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maryann johanson, ruining movies since 1997

Stargate SG-1: The Complete Ninth Season (review)

After several seasons of floundering, the longest consecutively running SF series in TV history was totally reinvigorated in its ninth season with daring major changes that could have spelled certain doom: Star Richard Dean Anderson’s gradual withdrawal from the series was acknowledged as permanent with the casting of Ben Browder as Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, and new enemy aliens, the aggressive religionist Ori, were introduced in the wake of the defeat of the galaxy-ruling Goa’uld. But the writers responded with stories about fundmentalism, societal oppression, and civil chaos in the newly balkanized galaxy that worked as well as powerful metaphors for the current state of Earth’s global politics as they did exciting adventures for our band of explorers, diplomats, and — when necessary — warriors from contemporary America who travel via an ancient alien wormhole network connected by “stargates.” If Battlestar Galactica had raised the bar for TV science fiction, these 20 episodes — which first aired last year and have just begun appearing in syndication — recognized the challenge and met it; they may well be the series’ best ever. Even the stunt of bringing onboard Browder’s former Farscape costar, Claudia Black, as a regular member of the team, paid off more spectacularly than surely anyone could have imagined: the dynamics between their characters here are complete different than they were on their previous show, but they still spark with the kind of electrifying actorly chemistry that one more pair-up on another show could cement as downright legendary. This fan-friendly package features audio commentaries on every episode and tons of production featurettes.

[buy at Amazon]

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viewed at home on a small screen

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