Monday, March 28, 2016

How To Get Into Stargate (Part 2) - Atlantis and the Ori

Stargate 101

So, here we go again. Part 2 will cover Season 8 through 10 and the follow-up movies of SG-1, as well as Atlantis Seasons 1-3. Part 3 will come out next week with the rest of Atlantis and Universe as well as my conclusion on the franchise, what worked, what didn't and so forth.

Stargate SG-1 Season 8 & Stargate Atlantis Season 1

With the start of the Atlantis Series, it's best to watch these two shows parallel now, as there are some crossovers and parallel events influence the other shows in one way or the other. I'll mark the shows with SG-1 and SGA plus episode number respectively.
   Atlantis Season 1 is different from every other season of the franchise, in that it's a continuously building story the overall tension that comes from the status quo and whats going on with the Atlantis expedition shines through most episodes, so it helps watching the entire season. I will however still only write down the episodes, what contribute to an story arc in one way or the other.

SG-1 8x01 New Order (Part 1) - pretty good two-parter, resolving the events from last season and setting up the new status quo, Myth Arc
SG-1 8x02 New Order (Part 2) - part two of two
SGA 1x01 Rising (Part 1) - As the series pilot it introduces all the major players, the status quo and the Myth Arc. A must see and also a damn fine story
SGA 1x02 Rising (Part 2) - part two of two
SG-1 8x03 Lockdown - follow-up to the last two multi parters and sets up some bits for later, Myth Arc
SGA 1x03 Hide and Seek - the main story is there for some character bits, not really that important, but parts of it will be important for the later Myth Arc, so it's a must see
SG-1 8x04 Zero Hour - it doesn't really contain any material for the story arc, but it has some nice bits for O'Neill coping with his new status quo so I say watch it
SGA 1x07 Poisoning the Well - believe it or not, but this episode won't be important until season 4 or so
SG-1 8x08 Covenant - not important for any arc, but very interesting stand-lone so I recommend it
SGA 1x08 Underground - part of the new Genii Arc and a must see as it introduces us to the race and everything we need to know 
SG-1 8x09 Sacrifices - not necessarily important, but part of the Jaffa Arc
SG-1 8x10 Endgame - part of the NID Arc
SGA 1x10 The Story (Part 1) - part of the Genii Arc, it introduces one of the franchises best villains and also a really fun episode
SGA 1x11  The Eye (Part 2) - part two of two
SG-1 8x11 Gemini - part of the Myth Arc
SG-1 8x12 Prometheus Unbound - not part of any arc, but it introduces an important character for next season
SGA 1x12 The Defiant One - sets up bits and pieces for later, part of the Myth Arc, but the main story is pretty good though inconsequential for later
SG-1 8x13 It's Good to be King - a stand-alone episode, but it also marks the last appearance of Maybourne so watch it if you like the character
SG-1 8x14 Full Alert - I list this under Myth Arc. Kinda. Hard to define, but you should watch it anyway
SG-1 8x15 Citizen Joe - a filler and clip show episode. Read the synopsis and you get all the info you'll ever need. But by all means watch it if you want to see Homer Simpson as a Stargate fanboy... it makes sense in context
SGA 1x15 Before I Sleep - important for the overall Myth Arc
SGA 1x16 The Brotherhood - part of the Genii and Myth Arcs
SGA 1x17 Letter from Pegasus - important for the Myth Arc, as it informs Stargate Command of the situation in Atlantis
SG-1 8x16 Reckoning (Part 1) - really important episode and part of the Myth and Jaffa Rebellion Arcs
SG-1 8x17 Reckoning (Part 2) - part two of two
SG-1 8x18 Threads - epilogue and unofficial third part of Reckoning, Myth Arc and a definite must-see
SG-1 8x19 Moebius (Part 1) - a definite must see, a fun time-travel story and it was supposed to be the final episode of the series, otherwise it's not part of the SG-1 Myth Arc, but of the Atlantis Myth Arc
SG-1 8x20 Moebius (Part 2)  - part two of two. once again: watch it!
SGA 1x19 The Siege (Part 1) - part of the Myth Arc, watch it definitely after Moebius
SGA 1x20 The Siege (Part 2) - part two of two, probably one of the best single episodes of the franchise

