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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stargate SG-1

Stargate is a 1994 film which has since spawned the 10-year long TV series Stargate SG-1, the 5-year long TV series Stargate Atlantis and   the 2-year long TV series  Stargate Universe.

Stargate SG-1 is a television  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.

{ Step through the stargate with SG-1, a team of soldiers and scientists, as they travel instantaneously to other planets to explore, forge alliances, defuse crises, establish trade, investigate ancient mysteries, and defend Earth from such hostile forces as the Goa'uld, the Replicators, and the Ori.

For eight years, from their base at the U.S. Air Force's Stargate Command in the Rocky Mountains, Gen. Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Lt. Col. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and alien warrior Teal'c (Christopher Judge) have braved everything that the universe has thrown at them, from interstellar war and evil twins to death and ascension.

But changes came to SG-1 as it began its ninth year of fearless service to Earth. New faces joined the team: Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder) will try to fill the very big shoes of former SG-1 leader O'Neill (who is now in charge in Homeworld Security), while Gen. Hank Landry (Beau Bridges) must adapt to the unique challenges of running Stargate Command, a posting unlike any other the military has to offer.

 As the team embarks upon its tenth year, Vala (Claudia Black), a former Goa'uld host turned freedom-fighter, joins them in their battle to defend the galaxy from the holy war of the Ori. Meanwhile, relations between the Jaffa and Earth continue to be strained by the political maneuvering of Gerak (Louis Gossett Jr.), a Jaffa leader whose rise to power has put him into conflict with Teal'c.}  (from 

Stargate (The first Movie) :

(When a mysterious artefact is unearthed at Giza, tough-minded military man Colonel Jack O'Neill clashes with archaeologist Daniel Jackson over the origin and potential of the object. When Jackson identifies the object as a portal to another world, O'Neill leads him and a team through the "Stargate". They are transported millions of light years from Earth where they are stranded on a strange and alien planet. When Ra, the enigmatic ruler of this extraordinary world, discovers that the doorway to Earth can be reopened, he devises a deadly plot. Racing against time, O'Neill and Jackson must overcome Ra if they are to save Earth and find a way back home.)..

Stargate (1994) is a sci-fi movie which follows the typical hero's journey style narrative. Here we follow Daniel Jackson as he is thrust into another world after he is brought on board a secret military operation to decipher symbols on a mysterious object that allows travel from one planet to another.

The film opens with the discovery of the titular Stargate at Giza in the 1920s, by a German archaeologist. Then we skip ahead to the 1990s, and the German archaeologist’s daughter recruits Egyptologist Dr Daniel Jackson, who has become an outcast in the archaeological community, to help to translate a cartouche that was found near the Gate. Daniel claims that the Great Pyramid was not built by Cheops and is at least 10,000 years old; contrary to statements made later in the series, he does not at this point claim that the pyramids were built by aliens. The Gate itself is being kept in a secret mountain base by the US air force (how and why this has happened, or how they know what it is, is never explained). Daniel solves a problem other experts have been working on for 2 years in a few hours, they get the Stargate working and a military team, led by Colonel Jack O’Neil, with Daniel in tow, travel through the Gate to an alien planet, where hi-jinks ensue.

Much of the tension in the movie comes from the conflict between Daniel, the archaeologist, and Col. O’Neil, the military man. On a broad level, Daniel, the archaeologist is made to represent science as a whole; he wants to explore the new planet and discover more about its inhabitants, and he displays a curiosity about everything. O’Neil, on the other hand, has been given orders to detonate a nuclear bomb, destroying the planet and its Stargate, in a pre-emptive strike to protect Earth (which he is willing to do because he is suicidally depressed following the accidental death of his son).

When we first meet Jackson he's an outsider on the fringes of academia. His theories are debunked by every serious scientist and he's just about broke. He's approached by a mysterious group who want to employ his services as a translator of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. But what he unearths his far beyond his wildest theories.

The presentation of Daniel the Egyptologist as a quintessential Hollywood scientist has two main aspects. Firstly, he is a fount of all knowledge. There is no area in which Daniel is not an expert, be it Egyptology, archaeology, anthropology, philology, cryptology, astronomy… Secondly, and perhaps more significantly, Daniel embodies the American stereotype of the science geek.

The science geek is an easily recognisable character in American TV and film. He or she wears bad glasses, often has asthma or other respiratory problems, has bad hair, wears bad clothes, and speaks in a nervous and often comic voice, sometimes with a stutter. At this point I went through some pictures of typical science geeks - Leonard form The Big Bang Theory, Frink from The Simpsons and so on.

