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Stargate Reviews
SG1 - Season 1

Stargate (the movie)

Theatrical release October 28, 1994

Length 116 minutes

Written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich

Directed by Roland Emmerich

Starring Kurt Russell as Colonel Jonathan 'Jack' O'Neil, James Spader as Dr. Daniel Jackson, Jaye Davidson as Ra, Viveca Lindfors as Catherine Langford, Alexis Cruz as Skaara, Mili Avital as Sha'uri, Leon Rippy as General W.O. West, and John Diehl as Lieutenant Kawalsky.

Back in 1928, Catherine Langford's father unearths a huge circular object protected by stones covered in hieroglyphs. In 1994 Dr. Daniel Jackson, a discredited Egyptologist, is asked to help translate the symbols, some of which don't resemble any known language.

Jackson determines that the unidentified symbols are an address or pathway to another star system. The address is dialed into the Stargate and a stable wormhole forms. A probe is sent through, showing that there is breathable air and another stargate.

Jackson, Colonel O'Neil, and the rest, step through the Stargate to Abydos, a desert planet. They are inside a pyramid. They meet the locals. Soon, Ra arrives, landing his ship on top of the pyramid and causing havoc.

Quite a few things are not well explained in this movie. What happened to the Stargate between 1924 and 1994? How did they know how to power the Stargate? Why did they think the energy field would lead to anything except destruction? The Abydos Stargate is located inside a roomy and defensible pyramid. Why set up camp outside in the hot sun? How do so many people live on and work in an area with almost no vegetation or water sources?

Although Kurk Russell, as Jack O'Neil, gets top billing, this is Daniel Jackson's story. James Spader does a believable job of portraying Jackson as an intuitive genius, who is sometimes socially clueless.

Once Ra arrives, glowing eyes and all, the action starts. There are battles and fight scenes and a nail-biting conclusion. There even a bit of a love story.

This is a great stand-alone film, but it is also the beginning of the Stargate SG1 television series. The television series features many of the characters from the movie, some played by the same actors. Most of the personalities are similar.

Jack O'Neil is the exception. Kurt Russell's portrayal of Jack O'Neil is vastly different from Richard Dean Anderson's portrayal of Jack O'Neill. Even the name is spelled differently.

Reviewed by Roman a Drew July 4, 2020

The Goa'uld
Season 1

Children of the Gods - Final Cut (2009)

Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2

Directed by Mario Azzopardi, Written by Jonathan Glassner & Brad Wright

Originally aired July 27, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson as Colonel Jack O'Neill, Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson, Amanda Tapping as Captain Samantha Carter, Christopher Judge as Teal'c, Don S. Davis as Major General George Hammond, and Gary Jones as Sgt. Walter Harriman.

With Jay Acovone as Major Charles Kawalsky, Vaitiare Hirshon as Sha're/Amaunet, Robert Wisden as Samuels, Peter Williams as Apophis, Brent Stait as Louis Ferretti, Alexis Cruz as Skaara/Klorel, and Rachel Hayward as Sargent Carol Weterings

A year after the incident on Abydos, inside Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a few soldiers play cards in front of the Stargate, which is covered in a tarp. The tarp blows off, the wormhole forms, scaring everyone. A ball rolls through, followed by Apophis and his goons. They kill the men and grab Sgt. Carol Weterings, the only woman. Then they march back through the Stargate taking her with them - more about that later.

Jack is recalled from retirement, again. General Hammond wants to send another nuke through the gate to Abydos. To prevent that, Jack fesses up and tells him that Daniel is still alive, and there are thousands of innocent people on Abydos. The team goes to Abydos to find the Goa'uld, who attacked the complex.

Of course, Apophis isn't on Abydos. Daniel is, as is his wife, Sha're, and Jack's friend, Skaara. But it isn't long before Apophis shows up and wreaks havoc.

Children of the Gods sets up the series. The Goa'uld are evil looking wormy parasites that control their hosts. SG1 consists of Daniel, the gentle the geek, Sam, the scientist, Jack, the military mind, and Teal'c, the muscle who knows the enemy. Thanks to Daniel, they now also have hundreds of gate addresses to try.

Showtime broadcast Children of the Gods as two episodes shown back to back. In 2009, the two episodes were combined into one movie, Children of the Gods - Final Cut. This version is tightly edited and moves along without a dull moment. It has a complex plot and excellent character development. Michael Shanks copies James Spader's Daniel. But Richard Dean Anderson's Jack is much more likable than Kurt Russell's.

I watched Children of the Gods on SciFi as two episodes a week apart. But those recordings are old and a bit fuzzy. This time I watched the remastered version on commercial DVD.

I remember five scenes that are not in this version but were in the original: Sam telling Jack to call her by her rank rather than her salutation, Teal'c dragging Sargent Carol Weterings out of Aphophis' harem, a Goa'uld diving into Kawalsky, Teal'c giving his staff to Sam after they return to Earth, and the last scene, Kawalsky's eyes glowing.

