Stargate after being on the air for fifteen years in one form or another has a new show, Stargate Universe.
Taking what made the first set of shows (SG-1 and Atlantis) so great It has evolved and taken the road most Science fiction does not go. It has entered the realm of adult drama. With dark undertones and a visual style that is much less exciting the show is now focusing on human drama and hardships. With a strong cinematic visual style and deep character development, this series has proven it’s self as a must watch show of Science Fiction fans and non-fans alike. The series is now entering its second half of the first season and we here at C&G Monthly cannot be more excited.
C&G Monthly had a chance to hear what Brian J. Smith (LT. Matthew Scott )and Louis Ferreira (Colonel Everett Young) had to say about the show, their careers and what Star Gate really means to the fans. We also get a small peak at what we should expect for the second part of the season premiering on space on Friday, April 2 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
THE FANDOM OF STARGATE AND EXPERIENCES WITH THE FANS
Louis Ferriera: Well for me it has been two-fold. Some of the fans are going to be discouraged because their version of the old Stargate is no longer the same. We were aware that we were going to do something different with the franchise. I always say how lucky and how many fans do not get to have as much as 15 years of a franchise on air. That is the case with Stargate. For them to want to say we want to try something different is fairly bold considering you have a built-in audience and success. So for taking that risk was something that made me personally feel like “Hey this is kind of neat” from that perspective. To watch it unfold and then watch these Brad and Robert execute their plan has been really positive for all of us. And some of the things we have noticed is that we are keeping throws fans and for that we are grateful. But we are hopefully attracting people that would normally not watch a sci-fi show. This is just a good drama set in space; I think that was part of their intention as well. It is kind of nice to feel that we are as much as we are part of a franchise and still we are on our own unique show. It was always their plan to establish things initially before things would come and I think the old fans of the show will be excited with what’s coming.
Brian J Smith: You can’t make everyone happy. Now that I have got to know Stargate fans at conventions and such. You hear a lot of people say that they were disappointed in the lack of character development. This is what we tried to address in this show, this year, especially in the first ten episodes. It’s still going to be a show that has action, Adventure and sci-fi elements in it. But we are going to take our time to set up the chess board and really set up what is at stake for them. We have had a lot of feedback from people that say that is great and want to see where we go next. I want to see the guns to the head and I want to see the crisis situation(s)
BJS: I think people who have stuck with the show and have taken the time to watch the show and have spent the time getting to know the characters are really going to experience a very big payoff on Friday night.
LF: And these aren’t just regular aliens. We’re talking CGI, District-9-type aliens. This isn’t a tough guy in a costume going, ‘Oh god, why’d I take this job? It’s so hot in here.’
WERE YOU A SCI-FI FAN BEFORE THE SHOW?
LF: Negative. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, that’s just my journey as a child growing up. But what I have said is that when I did get the show was that I did watch a lot of the old SG-1 and Atlantis [episodes]. I quite liked SG-1 a lot. I thought it was a great show, I enjoyed that one.
BSJ: I didn’t like Atlantis as much.
LF: I had done one episode of Star Trek before. I did [an episode of] “Voyageur”. But [sci-fi] wasn’t really my genre, but saying that [Stargate] was pretty much going to be a drama with a space backset. For me, on my personal journey as an actor, this was something that I had not done before, and that certainly was one of the criteria I look for myself in doing something [new]. I try to do something that I haven’t done in the past.
THAT LEADS TO MY FOLLOW UP FOR BRIAN: DID YOU KNOW LOUIS WAS IN AN EPISODE OF “VOYAGER” AND PLAYED A RUBBER-FACED ALIEN?
BSJ: You played an alien, Louis?!
LF: I wasn’t an alien, I was a holographic tree in one of the kids’ video games. I was beyond ‘rubber-faced alien’ as far as the work that went into it. I was a latex tree from top to bottom, and I had a slit where my pupils were. That was the only thing that I could see out of, and the reason why that was an experience for me is because I wasn’t able to use the bathroom for fifteen hours. So you can imagine what the thoughts that went through my mind were.
BSJ: I did not know that. I definitely did not.
WILL WE BE SEEING YOU AT COMICON THIS YEAR?
BSJ: We are going to be at ComiCon this year. It’s kind of been built into the schedule. I don’t think that it’s been announced officially, but it’s something that the show loves to do. We all love to get out there. I’m 90% sure we’re all going to be there.
LF: I didn’t go last year, but I’m super excited about going this year not only as part of a show, but also as a fan of so many of the other [exhibitors] that are going to be there. I’m looking forward to taking my kids up there and having a good time.
LOUIS: YOU HAVE RUSH AND YOUNG WHO SEEM TO BE MORTAL ENEMIES. DO YOU THINK IN THE REST OF THE SEASON WE WILL SEE A RESOLUTION TO THE CONFLICT?
