Articles and Interviews
COMING HOME TV ZONE JANUARY
Two's company and three is definitely a happy crowd, especially when it comes to Amanda Tapping returning to the SG-1 fold.
What a difference a year makes. During production of Stargate SG-1's eighth season, the sign on the outside of actress Amanda Tapping's trailer door read 'Carter,' referring to her SG-1 alter ego, Lt Colonel Samantha Carter. This year, however, that sign has been changed to 'Carter and Co,' which refers not only to Tapping but also her new baby girl Olivia and the little girl's nanny. On this rainy Thursday afternoon, all three are inside the actress's trailer where she's using a break in filming to play with her daughter. Judging by the expressions on both their faces, mother and child couldn't be enjoying themselves more.
"This past Spring I really did question whether or not I'd made the right decision as an actor, a mom, and a person to come back to work," says Tapping. "Character-wise, I definitely felt Sam Carter needed to return. For me, though, as I sit here now with only seven days left until we finish filming Season Nine, I know that, yes, I made the right choice. This season of SG-1 has gone really well, and I've had my daughter here with me every day and we have a wonderful nanny on set. I'm lucky in that Olivia is such an easy-going baby and is much-loved as well as treated wonderfully by this cast and crew.
"One of the things I have missed are the Mommy and Me classes and meeting other moms, both of which I did during Olivia's first month of life. I had a day off recently where I got together with a group of moms that I'd gotten to know and I was like, 'What have all of you been up to? What exactly is Gymboree,' and what's this and that? Fortunately, with our hiatus coming up I'll have the chance to get up to speed and learn about all those types of things.
While Tapping sat out the first five stories of SG-1's ninth year to spend time with her then newborn baby, her character's absence on the show was due to Carter being reassigned to Area 51 to work on a project. However, in the episode Beachhead, the colonel and her technical expertise are needed back at Stargate Command when the Ori attempt to construct their own Stargate in an effort to invade Earth's galaxy. After helping foil the Ori's plan, Carter remains at the SGC and soon rejoins the SG-1 team. Certain things have changed, though, in her absence, and that takes Carter a bit of getting used to.
"Acting-wise, this season has been about me trying to figure out how Sam fits into this new dynamic without making it obvious that I'm trying to do so, if you know what I mean," smiles Tapping. "My character has always been so centred at the SGC. Sam is comfortable there and so aware of her surroundings and how she deals those surroundings. It felt good for her to walk back into such a familiar place again.
"Conversely, there's this brand new dynamic she's dealing with when it comes to the Colonel Mitchell character and what he's all about. At times, he'll say something and Carter will think, 'What?' and then other times she'll be like, 'OK, I get it.' It's interesting because he leads very differently than Jack O'Neill [Richard Dean Anderson] did, and then, of course, there's the question of why is Mitchell and not Sam in charge of SG-1. That's something I hope the writers will explore further next season. After all, it could be an ensemble team where there is no patriarchal line of command, or maybe Mitchell and Carter could share the leadership responsibilities. However, because Sam is military and a good military girl, she will do exactly what she's ordered to do. It wouldn't be so bad, though, to see her rebel every now and then against an order she truly does not agree with."
Continuing to look ahead to next season, Tapping would also like to see more emphasis placed on developing the relationships between the new characters and the more established ones. "That didn't happen all that much this year, and I think a big part of that was because the stories we've been telling are so big, and there's also the overall arc with the Ori and the brand new mythology we're dealing with," notes the actress.
"One relationship I thought was going to be fleshed out and explored in Season Nine was the one between Carter and Dr. Lam [Lexa Doig]. The show's producers and writers had talked about doing that but, again, there just wasn't time. I'm hoping we can address that next season because I always enjoyed the dynamic between my character and Teryl Rothery's [Dr. Janet Fraiser]. They had such a beautiful and special friendship and I think it would be neat if Sam could strike up a similar type of rapport with another woman at the SGC."
