?

Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

SG1, SGA, BSG 01-20-06

LJ has 9.2 million registered accounts? Geez. No wonder it's so difficult to find a username that hasn't been registered.


SG1: Ripple Effect

This was a fun episode. I'm always a complete sucker for AUs. And this was, arguably, the AU Extravaganza that fans of AUs have been wanting to see since the AU concept was first introduced.

I enjoyed it a hell of a lot, so did telepresence. Afterwards, practically our only substantive comments on it went along the lines of, "It would have been even cooler, if..." -- but we knew that wasn't a fair criticism. We recognized that the Ultimate AU Episode would [a] have to be longer, and more importantly, [b] have a humongous budget and an ability to actually get any and every guest-star you could name, which obviously is flatly impossible.

A few nits, nonetheless:

The first few minutes BUGGED THE HELL out of us. Why? The moment the black-clad SG1 said that Selmak and Jacob were still very much alive, Landry should have initiated a bunch of common-sense responses. For example: LOCK THEM UP AND HAVE SECURITY HOLD GUNS ON THEM. Whichever way you slice it, they are NOT *your* SG1. You don't know what they are. Therefore, it makes NO SENSE that you let them stand in a row behind you, completely unsecured (presumably devoid of their weapons, like that matters), in the control room, while you direct security to train all its guns on the SG1 arriving at the *correct* time. Sheesh. *bangs head against wall* Also -- is there no-one who *noticed* that SG1 wore the green BDUs on this away mission, not the black ones? I know that the show lately has been a trifle laissez-faire about when they wear the black as opposed to when they wear the other stuff. But still, it's a visible difference. Hello?

One of the things I used to like that the show did was how the characters would show they could learn, and how they would have an immediate, practical, and cautious reaction to a problem. If Jack cuts his arm open and bleeds white, you call in security and train guns on all of SG1, even when Jack is shouting personal information at you that only the "real" Jack could have. SG1 comes back through the Gate talking about leaving behind Jack and some team-member nobody has ever heard of? Lock 'em up right away. Here I just couldn't help but feel that Hammond would have reacted more quickly and more cautiously, instead of treating the black-clad team as the "real" SG1, or at least, as a "harmless" SG1 even if their "reality" was in doubt. It ought to be pretty simple at the SGC by now. A team comes back and there is the slightest weirdism to them? (Like talking about people as alive who YOU know are dead.) Lock 'em up and start sorting them out, but for the love of god, at least treat them as a potential threat!

Maybe it's just that Landry and Lam are new. As Telepresence said, as the credits rolled, "Don't you WATCH this show?" And I pointed out, heh, no, Landry hasn't been watching it for 8 seasons, he's catching up. The discussion between Lam and Landry also made us a bit annoyed because they were focusing way too hard on the cloning thing. Look, I know that the Baal clones was the MOST RECENT example of duplicates. But have you people READ the SGC mission reports overview? Surely there is a cliff-notes version. Say it along with me, everyone: "Robots; quantum-mirror; alien chameleon/mind-reading tech; shape-shifting aliens; time-travelling..." (Jeopardy answer: "What are various weird things over the past 8 years that have caused duplicates of people to appear in the SGC?") For the record: the show exhibited this same problem back in S6's "Smoke & Mirrors", in which everyone was sitting around trying to figure out how someone who looked exactly like Jack had shot Sen. Kinsey, and the scene in which they did so would have been a lot more "realistic" if they'd only gone around the table and had each person offer one example from their past of how they've gotten duplicates. But they didn't, and missed a great opportunity to demonstrate that they remember their own show. *sigh*

Here, they *sort* of do it again. I mean, THANK GOD, by the time we get to the briefing table, and Sam *finally* freakin' mentions the quantum mirror. (There was also a lovely name-check later for the Gate doing time-travel even though it's not supposed to.) Still, if the question on the table is, "How can we have duplicates of SG1?", there's more than one viable answer just within what the show has *seen*, let alone what new wacky stuff could come up. However, if you're talking about an SG1 that thinks Jacob/Selmak's alive -- dude. "Cloning" and "they just forgot/didn't know that Jacob/Selmak died" is a STUPID answer, in comparison with the others, especially with the AU answer being the most probable.

But, fine... they got themselves out of that pretty quickly. As I say, perhaps Landry and Lam should be forgiven for focusing on the most recently seen possibility, the one they *personally* have seen, rather than on the historic possibilities. Good for the older members of SG1 that they got on the right track so quickly.

Beyond the lack of common-sense demonstrated by Landry in the opening, and the lack of institutional knowledge... the rest of the ep was done quite well, and was a peck o' fun. I thought they did a really nice job, given production and time constraints, of alluding to a breadth of weird possibilities, and I thought they overall did a nice job putting in background touches. After the ep, Telepresence and I brainstormed a few weirder ideas that they could easily have done, that would have been fun (the SG1 that comes through *all* wearing Jaffa armor: *snerk*; the SG-1 that comes through where all but Teal'c are wearing original Tok'ra uniforms, and all their eyes flash on the ramp; etc.). But still, a nice range displayed.

It was strangely coincidental how ALL of the SG1s they happened to have were teams led by Mitchell. At least they allowed for more possibility when they said later that many more SG1s were turned away... Of course, none of the SG1s could have been led by Jack, for obvious production reasons. But it probably would have been nice to show the arrival of at least one SG1 that didn't include Mitchell, and was led by someone else (Sam, perhaps, with another random 4th, which would be easiest to do with the guest-stars they had; or someone more outre).