Dr Daniel Jackson wears big glasses, has long, floppy hair (in direct contrast to the military crew cuts sported by most of the rest of the cast), wears tweed with elbow patches, stutters a little and suffers from allergies, many involving sneezing a lot. He appears foolish to the air force men he works with, and has to lie about his ability to get them home to get on the team.

This view of the archaeologist as a geek is in direct contrast to the more usual view of the archaeologist as adventurer. Although Indiana Jones looks pretty geeky while teaching, he quickly becomes much cooler and magically regains the power of perfect vision before contact lenses came into common usage, as soon as he leaves the office. Other movie archaeologists are just cool from the beginning and are characterised as treasure hunters, rather than scientists or historians. I believe that the characterisation of Daniel Jackson in Stargate is entirely governed by the decision to portray him as an archetypal scientist, rather than a treasure hunter.

It should be noted that, at the end of the movie, Daniel does turn out to be the romantic hero and gets the girl, while in SG-1, although he starts out as the floppy-haired sneezing geek, by the end of ten years he has become a lot more cool, with shorter, more military hair, better glasses, tight black T-shirts, a lot more muscles and no allergies. Clearly, no Hollywood writer can resist the allure of the adventurer archaeologist, even if they start out with a very different character.

The only thing that really ages this movie is the CGI effects which now look a little rough around the edges, but were cutting edge in their time - otherwise this is a timeless classic.

  Stargate SG-1 :

"Children of the Gods" established the premise of Stargate SG-1. It established that the Stargate can travel to other planets other than Abydos, introduced several characters who did not appear in the film, and depicted the creation of a series of SG teams, by order of the President.

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 reprised in "Irresponsible". French Stewart, who played Louis Ferretti in the film, appeared in the Stargate Universe episode "Alliances".

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.

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 brought a somewhat darker aspect, but the additions of Claudia Black and Ben Browder continued the show in its comedic and light hearted aspects.

Colonel Jack O'Neil (Richard Dean Anderson)

Colonel Jack O'Neil, USAF, was married to Sara O'Neil, living together with their only son, Charlie. However, after a tragic accident when Charlie shot himself with O'Neil's personal gun, O'Neil suffered a period of depression, retired from the Air Force and became anti-social.

In SG-1 : With the Goa'uld Apophis' incursion through the earth gate one year later(after the film story), the military knew that the Stargate was still a threat. O'Neil was recalled by the new base commander General Hammond. O'Neil admitted that he hadn't destroyed the gate, but only after a plan was revealed to send a more powerful warhead through "just to make sure".

After returning to Abydos, they discovered a cartouche which contained a list of Stargate addresses. From that, they learned that the Stargate led not only to Abydos but, to hundreds of other worlds as well. O'Neil was re-reactivated and made the team leader of SG-1, the lead field unit of Stargate Command. SG-1 comprises Colonel Jack O'Neil, Dr. Daniel Jackson, Captain/Major Samantha Carter and Teal'c.

O'Neil is somewhat of a wit throughout the series. Enemies and allies alike are subjected to frequent quips and facetious remarks. He often derides Carter and Jackson's esoteric interests, though it is frequently hinted that he finds intellectuals intimidating. He is irreverant towards authorities, including his own superiors, and especially revels in mocking the overly theatrical System Lords. He also commonly corrects improper grammar, most often saying, "It's whom!", usually doing this when the correctee has SG-1 at a disadvantage. As a last resort, and sometimes as a first, he will resort to sarcasm.

MAJOR Samantha Carter ( Amanda Tapping)

Captain Samantha Carter was promoted to Major in 1999.

 Her assignment is to ascertain possible hostile threats, to continue analysis of stargate technology, and to analyze and return materials, technologies and knowledge for further development. She has served in the Pentagon, was previously a flight officer in the Kuwait theater, and has received special training in the F-117/F16. She in an astro-physics genius, holding a Ph.D. in Quantum Mechanics and is a plasma/particle physics expert. She is also an expert on gate technology, having read every bit of information known to exist and has studied the permutations of the gate symbols at length. When the plug was pulled on her gate research project and she was transferred to another base, she continued her research in private. She was able to resume her obsessive work with the gate when the SG-1 team was assembled. Major Carter is single and unattached. She is fiercely loyal to the SGC, and not only brings her extensive scientific knowledge to the program,but also her military training.

