Stargate SG-1 season 6

The Daniel-is-dead season.  Basically he agreed to guest-star only if he liked the script, and then he agreed to come back in 7 because thought being de-ascended would add enough new interest to his character (and presumably whatever other disputes he had with the show were sorted out).

If you want to stick to the Daniel track, the only episodes to watch are x06, x19 and x22.

This entire season is basically SG-1 vs Anubis.

You can read episode summaries as well as detailed episode walkthroughs on Stargate Wikia.

SGC gets various fighter ships and a spaceship this season.  Col. Simmons finally gets his well-deserved demise.

Whomever does the photoshop for the DVD/iTunes covers screwed up Teal’c, he almost looks like a cartoon version of himself.

I’m not going to list all the episodes.

6×06 – Abyss – watch

A good episode for Jack to show his acting chops.

There is an issue with the sarcophagus though.  In the first few seasons, it always repaired body and clothes.  Here it only repairs body.

6×12 – Unnatural Selection – watch

This is a key episode to understand future developments with the Replicators.

6×19 – The Changeling – watch

This episode is a major change for Teal’c and the Jaffa.  Although Tretonin (first seen in 6×10) is a pretty handwaving way to address what had previously been understood as the symbiote itself playing an active role in sophisticated body repairs.

This episode was written by Christopher Judge (Teal’c).  It’s the second episode he wrote (first one was 5×18 The Warrior).  I guess one way to ensure you get the lines you want is to write them.

Story: Christopher Judge & Brad Wright
Teleplay: Brad Wright

6×22/7×01/7×02 – Full Circle/Fallen/Homecoming – watch

Skaara is seen for the last time.

Another planet is destroyed.

Daniel fights Anubis.

Daniel Jackson gets de-ascended in 7×01.

 

Stargate SG-1 season 5

Daniel appears farthest back on the DVD/iTunes cover for this season, which echos what happens to his role this season.

Season 5 is basically the nadir of the main SG-1 team, continuing its decline from breakout “six seasons and a movie” potential to fating it to live in SF obscurity.

Many dark episodes with impossible choices.  Everyone angry.  Angry Jack, angry Daniel, angry villagers, even angry Dr. Frasier.  No fun.

The overall theme of the season is fallibility.  Teal’c goes from calm to obsessed with revenge.  Jack goes from a strong leader to angry with everyone all the time.  Sam goes from Stargate expert to her technical decisions causing problems.  Basically they go from hypercompetence to hyperfallibility.  Daniel goes basically nowhere.  This is no fun to watch.

It’s worth mentioning that part-way through the season, between 5×12 and 5×13 the events of 2001-09-11 happened in the real world, which can’t have had a positive effect on the mindset of the writers and everyone else involved.

A good article from 2002, albeit with many spoilers, is Salon.com’s Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate” (note that 2002 is after the end of season 5).

You should basically just read a plot summary of the season and skip watching the episodes.  Be aware that a number of my plot summaries include episode spoilers, unlike in the writeups for previous seasons.  There are episode summaries as well as detailed episode walkthroughs on Stargate Wikia.

5×01 – Enemies – direct sequel/conclusion of 4×22 cliffhanger – watch

Why didn’t they Zat Teal’c? Why would they risk shooting him?
Why don’t they Zat him to undo the problem?

End of the Apophis arc.
Start of the Replicators arc.

Dr. Jackson doesn’t have anything to do.

5×02 – Threshold – Master Bra’tac! – watch

Dr. MacKenzie is always useless.

Teal’c sweating out his madness is kind of tedious.

Why doesn’t the Zat gun undo it like it did for Seth’s mind control and for the mind control Apophis used on Rya’c?

Dr. Frasier’s decision makes no sense.

Basically a replay of Teal’c’s history.  A history which doesn’t particularly make sense, considering his father was First Prime of Cronus.  But nevertheless the story of how he became who he is.

Master Bra’tac announces that at 137 he has at most two more years to live.

Overall a good episode for Bra’tac and for Teal’c.

Given that the previous episode closed the arc begun with the series premiere, this is a reasonable coda to give fans time to come to grips with the fact that the show has to start onto new material.

5×03 – Ascension – watch

This is an ok episode, although Sam’s behaviour is a bit odd.

It introduces the concept that there are many ascended beings, and that humans can ascend.

Unfortunately this episode introduces Col. Frank Simmons (same actor as Q in Star Trek: TNG).  He is part of the terrible NID arc.  All I can recommend is fast forward anytime he appears on screen.  It doesn’t make sense that he wears a suit while everyone else wears a uniform; it is an obvious on-screen choice to make us dislike the outside suit being imposed on us.

5×04 – The Fifth Man – watch

This is an ok episode, except for Col. Simmons who should be fast-forwarded.

It doesn’t make any sense that the alien doesn’t use its powers to deceive the Jaffa though.

Dr. Jackson doesn’t really have anything to do.  He’s wearing that weird bandana-hat thing again too.  Jack is wearing what looks like to be a warm black toque.  I expect it was a cold shoot.

5×05 – Red Sky – skip

I tried to find something redeeming in this episode, but part-way through, as Jack switches into full angry lecture mode, it just falls apart.

Yes I suppose it’s good to remember that SG-1 makes mistakes, they aren’t using the technology properly, they can’t always rely on more advanced civilisations to rescue them.  But where’s the fun in that?

5×06 – Rite of Passage – watch

This is ok.  More or less the completion of the Cassandra arc.

5×07 – Beast of Burden – skip

Daniel starts a civil war.

5×08 – The Tomb – watch

This is an ok episode, but it has Angry Jack again, jackass Jack.  Angry at the Russians.  Always angry.

Why don’t they put the injured soldier in the sarcophagus?  I guess we’re to assume the Russians broke it?

It also portrays the Russians as being rough and untrustworthy, very different from the tone in Watergate.

Samantha briefly wears the Tilley hat before going through the Stargate.  Daniel wears his ridiculous bandana-hat.

5×09 – Between Two Fires – skip

Basically they destroy the entire new Tollan homeworld in order to make a plot point.

Blah blah government conspiracy, untrustworthy, politics, evil, blah blah blah.

Plus which it seems like one of those phase-shifting bombs would have come in handy.

5×10 – 2001 – SKIP

Senator Kinsey appears, always a sign of a terrible episode.

Sequel to 2010 episode (4×16).

Government negotiations, politics, evil, conspiracy, blah blah blah.

World’s most convenient library featuring exactly the newspapers needed.  Handy.

Plus which the gate address they gave the Ashen probably destroyed their entire planet, killing everyone.  Stay classy, SG-1.

5×11 – Desperate Measures – SKIP

Maybourne AND Colonel Simmons, always a sure sign of a terrible episode.

Entire episode on Earth.  Wow, good thing they have that Stargate to explore the galaxy.

Kidnapping, conspiracy, murder, attempted murder, anger.  The usual season 5 mess.

5×12 – Wormhole X-Treme! – the 100th episode of SG-1 – ?

It’s ok, just them making fun of themselves.  You can watch it but it’s a pure inside-joke show.

As plots go, it doesn’t make much sense that Martin Lloyd would go back on his medication.  And nothing the other soldiers do ever makes any sense.

More or less a sequel to 4×11.  I wonder again why a bunch of soldiers are experts in memory-altering chemicals.

Because of the suckiness of season 5, it of course includes some NID junk.

It 4th-walls in the “Making Of” coda at the end.

5×13 – Proving Ground – SKIP

This episode only works, for the short duration that it does, because the viewer won’t believe that they would use their actual planet-saving secret base as a training facility.

This is because no real organisation anywhere would ever jeopardize a key asset in this way.  One wrong move and an offworld team is dead, or a bomb comes through the gate, or the Stargate is permanently broken.  It’s insane.

IF they were going to do a training run like this they would do it in Hathor’s copy of SGC or more likely their own copy of SGC.  They have lots of money.  Making a fake base would be easy.

Plus which, who reveals all the details of the most Top Secret of Top Secret programs BEFORE deciding who will be on the team and need to know?  Rejecting a bunch of young ambitious people right after you fill their heads with Top Secret information is a recipie for disaster.

So it’s basically best if you assume this episode never happened.

In terms of the episode itself, it takes place entirely on earth, which is almost always a bad sign (although cheap for the producers).  I guess it’s some kind of 44-minute-long audience test with these characters, as part of this season’s endless attempts to reach the young male demographic and to figure out how they can twist their show to make it more popular.  Halley returns (from 4×19).  The other female candidate is played by Grace Park, who would later go on to fame as Number Eight in Battlestar Galactica.

They use the Intar weapons from 3×09.

Lieutenant Kevin Elliot takes part in the 5×15/5×16 mid-season double episode; it’s possible his character was created in part just for that purpose.  Lt. Grogan reappears in 5×20.  The other candidates are never seen again.

5×14 – 48 Hours – SKIP

This episode has all the elements of season 5 disaster: Maybourne and Col Simmons, plus almost the entire thing takes place on earth.

What you need to know:

  • Tanith is thankfully, if anticlimactically dead.  The tedious Jaffa Revenge arc is closed.
  • As we heard previously in 5×05, Carter has bypassed lots of gate protocol things, in trying to get it working without a DHD.  She ignores something like 220 out of 400 possible gate result codes.
  • The gate stores incoming “patterns” in a buffer.
  • Patterns can be reintegrated long after the gate has shut down.
  • Daniel gets the exciting task of negotiating with the Russians (which he does quite well).
  • Russian DHD kablooie.

Why don’t they ever take a DHD from some useless planet that they will never visit again?

Why do they show Simmons interviewing the Goa’uld in a luxurious, furnished cell, but later show the Goa’uld in a bare cell?

Teal’c carries the giant deathglider gun from 5×04 The Fifth Man.

This is the introduction of Dr. McKay, a kind of mysterious SG character.  Like everyone introduced this season, he is hyperfallible and cartoonishly annoying.  As with Kinnsey and Simmons, you’re supposed to viscerally dislike him.

He’s there more or less to lecture Carter about how imperfect she is.  As a character, it’s not clear what they were thinking.  Is he maybe some sort of parody of the Stargate superfan, hyper-picky, hyper-geeky, hot for Carter?  He continues the lamentable trend of SG introducing hyperfallible annoying scientists.  Basically other than Carter, every scientist we meet in SG is a loser.  McKay’s throwaway line “I wish I didn’t find you so attractive. I always had a weakness for dumb blondes.” is despicable.  The desire of the writers this season to take everyone on SG-1 down multiple pegs is wildly misguided.

People want to like their television “community”, they want the team to be something they can imagine being a part of, something to aspire to.  They want heroes.  This show was delivering heroes.  Bringing in all this X-Files human imperfection stuff breaks the show.

McKay, oddly enough, goes on to be the main character of Stargate Atlantis, where eventually almost every episode is a McKay ex machina, where he pulls out some technobabble miracle solution at the last minute.  I guess this means he really was a relatable character for the fans, otherwise his lead role is inexplicable.  I assume they made him Canadian as some sort of satirical revenge on their nice Canadian hosts.  He continues to be hyperflawed and hyperannoying, although eventually they writer-declare him to be desirable enough that he wins Jewel Staite’s heart, perhaps the most improbable of all the McKay improbabilities.

He does have the occasional good episode, McKay and Mrs. Miller (SG Atlantis 3×08) as a mostly comedy episode is the best episode of Atlantis IMHO.

5×15/5×16 – Summit/Last Stand – skip

They do assemble many pieces of previous episodes together for this mid-season double, which shows either they had planned the season well, or they were very good at writing quickly.

Begins the Anubis arc.

In this mid-season, the combination of the decisions the writers have made and the direction the show has gone begin to weigh heavily on the story.

