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213 out of 239 people found the following review useful:

The franchise to fear

Author: evilcritic from Sheffield, England
14 March 2004

Ten years after Emmerich & Devlin showed the world how it SHOULD be done, the TV spin off of their (still) greatest achievement has finally proven itself to be the best franchise in existence today.

For those unfamiliar with the original film, the Stargate is a device found buried in the Giza plateau of Egypt in 1928. In 1994 (or 1996, if you follow the chronology of the series) the United States Air force has come into possession of the gate and recruits radical Egyptologist Dr. Daniel Jackson (then played by James Spader) to translate the runes found alongside it and activate the gate.

Sure enough, Jackson opens the gate and a reconnaissance team led by the stoic Colonel Jack O'Neil (a dour-faced Kurt Russell) is assigned to survey the world on the other side, later to be known as Abydos. Jackson too, is sent along with the goal of reopening the gate on the other side. Once on the other side though, the team come across a civilisation being ruled over by the mythical god Ra and come to discover the truth behind both the Abydonians and the Ancient Egyptians - that thousands of years ago a dying alien parasite came to Earth and took a host in the form of a primitive human boy (Jaye Davidson). Using his advanced technology, the alien - now in human form - masqueraded as the god Ra, conquering the planet and using the Stargate to transport thousands of humans to Abydos to mine the minerals needed to sustain his technology.

Needless to say, O'Neil and Jackson see to it that the Abydonians are shown the truth about their god and rebel against him. Jackson stays behind on Abydos with his new wife Sha'uri (later changed to Share) and O'Neil's team returns to Earth.

The series picks up one year later, when the now dormant Stargate is reactivated unexpectedly and a hostile alien force seemingly under the leadership of Ra launches an attack on the base, taking a hostage in the process. In response, the base's new CO, General George Hammond (the superb Don S. Davis) calls on the now-retired Jack O'Neill (who, as well an extra 'L' in his name, has also become the much-lighter Richard Dean Anderson) to lead his team back to Abydos and determine the nature of this new threat. Back on Abydos however, Daniel Jackson (now played to perfection by Michael Shanks) shows O'Neill and scientist Captain (later Major) Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) that the Stargate can evidently open doorways to more planets than simply Abydos and that whoever attacked Earth did not originate from Abydos.

The situation becomes more critical though, when the same force attacks Abydos and both Share and her brother Ska'ra are taken. Jackson immediately returns to Earth, where the President authorises the creation of nine teams to uncover what lies through the Stargate on each different world - O'Neill's team (including Jackson and Carter) being designated SG-1.

Following the Stargate address seen during the attack on Abydos, SG-1 travel to a planet known as Chulak where they discover the true origin of the enemy force - another alien masquerading as a god, this time as the god Apophis. The situation worsens when both Share and Ska'ra are revealed to have become hosts to the aliens, known as the Goa'uld. Imprisoned on Chulak, SG-1 must rely on Apophis' head guard when he turns traitor and agrees to help the team escape. The alien, Teal'c (the impeccable Christopher Judge), leads the team to the Stargate, all the while fighting a bloody battle in an attempt to recover Share and Ska'ra.

After the rather breakneck pilot, season 1 of SG-1 falls into a rather repetitive pattern pretty quickly - the team shows up at a planet looking for advanced technology to fight the Goa'uld, stumbles across a problem with either the locals or said technology and spends the rest of the episode solving that problem. Although the episodes aren't really that lacklustre, they do serve to remind you that the Star Trek franchise has existed for years on pretty much the same recurring `planet of the week' plot. It's not until the season's final three episodes that the show shows even any sign of promise.

The season closing trilogy however, rejuvenate the series back to the strong form it displayed in the pilot, when Apophis finally launches his ships against Earth and SG-1 alone must prevent the planet's destruction. Although the story is concluded in the second season premiere, the main plotline picks up tremendously from there. By two-thirds of the way through it's sophomore season Apophis is gone and the scope of the show is revealed - there was never only two aliens to fight, there are in fight a large group - all masquerading as gods - known as the System Lords.

The show from then on deals largely with defending Earth against these enemies, although at the midway point in season three Apophis returns as the series' biggest foe and takes much of the play until the season four/five two-parter. It is in Apophis' aftermath that a new foe is revealed : Anubis. Once a powerful and sadistic Goa'uld System Lord, Anubis was banished when even the other Goa'ulds objected to his activates.

