Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stargate Bye Bye

My Stargate Sg-1 viewing has come to an end with the end of the 10th season on hulu. Hopefully they’ll start putting up early seasons of Stargate Atlantis at some point.

If SyFy hadn’t canceled it, and if the actors probably weren’t incredibly tired of doing it, I think Stargate SG-1 could have gone on forever. The writers figured out (a la Joss Whedon) how to have a Big Bad each season with an overarching story arc but with stand alone episodes interspersed here and there. So the mythology was consistent but the stories were always (relatively) fresh. They also figured out (a la Joss Whedon) how to successfully introduce new characters while never quite losing old characters.

Few characters ever died a final death on Stargate Sg-1. They either came back to life, or returned as the same person from an alternate reality, or appeared in flashback-type scenes. If their character was in the USAF the writers didn’t have to kill him, they could just promote him to the Pentagon where he would disappear into its bowels for months at a time. Or send him on a mission to Atlantis.

As the show evolved it continued to work although in all honesty I think the middle years were the best. The writers replaced the commander of Stargate Command three times and made it work. The writers managed to replace Richard Dean Anderson and make it work.

Since Stargate SG-1 constantly made comedic references to other sci-fi movies and sci-fi television series it seemed appropriate that, by the end of the series, 2 out of 5 members of the SG-1 team were refugees from the cancelled FarScape series and the Big Bad for the last season was the cancelled Firefly’s Morena Baccarin.

In the show’s 200th episode the writers brought back one of my favorite characters, Marty the alien. Marty showed up in two earlier seasons, first as an ordinary looking guy who is convinced aliens exist. It turns out he is an alien who has had his memory wiped and a human memory implanted. But the memory of finding this out gets wiped too, although maybe not completely. Marty shows up in a later season as a writer for a television series about a space transportation mode that looks suspiciously like a stargate and with a cast that looks suspiciously like the SG-1 team: USAF colonel Jack O’Neil, Archaeologist Daniel Jackson, USAF Major Samantha Carter and Teal’c the alien . A hilarious episode.

For the 200th episode, the writers brought back Marty. His TV series was cancelled after only 3 episodes but now he has convinced a studio to make a movie out of the concept.

Daniel Jackson: Who makes a movie out of a TV series that only lasted 3 episodes?

Teal’c (the alien who loves human pop culture): It allegedly performed well on DVD.

The SG-1 Team is supposed to act as script advisors.

For all the FarScape fans out there, here’s the clip where Claudia Black’s character, miffed to find that the movie is still going to use the old SG-1 team and there won’t be any character based on her, tries to sell Marty on other script ideas. As an alien, Black’s character has been spending time acquainting herself with Earth television and movies. First she floats an idea that sounds suspiciously like The Wizard of Oz. Then she tries this:

My family is so cool that, even though none of them watch Sci Fi, when I said someone should find me a FarScape DVD for Christmas my sister did. So I’ve watched a couple episodes (all Season 1) which is enough for me to sort of get the parody (although from youtube comments I guess it includes characters from later seasons).

Now I’ve got something else to watch as I withdraw from my nightly Stargate-before-bed fix.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite moments from the last couple of seasons of Stargate. The alien, Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black), has been missing for months and has returned to tell SG-1 that she has suddenly just “found herself” pregnant without doing any of the things one does to get oneself pregnant. The Airforce team (Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping and Beau Bridges) are speechless but the other alien, Teal’c (Christopher Judge), is not: