Stargate SG-1 (often abbreviated as SG-1) is an American-Canadian science fiction television series, part of the Stargate franchise. Its story begins one year after the events of the 1994 science fiction film Stargate. It was produced in and around Vancouver, Canada.
In the Stargate science fiction universe, a network of ancient alien devices called Stargates connects the far reaches of several galaxies, including the Milky Way, Pegasus and Ori galaxies, opening the door for near-instantaneous interstellar travel. The Stargates often use a DHD or Dial-Home Device, almost always referred to as the "DHD" control consoles, to operate the dialing sequence of the various Stargates. Stargate SG-1 chronicles the exploits of SG-1, the "flagship team" of at least 25 teams who explore the galaxy and defend Earth against alien threats such as the Goa'uld, Replicators and later the Ori.
In 2007, after completion of the series run, Stargate SG-1 was named as number 28 on TV Guide's list of "The 30 Top Cult Shows Ever".
Earth is exposed as a threat to Goa'uld power throughout the seasons and comes under attack multiple times. SG-1 and the SGC forge several alliances with other races in the galaxy, among them the Tok'ra, the Tollan, the Nox, the Asgard, and the remnants of an extinct advanced race that comes to be known as the Ancients, the original builders of the Stargates. Meanwhile, forces on Earth attempt to take control of the Stargate and other alien technology for their own ends, in particular rogue agents of the NID. Another alien threat arises in season 3 in the form of sentient machines called Replicators, who are on the verge of wiping out the Asgard, one of Earth's greatest allies. Season 4 of Stargate SG-1 ends with a major battle against Apophis.
At the beginning of season 8, O'Neill is promoted to Brigadier General and becomes the new leader of the SGC, leaving SG-1 a three-man team. While the System Lord Ba'al (Cliff Simon) subsumes much of Anubis's power, it is revealed that Anubis was not killed at the end of season 7 and secretly regains control of his forces through Ba'al (Cliff Simon). Meanwhile, human-form Replicators begin to conquer the System Lords, but SG-1 finds an Ancient weapon and adjusts it to destroy all Replicators throughout the galaxy. Oma Desala, who is revealed to be responsible for Anubis' original ascension, engages Anubis in an eternal stalemated battle on the Ascended plane so that he can no longer act on the mortal plane. By the end of season 8, the System Lords have been decimated, the Replicators annihilated, and the Jaffa have won their freedom.
In season 10, Vala gives birth to Adria (Morena Baccarin), a rapidly maturing girl and the leader of Ori. Vala joins SG-1 in the search for an anti-ascended-being weapon (the Sangraal) of Merlin, a formerly Ascended Ancient and founder of the Arthurian legends, while Ba'al and his clones attempt to find and use the weapon for their own purposes. When SG-1 finds Merlin in stasis, his consciousness is transferred into Daniel. Before the Sangraal can be completed, Adria captures Daniel and makes him a Prior for her own purposes. Daniel later returns to his former self, the completed Sangraal is sent to the Ori galaxy, and Adria ascends. Stargate SG-1 was not renewed for an eleventh season, and the direct-to-DVD film Stargate: The Ark of Truth wraps up the unresolved Ori arc. Further direct-to-DVD films tell more stand-alone stories.
Developed for television by Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright as a television spin-off of the science fiction film Stargate, Stargate SG-1 was produced by MGM and filmed at Bridge Studios in Vancouver, Canada. While watching the original film, Wright saw a wide range of possible scifi storylines that could take place in present-day, which was uncommon enough to intrigue Wright. According to one critic, Stargate SG-1 is designed to have no nationality, which may appeal to viewers all over the world.
The American subscription channel Showtime made a two-season, 44-episode commitment for the series in 1996. Richard Dean Anderson, who starred in ABC's MacGyver from 1985 to 1992, said he was drawn to the role of Jack O'Neill by the opportunity to stretch, using Showtime's freer parameters of language and content. Anderson had worked with John Symes, president of MGM during his Macguyver days. Symes asked Anderson to become involved with the project, and after Anderson had watched the original movie a few times, he decided that it was the perfect vehicle for a series. Although Anderson was never a real fan of the sci-fi genre, he was open to try anything once. Production began in Vancouver in February 1997.
The first episode was broadcast on July 27, 1997 on Showtime at the 8 p.m.slot in the US. MGM made a deal with FOX in 1998 so that all 22 Fox stations would rerun the first 44 episodes over a two-year span after the debut on Showtime. Episodes aired in syndication approximately one year after their original broadcast on Showtime. Showtime ordered another two seasons of 22 episodes each in July 1998.
Showtime produced and aired the show's first five seasons. Beginning with season six, it was produced and aired by the Sci Fi Channel. A spin-off series, Stargate Atlantis, began airing in 2004. The two shows ran in tandem for three years, with occasionally interconnected plots and simultaneous story timelines.
The show's producers place many in-jokes related to the Vancouver area, including a country named Kelowna on an alien planet known as Langara. Also many Vancouver area landmarks have been used in the production including the campus of Simon Fraser University as the setting of an alien civilization's capitol. The show uses special effects developed by Rainmaker Digital Effects.
With its 202nd episode, "Company of Thieves", Stargate SG-1 surpassed The X-Files as the longest-running North American science fiction series on television. Doctor Who fans dispute its listing in the 2007 Guinness World Records as the "longest-running science fiction show (consecutive)", as 694 episodes of the British show were produced and shown consecutively between 1963 and 1989.
