Stargate SG-1: Season 9
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THE STARGATE IS AN INTERGALACTIC GATEWAY, DEVELOPED BY AN ANCIENT CIVILIZATION, THAT LINKS OTHER PLANETS FROM OTHER SOLAR SYSTEMS TO OURS. THE U.S. AIR FORCE ASSEMBLES A STARGATE TEAM FOR INTERSTELLAR PEACE-KEEPING MISSIONS
Stargate SG-1 soldiers on with this five-disc, 20-episode set from the sturdy franchise's ninth season (2005-06), incorporating numerous changes while continuing to distinguish itself as one of the television's best sci-fi shows. Longtime star Richard Dean Anderson makes only brief cameos these days, after seven seasons as Lieutenant Colonel and one as Brigadier General Jack O'Neill. Stalwarts Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, and Michael Shanks (as Samantha Carter, Teal'c, and Daniel Jackson, respectively), are still on hand, but with Season 9, Ben Browder (known to many genre fans for his lead role in the excellent Farscape series) takes over as leader of SG-1, the Stargate project's ace team in the field. As Lt. Col. Cameron Mitchell, Browder effectively projects the same kind of cocky irreverence that was Anderson's trademark, but he has a ways to go before he fully equals the latter's appeal. More engaging is fellow Farscape alum Claudia Black as Vala (Daniel Jackson's one-time love interest and a vixen, thief, and liar who becomes an integral part of the team during the several episodes in which she appears), while Beau Bridges is capable but uninspiring as Major General Hank Landry, who runs the show back on Earth.
Then there are the bad guys. With longtime nemeses the Goa'uld having essentially been eliminated, we now have the Ori, whose agenda of domination through religion provides the season's principal story arc. They're certainly a timely addition. With their "Book of Origin," rejection of free will, and goal of subduing all heretics and "unbelievers," the Ori resemble extreme fundamentalists of various stripes; on the other hand, when the U.S. military talks about crusades and "ridding the galaxy of evildoers," parallels to the Bush administration's war on terror are obvious and unavoidable. Problem is, while we know that the Ori are relentless, devious, and bloated with the pride that always attaches itself to false gods, we can't actually see them. They have semi-human apostles, called Priors, who spread "enlightenment" and bad mojo (not to mention plagues of carnivorous bugs) all over the universe. They have mighty ships that that leave the good guys in dire straits in the climactic battle that ends the season (typically, little is resolved, leaving viewers to salivate for Season 10). But the Ori themselves are kin to the all-knowing Ancients, who exist not in recognizable physical form but as energy; unlike previous villains, from the Goa'uld to the Replicators to Stargate Atlantis' Wraith, when it comes to the Ori, there's no there there. Meanwhile, the writers' replacement of the ancient Egyptian iconography used in earlier seasons with various aspects of Arthurian legend (Merlin, Knights of the Round Table, sword in the stone) is sometimes cool, sometimes merely hokey.
As always, Stargate SG-1's production values and effects remain first-rate, even as the stories become more character-driven and less dependent on spectacular action sequences. The DVD transfers are excellent. Special features are similar to previous box sets: audio commentary on all episodes, featurettes focusing on sets, props, and special effects, and five "directors series" entries devoted to particular episodes. --Sam Graham
- 20 episodes on five discs
- Commentary on each episode
- "SG-1 Director's Series" featurettes on the episodes "Avalon," "The Powers That Be," "Prototype," "Ethon," and "Crusade"
- "SG-1 Beyond the Gate" featurettes "It Takes a Crew to raise a Village," "Inside the Stargate Props Department," "Inside the Stargate Special Effects Department," "An Introduction to Ben Browder," and "Profile on Brad Wright"
- Photo and production galleries
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Season 9 is, I believe, the strongest season of SG1 on the whole. It maybe doesn't boast as many "10 out of 10/5 Star" episodes as say, 6 or 8 has, but it was a solid way to re-invent the show after the big climax.
The season's theme is "after the fall of the Iron Curtain". This power vacuum now exists in our local galactic neighborhood, and actors old and new scramble to stake their claim.Even our heroes on Earth are stretching their arms to stake influence in galactic politics. While the Ori would come to dominate the next season, in Season 9 they are just one of a dozen parties trying to fill the shoes of the System Lords. This thread running throughout the entire season links all the episodes in a rather solid chain. The casting shake up is itself one of these ripples, and for introducing us to Claudia Black's Vala (who steals every scene she's in) this automatically gets great points.
Yes, it's a shame these themes didn't get to continue into the next season, but for what it is worth, Season 9 is a pretty high watermark in SG1's history. If you are unsure whether or not to continue, it is definitely worth doing so.
I loved all 10 seasons of this series, and have enjoyed many episodes more than once, so it was only logical to purchase the entire set to watch again in the future. It's an excellent sci-fi series with immersive plot arcs embedded across the series combined with well-done, entertaining individual episode plots that are easily able to stand on their own. The characters and the story are equally compelling, due to both quality writing and great acting.
If I could make one change about the series, I would have kept Richard Dean Anderson's character in a more prominent role throughout, but I recognize that actors sometimes have to move on. While Ben Browder took some getting used to (mostly just because I missed Anderson's presence), he filled his role well and the series continued to thrive as a result.
Having been more or less victorious over the Goa'uld and the Replicators, the SG-1 team and the universe now face another insidious threat, that of the Ori. Grounded in Arthurian legend, as opposed to Egyptian mythology, the Ori is a fascinating enemy. Steeped in religious trappings and fervor, reminiscent of and analogous to the the religious fundamentalist sects that abound today and throughout history, this story arc kept me riveted. I simply loved this season! I can't wait to see season ten!
Most recent customer reviews
The Goa'uld dominated as the antagonists for the first 8 seasons. It was starting to get stale.Read more