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Nykl a Minute
David Nykl never thought that a "day player" role as a Czech doctor in "Thirty Eight Minutes" would have turned into one of the most important satellite roles of the hit television series, Stargate Atlantis. Now in Season Four, Radek Zelenka is more prominent than ever.

GateWorld got to sit down with his portrayer just after shooting wrapped for Season Four of Atlantis he discusses the changes which have come, and what fans can expect. Nykl talks about cast additions such as Amanda Tapping and Jewel Staite, unhooking himself from McKay's side, and hope and confidence in a fifth season.

Beware SPOILERS for Stargate Atlantis up to "Adrift!"

GateWorld's interview with David Nykl is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, and is 15 minutes long. It is also transcribed below. You can also download the interview to your MP3 player and take GateWorld with you!
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GateWorld: For GateWorld.net, I'm David Read, and I'm on the phone with Mr. David Nykl, Radek Zelenka.

David Nykl: Hello GateWorlders everywhere!

GW: [Laughter] Thanks for taking time to be with us again, David.

DN: My pleasure, my pleasure. Thanks for having me!

GW: Now Season Four has just wrapped. How do you feel during this time of the year? Is it a typically similar feeling from year to year that the season's over?

DN: Yeah, it is similar in that an actor's daily bread is uncertainty. Really, we have to remember that we're in the lucky minority, us Stargate people, to be working as regularly. Even the four seasons that have been around so far.


Zelenka races to help save the city in the Season Four premiere.
Now, of course, we're all optimistic and looking forward to a Season Five, but there are no promises. There are no guarantees. We carry on and there are contingency plans, and plans B's and C's and D's. I'm speaking for myself of course, in my head, but I think other actors have a similar trepidation. "What will happen if we don't go back?"

GW: Right. Now what are the impressions on the set? Was there a feeling that this could potentially be the last season? I imagine you probably went to the wrap party, right?

DN: Yeah, yeah. No, on the contrary. The feeling was cautiously optimistic, in the words of some famous politicians. We see all that particularly with such sites as GateWorld, and with the online support, and with the worldwide following. It just seems to be such a shame that the fate of a popular series should make or break on the fate of a couple of boxes on some TV sets. The paradigm needs to change.

We've been following Nielson ratings. Everyone lives and breathes ratings this time of year. The model is so different now with online viewing, with online delivery, with webisodes and mobisodes that it really is only a part of the picture on how many people tune in on Friday night.

GW: Yeah, we've really become a different culture, one that we have to have what we want and we have to have it immediately.

DN: Yeah, that's true, but it's only because we have the technology to be able to deliver that, and I just think that the companies and the people that provide the metrics for that need to catch up to that.

GW: Right. You said you appeared in about 10 episodes this season?

DN: That's right.

GW: OK. Great. Now, is there a single moment that pops into your head from this past year?

DN: Oh, there's been several. There've been some really fun episodes, not the least of which was "Adrift," which just aired recently. That was a lot of fun shooting that space stuff and all the green screen stuff. The astronaut outfits were phenomenal for that, made by our set dec[oration] shop. The realism in them was fantastic.


Zelenka takes one giant leap for mankind.
Also, all the stuff was found on the Internet. [Laughter] In terms of plans for the astronaut's outfits. It was really quite cool. Right down to the details of the wording on the chest being written backwards so you could flip a little mirror on the top of your glove and read the controls on your chest.

GW: Oh, sweet.

DN: Yeah, it was very nice. It was a lot of fun. And working with Joe [Flanigan] is always a pleasure.

GW: Was this your first spacewalk on television?

DN: I guess it was! Yes it was. [Laughter]

GW: Any claustrophobia?

DN: Ah, no! No indeed. Actually they're very comfortable. We were suspended like marionettes. We were just air-lifted into our little spots there, on wires, and carried on from there. [Laughter]

GW: Have you seen the completed episode?

DN: I have. I finally have, yes. I watched a production copy in my trailer last week and it's terrific. Watched that and "Lifeline" and "Doppelganger" all at once.

GW: Yeah. Did you hear about "Doppelganger" premiering early?

DN: I heard it was released inadvertently out to iTunes.

GW: That's right. A bunch of us caught it and it was excellent!

DN: "It was excellent?" Well that's good. Yeah, it's a great little episode. But I don't know, has it aired yet? I guess it's this Friday.

GW: No, this Friday is episode 3, and then next Friday is "Doppelganger." So, yeah, this Friday is the episode where Jason [Momoa] features heavily.

DN: Uh, "Reunion," I think.

GW: That's right. That's right.

DN: "Reunion's" coming up. OK, so they just flip it around a little bit like that. Alright. Cool!

GW: How would you compare Season Four to the past seasons of the show?


New additions to the team, such as Amanda Tapping, will bring new opportunities for Nykl.
DN: Interesting question. I think the biggest difference was the way the cast has changed, and how writers concentrated on developing those new characters and getting them to fit in to the Stargate universe. There's two major new cast members that have had a really positive influence on Atlantis. A lot of the scripts and the situations were focused in that direction.

GW: Right. How has the additional presence of Amanda and Jewel changed the dynamics of this set?

DN: Simply by who they are, of course, it's going to be different. Both of them are tremendous to work with. The few scenes I've had with Jewel I've really enjoyed. I had the opportunity to work with Amanda entirely in one episode, in "Quarantine," and they're fantastic ladies. They're great to work with.

The dynamic, it remains to be seen as to how it looks in the episodes, but from what I've seen so far it's tremendous. From what I've seen. Having said that, I really miss Torri and Paul, so I'm saying the change is positive but it's only because we went through a bit of pain to get to it.

GW: Right, exactly. A lot of us are hoping that Season Four is going to be darker and grittier. From what you've seen, does it accomplish this?

DN: Oh yeah, it does. The way the show is shot, the tone of it, the lighting, the moods, the subject matter. Much more sort of a darker, grittier -- exactly. That's a good characterization of the Fourth Season. Yeah. I would agree.
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