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Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

CW's Supernatural

Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

Men are being murdered, divested of their hands and feet while an ancient symbol is carved into their flesh. Sam and Dean are on the case but find themselves woefully inadequate without Bobby’s help. Then when Dean finds himself in the middle of an ancient ritual, dispatching the monster of the week isn’t as clear as he once thought it was. Solid episode with a wonderful glimmer of hope for later episodes but overall, predictable and on-the-nose.

Score: 3 of 5

>Spoilers<

There isn’t much to say about this episode except it was a bit gorier than the last few, not to mention the TV-14 sex scene which was intercut with a horrible murder. Points for creepy/gory esthetics, for sure.

Dean, needing to unwind during the case hooks up with a woman, turns out, she’s a monster, sorta. Bound to happen.

Supernatural – S07E13 – “The Slice Girls”

A standoff occurs and Dean is reluctant to pull the trigger.

The Amazonians were once real women but they made a pact with Harmonia and then things got freaky. Seems they mate with a man, give birth and the child takes about two days to get to 16-18 years old, then they age normally. But first they have to kill their father. Dean gets one of these women knocked up and she has a monster by him. That daughter then goes to him and tells him a sad story of wanting to escape her existence, all this a means to get close to him

In predictable fashion, a stalemate occurs where Dean is reluctant to shoot and Sam has to finish off his pseudo-niece. It’s a call back to Dean killing Amy and Sam makes no bones about it (could have done without the reminder of Amy at the beginning of the episode). While I feel this should have had more punch to it, it doesn’t really. Perhaps if they had actually let the child live, or, I dunno… the whole thing was way to obvious and bland.

However, in continuance of the empty beer bottle, we now have shifting papers which ends up showing the boys exactly what they need to solve what’s going on. Looks like we have a ghost on our hands. Of course, as Sam puts it, they want it to be a ghost of Bobby running around, so of course it can’t be him. Which means for the audience that of course it is Bobby! Yay! Let’s hope the old grouch has more tricks up his ethereal sleeves, the boys are gonna need them.

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Television

 

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TGIF: Yes and No

There is a special place in ratings analysis for Fridays. Shows are allowed to survive at lower ratings because the consensus is no one is really watching tv on Fridays because, well, it’s Friday. Movies premier, functions occur, nightlight hops, etc. But lower ratings mean less advertising dollars, so a show needs to balance that budget between expense and profit just as closely as weekday shows.

But this isn’t a discussion about that, more like a commentary on my life as Friday is the biggest night for tv for me with four shows all airing at 8pm. What is a girl to do?

CBS CSI: NY
CW Supernatural
FOX Fringe
NBC Grimm

This is when I miss my dvr.

Well, I am not a nelson home nor do I have a dvr so what I watch has no impact whatsoever, otherwise I’d pick the one with the biggest chance at being canceled as to help it out.

CSI:NY is a pick up show, can watch any time and not lose context plus it’s got great syndication.

Grimm is new but so far good and NBC trends to have the episode online pretty quickly.

Supernatural has plenty of one-off episodes but seven seasons in the show has become complex enough that I have to make sure I don’t miss any episodes.

Fringe is very complex and you never know when something important is going to flash across screen in a seemingly innocuous moment.

As you can probably guess, Fringe wins. It’s not a show to get behind on and it’s always noteworthy to talk about. However, if there is a guest star of note on Supernatural then I might choose it over Fringe.

Of course this is just the 8pm CT slot. SyFy usually had something on at 9pm worth watching and there used to be Chuck at 7pm.

So either Friday is where great tv is dumped or according to studios I need to get my priorities straight. I vote the former.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2012 in Blog

 

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Wack-a-mole: Pilot season starts with a lot of misses.

The pilot season for 2012 has started, this is the time of year that hopeful studios, execs, writers, etc, pitch their tv pilots and what results is akin to a plate of mash potatoes being thrown against the wall… we see what sticks.

There isn’t a lot to go with right now but EW.com has given us a handy-dandy list of this year’s hopefuls. These write ups don’t give us a lot to go by but here is my initial reactions to some of them.

NBC

Beautiful People
Logline: An imaginative and thematically rich ensemble “what if” drama set 10 minutes in the future where families of mechanical human beings exist to service the human population — that is, until some of the mechanicals begin to “awaken.”
From: Writer-EP Michael McDonald; EPs Robert M. Sertner, Stephen Hopkins; Universal Television and ABC Studios

Been there, done that. Terminator and I, Robot pretty much covered this for us.