At that moment there's a knock on the actress's trailer door. A shuttle is waiting to whisk her back to the set where she and the rest of the SG-1 cast are shooting the ninth season ender, Camelot. "Today we're way out here at Maple Ridge Studios," explains Tapping on the short ride to the soundstage. "None of us had ever worked on this set before. It's actually left over from a series called Young Blades, which was done here in Vancouver last year. Its village set was still standing and it seemed a shame to waste it, so here we are.
"The SG-1 episode we're filming at the moment is big, really big. I was speaking earlier with [director] Martin Wood and we have something like a half million dollar visual effects budget. This is also an interesting story in that, and I don't believe I'm giving away any spoilers by saying this, it's a cliffhanger in the truest sense of the word. Any number of things could take place. It could signal the end of a particular character or even characters, and then again, everyone could survive."
GOT CARTER STARGATE SG1 OFFICIAL MAGAZINE APRIL
It's been a challenging year for Amanda Tapping - dealing with being a new mother and finding her place back inStargate SG-1. But for Carter, the actress says, the fun's just beginning...
"I wasn't part of that gelling process that happens very early on in the season. The team had gelled, and I didn't feel a part of it. I really had to break through the crust and find my place on the team. I had a hard time at first going, 'Do I still fit in on the show? Can I still hang with the guys? Here I am bringing my baby to work and is this still going to work?'So it took a while. But it's good now, and we revel in that, and honestly, I think that's why we're still on. Here we are shooting our last episode of nine seasons. Whatever the formula is, it's working!
"What we've gone back to with Carter this year is that very driven, very focused professional and analytical woman that I really like. The beauty of what's happened to Carter over the course of the nine years is that as a human being she's warmed up. She's come into her own. She's got a better sense of humor, and I think this year even more so, simply by virtue of the fact that that's how I've chose to play her. We've explored her depths - we've dived into her soul and explored what she's capable of in terms of her emotions [in past seasons] and now she brings that depth of soul into what she's doing. So she's gone back to being analytical Carter, but I think there's more to her than that now.
"What I've always loved about this character is her focus and her loyalty, and we're right back on that, which is great. And the team has a whole new vigor to it. There's a whole new sense of purpose to this show and to this new team, there's a whole new cohesion that they're trying to find with each other. Carter sits very solid where is now.
"I am 'Exposition Girl,' but I think there is more of a balance in the show as to who is explaining what. There's a lot of different mythology going on - and as much as we're dealing with the technobabble aspects of the Ori, we're also dealing with the mythology, and that's Daniel's department, as it always has been. So there is a balance.
"I think it's keeping pace with what's going on - we're living, without sounding too didactic, in a darker world than we were when we started the series. Between 1997 and 2005, a lot has changed on this planet. We are reflecting that, in a way, on the show. SG-1 is dealing with what is, for all intents and purposes, a fundamentalist state that leads with fear and terror. And you and I are dealing with that politically in our society. I don't think that that's lost on anyone, and I think that the writers have handled it well. It makes sense that the show is a bit darker. It's a sad fact, but we're mirroring our present society. There is escapism on Stargate SG-1 and I think that there is still a sense of fun on the show. I don't think we have mired ourselves down in the mythology and the religious aspect of it all too much. We still have a sense of humour and irreverence that we've always had, that I think carries the show. But the stories have got a little darker.
"Because of the nature of Ripple Effect, it wasn't our Dr. Fraiser and Martouf. There is a clear recognition, but somewhere the lines of communication are not the same. It's not the same perspective, and we don't speak in thesame vernacular because we're dealing with different experiences. So it was weird. It was like, 'But Janet, come on, it's me!' The one thing that I wished for in Ripple Effect between Carter and Janet. I think it was a matter of telling as good a story as we could in the short period of time as we had. We had a big story to tell in 44 minutes. There wasn't time to show all the interpersonal relationships. Carter had to deal with Martouf. So if we had had a Carter and Fraiser scene, then we wouldn't have dealt with the story as well. But that's the one thing with Ripple Effect that I missed. That was a scary one. I looked at that [script] and went, 'Oh, crap. No sleep for the next seven days.' Up at 4 o'clock in the morning, sitting with a breast pumpt trying to learn my lines...
