Dear Stargate,

It has already been ten years since the first series Stargate SG-1 ended and although I never did a re-watch, I still think about the adventures of Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, Samantha Carter and Teal’c.

With the two spin-off series, Atlantis and Universe, the mythology continued until 2011, spanning a total of 17 years. In addition to that, there were also two movies, which concluded the journey for our heroes. Since then we haven’t seen any new material and have had to make up our own interpretations of what might be going on now in the depths of Cheyenne Mountain.

The rumours of a reboot deeply concern me, because the mythos of Stargate as a whole is – at least in my memory – perfect and I don’t want to see anything that might change or even nullify everything that happened so far. Why not continue with the story and hand over the torch to a new generation of international people, who will explore new galaxies or even universes?

But let’s not talk about the future, this letter should cover the road so far and why I love the series, its protagonists and the worlds we discovered.

Stargate was the perfect TV show for me. First of all, I love astronomy. At my parents house there are a lot of astronomy books, most of them I read as I was a child. Stars, planets, comets, galaxies and, of course, black holes have always fascinated me. I couldn’t get enough. You could say that they were what dinosaurs were to other children.

Astronomy also let me think and dream about other places, about aliens and how other worlds might look like. Each time I entered a book store, the first thing I looked for was the science section and if there were new books about the topic. This very much corresponds with my affection for science fiction stories. Be it movies, books or other kinds of media, science fiction is one constant genre I will never let go. Even the bad movies, like the recent Jupiter Ascending has fascinating ideas and concepts I enjoyed.

Finally, the third ingredient Stargate satisfies is mythology. Besides books about science fiction, I also had a bunch of books about ancient Egypt. It’s just a fascinating culture and Stargate covered it all. At first just Egyptian mythology, but sooner rather than later the authors introduced Thor from the Norse mythology and Merlin from the Arthurian legend. Endless possibilities and they took them all.

Over the course of ten years the team of SG-1 faced two main villains or groups of villains if you will. The Goa’uld and the Ori. The Goa’uld terrified me, because they were manipulative insects, which took your body by force and imprisoned you within it. You had to watch helplessly while they were doing all kinds of terrible things, not only to your species, but also to your loved ones. The gods like Anubis had there very own Jaffa, warriors who not only gave their lives for their respective gods, but also living breeding grounds for the young Goa’uld. At a young age they were condemned and manipulated into this terrible fate.

Teal’c, former First Prime (the highest Jaffa rank) of the System Lord Apophis, is our guide through the culture of the Goa’uld. He betrayed his master to safe the SG-1 team and joined them, to free all Jaffa. Teal’c was my second favourite character of the team. He is always calm, patient and has a deep respect for his friends. He honours the traditions he grew up with, but is open minded and curious towards life on earth. He is the one who teaches us, what it means to be human and what our potential could be. When I think of Teal’c I think of two things: first his meditation ceremonies and second the torture scenes he had to endure. They could hurt him, but no one could ever break him!

Talking about favourite characters. Top of my list is definitely Daniel Jackson. He is not just very handsome (yes, I had a crush on him), but also a genius, a master of the mind. When I think of him, I have one specific scene in mind. It is the final fight between SG-1 and the replicators. Daniel is aboard the newly crafted mothership and faces the whole hieve mind of the replicators alone. If I remember correctly, they have taken the form of Samantha Carter to distract him – to face a friend should in theory weaken him. The best part of this “boss fight”, if you want to call it that, is the fact, that it doesn’t have any action in it. You just watch both of them as each one tries to take over the whole replicators, who are attacking earth. The actors are just brilliant. Standing face to face, holding each other in a solid grip. You can see how they fight mentally and struggle with the sheer force of the other ones desperation and dedication. Awesome scene!

Jack and Sam are equally on third place. This doesn’t mean I didn’t like them, I do like them. Especially the differences between them were great to watch. Jack more a man of action and Sam, a strong, dedicated, intelligent woman who fought all the way, to were she is now. They are a great team and the actors had awesome chemistry. When I think of them, I think of the episode, where they found the second Stargate on earth and were trapped deep in the ice. It is such a personal, intimate story.

If you think about about it, everyone of them represents one aspect of the show: Jack the astronomy and military aspect, Daniel the archeology and mythology aspect, Sam the science as well as the military aspect and Teal’c the religious, spiritual aspect.

Of course, there were a lot of other great characters as well. Never forget General Hammond!! But it would be too much to talk about all of them in just one letter. So lets move on to my favourite species: The Nox and the Asgard. Both represent species, which are not very intimidating in appearance but can destroy worlds, if they choose to. This always fascinated me. Species who wield unimaginable power, but choose not to use it. The Nox are very spiritual. They want to be left alone, but once in a while are dragged into the fight against the Goa’uld and other opponents. The Asgard have a more prominent role and are less spiritual as they depend strongly on technology. They also may have the coolest introduction of the whole series. Their design is very intriguing because they represent, what humans may mostly think of, when they think about aliens. A classic design, but it works. Lovable creatures.

As our own galaxy was mostly explored, we were introduced to Atlantis. But I must confess I have some difficulties to remember a lot about this series (despite the episode were Rodney destroyed an entire solar system). Although I loved it, especially Jason Mamoa in his role as Ronon Dex and the science guy Rodney. It was the same structure of story telling as SG-1 but introduced us to a lot of new species and sometimes new gimmicks, which made it intriguing enough to watch. That sounds like, I hated it, but the contrary is true. I liked the show and the premise, that they are stranded in another galaxy. It reminded me of Star Trek Voyager, which I also liked.

Finally we have Stargate Universe. Oh boy, that’s a tough one. In Universe we got the chance to see a lot of other universes, because the ship the crew is trapped on, jumps from galaxy to galaxy to analyse planets and depart Stargates. I loved the idea of it, but the execution was not the greatest. I cannot really tell you why I didn’t like it that much, to answer that question I may have to rewatch it, but I remember that I loved the end of season two and would have loved to see were the story went from there. Unfortunately that was the end of the series and the Stargate mythos as a whole.

To be honest, I don’t really remember when I first saw an episode of Stargate, but I think it was somewhere during the first two seasons. Again, as I said in my letter to Supernatural, it took American TV shows a while to reach Austrian screens. But for the better part of thirteen or fourteen years Stargate was a part of my life. It inspired me and you could easily say, that it was the predecessor of what Supernatural meant to me later. Maybe, when I am looking back at it now, it meant even more to me. I was young, gay (even if I didn’t really know what that means when I was a child) and didn’t really fit in. Stargate was a world I could escape to and for me such different worlds with monsters (like in Supernatural) or other worlds (like in Stargate), those stories were always easy to escape to, because they were so different to our own. Maybe this is why Teal’c always inspired me the most. His unbreakable spirit. If he set his mind to a goal he did everything to reach it – never mind the odds. It is really funny when you look back and see one show fading out and another taking over the mantle. As Steve Jobs once said in his commencement speech at Stanford University:

“Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

I always wanted to do a re-watch of Stargate. Mainly because I watched it in the german dubbed version and always wanted to know, how the original voices and sound design was like. To write this letter might be the straw that broke the camel’s back – in the most positive sense.

Tal’ma’te,
Chris

Christoph Staffl
christoph.staffl@gmail.com

One thought on “Dear Stargate”

Leave a Reply