A Colonel of Truth

With many stories roaming the internet about the future of Stargate SG-1, we thought we'd track down a woman who'd know what's what: Amanda Tapping.

So: The announcement is made that US TV's longest-running Sci-Fi show, Stargate SG-1, has been cancelled. What's the editor of the UK's premier TV listings magazine only covering Sci-Fi and Fantasy to do? That's right: e-mail a publicist and arrange a phone call to Carter herself, Amanda Tapping, to get her thoughts on the final few days and what's to come.

This is odd, I've always interviewed you face to face before.

I'm pretending that you're directly in front of me.

How's that working for you?

You look good!

Thank you. You've never looked better.

Oh, bless your heart. I feel good.

So how much longer is there left to film?

Well, October 4th is the end of SG-1, so that's two weeks Wednesday.

Where do things stand on the show? Will you or other characters move to Atlantis?

Well, I don't know. There's always been talk of crossover for any number of us but it hasn't really happened to any great extent and none of us has really heard anything concrete. Whether or not there's gonna be any crossover or not still remains to be seen. We're hearing tons of rumours and I think we have to wait for the official announcement. But it seems that it's not dead yet.

Ten years. It's been fantastic. In a lot of ways it feels like the right time to do something different, even to do something different with SG-1, whether it be TV movies or a feature. TV movies, in my humble opinion, would be perfect because we'd have a bit more of a budget and we'd be able to tell bigger stories.

Have you enjoyed this year as much or has it been tempered with sadness since learning of the cancellation?

Well, we didn't really know what was happening. Every year we don't know what's gonna happen and we really didn't know until, I guess, just before our 200th party that we weren't gonna go for another season. So we just go about every year the same way, not knowing what's gonna happen and trying to enjoy ourselves. This year feels a lot different from last year in that Claudia's [Black, Vala] now a permanent cast member and it feels like we've all come together. So we're actually having a great deal of fun.

Didn't you always, though?

You know what? Yeah, we really have. I'm not gonna lie and say the whole 10 years has been absolutely fantastically, gorgeously fun non-stop, but really, for the most part, it's pretty close to the truth. I don't know that anyone can say that in any job that they're in or career they choose. I think Stargate is an anomaly; all the other people I talk to who've been on series are like, 'No, come on. You guys still aren't having fun after 10 years. Come on.' And yeah, we really are. Sadly. Maybe we're all just losers. [laughs] We don't know any better so we just think this is great! There always has been, from the very start, something kinda magical about this show and maybe that's why we lasted 10 years. I'm honestly not trying to give you the pat, hokey publicist answer, it's genuine. I wouldn't get away with it with you, anyway.

Do you feel Carter still has anywhere left to go as a character?

Kind of. I feel like in some ways she hasn't developed a lot this year. Not as much as I would have really liked. I've had a couple of really good episodes, one called Road Not Taken which I think is really an interesting political comment on the current situation, but also just an interesting story for Carter and how she deals with being flung into this alternate universe. I think it's the nature of the beast; introducing new characters and a new storyline; that's where the attention has been.

Has it helped that you're no longer the only girl?

It's wonderful! It's great! There's a privileged position in being the only girl. Lovely position to be in. But when you have another female on set who's strong and funny and savvy, you go, 'Oh yeah, this is great'. And you realize how nice it is to have that kind of company and to sit and have tea. And I really, really, really enjoy having Claudia around, she's a firecracker and she's a sweetheart and we both have our babies here. That's something too, to be able to talk about mummy things. And to have her, especially because she's got her child here and I have Olivia [her daughter] here, it's been a real blessing.

Are you disappointed there's been no more romance since you dumped Pete?

No. You know what? I'm glad that there wasn't. Because who would it have been with, first of all? If there was any talk of Mitchell and Carter becoming at all romantically interested in each other, I think Ben [Browder] and I would have both put guns to our heads. I like the fact that they created that for Carter over the years and that we would show her in an adult, functioning sexual relationship; that's all great but it's not who she is necessarily, it doesn't define her. I think it just enhanced her. So I'm glad that it hasn't gone back to, 'Who's Carter with?' because she's so much more than that. She's more than someone's girl, you know?

