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April 28 2009

Firefly to influence Stargate Universe. Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper talk about how their love of Firefly has made an impact on the shooting style of the latest Stargate show.

"It’s not intended to be style for style’s sake, or to emulate any other show," Cooper said. "Although, to be honest with you, one of the shows we both love that we did look at and say, ‘That’s a style we would love to try and approach,’ is Firefly. That’s how Firefly was shot. There’s a lot of hand-held stuff. Cameras were placed in places that were non-traditional or [not] typical of film-making. But we examined that quite closely and looked at other dramatic shows that are shot like that, as well."

The problem of course is that Joss is an auteur and those two sausage makers *g*

(Disclaimer: Other opinions are also available ;)
Hmmm. I'll wonder how that'll work out for them.

Just that show, like no.
I have never seen any space show except for Firefly (I haven't even seen all of Star Wars), but the trailer for this one looks pretty good.
J.I.G., I recommend Farscape before any incarnation of Stargate (even though I know nothing about the new SG series). Very weird, in the best possible sense.
I'm always up for seeing non-bipedal aliens, so I'll watch just to see how far their imaginations stretch.

(Also, agreeing with Jakob Schmidt)
I remember some talk about one of the DS9 aliens having some kind of floating device transport, in the original idea, but it was changed, since the costs were big. Probably they just let the unortodoxy ones to be without dialogues like the Horta from ToS.
I've heard that sci-fi writer John Scalzi (of the Old Man's War series) is attached as some sort of creative consultant. I really dig his books, so I'm hoping his influence (however small it may be) will be for good. Scalzi's aliens are *fantastic* in my opinion.

I'll also say that I enjoy Stargate. The early seasons were rough (it doesn't become really entertaining until season three). The show on the whole is a bit uneven. By season seven, though, the character and story arcs are far more interesting. Nothing like what Joss writes, of course, but not the worst thing on TV. If they're looking to Firefly for inspiration then at least they're looking in the right place.
Stargate is really underrated, if you ask me. Okay, it's fairly light viewing and doesn't require all that much thought to enjoy it but then it never pretended to be anything else. More importantly, it has some excellent writing and great characters on both of the previous shows, O'Neill, Jackson and McKay being particular favourites of mine.

For some reason Stargate always seems to come up against a certain amount of sci-fi snobbery. You can love Star Trek, Babylon 5, Firefly, Battlestar Galactica, Farscape or whatever else, all equally great shows in their own ways, but say you happen to be a Stargate fan and it's like saying you prefer Phantom Menace to Empire Strikes Back. A shame because it is so much better than that and at it's best it can be the equal of any of the other big sci-fi shows.
Outside of Firefly, my two favorite scifi series are Farscape and Babylon 5. I love them for different reasons. I love Farscape because it really pushes the envelope of television science fiction (aliens that don't look humanoid, characters that don't just get along with each other and take orders, plotlines that are bordering on insane - but brilliant.) Babylon 5 is amazing for the deep story arc, which is a delight to see play out over the course of 5 seasons, a story that becomes truly epic in scope, humans and aliens, diplomacy and war, light versus dark. Both shows are some of the best in tv scifi.

I've been meaning to check out Stargate someday. I've seen the movie and the pilot, and it never really grabbed me, but I know it has its fans, and I've heard that it has some pretty good episodes (and a lot of mediocre ones too).
...and I've heard that it has some pretty good episodes (and a lot of mediocre ones too).

I won't argue that Stargate has it's fair share of dull episodes, particularly early on and before the larger, more involved storylines hit, but then again what show doesn't have a number of episodes that you would rather skip through? Farscape's first season was pretty patchy (to the point where I very nearly gave up on it around the time I first watched Jeremiah Crichton) and the less said about the first season of B5 the better. Both series eventually became some of the most complex and absorbing shows I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

Stargate maybe has a larger number of the less thrilling episodes than those two examples but given that they have less episodes combined that just Stargate SG-1 alone, without even taking Atlantis into account, I'd say that would make sense. And even then, the brilliant episodes far outnumber the bad by a very large margin.
I liked Stargate. It was one of the few sci-fi series I've ever watched, understood the mythology of and throughly enjoyed.

