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STARGATE

 

 



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STARGATE
Stargate SG-1 is a television spin-off of Roland Emmerich's 1994 film Stargate. The series was developed for television by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, who together wrote the two-hour pilot episode "Children of the Gods." "Children of the Gods" originally aired on July 27, 1997 and "Unending," the final episode of the series, aired in the UK on March 13, 2007 and in the US on June 22, 2007.




      


       

      

       

       



"Children of the Gods" basically set up the show's premise. It established that the Stargate can travel to other planets besides just Abydos, introduced several characters who did not appear in the film, and depicted the creation of a series of SG teams.

Since casting actors such as Kurt Russell and James Spader in regular roles would have been well beyond the show's budget, most of the characters who did appear in the film were recast. The exceptions were Skaara and Kasuf, although Kasuf didn't appear in the series until the second-season episode "Secrets." Richard Kind, who played Gary Meyers in the film, appeared in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Irresistible" as Lucius Lavin, a role which he repeated in "Irresponsible."

Some elements of the film were changed to make the premise better fit the medium of a television show. Therefore, Stargate SG-1 and the film are set in different, although similar, versions of the Stargate universe. For example, while the film implied that Ra was the last surviving member of his race, in the series his race, the Goa'uld, are far from extinct.



      



       
 The Stargate Universe
The Stargate Universe

The Stargate franchise is perhaps the sleeper hit of scifi TV. Unlike The X-Files which was an instant phenomenon or Star Trek which has always been there, Stargate launched with a relatively low budget movie that met with middling success but appeared set to end there. It didn’t end though and has spawned numerous spin-offs.
Stargate Movie



It all started in 1994 with the movie Stargate. Starring Kurt Russell and James Spader, the movie was written by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, Directed by Emmerich and produced by Devlin. At its heart Stargate is a fairly straightforward action movie but with a very distinctive universe.

Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) and Eqyptologist is invited to join a military project where he will be decrypting hieroglyphics of a stone ring. Jackson cracks the code and activates the Stargate. Colonel Jonathan “Jack” O’Neil is coaxed out of retirement to lead a squad of men (and Dr. Jackson) through the wormhole. The heavy use of Egyptian mythology and stylings creates a unique look for the movie.The movie did acceptably at the box office. Costing only around $55 million dollars and making around $76 million domestically. Internationally it did noticeably better earning an additional $125 million.

Stargate was originally intended to be the first of three sequels, however Roland and Emmerich moved on to work on the more successful Independence Day and that appeared to be that.

Television

Three years later the movie made the jump to TV on the pay cable network ShowTime.


Stargate: SG-1

First appeared on Showtime on July 27nd 1997. Developed by Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright the show ostensibly took up where the Stargate movie had left off (although a number of changes were made).

SG-1, lead by Jack O’Neill (now played by Richard Dean Anderson) are the first exploratory team at Stargate Command. Having established that there are more of the Goa’uld out there. O’Neills team consists of Dr. Daniel Jackson (as played by Michael Shanks), Captain Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Teal’c (Christopher Judge). Don S. Davis played Major General George Hammond, the base commander. After the fifth season SG-1 moved from Showtime to the SciFi Channel who ran it and its sequels.

Stargate: SG-1 ran for a record setting 10 years (longest running US science fiction series)

Stargate: SG-1 ran for a record setting 10 years (longest running US science fiction series) and over the course of several seasons it considerably enriched and expanded on the mythology of the original film. As well as the Goa’uld we were introduced to the Asgard, the Replicators and the Ancients (who built the Stargates). The final two seasons introduced an entirely new menace in the form of the Ori.

In later seasons, a number of other cast members were introduced to replace departing actors. Those include Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), Major General Hank Landry (Beau Bridges) and Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black)

SG-1 was cancelled after it’s tenth season and even though it was known that it would be ending, the show closed with the Ori story arc unresolved.



Stargate Atlantis

In 2004 the SciFi channel started showing a spinoff of Stargate: SG-1 called Stargate Atlantis. Set in the Pegasus galaxy, Atlantis presented viewers with an entirely new alien menace in the form of the Wraith who are energy vampires who had apparently forced the Ancients out of this galaxy. The replicators also have made several appearances in the Pegasus galaxy.

