As I’ve stated before, most of the science-fiction based entertainment out there these days is not very good. Thus, when I come across something that is truly interesting and unique, I feel a need to evangelize a little. Besides, when you see what passes for news these days, it’s nice to find entertainment that has nothing to do with eating bugs, cow innards, or fat, weird guys terrorizing their phony fiancee’s family.
When I first heard of the plans to create Stargate SG-1 as a direct-to-syndication/cable TV series, I was skeptical. The movie was fine, but how such a premise be made into a series? So, I skipped it, my avoidance made easier by the fact that this show was on cable and in the direct-to-syndication route, which made it almost impossible to find for the causal viewer such as myself.
I had no idea what I was missing, nor did I realize that a huge Stargate SG-1 fan movement was building both here and abroad. It was not until I joined Netflix and picked up the DVD of the first season did I give this a chance. Although my source on this was a trusted one, I was still skeptical. Even if the first DVD was good, most television (and in particular most sci-fi TV) tends to crap out after a few good episodes or seasons.
Then I put in the first DVD and watched the 2-hour pilot. Suddenly the skeptic was converted. I began to see why TV Guide put the SG-1 team on the cover with the tagline “Forget Trek! Stargate SG-1 is now sci-fi’s biggest hit!”
Here was a program that had everything that the doomed Trek franchise could never have – non stop action, intelligent stories, and long-ranging plotlines that were used to advance the development of complex characters, and keep the series new and exciting. In other words, some people got together and read the “How to Make Programming That Doesn’t Suck” textbook, and decided to create a series. Oddly enough, they’ve made a big pile money doing it too!
The premise is simple: A “Stargate” which can create artificial wormholes is discovered by the US military and exists hidden away in the Air Force’s Cheyenne Mountain complex. The show focuses on the lead team assigned to investigate the new worlds and explore the galaxy by simply stepping through the gate and on to other worlds.
Richard Dean Anderson (of MacGuyver fame) plays Col. Jack O’Neill, who leads his team and the adventures ensue. Because many humans in the past were taken from Earth and enslaved by the Bad Aliens (Goa’ulds), the team encounters all sorts of humans with all sorts of unusual quirks. At least it explains why they mostly speak English.
Best of all, it’s a program you don’t have to be a total fan who’s seen every single episode to enjoy. When I visited my dad in San Francisco during a business trip, he wanted to see my new PowerBook. Demonstrating the capabilities of the 12″ PowerBook, I popped in a Stargate DVD to show him how it could play movies. We ended up watching an episode, and he really enjoyed it. It had both the action and a sense of humor we could both enjoy, but for our own reasons.
Now, my dad is not a dyed-in-a-wool sci-fi fan – he tends to enjoy more mainstream entertainment. But even though he didn’t know the intimate details of what a Jaffa was, or the long-running conflicts of Goa’ulds, Tok’ras, and assorted running gags, the story was still entertaining for him and it was something we both enjoyed watching together.
Thus Stargate SG-1 was able to jump the high hurdle the disasters known as Enterprise, Star Trek: Voyager and countless other longwinded, heavy handed PC sci-fi crashed and burned on consistently over the years – it provided intelligent drama and action first, and kept the technobabble down to acceptable levels.
What I enjoy most about this show is its inherent unpredictability. As I’ve watched the many seasons out on DVD so far, I keep wondering if the show’s hit a plateau, or if the innovation and excitement of the first seasons will begin to wane. It doesn’t.
Unlike Star Trek, with its predictable “guy in a red shirt gets it when they go to the planet” routines, and constant re-telling of the same stories (“hey let’s go back in time to 20th Century Earth!”) over and over and over and over again…the writing team continues to maintain a consistency level of interest and twists that more accurately reflect what would happen if the US Military was investigating the Stargate system and defending Earth from all sorts of alien-induced mayhem.
The Stargate unit is not out of the reach of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats who would use their work for nefarious ends, and the team has to deal with the mayhem caused by cloak and dagger shenanigans on their end as well as around the galaxy.
It’s one of many nice plotlines that probably reflect more accurately the pressures such a program and its officers would face in the “real” world. (Although I think if such a device did exist, we’d be contracting it out to Halliburton for that lucrative gasoline and taco supply line to Abydos, but I digress…)
Seriously, I urge people to check this program out. I’ve deliberately avoided talking too much about the specifics of the program or its many episodes so that folks will check ’em out and form their own opinion.
However I have found almost consistently that, like Battlestar Galactica, even people who aren’t big sci-fi fans, but who do appreciate a well written and conceived piece of programming, have found it to be entertaining. Check it out – you may surprise yourself at how much you enjoy it!
Note to readers: I’d like to take this time to welcome our new fans from the Halliburton Corporation. Thanks for reading and be sure to tell your friends and coworkers about our three times a week updates! I’m sure you’ll find it fun and amusing on your coffee breaks.
“How is it possible,” you ask “that you know that Halliburton’s reading your site?”
Simple really. Journalspace is kind enough to log IP Addresses for visitors to this site. For fun, I decided to enter a few at random to see what would come up.
Using a combination of IP2Location.com and ARIN I was able to track back this one little IP address, and here’s what I found!
Search results for: 34.69-93-8.reverse.theplanet.com
OrgName: Halliburton Company
Address: 10200 Bellaire Blvd
NetRange: 126.96.36.199 – 188.8.131.52
NetType: Direct Assignment
OrgTechName: DNSADMIN POC
Thanks again for your support guys! We appreciate you checking out the site!
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com
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