Written by Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, et al.
Directed by Mario Azzopardi, Peter DeLuise, et al.
Starring Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Don S. Davis, and Corin Nemec
- Running audio commentary on each episode by cast and crew
- “Beyond the Gate” actor featurettes
- “Director’s Series” episode featurettes
Released by: MGM
Rating: NR, suitable for 13+
My Advice: Sci-fi fans should own it
Having suffered a few off-target seasons, Stargate SG-1 aimed to correct course with its move to the Sci-Fi Channel prior to the start of Season 6. However, rather than rushing around making changes immediately, the crew used that season to tidy up the loose ends that were left over, and move towards serious corrections for Season 7 at a steady pace that would maintain the narrative flow of the show. The writers waste no time getting things changed at the start of Season 7, though. Right out of the gate, we are reintroduced to Daniel Jackson (Shanks), a much-missed member of the cast whose departure from the show had outraged a healthy chunk of the show’s loyal fanbase. The writers actually manage to bring back a character who had died and “ascended” without making it horrifically cheezy or unbelievable, too, so that’s a bonus.
[ad#longpost]For the most part, this season features less planet-hopping and more Earth-bound politicking, which is kind of a bummer for those that liked the old “planet a week” format. If ongoing stories and interpersonal character development is your bag, though, Season 7 is the best to come along so far. Part of this was the strict necessity of filming scripts that didn’t involve Col. Jack O’Neil (Anderson), who reduced his shooting schedule to avoid running to Vancouver constantly. This isn’t too bad, though, as the other cast members are more than capable of picking up the slack. There’s a little too much time spent on Sam Carter’s (Tapping) personal life, and those particular episodes are a little soap-opera-ish, but the other Earth-bound crises — NID (again), a new president, and a couple of bids for control of the SGC — are all interesting stuff. The planet-hopping episodes are as solid as ever, though “Space Race,” where the crew help an alien species competing in some sort of intergalactic Cannonball Run, is pretty weak.
The real standout episode of the season (and perhaps the series, at least in my mind) is “Fragile Balance,” featuring Michael Welch as a teenaged Col. O’Neil. The storyline is pretty interesting stuff, but the real draw here is Welch’s performance. This kid is phenomenal, and channels Anderson’s O’Neil flawlessly, down to exasperated stares and snarky comebacks. The mannerisms are spot-on, the voice inflection is likewise nailed. I wasn’t familiar with the kid’s work and was absolutely floored by his turn here. He’s now got a starring role on Joan of Arcadia, and I hope to see him again in something that I can watch without bleeding from my eyes some day.
The DVD set has much-improved bonus features from the early seasons of the show. There are commentaries for every single episode with director, cast, and crew, as well as featurettes on a handful of episodes selected as director’s favorites. In addition, we get profile featurettes on the actors behind the SG-1 team. For series sci-fi, this is about as good as it gets short of Star Trek. Of course, Trek never gives us commentaries, and I’d rather have those than more effects featurettes.
If you haven’t paid much attention to this show, it’s about time you started. It’s a consistently smart, well-written bit of science fiction that doesn’t have a thing to do with Rick Berman, and those are exceedingly rare. Season 9 fires up soon, so get caught up. Snatch up the first four seasons or so, and then you can pretty much skip to here without missing too much.