Stargate: Season 9, Episodes 1-8

Avalon, Part 1 and Avalon, Part 2: Good introduction of a new character! I didn't realize until I read Wikipedia that Ben Browder was that guy from Farscape (of which I only watched a few episodes). Not only is he well-cast, he is well-introduced.

Speaking of Farscape, I truly love how unabashedly the Stargate producers love their sci-fi. Even Master Whedon can't help but poke fun at his creations. Stargate SG-1 producers and directors do this too but a frank fan-boy attitude of "oh, wow, we are so lucky to get him!" runs through every season. It's refreshing.

Ben Browder's Mitchell is the extroverted, excitable version of Jack (Sheppard is the extroverted, low-key version of Jack). There's a very cute scene in this first two-parter (which is actually a three-parter: see "Origin") where Mitchell yells at Teal'c about ricochet--"Bullets bounce!"--and makes a Jack motion with his hands. Teal'c stares at him, then smiles fondly. It is very, very cute.

I love Teal'c's little smile

And the Arthur stuff is compelling--although I would have liked more of it. (I think the writers were nervous about trending on "sacred" fantasy ground.)

Origin: Interesting. And I LOVE the crisp banter between Daniel and Vala. Unfortunately, this was also the point where I sighed and went, "Oh, no. THESE are the new villains?" (despite Julian Sands).

The Ties That Bind: Cute, funny Daniel-Vala episode. Vala is a great match for Daniel! His girlfriends since his wife have been a little too serious. Vala has a serious side but she definitely knows how to keep things light.

The Powers That Be: At this point, I told myelf, "Well, you might as well finish this first set" (I got discs 1&2 out of the library). The Ori are not my preferred villain type. An Ori (actually, a Prior) shows up and makes threats. Daniel gives a good speech. The Prior makes more threats. Daniel and others resist. The Prior reemphasizes threats.

And repeat.

Beachhead: I would almost say the same about this episode EXCEPT Maury Chaykin shows up and steals the entire episode. I had no idea Maury Chaykin did Stargate (he died in 2010). He is magnificent as a fully-humanized if despicable Goa'uld. At one point, he discovers that Ba'al didn't give him credit in the past for an invention. His look of bewildered hurt is beautifully done. Why can't all bad guys be like this?!

Ex Deus Machina: Even though Ba'al shows up, I didn't watch this episode as closely as I should have. It contains a great deal of Jaffa politicking.

Having complained about Jaffa politicking, I must now give Stargate writers major kudos: in the Stargate universe, there is no such thing as a vacuum. Dispose of one enemy: another rises to take its place. Get rid of a common enemy: look out, factionalism! The double-cool thing, though, is that the Stargate writers have a fundamentally stoic attitude about it all: Another enemy rises? So you fight that one too. Factionalism takes the place of heroic solidarity? So you keep trying to find common ground.

Babylon: I quite like this episode. It has a vibe to it reminiscent of earlier Stargate episodes. Besides, Tony Todd is always a treat!

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