In the fall of 1994, a movie came out called “Stargate.”
It was a Sci-Fi story like no other; instead of humans of the future traveling the stars in giant spaceships, it was us—ordinary, modern-day humans. The story featured history, science, action, and an exciting premise.
When I first saw it, I became hooked. “Stargate” did not just become my favorite movie; it launched a lifelong passion for science, Ancient Egyptian history, and the US Air Force. So much so that the most worn-out book on my shelf is a copy of “The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt” that I got as a gift in 2000. The second most worn-out book is a paperback copy of the “Stargate” books that Bill McCay wrote.
I was so hooked on “Stargate” that on Friday, July 27, 1997, at 8 pm, I made my entire family sit down to watch the debut episode of “Stargate SG-1” on Showtime. We were among the 1.5 million households to sit down and watch “Children of the Gods” air and see the continuation of a story I loved. Suffice to say, “Stargate SG-1” became my favorite show almost immediately and quickly supplanted “Star Trek” as my favorite Sci-Fi franchise.
Every Friday night, I tuned into Showtime to get my next fix and see what great adventure awaited the SG-1 team through the Stargate. Between episodes, I spent a considerable amount of time on the Showtime “Stargate” website. I played the games, read the mission briefings, did everything I could on the site. I think I had the rank of Captain on the site at one point.
I grew up watching these characters; I was enamored by Carter’s intelligence, Daniel’s passion, Teal’c’s fire, and O’Neill’s leadership. Each episode gave us another layer of the characters. “Secrets” is one of my favorite episodes that showcased this. I feel like I can go on and on about specific episodes, and maybe one day I would.
Within the first couple of episodes, they tackled some hefty subjects, “Emancipation” has some powerful lessons on women’s rights that I did not realize at the time. “The First Commandment” dealt with mental health, while in “Cold Lazarus,” we saw O’Neill learn how to deal with the loss of his son.
“The First Commandment” is one of the episodes of season one that I watch a lot. Part of it is because it is interesting to see Alan Mathews play a madman; what would Mr. Feeny have to say about that? But it was “The Torment of Tantalus” that set off a story arc that would last for the entire series. The four great alien races and soon the Tau’ri would become “The Fifth Race.”
One of my guilty pleasure episodes will always be Season 4’s “Prodigy” I loved the idea of bringing the Air Force Academy into the fold. Primarily because at the time, I dreamed of going there, something I had my heart set on since I started watching the show. While I didn’t have the opportunity to go, I will always look back fondly on that episode.
When SG-1 moved over to the Sci-Fi channel, so did my Friday night viewing. There was no way I would miss out on the next adventure. Even though Daniel was gone, it was optimistic that Jonas would fit in nicely.
SG-1 led to the debut of “Stargate Atlantis” in 2004 when I was in High School. It, too, became appointment viewing for me. A new team having a new adventure in a new galaxy was fun to see. I enjoyed exploring the city, learning new things about “The Ancients.” To me, the Wraith was a very cool enemy. I remember the promotion website for the show had all the original artwork, and I loved seeing how the city and everything changed from the artwork to the show that aired.
When “Stargate Atlantis” was canceled, I was among the many fans disappointed with MGM. The Atlantis story was not over and had more to show us. I was happy to see the new show “Stargate Universe” air in 2009, this time I was already in college, but I still watched. I enjoyed “Stargate Universe.” It was different, much different from what we were used to with Atlantis and SG-1, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. When the SyFy channel decided to bounce it from Friday nights to Tuesdays, I followed along with it. I stayed until the end, and the screen faded to black with Eli waiting on The Destiny.
For the last 11 years, I have wanted to know what happened next. Did Eli fix the pod? Did Destiny make it to the next galaxy? What happened with Atlantis? Did they make it back to Pegasus? Are the Jaffa now a full-fledged society in the galaxy? Is the Lucian Alliance still causing issues? What about Earth? Did the Stargate ever become public knowledge?
There is not one year that goes by that I do not watch Stargate, even now I am in the middle of re-watching the entire series from beginning to end. I am writing this just as I am about to start season three which is easily my favorite of the franchise. Just the other week I watched as the cast reunited to read a script written by Google’s AI which was hilarious. Go check it out, you’ll get some great laughs.
To think that next year, “Stargate SG-1” turns 25. I hope that with the MGM and Amazon deal happening that they bring back Stargate to tell new stories. Ones with Brad Wright at the helm in the same cannon as the series has been a big part of mine and many other people’s lives. I would love to see how the world they created has changed in the last 11 years.
Please, Amazon, do not mess this up.
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