What you need to know:

  • Daniel dresses up as human slave, if that’s your kind of thing.
  • The Tok’ra make a symbiote poison.  This is a kind of sucky weapon, as it will also kill the Tok’ra and the Jaffa.  Genocide is a poor way to win a war.  Plus a superweapon that will kill your own people is a bad weapon.
  • Daniel makes a series of bad decisions which through writerly magic work out fine.
  • Lt. Red Shirt (Kevin Elliot) dies, with Martouf’s symbiote Lantash.
  • The bad guy is Anubis, whom we’ve never heard of before.
  • We meet Ba’al, who goes on to be the “new Apophis” as the lead bad guy in future seasons.
  • Most of the Tok’ra die, because everyone in season 5 must suffer.

So basically all you need is: Daniel does nothing, the bad guy is Anubis, and SG-1 escapes unharmed as usual.

The second episode ends rather abruptly.  We’re supposed to be moved by Lt. Red Shirt’s last stand, and to get final closure from the Martouf arc.  But we could care less about Lt. Red Shirt, and we identify with Martouf, not some imagined symbiote inside Elliot.

If they hadn’t blown this by pre-killing Martouf, they would have had an actual poignant ending by Martouf/Lantash sacrificing himself.

We don’t even get to see the final escape, because the Elliot/Lantash sacrifice is supposed to be the big finish.

Also all of the crystals look exactly the same, despite the shapes Lantash keeps claiming for them.  This is perhaps a slight bit of humour, as emphasized by the “diamond” request for the last one.

I can’t imagine Shanks can have been very happy with Daniel’s role in these episodes.

5×17 – Fail Safe – skip

This is basically a direct sequel to 5×16.  Again the choices made in the season weigh heavily.  They want to call on their allies, but Jack just argues with the Asguard (again), the Tok’ra are mostly dead, and the Tollan are all dead.

This last point is particularly irksome.  Ok so first of all, Anubis has infinite technology, what does he need with the Tollan to make him weapons?  I guess we’re supposed to believe only the Tau’ri have access to enough Trinium?  It vaguely makes sense (assuming Anubis has infinite technology) for him to destroy Tollan, although having access to all their already-built gadgets along with lots of technologically-advanced slaves seems like it would be handy.  Second of all, SG-1/Earth is just like “Tollan?  Screw you guys.”  So you have the gate address and the planetary location for the most technologically-advanced people other than the Four Races, and you don’t try to at least go and pick up some gadgets?  Let alone try to rescue anyone?

And their plan makes no sense.  “We have only 11 days before the earth is destroyed, so let’s go with a plan that takes almost exactly 11 days, what could go wrong?”

I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the episode where Michael Shanks decided to pitch it in, because he literally has nothing to do.  He seriously just sits or lays around the ship with obviously, clearly nothing to do, radiating boredom.

As a minor note, the sky coordinates at the beginning are wrong.  Coordinates are not in hours, minutes, seconds, they’re in degrees, minutes, seconds.  Some amateur astronomer that guy is.

Also I’m not sure the Red Sky people (planet K’tau) can be all that happy with Jack, what with him denouncing their gods and all.  Seems unlikely they would be happy to let him back in to their holiest temple.  I’m not sure the Tok’ra would have either resources or interest to help, what with the failed plan and most of them being dead.

Jack gets in some good lines.

It seems to me that a short-hop hyperspace jump through the middle of a planet can’t be a good idea.  Although in fairness nothing in the Stargate universe rules prohibits it.

5×18 – The Warrior – Master Bra’tac! – watch

The explanation of the staff weapon being useless is some good show canon.

The Tek’ma’te (a greeting of respect) / Tek’ma’tek (“Friends well met” / “We come in peace”) banter is good.  Presumably it fixes variations in pronounciation in previous episodes.  It’s not clear why the warrior would challenge O’Neill with “tek’ma’te kree!” though, other than to continue to garble up the language.

This episiode was written by Teal’c (Christopher Judge).

Suicide bombers.  Angry Jack shouting that they should change their entire society.  All part of the season 5 gloom.

It is very generous of Lord Yu to send Teal’c back.  Presumably this is to ensure the demise of Imhotep?  But that is a pretty generous considering he was going to bomb Imhotep to oblivion anyway.  That being said, it is roughly in line with his personality as the most reasonable of the System Lords.

5×19 – Menace – watch

Ok, so this is an ok backstory for the Replicators.  Although it makes no sense they went to another galaxy instead of staying in ours.

Plus which

1. If you arrive on a planet, and everything is destroyed except for a single structure containing a single object, DO NOT TAKE THAT OBJECT

2. If you find a robot on a destroyed planet, maybe it’s, you know, a KILLER ROBOT

3. If you find a potentially dangerous thing, do not bring it back to the BASE ON YOUR HOME PLANET

Plus which, WTF does Carter care about “advanced robots” anyway?  They already have a guy who can make them advanced robots whenever they want, which they mention within the episode.  But instead of say, investigating Harlan’s technology, or helping him to get a permanent powersource so that he doesn’t have to spend eternity alone is a crumbling power plant, they just… leave him there.

Anyway basically everything from the moment they discover she can make replicators makes no sense.

And Daniel is mean to Jack.  Because in season 5 everyone must be angry and self-righteous.

5×20 – The Sentinel – watch

This is a good episode.  Although it’s not clear why Daniel Jackson works on the forcefield and not Carter, other than to give him something to do.

Lt Grogan (from 5×13) unexpectedly reappears, despite being basically a non-character.  The last gasp of their “let’s have handsome young men on the show, the kids today like that” strategy.

5×21 – Meridian – ?

Daniel and New Daniel (Corin Nemec, character name Jonas Quinn).

Kelowna (country name) is one of a relatively small number of Canadian inside jokes on the show.

This was when Shanks had had it, and they thought they could just slot New Daniel in as a replacement.

You can skip or watch.  Basically dead ascended Daniel.  Slow horrible death.  Plus which he wants to die.

The fan response was, shall we say, not positive to this development.

5×22 – Revelations – watch

We learn that at some unspecified time and in some unspecified way the Replicator-creating robot was sent to the Asgard.