The scene with the billions of Sams in the room -- that was neat. A pity, of course, that they all had to have the same haircut, but there's certain details that you can't expect the production team to worry about. Loved the Geek!Sam, in glasses, who showed up talking to another in the background. My only criticism of that scene, basically, was the extent to which the other Sams weren't vocal or even all that reactive -- shouldn't ALL of them (or at least a good percentage of them) have reacted to Martouf's arrival? And how did Martouf know to concentrate on "our" Sam as the one with whom he should have been interacting? By which I mean -- what made "our" Sam more significant to *him* than any of the other Sams? (Nothing, unless he himself was interested in the Sam whose universe it actually was; which is a reasonable distinction to make, I just... I don't know, would have liked to see him a bit confused before he settled on that. He slid into addressing her and only her pretty quickly.)

Yes, by the way -- both Telepresence and I *groaned* every time they referred COYLY to Sam having gotten married, being pregnant, etc. In the usual SG way, they assiduously avoided giving *any* hint as to who her partner was -- so, could be Jack, could be Pete, hell, could be Narim, could be Agent Barrett (*waves* I'll get to YOU in a moment, Malcolm!). But this is a tease to the fans that I could just do without, at this point. Mostly, I could do without Sam's character being defined by the romance/marriage thing. Which I suppose is hypocritical to say, in an episode in which I quite enjoyed her interaction with Martouf. (I always liked Martouf. Telepresence personally always rooted for Narim.)

At any rate... also enjoyed some glimpses of the other AU SG1s -- liked the ones in the weird grey-cammo uniforms (but WHAT was their Teal'c wearing on his head??? though, nice shout-out, with them arming him with the salvaged gun from the death-glider that he used briefly in S5). And especially -- the team of four muscle-guys that Mitchell led out of the elevator, who were all wearing the Atanik armbands (from S4's "Upgrades"); really nice little detail there guys.

But then, of course -- Martouf and Janet. JANET!!!!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!! (And yes, it was nice to see you too, Martouf.)

One thing disoriented me about them, and that was that we didn't get to see the rest of their SG1 until the end. I realize that we didn't "need" to, per se, but it made me feel as if they weren't part of another "team" as such. It was odd. Anyway. In the midst of the glee over Janet? Both Telepresence and I thought that Landry's manner in springing her on Daniel and Teal'c was really... damn. Cold. It was, in fact, exemplary of things that I just sort of don't like about Landry -- it came across to me as a bit smug, and too careless in tone for what an emotional shock it should really have been to Daniel and Teal'c -- Daniel especially. Yeah, I know, Landry never knew Janet, he wasn't around at the time of her death. But he must know how she died (again, read the Mission Cliff Notes). He was a bit too jolly, for my tastes, about springing his "surprise" on Daniel and Teal'c. Um, dude? This isn't amusing. This is a gut-punch, and at best it's poignant. Have *some* concern for the feelings of others, can't you?

Telepresence remarked afterwards that for him, the ideal AU episode would focus on the emotional/psychological reaction of the characters to the appearence of (or news of) people, close friends and family, who've been dead for years. While I agree... look, I know my show. On SG1 you're damned lucky to get ANY emotional-depth moments, whatsoever. And therefore, as far as I was concerned, the scenes we got between Sam and Martouf, and Daniel, Teal'c and Janet, were very welcome. Those did have real emotional depth, and they directly addressed the characters' reactions to each other. For SG1? It was pretty huge. So I'm grateful they did that much.

As for the rest of the plot... blah-blah technobabble whatever...

Here's the thing that occured to me right away. From a certain point of view, if you are handling the AU story very well, you need to acknowledge that all of the other SG1s must regard themselves as the stars of *their* show. So I liked it when I got a hint that the black-clad SG1 was doing just that. It was a neat POV moment, to me. Because we were still looking at them as the interlopers. But they were proceeding as if they were the real SG1 in an episode in which SG-1 becomes stranded (or... not) in some other AU. It was a cool acknowledgement that if the situations were reversed, we would expect "our" SG1 to do what the black-clad SG1 was doing, in order to get home.

That being the case, I *wanted* black-clad SG1 not to be "evil!SG1". They don't need to be evil. They just need to believe that they are of paramount importance... which is what "our" SG-1 would do if they were stuck in an AU. For that reason, the ongoing bit of business with that Teal'c roughing up our Mitchell... ehn. The rest of the black-clad team didn't really give any indication that they were "bad". I didn't need them to, for this plot to work. Indeed it would have worked best if I could have seen them as *just like* our SG1. So I didn't *get* the whole thing with Teal'c roughing up Mitchell. And I didn't like it.

The wrinkle that they weren't "stuck", this was a deliberate mission... I liked that, in one way. I liked the ruthless pragmatism about it, in the argument between the Mitchells. I thought it was an interesting and largely plausible idea. (They should have bet on being locked up, and possibly bet that they wouldn't have been able to get into the SGC's confidence enough to pull this off. I mean -- why take THAT particular team with the real SG1 on the Prometheus, and nobody else? Ugh.) I also of course liked the "SG1 vs. SG1" idea -- that was *fun*. But there's also that moral ambiguity underlying it all. Would "our" SG1 have decided that their Earth's need was worth putting an alternate-universe Atlantis at risk, like that? I'm not sure that they would have -- at least I'm not sure they would have gone to *steal* the ZPM. I could certainly see "our" SG1 arguing passionately to be allowed to take it, but not *steal* it.

But... fine. Even if it wasn't quite the approach that I had flashed on and assumed they were taking, it was still a pretty neat, plausible AU story.

In the end, too, I would perhaps have wished that the SG1 with Janet and Martouf could have been the AU SG1 on the Prometheus. Just because I would have gotten more out of seeing our SG1 having to deal with a more different SG1. You would still have had the fact that half the team were identical to half our team, so you could do that whole "we think like them" thing. Plus the fake-out. (I admit, I was totally taken in by the "false" Mitchell in green BDUs.) But then you could also have had the moral ambiguity of our Sam and Daniel and Teal'c being taken in because of their nostalgic trust for Martouf and Janet -- whose deaths Sam and Daniel respectively blame themselves for. But mostly because, I just would have liked to see as much more of Martouf and Janet as we could have gotten.