I couldn't even get through the first *episode* of Babylon 5. It was horrific. Fans have been telling me to try it again, and I might (I think it's on Netflix On-Demand). Compared to that, Stargate was Shakespeare. Farscape I haven't tried, but probably will at some point.

I'll say this, though: Firefly avoided all of the major screw-ups of TV sci-fi (we only got a few episodes, though, so there's no telling it wouldn't have happened eventually). There was no time travel episode. No "major character suddenly gets old (or young)" episode. No body switching episode. No "mind trapped in the computer" episode. No, Firefly was TV sci-fi perfection. Every other show I've watched quickly fell into the old, familiar (and boring) sci-fi tropes.

Every time I watch episodes like Out of Gas or Jaynestown I just want to cry that we didn't get more of it.
ern definitely give B5 another shot. It pays off in some major ways. There are definitely episodes you can skip in season 1 (I'd skip Infection and TKO at the very least), but even season 1 has great moments (Signs and Portents, Babylon Squared, and of course the finale) not to mention setting a lot of the continuing plot threads in motion and establishing the characters and setting for the ongoing arc in the seasons to come. Season 3 of Babylon 5 is the single greatest season I've ever seen of any series ever.

Farscape actually has most of the sci-fi cliche episodes you mentioned, but they usually manage to do them in a refreshing / different manner than that you've seen before, so are still worth watching. Every season has a few duds, but when Farscape is good, it is mindblowingly good.

I agree about Firefly. It hit right out of the gate (well, would have if Fox had aired Serenity first). The series was immediately compelling, the characters felt fully fleshed out, the world was incredible... brilliant episodes like Out of Gas and Objects in Space... so much potential... and then... nothing. Not even a season finale before it got canned. I still want to cry about that. (Serenity was amazing, but I would have loved more tv episodes even more).
I've only seen a few ep's of Stargate when it was shown here, and I have seen like 4 series or something of Stargate: Atlantis but I kinda lost interest in ses. 5. XD


I've seen a few ep's. of Farscape. It's not bad. I could watch more, maybe.
I was never a fan of Atlantis but I loved SG-1. A couple of the episodes were up there with the best of Joss' stuff. And Babylon 5 was just plain awesome. Season 3 overwhelmed me when I saw it back in the 90s.
From what I hear of Babylon 5, it's really seasons 2-4 where it shines. It was apparently the first show to have a real arc, and an arc that was properly planned from the beginning no less. So there are things in later seasons foreshadowed so far in advance.

I've personally just started watching it, I've watched the first season and I'll be watching the rest in the summer (post exams). It feels a little cheap in some respects, and the CGI is almost painful, but that's forgiven since they were pioneers in that respect. More than anything though, it seems to really mark a change in sci-fi television. It was serious, with serious issues, and didn't really shy away from much. So yeah, if you're thinking about watching it, try and give it a go -- if you can gloss over the occasionally clichéd speech and dodgy special effects, it's really worth it.

Um, I'd also through a vote out there for Farscape, which was awesome, and the first sci-fi show that really did romance properly in my opinion. The new Battlestar Galactica (and OMG: Caprica!! has anyone seen the pilot yet? so awesome.) is also really good, if you don't mind spiritual questions being raised -- this really seems to bug some people, but I don't know why, even if you don't believe in God in real life, I can't see why it's a problem to talk about it in fiction.

As for Stargate, out of all the sci-fi shows I've seen, it really did have the most entertaining MOTW-style episodes, and with really fun characters (in SG-1 anyway; I never really got into Atlantis). I don't think much of the overall storyline, but it was really fun to watch, so I'm looking forward to Universe, especially now I've read this quote.
I'm currently watching through all of Deep Space Nine (for the first time). When I'm done with that I'll need another scifi fix, so maybe I'll check out SG1.
MattK, about Caprica, did you know if the show will
I was already looking forward to Universe, now I'm verging on pumped up.
The one thing that I hate about Firefly is that it has largely soured me on TV sci-fi. Nothing else quite measures up (even BSG, which I think fell apart in the last season).

