Original Run: July 27th, 1997 – March 13th, 2007
Created by: Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner
Directed by: various
Written by: various
Based on: Stargate by Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin
Music by: Joel Goldsmith
Cast: Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Don S. Davis, Corin Nemec, Ben Browder, Beau Bridges, Claudia Black, Ronny Cox, Lexa Doig, Robert Picardo, Morena Baccarin, John de Lancie, Louis Gossett Jr.
Double Secret Productions, Gekko Film Corp., Kawoosh! Productions IX, MGM Television, Sony Pictures Television, Showtime (1997-2002), Sci-Fi Channel (2002-2007), 214 Episodes, 44 Minutes (per episode)
Nearly a quarter of a century later, I finally gave Stargate SG-1 a shot after a friend of mine was recently talking to me about it and over the years, others have tried to sell me on its greatness. However, 214 hour long episodes plus two movies and three spinoff series is a lot of stuff to watch if I happened to actually be into this.
Due to my schedule and the immensity of this franchise, I looked up an episode guide that pointed out which episodes were the key ones and those are what I watched with the intention of going back and watching the ones I missed, if I ended up liking this show. It’s a method I’ve used for other long-running shows and I like doing it that way.
I also liked the original 1994 Stargate movie, which this show is a direct sequel to. The two main male characters on this show are the same characters played by Kurt Russell and James Spader in that film. However, Kurt Russell is recast with Richard Dean Anderson, MacGyver himself, and James Spader is recast with Michael Shanks, who would go on to do a ton of sci-fi television work.
The cast is then rounded out by three new characters played by Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Don S. Davis. These five core characters are all pretty damn great and their chemistry is on the same level as the casts of the first three Star Trek shows, especially as they grow in these roles over ten seasons and beyond.
The two-part story that kicked off this show was a worthy successor to the 1994 film and from there, this show branched out in ways I couldn’t have expected. As it rolls on, we see new threats, new alien species, many of whom are allies, and the show itself evolves and changes every couple of seasons. However, it never gets too far away from what it started out as. Basically, it stays really grounded and it’s pretty consistent throughout in spite of major shifts to the formula. With that, it doesn’t become formulaic and redundant and reinvents itself just enough to stay interesting over its 214 episodes.
My only really issue, at first, was that some of the special effects look bad or cheesy. This is due to the limitations on television sci-fi in the ’90s but your mind does adjust to it within a few episodes and you don’t really notice it too much.
Besides, these characters and these stories are so good that the special effects are really secondary and not that important.
In the end, I’m glad that I gave this a shot. I haven’t seen every episode but I plan to work my way through them all, as I have time. Additionally, I’d like to watch the key episodes of the other series that were born out of this one.