The Munsters Mockingbird Lane
Logline: From writer-executive producer Bryan Fuller, Mockingbird Lane is an imaginative reinvention of The Munsters as a visually spectacular one-hour drama.
From: Writer-EP Bryan Fuller; EPs Bryan Singer, John Wirth; Universal Television and Bad Hat Harry Productions

So… if it’s not a half-hour comedy but an hour drama without the monster make-up… then it’s not really The Munsters then. I see by the name change they noticed too.

The Frontier
Logline: In an intense tale of survival a group of disparate travelers embark on an incredible cross-country adventure through the West, where danger stalks them at every turn.
From: Writer-EP Shaun Cassidy; EPs Thomas Schlamme, Jeff Kwatinetz, Josh Barry; Sony and Prospect Park

I assume this is a pre-gps era period piece but how long do they think they could run this concept? Unless it’s 24 style then there is only so many wolf attacks and land slides we can watch until we get sick of it.

Midnight Sun
Logline: This thriller follows the mysterious disappearance of a group living on a commune in Alaska. Based on an acclaimed Israeli format, a female FBI cult specialist starts an investigation that uncovers a larger conspiracy.
From: Writer-EP Lisa Zwerling; EPs Peter Traugott, Rachel Kaplan, Alon Aranya, Efrat Shmayadron, Minit Toovi, Noah Stollman, and Oded Davidoff; Universal Television

Initial thoughts: The Event meets Alcatraz. Also, Americanizing a foreign show can work but often goes horribly wrong.

Revolution
Logline: A high octane action drama from J. J. Abrams following a group of characters struggling to survive and reunite with loved ones in a world where all forms of energy have mysteriously ceased to exist.
From: Writer-EP: Logline: Eric Kripke; J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk

You know, I got my BS in History, but even I’m pretty sure that ‘all forms of energy ceasing to exist’ is pretty impossible, especially since the 1st Law of Thermodynamics is quite clear about how energy can not be created nor destroyed. I mean, just breathing takes energy of a sort. The Earth spinning. Gravity! Inertia! Flowing water! This is one is so full of fail…

Bad Girls
Logline: From the producers of Shameless, and adapted from the long-running U.K. hit series of the same name, Bad Girls follows the ins and outs of a group of unlikely women in a federal prison: a scandalous female warden, her new protégé and a host of inmates – some mothers, some friends—who struggle with loyalties to people on the inside and the outside.
From: Writer-EP Nancy Pimental; Warner Bros. Television, John Wells Productions, and Shed Media U.

Maybe on a cable channel… but NBC? Sorry, if they can’t keep Playboy Club on the air then this has no chance.

Downwardly Mobile
Logline: This multi-cam comedy brings Roseanne Barr back to series television as the proprietor of a mobile-home park and surrogate mother to all of the unique people who live there in a challenging economy.
From: Writers-EPs Eric Gilliland, Roseanne Barr; EP John Argent; 20th Century Fox Television

Roseanne is back in her wheel house of representing the downtrodden middle and lower classes. While this is practically revolutionary in the 80s and 90s, I’m not sure how relevant she’d be today. Perhaps too relevant and that might not bode well for her.

Daddy’s Girls
Logline: A young woman returns home from overseas to find that her father is seriously dating the “mean girl” from her high school.
From: Writer-EP Dana Klein; 20th Century Fox Television and Kapital Entertainment

Isn’t this bordering on illegal? Ick.

CBS

Elementary
Logline: A modern take on the cases of Sherlock Holmes, with Sherlock now living in New York City.
From: Writer Robert Doherty; EPs Robert Doherty, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly; CBS Television Studios

It worked wonderfully for the BBC and while I think you can never have too much Sherlock… I don’t mean that literally. How would it work anyway? Sherlock a transplanted Brit or an American version? What about Watson? Why couldn’t they just make another Sherlock rip-off instead… like House?

Trooper
Logline: A common-sense mother turns New York state trooper.
From: Aron Eli Coleite; EPs Aron Eli Coleite, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jonathan Littman; Jerry Bruckheimer Television in association with Warner Bros. Television

Don’t know what the format is, but if it’s a dramedy then this could be awesome. Otherwise, yawn.

