1/07/2011. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
region 2 DVD: pub: MGM 3442101000. 6 DVDs 833 minutes 20 episodes with extras. Price: GBP 16.00 (UK) if you know where to look). stars: Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Beau Bridges and Claudia Black.
check out website: www.fox.co.uk
I’ve been putting back watching the ninth season of ‘Stargate SG-1’ for some time. A split between patience waiting for the price to drop – we don’t always get the things we ask for review after all and like many of you, I don’t have a big budget for everything I’d like to see – and being a bit apprehensive what Arthurian legends was being added to the mix than the cast changes. Over the years, Arthurian legends have come up all over the place and is so clichéd that it’s becoming more a turn-off than a turn-on and wish there was a bit more thinking than resurrecting. This isn’t helped by this being more an American than British interpretation and our cousins across the pond revere King Arthur too much. None of this was helped by a paying digital channel took the last two seasons off terrestrial channel viewing over here.
In some respects, it only really comes to the fore in about four or five episodes so isn’t that big a deal, even if Merlin still has his pointed hat. Then again, one would have to ask why would an armoured Black Knight appear on an alien world and how come a girl could pull Excalibur out of its stone, although I suspect the hologram technology had something to do with that. Thank the stargate that new SG-1 leader, Colonel Mitchell Cameron (actor Ben Browder) didn’t pull Excalibur out of the stone or he might have thought he would be the once and future king.
Much of the opening of the series was Cameron coming to terms with his new position as SG-1 leader and getting members of the original team back under his command. With actress Amanda Tapping having a pregnant pause while her part, Samantha Carter, was in Area 51 going over artefacts, that might have been difficult anyway. What was inspiring was bringing Vala (actress Claudia Black) into the fold and having her more roguish elements toned down over the stories as she realises that she’s the one most capable of doing things. It’s quite understandable why she was asked to come back as Black really comes to life with the character which is far different to ‘Farscape’. The lady really needs more than voice-over work that’s she been taking since although I suspect Black sees it as a better way to raise her children.
Much of the focus was on the latest enemy to step up to the stargate in the form of the Ori and their powerful Priors with an interesting religious practice incentive of unless you worshipped them unilaterally, they would annihilate your planet. It does make you wonder why they stayed away from the galaxy so long because they would certainly have been a match for the Gou’ld, although Baal (actor Cliff Simon) and his clones surfaced from time to time.
In many respects, the stories jigsawed together rather well, blocking in to cover various absences and returns allowing them all to shine along the way. Hardly surprising that actor Chris Judge (Teal’c) complained he had more dialogue this season than in the previous eight seasons combined. You need to become somewhat of an orator if you’re going to turn your people into a democracy.
The extras are really plentiful with an audio commentary for each story. Just a shame that outside of actor Gary Jones, only Amanda Tapping was available to co-host one of them. I think my favourite of these has to be the penultimate commentary with producer Robert C. Cooper who finally gets to direct an episode and explaining his learning curve. About the only thing missing was an out-takes reel but the rest more than made up for it.
Amongst the things I did learn was that season nine was supposed to be the start of a new series, ‘Stargate Command’, but got waylaid by the opening story and they stuck by the original title. Then again, staying on home turf when you have stargates to get you around the galaxy would have been a bad idea. I was surprised with the minds sent to different bodies in the opening stories that no one in the commentaries made the connection to ‘Quantum Leap’ where this was standard practice.
Picking out a favourite story is difficult. It’s easy to see why ‘Ripple Effect’ is a fan favourite although it deserved to be at least a two-parter than wrap it up so quickly. Shame one of the teams didn’t bring in their own O’Neil. Does that mean in all realities he will always have an increase in rank?
I’ve been suitably quiet about not giving too much away. The die-hard ‘Stargate’ fans will already have them but with a passage of six years now and a more condensed boxset, there are always likely to be people discovering the series. With a cliff-hanger ending, now is the time to watch them one after the other and see what happens next. Don’t forget your dial-in codes.
Add SFcrowsnest.com daily news updates to your own web site or blog - just cut and paste the code below...
Stephen Hunt's novels - USA