Has Stargate ever jumped the shark? Pt 2

This look at Stargate's attempts to leap right over any and all available sharks picks up where Part 1 left off, checking out seasons 1 and 2...

Stargate SG-1

Season 1: The Dark Ages

While I look back on this season fondly, I also can’t watch it sometimes without cringing at how sub-standard it was. Let’s face it, it might have been good at the time, but when you see re-runs of episodes from the first season, and compare those to episodes from the middle seasons, you can see they’ve learnt from this season in a major way. I suppose you could say that’s true of any good show: it not only flows with time, but also learns from its mistakes and takes them in its stride.

The opening double episode Children Of The Gods is basically Stargate 2 — in the eyes of the series’ developers, anyway. And it does what it sets out to do: gives the season a reason for being, sets up the new team, and gives them a helping hand over the threat they now face. This is perfect.

Now, where to go from here? Well, they had a few elements running through the season: getting the viewer nice and friendly with SG-1, learning about their pasts; having Daniel Jackson getting depressed over losing his wife and endlessly searching for her; setting up some funnies; learning about new worlds and threats aplenty – and worrying a lot about being destroyed by the big snake guys, the Goa’uld.

Ad – content continues below

When a series is finding its feet, it’s difficult to laugh or poke fun at it, because it’s a bit like laughing at a one-year-old child for not being able to walk: it’s mean and you know they’ll get there soon enough. So, no poking fun from me… at least not yet!

Season 2: Getting there…

Much like in Season 1, there are baby steps towards progress in season 2: a little deeper, a little better, a little more. This is both good and bad. Good, because it enhances its back-stories, has some better writing and starts to walk on its own. Bad, because you’d think there’d have been more of a jump.

There’s one episode from this season that really sticks out as the big one – the mammoth, the goliath among sheep. The episode is called The Fifth Race. Jack has an ancient database downloaded into his brain, which might seem like a great thing, and for a while it is, but it’s slowly degrading his brain via stress. So, as Jack is getting more and more incomprehensibly genius-y, he’s also heading straight for the deathly finish line.

Of course, he’s saved and the series continues. Yay! The best thing about this episode, though, is that it happens. It doesn’t have any lead up, story stealing or ideas tried and tested; it is a truly genuine boost to the series.

“Why?!” I hear you call. Well, it shows that the infinite possibilities we thought we had coming up were more infinite than we imagined. Firstly, there’s the introduction of a new galaxy, which has only been truly explored in the spin off series Stargate: Atlantis (we’ll get there soon enough).

Secondly, there’s the proper ‘how’d you do’ of the Asgard, which is an important turning point in the series as it addressed the UFO side of sci-fi as well as instantly giving Earth a new powerful allies to help out in situations. This is where a true feeling of hope comes together for the people at the SGC and I personally think this is the saving grace of season two and one of the best episodes of the entire series.

Maybe I’m being greedy, but in hindsight I feel that seasons one and two merge together seamlessly with very little experience gained from the first being used in the second. To be honest I’m feeling a little disappointed. Ach well, onwards and upwards, as they say…