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Trainspotting's Carlyle to kick Stargate in its biscuit-arse

by Mike Moody, posted Dec 15th 2008 8:28AM
robert carlyle 24 stargate universeRobert Carlyle is a fine actor with an impressive resume (The Full Monty, 28 Weeks Later, 24: Redemption to name a few), but he'll always be the hard-drinking, C-word screaming, Ewan McGregor-slapping Begbie from Trainspotting to me. Which is why it comes as a surprise that he's been cast as the lead in the next Stargate series, Stargate Universe.

Carlyle will play Dr. David Rush, leader of a group of scientists and civilians trapped on a ship traveling through space. Word is that Dr. Rush, charged with finding a way to return his crew home, might not be the nice guy everyone thinks he is.

The show's synopsis says that Rush might have ulterior motives for being on the ship. Sounds intriguing.

The Stargate shows are a lot of fun, but they've always been lite sci-fi. Major characters don't get shoved out of airlocks and the sets are usually more complex than the plots. But, the show's producers are describing SGU as "darker" and "edgier" than its predecessors, Stargate: SG1 and Stargate Atlantis. Of course, "darker" and "edgier" doesn't exactly mean the franchise will dip into Battlestar Galactica territory, but the casting of Carlyle has me excited about what SGU could be.

The Scottish actor has done his share of mainstream projects, but he's well-known for playing darker roles, like Begbie and the cannibalistic Col. Ives in Ravenous. Does this casting news signal that Stargate might actually be trying something different here? I'd love to see a Stargate show with a tone that lands somewhere between the goofiness of Atlantis and the seriousness of Battlestar. Of course, series creators Brad Wright and Robert Cooper said the show will skew younger, which could be good (More action! More blood!) or very, very bad (guest stints by The Jonas Brothers?).

Sci Fi Channel is expected to give SGU a full season order. The series will launch with a two-hour movie next July.

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The cancellation of SGA had to do with money, plain and simple. Apparently, salaries for the actors go up after season 5 and the exchange rate between the USA and Canada is less of a "bonus" financially than it once was, too. I've also read that it was MGM that made the decision to can the show, not SciFi. Whether that last bit is true or not, it seems, like all decisions regarding television, that it all boils down to money.

December 16 2008 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Franklin's comment
Michael Leeling

The decision was mutual. Both MGM and Sci-fi (better known as No-Fi) agreed that it would be more profitable to end SGA and pickup SGU. Fees for actors go up after they reach 100 episodes (minimum for syndication) and with the gap closing between the U.S. and Canada's economies they (MGM and No-FI) decided bringing in a fledgling series would be more profitable for all involved. I think this is a bad idea. SGA only got going because they initially paired it with SG1 and I think making SGU stand totally alone without SGA as a lead in is going to be a very large uphill struggle.

December 16 2008 at 9:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

Woo-hoo! Robert Carlyle! Excellent news...

December 16 2008 at 12:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And for this the cancelled SGA?

December 15 2008 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Becky's comment

No they cancelled SGA for their "scifi" reality shows and wannabe horror whatever that load is. Oh yeah don't forget wrassling.

December 16 2008 at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really? A lost ship? A dark character with ulterior motives? Will there be a big whiney robot ready to warn everyone about nearby aliens? Couldn't they have hired Matt Leblanc for much cheaper? Well at least we can look forward to vapid beauties with guns.

I think it might go over much better if they get marionettes for all the actors.

December 15 2008 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

please, no Jonas Brothers!

December 15 2008 at 12:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think a "dark" stargate will work as well. I don't know about everybody else, but one of the things I really liked about the stargate series was the joking between team members. Take that out and I think you'll lose a large part of the present stargate fan base.

December 15 2008 at 10:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mike's comment

I agree completely. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love dark, gritty scifi, but Stargate isn't that. That's not to say I won't watch SGU and enjoy it, even if it's more like "Stargate: Galactica" than SG1, but if it's like the latter it just won't feel like a Stargate property as much. I suppose that could be a good thing if done properly, but I worry it'll just flounder somewhere in the middle and be too edgy for some current fans while not being edgy enough to draw in others.

I'm still excited for a new series in the franchise though!

December 15 2008 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joey Geraci

I don't think there is any sign that the humor is going to be eliminated. You can have humor hand in hand with very dark themes, you know, as Joss Whedon has shown with his properties. Not that SGU will approach the quality of Buffy/Angel/Firefly, but it shows that humor and dark drama are not mutually exclusive.

December 15 2008 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i suppose it could work....but i don't get why they're continuing the franchise. no offense i love the original, but how much more can they do? I thought they ended Atlantis because of cost as well.

December 15 2008 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Claire's comment
Joey Geraci

I'm pretty sure they ended SGA because of stupidity. It was up in the ratings, up in quality (IMO, anyway), and was basically doing gangbusters in every metric that matters. Yet it was cancelled.

This has to be one of the only examples of a show that didn't have a possibility of not getting cancelled. There was no chance that the show was going to do significantly better ratings than the already impressive ratings that it was doing. The stories were the best that the series has ever produced (and arguably better than SG1 the last several seasons) and were only getting better.

December 15 2008 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The show is gonna flop. Stargate spinoffs have failed to live up to the greatness of SG-1. From the premise, this show sounds dumb as hell, almost like the original plot to Atlantis, except on one ship.

December 15 2008 at 9:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DavidMac's comment
Joey Geraci

SGA never reached the greatness of SG1, but you do realize that SG1 never reached the greatness of SG1 for the latter half of its run? For pretty much all the time since RDA left the main team, SG1 floundered, and it just got progressively worst every season. If anything, SGA the last couple seasons was probably better than SG1.

December 15 2008 at 11:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hmm I thought one of the reasons for canning Atlantis was the likely cost of the actors and now they name a bonafide NAME for the lead. I bet he costs.

December 15 2008 at 8:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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