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And then there’s this other show I’ve been watching

January 7, 2013

sg1Everyone knows that the most successful genre tv franchise in the US is Star Trek but, what is the second biggest?  Well, if you looked at the picture to the right, you have probably guessed Stargate and you would be correct.  I never really paid attention to the series when it first aired for a number of reasons not the least of which was that it was on a premium (meaning you had to pay extra for it) cable channel.  I was not really into paying extra for my cable bill back in the 90s so, that all but eliminated my chances of following the series right there.  The other major deal breaker for me was the reaction of a number of my friends to the original theatrical film.  Their universal advice was to skip it.  Not being a huge movie goer at the time this proved to be pretty easy for me to do.  I have just finished season four and am very much enjoying the series.  I have been wanting to post about it for awhile as this is a show that I am always watching in the background relative to other shows I am going on about here.

So, what happened that got me started?  An interesting garage sale coincidence a couple of years back.  For those not from the US, a garage sale is something where people put an add in the paper for a particular weekend and then put a bunch of crap they no longer want either on their lawn on a bunch of blankets or on card tables in their driveway and try to sell it for whatever money they can get.  This usually happens during the summer and the more organized people tend to drag friends and neighbors into the act as well.  During one of these events I stumbled across a guy selling the season one DVD set on Stargate SG-1.  I ended up getting it for $3 as the guy had originally wanted five but, couldn’t break a twenty and all I had on me was three singles (yeah, I know, I’m a jerk).  So, anyway, I got the set initially with the idea to trade it in at the local used DVD store as they tended to give $10 store credit for tv season sets (see earlier jerk comment).  What changed things was the next weekend when my wife got me the original movie DVD at another garage sale.  It was about at this point that I realized Stargate was the second biggest US genre tv franchise and decided to see what all the fuss was about.  It turns out my friends from back in the day were pretty much spot on about the original movie.  Actually, I think it was my friend Mark Leeper who summed it up best when he said the big irony of the film was that it got boring after they entered the Stargate.  After that rousing begining, I jumped into the pilot for the series.  I honestly have to say that the series pilot kicked the theatrical movie’s ass on a number of levels.  The rest, as they say, is history.

The series works for me.  I’ll grant you that the initial premise is a little goofy which, in hindsight, is probably one of the other reasons I had never had any interest in looking at the show.  However, they handle it great in the series as they really play the whole “universe is stranger than we had ever imagined” card very well.  One of the other things I like about the show is that there is clearly some thought put into the logical consequences of the universe they are working in.  It turns out the Goa’uld, the race that uses the Stargates to transport human slaves around while posing as gods, didn’t build the technology and are basically parasiting off this technological relic.  As a result, the Goa’uld themselves are not as technologically knowledgable as one would expect and, have to some extent become so dependent upon the technology that innovation is no longer a necessary part of their culture.  Then along comes us, who have been effectively isolated from “the game” such as it is and, while this technology is quite beyond us making us the underdogs, we are able to figure out how it works which gives us an edge over the Goa’uld.  Another thing that appeals to me about the series is that the people actually learn from and build upon lessons learned from previous stories.  Star Trek, especially The Next Generation, suffered from what most people call the “reset button”.  What this means is that at the end of every episode everything resets back to the state things where at when the episode began.  Because of this, technological developments that we would see happen in the show would tend to get lost and never used again in future episodes.  Time travel was the one exception here but, that had more to do with scripting convenience.  At the end of season four of Stargate SG-1, the SG-1 team uses a couple of things from previous episodes/seasons to cleverly destroy a Goa’uld fleet.  It was a nice change of pace from the Star Trek universe.

Having just finished up season four I would normally jump straight into season five but, I have this overwhelming urge to find out what happens in season two of The 4400.  I had slipped season one (being only six episodes) between seasons 3 and 4 of Stargate due to having to wait for an Amazon order to arrive.  So, I think I’ll be putting on season two of The 4400 as my background show before I jump into the next season of Stargate but, I’m still looking forward to season five.

  1. Jeff Altorfer permalink

    I’ll be stunned if you don’t fall flat out in love with SG-1: It does that to you, if you give it even a chance.

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