We’re Having a Party on Abydos – and You’re Invited!

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I can’t believe it’s been twenty years! Seems like only yesterday that we met and fell in love, doesn’t it? All those nights under the three moons, the sandstorms, the mastadge races, the roasted lizard that tasted like chicken, and the weird guys in Horus guard masks firing energy weapons into our tents. Sigh. Memories.

In 1994, we first met a couple of kooky guys named Jack O’Neil and Daniel Jackson (cough cough on the obvious name-symbology there) who took a ragtag bunch of Air Force officers through a giant alien orifice to find out that most of Earth’s mythology had been twisted into shape by an alien race named the Goa’uld. There they met the lovely but literacy-challenged Abydonians led by bald-but-noble Kasuf (who likes him a Clark bar! “Bundi! Bundi way!”), the fiery tempered young prince Skaara, and the beautiful and tragic Shaur’e.

And a bunch of ancient Egyptian types who have enslaved them, along with, apparently, the rest of the galaxy.

O’Neil, with one “L”, as played by the talented and buzz cut Kurt Russell, was a dark, depressed, ex-Spec-Ops bad-ass who wanted one thing and one thing only – to go out in a blaze of glory because of his guilt over his young son’s death. Jackson, as played by the adorably fluffy-haired James Spader, is a wide-eyed academic who has murdered his own reputation and career because of his uncanny knowledge that the ancient languages of the world are all somehow interconnected in a much older, much more conspiracy-theory laden way than others will admit.

It was a match made in heaven.

This was a ‘bromance,’ a brothers-in-arms tale that would fit perfectly into today’s media culture. Sherlock and Watson, (either franchise), Shawn and Gus, Sam and Dean, House and Wilson, Adama and Tigh – guys who are so much polar opposites that the combination of the two is ultra-combustible story-telling nirvana. Daniel gives his life for Jack and Jack learns to live again. Oh, sorry, 20-year-old spoiler alert.

Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin (Yes! That guy!) conceived a sci-fi world so vast that it spawned a television franchise that lasted for 3 series, 14 years, 354 episodes and 2 made-for-tv movies. It has been surpassed in scope only by that legendary phenomenon, Doctor Who.

So, in celebrating Stargate’s creation and success, I’d like to invite you to share YOUR most significant moments from Stargate. The ones you loved, the ones that made you cry, the ones that broadened the scope of the story, or narrowed it down to its most relevant, foundational roots. Which character moments still resonate? Which plots fascinated? Which surprises shocked? Which choices rattled your understanding, gave you goose bumps, or still keep you going back to the DVDs and watching that one episode over and over again?

In honor of this milestone, we’re throwing an Anniversary Party at DragonCon in September, and we’d love for you to be a part of it, whether you can attend in person or only in nerd-loving spirit. During these festivities, we’d love to share this great fandom’s greatest moments. So, if you would, in your own words, and however you define “significant,” please honor us with your … (drumroll please!) …

20 Most Significant Moments in Stargate

Or, if you can’t come up with 20, then 10. Or 5. A couple. I’ll take care of the collating and paperwork, I promise.

In case you’re not one of the fans who know all the episodes by heart and/or still watch them daily/write/read fan fiction or go to Stargate Cons, here is a list of possibilities. Please, do not take this as an exhaustive list, just one that I’m exhausted having compiled! Add your own! Tell me I missed the most crucial point! I don’t mind at all.

Also, please post a link to this blog on any Stargate Chat site, or message board, or Yahoo list that you are a part of. I’d love for this to go out to the fandom at large, everyone who keeps Stargate up towards the top of any Favorite Sci-fi Franchise List. Share. Post. Discuss.

And, thank you in advance, for sharing. Celebrate with us! There’s virtual wine and bacon over in the corner where the Tok’ra are huddled, whispering.

 