All in all, then -- good SG1 episode. Fun. Good story. Let us roll around in AUs to our heart's content, though in a way, also only whet our appetites for all the other neat possibilities that the show couldn't do.



SGA: Critical Mass

Just as it was pretty cool to hear SG1 talking about the Atlantis expedition on that show, it was *really* cool to see the crossover with the SGC on SGA. And Agent Barrett! Hi! Great to see you! I've always liked Agent Barrett. It's really nice to see him pop back in from time to time.

I thought they were a bit too transparently wanting to have their cake and eat it too, with the heavy references to the moral dilemma of how to get information out of Kavanaugh and then out of the Caldwell goa'uld. Also, of course, it was a ticking-time-bomb scenario, which is almost NEVER actually the case with torture situations in the real-world. Finally, they didn't even acknowledge the central problem pointed to by the anti-torture position, which isn't a moral one but a practical one: you can't trust the information you get. I think that this is especially problematic on a show like these, where the heroes are tortured by the villains from time to time, but they hold out... heroically. The bottom line is that if your good-guys "know"/trust that they themselves would never break, then they should hesitate to assume that their opponents will break, either, even if the chips are down. And yeah, I know that Kavanaugh is a weenie, but still...

Anyway... when they were all so seriously alluding to the idea of torturing Kavanaugh, I *knew* even then that they were going to dodge it somehow. I wasn't sure how. Ronon's "he fainted before I even touched him" was about what I was expecting, though. (Actually, I was *most* expecting a form of good-cop/bad-cop. Plus, I also "knew" that Kavanaugh wasn't the real bad-guy. They telegraphed that quite well.) (Speaking of telegraphed -- Rodney's suspicion of Cadman was just... lame. It never came across as a plausibly worrisome possibility.)

And then with Caldwell -- and may I just say, I was surprised by him turning out to be the goa'uld -- they kind of get out of it by twisting it around so that torturing the Caldwell-goa'uld results in the suppression of the evil goa'uld so that the victimized Caldwell can surface for a moment and defy the goa'uld and be helpful. So it turns the torture into an almost merciful gesture. Yeah. Way to muddy the moral point *there*, guys. (Also, may I say -- it was stupid to have the Caldwell goa'uld be all, "I'm much stronger, as a goa'uld", and then for him to not give either Ronon or John a run for their money in the fight?)

Basically, I didn't like them even appearing to address the very serious issue of torture by the "good guys", when all they were going to do was let themselves off the hook for it in both cases. I realize that by Weir's reaction at the end, she didn't feel let off the hook. But *I* felt she was, dramatically. I realize too that this show isn't BSG. But that's my point. If you're not actually going to deal with a gritty dilemma that doesn't have an easy answer, then just, *don't*.

Finally, and how could I forget except that we FF'ed through it? -- the singing, OH MY GOD THE SINGING.

I am quite sure that out there somewhere, perhaps on my flist at this very moment, there are people for whom Teyla's Enya impression, and the use of her singing and the music as background for the remainder of the ep, worked. But that would not be me or Telepresence. AAAAIIIEEEEE!!!! I'm sorry, but I Could. Not. Deal. My ears. My ears. To say that I hated that would be a vast, vast understatement. I'll be interested to see what the other reactions are, but... *damn*. *Cringe*.

Mind you, I can't exactly explain why that kind of thing in just about any TV show, or indeed in most films, makes me cringe. It just really, REALLY does.

To end on a happier note, though? And a complete shout-out to barkley on the question of geeks in the USAF -- LOVED the bit where poor Dr. Lee is trying to make an analogy to the Twilight Bark (yes, sadly, I got what he meant immediately), and then when he abandons that and says, "Lord of the Rings -- you know, where they light all the signal fires..." -- and everyone around the table, including *both* the civilian scientists and the guys in military uniform, start smiling and nodding at each other in recognition. That was great.



BSG: Epiphanies

As usual, I have the least to say about BSG. I think that mostly what I have to say is: less grim than I expected, because with this show, I honestly thought there was a real chance they'd abort Sharon's baby. Also: as whacked-out, far-fetched, 11th-hour, medical miracles pulled out of the ass fixes for cancer go? I'm fine with that. I'm just glad they've finally resolved Roslyn's cancer storyline. I didn't really care how they'd do it. I was prepared to accept pretty much anything, with the exception of "Roslyn actually dies", which... given this show, again, I thought was always an outside possibility. (Okay, I would have been pretty annoyed if Roslyn had turned out to be a Cylon. But other than *that*...)

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
jenlev
Jan. 21st, 2006 10:01 am (UTC)
good point about the need for more time and a bigger budget for the AU episode. and about treating the other teams more cautiously. and i love what you said about the pov moment with the other sg1 seeing it as *their* show. *g*

the episode makes me even more thankful for the good fanfic.

and *yes* to what you said here: "I realize too that this show isn't BSG. But that's my point. If you're not actually going to deal with a gritty dilemma that doesn't have an easy answer, then just, *don't*." i can't help but wish/hope that they would properly address not just this issue, but the consequences of their choices. also, the connection between their emotions and their experiences. 40-something minutes is not long enough. gah, i hate commercials. *sigh*

um....i handwaved the singing at the end. :) and loved lee's presentation with the twilight bark and lotr. hee!

regarding bsg: i was left wondering if roslin's cure changed her so that she's no longer completely human. although i also don't see her as a cylon.
eregyrn
Jan. 23rd, 2006 07:50 am (UTC)
i can't help but wish/hope that they would properly address not just this issue, but the consequences of their choices.