I saw the trailer for Caprica and, well, my impression was not favorable. I might check it out but it doesn't look like something I'd enjoy.

I'm all about arc. I don't mind standalones so long as they keep the arc moving. Buffy was like that. My wife and I (watching through Buffy for the third or fourth time) wanted to skip a few standalones we didn't enjoy as much, but found it difficult to do. Even the so-so standalones were peppered with some of our favorite character moments and arc moments.

Stargate didn't do that. Not to mention all the continuity problems... urgh. Anyway, B5 and Farscape will get a chance from me.

edit: As for the "sci-fi snobbery" comment in regards to Stargate, I think it's because of the success of the show. Ten seasons of SG-1, five of Atlantis, and a new show on the way: it makes the show an easy target. The same thing happened to Joss, by the way, when Angel and Buffy were in full swing and Firefly was on the way. There was all this snobbery about Joss's shows, yadda yadda. Two years later: boom. All the shows were gone.

[ edited by ern on 2009-04-28 21:40 ]
I am definitely looking forward to this. Stargate is "sci-fi lite", but usually very entertaining.
Didn't care much for Atlantis, but was a big fan of SG-1. I thought that Season five of Babylon 5 was some of the worst scifi I have ever seen. Of course, my favorite scifi show will always be Farscape. :)
Brasilian Chaos Man, [Caprica spoilers]

ern, I can't really say anything other than don't judge Caprica on the trailer, but on its pilot, which is an hour and more of a mini-film really -- you can buy a DVD of it on Amazon now. They're definitely building some major arcs there. They're going to be trying to find a way to market it, and they'll come up with all sorts of slogans (I think I heard "a sci-fi Dallas" ??), but I really don't think it's something as simple as that. It's a very difficult show to classify.
Thanks, Mattk, and I already saw it, then my question,since her character seemed, to me, very good and amazingly to work on a sci-fi level, but the other plot don't get me excited. It was most like every Frankenstein's story version.
I haven't read much about Stargate Universe, but I know I'll watch it since I've seen every episode of SG1 and Atlantis. Didn't care for Atlantis at first, but it really grew on me around season 3.

My two favorite shows are Firefly and Farscape.

[ edited by theclynn on 2009-04-28 22:49 ]
Unfortunately, I could never get into Farscape because of the muppets. Yes, I know, I'm actually kind of ashamed to admit it because I know it's great television, but for some insane reason I can't quite comprehend, I just can't watch them. I have no trouble with CGI aliens or characters, no trouble with the Yoda puppet, no trouble with aliens whose only distinguishing feature is a prosthetic slab on the forehead, but give me Rygel (that was his name right?), and my suspension of disbelief flies out the window and I think of Kermit and Miss Piggy.

I've tried time and again to watch the first season of the show (which isn't that great, but I know the show gets amazing later on), and I even own the first half of the first season on DVD, but I just simply can't get through it. Which bums me out, because I think I'd totally like the show otherwise. But there you go.

As for Babylon 5: yes, amazing television. That third season is jaw-on-the-floor fantastic. I watched it in the nineties, when the SFX still looked quite good to my eyes (rewatching now: not so much), but the incredible plot was the thing that kept me hooked. Truly amazing television.

But, anyway: Stargate. I've seen all the seasons of SG-1 and atlantis and they're not quite comparable to any of the other shows I love. They don't strive to be high quality drama (apart from the occasional incredibly well-written, hard-hitting episode, but those are the exceptions), it just strives to be exciting and, most of all, a whole lot of fun. Which it succeeds at with flying colours. SG-1 especially, but also Atlantis, are some of the best times I've had watching television. And that is reason enough to love the shows to bits. They had engaging characters, who it's hard to not instantly love, great tongue-in-cheek writing, etcetera.

It's that which I really hope 'universe' will also bring. The trailer worries me: it looks gritty and dramatic. I don't want my Stargate gritty and dramatic. I watch things like BSG to get that. I watch Stargate for the fun.

I've heard that sci-fi writer John Scalzi (of the Old Man's War series) is attached as some sort of creative consultant. I really dig his books, so I'm hoping his influence (however small it may be) will be for good. Scalzi's aliens are *fantastic* in my opinion.

