The Showtime cable series Stargate SG-1
turns the premise of Stargate
into a surprisingly viable formula, with former MacGyver
star Richard Dean Anderson assuming Kurt Russell's role as Air Force hero Jack O'Neill. Michael Shanks inherits James Spader's role as archeologist Daniel Jackson, and the series' 1997 pilot, "Children of the Gods," reunites the adventurers when the Air Force's Stargate facility on Earth is attacked by sentries from Abydos, the distant planet on the other side of the space-warping Stargate. Faced with a new nemesis from Abydos, O'Neill and the fresh recruits of Unit SG-1 must return to the planet and close off the Stargate to prevent further attacks on Earth. It's a pretty standard adventure, with brief, gratuitous R-rated nudity not seen in the original cablecast, but Anderson's an appealing leader of the well-chosen cast (including Alexis Cruz, reprising his role from the film), and the show's production values are consistently high. Taking logical steps from Stargate
, series developers Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner have managed an admirable feat, creating a spin-off that doesn't feel like a rip-off.
Episode One, "The Enemy Within," continues the SG-1 pilot, with the discovery that officer Kawalsky (Jay Acavone) is now the enslaved host of a Goa'uld larvae--a snakelike parasite from Abydos that has seized control of Kawalski's nervous system. Only an elaborate surgical procedure can save Kawalski's life, and the SG-1 loyalty of Teal'c (Christopher Judge)--a former enemy from Abydos who is also a Goa'uld host--is put to the test.
Episode Two, "Emancipation," guest-stars Soon-Tek Oh as the leader of the Shavadai, a Mongolian-like tribe on the planet Simarka, where the SG-1 Unit has arrived via the Stargate to begin their first expedition. The Shavadai view women as subservient and submissive, so the presence of SG-1 Captain Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) causes an instant--and, for Carter, potentially deadly--uproar. This episode offers an enjoyable balance of humor and suspense, and establishes Tapping as a witty sparring partner for Anderson. --Jeff Shannon
Episode #8.1: New Order Part 1 - When Carter and TealÂ'c fly to the Asgard world of Hala in hopes of finding a way to revive OÂ'Neill, they are attacked by Replicators, who take Carter prisoner. Meanwhile, Dr. Weir and Daniel Jackson attempt to negotiate a treaty with GoaÂ'uld System Lords who wish to unite against a common enemy. Episode #8.2: New Order Part 2 - The GoaÂ'uld send a mothership to Earth, demanding that it prove its superior defenses. As Dr. Weir applies her most expert diplomatic tactics, Daniel and the still unconscious body of Colonel O'Neill are unexpectedly beamed aboard ThorÂ's ship, where Thor tries to access the knowledge of the Ancients. Episode #8.3: Lock Down - When Jackson contracts a mysterious illness from a Russian colonel, OÂ'Neill is convinced that a contagion has infected the base and orders a lockdown. But when Jackson reveals that he was actually possessed by Anubis, who is now loose on the base, OÂ'Neill must discover the identity of the new host! Episode #8.4: Zero Hour - OÂ'Neill finds his plate full with a visit from the president and negotiations between two warring tribes from the planet Amra. But when SG-1 is captured by a GoaÂ'uld System Lord and heÂ's forced to choose between the safety of the team and the fate of an entire planet, OÂ'Neill begins to question his competency!