Despite a few good episodes to come, including the hilarious “200” and my all-time favorite, “Unending,” plus Claudia Black every week, Stargate SG-1 ended its run with the season I like the least since its first, and the cliffhanger season finale / season premiere resolution kind of demonstrates why. Season nine suffered a little because the evil Ori and their Priors were so humorless and awful. Season ten just ramps it up and makes them too powerful. We kind of nailed it down with our son, who normally would have enjoyed a series of big space battles like this one gives us, but not when the heroes are on the losing side. It all gets way too tedious and dispiriting. Mitchell says toward the end that he’s tired of them getting their butts kicked, and so is the audience. You need some wins, not just last-minute escapes when something else fails to work.
Even worse, there’s the lamest ongoing plot this series ever embraced. I asked the kid whether he remembered Gabrielle in Xena having a demon baby who grows into an evil adult and says “Hello, mother” all the time. Even casting Morena Baccarin won’t fix this one. But I’ll enjoy seeing “200” and “Unending” again, along with “The Pegasus Project” and “Bounty” and the times that Ba’al shows up. The disappointing Ark of Truth movie put this storyline out of its misery; the wonderful Continuum ended the series triumphantly.
When SG-1 was first broadcast, I was only vaguely aware that it was on at all. As I recounted back when I started writing about this series two years ago, if a show’s built around the military and machine guns, then I’m probably going to be either ambivalent about it or actively repelled unless there’s a lot of fun to pull me in. So I didn’t pay any attention to SG-1 or Atlantis, apart from skimming past the listings in Lee Whiteside’s old weekly Usenet updates about what was on TV that week.
SG-1 was finally cancelled in August 2006. A couple of weeks later, some girl took me to Atlanta’s DragonCon, which is held every Labor Day, and there was a fellow in military fatigues carrying a sign reading SAVE STARGATE SG-1. I remembered that the show had to have premiered before my older son was born in the spring of ’97, so surely ten years was a long enough run, and I have to stand by that. The show did well to adapt and bring in new characters, but it never really recovered from Richard Dean Anderson retiring, and a decade’s enough for a show like this. It was, then, the longest-running American fantasy show, although both Smallville and Supernatural would surpass it. Atlantis ended with five, which was at least one too few. I really wanted to see how they were going to resolve the great big change that its hundredth episode provided. Universe was an ugly waste of time. We gave up on that after eight or nine episodes. A guest appearance by Janelle Monáe was the only thing about it I care to remember.
Amazon owns the show now, since they bought MGM. Maybe one day we’ll see a six episode run on Amazon Prime one day, and no Blu-ray release, which is how Prime programs seem to work. We’ll probably tune in, unless it’s a hard reboot, in which case I won’t bother.