The SCI FI Channel series Stargate SG-1
This month, the SCI FI Channel series Stargate SG-1 celebrates its 200th episode. First launched on the Showtime pay cable network in the U.S., the show is now in its ninth season and has been licensed into more than 120 markets, including Australia (Seven Network), France (M6), Germany (RTL II), Malaysia (TV3) and the U.K. (Sky One and Channel 4). It is distributed internationally by MGM Worldwide Television Distribution.
Robert C. Cooper serves as an executive producer for Stargate SG-1, in addition to regularly writing and now directing episodes of the series. He is the co-creator and co-executive producer, with Brad Wright, of the highly successful SG-1 spinoff Stargate Atlantis.
Sources spoke to Cooper about SG-1’s continued success and its 200th episode, set to air August 19.
*: What are your plans for the 200th episode?
COOPER: We’re thrilled to have made it this far, to do a 200th episode is a very rare thing. I think at first I really wanted to do a lot of celebrating behind the scenes but I wanted it to be just a normal run-of-the-mill episode. It turned out to be anything but that. We often sit around in story meetings and pitch ideas that are meant as jokes, just to have a bit of fun with the things that get bounced around in the room, knowing that they’d never fit into a real episode. Or things we’d love to see but know they wouldn’t fit into a normal episode. That’s when we realized that maybe the way to attack the 200th show was to have a little fun and create situations that are more like Saturday Night Live sketches, where all the writers could pitch a segment and we’d come up with a framework that would tie those segments together. Each would be a fun riff on something we had been wanting to do for a while. One of the things we often come up against is the network trying to tinker with the show and make it better. We’ve heard words like “younger” and “edgier”’ thrown around, the sorts of things that will supposedly get us better ratings. So there’s a segment where a network executive has suggested that we recast the show younger and edgier. We flash into a sequence where we’ve cast younger actors to play our characters. We do a play on The OC. We were all fans of Team America, the movie with the marionettes so we thought wouldn’t it be fun to a do a segment of SG-1 with marionettes. We had a great time with that.
*: How have you managed to keep the series fresh?
COOPER: The answer is that we’ve really embraced change on the show. We’ve had a lot of major characters come and go. We started season nine with three new major regulars. Some characters have come back. Anytime you change characters or have characters leave, it gives you a whole new perspective on the story.
At the end of season eight we felt we had wrapped up so many storylines and so many aspects of the series that we kind of reinvented the show at the beginning of season nine. Wiped the slate clean, came up with new villains. In season eight we had gotten to the point that we were winning all the time and the bad guys had lost their bite and we needed to shake things up and change our adversaries because that old adage, that your heroes are only as good as your villains, is very true. From a creative standpoint, we have aggressively tried to enforce change on the show so that it stayed fresh. We have an ever-revolving mythology—some people would say complicated, we like to say complex—and yet I also think that the show is entertaining and easy to follow for the casual viewer. For those people who have religiously stuck with the show there is a constant reward for having watched, so the mythology does expand and grow and things do happen.
*: What prompted the launch of the spin-off Stargate Atlantis, and how do you manage juggling the two shows?
COOPER: It’s not easy! We have a lot of people to split up the work. Brad and I, we had a plan to end SG-1, nobody ever expected the show to go on as long as it did. And the original idea was to spin SG-1 off into Atlantis and keep the franchise going. SCI FI decided that they really wanted both shows. That totally changed our thinking about the spin-off. Atlantis had to exist in a different universe—it’s like moving CSI to another city. We had to move our team to another galaxy and create a new milieu, a new villain, and that helped create a really unique identity for the show. It’s a big undertaking to make one show, never mind two at the same time. We found as we got into it that there were so many benefits, to use that old cliché word now, synergy. We’ve built stuff that could be utilized for both shows and we've developed an in-house visual effects department that services both shows.
It is difficult for us as writers, writing 40 episodes of television every year and trying to keep it straight. Brad basically has been running Atlantis. We’re both executive producers on both shows. I pretty much run SG-1. That helps in terms of everyone under us knowing who to go to. But, as far as the writing goes, we are one story department. We have eight writers who work on both shows.
*: Do you think you would have had a difference experience doing the show for network TV, as opposed to cable?
COOPER: I don't think it would have lasted very long. We benefited from the fact that it was on Showtime in the U.S., and it was allowed to develop its international popularity, and to a certain extent live in relative anonymity even though it was in syndication. It wasn't until the show jumped to SCI FI that it really started to gain any awareness or notoriety in North America. I feel like the business plan in place was responsible for the success of the show, or at least the longevity of the show.
*: Do you have plans to do a feature film spin-off?
COOPER: We would love to do that. We’ve developed two that have been folded into the series end of things, just because story-wise they were eclipsed by the ongoing series. It’s definitely on my agenda, it’s just a question of making it work, and obviously satisfying the studio’s goals. We think Stargate is more than just SG-1, it is a franchise, a very recognizable brand, with tremendous worldwide awareness. We would love to do it on a bigger scale, a much bigger canvas.
*: The series has been licensed into numerous territories—did you expect it to translate so well internationally?
COOPER: Our international audience is every bit as important to us as our North American. A lot of American shows are made for the American audience. Brad and I are both Canadian and we tend to think a little more globally and less about trying to appeal to any one particular audience or culture. That was why we steered away from the American military angle of SG-1. We wanted the show to have much more of an international feel. The Atlantis expedition was an international cooperation. And in some ways that was a response to the fact that it was the international audience that got us to where we are.
*: What’s the biggest reward for you in producing this show?
COOPER: I’ve done everything on the show. I’ve written, I’ve produced, I’m directing a little bit. When you’re on a show that has been as successful as SG-1, you always get a certain amount of interference, you’re spending a lot of money, but for the most part we have been incredibly privileged to be left alone to make the show we want to make. It’s like getting to play in a big, big sandbox. I love the whole thing.
E vechi. SG1 e acum la sezonul 10 episodul 5 iar seria Atlantis e la sezonul 3 episodul 5. In fiecare vineri gasiti cele mai noi episoade pe torrentele consacrate.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)