I would prefer that SG1/SGA just not address issues like this at all. I was really happy, for example, that they didn't ever on-screen try to tackle things like 9/11 or the Iraq war or anything. I'm okay with the shows diverging from our reality to that extent.

Partly, because I come to these shows for entertainment, to escape from depressing current events. I don't want to see THESE shows grapple with those events/issues. Not just because I don't think they can do them well. But because I don't want those events/issues to dominate my every waking moment. I'd like a break from them sometimes.

I realize that the shows are in something of a difficult spot, because they do (or did) have this relationship with the real-world military. There's that sense on SG1 at least of the show being representative of the USAF in some way. There's the blurring of fiction/reality, with those real-world generals doing guest appearences as themselves.

But it's never actually bugged me that the shows present an idealized version of the USAF or the American military. I prefer to think of it as... the shows are depicting military officers as we would like them to be. Not as we fool ourselves into thinking they always are. The shows (ought to) depict the USAF as it should aspire to be, not the warts-and-all reality.

Now, I'm not sure exactly how the USAF itself sees it. I mean, we know that they liked the job that SG1 did in depicting it -- if they didn't, then those generals would never have appeared on it, and they would not have honored RDA that way. But I got a sense that they honored Col. Jack O'Neill because they felt he was exemplary of the kind of image they'd *like* to project. I don't know that that means that they are unaware that the reality is sometimes more flawed. I think it just means that they like having something *good* they can point to and say, yeah, that is the image we would *like* to project. I don't see anything wrong with that, either.

So I don't need SG1 or SGA to tackle things like... the real-world scandals of sexual harassment, or closer to home, the current scandals involving Christian evangelism at the USAF Academy. (I wouldn't mind if they tossed off a line here or there in which the "good" fictional officers made some critical remarks about it; but I don't need to see them tackle it in depth.) I don't need to see the shows tackle Abu Ghraib, or anything else, either.

But then, prior to this year or so, I would have said that while the shows did not specifically engage those issues by name, they sort of engaged them implicitly, making a statement by drawing lines in the visible conduct of the characters. Characters who aren't without flaws and who sometimes fail or who sometimes take dodgy actions, but who usually make what I would consider to be good moral decisions.

I'm unhappy that they've gotten away from that. Both because I don't *want* to see them grapple with those issues head-on. And because I don't think they can do so in a skillful enough way.
jenlev
Jan. 23rd, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC)
yes, very good points.... er, i what i meant by my comment was wanting to see them explore the connection between emotions and experience within the context of what happens in the show. which is one of the reasons i love the good fanfic....that it addresses the impact of the very strange experiences they have as they go through the gate.

sometimes i find myself saying that i've got too much real life in my real life, so i watch something like sg1 or sga, and also want to be able to have it be separate from what's been in the news headlines. but if they're going to have something occur, i end up wishing they'd examine the after affects of what it all means. ack, it's hard to articulate. ;)

but i guess what i'm trying to say is, yes, i agree with what you're saying. and that the line between what's happening in their world and ours can get fuzzy because of the context of the characters being in "our" military. i don't have good answers on that one....because i end up being ambivalent and confused about it. but i do think there are some episodes of sg1 where they've straddled that fuzzy boundary in a way that worked for me as a viewer.

more than anything i wish they would portray the affect on the characters of the things they've gone through....and generally that's about what traveling to other planets and fighting the goa'uld/prior/etc have done to their lives. hopefully, this make some sense despite how scattered my brain is as i type this...... and again, i'm thankful for fanfic. {{{hugs}}}
eregyrn
Jan. 24th, 2006 07:41 am (UTC)
Yeah, I hear you. But I think that the show, or both shows really, have always been a bit bad at addressing that stuff, or showing the echoes of what they'd gone through in later episodes. Sometimes they did it, but quite often they didn't. I don't expect them to be "internal" shows. I made my peace with that, and yeah, looked to fanfic to fill that need.

(I think that may be why these shows became so popular for fanfic; not just the compelling nature of the characters and their chemistry, but the fact that they are adventure shows with a *little* internalization here and there, but not *enough*. It's that sort of tantalizing absence that I think just *compels* fans to fill in the blanks. Shows that actually give all of that to you in a satisfying way on screen -- those aren't shows for which I feel the need to seek out the fanfic.)

So I've been frustrated before by the shows not showing me the repercussions of a character's decisions/actions. And that's part of what annoys me about their tackling these themes -- because I am almost *certain* they won't address as I would like, or in this case, as I think the subject matter almost demands. So it just annoys me all over again.
jenlev
Jan. 24th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC)
good points about looking to fanfic to fill that need. i think i may get myself in some trouble while watching the show sometimes...i watch it through a fanfic filter to the degree where sometimes the good stories i love feel more like the show than the show does. which doesn't mean that love the show any less...it's just that (for example) sal's "elvis has left the building" is an episode that stays with me more than some of the actual episodes. ;)

and i agree with what you've said about the 'tantalizing absence'. such chemistry, and archetypal characters will pull at the viewer in a very powerful manner. and there are some *very* fine farscape writers hereabouts, but i don't have the same 'need' for farscape fanfic as i do for sg1. and i realize that my drive to read sg1 hasn't dissipated over the years since i stumbled across fanfic. *g*

and yup, i end up wanting to smack the writers upside the head when they do what you've described so well.
aizjanika
Jan. 21st, 2006 04:42 pm (UTC)
One of the things I used to like that the show did was how the characters would show they could learn, and how they would have an immediate, practical, and cautious reaction to a problem. [snipped out all the other cool stuff that you wrote, but this is in reference to it all]

I've been feeling this a LOT this season in many, many instances. I suppose it could be fanwanked that Landry is inexperienced, but what about Daniel and Teal'c and Sam and everyone else at the SGC? It's like they're all becoming dumbasses in some ways.