Mastering the technology of the Stargate builders (known as the Ancients), Anubis takes the tension to a whole new level when - by the close of season seven - he shows up in orbit of Earth with an armada waiting to destroy the planet.

The beauty of the series is simple : it never slumps unrecoverably. In every instance of a slightly dull episode, the following episode will undoubtedly show itself to be one of the best pieces of television you'll ever see. On a story-arc level alone, the series beats genre shows like Deep Space Nine and The X-Files hands-down almost simply because the arc stays consistent, there are no ludicrous changes of pace, no unexplained leaps that need to be taken and no confusion over the eventual direction of the story.

The evolution of the show is also a high point. By season six, technology recovered in the preceding seasons have been mastered and put into practical use. Characters show bonds that grow with time, even enemies become fleshed out and changed allegiances (for the first time I can remember on television) are actually plausible.

The two biggest selling points of SG-1 are it's writing and it's performances. In Anderson, the show has a leading man that fits every bill perfectly. The character - although admittedly a big leap from Russell's performance - grows incredibly to the point where every nuance is golden. In the confines of the Stargate universe, O'Neill has basically two roles - comedian and action hero, both of which are superbly portrayed. Shanks begins the series by essentially playing Spader playing Jackson and then evolving the character to the point that you forget Spader ever filled the role in the first place. Tapping - although irritating as hell in the initial episodes - eventually becomes intensely loveable, mainly serving as both the frustrated emotional core of the team and the brains of the outfit - coming up with a plan for every alien threat that comes their way. Judge is also spot-on, taking the kind of stoicism earmarked by Michael Dorn for all those years and graduating it to a level of pure awe. Teal'c is a character that in the hands of an other actor could have been a disaster, but with Judge you actually find yourself revelling in the character's highs and lows as much as he himself does. Obviously the character fills the role of the team's muscle, but his level of comic relief is superb - not just on a level of writing, but also on a level of deadpan and delivery.

This show launches it's first real spin off in July (US) and September (UK) in Stargate : Atlantis, and with a proposed movie on the horizon the future is looking rosy. Above all, this is a franchise that deserves it's endurance and widespread appeal.

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204 out of 235 people found the following review useful:

I'm surprised there aren't more posts...

Author: Christopher S. Wood from Pittsburgh, PA
22 April 1999

I think this show is great. A great strength is that it doesn't go into special effects a lot (except for the gate, of course, and the staff weapons/guns). Some compare it to Star Trek (which is unfair, seeing that they are very different) but where a lot of Star Trek plots fail this succeeds.

There are a dozen ways this series can go. It doesn't have a spaceship to fly around in, but rather beams right to an alien planet and gets down to business. Another plus is that it happens NOW, as opposed to a few centuries from now. Area 51 has been mentioned a few times, and the SG site being dubbed Area 52. The actors deserve their share of congrats on the good performances shown, and the writers for coming up with inventive story lines. Some may be recycled or resemble other movies/shows of the past, but they put a special original twist on them that makes it even better. Certainly 'MUST SEE' TV.

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199 out of 233 people found the following review useful:

If it wasn't for The X-Files it would be unparalleled in Sci-Fi

Author: Matt Willis from Middlesbrough, England
31 July 1999

A magnificent program which shows just how imaginative and professional TV can be when the director, cast, crew and screenwriters all work to the best of their considerable ability. The simple fact that it doesn't play like the film over and over again (Something which has plagued many film-cum-TV-shows of late) shows how original it really is and though yes, I admit, the first series was very 'Star Trek' in its recycling of the same story types it always remained somehow different.

Congratulations must primarily go to the cast as they are all incredibly believable and easy to relate to. Richard Dean Anderson is excellent as the hard-bitten, cynical soldier, Michael Shanks plays the James Spader role to perfection, Christopher Judge is fantastic as the Moses-like Teal'c (His range of facial expressions is unparalleled) and Amanda Tapping is possibly the best of the bunch simply because she makes her character so believable as the tough female soldier/scientist (Denise Crosby in Star Trek:TNG is a good example of how NOT to do it).

The show looks fantastic, the special effects are great and look exceedingly expensive but no show can survive on sfx alone and fortunately a masterful screenwriting crew keep the stories exciting and thought-provoking (You don't get much of that these days) and the blending of so many different story arcs is a great achievement. All in all a brilliant show and long may it continue.

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155 out of 174 people found the following review useful:

Well Done!

Author: johndec
21 November 2004

The movie was groundbreaking, and its ideas had great potential for further development. Usually, sequels are made to continue the story on the big screen. Creating this excellent series was a much better decision than producing lousy sequels for the masses.

