I've always loved Sci-Fi shows. I like to tell myself I'm not *geeky* about it but that'd kinda be a bit of a fib... 'cos when one show winds up another show I can usually tell you exactly what show it was and I can follow character arcs and series spin-offs with the best of them. I'm just not one of those people who has ever felt the need to dress up and go to a Sci-Fi convention...erm... so far (to the latter part - After all - I'm the gal took some arm twisting for the Harlequin pyjama party dress-up/or down as the case may be at a Romance writer's convention so the chances of me dressing as something sci-fi are slim!)
But then when you can trip across some hero inspiration along the way then technically it's still *cough* research *cough* And after ten full seasons of researching by watching Stargate SG1 I had a potential hero to add to my database in the form of Michael Shanks...
Describing himself as an overachiever at school, he played hockey, rugby, was a member of the Student Council and joined the theatre group (where interestingly enough he played the role of The Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz - a role he would play again in the final season of Stargate Sg1 when they parodied the 1939 movie in the episode "200".)
As well as acting in the theatre group, he also dabbled in some directing but an acting career didn't seem to be in his future so at 16, he had to decide whether or not to become a professional hockey player. He chose not, (But continues to support the Canucks - which I'm sure makes sense to someone somewhere...to this wee Irish gal - not so much...) So, having decided that pro hockey was not for him, Michael went to the University of British Columbia to study business; financing his studies by taking laboring and lumberjack work. But when Math proved to be his downfall (man after my own heart!) and he failed a calculus course it meant he was a half credit short of getting a Business degree so switched to Theatre and graduated with a degree in Fine Arts.
So it kinda looked like the acting was in his future after all! Isn't it funny how fate works???
Michael then spent two years at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, taking on a number of small roles (he has said that his dream role would be Henry V). Following a number of small roles in TV shows such as Madison, The Commish and Highlander, in 1997 Michael auditioned for the role of Dr Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1, the TV spin-off of the original Stargate movie. Michael went into the audition with his spot-on impersonation of James Spader (who had played Daniel Jackson in the movie and who he bore a darn close resemblance to for those in the know and in my personal opinion from my *not a geek about the show* land!) and got the job. He could also, as Brad Wright said, "do humor". (again - my kinda guy!)
In 1999, between seasons two and three, Michael took on the role of Hamlet in a short run of the production and after five seasons of Stargate SG1, he left the series, citing lack of use of the character of Daniel Jackson as the reason behind his decision. He had a number of roles in movies such as Suddenly Naked, Suspicious River, Mary Higgins Clark's All Around The Town and the Emmy-award winning Door to Door and he did a number of guest appearances on shows such as Outer Limits and Andromeda. In addition, he took the opportunity to meet fans at conventions in the US, Australia and Europe. Although not part of the main cast of Stargate SG1 during Season 6, he did reprise the role of Daniel Jackson in three episodes, however by then a fan campaign to return Michael - and Daniel Jackson - to the show had already started and sure enough, a year later it was announced that Michael would return as a full-time member of the cast for season seven.
During what eventually turned out to be a ten-year run of Stargate SG1, Michael also turned his hand to directing and writing for the show from time to time. His directorial debut was a complex season 4 episode "Double Jeopardy" but while the result was an episode that was well received, for Michael the experience of directing was bittersweet...
"Everyone was prepared for the idea of me directing, but no one, especially me, was prepared for the situation that I ended up in. I knew I was going to be like a fish out of water, but I never imagined how much so. However I learned a lot more directing an episode like that then I would have doing a far more simpler one. It pretty much introduced me to all the ups and downs of production. I'm glad to say the experience has not discouraged me in the least from directing."
During the mid-season filming hiatus in 2006, Michael completed a made-for-TV film for the Lifetime Network, Under The Mistletoe and at the end of filming for the tenth and final season of Stargate SG1, he flew to Bulgaria to film MegaSnake, a movie for the SciFi Channel. Keeping busy, upon his return to the US, he began work on a second movie for the Lifetime Channel - Judicial Indiscretion - and then went on to a 3-episode recurring role on the hit TV Show 24, as Mark Bishop. Likes to keep out of mischief, doesn't he really??? I'm tired just typing all this!
In mid-April this year he began filming the first of two Stargate SG1 DVD movies, The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. Both of which I will be right there to buy when they come out - well, 'cos I have a collection... and I hate it when a set of something isn't complete - okay?!
In real life, 6ft tall Michael has a daughter with his former partner and in 2003, he married Lexa Doig who he met on the set of Andromeda when he guest-starred as Gabriel. The couple have two children, a girl and a boy and seem to be blissfully happy which let's face it, we all love to see, don't we?
So there ya go - my gift to you as potential hero inspiration this time out - Michael Shanks... Can anyone feel a spark of inspiration in there??? Oh - and any Stargate comments then feel free to bring them on! I betcha I can join in that conversation... ;)
For more info and pics I can heartily recommend the Michael Shanks Online site or the Michael Shanks.com site and if you're a fellow Stargate fan then there's always Gateworld or the official Stargate SG1 site... See, you can't say I don't do my research...
H's & K's
Trish hits us with double releases this month - The Return Of The Rebel (which is a follow up to Breathless!) in Modern Extra - and Bride Of The Emerald Isle in Romance...
The Return Of The Rebel is available from Amazon UK or from Mills & Boon ! And Bride Of The Emerald Isle is available from Eharlequin or Amazon in the USA & Canada and Mills & Boon or Amazon UK in the UK.