  1. The Stargate is found in Egypt – Stargate the movie
  2. Lieutenant Hammond helps 4 strangers escape in 1969 – 1969
  3. Jack O’Neil(l) comes out of retirement – twice – Stargate the movie & Children of the Gods
  4. Daniel opens the Stargate – Stargate the movie
  5. Establishment of Goa’uld/Jaffa/humans in universe – Stargate movie and Children of the Gods
  6. Daniel discovers the cartouche room – Children of the Gods
  7. The entire Sha’re arc – Children of the Gods/Secrets/Forever in a Day
  8. Teal’c defects to our side – Children of the Gods
  9. The Four Races are discovered – Torment of Tantalus
  10. We meet Bra’tac and learn of Jaffa Rebellion – Bloodlines
  11. We meet the Asgard – Thor’s Hammer
  12. We meet the Tollan – Enigma
  13. Another Stargate discovered in Antarctica – Solitudes
  14. The Goa’uld can attack using ships/ Quantum mirror – There But for the Grace of God
  15. Sam is taken by Jolinar – In the Line of Duty
  16. Jacob Carter becomes a Tok’ra – The Tok’ra
  17. Jack meets Thor – The Fifth Race
  18. Asgard/System Lord Treaty about Earth – Fair Game
  19. Maybourne is a traitor – Shades of Grey
  20. Daniel meets Oma/ the Ancients – Maternal Instinct
  21. Earth meets the Replicators – Nemesis
  22. The Tollan are destroyed – Between Two Fires
  23. Reece – the first Replicator – Menace
  24. Daniel dies/ascends – Meridian
  25. Jack is implanted with a Tok’ra – Frozen
  26. Tretonnin is discovered – Cure
  27. Human form Replicators – Unnatural Selection
  28. Teal’c no longer has a symbiote- The Changeling
  29. Daniel descends – Fallen
  30. Supersoldier – Evolution Pt 1
  31. Janet dies – Heroes
  32. Jack becomes a General and takes over SGC – New Order
  33. Daniel/Rodney discover Atlantis and awaken the city – Atlantis
  34. Shepherd and Teyla awaken the Wraith – Atlantis
  35. Ba’al clones himself – Endgame
  36. Daniel meets Vala – Prometheus Unbound
  37. The Jaffa Rebellion takes Dakara and SG-1 destroys the Replicators with the ancient weapon – Reckoning
  38. Jack goes to Washington/Col Mitchell leads SG-1 – Avalon
  39. Daniel/Vala reveal the Milky Way to the Ori – Avalon
  40. Sam comes back to SG-1, the Ori create a Beachhead – Beachhead
  41. Ori plague and cure – The Fourth Horseman
  42. Vala becomes pregnant with the Orici – Crusade
  43. SG-1 + Ba’al find Merlin’s cave. Daniel downloads Merlin/Daniel is kidnapped by Adria and turned into a Prior – The Quest
  44. Prior Daniel activates Merlin’s weapon and sends it to Ori galaxy, destroying all ascended Ori – The Shroud
  45. Adria Ascends – Dominion
  46. The Asgard commit racial suicide and transfer their knowledge to the humans – Unending
  47. Beckett identifies the ATA gene and begins gene therapy, allowing people to access Ancient technology – Hide and Seek
  48. Beckett assists the people of Hoff to ‘perfect’ their anti-Wraith vaccine – Poisoning the Well
  49. The Wraith are poised to attack; Earth sends the Deadalus with a ZPM – The Siege
  50. The team finds and saves Ronon Dex – Runner
  51. Discovery of the iratus bug retrovirus – Instinct
  52. Beckett uses the retrovirus on Michael – Michael
  53. Atlantis creates a colony of Michael-like Wraith and Woolsey arrives on Atlantis – Misbegotten
  54. Atlantis discovers human-form Replicators called Asurans – Progeny
  55. Sheppard meets and makes an “alliance” with Todd – Common Ground
  56. The McKay/Carter Intergalactic Bridge comes on line – The Return
  57. Beckett dies – Sunday
  58. Asurans attack – Weir dies – Samantha Carter takes over Atlantis – First Strike & Lifeline
  59. Beckett’s clone is discovered, along with Michael’s lab – The Kindred
  60. Woolsey takes over Atlantis
  61. Todd has Teyla pose as a Queen to convert/destroy rival Wraith – The Queen
  62. Teyla kills Michael – The Prodigy
  63. Atlantis flies to Earth – Enemy at the Gate
  64. SG-1 discover The Ark of Truth and destroy the Ori threat – The Ark of Truth
  65. Ba’al is captured and his symbiote removed – Continuum

 

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I Miss Heroes

[First and foremost, apologies for the dearth of blogs. I will sum up the matter with this: health problems, surgery, zombies, recovery, more zombies, and then Camp NaNoWriMo where I tried to find my writing mojo hiding in the woods. Luckily, I found it hunkered down behind the boat shed (cowering from the zombie attacks) and handcuffed it firmly to my side. *dusts hands* And now, on with the journey, thanks for sticking around.]

 

What makes good guys good and bad guys bad? It used to be pretty easy to tell. John Wayne – always a good guy. Lee Marvin – usually a bad guy. In the movies, good guys were good looking, in a wholesome, bring home to mama kind of way. Bad guys were either ugly or smarmy, without much wiggle room in between. White hats, earnest expressions, good manners, the use of the word ‘ma’am’ – these were all obvious traits of the good guys. They acted from a place of law, of right and wrong, a moral subtext, a cultural, if not universal, sense of integrity. They knew the lines they wouldn’t cross, they could tell the victims from the perps, and they understood the actions they must not take because, if they did, they would become the very things they fought.

While things might not have been exactly black and white, the shades of grey were very well defined.