"We have introduced a whole new dynamic to this show, not only in terms of new characters, like Beau [Bridges], Ben [Browder], Claudia [Black]and Lexa [Doig], but also with a whole new mythology. The Goa'uld are gone, and now we are faced with this new enemy. For the writers, it's like writing a first season show, so you don't have as much time to focus on the interpersonal relationships of your individual characters. You are still introducing the concept of the show and elements of that. As a result, what I lost out on was personal scenes with Teal'c, with Mitchell, with Beau's character. We haven't had much exploration of that this year.
"I would like to have had more time with Beau, and with Lexa. Beau and I had a big conversation at the beginning of the year about what sort of interaction we wanted the two characters to have. Carter had such a wonderful relationship with Hammond, so I said to Beau, 'What do you think we can do with this?' We came up with a whole relationship for them, but there hasn't been any opportunity to explore that at all. And I understand why - this season has been about establishing the Ori and pushing the story forward. It was the same with Lexa. I wanted to show a friendship building between her and Dr. Lam - not that it could in any way replace the friendship that she had with Janet, but so that she had some interaction with other women on the base. Lam isn't even Air Force.
"Grace Under Pressure was the most interpersonal stuff Carter got this year and I love that Carter. I would like to see that Carter more. There was this great sexual tension, and I love working with David Hewlett. Both characters are on the same level, so there's this great, very quick banter.
"I don't know what the line up is going to be next year - who will be here and who won't be here. But we're looking at going to 200 episodes, and I want to be here for that! It's worked this year with Olivia, and it'll be easier next year because I won't be breastfeeding."
WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE TV ZONE JULY
he woman behind Lt Col Samantha Carter chats about helping to break a record, green screens and her guest role in Stargate Atlantis.
Amanda Tapping sits patiently in her chair on the Stargate SG-1 set as the show's make-up artist Jan Newman paintakingly applies the final touches to a nasty looking bruise on the actress's right temple. It's all part of the Season 10 SG-1 episode the show's cast and crew are currently shooting.
"This story is called Company of Thieves and it's our 203rd episode, so it's one for the Guiness Book, the record breaker [for longest running Sci-Fi series in North America]," says Tapping. "In it, we're once again dealing with the Lucian Alliance, only this time it's face-to-face. They've commandeered our battle cruiser, the Odyssey, and someone dies. Cue dramatic music. That's about all I can tell you. It's very sad to see this person go.
"My character of Samantha Carter is sort of thrown into this situation, but basically what she and her fellow shipmates are trying to do is bide time. Their ship is damaged and the bad guys want Sam to fix it, but she's just trying to stall as long as she can until help arrives. A girl's gotta do what she's gotta do, right?"jokes the actress. "So you'll see lot of scenes where I'm pulling on wires, fiddling with bits and pieces of machinery and saying, 'Hmm, I'm not quite sure about this. Come on, guys. Don't we have OnStar out here?'"
When SG-1 viewers last saw Lt Colonel Samantha Carter at the end of the show's ninth season finale Camelot, she was in an equally perilous position. The colonel was examining a portion of the Ori Supergate when it was activated, paving the way for a fleet of Ori ships to enter Earth's galaxy. "I think that was the final thing we shot last year, and it was me in Space and wearing a full NASA spacesuit," recalls the actress. "They even have a specialist who comes up and helps you get into it. The suit itself is quite heavy and it really weighs on your shoulders. Afterwards I literally felt like my back was permanently curved because you're sort of crunched into the thing, so it's really uncomfortable but it looks great on screen.
"Martin Wood directed this episode and for these scenes he had me up on a platform and lying on a jib arm or camera crane [long pole] that they hoisted up in the air. I'm not a big fan of heights, but it was kind of cool. The difficult with a scene like this is that it was all green screen and one tiny piece of set, which was the Ori Supergate. There I was 'floating in Space,' and meanwhile poor Martin is down below yelling, 'And there's a battle going on overhead, and one ship blows up! Now they're firing on each other, and then the gate kawooshes. Oh, my God, look at that!' You have to react not only to Martin who, God bless him, is just amazing, but also to something that's clearly not there. It's really tough to know whether you're going over the top or what you're doing is enough.
