A Lifetime of Stargate

I can’t think of a better thing to talk about for my first post than probably my favourite television show(s) of all time, Stargate.

When I was 8 or 9 years old I remember seeing a poster for an upcoming film, I was well into sci-fi at that age, I loved anything with the word star in it, whether it was Star Trek or Star Wars. My dad took me to see this film Stargate in 1994, starts off in Giza, Egypt in 1928 and we get our first glimpse of the large metal circle, nine chevrons, a whole load of symbols around the edge.  We soon cut to a young girl who manages to get her self an amulet, the Eye of RA.

Cut to present day (Well 1994) and we are introduced to our characters of the film, didn’t really like Jackson back then, thought he was too much of a boring geek, at that age I was interested in army soldiers and guns. But the young girl we saw, now an elderly woman gives him a job decoding some symbols at the US Air Force.

We are then introduced to Jack O’Neill, who retired after his son shot himself with his own gun because just like many of today’s careless parents, left it laying around. He gets told that he’s been called back to active duty.

We then cut to Cheyenne Mountain, where Jackson spends two weeks looking at symbols and decoding them, drinking coffee, until he finally cracks the code and figures out the secret. Everyone’s stunned because they’re all idiots compared of Jackson, we then cut to the Stargate, it eventually gets activated and the universe of Stargate has begun.

This film had everything for me, I mean at that age everything was guns and lasers and a whole lot of “PEW PEW PEW BOOM!” but as I get older the film has the back story, it has other worlds, aliens, guns, mythology, everything a sci-fi fan could want.

Jack wanted to blow up the planet, Ra wanted to blow up Earth, Jackson unknowingly gets married, a big fight ensues, Ra dies, the universe is saved for the first time, I became an instant fan of Kurt Russell. Some people slate this film and like many other films I’ve seen bad reviews, but this film sparked 17 television seasons of pure awesomeness. The only thing that nags me about this film is how they managed to open the Stargate at the end of the film, it’s never shown and in future television series, it takes a great effort to open the gate without the use of a Dial Home Device.

But we get our happy ending, Daniel Jackson decides to stay behind, as he had nothing really to go back to, his colleagues outside of the Stargate program thought he was a joke, so why not stay with your new wife!? As far as the Air Force know, the planet was nuked and the stargate was destroyed. The film ends and I just wanted more! Apparently this film was supposed to be the first in a trilogy of films but those plans were put on hold as the people that produced this film went on and created Independence Day instead.

But alas, three years later I’m told that there will be a new tv show based on the Stargate film, being young and naive I was hoping for the same cast as the film, but now I’m older I realize how stupid that was, it was only because I had a man crush on Kurt Russell mainly though.

So Stargate SG1 arrives and so does my obsession for this show, from the moment it started on Sky One, I was engrossed with the story of “Children Of The Gods”, our home world is attacked and women are taken, how the Gould knew that the Tau’ri gate was now operational we don’t know, the old team from the original film (The characters not the cast) are recalled to action, questioned, it’s revealed that they didn’t actually blow up the other gate, it turns out the gate connects to other gates than the one on Abydos.

With obvious changes from the film such as the fact that Ra was supposed to be the last of his kind but was in fact the first of many, the fact that the Gould are now little snakes rather than the alien we saw in the original film, amongst others, I have recently watched the entire SG-1 show from beginning to end and it’s amazing how they progress in just a decade of action.

After the first episode or.. film of the series is over with we get to meet our new team of explorers, Captain Sam Carter, Daniel Jackson, Colonel Jack O’Neill and T’ilc, the first prime of Apophis, who turned his back believing that Earth is his greatest hope of freedom.

At the beginning of the series their main enemy is Apophis, enemy of Ra from there it seems to only get worse, but they make allies, the main allies being the Tok’Ra, the free Jaffa and the Asguard, I absolutely loved the Asguard when I first watched this show, I still do, I just wish we had gotten to know them more, with them it was either getting SG1 out of trouble or SG1 getting the Asguard out of trouble. I would have liked to have learnt about their background more, their history, maybe some flashbacks of what it used to be like when they were allied with the other three great races (Ancients, Nox, Furlings who we never see).

