said, ‘OK, how much further can I take this character? How much further can we go?’ But we were all of the mind that we wanted to finish what we had started, and that leaving—especially with the way season seven ended—wouldn’t have been right. It wouldn’t have done the characters justice. It didn’t feel right to walk away from it. Michael, Christopher and I all did want to come back. If we hadn’t come back, I would be down in LA right now trying to find a job!
“It’s funny, I talked to Rob Cooper the other day and he said, ‘If you can think of something you would like to have happen with Carter next year, let us know.’ And I was like, ‘Oh, wow, that’s hard to think about!’ I don’t know really, as long as I’m still being challenged. I’d like them to bring back her boyfriend! I think we’ve opened up an entrance into her personal life and I’d like to see that explored more. Teal’c and Carter have had some great moments over the years and I hope that continues to grow. And I’d like to see the dynamic between the team keep growing. I love the character, and I think she’s come a long way. It’s so refereshing to play someone that strong, and she doesn’t make any apologies for it. She’s strong without being bitchy. It’s going to be hard to hang up those boots!”
From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):
“Season Seven—wow! What can I tell you? The prodigal son has returned and everyone is ecstatic about it. I can’t tell you who is most thrilled. It’s probably me, although I’m not totally sure whether it’s me or the writers because they’re enjoying getting stuck in to some really juicy stuff that Michael can actually get his teeth into. Having Michael back full time even further highlights how much he was missed last year in so many ways. You know, I don’t want to make too little of Corin Nemec because he was great, but Michael and the character of Daniel Jackson—you just couldn’t really fill that with anyone or anything else. Just the work that he’s done since being back, his renewed energy and insight to the character—it all points to how much he was missed last year.”
From “The Buddy System” in TV Zone Special #55 (Feb. 2004):
“It’s nice this year that the writers/producers are really letting Michael and I do quite a bit of stuff together, you know? Personally, I enjoy it, and character-wise I think it makes for a very interesting combination.”
From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):
“The writers have been great at allowing Teal’c’s personality to evolve gradually throughout the seasons. We sit down at the beginning of every year and discuss what is going to happen with his arc and I know there is going to be a lot more insight into what makes Teal’c tick this year.
“One of the pivotal episodes from last year was ‘Changeling,’ which saw Teal’c lose his symbiote. Fans have asked how losing that would change him and all I can say is that though the thing that made Teal’c alien was the symbiote, he is originally from Earth. I think he is returning to his roots and getting closer to being more human-like, but I don’t know if he will ever be a ‘normal’ human being in spite of the loss of his symbiote. There is an episode right at the start of the season [‘Orpheus’] that deals with just that particular issue and we do investigate the repercussions of that situation later on too.”
From “Teal’c Cuts Loose” at Sci Fi Pi (May 31, 2008):
“We’d always had pitches for shows about Amazons, but they always seemed a bit like Wonder Woman type of thing, so I came up with concept of these women under one particular god who so wanted warriors that he would kill off the children until he got a boy—which led to one of their princesses spiriting their children away and so on.
“The way a normal story is written—you pitch an idea, if the writers like it, then they all sit in a room and they break the story. Break the beats, break the acts, break everything. And then you basically write the dialogue. I asked Brad, ‘Would you mind if I didn’t do that, because I would really like a real assessment if I have a future in this or not.’ And he said, ‘Sure.’
“So I actually turned it in early. Then we went on summer hiatus and I didn’t hear anything from Brad or Martin Wood, who I’d also given a copy to, and also to John Smith. And nothing. So I’m just sitting there thinking ‘guess I’m an actor’…
“Then on the Saturday before we were to go back to work, there were three messages on my phone. And they swear they didn’t talk. Brad, Martin and John each saying how much they enjoyed it, blah blah blah. Structurally, Brad definitely fixed that, but for the most part, we pretty much shot what I wrote, which I learned is not the way it always happens. As a writer, especially as a TV writer or film writer, you can’t be ‘married’ to the work or take it personally. The whole thing, I really owe to Brad Wright.”
From “A Teal’c of Two Planets” in Cult Times #96 (Sept. 2003):
“‘Birthright’ is not by any stretch of the imagination gratuitous sexiness. … It really does deal with the warrior part of a powerful group of women and then explores the mythos from a different perspective. It has aspects of The Underground Railroad in it and stuff like that so it is not at all a cheeseball take on spandex and all that kind of nonsense. There is a valid message within for anyone who cares to ponder on it.
“It was great fun to write. I really, really enjoy that process and just think it’s great that our producers allow us to be part of that procedure. I’m eternally grateful for their encouragement and support. Writing is a skill I am very keen to develop and I can’t think of a better place to learn and hone that craft.
“There is, however, absolutely no chance of my directing. I couldn’t even think of trying with Richard Dean Anderson nor Michael Shanks. They would give me so much trouble. Amanda Tapping would be a delight but I’ve been too much of a pain in the past and joked around too much to even think about trying to direct an episode of this show. Even with a crowd as sympathetic and supportive as the guys we have on SG-1.”
From interview with Sci Fi Weekly archived at ChristopherJudgeOnline.com (Aug. 20, 2007):
“I think our definitive story was ‘Heroes.’ I think ‘Heroes’ probably captured the true essence of what the show was about from the humorous aspect, from the human aspect; the battle scenes and stuff were just absolutely feature-quality, and the effects were feature-quality. You can’t afford to do a show like that every week, but I think that so encapsulated everything that encompassed Stargate.”