AUGUST 30, 2002 - - A CONVERSATION WITH GARY DAVIDSON
As the fourth season of SPACE ODDITY enters its fifth week of production Creator and Executive Producer GARY DAVIDSON sits down with us to discuss what's ahead.
GARY DAVIDSON: Drama, adventure, explosions and the death of another supporting character.
TITAN NEWS: Really?
GARY DAVIDSON: Yeah.
TITAN NEWS: We seem to lose a supporting character every season.
GARY DAVIDSON: We've lost more than one a season but that's the way it is, these guys are in a dangerous job and to expect the audience to believe that when you go into battle no one important dies is just plain ludicrous. We don't have to like it, the characters don't, but it's a part of their lives.
TITAN NEWS: So who is it this time?
GARY DAVIDSON: I'm not telling. (laughs) Seriously, it won't be the season opener but other than that you're just going to have to wait and see.
TITAN NEWS: We've got new characters this season as well correct?
GARY DAVIDSON: Every season, with every book [Space Oddity's term for a set of episodes that form their own story arc], there are new characters. There are going to tonnes of them right away because the team [Robert, Bill, Mel and Tzu] will arrive at their new assignment, on the dreadnought INDEPENDENCE which is a huge vessel so there's its command crew and the various people in each department they're going to be dealing with.
TITAN NEWS: Along with plenty of twists.
GARY DAVIDSON: Always, this is SPACE ODDITY! And our main character [Robert MacManus] is closing on his dream.
TITAN NEWS: Which one?
GARY DAVIDSON: The only one that's ever mattered, since the first episode. He'll get it too.
TITAN NEWS: Starship command?
GARY DAVIDSON: Absolutely. It'll be a temporary thing, unless he handles things right, but he'll get a taste of being in the big chair and enough of the responsibility to decide if all the work was worth it.
TITAN NEWS: MacManus has always been the bull in the china shop with his commanders and they've had problems with him on that. Won't he have to soften before they'll give him the big stick?
GARY DAVIDSON: Sure and he will, a bit. Let's face it, you can't run into a frying pan every time you come around without sooner or later learning to duck, or if you're MacManus you try to get the frying pan out of their hands and into yours.
TITAN NEWS: Freedom.
GARY DAVIDSON: MacManus has always been the unpolished stone but from the first episode on we've seen the edges getting worn down. We've seen that for three seasons, now the polishing begins to show.
TITAN NEWS: Which Command starts to see?
GARY DAVIDSON: Of course not! Like anyone in charge they're looking for the best qualities they see in themselves. Some of the Admirals are fans of MacManus but the majority still think he's a loaded pistol.
TITAN NEWS: How does he convince them otherwise?
GARY DAVIDSON: That's the fourth season. Like any realization it doesn't just happen, something the Admiralty cannot handle alone will come up and then they'll start to see there's a diamond in there, they'll have to because they'll need him.
TITAN NEWS: It sounds pretty heavy.
GARY DAVIDSON: Season four has that drama and some dark moments but we'll also get to see a tender side of MacManus that we've only hinted at and one the fan base has been clamoring for a long time now.
TITAN NEWS: Any of the trademark "silly" episodes like "Public Figures"?
GARY DAVIDSON: Not so much, not this season, it's a darker period. Important things are happening and MacManus finds the inner circle can be a pretty lonely place. This is not to say there won't be lighter moments just not whole shows.
TITAN NEWS: Without cliff-hangers, as some franchises seem to rely on, you've managed to kick off each season with a bang. Can we count on that again?
GARY DAVIDSON: As much as possible we try to end a season at the end of a Book which is what we call a story arc group of episodes. The whole book is treated like a movie in that we want an action set up pretty quickly that's going to spread out over the arc. There's no difference in how the fourth season starts but we're ending with a cliffhanger.
TITAN NEWS: Say it isn't so!
GARY DAVIDSON: Sorry, I had to do it once, it'll be a good one and I just couldn't resist it. Chalk it up to another tweaking the genre satire. Seriously, we haven't wrapped on a cliffhanger before simply because at the end of each Book there's usually more questions anyway. And the best question is "What happens next?" which we always pander to.
TITAN NEWS: But it's not a death?
GARY DAVIDSON: I promise.
TITAN NEWS: Then what?
GARY DAVIDSON: MacManus' whole foundation is shaken right from the get go but it's on a personal level. Professionally he stumbles, the whole team will, but the story is how they pull together, how they triumph, it's a good year for them in the long run.
TITAN NEWS: But a bad start?
GARY DAVIDSON: There's a running joke for the first book and it has to do with repercussions of decisions MacManus has made in the past, most of them are pretty cool, some funny and I hope the audience can appreciate them. Once again we play with a couple of genre mainstay concepts, with our own hook and all as part of the fun.
TITAN NEWS: Do tell.
GARY DAVIDSON: Well, for starters guys in that century use a form of birth control that's supposed to suppress a man's fertility, they're working on something similar now, but with this stuff it fails on some one in eight million people, it turns out that MacManus is that one.
TITAN NEWS: So we meet his kid?
GARY DAVIDSON: Plural.
TITAN NEWS: It never rains but it pours.
GARY DAVIDSON: I've noticed, for myself a lot and MacManus is nothing if not patterned after me, that when things go wrong its not just one thing, there's a cascade of things which the twisted part of the mind can appreciate in an ironic fashion.
TITAN NEWS: How many?
GARY DAVIDSON: It'll run over the course of the season, there's one episode where you get a clue, a hint actually, but the finally tally won't be known until season end. It's a running joke. I love it.
TITAN NEWS: Borders on camp though, doesn't it?
GARY DAVIDSON: The whole series does. From time to time. That's the joy of it. My life borders on camp too, just ask my wife.
TITAN NEWS: We look forward to it. Thank you.
GARY DAVIDSON: A pleasure.
TITAN NEWS: Tell us what the fourth season has in store for everyone.