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Posts Tagged ‘Stargate’

I know, I know.  You’re sitting there, re-reading yesterday’s blog entry, thinking to yourself: “Surely rebooting the franchise wouldn’t be that big a deal.  The longtime fans who invested so much in those 17 seasons of television history – the characters, the technology, the worlds created for SG-1, Atlantis, and Universe – would get over it.  Eventually.  Wouldn’t they?”  To be honest, I don’t know.  Fans can be fickle, passionate, and vociferous.  Also incredibly loyal.  It would be akin to, say, informing fans of the NFL’s New England Patriots that they were getting a new coach…none other than Harry Redknapp who managed Tottenham Hotspur from October 2008 to June 2012!  He also had great success with AFC Bournemouth and West Ham United, so there’s no reason to doubt he won’t be great calling the shots in New England.  Unfortunately, terms of this new deal will require that Brady, Gronk, Edelman and other Patriots players never again set food on the field – or be publicly referenced hereafter.  Finally, touchdowns will only be worth 4 points, field goals 2, we’ll be going 5 downs instead of 4, and the game will be overseen by three officials: a line judge, a referee, and grandmaster oortsman.

I mean, I don’t know.  It could be great.  But the purists may balk.

On the other hand, how could one possibly create a brand new series that is accessible to first-time viewers yet simultaneously rewarding to long-time fans? Hmmm.  Let me think about this for five seconds.  Wait!  How about you introduce a protagonist who knows nothing about the Stargate program and becomes the conduit through which the home audience learns about the gate network?  Maybe they’re a young soldier or a scientist or young anthropologist who joins a team on a visit to a top secret facility.  There, to their amazement, they are introduced to Stargate Command, the workings of the intergalactic stargate network, and then informed they will be making a trip through the gate to an alien world.  The base commander, General Carter, orders the technician to: “Dial the gate, Walter.”  The gate is dialed, a wormhole is established, and the young team step through the event horizon.

When they step out the other side, they find themselves on an alien world where they embark on their first exploratory mission.  Not telling what they find or what complications ensue.  There are so many possible ways for the series to go but it’s fairly easy to do so without burdening the story, these new characters, with heavy mythology.  The mythology exists to support the narrative, but need only come to light gradually.  Perhaps  they’ll learn that the gate network was built by a race known as the Ancients.  Maybe they’ll discover that Earth has outposts in various galaxies including the Milky Way, Triangulum, and Pegasus. Somewhere down the line, there may even be an episode in which the young team embarks on an op accompanied by a veteran of the Stargate program – an anthropologist, a Czech science officer, an overbearing but brilliant scientist with an aversion to citrus.  Who knows?

My point is the existing fandom is not only a great audience base for any future series, they’re a fantastic resource for spreading the word and getting other potential viewers onboard early.  They’re a passionate bunch and, when excited about a show, they will make their voices heard.

Don’t believe it?  Well, stay tuned.

Thanks to stopitcharlesgetoutofmyhead for all the nifty gif and video work!

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Well, this is pretty cool!

Puddle Jumper diagnostic playback.

Atlantis “Rising” opening shot – previs.

Taking Flight previs.

Antarctic Outpost Reveal – animatic.

Heads Up! animatic.

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So the other day, I came across an old hard drive containing a slew of Stargate-related visuals: concept art, designs, previs.  It’s actually about 0.5% of the library of BTS pics and vids sitting in my storage unit, much of it somewhat inaccessible due to the fact that the technology is incredibly old and lacking the proper connectors.  Over the next month or so, I’m going to see what I have and call on your technical assistance in an effort to source the proper, delightfully antiquated, tech that will yield that veritable goldmine of goodies.

Anyway, I posted some of the amazing Atlantis (actually Stargate: SG-1 “Lost City) concept art the other day.

Art by Stargate Production Designer James Robbins.

Here’s more…

City of the Ancients.

On the rise.

The Ancient chair.  To be honest – not exactly built for comfort.

The ice cavern.

Big Trouble in Little Cavern.

Drone portal.

Drone design.

Release the drones!

 

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In truth, pretty damn close.

So often, you’ll hear stories long after the fact.  Like how Apple almost brought Stargate: SG-1 back for an iTunes exclusive 11th and final season.  Or how Canada’s Space Channel attempted to save Stargate: Universe.  But in this case, the events are fairly recent  – a last ditch effort to save Dark Matter spearheaded by some old friends.  An effort that, had it been successful, would have seen characters from the world of Stargate crossover into the Dark Matter universe.   Or, technically and creatively, vice-versa.  I kid you not.

Not long after word broke of the syfy cancellation, we had several interested parties reach out to us.  One of the most intriguing of them was was MGM, my former home for 12 glorious years while I was working on the Stargate franchise.   They loved the show.  They were aware of the fanbase.  And they recognized a great opportunity.

