Stargate SG-1 Celebrates 25 Glorious Years! And What’s Next?

27 Jul

Stargate SG-125 Years ago today, Stargate SG-1 gave new life to a then three-year-old movie, which original creators Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin struggled to decide if a sequel should be made. They sold all rights to MGM, and they handed development to Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner to reimagine.

This series started on Showtime, a speciality network which wanted something unique to boost viewership, but eventually, moved to SciFi (now SyFy) before being picked up by local stations. I remember when Chek TV (now Chek News) showed it, because Victoria, BC a ferry ride away to  Vancouver, where the series was made.

The History and Personal Thoughts

Honestly, I consider Stargate SG-1 its own entity. The early seasons delivered a lot more than just a weekly Ancient Alien inspired tale every week. It was serialised storytelling in the style of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the grander arcs–especially concerning Sha’re (Daniel’s wife)–spanned multiple seasons than just one. But this shift wouldn’t be embraced until after the second season. What made this series special was the camaraderie between the stars, Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge. It also had many guest stars who are the who’s who of Canadian genre television programming. From Gary Chalk to Matt Frewer to Barclay Hope in later episodes or newer series, I was sold.

Any relation to the movie is explained with the episode “Point of View.” Alternate realities exist. Also, we heard Jack emphasising, “That’s O’Neill, with two ‘L’s!”

Also, the geeky hero that we once knew from the movie was pressing weights. Daniel Jackson and the actor (Shanks) had gotten rid of nerdy look and became quite the hunk–that must have kept ladies watching.

After three seasons, Stargate SG-1’s story direction shifted focus and became more like every other science fiction television show than true to the original creator’s vision. That is, not every Earth pantheon needs to have alien origins, and nor do we need every villain from mythology to be a Goa’uld. I do not recall if the series presented an authentic god. The Ancients are the closest thing, if they can be considered that.

Honestly, I would have to rewatch the entire series and consult some guides to find him or her. I once believed that Stargate SG-1 would not stray too far away from the original premise and what it did was great. It gave me what I loved from the movie, but expanded upon it. What the early seasons did was consider which deities would be appropriate to be part of this Gou’uld order.

Later in the series, it evolved to become a series influenced by the historical Crusades with the Ori story arc, but sadly fatigue was showing. As a matter of fact, it’s rare for any science fiction type television production to last beyond seven years.

The Stargate SG-1 Spin-Offs

Stargate AtlantisNaturally, Stargate command would want to expand operations off-planet, and while they had a few operations in the main series, to visit another galaxy (as explained in the first Atlantis episode, “Rising”) and set up shop there means making a new series, Stargate Atlantis. Although some of the stories were recycled in true Star Trek fashion, it stood out as being a faithful adaptation to a popular theory concerning the lost city of Atlantis.

But what’s great about this series is that it dealt with galactic politics. Not only did it bring Jason Mamoa to the fore as a star but also the Replicators are this series’ answer to Terminator!

Regarding Stargate Universe and Stargate Infinity, I just never got into either because it longer honoured its roots and suffered from having characters that were not relatable. It happens. Not every idea works. When concerning the animated series, which tried hard to consider what the SG-X team would be like in a far-flung future, it just failed hard. Because the television showrunners were not involved, it’s considered non-canon.

Thankfully, someone at MGM recognized what went wrong and attempted a revival with Stargate Origins (2018). It was a beautiful series which explored the roots of the film and I wrote a review. It’s tough to argue if the movie truly belongs because of the shift. Although the original creators wanted to revisit this world, negotiations fell apart. This news from the last decade is old, and there’s been no recent update.

But I’m hopful the Stargate will spin again. I’m not too concerned about the theatrical reboot since it’s not likely to ever happen. The television series stand a better chance because of the medium’s cyclic nature to reimagine works when enough time has passed (pun intended).

Looking to the Future of Stargate

The Future of Stargate SG-1

The good news is that Brad Wright is developing a fourth series. But as for whether it will be greenlit will depend on everyone liking the pitch–and if former stars (from all the series) are open to reprising their role. It’ll be tough to get Mamoa back and Tapping is busy these days behind the scenes as a director. Anderson is very open since his daughter is an adult now (he left the show so he can raise her like any dedicated parent would), and he has time.

The dedicated fandom is huge and they will want it.

The challenge will be in whether newcomers are interested. The series is still watchable and because it’s syndicated science fiction, it’s playing somewhere on some specialty network, like CTV’s Sci-Fi Channel (formerly Space) in Canada, but it’s globally available on Netflix. However, not every potential new fan will be willing to watch twenty-five years worth of material to get caught up. Everyone will be aware of the film, but not necessarily the television series.

Because most of these performers don’t have a contract with Creation Entertainment (a look into one of their exclusive events can be read here), they can attend either a regular comic con or one of Creation’s profit-making shows to promote this show and keep the love alive.

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