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[Update] TCA press tour: 'Stargate Universe' producers aim for 'Battlestar Galactica' quality

August 5, 2009 |  3:37 pm

Stargate-universe "Battlestar Galactica" envy? Maybe just a little.

On Saturday, the Television Critics Assn. named SyFy (formerly Sci Fi Channel) series "Battlestar Galactica" its program of the year, the organization's highest honor. So when the cast and creators of "Stargate Universe," the upcoming spinoff of the long-running "Stargate SG-1,"  took the stage today,  panelists promised a fresh, more "Battlestar"-like take on the space opera. 

"Make no mistake, 'Battlestar' is a quality show, and, yes, we want to make quality too," said creator Brad Wright.

"Stargate SG-1" ran for 10 seasons, "Stargate Atlantis" ran for five, but "Universe" will be something new. "Other than the Stargate [ship], which is still very much the core, a whole lot is different from the old series," creator Robert Cooper added.

Robert Carlyle, Ming-Na, Lou Diamond Phillips and David Blue star.

"SG-1" had gotten too self-referential and too far into their own mythologies, Cooper said, and "Universe" will be broader and more accessible to audiences who aren't just into science fiction. "What's great about 'Stargate' is that it's contemporary and doesn't just take place in a spaceship," he said.

"We're going to tell stories through the characters' eyes and emphasize their perspective," he explained. To that end, the creators hired Rohn Schmidt as director of photography; Schmidt's credits include the gritty look of "The Shield."

But there will be some key difference between "SG-1" and "Battlestar," too. "That show had Edward James Olmos, so we needed a three-named ethnic guy," Phillips joked. Asked about his time on "NBC's "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here," a competition he won in spite of Speidi antics, Phillips said: "I'm scarred for life. Thank you."

— Denise Martin

[Update: The original version of this story said that "Stargate SG-1" ran for 15 seasons. It has been updated to say the show ran for 10 seasons while it's spinoff "Stargate Atlantis" ran for five.]

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