Stargate: Season 8 Review

I was very surprised by Season 8. Season 7 was so military, I assumed that the direction of the Stargate franchise was set, no looking back. And perhaps, overall, it is (Seasons 9 and 10 still to come!). But Season 8 was refreshingly full of one-story, adventure episodes.

Episodes #1 & 2--New Order: The season starts, however, with dreary military stuff (I'm not anti-military; I just get tired of having to keep all the enemies straight). It definitely relies on viewers with full knowledge of the show's previous seasons.

There are some good parts, naturally, and the resolution does tie the two-parter's story-lines together in a believable way.

Ba'al looking wry
Episode #3--Lockdown: Anubis is still alive?

Episode #4--Zero Hour: One of my favorite bad guys, Ba'al, shows up. I love his clothes! I also think he delivers nice ambiguity alongside a touch of wryness (more on this later).

I also like the point of view in this episode--it's about all the stuff that happens back in SG-1 when the team is off adventuring!

Episode #5--Icon: This episode addresses the unattended consequences of contact, especially when zealots are involved. I reference this episode, positively, in my post "Why (So Much) Dystopian Fiction Is Stupid".

Episode #6--Avatar: The classic "virtual-training-tool-run-amuck" episode. It provides interesting insights though I have to point out the silliness of nobody saying, "Hey, let's NOT turn on the machine that thinks for itself!"

Episode #7--Affinity: I got upset with this episode--why is Teal'c living off-base any more dangerous than anyone else living off-base? Yes, he was targeted but other members of SG-1 have been targeted. And I liked Teal'c's apartment life; of course he wears 70's clothes in his off-hours!

Episode #8--Covenant: Another "challenge to the Stargate Command conspiracy" episode. I don't much care for these episodes, mostly because the Stargate writers twist themselves into knots. By temperament, they are on the side of the truth-tellers, but they know the "truth" won't work for the show. Some interesting ideas are discussed. Otherwise . . . eh.

Wayne Brady
Episode #9--Sacrifices: Another Teal'c episode involving Jaffa marriage, a planet with the Goa'uld, and Teal'c's high maintenance girlfriend.

Episode #10--Endgame: Another hunt-for-the-gate episode. I get the impression that these episodes, which are overloaded with exposition, are necessary to plot development, so the writers can do cool episodes later. Still, I find them rather uninteresting.

Episode #11--Gemini: Very clever. I wasn't sure throughout the episode how trustworthy Replicator Carter might be!

Episodes #12--Prometheus Unbound: This episode is very funny. Daniel and the chick-of-the-week have great banter. I wouldn't mind seeing them together again.

Episode #13--It's Good to Be King: Maybourne! I always like it when he shows up. He looks quite good in his Henry V-like outfit. The episode is also a great pay-off for the character. And Wayne Brady makes an appearance!

Episode #14--Full Alert: Another Trust organization episode. Oh, yuck. (Insert snoozing.)

Episode #15--Citizen Joe: This is a great episode! Totally hilarious!! It is Stargate told from the point of view of someone who isn't already ensconced in the Stargate Universe. Consequently, the episode delivers critiques of the show as well as tributes--rather like "Wormhole X-Treme" from Season 5. The episode is also full of casual jokes, like the movers who come to take Joe's house: Brothers Grimm Reps.

And it is touching: Joe sobbing over Daniel's death (well, one of Daniel's deaths) is heart-wrenching.

I love Jack's attitude (at the end of the episode) about seeing Joe's life over the years: "I found it relaxing."

Episode #16 & #17--Reckoning: Replicator Carter makes the replicators marginally more interesting but passionless revenge is kind of dull. And Anubis is still around? Seriously? Please get rid of him already.

I do like how the Jaffa don't care about the replicators but use the distraction to further their own ends.

And Daniel's storyline is interesting.

The most interesting part of the story, however, is Ba'al. The actor manages to give the character this odd/attractive combination of arrogance, fear, wryness, and, even, flirtatiousness. He is far, far, far more interesting than Anubis.

I have to say, though, that even with Anubis, the Stargate writers managed to avoid The Mentalist's problems re: omniscient, boring bad guys, mostly because the Stargate writers didn't take their omniscient, boring bad guy too seriously. They weren't trying to point out the awfulness of life, just have fun.

Okay, exactly how many times can Daniel die????

Episodes #18--Threads: Neat episode. I like Daniel in alternative reality episodes and hey, George Dzunda shows us! (Can one really ask for more?) And it is a decent pay-off (hopefully permanently) for Anubis.

Episode #20 & #21--Moebius: This is a VERY clever "time-travel/everything has changed" episode. The time traveling isn't confusing, so much as silly. But it doesn't matter. The real issue here is "What would our characters be like without the Stargate Program?" The answer is hilarious and cute. Amanda Tapping especially does a great job as adorably nerdy Dr. Carter. And Jack and Carter finally get together!

I read somewhere that the Stargate producers were reluctant to make the Jack/Sam relationship "canon" (and never totally did). My personal theory is that since Richard Dean Anderson clearly wanted to retire from Stargate (he had a good run!) and Amanda Tapping was likely going to stay on into the sequels, the producers wanted to keep their options open. That Jack and Sam ARE in a relationship is clearly implied by the end of this season; the time travel storyline lets us actually see it.

Samantha Carter and Jack O'Neill
Of course, Stargate doesn't rely on the Jack-Sam relationship the way, say, Bones relies on Booth/Brennan or X-Files on Scully/Mulder (the latter was always going to be canon whether it ever developed romantically or not). Still, I was glad to see Jack and Sam get together--in their mutually laid-back way!

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