Heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mike Banas who was such an integral part of the Stargate franchise, its successes, and its lasting impression on sci-fi television.
Mike was an editor, and the very best at what he did, displaying his unparalleled skills on such seminal episodes as Vegas, Time, Malice, and the SGU openers (Air I and II) and closer (Gauntlet). These were among the 30+ Stargate episodes on which he left his mark. I’ve often said that good editors are the unsung heroes of any production, capable of single-handedly saving bad episodes and gifted with the ability to make very good episodes great. And Mike made it seem effortless. He was, without a doubt, the very best I’ve ever worked with because he was so damn talented, but also because he was such a thoughtful, generous, and kind individual. Working with was always a pleasure.
I’d lost touch with Mike after production on Stargate ended, but he reached out to me back in 2015 after he read a blog post I’d written about the health issues facing my elderly pug, Jelly. Mike was empathetic because, like me, he was an animal lover. His dog, Ruby, who battled her own health issues, was a recurring presence in the editing suites back in the day, often lying beside us and enjoying a nap while we worked on an episode. At the time of the email, he, his wife Jennifer (who was our post-production supervisor on all three Stargate shows), and Ruby were preparing to embark on the next stage of their adventure: a move to Los Angeles where he was going to join our mutual friend and former Stargate colleague, Martin Gero, on his new show, Blindspot.
He made the move and, not surprisingly, flourished in his new role, collaborating with Martin over the ensuing seven years, working with him on the aforementioned Blindspot, Kung Fu and, most recently, the soon-to-be-released Netflix series Breathe.
Almost twelve years ago, during Stargate: Universe’s final year of production, I asked Mike to do a fan Q&A. And he was kind enough to oblige. Soon after posting it, Akemi and I ran into Mike. As I wrote in my blog at the time:
“Akemi recognized Mike from his recent Q&A on the blog – and she did so in fine fashion, pointing to him and loudly proclaiming: “I’ve seen you on the blog. Soooooo handsome!” The latter a reference to the opinions of her friends at the language school who perused that particular entry with her. Mike proceeded to turn a delightful shade of pomegranate.”
You’re, no doubt, familiar with his work – but maybe spare a moment to check out his Q&A to get a sense of the gracious and good-hearted man behind that onscreen credit.
My thoughts are with Jen as well as Mike’s family and friends.