"The trickiest part about doing Sci-Fi and dealing with green screen is paying the proper credence to it. The idea is to give it the right amount of weight without making it look hokey. So you basically have to dial in and put 110% belief in what you're saying and what's happening, all the while praying that you don't look like a fool. That's the nature of the genre, I guess."
Having taken the first few episodes of SG-1's ninth season off to spend time with her and her husband Alan Kovacs's then-newborn daughter Olivia, the actress has returned to working fulltime on the show. "Coming back this year was completely different for me compared to last season," explains Tapping. "As with Seasons One through Eight, I started this one off right from the beginning with the opening episode. Being part of that initial chemistry and gelling makes things far easier than trying to find your way back in once filming has already begun.
"So we're having a blast. Claudia Black's character of Vala is a regular now, Ben Browder [Colonel Cameron Michell] is well-established, as is Beau Bridges [General Hank Landry], and everyone is enjoying themselves. Probably the hardest thing about this year is that our character are spending less time as a cohesive group and more time apart. In the next episode we're shooting [The Quest], we pretty much travel together, which is quite nice, but because we now have five regulars, plus Beau, you can't always have all of us in every scene. So there's a bit more pairing off of our characters, but those moments where we are together, it's as if nothing has changed.
Along with her work this year on SG-1, Tapping will also be making the occasional appearance as Samantha Carter during Season Three of Stargate Atlantis. "I recently shot an Atlantis episode [McKay and Mrs. Miller] featuring MacKay's [David Hewlett]sister Jeanie [David's real-life sister Kate Hewlett]," she says. "My character sort of serves as the catalyst for bringing McKay and Jeanie back together. It was fun to work with David once again and, of course, his sister Kate for the first time, as well as watch the real-life dynamic between siblings and how it played out in the episode."
With Season 10 of SG-1 shortly to being airing on the US Sci-Fi channel, what are the actress's thoughts about the future of the show?"First off, 10 years is a gift, no matter how you slice it," notes Tapping. "The series has new legs and a new energy to it, and with the Ori as a threat we could potentially carry on. Who knows? To be honest, it's all down to the ratings. There are a lot of changes, and if the fans embrance those changes, great. As is always the case, time will tell."
A COLONEL OF TRUTH CULT TIMES OCTOBER
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 ornot 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 a 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! Ther always has been, from the very very start, something kinda magical about this show and maybe that's why we laster 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 character 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 she hasn't gone back to 'Who's Carter with?' because she's 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 bastard! [laughs] I harked 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 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 disaparaging 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 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 creat 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 go 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.
Take care. Bye!
TAPPING INTO CARTER STARGATE SG1/ATLANTIS
OFFICIAL MAGAZINE DECEMBER
OFFICIAL MAGAZINE DECEMBER
Actress, wife and mother, saying that Amanda Tapping is busy could possibly be the biggest understatement of the year. Talking exclusively about the challenges of juggling two full-time jobs, Tapping discusses motherhood and her 10-year stint as the equally beautiful and brilliant Sam Carter.
If 10 years ago, back when Stargate SG-1 debuted, someone predicted that not only would the show still be on the air, but that Amanda Tapping would still be on the show, playing Samantha Carter, she would have had a good laugh. "I would have said, 'No way.'" the actress insists. "I would have said 'No way' because I honestly thought the longest we would go would be seven years, which was the model set forth by other shows in the genre. It was the Star Trek model. Seven years. That's how long I thought a sci-fi show goes. And it would have made sense to me. Initially, actually, I thought five years would be the longest we'd go. So we've doubted that and, to be honest, it's hard to imagine that it's been 10 years."
And it's been a life-altering 10 years. A working actress when the show kicked off on Showtime back in 1997, Tapping is now a star with a large and loyal fan base.
She'd been married for a couple of years to her husband, Alan Kovacs, and now they're on 12 years and counting, not to mention mom and dad to Olivia, born on March 22, 2005. And, of course, Tapping has seen Stargate SG-1 through as it's evolved from movie spin-off series to a record-busting phenomenon, and as cast members have come and gone and, in some cases, returned.
