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Monday, April 30, 2007

Stargate



It's so sad ... sniff, sniff ... a science fiction tv series I love is coming up on its last episode, after a ten year run ... Stargate SG-1.

The show was based on the 1994 feature film, Stargate, starring Kurt Russell and James Spader. The basic plot, for those who didn't see the movie, is explained below, thanks to Wikipedia ....

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A brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), is shunned by the academic world due to his far-fetched theories regarding the Great Pyramid. Dr. Catherine Langford privately hires him to decipher a set of symbols found on the cover stones of an ancient ring-shaped artifact (the Stargate) that was found at Giza in 1928. Jackson determines that the symbols are in fact constellations, and if 6 symbols are identified, a point in space can be extrapolated that corresponds to a "destination"; a seventh symbol defines the point of origin. This discovery unlocks the secret to using the Stargate for interstellar travel.

USAF Colonel Jack O'Neil (Kurt Russell), with Jackson, leads an expedition through the Stargate to the planet Abydos. In the film, there exist only two Stargates in the universe, connecting only Abydos and Earth; hence the purpose of the mission is to determine whether Abydos poses a danger to Earth, and, if so, to destroy the gate on Abydos to protect Earth. Expansions of the film, such as SG-1, alter this premise, explaining that an entire network of Stargates exists.

On Abydos, O'Neil's team comes into conflict with an alien posing as the Egyptian sun god Ra (Jaye Davidson). Ra controls vast numbers of slaves who labor in his mine, living in fear and ignorance. The slaves are the descendants of humans who were transported to Abydos from Ancient Egypt to mine the mineral needed to sustain Ra's life. O'Neil's team befriends the people of Abydos, and Jackson falls in love with and marries a woman named Sha'uri, who was originally given to him by the people of Abydos as a peace offering. The team reveals Ra's hoax to the people of Abydos and leads them in revolution against him.

Before O'Neil is able to detonate a nuclear warhead to seal the pathway to Earth, Ra steals the bomb and uses the same mineral comprising the Stargate to increase its destructive power a hundredfold, with the intention of sending the bomb back to Earth through the Stargate. O'Neil is unable to defuse the detonation timer, and alternatively transports the bomb onto Ra's space-vessel. It detonates, destroying both Ra and his ship. With Ra's destruction, the slaves of Abydos are liberated.

O'Neil and the surviving members of his team return to Earth, but Jackson stays behind to live with his wife

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It's from this point that the tv series, Stargate SG-1 began, with Kurt Russell's role of Col. Jack O'Neill now being played by Richard Dean Anderson. A number of the evil parasitic aliens, the Goa'uld, of which Ra was a member in the original movie, come through the stargate (which has been put away in storage) to Earth and kidnap an Earthling to be used as a host. The airforce takes the gate out of storage, calls a retired O'Neill back to duty, and sends him, and a team of marines, to Abydos to retrieve the victim. He encounters Dr. Jackson (now played by Michael Shanks), whose wife has also been kidnapped by the Goa'uld, and ten years of fighting the bad guys ensues :-)

If you like Battlestar Galactica, you may not appreciate Stargate SG-1. Galactica's sturm und drang is replaced with a self-depreciating humor, and instead of extremely cool fighter pilots and their ruthless leaders in a distant galaxy and future, you get present day nerdy scientists, earnest archaeologists, and airforce guys who have absolutely no appreciation for the chain of command.

The good news is that Stargate SG-1 has a spin-off that I actually like even more than the original ... Stargate Atlantis. Wikipedia says of it .....

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Stargate Atlantis follow the cliffhanger Stargate SG-1 seventh season finale "Lost City", where the SG-1 found an outpost made by the race known as the Ancients in Antarctica. After the events of Stargate SG-1 season eight premiere "New Order", the Stargate Command sends an international team to investigate the outpost. Soon, Dr. Jackson discovers the location of the greatest city created by the Ancients, Atlantis.

The series follows the adventures of a group of scientists and soldiers that take this possibly one-way trip to this lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy. Like the SG teams of Stargate SG-1, the new team's use of the Stargate has brought humanity into contact with other cultures, some human and some alien, some friendly and some quite hostile, including their new and most powerful enemy: the Wraith. All while trying to uncover the secrets the Ancients left behind.

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If I had to explain why I so like the two Stargate series, I'd say that the writers seem to take knowledge seriously - there's an interweaving of physics, religion, history, and mythology that keeps me interested. And there may also be ... ahem ... other considerations .....




2 Comments:

Blogger cowboyangel said...

Hang in there, Crystal. It'll be okay.

There's still Battlestar Galactica.

2:45 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Battlestar Galactica is pretty good. Every now and then something unexpected happens on the show and I appreciate that ... like Apollo's speech about Baltar in court that got him acquited. Still, it can be relentlessly serious.

3:06 PM  

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