Let me start off by being very honest. I was not a huge fan of the Devlin and Emerich film version of Stargate. And because I wasn’t into the film, I did not bother to watch the Showtime original series when it first debuted. That was a major mistake on my behalf. The series is closer to Star Trek than Stargate (the movie). The cast is excellent beginning with Richard Dean Anderson taking over the Mike Douglas role of Col. O’Neal. With a refreshing blend of wit and tough guy, Anderson is everything you want in a le…der. Showtime’s commitment to quality production values and tight writing make this one of the better TV boxed sets out there (in terms of content). Look for Anderson’s reaction in the pilot when Carter explains how she needed to “McGyver” a dialing station… it’s priceless.
21 episodes make up the first season of Stargate SG-1. The series follows the film with the premise that there are an almost infinite number of planets that could be explored by using the Stargate. Several teams are assembled… and the series follows the exploits of the first such team: SG-1.
Col. Jack O’ Neal (Anderson) heads up the group. Archaeologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) is the expert on the cultures of the Stargate folks, Maj. Samantha Carter (Tapping) is a scientist with the Air Force who specializes the the physics of the thing, and the team is rounded out by Teal’C (Christopher Judge), an alien with an enemy parasite inside of him who helps the team in the pilot episode.
You must remember that the series was intended for TV. The episodes are all presented in Dolby Stereo sound. If ever a TV production deserved the 5.1 treatment this one does. However, the stereo sound does live up to its full potential. The balance is strong and the action and score blend nicely with neither stepping over the other. It would have been nice to have at least an occasional commentary track.
Each episode is presented in a widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio, but they are not all equal in terms of quality. Most of the episodes are fairly clean and sharp, and colors are usually solid. For some reason disc 1 has far more visual flaws than any of the other discs. There are many instances of distortion on the first disc, as well as for some unexplained black lines present during each camera transition. It might be hard to catch but pausing and stepping through one will reveal that it exists. Each disc appears to become progressively better in picture quality.
Sadly there are next to no features in this set. The short features present on discs 2, 3, 4, and 5 serve more as advertisements with little insight into the show. By short I mean the longest is less than 10 minutes. The menus are short of any real flash but easy to navigate.
The show is top rate. I was glad to see this season because I did not catch these episodes when they originally aired. This series is really about cast chemistry. Why watch? O’Neal was once asked why he should take such risks by using the gate. He answered, “To see what’s out there”. If season one is any indication, there’s plenty out there.
Special Features List
- Behind-the-scenes featurettes with cast members