Ouh, ern, I so agree. I'm currently reading 'The Ghost Brigades' and I loved 'Old Man's War'. His aliens are very interesting and well-rounded and I imagine most of them would work visually as well as on the page. I could easily imagine his influence on aliens for a television show working quite nicely.
GVH said:

Unfortunately, I could never get into Farscape because of the muppets. Yes, I know, I'm actually kind of ashamed to admit it because I know it's great television, but for some insane reason I can't quite comprehend, I just can't watch them. I have no trouble with CGI aliens or characters, no trouble with the Yoda puppet, no trouble with aliens whose only distinguishing feature is a prosthetic slab on the forehead, but give me Rygel (that was his name right?), and my suspension of disbelief flies out the window and I think of Kermit and Miss Piggy.

Hm, interesting. Because the puppets are exactly what piqued my interest about Farscape. I can actually believe a Henson puppet before I can believe some of the best cgi in the world. Mainly because a puppet is more real, it's here in a physical sense so I can get more into the character. I also tend to find actors have the same experience with reacting to a puppet over reacting to a cgi character that isn't really there.

I'm also wondering why you can believe Yoda over the Farscape puppets, because same difference really. It's all Henson, and the Henson company knows the difference between making a realistic alien and a felt puppet. I suppose we all have our individual problems of where our suspension of disbelief lies.

Back on topic, in a way I think it's cool that Universe is trying new things and taking from higher quality Sci-fi, but in another way I'm not sure the Stargate people can pull it off. They were good at what they were good at, being basic entertainment, but it wasn't uncommon for the show(s) to be filled with plotholes and problems to an ungodly level. I probably think this way because of I've read Mallozzi's blog though, and let's just say... well he's not a sci-fi genius.
GVH, I almost didn't watch Farscape because of the muppets either, but trust me, you stop seeing them as puppets quite early. I didn't really start to like the show until midway through season 1 and it was because I turned on the TV in the middle of an episode that I didn't realize was Farscape and kept thinking, 'holy crap, this is great!' Felt a bit silly when I realized what show I was watching, because it was the one I was going to not watch due to those silly puppets.

Babylon 5, yep, seasons 2-4 were the best and the fifth was just cringe worthy at times, but I'd watch it again just for the scenes between G'kar and Londo. (And a certain person bursting into flames. Best. Moment. Ever.) But season 1 is necessary because it sets up so much that pay off later, so I kind of feel bad for some of the actors in the first season because it's like they're the ones that loosened the lid while someone else that takes the jar afterwards gets the credit for opening it.

And as much as I do enjoy Stargate (although not so much Atlantis... I tried, I really did) I understand the snobbery for one simple reason: no one really changed in any realistic way due to all of the things they had all been through. The characters were consistent in that they never ever grew. The only one that changed at all was Daniel, and that was a haircut and a willingness to shoot before thinking, which was a shame because some of the best moments were when he and Jack would disagree about how to handle a situation. But once Daniel was pro shoot first, he became boring. (Jack, however, was never boring. ;) ) And every season, heck almost every episode had a big giant reset button and after whatever crisis was over everyone went back to exactly who they were before. That's no fun after a while. But, there were episodes that I would definitely put on a list of 20 episodes of TV to take with me on a deserted island. One being "Window of Opportunity" and the second (and I always forget the name) is when Jack gets captured by Ba'al... the first time, and Daniel comes to visit in his cell.

Wow... blah blah blah. :D

Uh, anyhow: SG Universe will be getting a try from me. I think it's different enough that they can't just do SG1 3.0.

Edit: I can't believe I misspelled Londo! Wow.

[ edited by NYPinTA on 2009-04-29 04:39 ]
Stargate: Voyager.

Farscape is special, and the muppets are the best part.
The first season of SG-1 was pretty cheesy but after that it was pretty fun and it had some darn good episodes. Maybe it wasn't high art but you get the sense that every one was having a good time doing it and it carried over. It never took it self too seriously and was always willing to take jabs at itself in a few episodes.
I agree with Sunfire. I'm so nuts about Pilot, it's ridiculous.

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