25 years later, Stargate is still criminally underrated


The cast of Stargate SG-1 from left to right: Christopher Judge (Teal’c), Michael Shanks (Dr. Daniel Jackson), Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter), and Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O’Neill)

   In 1994, a sleeper hit called Stargate hit theaters. The movie was unique, entertaining, and had high-end special effects for its time period. Fans were itching for a sequel. Writers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich had plans for sequels in mind, but StudioCanal had plans to make it a TV series. When Devlin and Emmerich went to talk to executives about the series, StudioCanal said that they sold the rights to MGM, and had no creative input on the series. Three years later, that series would air on SHOWTIME. 

   Stargate is much more different and special than any other sci-fi content. A lot of sci-fi content, like Battlestar Galactica, can feel gloomy, dark, and hopeless. The future, more often than not, is bleak, and it looks like there is no hope for the characters. I am not saying this as a bad thing, because I do enjoy shows like Battlestar Galactica, and content that shows a pretty dark future can be interesting. 

   Stargate is about a man named Colonel Jack O’Neil trying to get over the death of his son, Charlie, who killed himself using Jack’s gun. Since this incident, he has retired. The movie is also about a scientist named Dr. Daniel Jackson, whose views are seen by the general public as radical. For instance, at the beginning of the film, he is seen giving a lecture about how the Egyptian pyramids were built by aliens, and the pyramids were used as landing zones for their ships. After giving the talk, he walks outside to find a woman named Catherine Langford waiting for him. She brings him into the car and tells him “Want to prove that your theories are right? This is your chance.” 

   She then gives him travel plans, and he steps out of the car. He then goes to a top-secret military base in Colorado and discovers the Stargate. 

   The Stargate is a ring that, when activated, can create a wormhole that links to another Stargate on another planet. Each Stargate has something connected to it called a Dial Home Device (DHD). On the DHD, there are symbols, and each planet corresponds with seven of them. When someone dials seven of them in a row, they go to the planet in which the symbols correspond to. It is sort of like dialing a telephone. Your mom’s number is a separate number from your friend’s.      

This is the Stargate from Stargate SG-1

   They bring Jack out of retirement to bring Daniel and a team of soldiers through the Stargate. They end up on the planet Abydos, where everyone is enslaved by Ra, who is the Sun God. Jack and Daniel work together to defeat Ra. 

   They succeed, but when they go home, Daniel decides to stay back because he found a woman named Sha’uri, who he would marry in the film. Jack and the rest of the soldiers go through the Stargate. Before this, Daniel told Jack that he would bury the Stargate underground. This is how the movie ends. 

   Three years later, the first episode of Stargate SG-1, “Children of The Gods” aired on SHOWTIME. 

   It takes place just one year after the movie. Jack has retired again but is brought in by a couple of soldiers to be questioned on the Stargate. They dial the Stargate to Abydos, and when it worked, Jack sent a message to Daniel, who would reply in a few hours. 

   Jack then takes a team consisting of himself, a character named Captain Samantha (or Sam for short) Carter, and a few other marines. 

   When Jack and Daniel are reunited, an evil God named Apophis takes Sha’uri and a kid named Skaara through the Stargate. Jack and Sam take Daniel back through the Stargate, and after some planning and figuring out where to go, they use the Stargate to go to Chulak. Their mission was to bring Sha’uri and Skaara back, and they had 24 hours to do so. There they would befriend the first prime of Apophis named Teal’c, who would join them. 

   Teal’c is a Jaffa, a race of people who, when very young, have a Goa’uld symbiote planted in them. The Goa’uld are false Gods, much like Apophis and Ra. They have used their symbiotes in order to enslave the Jaffa. 

   The mission fails, and they bring Teal’c along with them. 

   The rest of Stargate SG-1 follows Jack, Sam, Daniel, and Teal’c going through the Stargate to different planets to try and stop the Goa’uld, and to free the Jaffa. 

   Stargate SG-1 is different because it takes a more lighthearted approach. At the end of each episode, you feel hopeful for the future, you feel like the characters have a real chance against the enemy, and you feel happy in general. People liked this change, as the show aired from 1997-2007.

   Stargate SG-1 became increasingly popular as the years went on. It was viewed by millions of people across the globe each week, it is currently the longest-running sci-fi series, and when it was cancelled by SHOWTIME after its fifth season, Syfy brought it back and would later air two spinoff shows: Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe, as well as two TV-movies: Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum.

    The point I am trying to make is that Stargate is a different kind of sci-fi franchise. It often gets overshadowed by Star Wars and Star Trek, and in my opinion, Stargate sometimes surpasses the quality of both Star Wars and Star Trek. The fact that Stargate does not get talked about as much as the other franchises is almost criminal. Almost nobody outside hardcore fans of sci-fi even know that Stargate even exists, and it’s a shame.

   If you need a change, I recommend giving Stargate a try.