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Universe casting suggestion! August 27, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Stargate: Universe.
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At some point, the Powers That Be at Stargate Productions are going to be casting their new Stargate spinoff, Stargate: Universe. It’s been said by Sci Fi channel president Dave Howe that the hope is for the cast to be more “fresh faced.” I assume he means “fresh faced” in comparison to the casts of the previous two shows, which feature all sorts of dull, middle-aged people, several of them bald. I suppose we can’t have that if we’re wanting to appeal to 20-year-olds, can we? (sarcasm alert!)

Actually, accusing the Atlantis cast of not being appealing to a younger audience is kind of ridiculous. Take a look at the leads, and what do you see? A whole mess of very cool people, and with the possible exception of Robert Picardo, not one of them appears to be middle aged. David Hewlett and Joe Flanigan are both slightly over forty, but I never would have guessed that if I hadn’t looked it up. (I’m 40 myself, and I would love to be in as good a shape as Joe Flanigan!!) Jason Momoa, on the other hand, isn’t even thirty yet, and Jewel Staite is even younger than him.

Furthermore, why do media industry types insist on believing that the characters on a show have to be the same age as the audience? Who the hell came up with that, anyway? I know identification with a character is a big appeal, but it’s not necessary for the character to be the same age as the viewer in order for that to happen.

Example: The leading actors of the original Star Trek series were all older than the standard which the Stargate folks seem to be shooting for, and yet the show really took off in popularity in the 1970’s, with an audience that was mostly college students and younger at that time. DeForest Kelly was in his late forties when he first started playing Dr. Leonard McCoy, and I never once had any coolness issues with him. I was only nine years old when I became an avid Star Trek fan—do you suppose that’s youthful enough? Likewise, William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were both closer to 40 than they were to 30, and I practically worshipped both of their characters. James Doohan was actually the same age as DeForrest Kelly. There weren’t any women in the lead roles of that show, but for primary supporting roles, Nichelle Nichols was one year younger than Shatner and Nimoy. All of them were mid-30’s or older when the show began.

To take a more extreme example, in the most recent season of Doctor Who, the coolest supporting character of the whole season is probably Wilfred Mott (played by Bernard Cribbins), more commonly known as Donna’s grandfather. He’s just a fun character, and it’s hard to imagine him not appealing to pretty much any age group. I’m not sure how old he is, but as the grandfather of a woman in her 30’s, that must mean he’s in his 70’s at least, right?

A counter-example: How did people react to Wesley Crusher when Star Trek: The Next Generation started? I remember wishing he would die, frankly. :) That character was sort of a blight on the show, although he did get better in later seasons, thanks to better writing and Wil Wheaton’s acting talent. My reaction to early Wesley was pretty typical, though. I was 18 or 19 when that show was first broadcast.

So, who says you need to have youngish characters to appeal to a youngish audience, and who says that if you do, it’s even going to work?

So here’s my casting suggestion for one of the male leads on the new Stargate: Universe program: Adam Baldwin!

He’d be an excellent choice. For one thing, he’s got a bit of history in the Stargate universe already, having played Col. Dave Dixon, the leader of SG-13 in the double episode “Heros.” He’s in his mid 40’s, which is probably older than what they’re thinking of, but on the other hand, he’s younger than the parents of the target demographic, by roughly a decade, which means he could easily play a mature, leader-type role without conveying an uncool level of parentalness. Casting him would also create an opportunity to set up some inter-team conflict between him and another, younger male lead. Baldwin is also funny. Not just a little funny either—he’s a lot funny. Just watch his previous appearance on SG-1, or his 14-episode stint on Firefly if you don’t believe me.

One slight problem is that he appears to already be cast in another series. Oh well. I still think I’m right about this.

Back July 28, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Uncategorized.
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Well, I’m back.

What can I say–I didn’t intend to be gone this long, but on the other hand, I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to come back. Some things went pretty wrong a few months ago, and only recently am I starting to feel the creative juices flow again.

My plan to analyze the entire Stargate: SG-1 series is on indefinite hold. In fact, that project may have proven to be too ambitious. It seemed like a great idea, but SG-1 is a HUGE series, and as I got into the process of writing about the episodes in the first season, I found myself not wanting to spend time writing when I could just go ahead and watch the next one. This is commonly known as “lack of self discipline.” I also found myself wanting to delve into more and more detail about each episode, so what started as a general summary of the series was evolving into a full-fledged episode guide, for a series with over 200 episodes. Yikes. So I got farther and farther behind. I even started watching season two, thinking I could get caught up any old time. That was wrong. Before I knew it, I was hopelessly behind. This was also about the time that the new seasons of Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who were getting into full swing, and the prospect of trying to keep up with both of those shows, plus get caught up on my SG-1 project, it was just too much. So I tabled this whole idea for a while.

In my absence, I ended up skipping the entire fourth season of Doctor Who, which is unfortunate, because there’s a lot that could be said about it. There’s also Battlestar Galactica‘s fourth season. Wow. And that was only half a season. Of course I can always come back to these later. Regarding Galactica, I’ll just say for now that I think the revisioned series is turning out to be the finest program in the history of television. I’m not really qualified to say that, mind you, since there are way too many shows I haven’t seen. But if there’s a show out there that’s as good as this one, I’d sure love to see it. (Ok, one more thing–is it just me, or was there a marked upward jump in the quality of this already-excellent show at the point when Jane Espenson came onboard?)

Today I started work on an article pertaining to Stargate: Atlantis, particularly some of the developments in the new season. The article is going well, although it still needs some polishing up. That should be ready for publication sometime very soon, maybe even tonight.

I am also going to be broadening the focus of this blog a bit. My initial idea was to limit myself to “Television Sci Fi” programming. However, I have to admit, there are some movies I’d like to mention on here from time to time as well. There’s also the question of that “science fiction” parameter, which I wondered out loud about when I first started this blog. There’s some very imaginative work out there that is well worth talking about, but which doesn’t exactly fit into the proper realm of “science fiction” at all. The new theatrical release Hellboy 2 is one example. But there are others, even farther afield than that. Take David Lynch’s masterpiece Mulholland Drive, for instance. In no way could this movie be considered science fiction (unless you have developed an entirely new take on it, in which case, feel free to tell me about it), but it’s certainly imaginative. And I do like that word, “imaginative.” So. “Imaginative fiction” it is. Seems like a good topic for discussion, no? However, the emphasis will still be on science fiction, since that’s really where my heart lies.

Finally, I want to close by posting something which really helped to motivate me to get back on track with this. This is an interview with Wil Wheaton, done at ComicCon. It’s quite interesting. Wheaton is an interesting guy, and he says a thing or two here which I really appreciate, in particular some advice he offers towards the end of the interview, intended for aspiring internet writers. It occurs to me that his advice applies to people with other creative inclinations too. That means me, since I’m also struggling with various photography and music projects, in addition to writing. Anyway, here is the whole thing. Enjoy!