Golden Boy
Logline: A show about the making of a man. Tracks one cop’s meteoric rise from officer to detective to police commissioner.
From: Writer Nicholas Wootton; EPs Nicholas Wootton, Greg Berlanti; Warner Bros. Television

Don’t they know that these style cop shows are just not popular right now? Chicago Code failed and Blue Bloods is barely holding water.

Widow Detective
Logline: After losing three partners in the line of duty, a decorated police detective becomes surrogate husband, lover, and father to their families.
From: Writer David Hubbard; EPs David Hubbard, Carol Mendelsohn, Julie Weitz; CBS Television Studios

This is statistically improbable, just saying.

Untitled Ralph Lamb
Logline: Period piece set in the 1960s centered around the true story of Ralph Lamb: rodeo cowboy turned longtime sheriff of Las Vegas.
From: Writers Nicholas Pileggi and Greg Walker; EPs Nicolas Pileggi, Greg Walker, James Mangold, Cathy Konrad, Arthur Sarkissian; CBS Television Studios

Has promise but will all come down to the style and tone of the show. Viewers love Vegas.

Quean
Logline: An edgy and independent millennial-hacker girl teams up with an Oakland police detective to solve crimes.
From: Ilene Chaiken; Ilene Chaiken, Joel Silver; Silver Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television

Can we say Girl with the Dragon Tattoo rip off?

FOX

The Asseta
Logline: A character-driven drama set in the CIA’s New York City station, focusing on a female agent with a very specialized and controversial area of expertise.
From: Writer-EP Josh Friedman; Twentieth Century Fox Television

So… what? She gets ‘close’ to her assets? Nothing really here to work with but I guarantee everyone is going to compare it to Alias.

Guilty
Logline: After being falsely convicted of fraud and stripped of his legal license, a brilliant, morally questionable defense attorney uses his unusual methods to solve the cases he’s been prohibited from handling and ultimately to exact revenge on the man who set him up.
From: Writer Marc Guggenheim; EPs Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, McG, Peter Johnson; Bonanza Productions / Berlanti Productions / Wonderland Sound and Vision, and Warner Bros. Television

So… Life, except it’s a lawyer?

Untitled Karyn Usher
Logline: The orphaned 17-year-old daughter of a CIA operative encounters a mysterious rogue agent-assassin who serves as both her surrogate father and professional mentor in the spy world.
From: Writer Karyn Usher; EPs Marty Adelstein, Shawn Levy, Becky Clements; 20th Century Fox Television / 21 Laps

So… Leon: The Professional meets Hanna?

Untitled Kevin Williamson
Logline: An edge-of-your-seat thriller about the complex relationship between a diabolical serial killer and the damaged FBI agent who took him down. After the killer escaped, the agent is reactivated and discovers that he is no longer just hunting one man, but a massive cult of serial killers created and manipulated during his time in prison. Kevin Bacon is near a deal to star as the agent.
From: Writer Kevin Williamson; Warner Bros. Television

So… Silence of the Lambs meets White Collar? Yeah, I know, the joke is getting old but Fox is making it so darn easy right now!

ABC

Beauty and the Beast
Logline: A fantastical reimagining of the classic fairy tale set in a mythical, dangerous world wherein a beautiful and tough princess discovers an unlikely connection with a mysterious beast.
From: Writer Jon Steinberg; EPs Gary Fleder, Mary Beth Basile; ABC Studios

ABC Studios HQ: “Freaking heck! Once Upon a Time is a hit! Quick, what other fairytale stories we have the rights to? Sleeping beauty sleeps all the time. Mermaid would be too expensive. Wait, Beauty and the Best, we can work with that!”

Gotham
Logline: After pursuing a seemingly unsolvable case, a female cop discovers a magical world that exists within New York City. A world that goes unseen by normal humans, and takes all of the familiar NYC landmarks and reinvents them in a magical otherworldly manner.
From: Writer-EP Michael Green; 20th Century Fox Television

No Batman? I.am.disappoint. (on a side note this is kinda similar to a book I wrote in 2010… hhmmm…)

Last Resort
An international action-thriller-soap that follows the story of establishing a new society in a world held hostage by the crew of a ballistic missile submarine. Basically, a U.S. nuclear sub crew refuses orders to fire their missiles and escapes to a NATO outpost and declares themselves the smallest nuclear nation.
From: Shawn Ryan, Karl Gajdusek

So, what happens when the sub needs to refuel and resupply? Freaking send Seal Team Six on their butts and call it a day.

