Who would have thought that the movie Stargate would have had
such an impact? The 1994 Roland Emmerich/Dean Devlin film staring
Kurt Russell and James Spader was good, but certainly not in the "all-time
classic" category. The film spawned a great television show however,
Stargate SG-1 which ran for an amazing 11 seasons (on two networks
no less) and is still telling stories through direct to DVD movies.
There's the spin-off from SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, which
has completed four seasons and is still going strong. That's not
to mention the book series, action figures, and other merchandise.
Not everything with the Stargate label has done well however.
Case in point: the 2002 Saturday morning cartoon, Stargate Infinity.
Without the input of the writers or producers of SG-1, this show
fails to catch the excitement and wonder of the live action TV shows.
Taking place 30 years after the events in the original movie, Stargate
Infinity contains none of the characters (or villians) from its parent
series. In this world the Stargate in public knowledge and some alien
races have peacefully interacted and migrated to Earth. The Stargate
organization has come up with a training program for new recruits, and
they have plenty of applicants, including some aliens.
As the first episode opens, Maj. Gus Bonner is found guilty of disobeying
orders and sending his men into an ambush, even though he denies participating
in the events his helmet camera records. Stripped of his duties while
awaiting his sentence, Bonner goes to see his niece, Stacey, a SGC recruit,
in the Gate room when the protective iris is inexplicably opened.
A group of aliens, the Tlak'kahn (who use very Goa'uld-like weapons and
have that funky apostrophe in the middle of their name, but aren't nearly
as powerful or dangerous) cross through the gate and invade. Their
objective is an alien chrysalis that was discovered in an Egyptian tomb.
Both the SGC and the Tlak'kahn think it might be an actual Ancient (the
race that built the Stargates.)
In the middle of the battle Bonner, Stacey, and a group of recruits
manage to capture the chrysalis and use the Stargate to take it out of
harm's way. The other only partial trained members of his party are
the wise-cracking Harrison, Seattle Montoya an American Indian empath whose
warnings are never clear enough to be of any use, and Ec'co, an alien who
can fix anything with whatever happens to be lying around.
On the first planet they land on, the chrysalis hatches and out comes
Deus Ex Machina umm, I mean, Draga, a mysterious, fully grown creature
with wings who has unusual powers. She frequently saves the group
with her unspecified abilities. (In one episode she opens a Stargate
that doesn't have a dialing mechanism. That's useful.)
With the Tlak'kahn hot on their trail, the group has to jump form world
to world, trying to stay one step ahead of their pursuers.
I missed this show on its initial run, and being cancelled after only
one season is almost a badge of honor these days so I was interested in
seeing it. The show starts off pretty badly, but by the middle of
the season... it has succeeded in getting even worse. It's almost as
if the people behind this show never saw Stargate but had a drunken buddy
explain it to them one evening. They get the basics right, but they
totally miss the feel of the original show.
First off, the characters are not likeable or interesting. Stacey's
a bitch, Harrison is an ass, and Bonner's a jerk. It's astounding
that the created a series around such a group of obnoxious people.
They all start off as caricatures too, the fighter (Stacey), the tech guy,
the reckless youth who wants to prove himself and the battle weary veteran,
and even though their backgrounds are explained at various times they never
grow or change.
The stories are rather simplistic too, and not very engaging.
When they do tell the background stories, it's always a clichéd
page from a sensitivity training handbook. The various people experience
racism, prejudice, and hatred, and they used that to teach the lesson that
diversity is good. Over and over and over. I won't go into
all to plot holes (Why does Stacey suspect her uncle of being the traitor
that opened the iris when she was with him when it happened? She
knows it couldn't have been him! How dumb can she be???) and
the absolutely horrid dialog (as soon as Draga hatches someone asks her
"Are you an Ancient?" as if she could possibly know what an Ancient was
or if she was one.) but suffice to say that even if you check your brain
at the door, this show will still be left wanting.
The stereo English soundtrack wasn't very exciting. There wasn't
much separation and even when using a Stargate the sound effects were pretty
ho-hum. While the dialog was clear and defects were non-existent,
I was very under-whelmed with the sound design of the show.
The full frame video was okay, but nothing spectacular. The colors
were fine and the blacks were acceptable, but there was a lot of jaggies
and aliasing present in the image. The picture was fairly sharp though
and it looked fine for an animated show.
There are a couple of bonus items included, none of which are very exciting.
The main item is a pair of early animation tests, Animated Stargate Effects
Test and Character Walking Models. Each runs under a minute and,
well, it's there. There's also an image gallery of character designs
which isn't that exciting either.
Only the most die-hard SG-1 completists need to run out and buy this
set. The stories are pretty bad, the characters are unlikable and
opening song is sickening. If you're really interested in the Stargate
Universe, you might want to check it out just to say that you've seen it.
If that's the case however, make it a Rental.