Michael Shanks by Mike Ruiz/SCI FI Michael Shanks by Mike Ruiz/SCI FI

Since Stargate SG-1 closed its portal, Michael Shanks has popped up on such non sci-fi shows as 24 and Burn Notice. On Sept. 26, he steps back into his sorely missed role of whimsical archaeologist Daniel Jackson to guest on Stargate: Atlantis, which ends its five-year run in January, to be resurrected in TV movie/DVD form. - Ileane Rudoplh

TV Guide: Is this two-parter your first time guesting on Atlantis?
Michael Shanks:
I've never actually been on Atlantis since the pilot, but I always bugged the guys about it. My character spent seven years on the show looking for the lost city of Atlantis and they even made a gag about the fact that he was dying to go but wasn't allowed to.

TV Guide: Why is Daniel there?
Shanks:
He comes to find a secret lab that contains important technology. Then a batch of unexpected villains shows up. Let's just say, Daniel has a history with them.

TV Guide: He has to work with the annoying Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett.) Producer Joe Mallozzi compared the two of you to Abbott and Costello. Are you hurt?
Shanks:
[ Laughs] The thing with David is that he's one of the fastest talkers on the planet and apparently I speak relatively quickly as well. They wrote six to eight extra pages of the episode just to compensate for the fact that they were going to be short. David's very good at the rhythmic gymnastics that's our banter. We had a lot of fun.

TV Guide: Did you have fun doing the two Stargate SG-1 DVD movies? Would you do more?
Shanks:
If I'm available, of course I'll run back and do more. We had a great time and they did incredibly well. If we never do another thing for SG-1, it was a nice way to go out..

TV Guide: First the traitor on 24 and now Victor, the scary thug on Burn Notice. What happened to your longtime good-guy image?
Shanks:
They're on to me! It's counter casting or maybe they just woke up and realized I wasn't really that nice. After playing the Boy Scout for as many years as I did, it's fun to sink your teeth into some over-the-top villains.

TV Guide: Will Victor return to Burn Notice?
Shanks:
Yes, I'm going to be heading back for three more episodes when the show returns this winter. We'll find out that Victor has his own agenda. He's not only working for Carla and whoever burned Michael, but he's got his own deal on the side.

TV Guide: Will you be working with that other sci-fi icon, Battlestar Galactica's Tricia Helfer?
Shanks:
I don't know. What's funny is, because we shoot in Vancouver and she's Canadian like me, we end up at all the same parties and I see her on the plane to Los Angeles. But I've never met her, so if I do have the chance to work with her on Burn Notice I look forward to actually speaking with her. And then you add Bruce Campbell to that mix and it just gets crazy. He's one of those genre icons that I absolutely love. Every male actor my age has a big love for Bruce Campbell from his Evil Dead series and Army of Darkness.

TV Guide: What's happening with Rage of Angels, the sci-fi series you're developing with Stargate buddy Chris Judge?
Shanks:
I'm told a very prominent show runner has attached himself to it and they're working out the details of his contract. That should fast track it to production, hopefully next year.

TV Guide: Don't you play the ultimate Big Baddie?
Shanks:
Yes. I play Lucifer. In the first draft at least, things were playing out very dark and somewhat violent. Lucifer will make Victor look like a schoolboy.

TV Guide: If you're the fallen angel, who is Chris?
Shanks:
Chris will be the Archangel Gabriel. And if that's not counter casting, I don't know what is. But he's going to be more of an anti-hero type of Gabriel. There's a lot in common between Gabriel and Lucifer that we'll see.

TV Guide: What else have you been working on?
Shanks:
The Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon for the Sci Fi Channel. It's an adventure movie with Shannen Doherty, a throwback to Indiana Jones flicks, rather than a creature feature.

TV Guide: So how was it working with Shannen, she of the diva reputation?
Shanks:
Everyone on the planet is aware of Shannen's reputation and no one more than she. We had a difficult shoot, so I was prepared for something to rear its head, but I was quite pleasantly surprised by my experience with her. She was wonderful.

TV Guide: Is it true you're doing a Hallmark Channel movie?
Shanks:
Yeah. Living Out Loud will air on Mother's day next year. It's a movie about breast cancer that I did with Gail O' Grady. I've got to say, after working in science fiction for so long, it's odd to play just a normal person.

TV Guide: Would you be content playing mostly science fiction or action heroes for the foreseeable future?
Shanks:
Last year I was up for a part in The Sarah Connors Chronicles, the part that Brian Austin Green ended up getting. I remember saying to my wife "Why am I so pumped about this audition?" And I realized that's the kind of show I want to do. That's the kind of character I want to play. To be firing guns and running through fields of robots - playing for those kind of stakes all the time. I would be totally content to continue to do the lion's share of that kind of work in the future.