Happy 20th, Stargate SG-1
I was thinking about whether or not I should write something, or if I should simply keep on reblogging amazing gifsets and tributes for a little while before going to bed and calling it a day.
But it kept nagging me, and I can’t stand the thought of letting this go without at least having said something. Can’t let this day just slip by.
Of course I had to write something.
It’s not every day one of your favorite shows turns 20.
It’s hard for me to pick an absolute favorite show, but I think I’ve got it down to two. Doctor Who is pretty obvious, and most people I know wouldn’t be surprised. I think Stargate SG-1 would actually be a bit weirder for them to hear. But it’s the truth. This gem of a science-fiction action series is one of my favorite shows of all time.
I don’t remember when I first started to watch Stargate. It’s one of those shows that was always on tv when I was a child. Or at least it feels like that (it still does. Literally every time I turn on the right channel, it’s there). I’m 21, so I wasn’t there from its inception. But my dad was. And he LOVES Stargate.
I actually think that he showed me the movie first. We both share a love of science fiction (I probably got it from him), and I remember seeing that very very early (we’re talking maybe 6 or 7 years old). I think the subtitle was Danish.
Anyway, my dad usually sat watching reruns, or occasionally the new season, of Stargate SG1 late in the evenings in our living room. I don’t remember why, but I started sneaking down, hiding behind a bookcase, and trying to watch the show along with him. Of course, I was soon discovered, and he asked me to watch it with him.
It became a Thing. Every other night, I would go down, make some sandwiches (and sometimes there’d be candy!) and pour a glass of milk and sit down in the sofa and watch Stargate SG1. I didn’t really watch it chronologically at first. I popped in whenever I was at my dad’s place and he’d explain to me if anything important had happened. The only moment out of these that I remember clearly enough was when I one day asked “Wait, what happened to Daniel? Who’s the new guy?” and found out that Daniel had died a few episodes prior. My heart was crushed! (I warmed to Jonas though).
Of course, he came back. Because Daniel always comes back. (Lucky me, to finally find a favorite who always comes back.)
(Seriously though, Daniel was my first fictional crush. Which I’ve never gotten over.)
After a while, my dad started buying the DVDs, and we instead sat down and watched the show chronologically, which I’ve done many times over since. On my own, trying to get friends into it, trying to get my sister to watch it (which took time), etc. We also started watching Stargate Atlantis together, which was on tv on Fridays. Sci-fi Fridays. Even if I later have watched the show over and over, it was still Our Thing.
Which might seem odd to many, but it was very important to me. I’ve had a bit of a complicated relationship with my dad, to say the least. Sometimes I doubt if he’s capable of having an uncomplicated relationship with people (than again, who can do that?). But anyway, those Stargate evenings were, most of the time, a break from that. From arguments, from awkwardness, from temper tantrums. They were just there. And that was so important to me.
Now I’ve talked about one aspect of why this show is my favorite, and it’s a highly subjective reason at that. But it’s one reason of many, even if its very personally important.
I grew up with this show, and through that, I’ve grown up with these characters. More than any other show I’ve ever watched, it feels like I know these characters. They do feel like friends to me, as clichéd as that sounds. Friends and family. Their journeys, friendships and struggles means so much to me, because I’ve connected to them all throughout my life. And I think there are some absolutely wonderful characters on this show.
I think Stargate sets itself apart from other similar sci-fi shows. I mean, it’s not the most diverse (though Sam is an AMAZING female character for this sort of thing). It’s not always the most well-written. But it has such heart. It’s a militaristic show, sure, but at its heart, it’s about friendship and family and learning. It’s a militaristic sci-fi show that has such high hopes for humanity, and for the cooperation between peoples and species. Daniel’s idealism is treated as naive sometimes, but it’s also treated as exactly that - ideal. It has a core message that’s about being kind, about how humanity can learn new things, search for knowledge, and that it is what sets us apart. I love those kind of uplifting stories. And the actors and crew members behind this show put so much effort into it, and it shows. Sam Carter wouldn’t be half the amazing character she is without Amanda Tapping. Teal’c wouldn’t have his charm without Chris Judge.
And of course, the show doesn’t take itself seriously at all. I mean, yes, it can get serious, that’s not what I meant. But it has no problem mocking itself, making fun of itself, playing with expected tropes, playing with stereotypes. It knows so well how to have fun with what it is. It’s self-aware. It wants to make you laugh and it succeeds because they’re laughing along with you. And when it gets serious, you know its because they’ve really earned it. O’Neill has made me laugh and O’Neill has made me cry, and it always felt just as genuin.
It’s not perfect, but in the end, it does what I think sci-fi does best, and that’s trying to tell us something about ourselves. It told me many things about myself, I know that. And it spawned wonderful spin-offs and audio dramas and books and comics and a fanbase that’s still going strong ten years after the show’s cancellation. Fans who are amazing and kind and who get such a warm welcome from the fantastic actors behind it.
So, this has been my rambling about why this silly 10 season sci-fi show means so much to me, and yet I feel like I haven’t been able to say even half of the reasons it matters to me. Gotta save that for another time then. I’ve gotten enough sappiness for today. But I can’t help it, I love this show. I love the fans. I love the actors and the spin-offs (don’t know what to think about Origins yet, unsure about the era, but I’m excited for new Stargate stuff, always!).
Got to finish of by saying that my heart has probably never beat as fast as those two days about a year apart when I got to talk to two of those actors who’s meant so much to me throughout my life, and my face has probably never been so red and I’ve probably never mumbled and rambled as much. But they were super graceful and amazing people, dealing with me, and I love them all the more for it. (My face is just a huge smile in these pictures and it looks WEIRD but I have to deal with it and I will still treasure them SO MUCH)
Thank you, Stargate SG-1. Happy 20th anniversary.