For five years, Dr. Radek Zelenka
served as an invaluable scientific resource for the Atlantis expedition -- always level-headed, always standing by to help solve a crisis or keep Rodney McKay
in check (... or should that be "Czech?").
GateWorld caught up with the inestimable David Nykl
at Creation Entertainment's
2009 Vancouver convention in April! In this interview, David talks about the fifth and final year of the show, his character's relationship with the rest of the Atlantis team, and what he's working on now. He also reflects on Zelenka's growth over five years, and the role that Atlantis
has played in his life and his career so far.
If you have not seen Season Five of Atlantis
yet, beware that this interview does include SPOILERS for several episodes.
GateWorld's interview with David runs about 14 minutes. Listen online at your leisure, download it to your MP3 player, or subscribe now to the GateWorld Interviews podcast on iTunes! The full interview is also transcribed below.
GateWorld: When we last talked, back in Chicago in August about seven months ago, Atlantis had gotten about a quarter of the way through Season Five as far as [what] had hit the air at that point.
David Nykl: Yeah, that's right.
GW: What were some of your thoughts on Season Five as a whole ... as far as its strengths and weaknesses?
DN: I think what caught us out was the end -- that we didn't know that was happening. Which happens, I guess, to series that are in a similar situation.
Generally, it was a terrific season. It was a great season for Zelenka. Some really terrific scripts from [Joe] Mallozzi, from [Paul] Mullie, from [Carl] Binder, from all of them. The ending seemed a bit abrupt. It seemed like everything was kind of packed into the last episode.
GW: To me, it really felt like it should have been a two-hour ...
In the series finale Zelenka offers Woolsey Rodney McKay's plans for the wormhole drive.
GW: Not necessarily rushed, but very compacted.
DN: Yeah. Very compacted. Kind of the deus ex machina thing of the wormhole drive and everything sort of happening as compactly as that. So that was a little thing.
I kind of regret a little bit that the Zelenka character didn't get sort of tied up in any kind of way. That it was just sort of left hanging a bit as to what happened to him and where he got to. But who knows? That might still come out in the movie.
GW: Is there any certain episode over the course of Season Five that stands out in your mind for Zelenka? He obviously made an important contribution at the end with the wormhole drive and getting back to Earth.
DN: Kind of the Zelenka thing -- I remember "The Seed" right off the top -- it was kind of the year that Zelenka got "whumped" [beaten up] a little bit more.
DN: Bolts of lightning, tendrils of gooey stuff ... ooh, even stabbing ["Identity"]. Even a stabbing from Jennifer Keller. I just like her to stab Zelenka! Ha ha ha! Kidding, Jewel! [Laughter]
GW: Did you feel at all in the script, with the introduction of the wormhole drive, that line just kind of came out of left field as far as...
DN: Yeah, a little bit. But that's just the script. The writers have a reason for why they put that [in].
I think that Joe [Mallozzi] was in the same sort of situation as all of us. To tie it up and do it quickly because this looks like to be the end. So I know that he was disappointed as we all were that it's coming to an end. So I guess it was to try to address certain issues at once, and that's, I think, where the rushed feeling comes from. I don't think you can fault him for that. It's just the nature of how it was all tied together.
Though an abrupt ending for the series, "Enemy at the Gate" managed to tie many loose ends.
GW: How would you compare Season Five to the earlier four seasons, especially in terms of leadership? You had Torri [Higginson] as Weir, then Amanda [Tapping] [as] Carter, and then Bob Picardo...
DN: Yeah, it changed around. And we didn't really have too much of a chance to settle in with Bob Picardo. I mean, really, it's almost like there [were] different eras. There was the Torri era, and then the Amanda era was kind of a transitional thing to settle into the new Picardo era, which then abruptly ended.
The ending, from a leadership point of view, was a little bit up in the air. Which is good in terms of the team and developing the character team. It just maybe had left a little bit of a sort of uncertainty as to what's going on up top, in terms of that.