Friday, September 26, 2014

An ode to Stargate

I recently bought and rewatched all the seasons of my favorite science fiction show of all time: Stargate. Beginning with the original movie following up with seven great seasons of Stargate SG1, then alternating between SG1 and Stargate Atlantis with two SG1 movies in the mix, until the story line of SG1 was complete. After the tenth season of SG1 there were still two more seasons of Atlantis to be watched before rounding it all up with two seasons of Stargate Universe, though it leaves business unfinished and the heart of every true Stargate fan broken, but I will get to that later.

It is widely agreed upon that the original Stargate movie is a great movie and sometimes it is even referred to as a masterpiece. In my opinion it indeed is a great movie, though I only watched it after falling in love with the tv show.

To me the whole idea behind the stargate, instantaneous travel to other platets, has always been almost as fascinating as the question of whether there is other life out there somewhere in the vast distances of the universe. The concept of stepping through the event horizon of a wormhole, not knowing what awaits on the other side and almost unlimited possibilities made watching Stargate SG1 a great experience each week a new episode aired. Throughout the seasons also the production quality increased dramatically, which made the experience even better.

My favorite aspect of all the Stargate shows has always been the technical evolution of humanity. I was excited about every newly discovered piece of technology and almost became angry whenever the team passed up a chance to acquire some new tech, even though I understood it was the morally right thing to do. Eventually though, over the course of ten seasons of SG1 and with the help of various alien allies, Earth became one of the dominating factions in the milkyway galaxy and defeated numerous supposedly more advanced and powerful enemies.

The relatively late introduction of the Ancients also known as the gate builders, a highly advanced race similar to humans, that eventually evolved to the point of living as powerful beings of pure energy, gave the show an increadible depth and also gave birth to the spinoff shows Atlantis and Universe.

Atlantis being the generally most popular Stargate series had a whole new galaxy to explore and shed more light on the history and legacy of the Ancients. This show had numerous new enemies waiting one more powerful then the next and was focussing even more on the scientific advancements to be made. While being its own show it aired simultaniously with SG1 for three years with the occasional crossover episode. One of the things that I really like about the Stargate franchise is that it all ties together in a big timeline building something bigger than just one show.

The next Stargate installment took it even further than just exploring one other galaxy. It was exploring the entire universe on a ship sent on its way by the Ancients long before their ascension, hence the name of the show: Stargate Universe. This show had a darker style and a more depressing atmosphere. Since it was focussing more on the people stranded aboard the ship billions of lightyears away from earth, rather than on exploration and adventures, at least in the first season, it was disliked by a great number of viewers and even frowned upon by some fans. Personally I enjoyed the story told in this show and the endless possibilities it presented. Unfortunately it was discontinued alongside Stargate Atlantis due to dropping viewer ratings the moment it really picked up momentum. While Atlantis at least had some kind of closure after its fifth season and was being continued in a series of books Stargate Universe was cut off in the middle of a cliffhanger leaving every true fan like me heartbroken and weeping for more. Even the mercy of continuing the story in written form was not granted, despite the chances of ever getting a third season are next to non existent. The desire for closure inspired many fan fiction authors to write down what might have happened afterwards, but since most times it is nowhere near the quality of professional writing and knowing that it is not official it is just not the real deal.

Rewatching all those seventeen seasons and three movies took me back to great memories and immersed me into the fantastic universe that the Stargate franchise has built over the years. Following and caring about all those great characters that saved not only Earth but also entire galaxies numerous times was an inspiring experience. This franchise is my all time favorite and will continue to be even when Roland Emmerich reboots Stargate with a new movie trilogy, which doesn't necessarily have to be bad. Maybe it even is chance for Stargate to rise once again. At least the hope will never die.

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