Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stargate SG-1, Season 4, Episode 16

 images used above are courtesy of Gateworld and MGM

 Episode Rating:  Good

Commentary by:
Andy Mikita -- Director
Peter Woeste -- Director of Photography
James Tichenor -- Visual Effects Supervisor

The commentary is very informative, and interesting.  Lots of behind the scene information.  The commentary stays on point with what is on screen.

The stargate is located in a public place, and used by everyday folks.  There is beaming technology in common use.  Carter is married to some guy in a suit.  Welcome to the land of “What is Going on Here?”  A place television series are known to visit.

Ten years before the time of this episode SG-1 encountered an alien race, the Aschen, during an off-world mission.  The Ashen look human.  They are one of the most technologically advanced races an SG team every encountered.  Unlike other techno-advanced cultures SG teams have interacted with, the Aschen are happy to share their knowledge with Earth.

The Aschen head a confederation of planets, and Earth eagerly joins the group.  There are many perks for Earth's humans as members of the confederation.  The elimination of the Goa’uld threat; advanced medicines which eliminate cancer, and extend ones life span; and much more.  Happiness, and prosperity, abound on Earth.  All is right with the world.  Yeah, right.  It is obvious how Earth benefits from the alliance, but what is in it for the Aschen?  Despite the incredible quality of life people on Earth enjoy, something still threatens the future of the planet’s civilizations.  The SG-1 team gets back together to uncover the mysterious threat, and save the world.

The episode steps out of the main time flow of Stargate SG-1, while staying true to the series’ canon.  There is little connection with most of the series’ storylines, the hazard of creating a bubble of future reality, set apart from the rest of the series.  The fact that the show is set in a future time frame is soon evident.

There’s nothing included about the reaction of the world to learning about the stargate program, nor the reaction to Earth forming an alliance with an advanced alien race.  The lack of all the messiness involved in getting to the peaceful start of the episode affects the believability of the story.  I understand the need for leaving most of that out -- time, and budget constraints, however, the resulting story is mostly sterile, and bland.

Although most of the episode is set in the future, there isn’t much about the future presented in the episode.  In fairness, it would be difficult to relate all the changes to Earth brought on by contact with the Ashen in less than 44 minutes.  Instead, there are representations of the changes, and the viewer can extrapolate the ramifications.  The stargate is out in the open; the transporter is a sample of Aschen technology; and everyone’s wardrobe was hit with a grayscale button so no one wears bright colors.  I can venture guesses about everything, except the fashion choices, but I barely understand fashion.

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