As Stargate Atlantis stands on the threshold of its fourth season, the show’s writing staff faces a new series of challenges. Atlantis‘s sister show is off the air; SCI FI Channel ratings are down across the board; and there are major changes in the series’ cast.
GateWorld recently sat down with seasoned writer-producer Carl Binder to talk about last year, the coming year, and his feelings about where the series stands as it moves forward into the new season. In the interview, he shares his thoughts on the difficulties of losing cast members, as well as his enthusiasm for new characters joining the show. He also tells us which episodes from the early part of Season Four he likes the most so far, and which Season Three episode he thought didn’t measure up.
GateWorld’s interview with Carl is available in MP3 audio format for easy listening, and runs about 25 minutes. It is also transcribed below. You can also download the interview to your MP3 player and take GateWorld with you!
GateWorld: For Gateworld.net, I’m Darren Sumner. I’m here with Carl Binder. Carl, thanks for giving us some of your time today.
Carl Binder: You’re welcome. Anytime.
GW: Tell us a little bit about Season Four of Atlantis, as fans are looking forward to the fall premiere. How will the show be different from what we’ve seen in the past?
CB: It will still be Atlantis, obviously. But there will be some changes. At the end of last season, we kind of gave the show what’s called a “soft reset,” where we are changing things up to send the show in a different direction. And this new season, we want to just make life a little more uncomfortable for our people — which always makes for better drama.
And so there’s going to be some more twists. I know that sounds like we say that all the time, but I think there are going to be some … a lot of things are going to come to a head this year. And there’s going to be some new villains introduced. Life is not going to get any easier. In fact, it’s going to get much more rough for us this year.
I was just down on the set yesterday talking with Michael Blundell, the DP [director of photography] on the show. The look of the show has a bit of a darker feel this year. Just from the sets … the way the set is lit. The whole series has a bit of a darker feel, which I think is an interesting way to take it.
GW: The scope of the Atlantis universe just continues to expand. You’ve got the Asurans, Replicators last year. There’s a new race coming this year. Will the Wraith continue to play a part in Season Four? Will the Replicators?
CB: Yes, both. Both will continue to play a part and we are, in fact — everything will kind of come together. All these separate entities, from the Wraith, the Replicators, new villains … everything will become intertwined. So it won’t feel like separate storylines. It will all be brought together this year.
Which is a lot of fun. It’s a bit of a [challenge] trying to orchestrate it all and figure it all out. But it’s coming together, I think, very nicely, in that it won’t feel like we’re fighting on different fronts. It will all become one big, gigantic battle. [Laughter]
GW: That has got to be a challenge from a writer’s standpoint.
CB: [A] challenge, and also fun. I mean, that’s the thing — we all felt that we wanted this year … you know, we introduced also last year this intergalactic bridge, which made travel to Earth a lot more quicker and easier. We have the ships going back and forth, which makes travel [easier]. We just wanted to shake things up a little bit. And we will continue to do that, especially with regards to the bridge, with regards to the Replicators and the Wraith.
GW: We know a little bit about the first half of the season, which is in production right now. What can you tell us about the episodes that you’ve written?
CB: The episodes I’ve written … the first one I wrote is “Lifeline,” which is episode two. [It] is kind of a two-parter to start the season. We’re kind of approaching it as a two-parter, even though it’s not really. It’s more of a continuation.
CB: Yes, yes. “Adrift” is the city in space, and “Lifeline” is finding that lifeline that helps us to hopefully survive.
So they’re both big, splashy episodes. We want to really start the season off with a bang. [With] “Lifeline,” there’s a lot of action. It deals with the Replicators, so we get to travel back to their planet and visit their world again. Which will be fun.
And then, the second episode I wrote, which actually was more my kind of episode. I really enjoyed writing it. It’s called “Missing” and it’s another action, but also character piece with Teyla and Keller being isolated on a planet. It’s kind of like a Survivor episode. The two of them against an enemy that’s pursuing them.