Rising of ‘Atlantis’ opens up the ‘Stargate’ universe - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

Rising of ‘Atlantis’ opens up the ‘Stargate’ universe

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Posted: Friday, July 9, 2004 7:16 am | Updated: 4:34 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -Brad Wright, co-creator and executive producer of the Scifi Channel’s ‘‘Stargate: SG-1,’’ says he has never worked so hard in my life.

For the last six months, he’s been spending many a late night writing for both the long-running space action series and its spinoff, ‘‘Stargate: Atlantis,’’ as their season premieres rapidly approached. In the time it once took to develop 20 episodes of ‘‘SG-1,’’ Wright and producing partner Robert Copper are having to write twice as many shows because they’re writing for the two series. And they’re only halfway done.

But Wright’s not complaining. ‘‘It’s one of the classiest problems you can have.’’

The eighth season premiere of ‘‘Stargate: SG-1’’ airs 9 p.m. today and ‘‘Stargate: Atlantis’’ will debut 9 p.m. July 16. On July 23, ‘‘SG-1’’ and ‘‘Atlantis’’ will begin their regular schedules (9 and 10 p.m.).

Based on the 1994 feature film "Stargate," ‘‘SG-1’’ was acquired by the Sci-fi Channel two years ago after five seasons on Showtime. Richard Dean Anderson, who rose to fame on the popular ‘‘Mac-Gyver’’ series, stars as U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jack O’Neill, leader of a covert military commando squad that explores other planets. Also on the crew: Archaeologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), astrophysicist Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and alien warrior Teal’c (Christopher Judge). The ‘‘SG-1’’ team steps through the shimmering Stargate each week to fight the Goa’uld, evil overlords who kidnap and enslave humans.

This season, Anderson will reduce his work schedule to spend more time with his 5-year-old daughter. He won’t say whether he’ll sign on for a ninth season, but ‘‘the likelihood of my coming back is very slim,’’ he says.

‘‘Stargate: Atlantis’’ centers on a team of civilians journeying through the Stargate to the ancient city of Atlantis in the unexplored Pegasus galaxy. Led by Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the explorers have only enough energy for a one-way trip. Once there, they unknowingly unleash the vampirelike Wraith upon the natives.

The real challenge of ‘‘Atlantis’’ is twofold: ‘‘It’s gotta be different, and it’s gotta be the same,’’ Wright says.

‘‘ ‘Atlantis’ will be more like an exploration to Antarctica,’’ he continues. ‘‘We’re living on our own resources and our survival depends on our wits, and there’s fun to that and challenges to that that are slightly different than ‘SG-1.’ ’’

This TV phenomenon has long been a hit in France, Germany and England. MGM, which produces the series, sells more ‘‘SG-1’’ DVDs overseas than James Bond DVDs.

So could another spin-off be in the offing?

‘‘Like Stargate: Miami?’’ quips Sci-fi executive vice president Mark Stern. ‘‘I don’t think this is the last you’ll see of an incarnation of ‘Stargate,’ ’’ he says. ‘‘It’s definitely our crown jewel.’’

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