Our favorite white knights must always have a tiny touch of darkness about them. After all, purity is boring, right? Too perfect, too invulnerable, too goody-two-shoes is not appealing. (One reason I never liked Superman was that he was just a little too perfect, you know?) We nodded wistfully at past mistakes, shook our heads sadly at naïve, bad decisions. And if he (or she) fell for the wrong girl (or boy) and found himself (sigh, I’d use ‘them’ but I am a grammarian at heart) we could identify with the terribly romantic internal conflict. But, even so, the one thing the good guy has to be, now try to follow along here, it gets kind of technical, is GOOD.

In order to have good guys, we must have a sense of what is good and what is bad. We must be willing to define the parameters of goodness and badness. If we don’t, we’re stuck with rooting for whoever wins, whoever has the biggest guns, whoever is hottest, or whoever has the saddest or most poignant backstory. In today’s society, we’re afraid to use these labels except for the most graphic examples. Pedophiles – bad. Puppies – good. Once we move an inch towards the center from either absolute end, we tend to glance sideways at each other and mumble a lot.

That presents us with a problem. If we don’t know what is good and what is bad, how do we decide which character is the hero?

Sometimes, the writer or the director makes it obvious who we are to root for. He’s clearly the star, so we know we are to root for him. She is oppressed or misunderstood, so we must obviously root for her. This kid has attitude. This woman is pulling herself up by her bootstraps. The underdog. The little guy v. the Big Rich Corporation. Today, we root for humans against zombies, doctors against lawyers, lawyers against other lawyers, and everyone against the military. (Unless we’re fighting Nazis or evil aliens. EVIL aliens. If the aliens have a smidgen of pathos, the US military is still likely to be portrayed as the villain.) But what defines them as heroes?

If they’re wearing capes, or have pointed ears, or are played by either Robert Downey, Jr or Will Smith, we can be pretty safe. Otherwise, we are forced to rely on their actions and their words to judge them. Funny, that sounds a lot like real life.

So, when the ‘heroes’ start being indistinguishable from the ‘villains,’ either by their dialogue or their actions, we’ve got a problem. We’re conflicted. We’re unsure. “There are no absolutes,” people tell me. “Good and evil depend on the situation.”

Malarkey. When the good guys act like bad guys, they are no longer good guys.

I started watching Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD this fall, super-excited that Coulson Lives! If you are afraid of spoilers, please skip this paragraph and continue below. We all know by now that Phil did not rehab in Tahiti, but that his best friend, Nick Fury, tortured him for days so that his mind would convince his body to live. This is not the action of a good guy. I don’t care about ‘greater good,’ or ‘I love it when a plan comes together,’ or ‘Hydra infiltration.’ If you torture someone who trusts you, you are not acting like a good guy. Or a friend.

That’s just one example.

My husband and I started watching the CW’s Supernatural in Year #1. There were brothers. There were monsters. There were demons. There was classic rock and muscle cars and angst. There was humor. A confused angel. It was not great, but it was utterly fantastic. In recent years, the story has been hopelessly muddled with serial killer angels, heart-of-gold demons, and more trips to heaven and hell than any viewers should be subjected to. Vampires can be good. Monsters can be good. Or, no, Dean has to go back and kill the monster Sam believed was good because “all monsters are bad.” But he was best friends with a vampire for half a season. And Crowley, the King of Hell is not as bad as Megatron, the Scribe of Heaven. Who are the good guys? Who are the bad guys? At the end of each new episode, when our ‘heroes’ are standing over the latest corpse, the feeling is eye-rollingly, gut-churningly, and, most importantly to the show’s producers, channel-changingly unsatisfying in the extreme.

And I think I’ve spotted the very moment when they got themselves into trouble.

In Season 5, in a humorous episode called Changing Channels starring one of our favorite sort-of-monsters, The Trickster, Sam puts it into words:

“Dean, the world’s ending. We don’t have the luxury of a moral stance.”

It’s funny. Is that how we really feel? In war, do we not care about how our warriors behave? Can they slaughter anyone who gets in their way without any thought to morality and get away with it? Do we shrug our shoulders and say, ‘Torture? Oh, that’s okay. Use any means necessary to win.’ No problem. The American people don’t care if some civilians lose their lives, as long as we win.

Right?

Instead of Sam’s dialogue, I’d say, without a moral stance it doesn’t matter if the world ends. And that’s how I like my good guys, too. Good.

So give me capes and uniforms and white hats and green berets. Give me morals and laws and convictions. Call me old fashioned, but give me heroes to root for; give me good men intent on doing the right things. Give me imperfect women struggling to make hard decisions. Give me a character redeemed.

Give me heroes. I miss them.

Next time: There’s a Party on Abydos, and You’re Invited!