Overall a good episode.  A bit more info about Anubis.

Stargate SG-1 season 4

Sadly, Stargate started on a different direction in season 4, a move which some feel took it from breakout “six seasons and a movie” potential to fating it to live in SF obscurity.

A good article from 2002, albeit with many spoilers, is Salon.com’s Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate” (note that 2002 is after the end of season 5).

That being said, some of my favourite episodes are from this season, between the terrible Anise arc and the terrible NID arc.

4×01 – Small Victories – concludes cliffhanger from 3×22 (season 3) – an ok episode – watch

The submarine subplot makes almost no sense. Plus which they might as well have put Baker and Stewart in red shirts.

The Asgard subplot with Sam is not bad, with some good special effects.

I don’t know where they got the submarine set, but it was very good.

Thor demonstrates that, like the Nox, the Asgard can open a gate wormhole without needing to do a dialing sequence and without an initial energy burst.

4×02 – The Other Side – the general storyline is good, but the team interactions are completely off – Jack is way too hostile and dismissive towards Daniel – skip

Plus which, Jack and General Hammond display the exact opposite perspective from the one demonstrated in 3×18. What happened to the moral centre of the show? This loss of moral centre is emphasized by how they chose to end the episode.

4×03 – Upgrades – Tok’ra Barbie (Anise) – skip

Jack’s tone wrong. Daniel’s tone wrong. Tok’ra tone wrong.
The start of the three Anise episodes, probably the least-liked arc in the entire series.
Anise’s presence and outfits were basically inspired by Seven of Nine and take the show in a sexist direction it never had before.

‘This was a time during the show when we were trying to bump up the ratings. We took our cue from [the "Star Trek" character] Seven of Nine, thinking that might help the show and in fact the show didn’t need help. It was perfectly fine the way it was…’

Above quote from Peter DeLuise in the (spoiler-filled) Fan rebellion threatens “Stargate”.

4×04 – Crossroads – Tok’ra Barbie – gratuitous Jaffa – skip

Tone is all wrong. Jack very confrontational with Tok’ra. Teal’c, who is married, inappropriately attracted followed by very inappropriately happy.

4×05 – Divide and Conquer – Tok’ra Barbie – skip

One of the least-liked episodes. Sam and Jack, stuck in the “single male and female leads must be attracted to one another” TV trap, forced to, humiliatingly, re-live and expose their attraction. An attraction which appears to exist entirely in the mind of the writers, because there is no evidence of this chemistry on screen. Plus which, we don’t need a lie detector to hammer this forced relationship home, they already did an entire segment on alternate-Sam’s grief in the second mirror universe episode (3×06), plus which Jack and Sam are also married in the first mirror universe (1×20). Yes, we get it, they like each other (according to the writers).

On this plus side, this is the last time we ever see Tok’ra Barbie.

“[negative fan reaction to] the continuing presence of the Anise character, introduced in response to then President of MGM Television’s Hank Cohen’s request for ‘a sexy female alien’ (a suggestion he got to repeat onscreen when he played himself in ‘Wormhole Extreme’).”
(Writer-producer Joseph Mallozzi, in a post at his blog)

Above from Gateworld.

This is also the end of the Martouf arc.

4×06 – Window of Opportunity – humour with an unexpectedly poignant ending – watch

After a string of dismal episodes, rather surprisingly the best comedy episode of the series.

According to the Wikipedia article, much of the humour was inserted when it became evident the episode would run significantly short.

4×07 – Watergate – this is a good episode, with some humour – watch

Marina Sirtis is added to the list of Star Trek TNG stars who have appeared in Stargate (previously in this season we saw Odo, and in 2×04 we see Barclay).

4×08 – The First Ones – this is a very good episode – watch

A strong episode for Daniel Jackson.  Very good makeup, must have taken hours to put on.  Dion Johnstone very good as the Unas. Dr. Rothman appears, having previously been only part of Daniel’s dream and in Crystal Skull.

It’s in this episode that Dr. Jackson wears the odd bandana-cap that he has on the DVD/iTunes cover.

4×09 – Scorched Earth – overall a good episode – watch

We’re dropped in media res, with SG-1 very good friends with people we’ve never seen before. Jack’s final decision seems, shall we say, not very team-spirited. The ending is a bit deus ex machina, but overall the no-win scenario is interesting to watch play out. The lead male Enkaran is later Mr. Gaeta in Battlestar Galactica.

4×10 – Beneath the Surface – this is a standard “aliens kidnap team and brainwash them to be workers” episode – it’s ok but you could easily skip it

Jack this season is particularly judgmental. The writers continue to try to push Sam/Jack. Stop trying to make fetch happen.

This episode aired before the very similar ST: Voyager Workforce.

4×11 – Point of No Return – mostly a comedy episode but dark – it’s ok, but the conclusion is sad – skip

How would Sam have learned how to pick locks?  Why are they so sceptical when he has exact information?  Why are his friends so violent?  What do his friends think they will accomplish?  Why are a bunch of soldiers experts in memory-altering chemicals?  The plot makes more sense.

Introduces Martin, who will be seen again.

4×12 – Tangent – this is a very good episode – watch

Classic science fiction problem solving.  Jack’s helmet visor appears to be made out of duct tape though.  I guess they couldn’t find two prop helmets that were the same?

4×13 – The Curse – this is a good episode – watch

Another episode that is basically all Daniel Jackson.

Sarah is basically New Sha’re.

Starts Osiris arc.

4×14 – The Serpent’s Venom – a good episode – watch

The Teal’c subplot is dark, but good.

The other subplot is good.

4×15 – Chain Reaction – SKIP

The start of the long and much-disliked NID cloak and dagger arc.

A bunch of people wandering around the earth, doing a bunch of political intrigue stuff.  Passwords, hacking.  Junk.  No exploration, no other planets.  A bunch of people going blah blah blah.

Senator Kinsey is a particularly annoying stereotype.

4×16 – 2010 – skip

Aired January 12, 2001.