The main theme for this show is their battle against the Gould while trying to keep the program secret from the general population of Earth. After the death of many of the System Lords we then get our greatest threat yet in Anubis, I loved Anubis, he was like the Darth Vader of the Stargateverse who was half Gould and half Ascended being, Ascended beings are the first evolution of man kind millions of years ago who were so technologically advanced that they no longer needed flesh and blood to survive and left their corporeal bodies.

Another theme for this show is finding out the history of the ancients, where they came from, what technology they had and trying to use that to fight the Gould. This is explored a little further when Daniel Jackson dies and ascends, only for him to return a year later.

Eventually Anubis is defeated, the replicators are defeated and the theme shifts to a new enemy, with Jack O’Neill leaving the show in Season 9 he is replaced by Cameron Mitchell, Vala Mal Doran is eventually added to the show aswell, both of the actors from Farscape fame. A new enemy is introduced in the Ori, the Ori used to live with the ancients (Or Alterans) but had a difference in opinion in their culture, eventually the Alterans left their home galaxy and went elsewhere, the Ori remained. They had the same level of technology, the original Ori are now also ascended but rather than keep out of the business of lower forms, they enslave them and make them worship them to gain more power.

I loved this as it gave more of a back story into the Ancients, SG-1 were essentially at war with people as powerful as the ancients, but with help through a couple of the ancients, we finally win. It was during the last season where we get all of the Asguard technology, history, everything, they could no longer carry on as a race due to generations of failing to re-create their race, they decide to come together and blow up their planet, all of them along with it.

The only thing that annoys me about this is, yeah ok they gave us all of their technology and knowledge, but they could have at least given us their war ships as well. They’ve already given us the knowledge why not the finished products aswell? Those ships would have come in handy in future altercations.

The series gets cancelled after Series 10 but two films were produced afterwards, the first one Ark of Truth ended the Ori storyline, the second one Continuum ended the Ba’al storyline, who by the way was my favourite Gould enemy, he was the one Gould who knew we wasn’t a God where as the rest of them said it so much they believed it themselves, Ba’al was a more down to Earth Gould who cloned himself and was everywhere, this film was about killing the last clone of Ba’al, ridding the galaxy of the Gould once and for all.

This was a perfect end for the Stargate SG1 era as after 12 years, they defeated the Gould, the Replicators and the Ori, the milky was basically free from evil. The show started with the Gould and it ended with the Gould, along the way advancing technologically largely with help from the Asguard who considered them the fifth race. I was happy with 10 seasons as I thought Season 7 was going to be the last season, then I thought the same for season 8, then we were gifted with 9 and 10 so for me that was a bonus.

This wasn’t the end of the Stargate saga though, as after season seven we finally find the lost city of Atlantis, a city built by the ancients and we get what all other great TV shows get, a spin-0ff series!

They dial the gate, with has 8 symbols not 7, we find out early in SG1 that the 8th symbol is to dial a gate in another galaxy, much like an area code. Instantly in peril as the city is deep underwater, with a new look Stargate, hidden from everything and the power is draining due to only having the one ZPM (ancient power source.)

I’m currently in the process of watching all of Atlantis now, only watching the first 9 at the time of writing this, I thought this show was great, not as good as SG1 is some ways but it was better in others. Just like in SG1 and the Gould, the main antagonist in this show is called the Wraith.

Aliens that feed off of the life force from humans by grabbing their chest. The Ancients lost the war to the Wraith and left the galaxy and high tailed it to the Milky Way. When the people from Earth arrive they end up waking up the sleeping Wraith and causing havoc all over the Pegasus galaxy! It seems the Ancients did more good than bad as it’s revealed they’re somewhat responsible for the creation of the Wraith and try to kill them by creating beings known as the Asurans, which end up being revealed as a more advanced version of the replicators!

These two are the main threats, the Asurans were programmed to kill the Wraith but rather than kill them directly end up killing their feeding grounds, i.e. the human populations of the galaxy. Eventually the Asurans are defeated, which could possibly mean that all Replicators have been eradicated from the universe.

