The 1994 movie Stargate
was originally intended as the start of a franchise, but creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin were distracted celebrating their Independence Day
. Episodic TV treatment was the natural next step. Since neither Kurt Russell nor James Spader would be able to commit, it gave the producers licence to tinker with the cast and the universe they'd explore. Replacing the roles of Colonel Jack O'Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson respectively are Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks. They're joined by Captain Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and guilt-stricken former alien baddie Teal'c (Christopher Judge) to form the teacher's pet primary unit SG-1 With a seemingly endless network of Stargates found to exist on planets all across the known universe, their mission is to make first contact with as many friendly races as possible. Chasing their heels at almost every turn are the "overlord" pharaohnic Goa'uld--the ancient Egyptian Gods who are none too chummy after the events of the original film. The welcome notion of a continued plot thread sees offshoots that follow the reincarnation of Daniel's wife, Sam's father literally joining a renegade faction of the Goa'uld, and Jack in an unending quest to out-sarcasm everyone. There's something of The Time Tunnel
to the show's premise, but amid a dearth of derivative look-a-likes, Stargate
has held its own with stories that put the science fiction back into TV sci-fi.
"The Serpent's Song" is a cry for help from the team's nemesis--Apophis--who they've been fighting since the beginning. It's a morality showcase all-round. Although deserving a "Holiday", the team just can't leave alien artefacts alone, which gets them into all manner of trouble playing with Ma'chello's body-swapping machine. This episode gives everyone a fantastic opportunity to impersonate one another. "One False Step" of another kind lays a guilt trip on them all for accidentally infecting a race with a disease. Then in "Show and Tell" the central story arc takes a dramatic turn when a child arrives to warn that some survivors of a Goa'uld attack are determined to eliminate anyone who might host their enemy--which means Earth as a whole. --Paul Tonks
Four more episodes from the second season of the popular sci-fi series. In 'Serpent's Song', the SG1 team are offered a pact by their mortal enemy Apophis, who is on the run from the Gou'ald and in need of a new body. 'Holiday' sees Jackson trapped into swapping his body with a dying alien intent on escaping to Earth. In 'One False Step', the SG1 team accidentally cause an entire alien race to become infected with a deadly plague while visiting their planet on an away mission. 'Show and Tell' sees the SG1 team tricked into assisting an invisible race who wish to destroy humanity.