Today is, apparently, the 22nd of Stargate: SG-1. Hard to believe – 22 years since the show premiered, and about 19 years since my then writing partner and I were offered the opportunity to pitch for the series as the production was looking to expand its writers’ room for the show’s fourth season. At the time, we were still smarting from two failed attempts to land writing gigs on a couple of other shows (Lexx and The Outer Limits to be precise) but put our best foot forward with five story ideas, two of which ended up being produced.
We got on the phone with the series showrunners, Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, and, after hammering out an outline, we were given the green light to go to script. After approximately 3 weeks (2 weeks of writing and 1 week of agonizing over what we’d written) we sent the script off. And waited.
From what I heard, Brad and Robert were traveling on a golf trip at the time and only had one script between them. Brad handed the script to Robert and suggested he read it first because he (Brad) didn’t want to risk being disappointed and having the experience sour the trip. Apparently, Rob read the script, set it aside, and informed Brad he could enjoy his trip.
And THAT is how we landed a staff gig on Stargate: SG-1’s fourth season – with the understanding that the series probably wrap production after season 5. And, well, we all know how that went.
So, we packed up and moved cross-country – which was not without its complications. And yet, looking back, they were a small price to pay for one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
I recall settling into my office, setting up my laptop while attempting to corral my two pugs, Jelly and Maximus, who I’d had to bring in for the day. Suddenly, there was a knock on the door and there was Richard Dean Anderson, aka Jack O’Neill, aka MacGyver, standing there. He introduced himself as “Rick” and welcomed me to the show. I thanked him, shook his hand, and then turned to deal with a laptop issue. But when I turned around, he was gone. Or so I’d assumed in that split second – until I looked down and saw him down on the floor, playing with my dogs. Over my time on Stargate, I’d come to understand Rick’s two greatest loves: dogs and The Simpsons.
Some of my favorite episodes I’ve ever written were scripted for the show’s fourth season: Point of No Return, The Curse, Chain Reaction, Exodus, and, of course, Window of Opportunity. And as that fourth season wrapped up, I also remember sitting in my office with my writing partner, Paul, wondering how the hell we would come up with story ideas for the show’s fifth season. At the time, it seemed an impossible task.
And yet, 11 years and 60+ episodes later when the franchise run finally ended, we still had stories to tell!