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Feature: Stargate SG-1

Season Nine

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Stargate SG-1 continues to find new enemies to fight and new stories to tell. The series has reinvented itself in Season Nine, which will lead to further adventures for the new SG-1 team.

Most people would see it as a monumental task to try to reinvent a TV series in its ninth year. Nonetheless, the creative minds behind Stargate SG-1 decided to accept that challenge. Last season, the SG-1 team finally ended its long-running battle with the Goa’uld, and with that it looked like SG-1 would be finishing as well. However, the show proved to be more popular than ever in its eighth season, so MGM and the Sci-Fi Channel decided to renew it for a ninth year. That came as a pleasant surprise to executive producer Robert C Cooper.

“When we were done last season I didn’t think we could have ended SG-1 any better than we did with Reckoning Part 1 and Part 2, Threads and Moebius,” says Cooper. “Funnily enough, we’ve spent the past few years anticipating this show’s swansong, but obviously it’s not ready to end just yet. As a writer, I’ve grown creatively tired of writing endings. I want to write beginnings again. Writing Stargate Atlantis, for example, was very exciting.

“So when Season Nine of SG-1 came about and it became clear that we’d be making as many changes to the show as we were, I pitched very strongly the idea of revamping the series on more fronts than just adding new characters. I wanted to bring in new villains and change SG-1’s mission. We were all very reinvigorated with Season One of Atlantis and seeing how new adversaries like the Wraith could make a difference to the storytelling. We wanted to do the same with SG-1, so we approached the beginning of this year as the start of a new show, or a pilot if you will.”

Cooper penned the opening episodes of SG-1’s ninth season, Avalon Parts 1 and 2, and Origin, all of which serve to familiarize viewers with several new story elements, as the executive producer explains. “The first story is very much the introduction of Colonel Cameron Mitchell [Ben Browder] and General Hank Landry [Beau Bridges]. It’s also a stepping-stone of sorts to the mythology that will eventually lead us to the origin of the Ancients.

“We’ve always tried to ground SG-1’s stories as well as mythology in some form of Earth mythology and put a twist on it. Previous to this it was Egyptian mythology and the Goa’uld posing as Egyptian gods. Going forward, we had to decide what mythology we were going to next play on. We hadn’t done the King Arthur/Avalon/Merlin mythology before. With Merlin being one of the more famous magical figures, I thought it would be interesting if we revealed he was an Ancient. That Merlin had, in fact, returned to Earth from Atlantis after the war with the Wraith and settled on our planet.”

That discovery leads viewers to where the Ancients came from, and also paves the way for the introduction of SG-1’s new bad guy. “In re-tooling the show we wanted to stay true to many of the ideas that we’d already established,” notes Cooper. “This included the theme of false gods and what it is to be a god and whether or not you believe in that. We wanted to continue to explore that concept and I think our new villains, the Ori, actually provide greater opportunity for us to do that. With the Goa’uld there really was no question. They were bad guys with snakes in their heads and who used technology to enslave people. With the Ori, it’s not quite so clear to everyone as to whether or not they’re worthy of our devotion.”

by Steven Eramo

Get the full feature, including much more from the production tem, plus cast interviews and an Atlantis Season 2 preview in
TV Zone Special #64

Image © Visual Imagination Ltd, Stargate © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2005. Not for reproduction

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