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Old TV Review: Stargate SG-1 Season 2

Wow that was fast. And I even exercised twice this week and booked a few hours of work and have been cooking dinner every day this week. I must be getting more efficient at goofing off! In any case, season 2 was somewhat less satisfying that the first, but I’m still plodding along.

Let’s see, in the season opener they resolve the first season cliffhanger rather predictably by blowing up the invading ships and killing Apophis thus ending the big bad from season one, so if I had to pick a theme for this season it would be: “Let’s create more badguys.” Several episodes indicate that there are a lot of mean mofos in outer space, and set up a lot of potential badguy threads… that are ultimately ignored. At least this season.

Interestingly enough, they actually didn’t kill Apophis because he’s back after a few episodes.. only to die again a few episodes later… except he can probably be revived with a sarcophagus and be back again later. Man, this guy dies almost as much as Daniel does. Anyway, he’ll probably be back as a badguy soon.

Besides Apophis is a Horus-style Goa’uld. The Horus helmets are about a hundred times cooler than the serpent ones, though because it’s definitely a CG effect to run those instead of the clank-clank serpent ones, we will likely not see those unless there’s a budget infusion.

On the non-Goa’uld side of the badguys there is the “Destroyer of Worlds” lady, and I’m surprised they didn’t just go full bore and call her Shiva. Gee, the person in charge on a prison planet happens to be a criminal mastermind? Wouldn’t have guessed.

There are weird stingy insects that exponentially multiply in “Bane.” I thought they were bad enough but then a child actor showed up. I’m not sure which is more evil.

Also bad is double-dealing secret Colonel Mayborne who probably is selling the Stargate to civilians for corporate use. Because what could be more evil than a double dealing secret government than a corporation. Mayborne, you are a sellout corporate tool as are the conveniently symmetric 4-person Stargate team that stole the weather-controlling Touchstone. They need to all grow goatees so they can be like the evil mirror-universe SG-1… and one of them would have to get a sex change.

There’s some reporter that was really bugging O’Neill for a story who was conveniently hit by a car in an “accident.” I have a feeling there will be more reporters, or more “accidents”, or both.

There’s some Goa’uld named Sokar described as the “original Satan” by Daniel. I’m going to guess he’s a badguy later.

Oh, and there’s some Starship-Troopers-looking bug creatures that are like terrorists. Oh, and they’re invisible. And they’re the Re’tu. Yep, another apostrophic race.

Are any of these the badguy in the season finale? No. But I won’t ruin it for you.

The good stuff:
More alien space guns! The staff weapon gets a few shots here and there but now featured are the more convenient (and Trek phaser-like) “Zat guns” that are not only single-hand operable, they are once for stun, twice for kill, and thrice for disintegrate. Finally there’s the invisible-bug killing guns which seem to only score head shots.

There were a couple guest star ooh-aahs for me. First, was Roger Cross reprising his role as an SG team member. I know him as Curtis “Black Bauer” Manning on 24. Also, head of the Tok’ra was played by Sara Douglas who was Ursa from Superman II. Finally the king’s daughter on the weather-controlled planet in “Touchstone” grew up to be the Hybrid on Battlestar Galactica.

Expansion! They are expanding the universe by introducing more characters. Besides the many enemies thing, they also did a lot to expand the universe by revealing two major races of aliens (The Asgard and The Ancients who built the gate system) and referring to one more unrevealed one (The Furlings?). Also they set the stage for symbiote-human allies by having Carter’s father host a Tok’ra resistance Goa’uld (though don’t call them that). The only problem is they follow up on none of the threads this season, so it just feels scattered.

Bad stuff:
Child actors: The super-soaker toting kid from the wrong side of the tracks who can smell the difference between goodguys and badguys in the episode “Bane” made me want to give up Teal’c myself in order to get the episode over sooner. I was ok with Cassandra reprising her role from the first season for the “In the Line of Duty” episode where Carter becomes host to a Tok’ra (Stargate gives Star Trek and Star Wars a run for their money when it comes to apostrophes), but when they brought back “grown up Cassandra” for the 1969 episode… well I’ll cross that bridge later. Finally the kid in “Show and Tell” appearing as the emissary for the invisible starship-troopers like bug guys was really only there to make Jack feel bad and bring up the pain of him losing his son again.

Clip show: AGAIN. The season finale had members of SGC implanted with memory-visualizing technology that served to play back past events. Although marginally better executed than first season’s government inquiry, a clip show is still a clip show, and just feels lame.

The Cheesy:
How often a member of the team “checks out” medically but is really inhabited by another personality or life force or symbiote. It was funny, though, to see Teal’c and O’Neill impersonating each other.

The “Gamekeeper” episode was essentially Groundhog Day meets The Matrix meets the Nexus from Star Trek Generations meets that episode of Batman the Animated Series where he’s trapped in The Mad Hatter’s dream world where his parents are still alive meets the Despair-Squid Augmented Reality episode of Red Dwarf. The difference between those great episodes is that in this treatment instead of the people overcoming their stuck situation by realizing it’s a false reality or beating their fears and succeeding despite the system’s parameters they are presented almost straight away with the “gamekeeper” telling them it’s all a big sham.

The entire of episode “1969” which sent everyone to (wait for it) 1969 consisted predictably lame setups of hippies, man. Time travel is always cheesy for me, and the paradoxical nature of causality always comes up, and it’s been done before. It was called “Back to the Future” with Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd. Lamely, they even give Teal’c the line “How do we go back to the future?”. Worse was bringing back Cassandra as an older woman who saves the team because they overshot their attempt to travel forward in time, but luckily Carter told Cassandra to make sure to save them all on such and such day… despite the fact that they didn’t establish the time nor day so how would Cassandra know when to go get them… BAH. The self-fulfilling prophecy thing in time travel is seriously bad mojo. This was also done better in another space – “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when Ted says to himself “Remember a Trash Can” and it falls from the sky to trap their captors. Silly there, frustrating in Stargate.

Because this season began a lot of story setups but followed up on very few of them it seemed extremely disjoint. Production values have increased a bit, and that’s always nice. The only major character development is that Carter is being depended on more this season to be the savior of the team either technologically or via her link to her former symbiote. I haven’t seen the conclusion of the season, yet. The stakes are somewhat lower than the destruction of earth, but I’ll see how it turns out soon.

Two Down, 8 To Go
Two Down, 8 To Go


  1. Justin

    Can’t wait for the Season 3 review. James got me hooked, and we did a marathon of all seasons over x-mas break two years ago. Love it when they hit golf balls into the Stargate. O’Neil’s line is great! Something about messing up his backswing!

  2. Justin

    We’re also working our way through all the DS9 seasons. Season 4 Disc 1 here we come!

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