Zero Hour
Logline: A bizarre twist of fate pulls a man who’s spent 20 years as the editor of a skeptics magazine into one of the most compelling conspiracies in human history.
From: Writer-EP Paul Scheuring; EPs Lorenzo DiBonaventura and Dan McDermott; ABC Studios

Has potential in the X-Files kind of way as long as they don’t go the cheesy routes of… everything that tried to capitalize on X-Files’s success.

Penoza
Logline: Based on the Dutch format, Penoza centers on the widow of an assassinated criminal who is forced to adopt her husband’s role in an organized-crime syndicate in order to protect her family.
From: Writer-EP Melissa Rosenberg; EPs Alon Aranya and Howard Klein; ABC Studios, Endemol Studios

I never watched it… but isn’t this kinda like Sopranos? And isn’t being on a network just going to water it down?

666 Park Ave.
Logline: When a young couple accepts an offer to manage one of the most historic apartment buildings in New York City, they unwittingly begin to experience supernatural occurrences, which complicate and endanger the lives of everyone in the building.
From: Writer-EP David Wilcox;  EPs: Leslie Morgenstein, Gina Girolamo; Warner Bros. Television, Alloy Entertainment

The title is going to upset the sensitive people and I’m not sure they can drag this idea out into a full season and not get repetitive. At least with Supernatural they drove around and went after all manner of demons and stuff.

Untitled Roland Emmerich
Logline: Set in New York City against the backdrop of the presidential race. Follows a young astrophysics student who finds out that his destiny lies not in science but somewhere between hell and heaven.
From: Writer-EPs Emmerich and Harald Kloser; EP Nicholas Pepper; Mark Gordon Company

I have no idea what this means… but it could be cool if Emmerich is involved.

Scruples
Logline: Based on the 1978 novel Scruples that follows the life of Wilhelmina Hunnewell Winthrop, a.k.a. Billy, a previously plump woman who loses weight, becomes fabulously cool, and survives a very rich (and very old) first husband. She ends up opening up a Beverly Hills clothing boutique called Scruples.
From: Writer-EPs Bob Brush, Mel Harris; EPs Tony Krantz, Natalie Portman, Annette Savitch; Flame Ventures LLC in association with Warner Bros. Television

Why watch a tv show when I can just watch entertainment news?

Nashville
Logline: A family soap set against the backdrop of the Nashville music scene that follows one star at her peak and one on the rise.
From: Writer-EP Callie Khouri; EPs RJ Cutler, Steve Buchanan; Gaylord Entertainment, ABC Studios, and Lionsgate

Country Song rip off?

Gilded Lillys
Set in 1895, this epic love story follows the opening of the first grand luxury hotel in NYC, against a backdrop of vicious family rivalries, scandalous secrets, and conflict and comingling of classes.
From: Writer K.J. Steinberg; EP Shonda Rhimes; ABC Studios

Another stab at recreating Mad Men and if I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, you can’t recreate success. Usually these shows become big because there is nothing like them on when they air. So maybe studios should think about what we don’t have and less about saturating our screens with what we have.

Only Fools & Horses
Logline: Based on the iconic British series, this classic comedy chronicles the misadventures of two streetwise brothers and their aging grandfather as they concoct outrageous, morally questionable get-rich-quick schemes in their quest to become millionaires.
From: Writers Steven Cragg and Brian Bradley; ABC Studios.

No, just no. The humor won’t transfer, they will get it all wrong. Office was easy because it was universal… this is not.

CW

Arrow
Logline: Based on the DC Comics comic book, this hour-long drama is a modern retelling of the legendary DC Comics character Green Arrow. Stephen Amell to star.
From: Writer-EPs Greg Berlanti, Marc Guggenheim, Andrew Kreisberg; Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television

It worked for Superman, right? But this could be perceived as an attempt to recreate Smallville so best of luck to them.

Shelter
Logline: Drama set at an historic New England summer resort where the new and returning staff attend to the practical, emotional, and often comical needs of the guests while navigating friendships, rivalries, and romances of their own.
From: Writer-EP Mark Schwahn; EPs J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk; Bad Robot Productions, Mastermind Laboratories in association with Warner Bros. Television

Faulty Towers, the teen years abroad?