Fans of the movie get to further explore all the ideas: The Stargate system, used by humans to travel the galaxy for thousands of years; Egyptian, Norse, and alien mythology; true science fiction - with fictional devices and concepts based on current science; and human exploration of our known universe – part of what made Star Trek so popular.

You see the characters develop over time, the quirky unexpected humor, the use of an alien who doesn't fully understand American English (like Data), the struggle of the oppressed, the lengths humans go in order to survive, politics and government bureaucracy, and the underlying tenet that there is more to human life then our brief appearance on planet Earth.

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138 out of 155 people found the following review useful:

Awesome Show! First Rate Sci-Fi!

Author: captainbryce from NYC
31 October 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is without a doubt the best science fiction show on television. Maybe even in the history of television. This is truly a bold statement for a true sci-fi fanatic like myself. This show takes elements from Star Trek, The X-Files, and Sliders and blends them together in a more unique and realistic way. The show is action packed with first rate special effects. The story lines are mostly original and the ones that aren't have just enough of a unique spin on it to make them worth it. The acting on the show is top notch (especially from Michael Shanks who plays Dr. Daniel Jackson and Richard Anderson who is Col/Brig Gen Jack O'Neill). But the dialoge written for each actor is the best thing about it. Each of the main characters have enough backstory that they are have distinct and believable attitudes, personalities, opinions, motivations and reactions for every given situation. The playful banter between each of the characters is always amusing and portrays a genuine sense of familiarity with each other. Another great thing about the show is that it doesn't always take itself too seriously (ala Star Trek). There are elements of comedy in the show where characters and even writers poke fun at themselves, and all of this without compromising the realism each situation they encounter is meant to convey.

The background of this show (which was established in the feature film Stargate starring Kurt Russell) revolves around a device that was discovered by archeologists in Egypt in 1929 that is capable of sending matter light years across the galaxy to other planets. These devices were created by an "Ancient" alien race that has since ascended to another plane of existence but has left their technology behind for others to use. The Goa'uld, a malevolent parasitic alien race that uses humans as living host bodies, traveled to earth in giant Pyramid ships thousands of years ago and have used these "Stargates" to abduct humans from earth and take them to other planets until the uprising of the human population caused the aliens to abandon earth. The earth stargate was finally buried by the ancient Egyptians. But the humans that were taken from earth thousands of years ago were used mostly as slave labor, host bodies and disciples of the alien Goa'uld who took on the persona of Egyptian, Greek, Norse, and other gods to instill fear and loyalty among the people. As a result the galaxy is filled with humans that have developed separate and distinct societies away from earth. Most of them are still quite primitive socially and technologically but a few of the human cultures that were not hindered by dark ages, wars or plagues have advanced beyond earths level of science and technology.

Decades after the stargate was discovered an unburied, it fell into the hands of the US government. The Stargate on earth is now operated out of Area 52 in secrecy from the general populace and most foreign governments. Only the top leadership of the United States, Russia, Great Britian, China and Germany are aware of the existence of the Stargate or the routine offworld missions that the US Air Force performs. One of my favorite aspects of the show is the fact that it takes place present day using the Unites States Air Force as the primary organization in charge of the Stargate Program. This makes the show feel more realistic than shows that take place hundreds of years in the future using fictional organizations. It is much easier to understand the dynamics of the interaction between humans and any beings they may encounter on other planets (humanoid or alien). Modern day agendas, attitudes, prejudices and politics all come into play. The mission of the Stargate Command is to explore the universe, establish diplomatic relationships with alien cultures, and acquire technology capable of defending earth from alien threats including the Goa'uld which because of our technological development and use of interstellar travel, have now regarded earth as a threat to their sovereignty throughout the galaxy.

Anubis, who becomes the most powerful Goa'uld super-villain is revealed to be a former partially ascended being which explains his quick rise to power, acquisition of superior 'Ancient' technology and limited supernatural powers. In addition to the Goa'uld and their Jaffa followers, the Stargate heroes have to occasionally contend with the replicators, originally the enemies of the Asgard they are mechanical spiders who collectively threaten the entire galaxy by doing exactly what their name implies, replicating. In the later seasons, the replicators have become intelligent and several have evolved into human form making them even more of a galactic menace. Most recently, with the defeat of most of the Goa'uld armies, a new race called the Ori have began to threaten all mankind in our galaxy. An 'evil' version of the powerful ascended beings the Ancients, the Ori intend on enslaving the galaxy through religion in a similar fashion as the Goa'uld have done. With the help of their 'Pryor's' (former human missionaries with seemingly supernatural abilities), the Ori have been converting people into their followers or threatening them with destruction.

