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. In 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" Goa'uld--the ancient Egyptian Gods who are none too chummy after the events of the original film. There's something of The Time Tunnel
to the show's premise, but Stargate
has held its own with stories that put the science fiction back into TV sci-fi.
On the DVD: Episodes: The Curse, The Serpent's Venom, Chain Reaction and 2010.
It's five years after the Stargate movie saw Dr. Jackson's theories professionally debunked. In "The Curse", he finally finds short-lived vindication with a few of his old archaeological colleagues. Unfortunately, one of them is more interested in the recently discovered Osiris Jar than is healthy. The birth of a powerful new Goa'uld God is sure to spell trouble for the SG team soon. "The Serpent's Venom" is the strongest test of Teal'c's loyalties anyone could have imagined. Betrayed and captured on homeworld Chulak, the "sholvah" is tortured to the point of death. In fact, it is his willingness to accept death that convinces his captors that perhaps his rejection of Apophis has meaning for them too. This is a powerful episode with strong violence and performances. When General Hammond announces his resignation on the grounds of disliking sending people into danger, the team know something's wrong. A "Chain Reaction" of events and clues leads O'Neill to the recently incarcerated turncoat Maybourne. Suddenly with this episode, all the previous references to the sinister NID agency make worrying sense. As Hammond explains, they're "above the law". That doesn't stop Jack from MacGuyvering a way out of the clutches of Ronny Cox's double-dealing Senator Kinsey though! Inexplicably, we're then presented with a future vision of the year "2010" where Kinsey has become President. Here we see Earth in peaceful alliance with the Aschen race. But Jack is sulking in secluded retirement. Sure enough things aren't at all idyllic--just as he forewarned--and in typical style for the series, an engaging time-travel plotline unravels to safeguard the past from this imperfect present. --Paul Tonks
Four more episodes from the sci-fi series based on the movie 'Stargate'. In 'Serpent's Venom' the team are sent on a mission to prevent a potentially dangerous alliance between Apophis and Heru'ur. 'The Curse' sees Daniel investigate when his old professor dies in mysterious circumstances. 'Chain Reaction' finds O'Neill taking on the bureaucrats when SG-1 are threatened with dissolution. And '2010' has the team attempt to save the human race from the Aschen.