But this is a tease to the fans that I could just do without, at this point. Mostly, I could do without Sam's character being defined by the romance/marriage thing. Which I suppose is hypocritical to say, in an episode in which I quite enjoyed her interaction with Martouf. (I always liked Martouf. Telepresence personally always rooted for Narim.)

I hated it the focus on her lovelife as well, but I hated the Martouf stuff, too. :-) I always liked Martouf, too, but that whole bit played out weird for the reasons you mentioned, but also because I didn't like the focus of it to be her lovelife (again) and also because...Sam and Martouf never actually had a relationship in our reality. Why would she even bring that up if he didn't mention it first?

In the midst of the glee over Janet? Both Telepresence and I thought that Landry's manner in springing her on Daniel and Teal'c was really... damn. Cold.

Me too! You're the first person that I've seen mention this other than me. I thought it was rather cruel, but it's not like they didn't do something similar to Martin in Point of No Return (i.e. why didn't they tell him about the devastation on his planet before taking him through to see it--let him look at the MALP or something?). I also thought it was similar to the cruel way they showed Ronon his home planet in Runner, too.

Telepresence remarked afterwards that for him, the ideal AU episode would focus on the emotional/psychological reaction of the characters to the appearence of (or news of) people, close friends and family, who've been dead for years. While I agree... look, I know my show. On SG1 you're damned lucky to get ANY emotional-depth moments, whatsoever.

I agree with Telepresence, and it pains me to think that the things you are saying are true, because i think SG-1 used to be full of angst and drama in episodes like Need and Bloodlines and Within the Serpent's Grasp and...well, all the really cool episodes from the earlier seasons. I'm still waiting for more of that. I suppose I should finally wise up that we're never going to get that again, huh? :-(

(Speaking of telegraphed -- Rodney's suspicion of Cadman was just... lame. It never came across as a plausibly worrisome possibility.)

I loved it, though, because it was so Rodney.

I am quite sure that out there somewhere, perhaps on my flist at this very moment, there are people for whom Teyla's Enya impression, and the use of her singing and the music as background for the remainder of the ep, worked.

That was me, except I'm probably not on your flist. hehe But yeah, I loved it. At first I laughed out loud, but then I was taken in and put everything aside and just enjoyed the moment. But then...I'm a total sucker for soundtrack music. I actually love Enya and Loreena McKennitt, the SG soundtracks, LOTR (the soundtracks are much better than the movies), etc. I just jumped in with both feet and ended up loving it. I think it's probably one of those things that people would either love or hate.

I also loved the Twilight Bark and then the swith to the LOTR reference. That was fun. I ::heart:: Bill Lee.
eregyrn
Jan. 23rd, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
I've been feeling this a LOT this season in many, many instances. I suppose it could be fanwanked that Landry is inexperienced, but what about Daniel and Teal'c and Sam and everyone else at the SGC? It's like they're all becoming dumbasses in some ways.

When things get to this point, I kind of tend to back off in a meta way, and blame the writers rather than the characters. That is, there is a point up to which I will try to fit what we are given in the show into a wholistic picture of who the characters really are. But past that point, when the writing is too flawed, I won't bend over backwards to fit that evidence into the "worldview". I won't penalize the characters for glaring stupidity on the writers' part.

Sam and Martouf never actually had a relationship in our reality. Why would she even bring that up if he didn't mention it first?

That didn't really bug me. Because I thought it was rather natural for our Sam to wonder about that. I thought it was just an acknowledgement of how much she felt that she and our Martouf *might* have ended up together. And then she sees a Martouf who joined the SGC? I think it would be natural for her to wonder what might have become of what she may regard as their budding "relationship", had he taken that step to become a bigger part of "her" life.

I think it's fair to say that from Sam's POV, with her and Martouf, there was an "us" -- not an actualized romantic "us", but an "us", nonetheless. Her only "mistake" was in assuming that Desert Cammo Martouf's history was the same as hers up until the point at which things in that universe obviously diverged. (For all she knew... Jolinar might have gone into DANIEL, not her! *g*) But the show's writers aren't that deep or twisty.

You're the first person that I've seen mention this other than me.

Actually, practically every other review I've come across on my flist has mentioned this. So it wasn't just us. ;)

but it's not like they didn't do something similar to Martin in Point of No Return (i.e. why didn't they tell him about the devastation on his planet before taking him through to see it--let him look at the MALP or something?)

Do we know for sure that they didn't at least tell him? And that his shocked reaction wasn't just the shock of seeing for himself the immediate evidence of what he'd only been told was true? I mean, it's one thing to just be *told* that your world was devastated. It's another to see it, to stand there and have it suddenly be real. IIRC, that was sort of how I read that ending.

because i think SG-1 used to be full of angst and drama

In some ways, I agree. But in some ways, I think they've always skimped a bit on showing us all that much of the ongoing emotional impact of things on the characters' lives. It seemed to me like, sometimes they would, but sometimes they wouldn't.

And I wouldn't say we'll *never* get it again. They just in this episode gave us Daniel getting some good, emotional-catharsis time with Janet -- and I wouldn't have bet on getting even that much. I would just say that we can't *count* on it, and if we get it at all, it'll be sporadic, as usual.
aizjanika
Jan. 23rd, 2006 04:14 pm (UTC)
But past that point, when the writing is too flawed, I won't bend over backwards to fit that evidence into the "worldview". I won't penalize the characters for glaring stupidity on the writers' part.

I know what you're saying, but I can't do that (maybe because I'm an idiot *g*--I'll accept that). Canon is canon so I have to try to fit it in with what we know about the characters so far. The only thing we have to go on as far as who they are and what kind of people they are is what they do and say on the show. I can't separate that and say, "Okay, the writers wrote this stupid line, so even if Daniel said it, I'm erasing it from canon because I don't like it and don't think he'd ever say it." In my world *g*, he said it, and so then I have to try to figure out why (or better, someone else has figured it out and will tell me *g*--and if I can buy his/her explanation, it's all good).