The core team members of the Atlantis expedition are Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), Teyla Emmagan (Rachel Luttrell), Rodney McKay (David Hewlett), Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), Carson Beckett (Paul McGillion) and Aiden Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks).

There has been quite a bit of movement in the cast over the show’s run however, with Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa) introduced in season 2 to replace Aiden Ford, and Jennifer Keller (Jewel Staite) replacing Rodney McKay in Season 4. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) replaced Elizabeth Weir in Season 4 and was in turn replaced by Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo) in season 5.

Stargate: Universe

Stargate: Universe is the name for the currently in development third Stargate series. The idea behind Stargate Universe is that it would be set on a ship that is travelling across the universe. The team would get there by unlocking the 9nth chevron on the Stargate.The project went on hold during the writers strike but Sci Fi is apparently interested. However it is currently doubtful if the show will be produced at the same time as Atlantis due to the heavy workload for the production staff.

Animated Series

Stargate: Infinity


One largely unknown or forgotten Stargate spinoff is Stargate: Infinity which was a short lived animated series. The show was poorly received and cancelled after one season. Set some 30 or 40 years in the future the show focuses on an SG team that has been framed for a crime and must jump from world to world trying to clear their names.

The show is not considered “canon” since it was not produced by the creators of SG-1. Although the notion of cannon with Stargate is particularly difficult due to the contradictions between SG-1 and the original movie.

Direct to DVD

After the conclusion of Stargate: SG-1’s run on television work began on a series of direct to DVD releases. To date two of those releases have been completed and there have been discussions about a third.

Stargate: The Ark of Truth

Stargate: The Ark of Truth concludes the Ori story arc from the final two seasons of Stargate: SG-1. See my review of Stargate: The Ark of Truth for more information.

Stargate: Continuum

Continuum was released on DVD on July 29th and features the return of Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O’Neill to the franchise. See my review of Stargate: Continuum for more details.

Stargate:

There are discussions on a third direct to DVD movie, again featuring Jack O’Neill. However a lot rides on the availability of Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks and Amanda Tapping who are all currently working on other projects.



 

Although an overall story arc was present from the start, the episodes of the first few seasons were mostly episodic, depicting the SG-1 team traveling to a different planet in each episode. Occasionally, this formula was broken slightly, usually when they dealt with NID agents, in which case the episode would take place mostly on Earth.

Gradually, the show became less episodic and more serialized. Over its ten-year run, the show built up a complex mythology involving the history of the galaxy and introduced many new alien races, such as the Ancients and the Asgard, whereas the only true alien to appear in the original film was Ra.

Originally, the Goa'uld, namely Apophis, were the principal villains of the series. However, at the end of season three a new threat was introduced, the Replicators. Although they appeared in multiple episodes over the next five seasons, they were never as widely depicted as the Goa'uld were.

In "Enemies," the opening episode of season five, Apophis was finally defeated and Anubis replaced him as the main villain for the next three seasons. Anubis and the Replicators were defeated in one blow at the end of season eight. Even though the Goa'uld were not completely destroyed, a new race called the Ori became the principal villains for the show's final two seasons.

The tone of the show also changed considerably over the course of its run. Much like the original film, the earlier episodes were mostly serious in character with an underlying comic tone. Later, the show became much lighter and occasionally even verged on borderline self-parody. The introduction of the Ori in season nine and the additions of Claudia Black and Ben Browder continued the show in its comedic and light hearted aspects.

The show's original cast included Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O'Neill, Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson, Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter, Christopher Judge as Teal'c and Don S. Davis as George S. Hammond. Shanks left the show in the sixth season and was replaced by Corin Nemec as Jonas Quinn, but Shanks returned for the seventh season and Nemec left the show after that.

In the eighth season, Davis left the show and Jack O'Neill was promoted to be the base's commanding officer in his place. The next season, Anderson left the show and Beau Bridges was cast as Hank Landry, the new commanding officer of Stargate Command, and Ben Browder became Cameron Mitchell, the new team leader of SG-1. In ninth season, the recurring character of Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black) became a regular.

In addition to the cast members, there have been a number of recurring characters on the series, namely Teryl Rothery as Janet Fraiser, Gary Jones as Walter Harriman, Tony Amendola as Bra'tac, Peter Williams as Apophis, Carmen Argenziano as Jacob Carter, David Palffy as Anubis, Cliff Simon as Ba'al, and Lexa Doig as Carolyn Lam.



    




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