Is she still pining for O'Neill?

Well, sure. She always will. That unrequited love, everyone has one, you always wonder 'What if?' But it's not like she focuses a huge amount of her energy [on it].

What have been your favourite bits of the series: moments, episodes, scenes...

Oh my God, that's such a hard question!

I know, that's why I'm asking it.

You b******! [laughs] I harken back continually to the first season because I think it was just really magical. I think the episode 2010 was a really neat episode for all of us, to explore what would happen in the future if certain things changed. I think the one that I just did, Road Not Taken, was a good story. Nightwalkers was really cool. I could flip off names of episodes and say, 'Hey, that was kinda neat' but ultimately, at the end of a decade, you kind of have to look back at the entire experience and go, 'Wow! I laughed and I grew and I challenged myself... even just to get up at 4.30, five o'clock every morning for 10 years.' I still think the pilot, in terms of the shooting of it and the whole experience, will always and forever remain in my mind an incredible memory.

Reaction to this year seems to have been very enthusiastic.

Oh good. It is a different show, there's no denying this is not the SG-1 that we started with. A lot of things have changed, even just by virtue of the fact that we have a five-member team, that's a different format for us and it changes the dynamic of the team. I go online every once and again and I'll read something rather disparaging about myself and it's usually something catty and kinda nasty and I get my feelings hurt, honest to God. On many occasions my husband has come into the office and seen me sitting at the computer crying, going, 'You're not reading online again, are you?' And usually 90% of the stuff is really great and 10% of the stuff is not so nice. And I, of course, focus on the 10 per cent that's not so nice!

I did actually go on and read about the 200th [episode], because I wanted to see what people said. And it was very polarized, I think, taken in the spirit that it was intended, it's a really fun romp. If you're expecting a standalone episode of pure SG-1, you're not gonna get it. You get us taking the mickey out of ourselves and out of the genre and out of everything we can take the mick out of. And if that's not your bag then it's completely not your bag. But if it is then you'll love it, you'll take it in the way it was intended. Really, making it was way more fun for the crew and the cast than the audience, which is probably not such a good thing, but at the end of the day it was really meant with a sense of joy.

How much closure can we expect at season's end?

You know what? We're filming the second-to-last episode right now and the last episode we all read and went, 'Well, this doesn't really end the show.' Rob [C Cooper, executive producer] has gone to great pains every season to do a show that could potentially end the series... [this] kinda doesn't, really. And so we all went, 'Well, okay, maybe that bodes well for our future. Maybe that means there is something else.' People looking for closure are not gonna find it necessarily, but maybe that's a good thing. And maybe if it is the very end, it's good that it's open-ended. I can't tell you anything 'cos I'd have to kill you and that requires a long flight and I just don't have the time.

Very considerate of you. Are there any episodes, scenes, lines you wish hadn't happened?

Yeah. We all harken back to Hathor as one of those episodes where we went, 'Oh my God.' The episode Seth was another one. We all still to this day talk about Seth going, 'What in the hell was that?' Oh, Emancipation. God love it but it really didn't hit the mark at all. The line from Children of the Gods, 'Just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside' - which is why it was so great that they said something about it in the 200th. When the puppet said that I just thought that was fantastic.

Speaking of which, did you get to keep your puppet?

No. They were terribly expensive, those puppets. It was shot down in LA so I never got to meet my puppet. They had them on display at the 200th party. They're probably worth a fortune. More than our pay cheques! We're all aware that we could be replaced by puppets at any moment, I think we make reference to that in 200.

Maybe the show could carry on with half of SG-1 Human and the other half puppets.

You're nuts and that's why you don't work in television.

I'm afraid I've run out of things to ask you.

I've run out of things to say to you! [laughs] I'm kidding.

Well, good luck with the rest of the season and I'll look forward to seeing it.

Thank you. Great to talk to you, Paul.

You too.

Take care. Bye!


Paul Spragg

Cult Times Special #41
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