STARGATE SG1: SEASON ONE
Time travel and Space travel are two constants in the genre of Science Fiction. In Stargate, a literal gateway to other worlds and other galaxies is opened to the people of Earth. In the theatrical release, it was identified that an Alien Race came to Earth in its infancy and created Egyptian history by manifesting their own history which mankind came to accept as Egyptian history. In the 1920's a Stargate was unearthed and in recent history, it was activated and used. A crack team of military men was sent through the Stargate to determine the status of those on the other side, be they friend or foe. To their surprise, they encountered a people that had been plucked from Earth and were living out a feral existence under the harsh rule of the Sun God Ra. Not actually "Ra", the alien impersonating him wielded powers that looked divine and presented an image of power that left little question as to his authority. The Stargate team under the leadership of Colonel O'Neill had one job to do. Once the people on the other side of the gate were identified as hostiles, the gate was to be destroyed from that side so as to make all future transports impossible. While, The Sun God Ra was killed at the conclusion of the film, the gate was not destroyed and the portal was left wide open. Fast Forward to Stargate SG1. Some time has passed since Ra was destroyed on the Alien side of the gate and the gate on Earth is under the ever-watchful eye of the American Military. Without warning the gate opens and what appears to be the Sun God Ra descends on the militaristically inferior humans and slaughters all but one while taking the sole survivor of his attack (a woman) back through the gate with him.
O'Neill, now retired is called upon given his expertise in the field and is provided a team of soldiers to once again enter the gate and retrieve that which was lost. Meanwhile, back on the Alien side of the gate, it would appear that this old enemy is not the same one that attacked in the feature film "Stargate". This "new" alien has chosen the god Pellops rather than RA as his alter ego. His quest and the reason he went through the Stargate is to find a suitable host for the gowoul'd (sp) that resides within his queen and himself. Apparently, this race of beings are symbiants and the gowoul'd is something akin to an eel with wings and a serious set of choppers. When Pellops finds a suitable host, the Gowoul'd is summoned from the host body and inspects the prospective host. If it's happy with the choice, it enters the body of the new host if not, the host is killed and another prospective host is summoned.
Enter Teal'c (Christopher Judge), a Jaffa' or warrior for the Gowoul'd. His entire life is in service to the Gowoul'd. However, after watching countless women destroyed at the hand of Pellops, his allegiance wanes. When O'Neill and the SG1 team land in the clutches of the Gowul'd, Teal'c is touched by their concern for the lives of all of the prisoners and abandons his service to the Gowoul'd for that of service to the SG1 team. SG1, So named because of the number of teams assembled to investigate the Stargate. Each episode has the team going to another location encountering all manner of danger and exciting locale. I had my doubts about SG1 however, they were largely unfounded. While there are character aspects that tend to rely heavily on stereotype, the series on the whole is first rate. The score from the feature film is wonderfully interwoven within the score for each episode. For the pilot episode; the entire opening sequence of the feature film is included to further solidify the relationship between the film and the series. The acting is (for the most part) excellent and the storylines are well thought out and executed. As television series go, the Sopranos are hands down the one to beat however, SG1 for it's high-quality productions and great storylines is gonna give them a run for the money. I'm in no way comparing the two in the way of genre, only the attention to detail, character development and story/plot employed to propel each episode.
Audio/Video/Disc Specifications/Menu Screens:
Season one consists of a five (5)-disc set that boasts an anamorphic widescreen presentation for every episode. Discs two through four have five episodes per disc with a running time of three hours and 41 minutes. Discs one and five have three episodes apiece and are three hours and five minutes and two hours and thirteen minutes respectively. The entire first season of Stargate SG1 is encoded on this set and it's very,very addicting! On the video front, the colors are well saturated and there were no signs of any pixellation or chroma noise. As previously stated, each episode features an anamorphically enhanced Widescreen presentation that sparkles with clarity. The audio as presented, is a very active DD2.0 platform. While there are no surround effects to speak of, the aural information is spread through the fronts and rears with a decent amount of LFE employed to make the effect even richer. Audio-wise, the discs could have benefited by a DD5.1 presentation however, the DD2.0 does an excellent job in weaving a believable aural texture for the series.
The Menus for discs two through five of the series are nothing at all to speak of. Very static and uninvolving. The menu for the first disc however is very nicely done. A few sound effects and some visual fare. Nothing outstanding but decent enough to mention.
Discs two through five have very Spartan extras. They range from cast and crew featurettes to profiles on key characters and costume design. No more than 8-10 minutes in length, they are more teasers than anything else. Given the enormous special effects work on the series, it's quite plausible for someone over at MGM to put together a whole disc of extras for the series rather than apportion them in dribs and drabs over the length of the first season. On the whole these segments are both very informative much too short.
Stargate was an enormously entertaining film that spawned an equally entertaining series. Season 2 is rumored to have been pressed and released in Region 2 with the same extras and one more bonus…DD5.1! Hopefully, when it's released in R1, we'll get to hear it in all its 5.1 glory. This is a really good series that I'm sure a lot of people skipped over because of the general way that most spin-offs tend to pale in comaprison to the original. Trust me, SG1 is just as good as the film and is definitely worthy of your attention. It's engaging, action packed and very well done. Easily a purchase or a rental.
Plusses and Minuses
Plusses-Anamorphic Widescreen, Great storylines and great casting, believable SFX
Minuses-No English Subtitles, poor extras