Author Topic: Death by Stargate  (Read 7617 times)

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Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #45 on: August 05, 2015, 08:45:44 AM »
What a lovely essay from io9!


Quote
Stargate Didn't Become a Great Universe Until It Was on Television

It was never in the cards that the rebooted/reinvigorated Stargate movies would keep all of the continuity from the TV shows. And that’s a shame, since the TV franchise did a lot more with the premise than anyone could have expected.

While a new version of the continuity doesn’t mean that the old shows disappear, it does feel like the creators of the movie are invalidating more than a decade’s worth of work. There are many reasons to venerate these shows and be sad that they’re losing their canon status.

Note: Most of this article will be about the first two shows, SG-1 and Atlantis, since they ran much longer than Universe.

Teamwork

As much fun as the original Stargate movie is, the main characters are two dudes — Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell) and Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) — who don’t get along too great at the beginning of their trip through an ancient circle to another world. Every Stargate show had a much larger cast of characters than the movie did, taking advantage of TV’s longer format.

From the start, Stargate SG-1 had Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge) as the main team — a team that the show didn’t waste time cementing into a very close-knit unit. By the end of the first season, the whole team was willing to follow Daniel on a mission to save Earth based on information he tells them he got from accidentally ending up in an alternate reality. That’s some trust.

The showrunners also managed to thread the needle by making the team very close but not making any single character irreplaceable. Both Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson — the two characters from the original movie — left the show at different points. That brought Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black), and Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder) onto the team.

This was something that carried over to Stargate Atlantis, which also had an exploration-based team that needed a retooling during the course of the show.

All of these characters had unique histories, families, and relationships that the show was more than willing to build up and develop over the many seasons. Sam Carter’s father was an important recurring character, for example. Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) had a sister that popped up for both plot and comic relief reasons. We ended up knowing a lot about the characters on this show, which gave them each intense depth.

Expansive Mythology

Whatever question you had after seeing the original movie? The shows answered them. Who built the Stargates? Why are there so many symbols on them? The evil alien pretending to be Ra, where did he come from? Are there other planets out there?

Stargate was concerned with one tyrannical alien terrorizing a planet of human slaves, pretending to be the god Ra. Stargate SG-1 expanded that to say that pretty much all of the gods of ancient Earth were some form of technologically advanced alien exerting power over the sad humans. There were snake-like aliens who burrowed into human brains as parasites and (mostly) impersonated Egyptian gods. There were benevolent Roswell-style grey aliens who used holograms to impersonate Norse gods. And there were aliens who were just aliens — allies and obstacles and aliens who were mentioned but never meant. Stargate populated the whole galaxy very thoroughly.

Stargate Atlantis did a similar trick in a different galaxy. The threat was different. Instead of aliens using humans as hosts and slaves, the Wraith of the Pegasus Galaxy used humans as food, waking from a sleep in cycles to “cull” their human herd. Atlantis filled its universe with all the possible ways cultures could react to this kind of life: a paranoid society that pretends to be simple farmers, only to be researching nuclear weapons underground; a society protected by a shield with a limited range that practices ritual suicide to stay safe.

Stargate hit the sweet spot of alien races. They developed the right number of them — Goa’uld, Asgard, Wraith, Tok’ra, Nox, Unas — while making sure that the universe didn’t feel like it was only populated by beings related to the plot.

Continuity

Thanks to the TV shows, Stargate is probably the franchise with the best grasp of its own continuity. That may have been because Atlantis premiered during SG-1’s run and Universe only shortly after, but there were a lot of references to other episodes, sometimes just as throwaway lines:

Hammond: Are you saying Colonel O’Neill has, somehow, regressed more than 30 years overnight?

Daniel: Stranger things have happened.

Teal’c: Name but one.

Daniel: Well, there was the time he got really old, the time he turned into a caveman, the time we all swapped bodies...
And sometimes in larger ways, such as with the Replicators, who appeared first in SG-1, only to get much of their backstory revealed in Atlantis.

It isn’t just that these shows had a strong continuity; they also revisited that continuity constantly. Everything in the show was either explained or was explicitly stated as something the characters didn’t know.

Making Science Fiction Tropes Their Own

Stargate never made any attempts to hide its genre roots. The shows tackled every possible science fiction trope they could. There were parallel universes, time travel, body-swapping, courtroom dramas, memory wiping, resurrection from death, and Groundhog Day-based plotlines. Whatever stereotypical science fiction plot device you can think of, they did it. And most of the time, they were really fun. Granted, though, they occasionally flopped. (I’m looking right at you, “Space Race.”)

A consistent authorial tone, depth of world-building, and strong characters meant that some of the tropiest episodes are also the best. “Window of Opportunity” was SG-1’s Groundhog Day and it’s still one of my favorites. Jack gives a speech about how crazy repeating the same day is making him, and it is both perfectly in character and screamingly funny. Doesn’t matter that the time loop convention has been used a billion times.