Teal'c (Christopher Judge)

Teal'c is a member of the alien race known as Jaffa, of the home planet Chulak. Similar to humans in overall appearance, Jaffas have an "X" shaped incision or marsupial pouch in the abdomen. When a Jaffa reaches approximately eight years of age, a Goa'uld larva, the infant form of a parasitic being, is placed in the Jaffa pouch in order to mature. There is a strong symbiotic relationship between them as the Jaffa is guaranteed powerful healing abilities and immunity to myriad diseases including all viral or bacterial infections for as long as he carries the symbiote. For this reason, Jaffa live to be very old. Teal'c, although he looks much younger, is actually over 90 years old. After a seven year gestation period, the mature Goa'uld parasite seeks out a new host, (usually human). All Jaffa have a mid-forehead tattoo or symbol indicating that they carry a Goa'uld symbiote. The Serpent Guards are the elite or royal guard of the Jaffa in service to the Goa'uld Apophis. They wear the heavily armored "serpent head" helmets. Teal'c had served as the First Prime of Apophis, but after aiding the SG-1 team during their first mission to Chulak, he left his family and culture behind and returned to Earth as a voluntary member of the SG-1 team. His main reason for joining SG-1 was to try to set straight the misdeeds of his past, and to win freedom for his people from the Goa'uld.

Alliance of Four Great Races:

The Ancients were a member of the Alliance of Four Great Races, alongside the Asgard, the Nox and the Furlings. In addition to the Stargates, the Ancients left behind several repositories of Ancient knowledge, Dakara (which the Ancients used to cleanse the Milky Way of the invading virus), several military outposts similar to that found in Antarctica, and the city of Atlantis, as well as many other lesser relics of advanced technology.Like most of the other races in the Stargate universe, the Ancients are identified with one of Earth ...


The Ori are a group of "ascended" beings who use their advanced technology and spiritual knowledge of the universe to trick non-ascended humans into worshiping them as gods.
They were introduced into Stargate SG-1 in its 9th Season, replacing the Goa'uld as the show's primary antagonists. Whilst the Goa'uld relied almost entirely on their technology to portray their godlike power, the Ori are just one step ahead of them - beings of almost godlike power, but nevertheless not gods. The Ori fabricated a religion, called Origin, which they force on all non-ascended beings for the purpose of total control. The Ori try to destroy anyone who rejects their religion. A central theme that surrounds story arcs involving the Ori is that power does not make someone a god, nor does great power entitle anyone to be worshipped; rather, the way they use great power is the measure of how they should be revered.


The Ori can be simply described as ascended beings like the Ancients who disagree with their general viewpoints about interference with less developed sentient beings, science, and the importance of free will. As Ascended beings, they live on a higher plane of existence with great power and knowledge. Due to their immense power and transcendental state, they are as close to being "gods" as any non-deific being can.

The Ori refer to the Alterans, the ascended beings in the Milky Way also known as Ancients, as "the Others". (This should not be confused with the "others" used by de-ascended or banished Ancients such as Oma Desala or Orlin) It is not known how large both groups are, although the deadlock in strength between the Ancients and the Ori would suggest the two groups are roughly the same size.

Millions of years ago, the Ori and the Alterans were not distinguished from each other, and lived in one society on an evolutionary path to ascension. However, a philosophical division emerged. The Ori grew more and more fervent in their religious belief, while the Alterans, for lack of better terms, believed in science. Ultimately their viewpoints diverged so much that the two groups split apart and began to oppose each other. Instead of going to war, the Alterans decided to leave their galaxy, and began searching for a new home.

After much time, believed by Daniel Jackson to be thousands of years, the Alterans discovered the Milky Way, where they eventually built an impressive empire. The Alterans still remained in contact with their distant cousins, the Ori, evidenced by the discovery of Long-range communication devices in both the Milky Way and the Ori home galaxy.

However, even after the Ori had forced the Alterans to leave their galaxy, the two factions remained bitter enemies. Eventually, the Alterans were afflicted with a terrible plague that wiped out most of their civilization. It would later be discovered that what was known of this plague is very similar to the disease used by Ori Priors against non-believers, which had led Daniel Jackson to speculate that the pre-Ascended Ori might have been responsible for this plague.

Eventually, both the Alterans and the Ori ascended, forming two groups that continued to oppose each other, even at the higher planes of existence. According to Olin, the Ori ultimately wish to destroy the Ancients once and for all.

The Ancients are well known for their fierce belief in free will. As such, they do not interfere on lower planes of existence at all, even not to save their own kind from being exterminated by the Ori. In contrast, the Ori constantly interfere. For example, their religion states that failure to share the secrets of the universe to those on the lower planes of existence is an evil act and that anyone not following it must be eliminated. They also have no rules against taking direct control of living beings or completely changing them to behave as they desire.

