Attention Stargate fans! Read below for an exclusive excerpt from Stargate: Atlantis The Official Companion Season 4. Now available for purchase, this is the official companion to the fourth season of Stargate Atlantis, packed with behind the scenes interviews, an episode guide and scores of photos, including a 16pp colour gallery. A must have for all sci-fi fans!
“Dead and buried and turned to dust a long, long time ago, along with everyone you ever knew. There’s no way of knowing what the state of human civilization is – whether it even still exists.” – McKay
No season of a television show ever runs completely smoothly – it’s a huge machine with many cogs, some of which are bound to need maintenance now and then – but Stargate: Atlantis’s fourth season held more challenges for the producers than most. For a start, co-creator Brad Wright, who had been running the show since its launch in 2004, had finally decided that he needed a break. It was well deserved – having also launched and run Stargate SG-1 way back in 1997, Wright had been working on the franchise for a decade.
Into his place stepped the writing team of Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. The pair had been part of the Stargate universe for a very long time, having first joined the SG-1 writing and producing team for that show’s fourth season. Since the two shows were produced side by side between 2004 and 2006, Mallozzi and Mullie were also intimately acquainted with the workings of Stargate: Atlantis, and their appointment as show runners made the transition run as smoothly as possible under the circumstances. In fact, they had been preparing for the role for some time.
“Every year Brad would say, ‘I’m exhausted, I can’t do this for another year,'” laughs Mallozzi, “and then he would come back for another year… And come back for another year!” “Finally he decided he didn’t want to do that any more,” Mullie explains. “He was tired and he needed a break, and he wanted to do the Stargate SG-1 movies. And basically, we were just there. We were next in line, because we had been semi-show running Stargate SG-1. We had been running our own episodes, and about half the episodes with Robert [Cooper].”
“It’s weird not being a show runner on a series you created,” Wright acknowledges. “But Paul and Joe have been around for so long, and Martin and Carl have of course been with the show from the beginning, and Robert and I were in the room with them, helping them break stories at the beginning. So it didn’t feel all that different, in many ways. It just meant that at the end of the day, my life was going to be easier than theirs,” he chuckles. “But the trust factor, the belief in what they were going to do, was always there.”
The pair’s experience, both of the Stargate franchise and of producing, was an ideal primer for taking over the running of Stargate: Atlantis. Even so, show running a series is very different to producing individual or even numerous episodes of the same show.
“The day-to-day stuff of the show is no different – doing the meetings and the prep and so on,” observes Mullie. “But there was a whole layer that goes on top of that that we had never had to deal with before.”
Despite this added layer of duties to fulfill, Mallozzi and Mullie zealously threw themselves into pre-production on season four. For the writer/producers who had previously worked under Brad Wright, including Martin Gero and Carl Binder, the change in who was ultimately calling the shots in the writers’ room seemed perfectly natural – and pretty unobtrusive.
“I’ve been working with Joe and Paul since the beginning,” explains Gero. “It’s a very small office here. We all have lunch together every day, we all read each other’s scripts, we all watch each other’s cuts. So although Joe and Paul had written fewer Atlantis episodes than SG-1 episodes, they were still a very present and important creative force behind the show. On the outside it might have seemed like a big power change, but for us it was a very organic thing. For Carl and I, who have been working on the show since season one, it was a really seamless transition. Not to take away anything from Brad and Rob – we’re friends – but when I started they were my bosses! With Joe and Paul taking over, it felt like we were on a more equal footing. It was a bunch of peers running the show, and they have final say over it. I think they did a great job – I think season four is our best season so far.”
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