Television, like life, is just full of surprises. Shows you expect to be huge hits tank while apparent duds become breakout hits. Seemingly average episodes on the page magically come together onscreen while guest characters envisioned for a single episode appearance will pop, surpassing all expectations to develop into fan – if not writer – favorites. Chalk it up to a number of things – the writing, the direction, the onscreen chemistry – but, in the end, you have to give credit to the actors who brought these characters to life and made them so much more. Here are my Top 10 “guest stars to recurring favorites”. Plus one for good luck!
Played by Gary Jones.
First Appearance: Children of the Gods (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #101) as Chevron Guy.
First, he was simply Chevron Guy. Eventually, he got a first name: Norman. And, finally, he got another first name – and a last name: Walter Harriman. In time, Walter became as iconic a part of SG-1 as the gate itself.
Played by Anna-Louise Plowman
First appearance: The Curse (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #413)
There’s something doubly, deliciously evil about a stylish villainess – triply so if she has an English accent. Just too damn good to kill off in her first appearance, she returned for several more outings before her alter-ego, Sarah Gardner, got the happy ending she deserved.
Played by Tom McBeath.
First appearance: Enigma (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #116)
Everyone loves a good rogue, and Harry Maybourne was good as you could get. Sneaky, self-serving, and an incredible pain-in-the-ass, he developed into a perfect foil for Jack O’Neill. A rival worthy of respect and admiration.
Voiced by Trevor Devall
First appearance: The Siege III (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #201)
The Asgard always had a dry sense of humor, perhaps none more than this acerbic fellow who, I suspect, would have been equally at home on Frasier.
Played by Connor Trinneer (and Brent Stait for one episode)
First appearance: Michael (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #218)
What made Michael stand out was his complexity and depth. A product of Atlantis’s own creation, he was an outcast at odds with his own identity. Can you blame him for being angry?
Played by Robert Davi
First Appearance: The Storm (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #110)
Sure, aliens are plenty scary, but none proved quite as fearsome as Acastus Kolya. It’s a testament to the character that he made an appearance even after his presumed death two years earlier.
Played by David Nykl
First appearance: Thirty Eight Minutes (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #104)
The unassuming Czech scientist first introduced in Thirty Eight Minutes eventually developed into a beloved member of the expedition – and his verbal sparring with Rodney became a regular episode highlight.
Played by Chris Heyerdahl
First appearance: Common Ground (Stargate: Atlantis, Episode #307
Dangerous and inscrutable, yet possessed of an almost palpable nobility. He would develop into Sheppard’s most formidable adversary.
Played by Cliff Simon
First appearance: Summit (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #515)
As far as villains go, you’d be hard-pressed to find one more stylish or possessed of a better sense of humor.
Played by Claudia Black
First appearance: Prometheus Unbound (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #812)
A mercenary with a heart of gold (she would certainly trade in for cash if she could) – and serious trust issues – went from hijacking Daniel Jackson to earning herself a spot on SG-1. Damn, she was fun to write for.
Played by Robert Picardo
First appearance: Heroes II (Stargate: SG-1, Episode #718)
From irritating pencil pusher to lovable Commander in six short years. His road to redemption was a joy to behold. And script.