The Humor

There are dark themes in Stargate, no doubt. But the joy people clearly took in making the show translated. Every time Jack asks someone to go fishing or McKay complains about being allergic to citrus, you smile.

Everyone’s pretty good at mouthing off to authority, too. When John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) is captured by the Wraith, he asks if one of them is called “Steve.” A captured O’Neill says to his torturer, “‘Ba’al?’ As in ‘bocce?’”

The friendships in Stargate are the best kind: snarky. The banter in these shows is exquisite, and works well because we know so much about these characters’ relationships.

Sheppard: Wait a second. Are these things even close to a transporter?

McKay: Elizabeth’s is.

Sheppard: And mine?

McKay: It’s a...brisk walk away.

Sheppard: And by “brisk” you mean “far”?

McKay: And by “walk” I mean “run.”

The show was never above poking fun at itself. The 100th episode of SG-1 was about a TV show within a TV show that hung lampshades on the show’s most absurd aspects — including having a director of the fake show say, “That’s the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard” about a thing the show actually did.

Stargate was one of longest running franchises on television. And in a burst of Hollywood reboot-itis, the whole thing is suddenly no longer canon. That’s a shame, because we don’t need another O’Neill or Jackson or Ra to fight. We had them already, and the shows moved on with aplomb.

Offline Sirharles

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #46 on: August 05, 2015, 11:28:07 AM »
Great article!

I really hope they don't make a new Stargate movie.  This franchise needs to be left alone.  Let it stand on it's own.

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2015, 12:10:41 PM »
It's just all still so fresh...that's the problem. Maybe in 2025 we can have a reboot.

Sadly, though...

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #48 on: June 15, 2016, 09:52:21 AM »
Hmmm...a compromise?

Quote
“Elements of [Stargate SG-1] will flow into the reboot, definitely,” Emmerich said in a Q&A with readers of Empire magazine, which he is guest-editing this week. “The amount of characters, for instance. It’s not a two-hander like the first one with James Spader and Kurt Russell, this time it’s a bigger group.”

That sounds like more of an ensemble story, in contrast with the original film which featured two major characters (the stoic warrior and the brilliant archaeologist) and then filled out that first team through the gate with supporting characters such as Kawalsky (John Diehl), Ferretti (French Stewart), and several Redshirts.

SG-1 departed from this a bit by establishing a larger team of major characters, adding astrophysicist Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and alien warrior Teal’c (Christopher Judge).


“Yes, there’s still the James Spader character and the Kurt Russell character, but other people are equally important,” Emmerich added. That could mean a reboot that still features Colonel Jack O’Neill and Dr. Daniel Jackson, with new actors filling those roles. Or Emmerich might just mean that those character types will be present on the new team.
The director also said that Russell and Spader wouldn’t be in the film (unless they can be booked for cameos). “It’ll be a younger cast,” he said.

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #49 on: June 21, 2016, 02:20:13 PM »

Offline Sirharles

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2016, 09:57:01 AM »
Hah!

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #51 on: July 29, 2016, 09:18:43 AM »
So I re-watched Ark of Truth and Continuum again -- the tie-up movies for SG1. They both hold up very well, even the (now primitive) effects.

But I realized, also again, my big problem with SGU and the larger problem with the SG1 universe.

By the time SGU begins the only big bad they can think of is organized piracy. They try and make those guys out to be some sort of terrorist organization that's a real threat. Meanwhile, we have the tepid story of our people stranded on the Destiny. Earth remains divided as ever.

So none of that makes any sense at all. The humans have been indoctrinated as the Fifth Race. Atlantis is sitting in the Pacific and there's no covering it up. We have the entire Ancient database AND the Asgard Core, which means we have a user friendly (a child can interact with either database) mega-database of all history and science for the last 10,000 years. There's no way that we aren't all instantly uplifted to a utopia on par with where the Ancients were in their heyday.

Since both the Ancients and the Asgard would have no problem dealing with the Go'aulds, why's the Lucian Alliance (exclusively using hand-me-down Go'auld tech) a problem? Why is getting to the Destiny a problem? Why aren't we building battlecruisers and ZPMs? Why and how is everything still a secret and the planet still divided? Why are we still sending out SG teams to explore planets? Why are people still dying of cancer and shit?

So all of SGU was just one big question mark for me. The franchise is kind of at the point where it either has to reboot or fast forward 100 years to utopian galactic Earth and introduce a new Big Bad (easy enough, since even the Ancients had a Big Bad).

Offline Sirharles

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #52 on: July 29, 2016, 10:22:58 AM »
Mrs. Sirharles and I are watching SG Atlantis right now...just started the second season. Ronan!, I mean Khal Drago, I mean Aquaman. 

I never liked Universe.  I couldn't get into it and never finished the show.  So in Universe there was fighting and divisiveness?  It really was their attempt to BSG the series, which it really didn't need.