This is basically the opposite of the 1969 episode (2×21) in every way.  A pseudo-futuristic future (from the standpoint of 2001).  Opposite in that it is in the future, opposite in that it is heavy and conspiratorial rather than fun.

The only interesting thing that happens is Chevron Guy Norman Davis begins his long journey to becoming named Walter Harriman.  The first step being Richard Dean Anderson in improvising dialogue, calls him Walter.  This is particularly ironic as this is the first time we see Chevron Guy’s nametag clearly and for several seconds, and it says Davis for his last name.  In theory that should make his name Walter Davis or Walter Norman Davis, but that didn’t end up being the case.

Stargate Wiki dubs him Norman Walter Davis Harriman.

The reason for his being called both Walter Davis and Walter Harriman was that, originally, his name was supposed to be Walter Davis but it was changed in season 8 by the show’s writers, due to the existence of a “real” Walter Davis in the U.S. Air Force.
“Norman” was a result of the name “Sgt. Norman Davis” being visible on his uniform during many episodes of SG-1.
The name “Walter” came from an ad lib made by Richard Dean Anderson during the Season 4 episode 2010.

from Stargate Wikia

His name has been a source of confusion for many fans of Stargate SG-1. Originally, he was simply “Technician” or “Sergeant”, listed as such in the show credits.[18] At some point, some of the writers gave him the name “Norman Davis”, which came with a name tag, but was never used in dialogue. In the episode “2010”, Jack O’Neill refers to him as “Walter”. Later, in the eighth season of “Stargate SG-1″, the character is addressed as “Sergeant Harriman”, with “Harriman” actually basing on General George Hammond addressing him as “Airman” what was misheard by fans because of Don S. Davis’s Texan accent, resulting in the final name of “Walter Harriman”.

from Wikipedia

4×17 – Absolute Power – skip

In and of itself, this is an ok episode. It’s also a reasonable conclusion to the Harcesis arc.

But as part of the series, it’s the same season 4 failings: mostly on Earth, mostly the team fighting with one another.
No team working together, no team exploring other planets. People are mean. It’s not funny. Who wants to watch that?

4×18 – The Light – skip

As a standalone this is ok.
In the context of the season and the series though, this is just another episode of death, anger and shouting.
Who wants to watch that for entertainment?
There’s no fun, no camaraderie. Just a heavy-handed drug addiction story.

The beach walk does feature a rare instance of O’Neill wearing a Tilley-style hat, which is what Dr. Jackson usually wears. The team actually has standard hats they wear:

O’Neill – a baseball cap
Carter – a square “military-style” cap
Jackson – a Tilley-style hat, usually with the strings hanging down
Teal’c – no hat

Dr. Jackson does in this season wear a weird bandana-wrap cap thing a couple times though.

4×19 – Prodigy – skip

This is kind of an episode with no point. Dr. Jackson doesn’t show up at all. The actual real Chief of Staff of the US Air Force at the time, General Ryan, does. I guess the main objective was to audience-test a younger, angrier mini-Sam? Wildly over-the-top annoying scientist Dr. Duncan Hamilton.

First appearance of Dr. Lee, who becomes a good amusing ongoing character.

The glowing bugs are similar in appearance to the ones in Stargate Atlantis The Defiant One (1×12) but completely different in behaviour and abilities.

4×20 – Entity – watch

Good team dynamic, good story. Some classic O’Neill humour of greater and lesser amusingness.

Similar storyline in Stargate Atlantis The Intruder (2×02).

4×21 – Double Jeopardy – amusing – watch

Directed by Michael Shanks (the only episode of SG-1 that he directed).
Dr. Jackson basically appears only very briefly, which is understandable what with him directing.

Concludes arc begun in 1×19. Although in 1×19 “comtrya” clearly meant “better”, not hello.

Does a good job of indirectly critiquing the SG-1 standard operating procedure, which is to show up, disrupt the entire society, get people to risk their lives fighting the Goa’uld, and then tell them that they can just bury the gate and everything will be fine.

Completion of Cronus arc. Completion of robot arc.

It seems unlikely that Robo’neill would trust Darian after what Darian did.

4×22 – Nemesis – direct sequel to 4×21 as well as bringing in other elements from the rest of the season – watch

This is a problematic episode.
The Jaffa Revenge thing makes no sense. Teal’c is a calm and honourable warrior, not an obsessed Jaffa who delights in the torment of his enemies. To some extent Teal’c deserves what he gets for pursuing his ridiculous obsession.
The Tanith escape makes no sense. The Tok’ra are supposed to be hundreds or thousands of years old, they’re guarding an enemy known to be deceptive, and they somehow fall for the “pretend to be ill in your cell” gambit, even with a Zat gun pointed right at Tanith.
Plus which, telling Tanith they have deceived him doesn’t seem like the cleverest way to trap him.

Dr. Jackson has nothing to do.

O’Neill wears the Tilley hat again.

Blowing up the sun is a cool plan, but how does the gate stay active long enough? How do they not experience the time distortion again?
Are we supposed to handwave that the shield blocks the time distortion and that the black hole powers the gate?
How do they see the supernova “coming towards them”?
Are we supposed to handwave that their sensors can see faster than light?

Some good humour.

Directly followed by sequel in 5×01.

Stargate SG-1 season 3

Begins as a bit weaker season. They have a tendency to show up and ask people to abandon deeply held beliefs that have been part of the local society for years or decades or centuries, which the local people seem to do remarkably quickly and conveniently. Later in the season they draw on their strength of connected storylines – they are very good at building up the elements of the Stargate universe, character by character and event by event. Several story arcs started in the first season are also completed.

3×01 – Into the Fire – conclusion of 2×22 – watch

3×02 – Seth – basically all you need to know is there are a dozen or so System Lords – otherwise lots of plot issues – skip

Teal’c laughing at the Jaffa joke is amusing. It may be the only time he laughs out loud in the entire series.

3×03 – Fair Game – this is kind of a strange episode, with three System Lords diminished from Gods to treaty negotiators – Captain Carter is promoted to Major – skip

Plus which, the single worst place imaginable to hold a ceremony with the entire senior staff is right in front of the gate, where they would all be vapourized by an incoming wormhole if something went wrong.

