In a press release distributed this morning, SCI FI Channel made it official: Paul McGillion, the actor who captured fan hearts as the compassionate Scot on Stargate Atlantis, will reprise his role for a fourth season, two episode arc. McGillion’s character, Dr. Carson Beckett, was abruptly offed in an explosion during a third season episode titled "Sunday."
The series’ fourth season launches Friday, September 28 at 10pm ET/PT.
This isn’t the first tiime that Stargate producers have nixed a favorite doc., however. Fans are still stinging from the death of another well-liked Stargate physician, SG-1’s Dr. Janet Frasier (Teryl Rothery). Beckett’s demise touched off an on-going and well-organized protest headquartered at savecarsonbeckett.com
But this is Stargate and anything’s possible.
Anyone with an Internet connection has known for months that McGillion was set to appear in at least two fourth season episodes. But fans want more. They’ve been lobbying SCI FI and the producers to have McGillion permanently reinstated for season five.
As reported here on Multichannel, fans distributed hundreds of savecarson.com flags at the Comic-Con Stargate panels. And when an audience member took the mic to ask producers what they "had against doctors," the crowd went wild - hooting and hollering and thrusting their flags in the air.
Bagpipe playing fans dressed in kilts have been showing up at conventions and other public events to press their case.
McGillion was a critical favorite too. I thought he added great warmth to the ensemble cast. Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan called the move to kill off his character "boneheaded." (Nevertheless, "Sunday" was one of Stargate Atlantis’ better episodes. It was an intimate look at the Atlantis crew on a rare day off, written Rashomon-style by Martin Gero.)
In a nice nod to the fans, SCI FI Channel acknowledged the viewer effort. "It was the fan cry heard ‘round the Pegasus galaxy when Dr. Beckett was unexpectedly killed in an explosion at the end of season 3. His return to Atlantis promises to be every bit as shocking," stated the net in their press release.
Stargate SG-1’s Christopher Judge (Teal’c) will also put in a fourth season appearance.
I scored the very last savecarson.com flag from a fan named Michelle who was passing them out at the Comic-Con panel. When I proudly showed off my little treasure, one SCI FI Channel official laughed and teased me about going to the Comic-Con "dark side."
Hey, if you’re at Comic-Con, you’ve got to let a little bit of that fan girl fly. :) (At least I didn’t show up at the party in costume. Maybe next year…)
SCI FI has weathered many fan campaigns, from Farscape to the trouncing SCI FI /USA Network prez Bonnie Hammer endured from Battlestar fans who were incensed by the re-imagining of the original. (Obviously, all is forgiven.)
The "savecarson" flag is now hanging on my office wall. So, a shout-out to SCI FI and MGM and showrunner Joe Mallozzi: I’m with the fans. Bring back Paul. Even if the writing has been uneven at times, the Atlantis ensemble cast is neat and Paul synced nicely, infusing the ensemble with a shimmer of warmth.
Recently, I bumped into an acquaintance of mine - a thirty-eight y.o., highly paid political consultant from Oakland. He broached the subject of Atlantis, then carried on. Unbeknownst to me, he’s a big Atlantis fan. He had no idea that Carson Beckett was being offed and he was upset. "I watch that show for the ensemble," he complained, "and relationships develop among all the characters. They’re screwing with the dynamic. When you slice out that character, you disrupt the dynamic. It starts to fall apart."
So there you have it - from the cherry demographic. Young male, high income. It’s not just us ladies.
The fan campaigners tell me Paul is willing to sign if the series is renewed for a fifth season. So, let’s just do it. Option him. Mary waves her little savecarson.com flag.
CLICK HERE FOR FLAG PHOTOS. Be sure to click on thumbnails to enlarge.