The Selection
Logline: Based on the forthcoming series of books by Kiera Cass, The Selection is an epic romance set 300 years in the future which centers on a poor young woman who is chosen by lottery to participate in a competition to become the next queen of a war-torn nation at a crossroads.
From:  Writer-EPs  Elizabeth Craft and Sarah Fain; Warner Bros. Television

The logic of The Phantom Menace meets the wildly inappropriate subject matter of Hunger Games?

Cult
Logline: After a rash of disappearances and a likely murder, an inquisitive, young female production assistant on a wildly popular television show called Cult joins a journalist-blogger in investigating the rabid fans of the series who might be re-creating crimes seen on the program, in real life.
From: Writer-EP  Rockne O’Bannon; EPs  Josh Schwartz,  Stephanie Savage, Len Goldstein; Fake Empire in association with Warner Bros. Television

Someone has been watching too much Supernatural, but true, that was an awesome episode. “So now you’re Polish?”

Beauty and the Beast
Logline: Loosely based on the CBS’ Beauty and the Beast series from the 1980s, this is a modern-day romantic love story with a procedural twist. (Yes, this is in addition to ABC’s Beauty and the Beast project.)
From: Writer-EPs Jennifer Levin, Sherri Cooper; EPs Paul J. Witt and C. Anthony Thomas, Ron Koslow, Bill Haber; CBS Television Studios

CBS Studio Office: “Freaking Heck! You see that ABC has a hit with Once Upon a Time? They have all the Disney properties tied up, what do we have?” “You do realize the fairytales are common domain right? We just have to avoid anything specially made by Disney.” “Hey, remember that tv show with the Terminator chick? Let’s reboot that.”

 

And that is it for the initial showing for pilot season. I’ll have updates once we get to pilot orders and more plot details. So far, nothing really grabs me. A lot of obvious rip offs or completely out there shows. Who knows, I like surprises and there could be a few in there.

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2012 in Blog, Television

 

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Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

CW's Supernatural 
Supernatural S07E12 – “Time After Time”

Supernatural is one of those shows that can’t jump the shark because it made friends with the shark, served it a nice dinner, and occasionally takes it out for a night on the town. This is never more obvious than in episodes like “Time After Time”. Sam and Dean need a change of pace from their Leviathan hunting and Sheriff Jody Mills offers up a case for them. In the process of hunting a demon, Dean is thrown back in time and meets Elliot Ness played by X-Files alum Nicholas Lea. This is a time travel episode and Supernatural looks straight at the camera and says “yeah, we know” and proceeds to have fun. The required cliché jokes are underplayed, Dean makes sure to lamp shade Back to the Future and Untouchables, and the dialogue is suitably witty. This is how you do a time travel episode in this day and age.

As a bonus, there is a nice subplot dealing with the recent turn of events in the Winchester’s lives and it’s not overly emo!

Score: 4 Ratings Star

>Spoilers<

The episode starts mid-investigation, Dean disappearing into the ether after chasing a new monster. After the commercial break we discover that Dean is obsessing over Richard Roman, this season’s bad guy. Officer Mills, who is a great character, great to see her back again, gives the boys a case in Canton, Ohio. Bodies are being mummified and the witness sees a guy sucking the life out of the victims with a red light.

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester (Jensen Ackles) and Elliot Ness (Nicholas Lea)

The red light turns out to be time travel juice and when Dean tackles the monster he’s sent back to Nov, 1944. Dean is arrested for waving his gun in public (which he does all the time in the future but only seems to get pinched in 1944?). He is then introduced to Elliot Ness played by the always wonderful Nicholas Lea. Lea underplays what could easily be an over the top character, especially as Dean starts to roll off stuff from the Untouchables movie.

That’s really the key to this episode, it’s underplayed. It’s all about a hunt, the time travel stuff is just window dressing. As Donald P. Bellisario pointed out in his audio commentary for NCIS episode “Yankee White”, if you are going to pay homage to a film so blatantly then you point it out, let the audience in on it. This way everyone can have a smile at the gag and it doesn’t feel like a rip-off. Dean references Back to the Future on more than one occasion and we realize that this character’s only frame of reference in dealing with the current situation is movies, but it’s working for him so far.

