Over on Making Light, there’s a thread about Entertainment Weekly‘s list of the top 25 SF movies and TV shows from the last 25 years. Stargate SG-1 is not only not on EW’s list, it isn’t recommended in the 233 comments prior to mine at Making Light. Torchwood (blegh) was listed, but SG-1 wasn’t. That floored me.
Full fangeek confession here: Not only do we own five seasons of the show, we also get together with friends on Fridays for dinner and to watch. When the show is on hiatus, the only thing we’ve done that’s more than a placeholder is watch the new Doctor Who. Otherwise, we’re just waiting for our stories to come back.
I’m not sure why it’s less than cool in the SF fan community to like SG-1, but I’m not ashamed to say that I do. In the interest of combating lists with lists, here’s why.
- The writers know how to pay me back for an hour of my time. Too many shows right now go in for soap opera storytelling, where I have to put in hours of watching before anything is resolved. Not SG-1. The arc goes on, but something is resolved every hour (or two).
- The characters are geeks. Each of the team (including rotating members) has an overriding passion.
- The characters are bright. They’re risk takers, since it’s the nature of their profession, but they mitigate the risk where possible.
- There are consequences. Decisions made in one episode affect the events in later episodes, later seasons. Sometimes this is a good thing. Sometimes expediency proves to be terribly short-sighted.
- There are non-fatal consequences. The writers trust me as an audience member enough to ease up on the stakes from time to time. These episodes are still compelling.
- Enemies of our enemies are not necessarily our friends. In fact, enemies have become (uneasy) allies when a new, bigger threat looms.
- Our allies don’t have the same priorities we do. Our friends from other planets and races have responsibilities to their own people that come first. Everyone wants to know what the risks and potential for gain is for them before deciding whether to help.
- Ascension may be a long-term goal to be aspired to, but nobody’s really ready to leave behind being human while they still have another choice.
- Ba’al. Woof. (Four Ba’als in one room? Intriguing, but a little creepy.)
- The characters have frequent philosophical differences. They are rarely resolved.
- Nobody seems to be afraid that being funny means they won’t be taken seriously.
- There are good scientists and bad scientists, pragmatic scientists and space cases. Being a scientist doesn’t keep a character from being a human being. Ditto for women. Ditto for people in military or government service.
- Our main characters are highly competent people, but they work at it. They don’t spend a lot of time, say, in front of the TV.
- The new big gun/shield is always a stopgap. Technology never stands still.
- There’s plenty of fan service, but it never overruns the story. Except maybe episode 200. I’m not sure. I was too busy laughing for most of it.
There’s more, but that’s the top-of-the-mind list.