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Stargate SG-1 Cast Interviews: Michael Shanks

Ascending And Descending
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special #50, Apr 03

While some actors fade from view when their time on a long-running TV programme comes to an end, there's been no lack of work for Michael Shanks since his departure from Stargate SG-1.  Besides a cameo appearance on The Twilight Zone, he has guest-starred on episodes of The Chris Isaak Show and Andromeda.  He filmed the sci-fi feature film Sumuru in South Africa.  He also voiced the Asgard Thor in the Stargate episodes Prometheus and Unnatural Selection, and guest-starred as Daniel Jackson in three episodes.


In the first, Abyss, he appears to Jack O'Neill, who's been taken prisoner by the Goa'uld. 

“For all the time we’d spent on the show, it wasn’t until Abyss that Rick and I realized we’d never actually played off each other for that length of time in any episode,” says Shanks. “From that perspective alone it was a treat to have scenes where Jack and Daniel just talked. Rick and I always enjoy working with one another, and I think this story renewed a bit of our appreciation for those old times. It was also an interesting story for Rick’s character. Usually it’s Jack who helps out someone in trouble. In this case, though, Daniel was the one with the knowledge and the advice to give Jack. It created a new dynamic for us to play, which I liked.”


The actor chuckles when asked about the next episode he appeared in, Changeling, written by Christopher Judge. 

“Chris and I are close friends and we’ve gotten to know each other very well over the past six years,” he notes. "So when he told me he was writing an episode I couldn't help but think 'Oh, no, SG-1 is going to go to the planet of the strippers!'  Well, he certainly surprised the hell out of me!  When I read the script for The Changeling I thought, ‘Damn, this guy is a good writer!’ My character doesn’t play a big part in the story but Chris really felt it was important for both Daniel and Teal’c to have some sort of interaction.  I hadn't seen the gang in a while so it was fun to go back and do this episode.”

Full Circle

At the end of the Stargate feature film, Daniel Jackson [James Spader] remains behind on the planet of Abydos.  He subsequently returned to Earth in the TV series, and in the sixth season finale Full Circle, Daniel and SG-1 pay another visit to Abydos.

 “That was an interesting one,” muses Shanks. “I mean, the story was written with the end of the series in mind. How do you do justice to the entire show, its characters, etc, in 44 minutes?   There's no way you can hope to satisfy everyone, so you just have to go in and tell a story.  That's exactly what Rob Cooper did and I think he did an admirable job.   He focused on what happened to the Abydonians and inserted the new head bad guy Anubis into the mix.  The episode resolves some issues while leaving other story threads still dangling.”

Where does Full Circle leave Daniel Jackson?  "Let's put it this way, his journey isn't over yet," says Shanks.

Rhythm and Conscience

Richard Dean Anderson

"We got to do some fairly intense scenes where they threw Jack and Daniel together in a paper bag so to speak and shook them up.  I really enjoy acting opposite Michael, partly because of his awareness of rhythms coupled with his propensity for speed and reaction."
Don S. Davis
"I think one of the things missing from the show in the sixth season was Daniel's conscience.  That was always the key, the play off between O'Neill the warrior and Daniel the moral humanitarian.  It created a terrific dynamic and one that could not be replaced.  There was no way any of the other characters could've adopted Daniel's ethic, as it simply wasn't in any of their natures."

(c) 2003, TV Zone.  Buy TV Zone Special #50 online

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