I don't know why these scenes were cut, Kawalsky being a Goa'uld seems like an important detail, especially since it is part of the next episode.

In the beginning of the show, Apophis reopens the gate and goes back through. Since there isn't a dialing pedestal (or DHD as it will be called later), how did he open the gate? If he used the dialing computer, or ordered someone to dial, there would be a record of where he went, and therefore, no reason to go to Abydos.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 7, 2020

The Enemy Within

Season 1, Episode 3

Directed by Dennis Berry. Written by Brad Wright

Originally aired August 1, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, and Don S. Davis.

With Jay Acovone as Major Charles Kawalsky, Kevin McNulty as Dr. Warner, Alan Rachins as Colonel Kennedy, Warren Takeuchi as Young Doctor.

The dialing computer is now programmed with many gate addresses. SG1, headed up by Jack O'Neill, and SG2, headed up by Charles Kawalsky, are ready to do reconnaissance on two new planets. But Kawalsky has a headache.

It turns out that Kawalsky has an immature Goa'ul wrapped around his spine, attempting to take over.

Against Jack's wishes, Teal'c is questioned by Colonel Kennedy, who intends to take him away for study.

This is an exciting episode. It moves along without a hitch. Although Sam and Daniel don't have significant roles, it develops Jack's character and establishes Teal'c as a trustworthy ally. It also explains how the Goa'uld came to exploit the galaxy and why all the worlds are populated with humans from different time zones.

Now, the series is ready to head off to new adventures on different worlds.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 9, 2020.


Season 1 Episode 4

Directed by Jeff Woolnough. Written by Katharyn Powers.

Originally aired August 8, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, and Don S. Davis.

With Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Turghan, Jorge Vargas as Abu, Soon-Tek Oh as Moughal, and Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe as Nya

SG1 steps through the Stargate into a beautiful meadow surrounded by forests with no evidence of humans. Attacking dogs chase a young man into the meadow. The team chases off the dogs. He is grateful until he sees Sam. Then members of his tribe ride into the scene and attempt to kill Sam.

When the father learns that the strangers saved his son's life, he welcomes SG1 to his village - as long as Sam agrees to dress the part, cover her face, and so forth. That night, she is kidnapped and sold to a rival clan.

During this part of the episode, Sam wears an elaborate sky blue dress. Although the costume is stunning, it is highly unlikely that the society portrayed, Mongolian nomads, would have access to such fine materials or such vibrant blue dyes.

Emancipation explores the exploitation and subjugation of women. Samantha Carter, soldier and scientist, isn't about to be subjugated or exploited.

The episode has some great lines and scenes. The conclusion is both action-packed and ever so satisfying. However, the episode drives home some points a bit too hard, making it tedious and predictable in a few places.

This is also the episode that sets the standard for languages. Everyone, whatever their history, speaks English. Of course, that doesn't make sense, but having a language issue in every episode slows things down and gets rather annoying.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 13, 2020

The Broca Divide

Season 1, Episode 5

Directed by William Gereghty. Written by Jonathan Glassner

Originally aired August 15, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, and Don S. Davis.

With Teryl Rothery as Dr. Janet Fraiser, Steve Makaj as Colonel Makepeace, Nicole Oliver as Leedora, Gerard Plunkett as High Councilor Tuplo, Danny Wattley as Lieutenant Johnson, Roxana Phillip as Melosha,

The Broca Divide introduces Teryl Rothery as Dr. Janet Fraiser. She, along with Gary Jones, as Sgt. Walter Harriman, are credited as guest stars, but they are in almost every episode.

SG1 gates to P3X-797. They enter a dark world full of trees and are immediately attacked by a tribe of primitive humanoids. SG3 steps through the gate and chases the attackers away, assisted by a group of white-robed people who throw rocks at the primitives.

SG's 1 and 3 follow the white-robed people to their settlement, which looks much like a Minoan village.

The primitives living on the dark side of the planet are 'the touched,' normal humans who have reverted to an animalistic state. Since the Goa'uld have not visited this world for several generations, and there is nothing of technological value, Jack insists everyone return home.

All seems well until those who visited P3X-797 change and become violent.

The Broca Divide investigates another world where the Goa'uld placed humans from the past. Although this episode has some technical issues, it has plenty of action and suspense. Richard Dean Anderson does a great job fighting against the disease that has stripped him of rational thought. And Michael Shanks is wonderfully comedic as a creature defending his mate.

If one side of the planet is in perpetual darkness and the other in perpetual light, the vegetation on the two sides would be vastly different, but it isn't. The primitive humanoids don't seem to have the intelligence to make fire, and yet they are always sitting around a fire. A better question is, why do they stay in the dark? And, why is the stargate on the dark side?