Stargate SG-1 Season 9-10 & Stargate Atlantis Season 2-3

Now, this is the period where everything pretty much changed. You see, season 8 of SG-1 was intended to be the last season, which is why they pretty much tidied up all the loose ends (more or less). The last five episodes could have pretty much been the final episodes of the series and given the show a nice, round ending. But that is not what we got, as the SciFi Channel, now known as Syfy - no, really - renewed the series. With all of the major villains defeated and all story arcs concluded. Not really a good position to start from. The solution? The Ori arc and some new faces, specifically: Ben Browder and Claudia Black of Farscape fame, playing Colonel Cameron Mitchell and Vala Mal Doran, the latter of which had already appeared in season 8's Prometheus Unbound
   Let's get this out of the way so there is no mistaking: I like these two seasons. They are really really good. Mitchell and Vala are two of my favourite characters in the whole franchise, funny and three dimensional, just as I like my characters. The Ori on the other hand... it's the Goa'Uld arc with arthurian myth. Doesn't mean it's bad, it's just pretty much the same, though with the difference that the Ori are acually pretty capable and a credible threat. Overall though it was a new lease on life, that most Gaters weren't that happy with, but hey, you can't please them all. I actually recommend watching all of the season, as well as season 10. The series only went bad in it's last episode, as they had to rush a finale, because the Syfy channel has this problem of surprising the producers and writers of the Stargate franchise with their cancellation two episodes from completeing the series, so they have no time left to rewrite the last half-dozen episodes, which is why two episodes from the finish line we've got stand-alone family episodes. And no, I'm not bitter.
   Stargate Atlantis meanwhile went into it's second year, which was overall pretty lackluster. There are some good episodes, but it lacks the suspence and interwoven continuity of the first year. Atlantis really profitied from the whole 'far far away and cut off from earth' aspect, which is pretty much negated from this season on and you can see the writers trying to rework the series. I actually would have prefered the series to stand on it's own for a bit longer, maybe another season or two, because there was real potential there. Overall, Atlantis really went downhill from here, but it's still watchable. From here on you can skip all the episodes I don't mention as they don't feature into the overall atmosphere/theme anymore, hell from here on out there are less and les arc episodes and more and more stand-alones, most of which recycle SG-1 plots in one form or another. Season 3 gets better, but that's not saying much.

SGA 2x01 The Siege (Part 3) - conclusion to the multi parter, Myth Arc
SG-1 9x01 Avalon (Part 1) - begins the new Ori Myth Arc and introduces new characters, also a good story
SG-1 9x02 Avalon (Part 2) Myth Arc
SG-1 9x03 Origin (Part 3) - Myth Arc
SGA 2x02 The Intruder - important for bits and pieces scattered throughout the episode and parts of the new status quo, but not part of any story arc in particular
SG-1 9x04 The Ties That Bind - follow-up to the Avalaon/Origin three parter
SGA 2x03 Runner - not important for any arc, but it introduces a new main character
SGA 2x04 Duet - The fangirls will like it, which is why I mention it, but I really don't as I don't like bodyswap episodes. People only watch it because of some man-on-man action for the before mentioned fangirls Skip it.
SG-1 2x05 The Powers That Be - some nice stuff for Vala, contines the Myth Arc arond the Ori, but not important for what happens later, so can skip it if you don't like the synopsis
SGA 2x06 Trinity - watchable, but it ties into some later episodes and becomes a running gag
SG-1 9x06 Beachhead Myth Arc, a must-see and a good episode as well
SG-1 9x07 Ex Deus Machina - continues/starts the Baal Arc
SGA 2x07 Instinct (Part 1) - once again: watchable, but it ties into the Myth Arc
SGA 2x08 Conversion (Part 2) - watch it as conclusion to part 1, but it doesn't stand up otherwise
SG-1 9x08 Babylon - why does that remind me of The Last Samurai IN SPACE? ties into stuff for later for Mitchell, so watch it
SGA 2x10 The Lost Boys (Part 1) - ties into the events around Lt. Ford
SGA 2x11 The Hive (Part 2) - conclusion of the story, it's never brought up again in the next three seasons. Ever. So skip the two parter if you don't really care about Ford, like I do
SG-1 9x10 The Fourth Horseman (Part 1) Myth Arc
SG-1 9x11 The Fourth Horseman (Part 2) Myth Arc
SGA 2x13 Critical Mass - ties into the NID Arc from SG-1
SG-1 9x12 Collateral Damage - not important for any Arc, but it has some great character development for Mitchell
SG-1 9x13 Ripple Effect - not important for any Arc, but an enjoyable multi-SG-1-teams episode
SG-1 9x14 Stronghold - ties into the Baal and Jaffa Arcs
SG-1 9x15 Ethon - ties into the Myth Arc
SG-1 9x16 Off the Grid - ties into/introduces the Lucian Alliance Arc, also Baal Arc and some hardware for later
SG-1 9x17 The Scourge - ties into the Myth Arc
SGA 2x17 Coup D'etat - ties into the Genii Arc
SG-1 9x18 Arthur's Mantle - skippable, but it introduces some stuff for later
SGA 2x18 Michael - ties into the Myth Arc and introduces Michael, a new recurring character
SG-1 2x19 Crusade Myth Arc
SGA 2x19 Inferno - ties into the overall Myth Arc and introduces some hardware that comes back soon
SG-1 2x20 Camelot (Part 1) Myth Arc, also a really good episode
SGA 2x20 Allies (Part 1) - Myth Arc

