View Full Version : TimesUnion: Stargate is becoming quite the survivor

July 11th, 2004, 04:50 PM
From the TimesUnion:


'Stargate' is becoming quite the survivor

By MARK McGUIRE, Staff writer
First published: Sunday, July 11, 2004

Of the thousands of nighttime television shows that have premiered since the 1940s, maybe 200 or so lasted more than seven seasons. For every "Tonight Show" or "Gunsmoke," there are hundreds of shows that lasted only a handful of seasons ... or just a handful of episodes.

Think back to all the TV programs that have debuted in the past year alone that quickly morphed into trivia questions: Quick, what do you recall about "Luis," or "Run of the House," or "Lyon's Den"?

So you may be surprised at the news that "Stargate SG-1" premiered its eighth -- eighth! -- season last week (9 p.m. Fridays, SciFi). The underappreciated sci-fi drama, about an elite team galaxy-hopping through an ancient portal, can be considered one of the longest-running series ever.

Now comes its offspring, "Stargate Atlantis." That companion series debuts with a two-hour installment at 9 p.m. Friday, before shifting to 10 p.m. on July 23 -- giving SciFi a Friday-night block of first-run "Stargate" offerings."

Now consider this: "Stargate" star Richard Dean Anderson (who's also an executive producer) has now played Air Force colonel and team leader Jack O'Neill longer than he held down his signature role as the improvising spy on ABC's "MacGyver," which ran from 1985 to '92. For those anticipating the trivia question, MacGyver's first name was revealed during the show's final season: Angus. (Anderson has had one other extended role: From 1976-81 he played Dr. Jeff Webber on ABC's "General Hospital.")

"Stargate SG-1," which debuted on Showtime in 1997 before being transported to SciFi in 2002, is a spinoff of the 1994 Kurt Russell-James Spader film "Stargate." As in the film, it features interactions between present-day earthlings (military and science personnel) and members of advanced ancient civilizations. (Egyptologists can find plenty to love, and maybe some things to question, in the show.)

In the spinoff, a newly formed team travels to the lost city of Atlantis (it's not where you think) to harvest the advanced/ancient technology that could, as they say, benefit humankind. The problem: There's only enough power for a one-way trip through the watery stargate portal. What's worse, the team quickly incurs the wrath of the Wraith, a race of vampire types looking for humanoid food.

Leading the military side of the team is Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), a pilot who's a younger version of Anderson's rule-flouting O'Neill.

Torri Higginson, who appeared in the season premiere of "Stargate: SG-1" as a specialist in diplomatic relations, is the overall leader of the Atlantis team.

"Stargate" isn't a show that garners significant buzz or media attention. Yet it's an adventurous combination of science, science fiction, action and anthropology, featuring a collection of well-honed characters.

The show is syndicated in 64 countries, from Argentina and Estonia to Ivory Coast and Tajikistan. Here in the Capital Region, reruns air at 11:30 p.m. Sundays on WRGB Ch. 6.

On SciFi, "Stargate SG-1" reruns air at 6 p.m. weeknights. Starting at 6 p.m. Monday, SciFi will air five straight "Stargate SG-1" episodes. At 6 p.m. Friday, the network reruns "From Stargate to Atlantis: A SciFi Lowdown," which hips viewers up to the "Stargate" mythology and previews "Atlantis." Last week's two-hour season premiere reruns at 7 p.m., followed by the debut of "Atlantis" at 9 p.m. (followed immediately by its re-airing at 11 p.m.).

If that's not enough, re-alphabetize your comic book collection. The heavy volume of reruns is a saturation device long employed by cable that's being copied by broadcasters; on almost every channel, Saturday nights will be mostly reruns this fall. It's worked to the benefit of "Stargate."

But the show has succeeded mainly due to its combination of interstellar action, light comedy and assiduous attention to detail, from military protocol to Egyptian history. It's electronic comfort food, a stupid-smart entertainment that's an easy destination for channel surfers.

While there's certainly room for another franchise, don't look for "Stargate" to become another "CSI." ("Stargate: Pompeii"? Um, no.) But the formula is in place, and the new characters strong enough, to ensure a healthy run for "Atlantis."

Meanwhile, "Stargate" continues to move up the board of longest-running shows. An all-time great? No. An all-time survivor? Getting there.




Richard Dean Anderson Fans

Elwe Singollo
July 12th, 2004, 03:36 AM
*Singing Destiny's Child Song* Stargate is a survivor, la la la la... :D

July 12th, 2004, 10:50 AM
ROFLMAO at Stargate:Pompeii! Could someone please pitch this idea to TPTB? ;-)

July 12th, 2004, 12:03 PM
Gah, When I heard Stargate and Survivor in the same sentence I started to think a reality show-stargate ep. Someone please erase my memory!

Anthro Girl
July 12th, 2004, 12:07 PM
Morjana, thanks again for posting this article. Since Stargate is the only television show I follow (or have followed), I have a hard time understanding exactly how popular it is. :)

July 12th, 2004, 05:52 PM
It seems that Stargate is rising where Star Trek is falling. It use be that Star Trek use to be talked about sci-fi show...

VixyOwl (~~Ani)
July 20th, 2004, 08:31 AM
Well, he says it's not going to be like CSI, but I'd *so* watch a show on the CSI or Law and Order model.
No need for "Stargate: Pompeii", how about "Stargate: SG2" or "Stargate: SG3" etc etc?
Provided they're not stepping on each others' toes every week, that shouldn't be impossible--so whenever SG1 splits off or signs off (*touches wood*), why not?

Stargate Agent
July 22nd, 2004, 11:07 AM
That would be stupid Stargate: SG-13 or something gimme a break we have seen the SGC for eight seasons know Stargate: Atlantis is just right. A New location and a new world. Perfect! :)

VixyOwl (~~Ani)
July 22nd, 2004, 12:34 PM
Wow. I've never been flamed before! I guess I'm edgier than I thought...

I like Atlantis just fine. I'm very much looking forward to it, in fact.

But I continue to assert that a lot of what sets Stargate apart is that it's based on Earth, in our own time, with--at ground--our level of scientific knowledge and within our RL political consciousness.

A lot of that won't be in Atlantis, so I'd love to see a Stargate series that *did* continue with it.

If that's "stupid," then thus I shall remain. :)