The use of Chlorpheniramine Maleate to defeat the disease isn't too hard to accept, but using it as an anesthetic just doesn't ring true. It does make you sleepy, but getting hit by a dart full of it won't knock someone instantly unconscious.

There are anesthetics that render people unconscious in moments when injected into a vein, but when injected into muscle tissue, they take several minutes.

And, about those darts. It looks like they hold at least five milliters, a teaspoon. The syringe Sam wants to use on Daniel looks like a half full 10 ml syringe. That is way too much to inject intramuscularly.

Still, if not taken seriously, this is a fun episode.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 16, 2020

Sam and Hanson

Daniel and the cave dwellers

The First Commandment

Season 1 Episode 6

Directed by Dennis Berry. Written by Robert C. Cooper.

Originally aired August 22, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery, and Don S. Davis.

With William Russ as Captain Jonas Hanson, Roger Cross as Lieutenant Connor, Zahf Paroo as Jamala, Adrian G. Griffiths as Lieutenant Baker, D. Neil Mark as Frakes, Darcy Laurie as Cave-Dweller.

SG9 is MIA, so SG1 goes to Avnil to retrieve them. They meet Lieutenant Connor, who tells them that SG9's leader, Captain Jonas Hanson, has gone native, posing as God and enslaving the people of this world. From there, things head south.

Sam gets captured. Hansen is her ex-fiance. And Connor is tied to a post and left to die.

This episode almost works. Most of it is fine, but there is just too much Hanson. Megalomaniacs with delusions of godhood are a common theme in stories about dystopian societies. They're often the cause of the dystopia.

In this case, Hanson's motives are not all that bad. The UV radiation on Avnil is deadly. The locals live in caves and only come out at night. Hanson wants to give the cave dwellers a chance to live in the open and improve their lives. So, he forces them to work in the sun until they die.

Although Hanson creates the problems that must be solved, his character is rather boring. Or rather, there is too much of him.

Sometimes, it's the actor who can't quite make the character interesting. But more often, as here, the actor is fine. The point is made in the first moment or two, but the scene goes on and on. It is like a song that finishes long before it ends, repeating verses and choruses more times than anyone wants to hear.

This isn't a really bad episode, just a bit repetitive and slow. You might want to fast forward through some of Hanson's self-aggrandizing speeches.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 20, 2020

Jack and the Crystal

Jack and Charlie

Cold Lazarus

Season 1 Episode 7

Directed by Kenneth J. Girotti. Written by Jeff F. King.

Originally aired August 29, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery ,and Don S. Davis.

With Harley Jane Kozak as Sara O'Neill, Wally Dalton as Sara's Father, and Kyle Graham as Charlie O'Neill.

SG1 gates to a desert planet with patches of blue crystals. Jack touches a crystal and is knocked flat. His doppelganger then returns to Earth with the team. Even though the doppelganger acts a bit strange, no one notices until Jack wakes up and gates home, wondering why everyone left him.

Cold Lazarus fleshes out Jacks relationship with his ex-wife and his feelings about his son's death. It deals with powerful and difficult emotions in a sensitive and realistic way. This is the most adult and mature episode so far, a refreshing change from primitive people and megalomaniacs.

Kyle Graham was perfect as Charlie.

There are a few things that are not well explained. How do the crystals duplicate humans? How did the duplicate Jack turn into Charlie? Why did he spew out radiation for a while and then stop? Why did the Goa'uld consider the crystals so much of a threat that they blasted them to pieces?

Perhaps it's best not to ask those questions and just go with the story.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 25, 2020

Anteaus and Nafrayu


The Nox

Season 1 Episode 8

Directed by Charles Correll. Written by Hart Hanson

Originally aired September 12, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery ,and Don S. Davis.

With Armin Shimerman as Anteaus, Peter Williams as Apophis, Ray Xifo as Ohper, Frida Betrani as Lya, Terry David Mulligan as Secretary of Defense David Swift, and Addison Ridge as Nafrayu.

The secretary of defense complains that the Stargate program has not been successful at finding advanced tech. Teal'c suggests they visit a planet with a creature that can make itself invisible. Off they go.

They fail to capture the creature. Instead, they go after Apophis, who just happens to be wandering around with a couple of guards. It's a dumb idea. They should all know better. And they all get killed.

Not to worry, this is the home of the Nox.

Finding themselves alive in what appears to be a primitive society, SG1 sets out to protect these cute, little, unassuming beings from the evil Goa'uld.

This is a lesson in how appearances can be deceiving and why it is not wise to make assumptions before gathering sufficient data.

The Nox is an interesting episode, with several clever plot twists. It also introduces a race of beings with superior technology and no fear of the Goa'uld. The Nox will show up again in future episodes.