Over the course of a week, with the window of opportunity to save the show growing narrower, I had several long and involved conversations with Simon Graty (EVP & GM Domestic Networks at MGM Studios), Kieran Dickson (Editorial Director at MGM), and Jenny Stiven (Consultant, Digital/Social Strategy & Content, Influencer Marketing).  The plan, if successful, would have seen Dark Matter’s fourth season premiere on MGM’s streaming platform, Stargate Command, alongside the upcoming Stargate: Origins series.  Perhaps equally intriguing was the prospect of doing some sort of Dark Matter/Stargate crossover that would rev up the fanbase in advance of further original Stargate programming down the road.

The two things working against us were time and existing contracts, the latter which proved our undoing.  BUT we came so close –

To a fourth season of Dark Matter.

To a sci-fi crossover for the ages.

Ultimately, we weren’t successful, but I want to thank MGM, and especially Simon, Jenny, and Kieran, for reaching out and trying to make it happen.

Today, Ivon and I caught up with a couple of the individuals who orchestrated that attempted 11th hour save (Jenny and Kieran), as we sat down with them, and Gateworld’s David Reed, for late lunch and three hours of reminiscing about the old Stargate  days.

Watch for our interview, and many more, coming to Stargate Command.

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Viewers tune in for the hook, but they stay for the characters.  It’s a lesson I learned working on Stargate.  As much as fans enjoy the sense of adventure, the action, and the dazzling visual effects, it’s the characters at the heart of each show that draw them back, week after week.  Whether it’s SG-1, the Atlantis expedition, the crew of The Destiny, or the crew of The Raza, fans check in with the characters they love because they’ve formed a connection with them.  They are, in a way, extended family members they can visit with every time they watch an episode.

I think that one of the things that makes Stargate and Dark Matter special (and you can include Killjoys in this unique grouping) is that they offer science fiction fans something unique and, frankly, atypical of the genre – a sense of fun.  They offer fans humor, whether in the stories or the characters themselves, something that goes such a long way toward establishing and fostering that aforementioned connection.  And, while Wynonna Earp isn’t scifi, its genre chops and own underlying sense of humor makes it the perfect accompaniment to the existing SYFY Friday lineup.  It’s the network’s most watched and most buzzed about night of programming.  Back in 2011, Io9’s Charlie Jane Anders presented an article titled: 10 Actual Mistakes That Syfy Has Made Over The Years.  Coming in at #3: “Abandoning Friday nights as an action-adventure bloc”.  Remember the SG-1/SGA/BSG triple-bill?  It was the original SciFi Friday lineup, the precursor to the existing Killjoys/Dark Matter/Wynonna Earp trifecta.  The parallels are stark and if history has taught us anything, it’s “Don’t abandon Friday nights as an action-adventure bloc”!

Stargate: SG-1 was officially cancelled August 21st, 2006.  In reality, the word came down down a little earlier – the night of the show’s 10th Anniversary party. The drinks and chocolate fountain were flowing, special commemorative booklets were being handed out, heartfelt speeches were being made and, at one point, amidst the celebration, the announcement was made.  The tenth season would be the show’s last.  But whether it was the acoustics or the booze or the generally festive atmosphere, most everyone missed it.  I remember standing there, cup of liquid chocolate in hand, and throwing a confused look over to my longtime writing partner, Paul Mullie.  “Did we just get cancelled?”  His eyes narrowed and his brow furrowed as though he was trying to work it out in his head: “I – think so?”

It’s hard to make an argument that SG-1 was cancelled prematurely after ten glorious years on the air…but I’m going to make one anyway.  It was premature. With the addition of Ben Browder, Claudia Black and Beau Bridges, and the introduction of a formidable new villain, plus some 300+ episodes of backstory and mythology to draw from, we still had so many stories to tell.  If MGM called me up and told me we’d be doing an 11th season of the show and needed scripts pronto, I can guarantee you I’d have no problem coming up with a slew.  Little known fact: Fans almost did get an 11th season of SG-1.  The studio was in talks with iTunes who, at the time, was very interested in saving the show for one final 20 episode bow – but sadly, in the end, contractual handcuffs prevented it from happening.

Stargate: Atlantis was cancelled August 21st of 2008.  If SG-1’s cancellation was a head scratcher, SGA’s was a fullout WTF?!  Mainly because it didn’t make sense. I mean, what better way to launch a new Stargate incarnation than alongside a veteran powerhouse?  One more season to wrap things up, say goodbye to the Atlantis expedition, and pass the torch.  Instead, the veteran was unceremoniously ushered out and the new kid on the block just as unceremoniously ushered in, giving the semblance that one was cancelled to make room for the other.  This, of course, wasn’t the case – but it didn’t matter.  The optics were bad and the damage was done.  The fans were pissed off – with predictable consequences.  If there’s another thing history has taught us, time and again, it’s this: “Don’t piss off the fans!”.  (See #1 on Charlie Jane Anders’ list).

