My name is Amy, and I love Stargate SG-1. There, I said it. I’m not positive why, but when SG-1 comes up in conversation I hear myself listing qualifiers. It's not in a “come to my fandom” way either, it’s like I’m making excuses. It’s time to stop that nonsense. SG-1 is an entertaining show, and I am a proud owner of all ten seasons and the movies.
As with most things, I came late to the party. Though I enjoyed the movie, I didn’t think the story could extend into a television show; I was wrong. I started watching just before the seventh season aired. I don’t think I’ve ever watched six seasons of a television show so fast.
The series took a different tone than the film. It didn’t take itself as seriously and that worked out. The changes in character and cast made the show stand on its own. When I think of Stargate now, it’s SG-1 and Richard Dean Anderson that come to mind first. Other people probably agree. In an era when networks have twitchy trigger fingers in regards to science fiction series, SG-1 lasted ten seasons. Fans came back week after week for years; it’s just the type of show that inspires loyalty. What could a show have that is so good? Four things come to mind.
Few people can deliver a one-liner like Jack O’Neill (two L’s). He was in charge and serious when he had to be, but he had a knack for lightening the mood. Comedy is worked into most episodes, but some, like “Window of Opportunity,” are meant to be hilarious. The writers were not afraid to embrace the silly or campy, and it played well. Don’t draw the wrong conclusion—there is drama. The main arcs cover serious topics and the show can be downright bleak at times. They still fit laughter in between those things, and it doesn’t feel forced or faked.
The villains in the SG-1 universe were numerous and varied. Goa’uld parasites were a constant threat to the galaxy. They were the resilient bad guys who liked to sell themselves as exotic gods to hapless people. One of them always survived. From them you go to the Replicators, little bug-like hunks of metal that self-replicate and can devour a spaceship in the span of a few minutes. Then the Ori came along with their fanatic followers and fancy tricks. Several minor baddies made appearances in between. Earth was in peril a lot, and you actually believed (more than once) that it was going to be destroyed.
Teal’c was enough reason to tune in, but most of the characters had something to offer. O’Neill had a troubled past and nothing motivating him to keep moving forward. Over the years, Dr. Jackson went from an awkward, timid archaeologist to a confident and valuable member of the team. You could relate to the characters and therefore you got attached to them. You wanted to come back and see what adventure they would go on next. For me, it never got old.
The show is called Stargate. It’s obviously fictional. The aspects that had ties to reality were well done though, and those details helped forge a stronger connection with the audience. The creative team took the extra time to work closely with military advisors so that everything related to the Stargate program’s base, uniforms, and ranks mirrored real life. Then, in the opposite direction, we have the mythology the writers created. It was based on real legends like Atlantis and then spun and twisted into something fresh. The show was familiar, but still new and exciting and getting that combination right isn’t easy.
The combination of these big factors plus countless tiny things made the show entertaining and dear. I’ll never make excuses for my love of SG-1 again.
Amy Ratcliffe is a fan of most things sci-fi and fantasy. When she’s not writing, she’s either dressing up as Han Solo, reading comics, playing D&D, or attending conventions. It usually happens in that order. Visit her blog Geek with Curves for rambling on all those topics.