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Stargate SG1, Season 8 (2004) A Movie Review by Nix

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Cast/Crew

 

episode director

Andy Mikita

 

episode writer

Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie

 

regular cast

Richard Dean Anderson

....

Col. Jack O'Neill

Michael Shanks

....

Dr. Daniel Jackson

Amanda Tapping

....

Maj. Sam Carter

Christopher Judge

....

Teal'c

Don S. Davis

....

Gen. Hammond

 

guest stars

Torri Higginson (Dr. Weir), Patrick Currie (Fifth), Kira Clavell (Amaterasu), Steve Bacic (Camulus), Kevan Ohtsji (Oshu), Vince Crestejo (Yu)

nce again "Stargate SG-1" leaves me neutral, which is probably the reason why this review of the season 8 premiere is over a week late. Simply put, the 2-hour episode is indicative of the show as a whole -- it doesn't really engender any real enthusiasm from me. Then again, since "SG-1" is one of the only two network shows I watch regularly (I suppose you would call me "somewhat faithful"), I felt obliged to send this review of the season premiere out into the netherworlds (you call it the Internet).

 

After a three-month wait, "New Order" finds the stalwarts of "SG-1" where we left them -- and apparently with the same staff of writers and directors, because the vibe and feel of the series remains steady. Which, if you are keeping score, is not a positive thing. At this stage of its existence "SG-1" has far surpassed its "like a well-worn old shoe" feel, meaning it's like the Jack O'Neill character -- graying and slowing down. The show fails to generate any real enthusiasm by way of new energy, even though Torri Higginson, playing a civilian diplomat-cum-new head of the SGC, manages to provide some much-needed spark. But alas, as all civilian characters are doomed to realize, she has almost nothing to do -- at least nothing interesting.

As seen in season 7's surprisingly excellent season finale (I should have written a review of that!), Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) is still frozen inside an Ancients outpost somewhere in Antarctica after his defeat of System Lord Anubis. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Teal'c (Christopher Judge) hatch a plan to use a Gou'ald ship to seek help from the Asgards, the only race advance enough to save O'Neill's life. While the duo are away, new SGC chief Weir and a very atypical Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) gets a surprise visit from three System Lords seeking a truce. But as we all know, the only trustworthy Gou'ald is a decapitated one.

"New Order" flashes across the screen at its appointed time, spends two hours, then disappears with nary a peep. It's not the most spectacular season opener by any stretch, and as previously mentioned, the show has started to become stale, as any show that's been on so long invariably does. So it wasn't really a surprise to learn that the Powers That Be have decided to take the small but cult following of "SG-1" and create a spin-off show called "Stargate: Atlantis", starring a whole new group of "gaters", I guess you'd call them, who would be exploring the mythical lost city. In fact, one could look at most of season 7 as an origin season for "Atlantis", with the fabled city being mentioned often.

"New Order" is basically a 2-hour set-up for the series premiere of "Atlantis", with the Weir character (formerly played by Jessica Steen last year) getting a much bigger role, albeit not much to really do. Weir is the only character that will be transferring over to the new series, playing, from all that I've read, the Daniel Jackson of "Atlantis". (If the series premiere of "Atlantis" sufficiently excites me, you will see a review of it here; if not, then no review.) After seeing Higginson in action, I have no doubt Dr. Weir will be an intriguing character to follow. And really, after eight seasons, it's about time to inject some new life into the Stargate universe.

As a stand-alone episode, "New Order" would no doubt confuse and confound new viewers. It's to no one's surprise that O'Neill's Han Solo-esque "demise" from last season was corrected in a most uninspired fashion; or that the Asgards are still the most untenable creation since Henson's muppets scared little children everywhere. This time around the chief villains are once again those pesky Replicators. Having learned the trick of turning themselves into human form, the sentient machines known as Replicators now seek to escape from their prison (as seen in a season 7 episode) as the Asgardian Thor try to stop them.

Once again, anyone not already familiar with the "SG-1" universe will be dumbfounded beyond belief upon tuning into "New Order". At this point in its existence, "SG-1" is only for the faithful and new gaters need not apply. How is the two-hour season premiere? It's an average episode -- except it's an hour longer. Needless to say, "24" this ain't. But at this point I've been with "SG-1" for so long that I don't see myself tuning it out anytime soon. As previously mentioned, it's like an old but comfortable shoe.

 

 

July 14, 2004


 

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