At the end of Atlantis, didn't they cloak the city?  While yes there is now a huge barricade in San Francisco Bay disrupting all sorts of things couldn't they have moved it after a bit?  Although I do agree at the end of Atlantis, humans had taken a huge jump in the galactic power scale. 

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #53 on: July 29, 2016, 11:37:41 AM »
Mrs. Sirharles and I are watching SG Atlantis right now...just started the second season. Ronan!, I mean Khal Drago, I mean Aquaman. 

I never liked Universe.  I couldn't get into it and never finished the show.  So in Universe there was fighting and divisiveness?  It really was their attempt to BSG the series, which it really didn't need.

At the end of Atlantis, didn't they cloak the city?  While yes there is now a huge barricade in San Francisco Bay disrupting all sorts of things couldn't they have moved it after a bit?  Although I do agree at the end of Atlantis, humans had taken a huge jump in the galactic power scale. 

So in Universe the Lucian Alliance had become a major power in the galaxy by stealing a bunch of tech and just being pirates. We're talking they not only set off the events of the series in the pilot episode, but they also DESTROY THE PENTAGON! Where SGC is located after moving from Cheyenne Mountain.

It's fucking retarded. You'd think #1 the Ancient Database would be like "Oh, yeah, command code for Destiny is 10098761." and #2 both databases would be like "Here's how you make a ZPM in 30 minutes so you can gate to the Destiny. What's the...um...what's the problem?"

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #54 on: August 30, 2016, 11:05:33 AM »
I'll go ahead and use this thread to talk about Dark Matter since it's basically Stargate in disguise. Especially now that our heroes have the Blink Drive so they can travel anywhere in the universe.

I've gotten behind this season. They've upped the writing and characterization a bit and there's some sense of a mission, though it's more the Farscape-style sense of mission. Everyone has their own mission but they're all either behind the eight ball or too incompetent to carry through with it.

It's a sad thing when the best character on a show is the emotionless Android...and even sadder when the show realizes that and decides to make her more of the centerpiece. But, whatever. I can at least tolerate the show now and, really, that's all I ask for these days.

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #55 on: November 18, 2016, 10:26:26 AM »
This is being billed as "a huge bummer for Stargate fans." But...um.... NO! IT ISN'T! DON'T FUCK UP STARGATE ASSHOLES!

Quote
When Emmerich and Devlin announced they were rebooting Stargate with MGM and Warner Bros., fans were over the moon. We should have known it wouldn’t last, and in a new interview with Empire Online, Dean Devlin had some pretty bad news to share.

“It looked good for a couple of months, but now it’s not looking so good. There are just a lot of things that have to fire at the same time, and there was a moment where I thought it was all firing at the same time, and then it all kind of fell apart.”

So why did the Stargate remake/reboot fall through? Devlin puts the blame on today’s moviemaking system, which focuses on the numbers rather than the end product.

“It’s one of the reasons I prefer to work independently. Listen, I think if we did Stargate right, the fans would like it and we could do something really good. But if we screw it up, they’ll reject it. As they should. But I kind of don’t want to do it if I think that we’ll screw it up, and that’s one of the things that’s holding us back.”

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #56 on: June 09, 2017, 03:52:27 PM »
Comic books seem to be the new way of resolving cancelled series.

https://io9.gizmodo.com/stargate-universes-series-ending-cliffhanger-will-final-1795924573

Quote
Stargate Universe's Series-Ending Cliffhanger Will Finally Get Resolved

The third Stargate series, Stargate Universe, ended after only two seasons and just 40 episodes. It also ended on a fairly big cliffhanger that has remained unresolved for six years. But an ending, and a new “season,” are coming in the form of a comic book.

Stargate Universe followed a exploration team on an ancient spaceship called Destiny, and their attempts to get back to Earth from billions of light years away. In the season two finale, the decision is made to put Destiny on a three-year, faster-than-light jump while the crew goes into stasis chambers. However, one of the stasis pods is discovered to be malfunctioning. Math genius Eli Wallace (David Blue) volunteers to stay behind, believing he is smart enough to fix the pod before life support shuts down.

The fate of Eli will be resolved in a new Stargate Universe comic from American Mythology. It’s described as a sort of third season where “Eli races against time to repair his damaged stasis pod, [and] a new danger to the ship threatens the fragile plan meant to keep everyone alive.”

The comic, written by Mark L. Haynes and J.C. Vaughn with Giancarlo Caracuzzo doing the art, is titled “Back to Destiny” and will be out in the third week of June. While it may not be exactly as the show would have followed up the finale—the comics are officially licensed, but Stargate Universe’s writers and creators aren’t involved—at least fans will be able to get some closure.

[Gateworld via Syfy Wire]

Offline nacho

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Re: Death by Stargate
« Reply #57 on: June 09, 2017, 05:27:39 PM »
I'm actually looking forward to that!