In real life, people seldom act exactly in character all the time. People make mistakes or do silly or selfish or stupid things, but it's what they do overall that matters. I think on SG-1, I see a trend lately that I don't like--it's not just one thing, it's who the characters are becoming, even though I still love all the characters (except Sam, reallyer only "mistake" was in assuming that Desert Cammo Martouf's history was the same as hers up until the point at which things in that universe obviously diverged. (For all she knew... Jolinar might have gone into DANIEL, not her! *g*) But the show's writers aren't that deep or twisty.</i>

LOL I never thought of that. (**imagines that story playing out...**)

Actually, practically every other review I've come across on my flist has mentioned this. So it wasn't just us. ;)

Hee! Well, none that I saw mentioned it. It's cool that others did, too, though.

RE: Martin in Point of No Return:
Do we know for sure that they didn't at least tell him? And that his shocked reaction wasn't just the shock of seeing for himself the immediate evidence of what he'd only been told was true? I mean, it's one thing to just be *told* that your world was devastated. It's another to see it, to stand there and have it suddenly be real. IIRC, that was sort of how I read that ending.

Oooohhh... You could be right there. It's been a while since I've seen that one, though I have seen it several times. I'd have to watch it again to be sure, but I always had the distinct impression that he had no clue at all.

From Stargate Solutions
[Daniel enters the gate room.]

DANIEL
General Hammond says you're a go.

MARTIN
Really?

DANIEL
Yeah, it's safe…but, uh…you're not gonna like it.

[Martin, O'Neill and Teal'c step through the gate.]

EXT—PLANET

[Martin, O'Neill and Teal'c exit and look around the planet. It is in total ruins around the, Martin looks around upset.]

MARTIN
They were right! If we'd gone back, we'd be dead now.

O'NEILL
I'm sorry, Martin.

MARTIN
So, now what?

O'NEILL
We go home.



That doesn't really show anything for sure, does it? The impression that I had, though, was that Daniel and Sam and Hammond and whoever were up in the control room looking at the MALP readings. The "They were right" refers to the others from Martin's planet, IMO, though it's possible I'm wrong about that--and all of this, too. Your idea puts a nicer spin on that scene, at least. :-) Maybe Martin had seen it and Daniel was giving him one last chance to change his mind.
eregyrn
Jan. 24th, 2006 08:07 am (UTC)
I know what you're saying, but I can't do that

No, I respect that. I can't even clearly articulate what my boundaries are -- where I draw the line, up to which I will struggle to fit something into an overall canonical view, and past which I will throw it out the window. I actually do not do it often. I don't LIKE to do it. Mostly I agree with you that we play with what canon deals us, and we have to work it in. Most of the time that's exactly what I do.

There are just *some* instances (and I'm not even saying that this ep is one of them), when it goes past a point that I can't deal with. Coincidentally, most of those instances were written by one particular writer, Kindler. I think the first time I ever hit this wall was with his eps in Season 6.

First, he wrote "The Other Guys"... which is really problematic for having SG1 acting fairly stupidly. At the time I first saw it, I decided at the end that the *entire* thing had been Felger's daydream... even though we found out later that the writer's intent was that only the kiss between Felger and Sam at the end was a daydream. Too much of the rest of the ep was problematic, to be "real".

Then we got the ep "Sight Unseen". That was the ep that really broke me. Because the first act consists of... okay. Jack allows Sam and Jonas to bring an alien device back to the SGC, even though nobody has any idea what it is because they haven't translated the writing on it yet. Hammond also allows this (not that he seemed to know they were bringing it). But Jack has been burned too many times before by alien devices, to bring back something the function of which is not yet known. (Shouldn't you find out first if the writing on it says "bomb"? Or "spikes will come out of this and impale you to the wall"?) Jack is so incautious that he allows Jonas (or Sam, I forget which) to TURN THE DEVICE ON in the Gateroom, when they're showing it to Hammond. Yes! You don't know what it is -- but sure, hit the ON switch. Why not? What's the worst that could happen?

Later, when it becomes apparent that the device may be what's making people see bugs that can walk through walls... Sam and Jonas start randomly taking out and plugging in crystals in new configurations, to try to turn that function off. Without acknowledging the potential hazards of such a course of action.

But mostly, what broke me was the whole, "we wouldn't have an episode, if the characters didn't ignore both their own experiences, common sense, and caution, not to mention standard procedure". It's not that SG1 never brought alien devices back to the SGC before. It's that they did it, they got burned by it, and NORMALLY on the show, they make at least a gesture towards showing that they learned from their mistakes and put into place procedures to keep such things from happening again.

As someone interested in analyzing canon in order to get an idea of who these characters are... I'm afraid that I balked at having to incorporate this complete lapse of professionalism into things. Yes, real people make mistakes sometimes -- and SG1 has, over the years. But this went beyond that. This was the characters having had frontal lobotomies. And... no.

Kindler has given an indication at times that he doesn't think paying attention to preexisting canon is worthwhile. Not if it gets in the way of telling the story that he wants to tell. And that's what I can't accept. Don't ask me to strain to explain things that contradict preexisting canon, just because *I* pay attention to it, but a lazy writer doesn't.

Plus -- why should good characters become permanently damaged just because the writers have failed to respect them? If you're going to regard the characters as "real people"... well, to be honest, real people who are previously demonstrated to be consummate professionals and to have common sense don't usually suddenly lose their brains and become dumbasses. It's not always the characters' faults when a show's writing takes a shift towards the idiotic.

