Better than the movie? Review by Violet Kane

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The first season of Stargate SG-1 on DVD should be a crowd pleaser for both avid science fiction fans and casual viewers, mixing series-arching stories and episodic plots.

Stargate SG-1 in its pilot episode picks up where the movie left off. The race of aliens, called Goa'uld, which cross the universe through the stargates pretending to be human gods, have found their way back to Earth. Angry that earth-dwellers destroyed the Goa'uld posing as the Egyptian god Ra, they come through the stargate to Earth hoping to destroy the threat against them. Luckily, the U.S. government has beefed up defenses around the stargate, but the attacks reveal that Colonel O'Neill did not destroy the planet Abydos and its stargate as he reported upon returning from his last mission—or so they think. O'Neill is called out of retirement and is teamed up with scientist and military captain Samantha Carter on a mission to return to Abydos, retrieve Daniel Jackson (who remained on that planet with his wife) and assess the Goa'uld threat. Upon arrival, Daniel shows them a room of hieroglyphics that he suspects may be addresses to different stargates. With a little collaboration from Sam Carter, they figure out how to decipher the code and discern more stargate addresses—the possibilities appear infinite. When the Goa'uld come through the gate on Abydos and kidnap many of the locals, including the youth Scarra and Daniel Jackson's wife, the team realizes that Abydos isn't the Goa'uld planet of origin. They figure out where the captives have been taken, however they are too late—both Scarra and Jackson's wife have been taken and inhabited by Goa'uld simbiants. But a turncoat among the Jaffa—the personal guards and servants of the Goa'uld royalty—may be their greatest coup in the fight against this alien menace.

The first season of Stargate SG-1 benefits from a number of post-film advantages, including ready-made big screen special effects. Many of the episodes in this season are stand-alones surrounding a conceptual problem or off-world discovery, so character conflicts are not at the forefront throughout the season. Some of the conceptual choices are questionable but understandable—while I'm willing to buy that all these other planets are inhabited by humans because the Goa'uld scattered them through the stargate system, but when all of the off-worlders automatically speak English starting in the second episode, I understand the practicality but can't help rolling my eyes. The conceptually-based stories are generally intriguing, though some are better than others. But this first season is at its best when it is exploring larger story arcs, such as O'Neill's painful past and the pursuit to save Scarra and Daniel's wife from the Goa'uld. This DVD set also contains a few featurettes, including character profiles and actor interviews, and the price for this set at about $40 dollars is a welcome change for science fiction fans who are too often plagued by $100 plus complete season boxed sets (ahem, Star Trek and Farscape).

While probably not the best science fiction show of all time, Stargate is consistently entertaining throughout season one. Its conceptual speculation should appeal to science fiction fans, while the off-world old earth cultures will appeal to fantasy audiences, making Stargate a rare cross-over in alternative reality television.

Violet "Violanthe" Kane is the Webmaster and Founder of She is an editor of ARWZ Literary Zine and is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Medieval studies.

Alternative Reality Web Zine: ISSN# 1559-3037

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