Stargate SG-1 6.7 – Shadow Play

“What I want to see is crazy adventure, not a bunch of people talking in a room,” our son grumbled. I’d mentioned before that this season really, really isn’t doing it for him, and here’s the hour that’s annoyed him the most so far. It makes me wonder whether the move from Showtime to the Sci-Fi Channel didn’t come with some serious production and budget issues for Stargate SG-1 initially. In time, we’ll get back to grandiose action set pieces and lots of sci-fi ships and explosions and big mobs of extras, but there’s been a conspicuous lack of these for the first seven weeks, along with an hour that didn’t even have the show’s star in it, plus the next episode sidelines all the regulars to focus on other characters.

For what it’s worth, I think these first two months of season six have featured some really good and really intelligent scripts, and the grownups can’t wait for the next episode, which is a firm favorite. Wondering whether they had to start running before the money caught up doesn’t mean these installments are at all bad, just that they don’t get the nine year-old’s seal of approval.
Anyway, clearly the Sci-Fi Channel saw that at least one of the show’s regular tricks at Showtime was worth continuing: hire a guest star from another popular SF program with an active fan base. This time, it’s Dean Stockwell from Quantum Leap, playing an old professor of Jonas’s who gets involved when Jonas’s countrymen ask to reestablish diplomatic relations with Earth.

There’s interesting wheeling and dealing and a fascinating sense of perspective. Earth suddenly gets thrust into the same situation that their since-annihilated allies, the Tollan, were in, because Jonas’s people, from the nation of Kelowna (on the conveniently-named planet of Kelowna), need assistance against two aggressive other countries. Kelowna’s tech is decades behind Earth’s, but they have access to a very useful and very powerful radioactive isotope that nobody else in the universe seems to know about. But Earth has bad experience interfering between the affairs of warring nations; they bring up the events of season four’s “Other Side” to drive that point home.

It’s a great moral argument, and it’s played well, the morals are fascinating, and Stockwell’s character has a secret that could really change the negotiations… but our son is, in the end, correct. It’s a bunch of people talking in a room. Things’ll brighten up for him, though, I’m sure.