Stargate SG-1 Affinity

Sometimes, it’s difficult to watch Stargate SG-1. Not because it’s a bad show. My biggest criticism of it is that it so often feels bland — but it’s not bad. No, it’s difficult to watch because it’s in its eighth season, and I’ve seen so many shows that were even less bad than Stargate die before even the faintest glimmer of a thought of an eighth season popped into their heads. Luckily, my favourite show is about to charge on into its twenty-seventh season, so this doesn’t get to me too much.

Nevertheless, Stargate is one of the longest running genre shows I can think of, especially if you count all of the separate Star Treks as separate entities. Which I do. Watching some of the poorer episodes, I’ve been puzzled by how the writers can possibly have anything less for seasons eight and nine. Watching this season, though, I’m getting some hope for the future.

Don’t be so dramatic — it’ll give you gas. — Brig. Gen. Jack O’Neill

It must have become clear to the Stargate folks pretty early on that not every story could be set off-world. Hence the long succession of “closer-to-home” baddies, such as the NID, and most recently, the Trust.1 In more recent times, the show has even been exploring the — gasp — personal lives of our heroes. In a rather dull episode last season, Sam found herself a boyfriend, having finally given up on Colonel O’Neill. He’s back in this episode, but it’s not nearly as bad, because he’s not in it as much. I’d be concerned that Sam was marrying such a bland loser if I cared about her at all. I don’t.2

I do care about Teal’c, however, and this episode is pretty much a Teal’c episode, so that works quite well. After a highly amusing and unsettlingly vigilantish3 opening, our alien friend continues to try to fit into society while being a minor superhero. It’s tricky, given that every time he does something cool with a can of beans, or even just his fists, the government comes down on him for not keeping a low profile. It’s even trickier when the latest output from Shady Villains ‘R’ Us decide to take advantage of this tension.

Daniel gets a nice scene as he tries to explain to Teal’c why he shouldn’t go around getting involved with other people all the time. Unfortunately, just as he’s finishing, the exception to the rule pops up in the guise of his cute next door neighbour.4 With Daniel’s blessing, Teal’c seduces her with his insane muscles and l33t Tai Chi. Hasn’t he got a girlfriend offworld? Ah well, it’s not cheating if it’s on a different planet.

An episode exploring the issues Teal’c has adjusting to living in the world is worthwhile, and I enjoyed this one a lot. Irritatingly, at the end of the episode the door is closed on any further ones, as Teal’c is sent back to the SGC to live. You could argue that this makes the episode a bit of a tragedy, but really, given the reset-button feel of it, it makes the whole thing seem kind of crap. Especially if Teal’c never gets out again. For the most part, this is a real-world Stargate episode that actually managed to be entertaining and not very boring.5 If they keep improving like this, maybe one day they’ll actually manage a really good one.

If they don’t, they should stick to the space travel and galaxy-saving.

  1. To be fair to them, as an Executive Producer points out, every good name for secret organisations has been used on Alias. Even The Trust, as it turns out.
  2. Especially having seen episode 11 from this season, ‘Gemini’. Here’s a one-word review: “STUPID!”
  3. Not a word.
  4. Also known as Lois Lane from Smallville.
  5. Damning with faint praise? Well, yep.
22 comments posted — most recent by Tom on 15/02/05