SGA 3x01 No Man's Land (Part 2) Myth Arc, continues the story, pretty good.
SGA 3x02 Misbegotton (Part 3) - conclusion/follow-up to the previous two episodes
SG-1 10x01 Flesh and Blood (Part 2) Myth Arc, conclusion to the two parter
SG-1 10x02 Morpheus - skim through the plot, except for the Vala bits
SG-1 10x03 The Pegasus Project Myth Arc and a crossover with Stargate Atlantis
SGA 3x04 Sateda - doesn't really tie into any Arc, but it gives Ronon some character stuff. Oh and the episode is really awesome!
SG-1 3x04 Insiders Baal Arc
SGA 3x05 Progeny (Part 1) - begins the Arsurans Arc
SGA 3x06 The Real World (Part 2) - part two of two. If the two episodes weren't so important for later I'd tell you to skip it, but alas...
SG-1 10x05 Uninvited - not really important, but it ties somewhat in the Myth Arc. Kinda?
SG-1 10x06 200 Martin Lloyd Arc and also the 200th episode, really fun stuff
SGA 3x07 Common Ground - Genii Arc, ties into the Myth Arc and introduces a really important character, so it's a must-see. Also a really good episode
SG-1 10x07 Counterstrike Myth and Jaffa Arcs
SGA 10x08 Memento Mori - skippable, but it has some good Vala character bits
SG-1 10x09 Company of Thieves Lucian Alliance Arc
SGA 3x10 The Return (Part 1) - ties into the Myth and Asurans Arc
SGA 3x11 The Return (Part 2) - part two of two
SG-1 10x10 The Quest (Part 1) Myth Arc
SG-1 10x11 The Quest (Part 2) Myth Arc
SG-1 10x12 Line in the Sand Myth Arc
SGA 3x13 Irresponsible - ties into the Genii Arc. I didn't mention this episodes "prequel" from earlier in this series, because I don't wanna be sued because of assault
SG-1 10x13 The Road Not Taken - ties into the Myth Arc, reuses the Arthur's Mantle tech
SG-1 10x14 The Shroud Myth Arc
SG-1 10x15 Bounty Lucian Alliance Arc
SG-1 10x16 Bad Guys - a stand-alone, but really really fun
SGA 3x17 Sunday - ties into no single arc, but... must-see, not that good, but a must-see nontheless. You'll see
SG-1 10x17 Talion Jaffa Arc
SGA 3x18 Submersion - ties into the finale, but you can skip it if the "previously on" segments are enough for you
SG-1 10x18 Family Ties - not a specific story arc, but it got character bits
SGA 3x19 Vengeance - ties into the Michael Arc
SG-1 10x19 Dominion Myth Arc
SGA 3x20 First Strike (Part 2) Myth and Asurans Arcs
SG-1 10x20 Unending Myth Arc, the final SG-1 episode ever. Yeah, it sucks. Pretty bad.

The Ori Myth Arc is then continued and concluded in the direct-to-dvd movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth. It's pretty decent, not what the Arc, or the series for that matter, deserved. It also makes the series finale Unending even worse in hinsight, because they don't even use their new uber tech.
The Baal Arc is concluded in Stargate: Continuum, the last Stargate movie, also not so great, but hey, at least we've got some resolution.
So, this marks the end of SG-1. This was overall a great series, with two really strong seasons in the end, but lacked the fan support the series had during the Goa'uld years. Also Syfy is stupid for shooting it's last strong franchise in the foot.

Next time: 
Stargate: Going Downhill & Final Thoughts

So long.

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