It was a sad night for us Stargate fans last night as we watched the Stargate get powered down and the lights turned off. After 14 years and more than 350 episodes, we said goodbye to a show that stands in good company with other science fiction shows that created a large and interesting universe full of friendly and dangerous aliens, powerful weapons and artifacts, and alliances and wars. But the best things the Stargate universe gave us were memorable characters and some outstanding storylines.
Stargate began with the original film in 1994, and the television series fired up in 1997 with Stargate SG-1, which wrapped up in 2007 with 214 episodes (not counting the two feature-length movies that helped close up various plotlines). Meanwhile, Stargate Atlantis debuted in 2004 and ended in 2009. Finally, Stargate Universe arrived in 2009 and, sadly, ended last night, May 9, 2011.
Fourteen years. Almost fifteen full days of content. It will be hard for any science fiction fan to argue that Stargate does not deserve to stand proud, side-by-side with the other science fiction series giants.
It’s difficult for me to think back over all three series and pick favorite characters, episodes, and plots… but I’m going to try. And it’s flat out impossible for me to choose which of the three series is my favorite — they all have their strengths and weaknesses.
[Warning: Spoilers below about many aspects of the show. So those new to Stargate, please don’t read any further if you have any intention of watching the Stargate series.]
It’s such a large universe to discuss, so forgive my randomness as I try to get my mind around exactly the sheer size of the character lists, storylines, bad guys, and last minute save-the-day discoveries. I think it would be easier to sit around a table full of fans for a few hours and have a few “Remember when…” discussions, but for now I’ll just reflect on what I enjoyed about the series.
Let’s talk humor first – the show was funny and never afraid to poke fun at itself (just watch SG-1 episode “Wormhole Extreme”). While the stories were mostly serious (Earth was invaded at least a half dozen times or more without any of us ever being aware), the characters were still well developed and we knew who we could depend on for some comic relief during the stressful moments. Did any viewers not enjoy the frequent back-and-forth bickering between O’Neill and Jackson (or between Jackson and Vala)? Jack O’Neill was the obvious funnyman of SG-1, and we could always depend on a little bit of snarkiness, insubordination, and cluelessness in his discussions with carter. I still smile when I remember him slicing a golf ball through a stargate (with Teal’C).
[Read the rest of James Floyd Kelly’s excellent article, published on Tuesday. Please leave any comments you may have on the original.]