So, what are the best Stargate episodes?

I have a confession to make. I generically despise television series that pimp themselves out to movie fans; production studios that try to milk a few more dollars out of a franchise (I even hate the word franchise when applied to entertainment properties) as if a cherished memory is nothing more than their cash cow to be milked at whim.

It definitely explains Nemesis and Enterprise. But I digress.

I liked M*A*S*H, watched it every time it came on for the entire length of it's run. I didn't know until later that it had been a film first (no theater in the home town) and after watching the film, it did make me think "Oh, that's what they were trying for". But I think it was the dismal failure of the Planet of the Apes television series that informed my decision to stay away from any series that attempted to copy a hit film.

When Stargate SG-1 was rolled out, I took one look at the ungainly plastic snake-heads that the antagonists wore, and just gave up on the whole series (not to mention that it was on a subscriber channel on cable TV. I don't have money for pan-and-scan versions of feature films, either. Yes, I'm a film snob) and I would never have looked back.

Except...

Last year, a friend of mine was turning off her cable access so that she could save some money, and she asked me to dub the Stargate SG-1 episodes for the last half of season 10 so she could see them. She had been watching the show since it first aired on Showtime, and she was damned if she was going to miss the last few episodes. Having a lot of free time on my hands these days, I readily agreed to take an extra hour out of my day on SciFi Friday to dub the new episodes as they aired.

The first episode to air was going to be the second half of a two-parter, and SciFi ran a marathon before it that included the first half. So I set the DVR to record SG1 all day, and wandered in at some point to make sure that the recording was going off as planned...

...and I didn't leave. I watched the entire marathon, and the new episodes. Even stayed to watch Stargate Atlantis afterwards. I kept wondering, how did the show get here, and how did it get to be so good...? So I started watching the earlier episodes as they aired at other times on Sciffy; but they don't air them in any logical sequence, and I still couldn't figure out the progression. When did the show get good?

I liked Atlantis, so I picked up a copy of season 1 on DVD; just 3 seasons, that's easy enough to catch up on (and I pretty much have) but how did we get from plastic snake heads to exploring another galaxy? So I picked up some of the early seasons of SG-1, and continued to watch the hodge-podge of episodes that Sciffy chooses to air.

It was when I was explaining to my friend, as we were sitting in front of one of the re-runs, about how I had seen the episodes that started this particular story arc, and I had seen how it ended, but I had never seen the middle before; it was then that I realized that I was hooked on the show. Damn it all. From the quiet reserve of Teal'c, to the wisecracks of Jack O'Neill (two L's) and his Atlantis doppleganger John Shepard, the chapa'ai has captured my attention.



"Then, it's a teenage thing; pimples, rebellion, life-sucking." -John Shepard
So, I'm watching yet another marathon, another one touted as being "The Best of" Stargate, and I can't find it on Sciffy's site, even though they've been advertising it all week.

These were the episodes (the numbers are from the Wiki entry):
If you look at the numbers, you can get a sense of what viewing order I've seen all 10 seasons in. All of them are very good, but I don't know if I'd call them the Best. Window of Opportunity reminds me of Trouble with Tribbles, in that Tribbles is hands down the funniest (on purpose) of the classic Star Trek episodes, and it was voted the best as well. But I don't agree that Tribbles is the best Star Trek episode. I don't know if I'm even that interested in singling out one episode that would be my hands down favorite, of any series that I've ever watched.

As an example, of the episodes aired the two part Lost City would be my favorite; but even those two episodes don't stand alone as well as they do book-ended with the episodes that precede them in the story arc, and the episodes that follow them in the next season. Window of Opportunity is funny precisely because we already know the characters involved well enough to appreciate the quandary they are in. Without the context of several seasons of familiarity, a good portion of the humor is lost.

Star Trek isn't complete without Spock's Brain as well as Trouble with Tribbles. The same is true of Stargate, apparently. At least classic Trek is easier to collect.



Another post with a mysterious amount of traffic; 6589 at this count. Has to be a webcrawler program setting it off, although it has scrolled off the most viewed list lately.  This one at least makes sense, it is a post about a popular subject. Or was a popular subject not so long ago.  You couldn't get me to watch a show on syfy these days.  When they canceled Stargate Universe (Season 1 & 2 links) while keeping wrestling in the lineup, I swore off ever watching that channel again.

3 comments:

  1. Hi there. I also fall in love with stargate in the same manner.
    I liked the movie but a first look to the season 1 wasn't enough to capture my attention.
    But when Atlantis was first aired I was amazed and Atlantis converted in my religion. Then, I wanted to know how all was started. I ended watching and loving all the 10 seasons of sg-1. Took me 3 months and now I think that Stargate is the best series I watched ever.

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  2. I dont remenber how I start to see the serie. 2 years ago completed the burn all episodes of stargate sg1 and atlantis. Files of 350mb in I dont how much dvds, but fill almost a tower.
    The serie start with the movie (a good movie) and a few years later stargate sg-1 is launched. The serie start a little boring but over the years the story become very complete. Even credible :P

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  3. Wow. I found and loved Stargate in the exact same manner as you did. I wish more people had discovered such well written, heartfelt and respectful TV science fiction. If they had, we'd still have new Stargate episodes today.

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