We’re beginning a rewatch of Stargate SG-1. For those unfamiliar with it, Stargate was a spinoff of a movie starring Kurt Russell and David Spader. It was typical of a Roland Emmerich film in that it had a great premise and then totally collapsed in on itself in the second hour. The series was different though. They took the great premise and ran with it.
Stargate knew it was somewhat cheesy. I think one of the producers said “an important part of each episode is that we have to blow some shit up.” They blew a LOT of shit up. My wife liked to point out that the away team was often walking away from the camera, in fatigues that were tighter than fatigues ever are. The science was not real science but they played it like it was. But the thing they really did right was the characters. TV shows live and die on the strength of characters. If you’re not in love with the people on the show, all the intricate plots and dazzling dialog won’t do you a bit of good. Stargate delivered the goods. And that’s why we watch it.
It never took itself too seriously. The line I use in the title was a fantastic line delivered by Richard Dean Anderson in the fifth season. Anderson’s Jack O’Neill was this fascinating mixture of hard core military guy and unleashed smart ass. He spun with ease in this role, dealing out hard decisions and death, yet still finding time to make a Simpson’s reference.
It is the stuff like this that keeps a viewer coming back.
My wife liked to ‘ship O’Neill and Michael Shanks’ Dr. Daniel Jackson. She wasn’t the only one, this show generated slash fiction by metric ton. The show had the smarts to actually throw the shippers a bone now and then, just like Supernatural has been known to do. But I would contend that a majority of the fans weren’t there for that. It was more the character’s interaction, the series’ ability to stretch out long story arcs with very satisfactory endings (Apophis final demise for example), and yeah, blowing shit up.
After season five the quality hit a roller coaster, which is why we only have 1-5 on DVD. Michael Shanks and RDA drifted in and out of the show, Amanda Tapping faded out as well, and Don Davis (Hammond of Texas!) died. Most dramas do tend to fade after five seasons so it’s not like we could have expected more. But here at Ber Manor, we savor those five seasons. And thus our rewatch continues.