That's my argument, anyway. But as I say -- I would have a hard time outlining a clear-cut formula for where I draw the line. And I don't say that approach has to work for everyone. It's just what keeps *me* sane.
aizjanika
Jan. 24th, 2006 10:43 am (UTC)
I appreciate your taking the time to explain. While I agree with everything that you wrote about those specific episodes, for some reason, they don't bother me as much as the fact that they let Vala into the SGC in the first place in Avalon. (And I just love Claudia Black and even have a measure of affection for Vala, but, as you mentioned, seeing everyone at the SGC act like dumbasses just doesn't make sense to me. *g*).

I think I am most bothered by things that indicate character--and I don't mean character as in "the Daniel Jackson character"--I mean character as in the very essence of who that character is, rather than plotholes.

So...Daniel's apartment from FIAD and The Light: I don't believe he'd have all that stuff. I don't believe he'd steal artifacts and why would he want cheesy imitations? If they're not artifacts, but just collectors' items, well, I don't believe Daniel would have all that stuff either--not at his house. Daniel is an archaeologist. He respects history, which means he doesn't want to "steal" history and keep it for himself. He wants to learn from it.

Also...where would he have found the time to get all that stuff? It doesn't make sense. I also didn't think it made sense for him to have that giant apartment with all that fancy stuff in it. His apartment from Fire & Water seemed more "Daniel" to me.

To this day, I have difficulty reconciling that in my mind to who I know Daniel to be. It's maybe the one thing that I think is the most incongruous about Daniel's character and, yet, it's on the show and I have to accept it somehow, but I can't make sense of it.

But I understand what you are saying. At a certain point, I have my lines in the sand, too, and it ends up with me disliking the characters or finding them annoying rather than just pretending stuff didn't exist. I used to think I could forgive Daniel anything, but now I'm less sure.

I think the writers don't have the same view of the show that I do, and, therefore, I don't trust them to write the show that I want to see. And yet, they've written the episodes that I love (some of them anyway). I think this just means I probably am insane. *g* (And beyond that, I know that the SciFi channel and whomever don't have the same view of the show that I do.)

I didn't know that about Damien Kindler, but I know that Joe. M. and Paul M. have indicated that they didn't watch all the episodes before joining the show. Just recently, in an interview with Martin Gero in the official SG magazine, he said that before he wrote his one season 9 episode, he watched every episode from seasons 5 - 8 and then some key episodes from season 1 - 4. But who decided which were the key episodes? *g* I know maybe it would be a bit much to expect a writer to watch every single episode from 8 years of the show, but that's what I would prefer. ;-) (I know that nothing from seasons 1 - 4 held any bearing on his episode anyway, but still...it's the principle of the thing. *g*)

People see what they want to see and 50 people could watch the same episode and have 50 different ideas about what it's about, but still, somehow I'd feel a little better if I knew that the writers, at least, had watched all the episodes.

I loved it when I heard that at one point PDL watched every single episode and made up a Jaffa language dictionary. Even if he got some of it wrong, it's that kind of attention to detail that I admire in some respects. Maybe because that's the kind of thing I might do just for my own amusement.

(Shouldn't you find out first if the writing on it says "bomb"? Or "spikes will come out of this and impale you to the wall"?)

I just had to add: Bwah! LOL That is so true. I barely remember that episode because I only watched it twice, so that's maybe why I don't have as much of a problem with it.

OTOH, the last two season 9 episodes were fun to watch once, but with each repeated viewing, I notice more and more things that are bugging me--things that seem illogical, out of character, and...stupid. Maybe I should stick to watching just once because I admit that I don't always pick up on things the first time through.
eregyrn
Jan. 24th, 2006 12:38 pm (UTC)
The stuff about Daniel's apt: I see what you mean. But it's quite possible, if you are a world-traveller, to buy authentic contemporary craft objects that are neither historical artifacts, nor fakes. I agree with you that I can't see Daniel buying antiquities; but the things in that apt. aren't necessarily antiquities, nor cheesy imitations.

While I also agree that Daniel is primarily a historian, or at least that he ought to be (that's a rant for another day), Daniel is also a man who is depicted as being interested in living cultures as well as in dead ones. Regardless of that, though -- there's no reason an archaeologist can't become interested in the contemporary arts/crafts of the countries in which he is living in order to conduct archaeological digs. There's no reason the arts/crafts of the present shouldn't appeal to him, just because his main professional focus is historical.

Furthermore, depending on the situation, purchasing contemporary arts is a way to contribute to a local economy that actually discourages the robbing of antiquities, because it provides the incentive to locals to produce crafts for sale to tourists/visitors, rather than merely to loot. And Daniel strikes me as a compassionate enough person that if he's passing through some village in which very poor people are selling local art-wares, he'd want to put money into the local economy if he could -- so in that sense, even if it's only tourist-ware, and indeed cheap imitations of the authentic items... to an archaeologist, encouraging the production of and demonstrating the viability of the sale of such imitations is a valuable alternative to the looting trade.

(Here speaks the experience of someone who's worked for an archaeological dig, and also patronized the contemporary local craftsmen. So that's where my perspective on it comes from.)

Alternatively...

Actually, I've had some discussions similar to this in regards Jack's house in the series, and what the furnishings/decor sometimes mean. There are things that it appear they added to the house as set-dressing in order to refer to the character of Jack. But, there are just as many things that are clearly just what the house's owners have, and it leaves you wondering... what is Jack doing with a huge, fussy china-cabinet? (This is not the house he shared with his family, after all; Sara kept their old house when they separated/divorced.) Are you telling me that Jack picked out that French Provincial chair? That sofa? etc.

During the course of these discussions, someone suggested something I wouldn't have thought of myself -- that perhaps Jack was renting the house, and it came furnished. Which makes more sense for a man suddenly looking for a place to live after an awkward separation from his wife.