The main thing that frustrated me about this show is that they never used the full potential of the city, we never got to see all of the technology Atlantis had to offer, due to mainly not finding the power requirements to activate all of the city. I felt that there was so much more that could have been done in this show, we barely got much of an insight into the history of the Ancients, there was a moment when an Ancient ship was discovered flying at near light speed, rescued by the humans and then took control of the Atlantis city once again but that was short lived as they were destroyed by the Asurans. Apart from that, that was pretty much all we saw of the Ancients. A true shame.

This show was cancelled after five seasons, it ends with the Atlantis city ship leaving the Pegasus galaxy and returning to the Milky Way, the final scene of the series was beautiful as the crew look out at the sea just off the coast of San Francisco.

Following the trend of the now long ended SG1 series was to be a third tv-movie, this time based on the Atlantis team, which was meant to involve them traveling back to the Pegasus galaxy and most likely put an end to the the Wraith storyline, but due to unforeseen problems it seems that this planned movie is off.

A damn shame as Stargate “Extinction” sounded like it was going to be a fun movie, from what I’ve read on Joe Mollozzi’s blog on the overall storyline.

As Stargate Atlantis was over with, I thought this would be the end but I was wrong, because what do all time great TV shows get?

A second spin-off series!

The third in the series, announced as being different in tone, a more adult version of the Stargate series. This time takes place mainly on a ship named Destiny, which took the ninth chevron to get to. The ships mission was to seed the galaxy with Stargates and also find out what the meaning of life was.

A long time ago the Ancients found a pattern in universes background radiation noise. This pattern was spread through the galaxy which lead them to believe that a being greater than themselves created the galaxy and left this pattern for a race advanced enough to eventually uncover the meaning of everything. They sent the ship to collect this pattern of information but they eventually abandoned the mission by ascending to a higher plane of existence.

Skip forward millions of years and a new crew has found the Destiny, lead by Colonel Everett Young, a guy described as the Jack O’Neill of ten years ago, Nicholas Rush played by one of my favourite actors, Robert Carlyle, it was weird seeing him in this show because I’ve seen him in poxy English made movies and for him to be connected with my favourite tv show of all time was something spectacular. He played a much much darker version of Sam Carter/Daniel Jackson who uncovers the truth about the Destiny’s mission.

The series was very slow to get into at the start I thought, not a lot happened for much of the first season, it starts off as another tail of survival just like how Atlantis started. This ship was deemed to be a lot older than Atlantis, created perhaps millions of years ago rather than thousands.

I was patient with this series though, I had faith in Stargate’s creators, after 15 seasons of television they weren’t going to give us shit. I loved the characters too, I now have a massive crush on Elyse Levesque a.k.a Chloe Armstrong, I felt the pain Eli Wallace felt when Chloe chose to be with Lt. Scott rather than consider being with him. I’ve been in that exact position before.

And Jamil Walker Smith, the afro sporting Gerald from Hey Arnold! was now this badass soldier that knocked out a Colonel and was imprisoned before being attacked by Earth’s new nemesis, the Lucian Alliance. Unlike previous series, there was now dominant bad guy in this show, it wasn’t about bad guys, it was about surviving and exploring the unknown.

This show focus’ on the crews relationships and follows a specific storyline of survival, towards the end of the first season it started to pick up and become awesome. At the end of season 1, the Lucian Alliance discover how to dial the Destiny address thanks to a brainwashed Colonel Telford, as soon as they enter the gate room, Young traps them there and threatens to vent the atmosphere in the room, the Lucian Alliance eventually manage to take over the ship but soon lose it again and now we’re stuck with a load of Lucian Alliance prisoners. Season 2 included Robert Knepper who I loved in Prison Break and Heroe’s, one of the Lucian Alliance becomes romantically involved with Eli, but while using an Ancient communication device, Knepper’s character Simeon kills not only Eli’s girlfriend Gin, but Rush’s girlfriend back home Amanda.

Leading to an amazing episode where Rush hunts down Simeon. Two of my favourite actors going at it, the producers of Stargate NEVER fail to deliver.

