But what does another year mean for the show’s creative direction? Will new cast members such as Amanda Tapping (“Samantha Carter”) stick around for another year? And does this mean that the third TV series, Stargate Universe, has been put on hold?
We went straight to executive producer (and one of Atlantis‘s show-runners) Joseph Mallozzi for some answers:
GateWorld: Congratulations on the fifth season renewal! How are you feeling? Were you pretty optimistic about things?
Joseph Mallozzi: The initial euphoria at news of the pick-up lasted all of a minute or two before reality set in: we now have to get back into the office and start spinning 20 more stories. As to whether I was optimistic about a pick-up or not — it really depended on the day.
GW: DVR time-shifting is playing a huge role in television this year, and has obviously hit Atlantis along with the rest of SCI FI Channel. What are your thoughts on the DVR phenomenon, how people watch Stargate Atlantis, and its impact on the network’s decision-making process? Was there ever a time where you felt like the show might not make it past this year, even though the same people are still watching?
JM: It was a little depressing knowing that our audience was still out there but, because of Nielsen’s inability to keep pace with the rapidly changing face of technology, we were at a clear disadvantage. More people are using DVRs and alternate viewing means. SCI FI is the most DVR’ed network and Atlantis one of the most DVR’ed shows.
Some recent research discovered that our audience increases by up to an astounding 78 percent when the “Live + 7” numbers are factored in. That’s huge!
GW: Season Four has just kicked off on television, but let’s talk about production for the year to come. Are there any anticipated changes either behind or in front of the camera next year? Will you and Paul [Mullie] continue as show-runners? Will Amanda and Jewel [Staite, “Jennifer Keller”] be sticking around?
JM: We have yet to go in and begin spinning, so I can’t speak to any creative decisions. That said, Paul and I will continue as show-runners and we would very much love for Amanda and Jewel to spend another year hanging out in the Pegasus Galaxy.
GW: Does the Season Five pick-up mean that Stargate Universe, the third TV series, is on the back burner? What do you anticipate Brad [Wright] and Rob [Cooper] will be doing next year?
JM: From what I have heard, Stargate Universe is still up front and center for Brad and Rob. Hopefully we’ll be hearing more on it in the coming months.
GW: What is next? Tell us a little about what this fall and winter will look like inside the production office, now that you have another 20 episodes to get ready for.
JM: The production office will look pretty much the same as previous years. The exceptionally talented Carl Binder, Martin Gero, and Alan McCullough will be back to resume their writing-producing duties for the show’s fifth season.
GW: Can you give us some broad brush-strokes about where you would like to see the show go in Season Five? Without giving away the rest of Season Four, do you already have major elements in mind? Will the show continue to be more arc-heavy, as this season is supposed to be?
JM: I would very much like to continue what we did in Season Four — introduce storylines that can play through the whole of a season, explore our heroes and villains, and develop the relationships between the Atlantis personnel.
The 20-episode Season Five will begin filming in Vancouver, B.C. in early 2008 — meaning that, in addition to post-production on the rest of Season Four, the show’s writers and producers will have a busy fall and winter spinning new stories and writing scripts.
Keep your browser locked on GateWorld for the latest news and episode updates, and be sure to visit Joseph Mallozzi’s blog! Brand new episodes of Stargate Atlantis air every Friday night at 10 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific) on SCI FI.