This difference in beliefs is not without its reasons. According to a de-ascended Ancient, Orlin, ascended beings can be empowered by massive numbers of humans worshipping them. The Ori have fabricated an entire religion based on the false promise of ascension to drain power from their followers. The Ancients firmly resent using their powers this way, and therefore refrain from interfering in the lower planes of existence as manipulating and aligning lower life forms in some order could result in exactly this type of abusive corruption.

As a result, the Ancients have shielded the second evolution of humans (i.e. current human culture) in the Milky Way from the Ori (and although it has never been stated, they most likely did the same for the seeded humans in the Pegasus Galaxy) and still prevent the Ori from taking direct action in the Milky Way. However, as the Ancients will not interfere in the lower planes of existence, the Ori are allowed to send their human followers to the Milky Way in order to convert it, and anyone who wishes to worship the Ori will be allowed to do so.

Stargate: The Ark of Truth (Movie)

The Ori storyline was a nice breath of fresh air during Stargate SG-1's final two seasons. They took over as the big bad guys, which the Goa'uld were for the first 8 seasons of the show's run. It should have been 7, but that's another story. Anyway, the final two seasons of the series was mostly enjoyable and engaging because of this new threat, where they spread fear and chaos throughout the universe. Didn't hurt that they had cool-looking ships that could kick the crap out of an entire fleet. You'd think the final few episodes of the series would result in some sort of epic defeat of the Ori, right? Nah, instead, it's more centered around the characters themselves. Shoot, the final episode of the series deals with the team being stuck together on a ship while everything around them moves at an extremely slow pace.

That brings us to Stargate: The Ark of Truth, a movie that's basically the end of the Ori plot. This could have been a great movie to watch, but it's not. It just ends up being a drawn-out Stargate SG-1 episode that throws in the Ori finale in some areas for the hell of it. The start of the movie is fine, because it basically sets things up for later on in the film. I even found the sequence where they slowly move through the Super Gate to be good, as well. However, things quickly go downhill from there as a completely unnecessary threat makes its introduction in the movie. Who or what is the threat? The Replicators. Basically, some idiot on board the ship they were on creates a Replicator, thinking it would help destroy the Ori, and, of course, it manages to escape its barrier and make more Replicators in the process.

This side-story sadly takes up most of the second half of the movie, making the Ori story seem like it's not even the main focus of the movie. And it's not like nothing new or important happens on the ship while the Replicators slowly take over it. They do what they did in the series: crawl around everywhere, replicating everything they can. They try to spice things up by turning that one idiot into a Replicator and making him fight one of the SG-1 members, but that itself ends up being a drawn-out fight. There's this one cool moment where it blows up and then gets back up in a robotic, skeletal form, but that's it. Meanwhile, the Ori storyline does absolutely nothing at this point in the movie. The other half of SG-1 finds the Ark of Truth, then they get captured. That's all. It's only till the final minutes of the movie that they manage to escape and use the Ark of Truth, resulting in the end of the Ori.

If they would have just taken out that silly Replicator subplot, this movie might have been better. Though, judging by what happened to the Ori plot during the second half of the movie, maybe not. They probably would have drawn things out even longer for the Ori storyline, but even then, it could have been better. Like, we probably would have gotten more character development for the characters through conversations. It would have been much better than the split-up tactic they used in the movie, where they barely had any time to interact with one another at all. In the end, Stargate: The Ark of Truth ends up being a disappointment as an end to the Ori saga, which makes it just a disappointing movie. Hopefully, the next movie will be much better.

Stargate SG-1: Continuum

The SG-1 reassembles on the Tok'ra world to witness the extraction of the last Goa'uld system lord from its host: the only remaining clone of Ba'al (Cliff Simon). As they do so, first Vala (Claudia Black) and Teal'c (Christopher Judge) vanish. The team confronts Ba'al, and in the ensuring fight General O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) is killed. Ba'al reveals that he has laid a trap, one that would undo all that the Stargate Command has ever done.

Barely making it back to the stargate as the Tok'ra civilization dissolves around them, Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) emerge from Earth's stargate in the frozen hold of a ship abandoned deep in the Arctic. Upon their eventual rescue by the American military they discover history has been changed: the stargate never arrived in America and the SGC was never created. General Landry (Beau Bridges), believing their story, nevertheless insists on protecting their own timeline and bundles them off to civilian life.