Unfortunately half way through season 2 we get the announcement that Universe won’t be renewed for a 3rd season, absolutely gutting news, because year season 1 started off slow, but it became increasingly awesome from the middle of season 1, I don’t know why they decided to cancel the show, maybe it was due to low ratings I don’t know, but it should have been given a chance for a 3rd season. Season 2 ends of a cliffhanger, with the crew constantly being attacked by drone ships created by an unknown race, they go into stasis until they reach the next galaxy, one of the pods in broken though, so Eli Wallace is the only one not put in stasis, and if he can’t fix the broken pod in two weeks, he’ll have to kill himself so the rest of the crew can survive.

It seems we’ll never get a resolution to what happens next, as soon as Universe started, what happened to Atlantis’ film didn’t matter to me, it was all about Universe, I felt more connected to this characters, I rooted more for these characters, then recently we get word that all production on any future Stargate projects have been cancelled. Meaning no Atlantis film either.

I don’t know why, I think it had something to do with MGM running out of money, if that was the case, sell the damn franchise!

Now Stargate has ended, I no longer look forward to anything on television, yeah I watch shows but I don’t have the enthusiasm I had when shows like Stargate, 24 or Lost were all on. We were spoiled with television such as that and now I am left with a void.

I heard that the creator of the Stargate film continually claimed he had NOTHING to do with the tv show and he was glad about it, he didn’t like the series, but if that’s the case, you should have created sequels to the original film, I would have loved that but at the same time I’m glad you didn’t because had you created a sequel to the first film, we may never have got 17 seasons worth of television.

Does this now mean the end of Stargate? I sure hope not, with a premise like the one Stargate has there’s so much more you could do, Star Trek: TOS had a long break before they started producing again. Even after Voyager and the last Star Trek film, a few years went by and now it’s been rebooted keeping the franchise alive.

One idea I had was do a prequel series, based around the time the ancients lived and go through some of the troubles they had to deal with, it’d be so easy to make a show back then as their history is vast. I’d love to see how the Four Great Races were formed and why they were formed, you could include any of the previous enemies mentioned on the Stargate series, we could see the full might of the Ancient technology, or hell even do a sequel to Stargate based in the future, show how Earth has progressed in say 50 or 100 years.

I believe Stargate will be gone for awhile, but I don’t think it’ll be gone forever and if it is… then it’s a damn shame and it’ll make me more appreciative for the time it was around.

Dal Shakka Mel

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Author: 'Ard Pete

Hey everyone, my names Pete, friends call me 'Ard Pete because... well, I'm well 'Ard. Currently in Chesterfield, England, currently working as an I.T. Technical Lead for BT Business and Public Sector; it sounds more glamourous than it is but I'm a dab hand with Microsoft products. I enjoy television, mainly any Star Trek, all of Stargate, Lost, anything Joss Whedon has produced, 24 and House. Favourite music includes; Mumford and Sons, Jason Mraz, Eminem, Chris Cornell, Ludovico Einaudi, Goo Goo Dolls, Muse, 30 Seconds To Mars basically a wide variety of anything that's real, I hate dance, trance and anything like that, I don't consider that to be music. Not much of a sports guy, I like Professional Wrestling, Mixed Martial Arts, Boxing, I can watch Football but only when I'm forced to watch it. Favourite author is Terry Pratchett, favourite film is Armageddon, favourite comedian is Lee Evans, favourite idiot is Karl Pilkington, favourite game is GTAIII, if there's anything else you wish to know, don't hesitate to ask. I'll more than likely not be busy.

2 thoughts on “A Lifetime of Stargate”

  1. Hey! I saw you were new on the forums… me too! Thought I’d come check out your blog 🙂 You have a very detailed writing style… can’t say I’m much into Stargate myself, I’m more of a Criminal Minds chick *Hides the shame* 😀 I’m sure you’ll find loads of people with similar interests though, so good luck with your blog! Maybe see you around sometime x

  2. Haha no shame in liking any television show! I’ve never watched Criminal Minds myself but a friend of mine has started buying the boxsets though so maybe I’ll start getting it watched!

    Thank you for checking me out anyway though! I’ll definitely throw a subscription your way and keep up with your on goings 😀

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