LF: I think like any relationship, it’s one of those where they [have] the push-pull factor that will always have to be there. You have two men that ultimately have two very different agendas, yet they need each other to survive. And like one of those unhealthy types of relationship where people stay in way too long, this is even more [trapping] because you’re trapped on the ship, literally. So you don’t’ have any ‘I’m leaving, I’m packing the bags’ option. You don’t have that out. SO I think it will forever be a journey of two extremes, and at times balances, but I think with that particular conflict it is absolutely necessary to the heart of the show.
HOW HAVE YOU FOUND MORE TRUST IN THE WRITING OF THE SCRIPT AS THE SERIES HAS PROGRESSED?
BJS: I’ve been the same with the writing since the beginning, and I’ve always liked the direction that they’ve gone in. Especially [after] hearing where we’re going this next season, and after seeing what happened in the last half of Season One, I actually trust these guys a lot. They’re pretty good about [flexibility]. If we need to cut a line or kind of change words around… I find that they’re very, very smart, and they’re very forward thinking. You just go along for the ride.
Each time we get a script, it’s like Christmas. Walking around the trailers, talking: ‘Oh my god, did you read this last script? It’s great, I wonder what’s going to happen next.’ You just enjoy it.
LF: For me, most of what Brian said as well, it’s been amazing for me to watch these guys who’ve created very specific type[s] of other series in the fifteen years of a franchise. It would be easy to have them go back into that formula because they know it. But to watch the evolution of their new series take shape the way it has has been, for me, interesting, dynamic, challenging, and super exciting from the perspective that they’re really looking at this like a journey over a certain amount of time. It’s not like each episode stands out, it’s not an alien on one week, and then there’s a happy ending, or maybe even a two-parter. This will start here and end — and this is the question — none of us know where, but along the way the changes that will happen with all the characters can be and will be, [without] parameters.
Who you meet in episode 1 who is my character, for example, is not necessarily the character that will be there in episode sixty — knock wood, we should be so lucky. But it’s that kind of journey left ambiguous, so they really are on that kind of track. To be really honest with the timing and the spacing of the show, and to let things breathe amid shows that are super fast… to have this gift to breathe life into the situation and make it as real as possible has really been a pleasure to be part of. I think that their writing speaks to that more and more with each episode.
WHAT DO YOU BOTH BRING TO YOUR CHARACTERS NOW?
BJS: There’s a lot of odd little parallels between me and Scott, and I am finding that I’m able to bring my own uncertainty in my own hesitation about things [such as] knowing that you’ve got the skills to do something, but not necessarily have the practical experience yet to do it. I think that is something that is becoming much more present in Scott. Hopefully you’ll be seeing where the rest of Season One goe, but certainly in Season Two, you’ll be seeing Scott, and myself, really starting to find our power and really starting to find a certain kind of skill or purpose. And I think that’s kind of where I’m at with the character right now.
LF: I love it, That’s beautiful!
[Young’s] going to become a cross between Jim Carrey and Paul Lynn. I’m the comedic relief.
Nah, I’ll give you the serious answer. That’s my hope, though! That Young becomes some over-the-top comedian guy. I dont’ think that’s going to happen, but I can dream. I can have a hope. Deep down, Young has always been battling from the get-go — his own demons, the ‘bigger picture’ demons — but life as [he] knew it back on Earth was not working for [him] so much, so bing on the mission to begin with, in his heart of hearts, was the last thing he wanted. What I love about the writing with him is the sort of metamorphosis that happens when we have that period of mourning in someone, and you need to take that time. But that happens and you come to a place in your life where you make the choice, and that choice is always about surviving. And right now more than ever, in this particular situation, the whole thing is about them being survivours and surviving.
I think amidst everything that’s going on, there’s this sort of rebirth that will happen with my character that impacts how he looks at everything. THat’s what’s really interesting about the show: everything that any one of these characters had has been taken away. There isn’t anything that made sense [before]. THe rules don’t apply. Basically, our own civilization is stuck on the ship. “Colonel” is on my name tag, [and] it might have meant something on Earth, but as time progresses and as people deal with the reality of what happened, it doens’t mean the same thing.
All those kinds of questions that i think are wonderful metaphors for our own journeys in our lives are the things that are going to be asked. And that, I think, is the strength of sci-fi from what I have learned about it. It’s a medium to really ask those kinds of questions, and [then] tell the stories in a way that leaves things ambiguous and allows the audience to fill in the blanks with their own answers. I feel very privileged to be part of that journey. Not just as myself, but [as] my character and every single character. I think every one of them adds their own validity in that [quest], and i think as they explore more and more the audience will really be able to identify with certain characters more.