It is also nice to see Armin Shimerman (Quark) playing a different role.

Reviewed by Romana Drew July 29, 2020.

Jack and Kynthia

Kynthia doing the marriage dance

Brief Candle

Season 1 Episode 9

Directed by Mario Azzopardi. Story by Steven Barnes. Teleplay by Katharyn Powers.

Originally aired September 19, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery, and Don S. Davis.

With Bobbie Phillips as Kynthia, Harrison Coe as Alekos, Gabrielle Miller as Thetys.

SG1 gates to utopia, where all the people are young, healthy, and happy. They dance and sing all day.

Kynthia feeds Jack a special cake, just for him, and he ends up in her bed. The moment the sun goes down, everyone falls asleep, where ever they are, what ever they're doing, including Jack.

Infected by alien nanobots, the people of this world grow to adulthood in a few days and only live for one hundred days. Jack is infected even though he has already lived for thousands of days.

The search is on for a cure.

Although it has no battles or evil villians, Brief Candle is a nice episode, well worth watching. It gives Richard Dean Anderson an opportunity to stretch his acting skills a bit. But don't look too close at the logistics of this world.

The inhabitants dance, sing, and enjoy life, but never to do any work. So, where does the food come from? They fall asleep where ever they are the moment the sun goes down and wake the next day in the same clothes. Apparently, the nights don't get cold, and it never rains.

If the anyone goes far enough away from the village, they are no longer under the influence of the computer controlling the nanobots. It is hard to believe that no one has ever done this and returned to lead the villagers to freedom.

The inhabitants don't seem to grow old, so how do they die? Perhaps they just don't wake up one morning. Having a character die, and seeing how the village deals with it, would have been interesting.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 1, 2020

Teal'c and Thor's Hammer

Daniel, Kendra, and Sam

Thor's Hammer

Season 1 Episode 10

Directed by Brad Turner. Written by Katharyn Powers.

Originally aired September 26, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery, and Don S. Davis.

With: Galyn Gorg as Kendra, Vincent Hammond as Unas, Tamsin Kelsey as Gairwyn, James Earl Jones as the voice of Unas, and Mark Gibbon as Thor.

Teal'c says that all Gou'ald are forbidden to visit Cimmeria, the home of Thor's hammer, so SG1 goes there.

As soon as they step through the gate, the locals laugh at them. A blue beam shines down from the top of an obelisk, scaning everyone. It concentrates on Teal'c. Jack tries to push Teal'c out of the beam, and they both disappear.

Jack and Teal'c end up in a maze of caves with Unas, an un-killable monster. Sam and Daniel ask the locals for help.

This episode just moves along at a great pace with never a dull moment. We learn that there is hope for those taken by the Goa'uld, along with a little history of the Goa'uld. We also meet Thor, or his avatar, and learn that other powerful races can protect planets from the Goa'uld.

That makes two races who don't fear the Goa'uld, the Nox, and Thor's race, which will be revealed in a future episode.

The people on Cimmeria are Vikings, which means they have been here for over a thousand years. Why haven't they developed any new technology? This can't be blamed on Goa'uld suppression. Goa'uld are dispatched as soon as they come through the gate.

Still, it is a good episode.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 4, 2020

Ernest Littlefield naked and wondering if SG1 is real

Ernest and Catherine

The Torment of Tantalus

Season 1 Episode 11

Directed by Jonathan Glassner. Written by Robert C. Cooper.

Originally aired October 3, 1997

Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Gary Jones, Teryl Rothery, and Don S. Davis.

With Elizabeth Hoffman as Catherine Langford, Keene Curtis as Ernest Littlefield, Duncan Fraser as Professor Langford, Nancy Hillis as Young Catherine Langford, and Paul McGillion as Young Ernest Littlefield.

While reviewing footage of the 1945 gate experiments, Daniel discovers that the researchers succeeded in opening the gate and sending someone through. That person never returned. And, the gate research was abandoned.

Daniel shows the footage to Catherine Langford. She says the fellow who went through the gate was Ernest Littlefield, her fiance. She was told that he had died in an explosion. Although it has been fifty years, Ernest may still be alive.

So, off they go on a rescue mission, including Catherine. Of course, the DHD is broken, and the building about to fall into the sea.

This episode doesn't focus on the difficult and risky climb to the top of the building in a raging storm. That has been done many times. Instead it focuses on the people inside the building: Daniel's willingness to die in his search for knowledge, Jacks determination to get everyone home, and Catherine and Ernest coming to terms with the events that separated them.

The Torment of Tantalus is one of the great episodes. Keene Curtis' performance as Ernest Littlefield confronting real people after fifty years of living alone is sensitive and humorous. The team finds evidence of four advanced races and a world of information about those races, probably the gate builders. But, once again, that information is lost before it can be retrieved.

Reviewed by Romana Drew August 7, 2020