Like a dream, Dean gets to fight along side Elliot Ness. Ness, who such a strong figure in law enforcement history, is probably the only one who can call Dean on his emo-shtick and really put him in place, something that has been in dire need for at least the last two seasons.

Supernatural - "Time After Time"

Dean Winchester in 1940s era suit.

Dean also meets Ezra Moore, a tailor who reminds him a lot of Bobbie, so it’s possible groundwork was laid for future exploration. That or again they underplayed the time travel aspect by not specially pointing to the fact she is Bobbie’s ancestor. Either way, win, win.

Finally the monster is revealed to be Cronus (played by the highly charming Jason Dohring), a defunct god who has to suck the life out of ‘sacrifices’ in order to not be thrown through time. In a twist at the end they try to turn him in into a sympathetic character, he was only doing this to stay with the woman he loves and his life is pretty crappy anyway. However, it just fell flat and pointless, a last ditch effort which took a nose dive. Still, it wasn’t enough to detract from the rest of the episode.

The dialogue was amazingly crafted, the 40’s speech patterns and Dean’s wise cracks were spot on without being over done. The set design was passable (they kept the camera angles tight) but managed an awesome hunter’s kit for Ness’s car. And might I say that Dean looks mighty fine in a 40’s era suit, yum. 

Supernatural S07E12 - "Time After Time"

Cronus (Jason Dohring) is not happy.

As for Sam, he’s stuck in the present trying to figure out how to get his brother back and Mills offers her help. They find a spell to summon Cronus but they need him to be touching Dean so that he can catch a ride back. Through some dues ex machina and Back to the Future 3, Sam is able to discover a date and time the two will be together.

Cronus and Dean are pulled to the future along with a weapon provided by Ezra, and in a fight Sam plunges a stake into the god’s heart. Before he dies, Cronus tells the boys that he can see their future and it’s covered in black sludge, an ominous foretelling… but he could have been being a dick since he was dying.

Over all it’s not an arc-important episode but it sure is a fun one with plenty of laughs.

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Television

 

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StarGate SG-1 – Overview – Complete Series

StarGate SG-1
Minor Spoilers

StarGate SG-1 was based off of the hit blockbuster, StarGate, and the series stands in rare company. There have been plenty of movie-based tv series but only a few have had so much success as to outshine their predecessor. M*A*S*H, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and to a lesser extent, The Odd Couple, are the only others that reached a level of fame far greater than the movies they were based on.

StarGate Feature FilmThe StarGate movie was the brain child of Dean Devlin (who never quite let it go that he had his story taken away from him). The film sets up the idea that aliens had been visiting Earth, using the pyramids as landing platforms, and stealing humans off to work as slaves. I can’t say for sure, but Devlin may have gotten the general concept from Erich Daniken’s ‘Chariot of the Gods’, the book which launched a thousand Ancient Aliens conspiracies. I’ll take Dr. Daniel Jackson over the guys from the History Channel series any day.

The StarGate television series, developed by Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner, was first aired by Showtime, a premium cable channel which started to create its own shows in order to draw in subscribers. While the initial ratings were low compared to the networks, it was a hit for Showtime and they kept it for five years, a decent run by even network standards. Showtime decided that they didn’t want to keep it anymore because they weren’t getting any more subscribers and they were paying leasing rights to MGM for it. So fledgling channel SciFi (now Syfy) picked it up for similar reasons, to get viewers to come to their basic cable channel. It worked, it was a hit for SciFi and lead to two spin-off series as well as StarGate SG-1 becoming the longest running science fiction show ever until beat out by one season by CW’s Smallville.

The pilot starts up where the film left off, O’Neil, sorry, O’Neill, is retired on Earth and Daniel is living on the alien planet from the first film. A new alien threat has appeared in the form of Apophis and they have to get the band back together to see what’s going on. They add in a female scientist/Air Force Captain character and a human-alien ex-patriot to round off the main cast. From there they explore the worlds of the StarGate, help people, cause problems they have to fix, stop threats, and keep the whole thing secret from the general populace despite building space ships in later seasons which have to be staffed by Air Force personnel. Well, this was in a time before Wiki Leaks so I guess it’s plausible.

Let’s look at the main cast first. I’m not going to go into huge details because over ten years, well, you can imagine just how long this article could get.