Stargate: Universe was cancelled on December 16, 2010.  I remember receiving the news in the office and trying to contact series EP and co-creator Brad Wright to no avail as he and the cast were in San Diego, out on a U.S. Navy ship at the time and effectively incommunicado.  One of the actors later told me that the second they got into port, the cast checked their phones to discover their inboxes were full.  They all knew – it wasn’t good news.  Whether SG-1 and SGA’s runs ended too soon make for great debate, there’s no denying that, unlike SGU, both of those shows had endings that worked as series finales.  That wasn’t the case for SGU as the series ended with the Destiny crew going into stasis, leaving a solitary Eli to figure out a seemingly impossible problem.  Although the final shots of the ship’s various sections and systems going dark offer a perfect bookend to the show’s opening sequence of them coming alive, audiences were left hanging nevertheless. Destiny’s journey concluded prematurely and its tale ended incomplete.  Adding to the frustration was the fact that co-creator Brad Wright had an endgame in mind, a final sequence he was working towards…that he never got the chance to reveal.

Dark Matter’s present situation is similar to that of SGU.  Like Brad, I have an endgame in mind, one I’ve set up and have been working towards from the pilot.  I know every secret’s reveal, how each set-up pays off, how every story ends.  And, like Brad, I have the show’s final sequence in my head.  I just hope I’m afforded the opportunity to get there.

Ideally, when all is said and done, the Dark Matter journey will be a closer match to that of Atlantis’s.  Five full seasons – as it should be.

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ScreenSpy: “Holy twists, Batman. This episode had a little bit of everything—insight into Android’s creation was a given, but the glimpses into the crew’s past interactions really sealed this episode emotionally.”

SciFiMoviePage: “An excellent episode that answered a lot of question about the characters in the show.”

Geeksiders:

And what did the AfterBuzz team have to say about this episode?

What lies in store for the crew in Episode 311, “The Dwarf Star Conspiracy”?

One of the Android’s newly discovered memories leads the crew to a suspicious Dwarf Star facility on Nova 17.

The promo –

The sneak peek –

http://www.spoilertv.com/2017/08/dark-matter-episode-311-dwarf-star.html

 

 

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Whew!  What a night!  Dark Matter fans had us trending before, during, and long after Episode 310, “Built, Not Born” aired.  We were all out in force, including cast members, to live tweet one of our biggest episodes yet.  And, while all the tweeting was going on, I was rewarding lucky fans with all sorts of cool swag, from cast-signed Dark Matter scripts to Stargate loot.  When all was said and done, I’d given away two signed scripts, six art department packages, a selection of ID badges, an SGU pre-launch press kit, and a goa’uld pain stick prop.  Akemi is going to have to address a lot of envelopes these new few days.

ALSO…the results of the Which Stargate Cast Member Would You Like to See on Dark Matter poll are in.  2 064 votes where cast!  And here are your top three finishers:

Watching the vote progression was like taking in a great sports match – plenty of lead changes, rallies, and an 11th hour upset.

So, next steps –

1: Write a great part.

2. Contact one of the top 3 finishers and convince them to guest star on the show.

3. Host a Stargate reunion on the set of Dark Matter.

Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  Step 0.5: Get picked up for a fourth season!

And, hey, if you’re fave didn’t make the top 3, don’t despair.  I already have plans for at least two other Stargate veterans in season 4 (their schedule, interest, and our budget permitting) but I get ahead of myself.  Renewal first, then grand scifi plans!

As for last night’s episode?  How’d it go?

Yep.  The fans seemed to like it.  And the critics as well –

BladeOfTheSashurai: “By and all this was one of the more emotionally charged episodes of the season, giving us a new look at Two’s past and the android’s quiet yet conflicted nature.”

BlackGirlNerds: “That was only 42 minutes? Way to pack in a lot of content without it getting muddled or confusing.”

SYFYWIRE: “This episode was just full of emotional turmoil and big character moments for Two and Android (and even Three!) and I just have a lot of feelings, okay?” 

PureFandom: “This was an episode for multiple revelations and “What the what?” screeches of dismay/delight. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t want this episode to end. It was chock full of love among our crew members and some interesting relationship twists.”

SpoilerTV: “Dark Matter went all in with this episode and delivered big revelations for both Two and the Android.”

DenOfGeek: “For longtime viewers of Dark Matter, the story that unfolds in “Built, Not Born” is one that had been anticipated for quite awhile, and the payoff is quite satisfying.”

SciFiPulse: “After last week’s fun and games, Dark Matter returns to the mode of serious science fiction with a moral to the story.”

ThreeIfBySpace: “Regardless of what genre of TV you like most, Dark Matter has something for everyone. “Built, Not Born” is yet another solid episode in what has been a fantastic season, tying together two mysterious story lines with one satisfying resolution.”

TheNerdRecites: “Mallozzi promised this episode way back before the season had even begun. An episode where The Android’s origins would be revealed, coupled with a surprising link between The Android and Two. He definitely wasn’t kidding about the surprising nature of that link – this week revealed a complex backstory with some highly unexpected reveals.”

Nerdophiles: “What an awesome episode!”

CarterMatt: “This episode was crazy, twisted, heartfelt, and fun — pretty much this show in a nutshell. ”

TellTaleTV: Dark Matter Season 3 Episode 10, “Built, Not Born,” finally gave us a look into the history of Two and Android with a major twist no one saw coming. This intense change of events could have some major impacts for our crew and their journey.”

And here’s your post-episode discussion on After Dark, hosted by the lovely Zoe Palmer:

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