Ascending And Descending
Steven Eramo, TV Zone Special #50, Apr
While some actors fade from view when
their time on a long-running TV programme comes to an end, there's been no lack
of work for Michael Shanks since his departure from Stargate SG-1. Besides
a cameo appearance on The Twilight Zone, he has guest-starred on episodes of The
Chris Isaak Show and Andromeda. He filmed the sci-fi feature film Sumuru
in South Africa. He also voiced the Asgard Thor in the Stargate episodes
Prometheus and Unnatural Selection, and guest-starred as Daniel Jackson in three
In the first, Abyss, he appears to Jack O'Neill, who's been
taken prisoner by the Goa'uld.
“For all the time we’d spent
on the show, it wasn’t until Abyss that Rick and I realized we’d never
actually played off each other for that length of time in any episode,”
says Shanks. “From that perspective alone it was a treat to have scenes
where Jack and Daniel just talked. Rick and I always enjoy working with
one another, and I think this story renewed a bit of our appreciation for
those old times. It was also an interesting story for Rick’s character.
Usually it’s Jack who helps out someone in trouble. In this case, though,
Daniel was the one with the knowledge and the advice to give Jack. It created
a new dynamic for us to play, which I liked.”
The actor chuckles when asked about the next episode he
appeared in, Changeling, written by Christopher Judge.
“Chris and I are close friends
and we’ve gotten to know each other very well over the past six years,”
he notes. "So when he told me he was writing an episode I couldn't help but
think 'Oh, no, SG-1 is going to go to the planet of the strippers!' Well,
he certainly surprised the hell out of me! When I read the script for The Changeling I thought, ‘Damn,
this guy is a good writer!’ My character doesn’t play a big part in the
story but Chris really felt it was important for both Daniel and Teal’c
to have some sort of interaction. I hadn't seen the gang in a while so it
was fun to go back and do this episode.”
At the end of the Stargate feature film, Daniel Jackson [James
Spader] remains behind on the planet of Abydos. He subsequently returned
to Earth in the TV series, and in the sixth season finale Full Circle, Daniel
and SG-1 pay another visit to Abydos.
“That was an interesting
one,” muses Shanks. “I mean, the story was written with the end of the
series in mind. How do you do justice to the entire show, its characters,
etc, in 44 minutes? There's no way you can hope to satisfy everyone,
so you just have to go in and tell a story. That's exactly what Rob Cooper
did and I think he did an admirable job. He focused on what happened
to the Abydonians and inserted the new head bad guy Anubis into the mix. The episode
resolves some issues while leaving other story threads still dangling.”
Where does Full Circle leave Daniel Jackson? "Let's put
it this way, his journey isn't over yet," says Shanks.
Rhythm and Conscience
Richard Dean Anderson
"We got to do some fairly
intense scenes where they threw Jack and Daniel together in a paper bag so
to speak and shook them up. I really enjoy
acting opposite Michael, partly because of his awareness of rhythms coupled
with his propensity for speed and reaction."
Don S. Davis
"I think one of
the things missing from the show in the sixth season was Daniel's conscience.
That was always the key, the play off between O'Neill the warrior and Daniel
the moral humanitarian. It created a terrific dynamic and one that
could not be replaced. There was no way any of the other characters
could've adopted Daniel's ethic, as it simply wasn't in any of their
(c) 2003, TV Zone.
TV Zone Special #50 online
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