Meanwhile this timeline's Ba'al has assembled the system lords for a massive strike on Earth. President Hayes (William Devane) realized only the SG-1 team can defeat this overwhelming force, led by Ba'al's first prime, Teal'c (Christopher Judge). Ba'al destroys the stargate in the Antarctic, but the SG-1 team reaches the Russian stargate, where they meet Teal'c and convince him to join them. Now the SG-1 team, hunted by Qetesh (Claudia Black), must find a way to use Ba'al's own time machine to fix history and prevent the Goa'uld destruction of Earth.

I'm never quite sure how I feel about the use of religion and mythology in Stargate in general though. On the one hand, the idea that ancient gods are really aliens is always a fun one, since it means you get to play with their mythology and even see the gods in action, offering dozens of fun episodes over the course of SG-1 and plenty of oppotunities for me to blog about it! It also fulfills that constant desire for myths to be somehow true. We do not believe in the ancient gods, but if they were, in fact, aliens, suddenly we have a way of making all their myths real, just twisted - an obscure version of euhemerism. The desire to find some kind of truth behind myths is an old one and a strong one and if I could fully explain it, I'd be a happy person, but it is undeniably there.

 Obviously, this is more of an issue with the television show than the original film, but the groundwork is laid in the film. It's a bit akin to Arthur C Clarke's famous dictum that 'any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic' in that it assumes that people will attribute anything they can't explain to magic and/or religion - it's a very Frazerian world view. And I'm honestly not sure it's true. There's a difference between believing in some form of the supernatural and attributing everything you can't explain to it, even going so far as to worship it. Still, I suppose ancient Egypt, where Pharoahs were considered to be deities, is an appropriate culture to hijack for this sort of story, and there are plenty of historical instances to support the idea of people worshipping strangers with new technologies (I was going to say that the Romans weren't worshipped for having central heating, but Emperor-worship did develop in some places, several cultures have worshipped human rulers, and I think there might be some central American examples as well though I don't know much about that). And in the film, there's no suggestion that this is a universe-wide problem, it's just one thing that happened on one planet, which is much more plausible (with a certain amount of willing suspension of disbelief of course!).

The film also maintains much higher plausibility as far as language and culture are concerned. The Abydosians behave like ancient Egyptians because they were transported to Abydos from ancient Egypt and they speak a form of ancient Egyptian for the same reason. As science fiction set-ups go, this is not that unreasonable, and it does my favourite thing - actually pays attention to the language issue. By the time of the series, everyone spoke English, despite the fact that their ancient monuments were often inscribed in Latin, Greek, Egyptian and other ancient languages, which just isn't plausible at all (though I understand why they did it - it wouldn't be very practical for a weekly series to have to mess around with ancient languages every week!).

The film also features an arranged marriage that the groom doesn't realise is a marriage, and just about pulls off the resulting romantic relationship. Daniel and Sha'uri have nice chemistry and you do sympathise with his predicament, though I always find that I can't help hearing Samantha Carter's reaction from her first meeting with Daniel in SG-1 whenever I see those scenes -

O'Neill: She [Sha'uri] was a gift.
Daniel: She was, actually, from the elders of Abydos the first time we
were there.
Carter: And you accepted?

In the end they're very sweet though.

Stargate SG-1 in brief

SEASON ONE 1997-1998
Stargate Command begins to explore the galaxy, making many new friends -- and new enemies.

SEASON TWO 1998-1999
The team encounters a Goa'uld resistance movement and forms an alliance with the Tok'ra.

SEASON THREE 1999-2000
Earth signs a treaty with the Goa'uld to prevent invasion, but the galaxy faces a new threat from Sokar

SEASON FOUR 2000-2001
Earth joins the fight against the Asgard's unstoppable enemy, and SG-1 discovers that the Russians have started a Stargate program.

SEASON FIVE 2001-2002
A powerful new Goa'uld enemy threatens to annihilate Earth and its allies, while the System Lords renew their alliance.

SEASON SIX 2002-2003
Jonas Quinn joins SG-1, and the team faces the new threat of Anubis. The Asgard's conflict with the Replicators comes to a head.

SEASON SEVEN 2003-2004
Daniel Jackson rejoins the team, which must find the Lost City of the Ancients to stop a terrible enemy.

SEASON EIGHT 2004-2005
Jack O'Neill takes command of the S.G.C., while old enemies prove they can't be written off so easily.

SEASON NINE 2005-2006
A new member joins the team, and SG-1 and Stargate Command are forever changed. An astonishing new enemy reveals itself to Earth.

SEASON TEN 2006-2007
The Milky Way Galaxy stands on the brink of destruction as the Ori worshippers invade, and Vala Mal Doran joins SG-1 to try and help stop them.

For more see

For Episode list

For download (torrent)

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