Just before the first episode of Stargate Universe aired in the US (and it currently airing on Australian pay TV on Friday nights), we managed to spend half an hour discussing the show with Mr Robert C Cooper. And here's how it went...
I've Brad Wright, your partner in crime say that Stargate Universe is all your fault!
Really? [laughs] It's all about blame, is it?
That you were looking for a break, looking to do something different. And then the pair of you realised you could do it with Stargate?
Yeah. Neither one of us really wanted to do the same thing again. We had felt like we had done Stargate, as it was, almost to death. And that 15 seasons of that type of television, we were running out of ways to be fresh and interesting in the writers' room.
Neither one of us had intended to make Stargate our entire careers. So far, it's been most of mine. And I think we were really ready to do something very different, but the network and the studio felt there was still value and life in the brand name. And so we proposed kind of taking a new direction, which we felt the franchise needed to do anyway if it was going to survive.
And we really looked at - I certainly looked at - I think we felt that, Stargate was, obviously, very successful but also, in many ways, the longevity is due to the fact that it kind of flew under the radar a little bit. It was successful within its own niche. It never really did break out in a major mainstream way.
I think that we stepped back and looked at why that was and have taken, probably, a bigger risk in trying to... you know the words "appeal to a broader audience", in some case, some people interpret that as trying to be more commercial or appeal to a lower common denominator. But I don't think that's true. I think we want people to watch our show - and we want a lot of people to watch our show. [laughs]
We want to, I think, appeal to that, sort of, well, universal audience. And I think that we've certainly taken some steps to try and do that and whether we succeed or not we'll see very shortly, right?
And how are you feeling right now, just as we build up to the show premiering?
Well, you never know. I'm not a predictor. The thing about television is you're really not sure. We've always taken the tact of not trying to pander to a particular audience. While I certainly feel we've taken a lot of steps to try and appeal to a mainstream audience, it's not like we're trying to cater to that - like we're going for ratings.
We're trying to make a show that we think is good and that we would watch. And I think Stargate Universe is much closer than either of the other two shows to a show that I would want to watch. As a viewer, when I sit down to watch TV, this is much closer to the type of show I really enjoy.
I just thought that if I was going to continue to do Stargate, that was something I had to do - to bring it a little closer to something I would be really proud of. Not to say I'm not proud of the other two shows, and the work I did on them, but I feel good about the product we're putting out there as something I would want to watch and I can only hope that enough people agree with me that I can continue to do my job.