3×04 – Legacy – this is a reasonably good episode, although one wonders why they always assume natural causes when surrounded by alien technology – watch

3×05 – Learning Curve – this is fairly well done, a bit of a sad episode – watch

3×06 – Point of View – mirror episode – kudos on the goatee – although Teal’c’s beard seems to appear on both – watch

3×07 – Deadman Switch – reasonably good – Aris Boch is fairly entertaining – Takunitagaminituron (Tak) – watch

3×08 – Demons – sucks – skip

3×09 – Rules of Engagement – this is a cool idea, and could have been good if well-executed – as it is, things work out a bit too conveniently – Intar – watch

3×10 – Forever in a Day – a very good episode, as befits the ending of a major arc, the Sha’re arc begun in the series premiere – watch

3×11 – Past and Present – connects to a previous episode – a good episode – watch

3×12/3×13 – Jolinar’s Memories/The Devil You Know – A very dark pair of episodes, appropriate for the subject matter but very different from the usual light SG-1 tone. Quite horrifying and disturbing. Concludes the Sokar arc. Worth watching but be prepared for the tone. – watch

3×14 – Foothold – an ok episode, a standalone – watch

3×15 – Pretense – more building on history, with Tollen and Nox – conclusion of the Skaara arc, marking the completion of the two “quests” started in the series premiere – watch

Skaara is never seen again until a brief appearance in 6×22 (which is a bit odd considering he is supposed to have all kinds of info about the Goa’uld).

This is the first time we see anything able to go physically through the iris. It’s best to explain this as Tollen technology in general, rather than their specific “walking through walls” technology, since the walking through walls tech doesn’t match with matter not being able to reintegrate due to the close boundary between the iris and the event horizon. It’s possible you can handwave this by saying the “bulge” of the iris shown gives enough room for reintegration.

3×16 – Urgo – The first purely comedy episode in the series. Dom DeLuise (father of Peter DeLuise, who was heavily involved with writing and directing SG-1) appears. – watch

3×17 – A Hundred Days – A nice episode, reminiscent of Star Trek TNG’s “lived another life” episode The Inner Light, but with the awkward problem of the real people left behind after the episode. – watch

3×18 – Shades of Grey – The Tollen again, making this almost a direct sequel to 3×15, except for a mention of 3×17’s planet and events – with the first time we see the visual of stepping through one side of the gate in Stargate Command and stepping out the other side onto the planet in the same shot. Well done. Week unfunny coda at the very end though. – watch

3×19 – New Ground – this is an ok episode, a standalone – watch

3×20 – Maternal Instinct – this is a key episode – Master Bra’tac! – watch

It is a bit odd that Master Bra’tac brings some random redshirt Jaffa we have never seen before, rather than Rya’c. I guess we are to assume that Rya’c is still in the Land of Light at this point.

This is a key episode that sets up a lot of the mythology for the entire rest of the Stargate series (including Atlantis). For better or worse, it is the first one to introduce a kind of alien mysticism, although in and of itself it focuses as much on the alien part as the mystic part.

Some nice funny lines between Jack and Daniel.

This wraps the short Kheb arc begun in 3×10, although it does beg the question of why Daniel hasn’t made Kheb his top priority. It is mentioned in an episode after 3×10, so I guess we are to assume he is investigating it in the background but doesn’t have much to go on.

3×21 – Crystal Skull – a standalone episode – it’s ok – skip

The relationship between Daniel and Jan Rubes (his grandfather, Nicholas Ballard) is weird from beginning to end. You would think that as someone exiled to the edge of the scientific community for his beliefs, Daniel might have said, oh hey, maybe my grandfather was right, particularly once he started the Stargate program three years ago. Plus which Daniel’s parents are gone, so it’s not like he has a lot of family. Plus which they just leave Jan Rubes there, he’s never seen again and probably never mentioned again.

3×22 – Nemesis – The start of the Replicators arc. – watch

Considering that Apophis has a huge army, it’s a bit surprising that the season-ender cliffhanger is replicators.

Daniel Jackson doesn’t do much because he actually had appendicitis. The scene at the beginning of the show where his character has appendicitis was filmed after the main part of the episode, once he had recovered.

Daniel Jackson’s appendicitis reflected Michael Shanks’ real-world condition at the end of season 3.

Above from Wikipedia – Nemesis (Stargate SG-1).

Thor’s talking is a bit clunky – he looked more natural in earlier episodes.

The special effects are not that impressive for 2014, but they were actually a big deal in 2000 (nominated for an Emmy).

Starting with this episode, the main title sequence on the DVD’s (and on iTunes) is the original sequence of the Sphinx instead of the montage of clips used for syndication airing as used on the previous DVD releases.

Above from Stargate Wikia.

It’s odd they went back to the (originally aired) Sphinx title sequence because the action-clips opener is way better. It’s a wonder the original opening sequence ever got anyone to hang around for the rest of the show.

UPDATE 2014-09-02: It’s possible they are using the title sequence as a way of marking season 4 and 5 as “off” – that season 4 and 5 aren’t as good as the rest of the series and take it in unfortunate directions. There seems no other explanation why 4 and 5 would have different title sequences, with the action clips titles coming back at the start of season 6.

Stargate SG-1 season 2

In season 2 Stargate SG-1 really starts to come into its own, with solid episodes.
(Note: see previous post for season 1.)