This show is a must for any legitimate fan of science fiction. Even some non fans of Sci-fi may find many of the episodes enjoyable. If you are totally opposed to sci-fi then this show may not be for you. Apparently people who aren't fans of the sci-fi genre felt compelled to negatively rate a sci-fi program (which is not only stupid but a useless and biased vision that doesn't do the show justice). If you have a low attention span for sci-fi fine, don't watch it. But don't carry on about how bad a show like this is just because it goes beyond your level of comprehension.

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116 out of 128 people found the following review useful:

It just keeps going

Author: saralou from Newcastle - UK
3 January 2005

Perhaps to the chagrin of some but the joy of others Stargate refuses to die, with yet another season being signed on for.

What was once signed on for as a four year deal Stargate Sg-1 has went from strength to strength. With memorable episodes sometimes poignant and heart rending like season ones 'Singularity' and season six's 'Meridian' and the hail to the real heroes of the military 'Heroes parts 1 & 2',to the hilarious laugh your ass off episodes like @urgo' and the classic and fans favourite groundhog day episode 'Window of opportunity'. Special fx and great stunt work provide some great action episodes like 'Full Circle', 'Heroes 1&2' and 'The Lost City' Stargate keeps producing. There are numerous fans of every genre it represents whether it be the science, the characters, the adventure, the romance or lack between every type esquire relationship, shippers can imagine.

Stargate SG-1 also has one of the biggest fanfiction bases, with quality writing of every genre produced by numerous writers willing to write about their favourite show and put it out there on the net for people to see.

And now with a widening franchise, from books about the shows best scripts to extended universe and SG Atlantis, it shows it has the staying power that another popular Sci-fi series once did, Star Trek.

If you've never seen it, give it a try, either from the first season or the current eight. Stargate has something which appeals to everyone, whether it be humour, action, or the fact that the characters are so likable and more so drop dead drooling gorgeous. And if that doesn't impress you, take a look at the great amount of stars wanting to be on the show, it's an impressive list.

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108 out of 128 people found the following review useful:

One of the greatest Sci-Fi series ever

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
13 December 2006

I nominate this and BABYLON 5 as the best television sci-fi series made. Both stand out in my mind because unlike early STAR TREK series, there is a consistent evolution of plots and characters. If you look at the original STAR TREK and STAR TREK:TNG, they were fine shows, but there was no overall theme or plot that connected all the episodes. In many ways, you could usually watch the shows totally out of sequence with no difficulty understanding what is occurring. This was less the case with DEEP SPACE 9 (with its giant battles that took up all of the final season) and the other TREK shows, as there was more of a larger story that unified them. This coherence seems to have developed as a concept with BABYLON 5 and saw this to an even greater extent with SG-1. The bottom line is that in many ways this series was like watching a family or a long novel slowly take form. Sure, there were a few "throwaway" episodes that were not connected to the rest, but these were very few and far between and were also usually pretty funny.

And speaking of funny, I loved that SG-1 kept the mood light from time to time and wasn't so dreadfully serious. In this way, I actually enjoyed it more than BABYLON 5. Jack O'Neill was a great character with his sarcasm and love of Homer Simpson--it's really too bad he slowly faded from the series in later seasons.

To truly appreciate SG-1, you should watch it from the beginning and see how intricately the plots work. This coherence gives the show exceptional staying power. And, if you don't like SG-1 after giving it a fair chance, then sci-fi is probably NOT the genre for you.

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100 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

This show rules!

Author: Dan Mudd from USA
6 May 2001

Stargate SG-1 is a tv show on Showtime, based on the movie, Stargate. The first thought that might occur in your mind is that it's a cheap TV rip of a decent movie. Incorrect. What's so excellent about Stargate SG-1 is the fact that the gate can be controlled and led to countless other Stargates. There are many SG teams, the head being is the Stargate SG-1 team, led by Colonel Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) who explores the universe, and contacts other worlds to make friends with other races. They also search for technology on how to defeat the Goa'uld. The Goa'uld are a parasitic, snake-like race that take a human host and use his/her body for their own dark purposes.

The Colonel's team is followed by Major Sam Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and the Jaffa, Teal'c (Christopher Judge).