On August 21, 2006, the Sci Fi Channel confirmed that Stargate SG-1 was not being renewed for an 11th season. Mark Stern, executive VP of original programming for the Sci Fi Channel, stated that the decision was not based on ratings, and that production staff was given enough time to tie up all the loose ends and to create a good ending for the show. Stern also announced SciFi's plans to use some SG-1 members on the still-continuing spin-off Stargate Atlantis. The SG-1 producers and rights-holder MGM expressed a desire to continue SG-1 through another outlet in the form of a movie, mini-series, or an eleventh season on some other network, as far as the contract with the Sci Fi Channel allowed it. The last day of shooting for season ten was on October 5, 2006. The final episode "Unending" was first broadcast by Sky1 in the UK on March 13, 2007, and was later aired by the Sci Fi Channel in the United States on June 22, 2007.
In September 2006, an IGN report cited an unnamed cast member that instead of an eleventh season, there would be a series of SG-1 TV movies. In December 2006, GateWorld reported the production of two films: the first film, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, wrapped up the Ori storyline, while the second film, Stargate: Continuum, was a time travel story taking the SG-1 team to the past. Both films were relased in 2008.
A third Direct-to-DVD movie is to be filmed in 2009.
Human curiosity is often depicted as a double edged sword, and major events—including the introduction of new villains—often result from this.
A recurring motif is the way in which human characters from Earth speak in naturalistic, everyday language, while most characters from other planets use a more eloquent, archaic variant of English. This is also present in Stargate Atlantis and is typically played for humor, especially when characters such as Teal'c attempt to use human slang terms. There are, however, exceptions to this rule such as Jonas Quinn, Vala Mal Doran, and Ronon Dex (from Stargate Atlantis).
The USAF cooperates closely with the producers of the program. Two successive Chiefs of Staff of the USAF, Generals Michael E. Ryan and John P. Jumper, have appeared in the show, playing themselves. Ryan appeared in the episode "Prodigy" because of his fascination with science fiction, especially space exploration. Jumper made a cameo appearance in "Lost City", the episode that was originally slated to be the show's last. The Air Force Association recognized Richard Dean Anderson at its 57th annual dinner on September 14, 2004 for his work as actor and executive producer of the show, and "for the show's continuous positive depiction of the Air Force". Many of the extras portraying US Air Force personnel are in fact real US Air Force personnel.
The series frequently references other television and film productions such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Farscape, and The Wizard of Oz. In "Children of the Gods", the pilot episode of the series, Samantha Carter comments on how it took "fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth," alluding to Anderson's well-known portrayal of the television character MacGyver. Col. O'Neill references The Simpsons throughout the show as both his and Richard Dean Anderson's favorite television series. In the season eight episode, "Citizen Joe", Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, made a guest appearance as Joe Spencer. In turn, Richard Dean Anderson later made a guest appearance on The Simpsons in episode 17 of the seventeenth season Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore as himself. Also in season 8, in the episode "Moebius", the O'Neill in the alternate timeline has a boat called Homer, written in a Simpsons style.
In 1998, the second season of Stargate SG-1 was the most widely watched program on the Showtime network, outperforming every of their theatrical movies, although it received almost no media mention outside hard-core science fiction circles. It ranked second behind the Pamela Anderson vehicle V.I.P. as new syndicated hour-long programs.
In 1999, Stargate SG-1 received household ratings of 2.3, 2.7 3.1 and 3.3. In August 1999, a survey designed to rank the popularity of cable TV programs placed SG-1 on rank 34, followed by Nickelodeon's Little Bear and Rugrats (both 35), and HBO's The Sopranos (36). Although MGM had a net loss of US$40.2 million in the third-quarter of 1999, cash flow from television rose 58% to $9.8 million, largely as a result of increased product in worldwide syndication, principally Stargate SG-1 and the other MGM production The Outer Limits.
In 2004, TV Guide suggested that the popularity of SG-1 may be exceeding that of the Star Trek franchise. Testifying to its vigor, Stargate SG-1 broke Nielsen Ratings records for the U.S. Sci-Fi Channel throughout its eighth season. Although Richard Dean Anderson departed as a regular after season eight, he made guest appearances in several episodes of seasons nine and ten of SG-1 and season three of Stargate Atlantis.
The Stargate SG-1 story and surrounding mythos has spawned many subsidiary productions, only some of which are considered canon, with the occasional exceptions.
In the United States (Region 1), Seasons 1 through 8 were originally released in boxsets that contained five discs in amaray cases. On April 3, 2006, Sony Home Entertainment (US) announced that they would be re-releasing Seasons 1 - 8 of Stargate SG-1 in a reduced boxset size like that of Season 1 of Stargate Atlantis. The box set releases in Region 4 followed the box art and amaray case style of the Region 1 releases. MGM announced in July 2007 that a complete series set for Stargate SG-1 is in the works to be released on October 9. The set includes all 50 discs from the 10 seasons of Stargate SG-1, plus 4 bonus discs filled with content not part of the original sets. The set includes all of SCI FI Channel's annual behind-the-scenes specials, never-before-seen video diaries and installments of the SG-1 Directors Series, new featurettes produced specifically for this release, and more. The Complete Series of Stargate SG-1 was released in Region 2 format on December 3, 2007.
Several novels have been published based in Stargate SG-1. From 1999 to 2001, ROC published four novels written by Ashley McConnell. In 2004, UK-based Fandemonium Press started a new series of licensed tie-in novels based on Stargate SG-1. Due to a (now expired) conflict with ROC's license, these books were available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK, but unavailable in the US until 2006.
The official Stargate Magazine, produced by Titan Publishing, began publishing short stories written by Fandemonium authors in their 8th issue. The stories alternate between both SG-1 and Atlantis.
A series of comics has also been published by Avatar Press.