2×01 The Serpent’s Lair – a key episode that concludes the 1×22 cliffhanger – watch

2×02 In the Line of Duty – Jolinar – a key episode – watch

2×03 Prisoners – Linea – a good episode – watch

2×04 The Gamekeeper – this is ok, although the eccentric performance by Dwight Schultz detracts from the overall tone – skip

2×05 Need – this is ok – introduces new concept about the sarcophagus – watch

2×06 Thor’s Chariot – a key episode – watch

2×07 Message in a Bottle – this is ok – watch

2×08 Family – a key episode, if not a particularly strong one – watch

2×09 Secrets – Kasuf and Jacob Carter – a good episode – watch

2×10 Bane – this is an ok episode, but a standalone – watch

2×11/2×12 The Tok’ra – key episodes – watch

2×13 Spirits – this is a reasonable attempt to do a respectful episode – watch

2×14 Touchstone – an NID episode – people in warehouses on Earth, plus a bunch of veiled conspiracy dialogue – like all of the NID plotline, a boring X-files attempt (they never should have done the entire NID arc) – skip

2×15 The Fifth Race – a key episode – watch

2×16 A Matter of Time – an ok episode – watch

2×17 Holiday – reasonably entertaining – watch

This episode also happens to be the single most popular one (in Neilsen ratings) of the entire series.

Holiday gained a 4.2 rating on the Nielsen ratings, making it Stargate SG-1’s strongest episode in its ten-season run.

Above from Stargate SG-1 season 2 on Wikipedia.

2×18 Serpent’s Song – a good episode, and a key one – watch

2×19 One False Step – an excellent episode – watch

Depicting actual aliens is very hard, because by definition they are alien – you can’t understand what they are doing.  This episode does a very good job of depicting the confusion of an actual alien encounter.

2×20 Show and Tell – the Re’tu – an ok episode – watch

2×21 1969 – this is a good episode – watch

2×22 Out of Mind – a clip show – skip

Stargate SG-1 season 1

What should you watch?

Note that iTunes combines 1×01 and 1×02 into a single episode, so if you’re using iTunes, subtract one from the episode number (e.g. 1×03 is iTunes episode 2).

It takes them a while to settle in to the show, episodes 4-6 are not great. I feel bad for them as actors though, they must have been wondering what they had gotten themselves into filming outdoors in BC, as they must have been freezing for the first episodes (their breath is clearly visible in the early episodes, and even in some later ones).

1×01/1×02 Children of the Gods – Key introduction – watch

In Canadian iTunes at least, Children of the Gods shows rather more of Sha’re than one might expect (this was part of the original aired version).

1×03 The Enemy Within – Kawalsky – watch

1×04 Emancipation – terrible – skip

This is generally considered by critics as one of the worst episodes of the series. The Sci-Fi Channel (and possibly the production team) seems to hold it in similar disdain, because it is rarely if ever re-run in syndication. Almost always, when the series is rerunning from the very beginning it simply skips straight from “The Enemy Within” to “The Broca Divide“.

Above info from Stargate Wikia.

1×05 The Broca Divide – all you need to know from this one is they discover the Land of Light – skip

1×06 The First Commandment – all you need to know from this one is SG teams can sometimes go awry – it’s watchable, but not necessary – skip

1×07 Cold Lazarus – this is a good episode with a weak and somewhat disturbing ending – if you watch, stop at 38:54 (or immediately after Jack says “no, he’s in here”)

The main group of key episodes begins with 1×08, when the show finally starts to hit its stride in terms of characters and stories.

1×08 The Nox – a key episode – watch

1×09 Brief Candle – this is fluff, but ok – watch

1×10 Thor’s Hammer – a key episode – watch

1×11 The Torment of Tantalus – Catherine Langford – a key episode – watch

1×12 Bloodlines – Master Bra’tac!  err and Rya’c and Drey’auc – a key episode – watch

1×13 Fire and Water – a very good episode – watch

1×14 Hathor – a bit hokey and with some plot issues, but a key episode – watch

1×15 Singularity – Cassandra – watch

1×16 Cor-ai – a good episode which raises some key issues about Teal’c which haven’t been previously addressed, marred by a weak ending – watch

1×17 Enigma – a key episode, albeit one with some plot flaws and issues – introduces the Tollan – watch

This episode does a good job of linking together some elements from previous ones (even though there are only a few preceding episodes).  It demonstrates that Stargate SG-1 is telling one connected story, not just a bunch of isolated episodes.  On the downside, this is the first appearance of Maybourne and the tedious NID plotline.

1×18 Solitudes – this is a very good episode, and also a key episode – watch

The General, Dr. Jackson and Teal’c do seem to arrive at their eventual destination rather more quickly than should be possible though.

1×19 Tin Man – this is a good episode, and Jay Brazeau (Harlan) does a good job of making his character amusing – watch

1×20 There but for the Grace of God – this is a mirror episode and is overall good, although the command decisions that are made seem highly improbable – it provides some key information that sets up the finale – watch

1×21 Politics – clip show, although it takes a long time to get to the clips (15 minutes in) – all you really need to see (at most) is the first 3 minutes, which is a direct sequel to 1×20 (direct as in, a few minutes or at most a few hours later) – introduces Senator Kinsey, who is part of many tedious future storylines – skip

Features some remarkably high levels of confrontation and a final scene extreme in its rancor and improbable appeals to a particular flavour of stereotypical American beliefs.  Drama through shouting.

1×22 Within the Serpent’s Grasp – season finale – a key episode and well done – introduces Zat’nik’tel (Zat gun) – watch

Directly followed by conclusion in 2×01 The Serpent’s Lair.

Season 2 episodes examined (although in general you can watch all of them) in followup post: Stargate SG-1 season 2.

a 2km MUP from Blair Station to La Cité collégiale

In thought exercise: cycling north from Blair Station I imagined what a MUP from Blair Station connecting up to the new CSEC MUP would look like.

If you extend the MUP up to La Cité collégiale it comes out at just over 2.25km.

This would make Blair Station a short bike ride to and from La Cité collégiale, the NRC campus, and CSEC.  It also gives you tons of catchment from the houses on the west side of Bathgate.

UPDATE: Feedback from planner added at bottom.  ENDUPDATE

It would look something like this yellow line

Screen Shot - Google Earth - Bathgate MUP - flat

(You can ignore the dots, it’s just because I’m making straight-line segments for Google Earth to measure the path. Some of the dots indicate intersections but most are just to get the line around curves.)