"A hell of a lot has happened," Tapping confirms. "The experience of being on one show for 10 years has given me the great freedom of being able to establish a life in one city [Vancouver], buying a home, having a family. I've grown up on the show. It's just afforded me a normal life in some ways, whereas being a journeyman actor I'd be down in L.A. or in Toronto or wherever I would have ended up project to project.Stargate SG-1 has afforded me a certain semblance of normalcy in my life.
"So far as the show goes, it's been great to play one character for so long. Back [in the pilot], Sam was insecure and needed to prove herself, if only to herself. She was a bit more easily led and was not as much of an autonomous thinker as she is now. It's funny that 10 years down the road, even though she's more entrenched than ever in the military, she is less military-minded than she was 10 years ago. I think she's come into her own. She's come into her own as a woman. She come into her own as a soldier. She's come into her own as a scientist. I think she's a lot more easygoing and a lot more confident than she was 10 years ago, and therefore she's a lot more fun."
Season 10 kicked off in style with Flesh and Blood and in many ways the series has been re-booted by its producers and writers. Mitchell [Ben Browder] and Vala [Claudia Black] have been seamlessly integrated into the team fabric alongside Carter, Jackson [Michael Shanks] and Teal's [Christopher Judge], while Beau Bridges has made his presence felt as Landry. The Ori are providing a credible threat as Vala's half-Ori daughter Adria [Morena Baccarin] has returned, older and more lethal than when first glimpsed as a little girl.
"I feel like we've established an interesting team," Tapping enthuses. "It's a five-person team now. Vala is a member of the team. It creates way more fun. It's way more dynamic. There's more interaction between all of the different characters. It's kind of cool. Before, you knew exactly what to expect from SG-1, and now you don't know. It almost feels like a new show, like we should have re-branded it or renamed it. I think maybe some of the purest, purest SG-1fans are going, "Well, what is this? This isn't the SG-1 we knew." It is in a lot of ways, but in a lot of ways it's completely different. There's a whole new cast of characters and a whole new energy because of that and because we have a new threat. It's been interesting swimming through this new dynamic. It's uncharted waters for all of us and I think it's given the show a new vigor.
"The major story arcs for season 10 have been the Ori and how we're dealing with that threat and Vala having given birth to the Orici and how we're dealing with that. What I find interesting, as a person and an actor, is that it's so socio-political. We're dealing with a right-wing fundamentalist group that's basically saying, 'Be with us or die.' There are a lot of situations, not just close to home, but far from home, that mirror that. Coming up specifically for Sam is an episode where I am in an alternate reality and we deal with the fallout of this kind of regime. I'm trying not to say anything that'll get me in trouble with the US government! But socio-politically we're dealiing with issues that I think are relevant, and so that's why I find it interesting as an actor and as a person. Not that we're very moralistic and not that's what it's all about, the show, but there is that sense that we're making somewhat of a political comment. The script just came out and it's [tentatively] called The Road Not Taken. We haven't even started filming, so maybe we shouldn't talk too much about it, but it is about what happens when the Stargate is debunked, when the public finds out, and how the current administration deals with it."
Tapping then goes on to chat about another 10th season highlight, something that's already aired. And that is 200, the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1 and a sequel to both Point of No Return and the 100th episode Wormhole X-Treme! In 200, Martin Lloyd (Willie Garson) turned up again, this time intent on turning his failed TV series about the SG-1 program into a feature film. Played for laughs, 200 heralded the return of Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill and affectionately sent up everything fromFarscape to The Wizard of Oz to Star Trek. "Oh my God, that was fun!"Tapping shouts. "That was the most fun I think any of us have had shooting a show. We laughed - gut laughed - every day. We had fun because we got to send up everything we've ever wanted to send up and then some. We made fun of ourselves. It was done with a great sense of joy. Rick came back for it. It was great to have him walk on the set and be up to his usual shenanigans. He didn't miss a beat. The whole thing was fun, and it was fun to share the 200th with our new cast members, to make it a neat full circle.
