Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stargate SG-1

General Hammond summons Colonel Jack O'Neill out of retirement to embark on a secret rescue mission. O'Neill confesses that he disobeyed orders to destroy the Stargate on Planet Abydos, and that scientist Daniel Jackson may still be alive. Arriving on Abydos with his team, O'Neill meets up once again with the scientist, who has discovered a giant elaborate cartouche in hieroglyphics. All signs point to the fact that this is a map of many Stargates that exist throughout the galaxy - a development that makes the dream of the SG-1 team to travel throughout the universe in time a reality.

Thus begins the longest running Sci-Fi TV series. Or so the fans would say. It surpassed The X-Files in 2007 with 214 episodes. But long time fans of Doctor Who would argue differently. Both are correct. Stargate SG-1 is the longest running Sci-Fi TV series, 'consecutively.' Doctor Who has been canceled and reborn several times, even though it does have over 756 episodes to its name.

Why do I start out the post this way? To give you a small idea of the fandom that follows this groundbreaking series. With 2 spin-off series, two movies, one planned movie, and a recut of the original pilot episode, you can see that there has to be something there.

I really enjoy Stargate. While this post will focus on mainly SG-1, the two spin-offs, Atlantis and Universe, are fairly similar to SG-1 when it comes to content and ratings. The majority of the episodes are rated TV-14, with some ratings standing at TV-PG.

The Plot: A secret facility located in the lower levels of Cheyenne Mountain Complex in Colorado houses one of the most advanced peices of technology known to mankind. It is called the Stargate. Invented by a supreme race of beings thousands of years ago known as the Ancients, the device is capable of creating an artificial stable wormhole between two Stargates. As the plot of the original movie goes, there was only two known Stargates, one on Earth and one on the planet Abydos. But as the series starts out, there is a giant cartouche found on Abydos, with hundreds of addresses to Stargates all over the galaxy. The Air Force creates the SGC, Stargate Command. Within the SGC are numerous forces, know as SG Teams, usually comprised of four people. The storyline follows the exploits of the primary team, SG-1.

As the main bad guys are introduced in the original movie, their origins are not fully fleshed out until the series. A parasitic alien, known as the Goa'uld, borrows its way into a host and wraps itself around the spinal cord, taking control of the brain. It is learned later on that these same parasites have been around since the begining of time, and have been known to humans for quite some time. They used to inhabit the old Egyptian gods, Ra, Apophis, Anubis and Baal being some of the most powerful. Resurrected on a day-by-day basis with a device known as a sarcophigus allows the Goa'uld to live long, yet unfulfilling lives.

The Characters: The characters, in my opinion, are what make this show so appealing. SG-1 is comprised of four people, three human, one alien. Colonal Jack O'Neil, ("One L, not two. There's a Colonal O'Neill with two L's, but he has no sense of humor whatsoever") is the leader of SG-1 from season 1 through 7. As the movie starts out, we learn that Jack, (played morosely by Kurt Russell) has previously lost his son, who accidentally shot himself with Jack's gun. As the series starts out however, he's more glib, having put the past behind him. Sarcasm and humor prevail, with lots of seemingly put-on unintelligence. He's never afraid to do the right thing, even if it means sometimes going against his superior officers. He loves his team like a family, but would never admit it to their faces.

Samantha Carter is a military scientist, but even though she posseses a high I.Q. and a killer body, she is very skilled in the field and even surpasses O'Neil's ability at times with sharpshooting. Whenever there is a peice of technology that needs to be analyzed or a locked door to surcumnavigate, Carters the one to call. It also is hinted at numerous times that harbors a secret admiration for O'Neil that goes beyond professional.

Dr. Daniel Jackson is a civilian historian, linguist, archeologist, and probably other things. His position as a civilian has given him oportunity to complete parts of missions that O'Neil and Carter are unable to as military. Numerous times Jackson has been the one to get the team out of sticky situations with his knowledge of acient Egyptology and language. He and Jack are close friends, despite being almost complete opposites.

Teal'c is a Jaffa. Serving as biological incubators for infant Goa'uld, the Jaffa have been slaves of the Goa'uld for centuries. Rebbeling against his master Apophis and joining with the SGC in the pilot episode, he gives the tema flavor, and knowledge of the galaxy and Goa'uld have proven invaluable on several occasions. His one line responses and stoic face are characteristics that seldom change.

As the plot of the series goes on, these characters grow closer, even though their situations change dramatically throughout. O'Neil gets promoted later on and becomes the head of SGC. Teal'c finally destroys most of the reigning Goa'uld and frees his people. Jackson dies numerous times, only to be brought back with clever writing. Carter is the only character that seems to stay fairly constant. She gets promoted once, has a fling or two, but for the most part, her work is her life, and the SGC is her home.

As is usual with TV series, the plots and content change from episode to episode. But for the most part, Stargate SG-1 is fairly clean. Let's break it down.

Sex: Other than a few episodes of scantily-clad alien women, nothing usually ever happens on screen other than a passionate kiss. There are several illusions to affairs off screen and jokes are made, but nothing crude. The pilot episode, Children of the Gods, is the only one to look out for. One scene of frontal nudity of a woman took away dramatically from the rest of the episode. But there is an alternitive. The re-cut version, made after the series end by the director of the pilot, completely edits out the nudity, leaving the entire run of Stargate free form that filth.

Violence: This is a military show. Shoot-outs, dog fights, and hand-to-hand combat prevail, but there is usually not too much blood and guts. There are a few episodes with a decapition or a severed limb, but for the most part, action is about all we get.

Language: Thank goodness for Television rating laws! The worst you ever hear on Stargate is a handful of "D**n's" or "H**l's". I regret to say they do utter the one word I think should be banned from our language on occasion, "B**ch", but there is nothing else to worry about.

Stargate SG-1. Personally one of my favorite T.V. series of all time. But you'll have to watch it for yourself to determine. I give it 11 stars out of ten.

Josh Dudley

Live Free, Fight Hard, Die Well.

Definitions, Part II

Most of us are familiar with the Motion Picture Association of America's rating system, but there are few of us who know or understand the television version of the rating system. It paralels the movie standard, but there are a few differences. Without oging in depth, if you would like to refer to the system, visit this link for more details.

Live Free, Fight Hard, Die Well.