StarGate SG-1 Cast - Teal'c, Carter, O'Neill, Jackson

StarGate SG-1 Cast - Teal'c, Carter, O'Neill, Jackson

In the film, Jack O’Neil, one L, is played by Kurt Russell, a character on the verge of self-destruction due to the loss of his child. By the end he’s at least moved through that stage of grief thanks to being given new purpose by surrogate son Skaara. The television roll was given to MacGyver alum Richard Dean Anderson who decided to play Jack with a much more comedic element, throwing out witty dialogue, showing irreverence, and generally having moved past the stages of grief (though by no means is he completely over his son’s death). Due to the change, the character’s name was changed to Jack O’Neill, two L’s, and it becomes something of a small running gag. There is apparently a Jack O’Neil, one L, out there, and he has no sense of humor. It could simply be a way to separate the two character personalities as portrayed by Russell and Anderson, or it could be a gentle jab at Dean Devlin… who has one L in his name. Regardless, RDA as he’s known, took over the character of Jack and really made it his own. He traded his MacGyver stereotype for a Jack O’Neill one, but it worked out for him in the end.

Daniel Jackson is the other character that made it into the series as a lead role (a few others show up but were given very small recurring roles). He’s played by Michael Shanks who, in contrast to RDA, played Jackson as the film version’s James Spader did. But over the series he grew Jackson’s character, both physically and emotionally. Jackson gets much more development than Jack does which makes a stark contrast. Both characters are beloved by fans so the dichotomy works.

New addition Captain Samantha “Sam” Carter at first seems like the token female character/partial love interest that every tv show thinks they need. She’s even given one of the most horrendous lines ever to be spoken in television in order to express her as a strong independent woman. Thankfully, Amanda Tapping who plays Sam is able to also grow the character out of some of the clichés and create a genuinely strong female character that female audiences can relate to and appreciate. Although her boyfriend issues, i.e. they always seem to end up dead, does get annoying after awhile.

Then there is Teal’c played by Christopher Judge, a human-alien (a human not born on Earth) who is the resident Spock. He’s strong, tough, but a bit out of touch. While he has emotions he chooses not to express them and his biggest expression is raising his eyebrow and saying “Indeed”. As lame as that kind of sounds, Judge pulls it off so well and with such nuance that it became an instant fan favorite and meme. Possibly the best and most underappreciated actor of the whole series.

These are what you’d call the ‘Top Four’, because while you also gain two Farscape alums in the later seasons, one season of the underloved Corin Nemec, and both Don S. Davis and Beau Bridges playing SGC commanders, it’s these four that make the core of the show.

Unfortunately, while SG-1 was on Showtime and Syfy, it suffered from a woefully lack of a budget. I assume this because the production values are sometimes a bit sad, effects questionable, and clip-episodes abound. However, this lends a bit of a cult-series charm to the show. It also makes it more about the characters than the shiny toys.

The writing in the first season is also a bit questionable as there was a lot of what I like to call “seemingly required trope plotline episodes”. There has to be one about a former SGC trying to pass himself as a god. One where Carter runs into a planet where women are subjugated and she has to prove herself. There has to be one where Jack is forced, again, to face the fact his child is dead (Star Trek: TNG is just as guilty of these episodes and both shows fail just as equally). At least StarGate has some gems and its original concept ideas really make up for it, keeps the first season from being too off-putting.

From there on, the show is able to really explore their characters and the worlds around them, even throwing in some wonderful political intrigue sub plots. Ten seasons is a long time to let a series run but StarGate maintains a level of consistency sometimes not even seen in series who only run three or five.

StarGate SG-1 Villians

StarGate SG-1 Villians

Over the years StarGate makes the smart move not to try to keep the same villain through the whole thing and bring about new villains every couple of years, often overlapping story arcs. Also, they don’t try to completely one-up with the villains either. Sure, some are more powerful than others but it’s not like they stop one guy only to turn around and find someone who made the previous one look like a chump. They are all pretty tough in their own ways, either through smarts or their own power. The differences between them also helps as it allows an asymmetrical tint to the plotting which is always a plus when done right.

Overall, StarGate is far from perfect, but then what is? It’s fun, has something for everyone, and allows for the viewer to relate moreso to the characters than, say, Star Trek, because this literally could be going on under our noses and we wouldn’t know. In fact, there is a room at NORAD labeled with the words StarGate Command. It’s a broom closet… but still… maybe that’s what they want us to think?

Series Score: 4 ½ Ratings Star

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in Television

 

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