Another recent highlight for Tapping wasn't a 10th season episode of Stargate SG-1, but rather a third season episode of sister series Stargate: Atlantis. The actress turned up briefly in McKay and Mrs. Miller, an episode that found Dr. McKay (David Hewlett), a man with whom Carter shares a measure of romantic heat, reconnecting with his sister, Jeanie, played by Hewlett's real-life sister, Kate. "I'd chop off my right arm to work with David Hewlett," Tapping says. "He's so amazing and we have so much fun together. I honestly thought I'd be doing moreStargate: Atlantis this season than it turns out I have. I really only have done the one episode of Stargate: Atlantisthis year despite all the rumours at the beginning of this season. I heard those rumours as well. Was I going to do fiveStargate: Atlantis episodes and 15 Stargate SG-1s? I've done one Stargate: Atlantis. We did a crossover episode [The Pegasus Project] and David will be in The Road Not Taken, the alternate reality episode we're doing. I'm thrilled David is doing that, and he's in it in a very interesting way that's quite funny. I love working with him. I love his energy. I love the fact that the two of us don't even need to have discussions about how to play scenes. We just riff off each other because we have the same sensibilities about work and about the shows and our characters. It's comfortable and fun, and I always feel challenged, in a really good way, when I work with David."
Spending the majority of her time on Stargate SG-1 as the show's only female, Tapping confesses that she loves having new cast member Claudia Black around the set. Now, if they could just give the actresses something juicy to do as a tandem, she'd be ecstatic."We'd like to see more of the two of us together," Tapping notes. "Claudia and I have talked about that. There was a really nice, simple scene written for Carter and Vala in an earlier episode this season, and it just didn't happen. We shot it, but it just didn't make it into the final cut. The episode was 10 minutes over, and it's scenes like that, that don't really forward the story, that tend to get cut in order to tell the story. I was really disappointed because I thought it was a nice little set-up for a potential friendship. Sam does not understand Vala at all. She's completely not her kind of woman, but I think a part of Sam goes, 'I wish I were a little bit more like her, a little looser, a little less uptight.' So I think inasmuch as she finds Vala frustrating, she also finds her really interesting and respects her because she is who she is, because she lives the life she lives unapologetically. Claudia and I have talked about not creating any tension between these two because we want to leave the door open for a real and lasting friendship. So we're trying to let them exist and have little moments together. And so Claudia and I play moments in scenes and hope they make it into the episodes. We'll do a subtle look at each other or smile a nod of, 'Oh, we get that,' because we are the only women in a boy's club. I'm hoping they'll push further the boundaries of that friendship and give us a bit more character stuff together."
On a more personal note, Tapping has another female in her life - her daughter Olivia. Balancing motherhood and her Stargate SG-1responsibilities, she acknowledges, takes work. "I bring her with me to work every day and I say that sounding like a complete hypcrite because she's not with me today, because I was supposed to have a shorter day today," Tapping says. "And I didn't have her yesterday because I did an episode where I was wounded and covered in blood, and I just didn't want to come back to the trailer and for her to see that and not understand. But for the first year and up until this week, Olivia's been with me every day. It's been a great blessing because up until last week I was still breastfeeding her. So it was important that she was with me. The juggling is the not enough sleep and the trying to find time to do my homework. I used to come into my trailer to do my homework, and now I come into my trailer and there's this terrific little face that wants to play, read and cuddle. So I don't get my homework done at work anymore, and consequently I have a lot of middle-of-the-night script-reading sessions. It's learning to live on complete sleep deprivation; that's what I've learned about being a mom and working a 15-hour-a-day job. It is a juggling act, but I'm blessed that I'm able to bring her to work with me.
"Right now I'm contractually obligated to the next season for a full 20 episodes, if there is a next season," Tapping says."So I don't know. Also, Olivia is at the age where I don't think bringing her to my little trailer every day is such a good idea. So it's going to be interesting. Next year is going to be a much more difficult year because I will want to spend more time with her. She'll be at an age where I feel like I need to be with her and I'll be here. We'll see what happens."