Now in the show’s third season, Gero has penned more than twenty stories, some excellent, some great and — let’s face it — some just fine. But this year he is committed to shelling out more of the stories that fans have been wanting to see, as opposed to a story idea that may just sound good. More character development. More risks. And yes, for some, more McKay.
Though some argue that “Grace Under Pressure” would have been better had it included all of the Atlantis core cast, most cannot deny that the McKay character — not to mention the actor who plays him — is an interesting one, worthy of story-telling.
But the question on your mind might just be “Is Gero sick of McKay stories?”
“No,” the writer answers to GateWorld, confidently. “I’ve done three. I’ve done three. It’s been my trilogy of McKay stories. [“Tao of Rodney”] is Rob and Damien. It’s not mine.”
“I’ll be honest with you. ‘McKay and Mrs. Miller’ is a balls-out McKay story,” Gero says. “I also think [it’s] some of the best team bonding moments. I personally think so. I think they’ve been really sprinkled nicely this year. I think the other show that does incredibly well is ‘Sateda.’ Just those in-between moments with the team.” We can’t argue with that.
Though fond of the other shows produced thus far, here is a writer who is absolutely proud of his work. “I have a soft-spot for the show,” he says about the September 8 episode. “‘McKay and Mrs. Miller’ is an intensely personal show for me, as it was for David and Kate [Hewlett]. I was talking with [director] Martin Wood the other day. It’s the favorite show that we’ve done together. And we’ve done some good ones. And Joel did an amazing job on the score.
“Every now and again, you’re lucky if it happens once a year for you — what you had hoped an episode will be. [‘McKay and Mrs. Miller’] ends up being that and more. The chemistry that Kate and David have together took literally a lifetime to create. And they use it very well.”
It could have easily been a gamble for bringing David’s real-life sister aboard to play Rodney’s sister, Jeannie. But Martin tells us it paid off. “She destroys it,” he says. Obviously in a good way. “I’m already trying to figure out how to bring her back in Season Four. I’m really happy with it. But that being said, that was my one McKay episode of the year. Allow me one McKay episode a year! ‘No Man’s Land,’ not a McKay episode. ‘Return Part 1 and 2,’ not a McKay episode. ‘Sunday,’ not a McKay episode. The finale, not a McKay episode. Gimme one character piece a year.”
Martin also reveals to GateWorld that he is responsible for an episode of SG-1 gearing up for the back end of Season Ten. And the story isn’t coming from where you expected it. “I am doing one called ‘Bad Guys’ … It was actually an idea that Ben Browder had. Obviously his schedule doesn’t permit him to write during the year. So he pitched it out to us and I said, ‘God, I’d love to write something like this.’ It’ll be ‘Story by both of us.’ He kind of came with the germ of the idea, and I fleshed it out into how to make it into an episode and then wrote the teleplay. It’ll be ‘Story by Ben Browder and me and teleplay by me.'”
Last week the second uber-villain for Atlantis, the Asurans, were revealed. Built from the success of the Replicators, Gero promises that they will be a departure from the average block. “I know there was some concern that there [were] far too many comparisons to Unnatural Selection and stuff like that. And you know what? Fair enough. But that’s just that first episode. Any sort of introduction of them, I agree there was some common ground there. Where we’re going with them is much different. Their presence in ‘Return’ is pretty awesome.”
And their leader Oberoth, played by the fabulous David Ogden Stiers? “[David is] not scheduled to come back,” Gero tells GateWorld. “We haven’t really started working on the finale, so who knows. They’re going to play a part in the finale.”
For a story-based series, the writers are focusing this year largely on what fans have been pleading with them for: More character development. “It’s kind of interesting, because we have three episodes in a row that are very character-centric. After the huge ‘Progeny’ and ‘Sateda’ and stuff like that, we have ‘The Real World’ which kind of revolves around Weir’s character. We have ‘Common Ground’ which is very, very much a Sheppard episode. And we have ‘McKay and Mrs. Miller’ which is more of a McKay episode. Featuring Amanda Tapping. The very lovely, very talented Amanda Tapping.
“And then ‘Phantoms’ is a pure team episode where we actually get a lot of back-story on Sheppard that I know people have been really excited to get. And then we go into ‘The Return, Part 1 and 2,’ which are pretty huge episodes.”
How about that title? “The Return” of O’Neill? “The Return” of what? “It’s multi-faceted,” he says. “People kind of hate that title. I wish I could’ve thought of something better. It’s apropos almost every storyline that’s going on. It’s about the return of a lot of things.”
Keep it on GateWorld 2.0 for Part 2 of our interview with Martin Gero. Martin goes on the record about the ‘potentially controversial’ “Sunday” episode, the show’s ratings thus far, the possibility of airing episodes 11 in March, and the comedy of Richard Dean Anderson and Robert Picardo!