When we last left Our Heroes, they were on Apophis' ship, facing the impending destruction and/or enslavement of everyone on Earth.
So unsurprisingly, the second season of "Stargate SG-1" can only get better from there on. In fact, this is when the clever, innovative sci-fi series really started to gel together, with more intriguing storylines, character arcs, and some new alien allies -- basically, it all blooms.
Intending to blow up Apophis' ship, our heroes get captured by the Jaffa and thrown in a cell -- only to be unexpectedly rescued by Bra'tac (Tony Amendola), Teal'c's old teacher. As Earth mounts a pitiful defense against the Goa'uld, SG-1 joins with a small band of rebel Jaffa to stop Apophis' invasion -- but they may have to leave one of their number behind.
Obviously the Goa'uld make things awkward throughout the season, with the second episode featuring Sam (Amanda Tapping) being possessed by a Goa'uld during a rescue mission -- but it seems that it's part of a rebel Goa'uld faction called the Tok'ra. Teal'c's (Christopher Judge) son is kidnapped and brainwashed, and Daniel (Michael Shanks) finds that his beloved wife is pregnant with Apophis' child.
And of course, SG-1 has to deal with lots of other stuff -- insectile transformations, black holes, prison planets, Native American "spirits," invisible bugs, hostile alien orbs, reliving their most traumatic memories in a VR world, and time traveling to 1969. And O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) gets an ancient repository of knowledge downloaded into his head -- and he'll die if they can't reverse it.
"Stargate SG-1" really got into its stride in the second season -- the basic Air-Force-versus-evil-headsnakes story gets expanded out into a bunch of arcs. We get new villains, some surprising new allies, hints about the true origins of the Stargates and the human race, and corrupt factions on Earth who use the spare Stargate for evil ends.
The writing gets even steadier and the alien worlds more interesting -- even stuff that sounds goofy, like the planet of singing mushroom-people, somehow works. The drama is stronger, and the sci-fi usage of the Stargate ever more creative, such as when a black hole's gravity well keeps the gate open, and is slowly sucking Earth through the wormhole. Good, tense stuff.
Of course, all the action and sci-fi is heavily tempered with comedy. Even in grim situations, there's usually at least a few funny moments, such as Daniel's tour of the custodial closet. And of course, the dialogue is priceless -- most of the good stuff comes from O'Neill ("That's between you and your god. Oh, wait a minute! You are your god! That's a problem"), but Teal'c ("In my culture, I would be well within my rights to dismember you") and the others usually get some good ones as well.
Of the main cast, Amanda Tapping gets the juiciest role in this season -- Sam deals with the impending death of her father, becoming a Goa'uld host, and trying to deal with the feelings it left behind. Including a cute Tok'ra boyfriend. Yet when we see Sam's vulnerable sides, Tapping never lets her character be anything but a strong, capable military woman.
But the other actors aren't neglected -- Shanks' Daniel grapples with the news that his wife is pregnant with Apophis' baby, while Teal'c faces losing his entire family. Anderson is brilliant as the quirky, capable O'Neill, but he really gets brilliant when Jack's brain is being overwritten -- he has to emote and communicate without a comprehensible word.
The second season of "Stargate SG-1" is where the story began to really get great, building up a series of strong story arcs, funny dialogue, and strong characters. Definitely a must-see.