UPDATE 2014-07-01: It would be bidiectional and run where the sidewalk is now along the north side of City Park Drive, turning to the east side of City Park Drive and continuing up the east side of Bathgate Drive. The current sidewalk along the west side of Bathgate and west side of City Park turning into south side would be unchanged. ENDUPDATE

Why not ride on the street? Well the speed “limit” on Bathgate is 40 near Ogilvie and then turns into 50 once it’s in the straightaway. A long unobstructed view means people are going to be going much faster than 50. And cars going much faster than 50 plus cyclists means a dead cyclist if there’s a collision. Which is why you always separate cyclists above 30km/h.

One concern might be that the sidewalk that this MUP would replace may be too busy.

One way is to use Google Street View to count the pedestrians along the route.  From start to finish I count 3, although none of the new CSEC-adjacent Bathgate east sidewalk existed when they did the streetview (there were east sidewalk segments before and after that portion on Bathgate).

Another way is to walk the route.  So I took 51 photos, on three different days, at different times of day.  Here are 5 example photos.  You decide whether this sidewalk is too busy to make into a MUP.

IMG_9062-20140514

IMG_9085-20140514

IMG_9204-20140520

IMG_9221-20140520

IMG_1403-1131403-20140521

See the complete collection: Bathgate MUP collection
or the individual photo sets:
south to Blair Station – May 14, 2014;
north from Blair Station – May 20, 2014;
north from Blair Station – May 21, 2014.

This really should have been covered in the Blair Station TOD study.  But the survey is 600m directly centred on the station, even though the access from the south means crossing the Queensway, which makes it extremely difficult and unlikely to get many sources or destinations there.  I think they should have considered the employment and school to the north of Ogilvie as destinations, since there are thousands of government employees and students going there every weekday.  Additionally they should have considered the housing north of Ogilvie as sources of transit users.  And a good cycling network would make for a much larger catchment area.

The Blair Station TOD is impossible to find on the city’s website, but I found this: TOD Plans Nov 27, 2013 Part 1 draft (PDF), TOD Plans Nov 27, 2013 Part 2 draft (PDF), TOD Plans Nov 27, 2013 Part 3 draft (PDF) at ottwatch.ca

You can also see the outdated posterboards at http://documents.ottawa.ca/sites/documents.ottawa.ca/files/documents/tod_boards_24.pdf  Beware: in the June 2013 posterboards orange dots are “future on-street bicycle lane”, whereas in the Oct 2013 slide from the Nov 2013 draft, orange dots are “future dedicated cycling facility”.  Does “dedicated cycling facility” mean a separated lane?  I would hope so, but I don’t know.  The cycling on the June 2013 poster is also a different mix than the Oct 2013 draft slide below.

Blair TOD cycling 2013-11-27 draft

The proposal is… just not quite right.  The green dotted future MUP is on the wrong side, the south side of City Park Drive, which has many more car entrances and exits and more foot traffic.  The little strip of orange dotted dedicated cycling facility on City Park Drive north is nice, but it doesn’t connect to anything.  You go from a MUP on the south side of the street, then ??? to a dedicated lane on the east side of the street for a few metres, and then you’re at Ogilvie, which is an incredibly dangerous multi-lane speedway.

The path they want you to take, I guess, is to take a future MUP east from Blair Station to a future dedicated cycling facility on Blair, get across to the east side of Blair, ride for a few metres and then get dumped onto dangeous unprotected cycling up Blair north of Ogilvie.  This delivers no one to the school, doesn’t connect to the CSEC MUP, and has you unprotected in fast suburban traffic with lots of intersections up Blair.

CSEC is new.  The time to do an intervention for people’s travel habits is when they first start working at a new location.  That’s not me talking, that’s Dr David Halpern, Director of the Behavioural Insights Team in the UK, speaking at the Canada School of Public Service (or similar talks he’s given).  The time to put in a MUP to get people cycling from the bus and future train to CSEC is now.  Once they start driving, you will never shift their commute.

In an ideal world this should have been addressed when they spent a fortune making a bright new empty sidewalk along Bathgate Drive that connects to a CSEC MUP.

(As a side note, this MUP would greatly benefit from a large, secure bike storage area at Blair Station; additionally it would be nice if we could take bikes on the future train during commuting hours.)

The lead on the Blair Station TOD was

Peter Giles
613-580-2424, ext. 21667
Fax: 613-580-2459
E-mail: Peter.Giles@ottawa.ca

- contact info from LRT Station Area Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Studies – Overview


UPDATE: I contacted Mr. Giles and shared this blog post with him.  He provided me with more information and with thoughtful feedback.  He wasn’t able to provide the full Blair TOD as it seems the city’s systems simply can’t provide it online (this seems to be a recurring and serious issue in terms of citizen engagement with planning).

He indicated that the primary focus of the TOD plans is zoning, and to “protect pedestrian and cycling connections in the immediate station area (within 800m walk of the station platform)”.  Anything else in terms of connections is supposed to go in the Transportation Master Plan (TMP) and Infrastructure Master Plan.

He provided me with a link to the Transportation Master Plan Primary Urban Cycling Map (PDF).  It has Blair as a “spine route” and no infrastructure on Bathgate.  Extract of the relevant section below – thick green is Cross-town Bikeway (the main Ottawa cycling route), blue is Spine Route and red and I’m guessing lowest quality/priority is Major Pathway.  Aviation Parkway gets a Major Pathway.  My personal opinion is that having Spine Routes on multi-lane suburban speedways like Blair (the n-s blue line on the right), Ogilvie, Montreal Road and St. Laurent just puts cyclists at enormous risk without bringing any infrastructure or modal shift benefits.

TMP Primary Urban Cycling - Blair Station extract

Blair Station and north to just below Metz Crescent (roughly half-way up Bathgate) is Ward 11 – Councillor Tim Tierney.  (Ward 11 map PDF.)

La Cité collégiale is between Den Haag in the north and Des Pionniers in the south, which is Ward 13 – Councillor Peter Clark.  (Ward 13 map PDF.)

ENDUPDATE