So perhaps you can construct for yourself an elaborate backstory that involves Daniel having always rented furnished apartments, as opposed to the ones we saw always being filled with his own possessions. In which case -- either those art-choked ones were chosen for him by some well-meaning agent who said, "I thought you'd love this!", and then you can happily imagine Daniel being too polite to turn it down, but snarkily going through it and commenting on all the stuff ("Fake, fake... BAD fake... oooh, this may actually be illegal... fake, fake..."); or, Daniel did it himself and required the landlords to prove to him that the provenance of all the stuff was legit before he'd sign the lease. :)

That idea probably makes more sense to me than the idea that Daniel owns his own upright piano. Although I suppose you never know what he has bought since getting the steady and extremely well-paying job at the SGC.
aizjanika
Jan. 24th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)
I've worked on an archeological dig, too, but only as a volunteer. Up where we used to live in AK, they had a dig for which they accepted volunteers every year. My daughter volunteered in the lab there year round for four years, too, and was a docent for a special exhibit. (Not that I'm claiming that this gives me any insight, as my experience was not academic in any way. I know nothing, but just thought it was neat. I've always had an interest and might have enjoyed it when I was much younger, but now? They make you work really physically hard for eight full hours with barely a break for lunch! The archaeology is interesting, but digging ditches for 8 hours a day, not so much. *g* Okay, so it wasn't "ditches," but, wow, still very, very hard labor. If they'd let people volunteer for half a day, I'd have done it a lot more often. Now I think I'd just rather watch shows about it on TV. *g*)

I like your idea of Daniel buying local crafts and artwork, but still...there was just too much of it! lol I guess what I'm saying is that my view of Daniel up to that point was of someone who wasn't that materialistic and that apartment was just...too much. A little of this and that--even just the sword collection or something might have made more sense to me. And the piano? Arrggghhh!!! LOL I never liked that either. It's entirely possible that Daniel plays piano and bought that for himself, but I'd have trouble visualizing that, though I've read a few fics that include it. (Even in the fics, it always makes it seem like it's about someone else, not Daniel to me.)

But then again, one of my biggest fanon pet peeves is Daniel's addiction to coffee or the fact that he's a coffee snob. (We've seen him drink coffee on the show, but have had no indication he'd give someone a BJ for a good cup of coffee. *g*) But anyway, now they've sort of made that canon. Someone has been reading fanfic. lol

(And the deleted scene implying Daniel liked Asian food of some kind--that's another fanon thing, though that one doesn't bug me so much maybe partly because people don't write Daniel as a crazed lunatic if he doesn't get his Asian food. *g* And now I'm really tempted to try that type of coffee, even though I don't even drink coffee. I just want to know what it is or how it's different from just regular coffee.)

All that you said about Jack's house...OMG! LOL It's so funny because I always thought that house suited Jack very much except I thought he'd have a more comfy-looking sofa. I honestly know nothing about design or decorations and that house always had a bit of a rustic feel to me. All those things you pointed out, though...yeah, none of that makes sense. Now I'm going to have to go watch Lost City again, so I can see for myself. *g*

I also love your Daniel story! lol I'm not sure about him renting a furnished apartment, but maybe so. I thought it was interesting that he offered his apartment to Cameron in Avalon so easily, too. Wouldn't have have made arrangements already? Wouldn't have have made sure Cameron wanted it before just dropping the keys on the table? It just seemed odd.
eregyrn
Jan. 24th, 2006 01:49 pm (UTC)
:) I worked for a dig in Turkey for 10 years, and with us, it was like -- well, yeah, obviously we're hugely interested in the Roman and Greek and Lydian artifacts and artworks. But what you OWN is contemporary Turkish crafts like kilims and metalwork and contemporary versions of Iznik pottery. Because of course you don't want to encourage the looting of antiquities. And that's what's produced locally *now*.

I understand what you mean about Daniel not seeming all that materialistic... on the other hand, I have no trouble believing in Daniel's pack-ratty office, so... *shrug* I don't think of it as materialistic so much as I do "cultural magpie", and since I'm that way myself, I have no trouble imagining Daniel being like that when he's given the luxury to be.

Yeah: the show is not immune to hearing about and then reflecting the fanon. Especially in later years of the show -- because they are prone now to being self-referential sometimes. And I'm not sure I entirely *like* that.

I think that Jack's house overall suits Jack *terrifically*. I love the overall architectural *style* of the house. *sniff*! I miss that house! But anyway, it was more some of the little random decorative items in the background that were sometimes puzzling... As I say, the French Provincial chair -- that seems an awfully fussy style for Jack. And Jack, what is up with that macrame wall-hanging? And the phicus? And the cuckoo clock? (Okay, *that* could have been an item of family sentimental value for him.) And the china cabinet? Because a china cabinet, hell, *china* -- that's a very married-couple thing to have, not a very single-guy thing to have.

Either that, or you just go with (as some fanfics do, to humorous effect) the idea that Jack is actually... kinda gay, in some ways, and his Frustrated Inner Interior Designer is one facet of that.

I wish I knew where to find it... somebody collected screen-shots of Jack's house from over the years, and posted an online tour somewhere. Quite interesting. You can't see all of the details in Lost City; you have to form a composite picture of the house from bits and pieces shown here and there over time.

Yeah, I didn't quite get that thing in "Avalon" either, with offering Cameron the apt. (And in S7, wasn't it a HOUSE? Or did he just say, "my place"?) Unless he'd decided not to get rid of it, and arranged with someone to keep paying the rent on it so it'd be there when he came back...? (Because he'd still be receiving pay while he was away at Atlantis, but it's not like he'd have to be spending it on anything.) And he had a sudden thought that a live-in caretaker would be better? I dunno. I didn't try too hard to make sense of it. Plus I was in mourning over Jack's selling his house! :)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )