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The Lure of Stargate

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Ten years ago I was without cable, antenna, or anything comparable. Like an absent parent, I missed out on the infancy of Stargate: SG-1. Fortunately, the great tech gods created DVDs and I found a friend who had actually blown hard-earned money on all nine seasons. After proclaiming that I needed a sci-fi fix, he gave me season one of SG-1. I wasn’t hooked instantly – but it didn’t take long to convert.

Science fiction should always make us examine our humanity and our beliefs. Stargate: SG-1 has done so consistently over the past decade. The primary “bad guys” of the series are the Goa’uld, who fashion themselves gods and enslave humans to use for whatever purpose they choose. The ‘gods’ are portrayed as melodramatic, petty scavengers that are a detriment to humanity. Obviously, it’s bad to need gods.

Yet, during the first two seasons we are also introduced to another god-like race, the Asgard. In fact, they engendered the Norse myths. These gods are benevolent. They proclaim that humans “have potential.” The humans of Stargate come to rely on these aliens, thus befriending these new ‘gods.’ Yet in later seasons they must handle some problems without the assistance of the Asgard – and they even come to the aid of their new benefactors. Man is obviously equal to the gods in the Stargate mythos. Or perhaps not; maybe the Asgard are doing all this to test man’s potential, guiding them as it were.

Now they’ve moved on to the Ori, who spread their beliefs with religious zeal powered by plagues, powerful weapons and ugly bald guys. All the enemies on Stargate seem to have some religious issues. Expect, possibly, the Replicators. But let’s think about that: they are a created life form that has turned on its creators. Maybe they are just more of a social issue. After all, the little bugs and their human form colleagues thoughtlessly consume and destroy everything in their path. What will they do when they’ve eaten everything? Is humanity battling itself via the Replicators?

Or, maybe it’s just a science fiction show.

The most absorbing element of the first five seasons was the relationship between Jack and Daniel. Jack is a military man unafraid to leap into the unknown with guns blazing and an insubordinate wit flaring. Daniel is intent on understanding and befriending everyone. The two completely different viewpoints of these two characters provided excellent tension. That is also what allowed Stargate to explore the human side of sci-fi.

Stargate lost some luster when Richard Dean Anderson left, but the show carried on well despite the loss. The stories are still interesting and the team is still cohesive if not as adventurous. I was lured to Stargate because I love science fiction; I stayed with it because it questions humanity.

The last half of the final season of Stargate: SG-1 will air in April 2007. We will have to bid a farewell, of sorts to Daniel, T’ealc, Carter, Jack, Cam, and many others that have become familiar.

Then again, there are some movies planned. And there’s Stargate: Atlantis. Star Trek has lasted for forty years so Stargate isn’t dead yet, obviously. In fact, it may have another thirty years to go.

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About Gray Hunter

  • Iloz Zoc

    Good summation on the show. It’s great strength is the focus on characters first, plot second. Like the original Star Trek, it created engrossing relationships between the team members, and introduced interesting storylines (sometimes poking fun at itself). I feel Anderson’s character was the driving force that made it all work so well. The dynamics of the show have gone off a bit without him. But I can’t wait for the movies!

  • Congratulations! This article has been selected for syndication to Advance.net, which is affiliated with newspapers around the United States.

  • Gray Hunter

    Well, that’s just cool …

    A big thanks to Blogcritics!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Funny how the originator of the Stargate idea, the makers of the movie “Stargate”, were not mentioned at all in this review.

  • Stargate, the final episode of which has just aired in Europe, has been a fantastic series, full of fabulous, inspirational ideas and awesome aliens.

    Unfortunately the last episode was one of the most boring and implausible stories of the whole ten years. Talk about going out with a whimper rather than a bang!

  • gorodnliu

    I just want to say that one huge aspect of this shows success (which is undeniable at 10 years running and something like 200 episodes) is the whole sci-fi premise behind the series.

    in the history of science fiction, there are implausable stories, and plausable stories. sometimes the most implausable stories become the most successful, because, despite the implausibility people like the idea.

    this is the case with the various sci fi aspects of stories like 2001 (2010,2061,3001 included) the ring world series, dune, and other books and films.

    stargate shares that same characteristic. i also think it has survived because it has borrowed and built upon other successful sci fi themes (like the idea of a group of beings existing as energy which definitely pre dates stargate to at least the 2001 novel).

    with that being said, it is of course a huge testament to the actors and writers

    someone had better hire those writers and give them freedom, so that they can continue to make gems like stargate