Colonel Jack O'Neill is very funny in the series, always cracking jokes at unusual times and is very cool headed under dangerous conditions. Major Carter, who was joined with a Tok'ra without permission, is the only woman of the group and also a very smart scientist who is able to ascertain and understand technical information that the Colonel can't. Dr. Daniel Jackson, whose wife was taken by the Goa'uld for Apophis' queen, is the archeologist of the group. He is always deciphering ancient text to try to find more about other worlds to better understand our own. Teal'c is the warrior who defied Apophis to free his people from slavery. The Goa'uld are considered to be gods by his people of Chulak, however, he knows this is not true. General Hammond (Don B. Davis), leads the Stargate Command in a top secret, underground base in Cheyenne.

Along the way, they meet the Tok'ra, a group in which their symbiote's live with their hosts in harmony. The Asgard, a race of typical alien-looking creatures with incredible power. The Nox, who prefer to be left alone and to not take arms. It's a lot like Star Trek without any major space travel.

Simply put, it's a great science fiction/action series with characters that are funny, evil, and complicated.

Dangerous Minds, Robocop, Nightmare on Elm Street: The Series, Police Academy: The Series...all of these were bad TV shows based on movies. I don't think there has been any other successful TV show based on a movie (besides Highlander, MASH). None are as enjoyable as Stargate SG-1.

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83 out of 94 people found the following review useful:

The adventure of a lifetime has begun.

Author: whizkids from Manalapan
23 April 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This series is set a year after the mission to Abydos in the movie Stargate. It explains a lot of the stuff that the movie neglected to mention. Such as, how was the Stargate activated without a human computer? Where did the Goa'uld (Ra's race) come from? How many are there?

The first episode has a retired Jack O'Neill (spelled with 2 Ls) recalled to active duty by General George Hammond due to an attack by the shut down Stargate from Apophis, a powerful Goa'uld who killed four men and kidnapped one woman. We meet Samantha Carter, a brilliant scientist who claims that she should have gone through the Stargate the first time, and is determined to go through now. We find out that Daniel got married on Abydos, and that there are hundreds of Gate addresses that they can dial. Then Daniel's wife gets captured by Apophis and becomes his new queen.

It continues in the second episode where General Hammond announces the formation of the SGC which includes nine teams, in which Jack's team will be SG-1 which consists of Jack, Samantha and Daniel. They go to Chulak, a Goa'uld homeworld to rescue Daniel's wife and another one captured at Abydos named Ska'ra. They get captured, and just as Apophis gives the order to kill them and many other prisoners, a Jaffa named Teal'c, First Prime of Apophis, saves them and goes to Earth with them, where he is made part of SG-1.

That was only the beginning of the adventure. In the course of the show they have gone to the past and future, gotten transported to alternate realities, swapped bodies, grown old, met alien races which include a rebel alliance of Goa'uld called the Tok'ra, in which Samantha's Dad becomes a member, the Asgard, a cute little race in which we see Thor most often (he's Jack's buddy),and avoid global disaster by the skin of their teeth countless times.

The show was recently canceled, but lasted ten seasons. In season nine, a new enemy called the Ori came in flaunting brand new powers, new dangers and bringing to light new mysteries surrounding the Stargate and its creators, the Ancients. Season nine and ten also saw the introduction to two new characters, Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell, the new leader of SG-1 and Claudia Black as Vala MalDoran, a female human from another world who brings a new sense of fun to the team.

Very well-produced, interesting characters, fantastic Special effects and a subtle love interest between Samantha and Jack, this one has it all. A different way of travelling the galaxy, and different kinds of adventures, this is one show you don't want to miss. Unlock the gate and step through. You won't regret it!

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83 out of 108 people found the following review useful:

I'm in the gate!

Author: kudos4kkms from Atlanta, GA
16 August 2004

My mom was the first in our family to watch Stargate and I'd make fun of her. I'd call her a Sci-Fi freak or a Stargate loser! Then, I watched it and now I'm hooked. As some other people say the show is predictable...this is not completely true and when it is you know how it'll end up it's just how they get there that's interesting! This show is well written and preformed amazingly, plus they have extraordinarily talented actors. If you don't like Sci-Fi you won't like this show, but if you do you'll love it(plus there are hot guys in it too). Richard Dean Anderson is brilliant and extremely funny, since his character O'Neill is so cynical, sarcastic, and kickbutt (Amanda Tapping is also kickbutt)-which he says is a lot like himself. Even though this is just a Sci-Fi show the special effects look amazingly real and all of the costumes are amazing. This is a top of the line show...I totally recommend getting in the gate!

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