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Recent TV: SG-1, SGA, BSG, other

A grab-bag of reactions to various SG eps as well as other recent TV…

"Stargate: Atlantis 3x11: The Return, Part Two"

Yeah, yeah, I actually watched this a long while ago, right before Tgiving, and I’ve been meaning to write it up ever since, and haven’t gotten around to it. Basically:

SQUEEEE! JACK! Oooo, heroic!Jack! WET!JACK! Oooo! Squee!

Also, for the Atlantis folks: nice mission. Honestly, the bit where they blew up the Atlantis Gateroom on purpose? I wasn’t actually expecting and it was hella cool-looking. I sat there and went, “Well, **DAMN**.” I do love it when these shows still manage to surprise me and make me think something is really cool.

In that vein: the visual device that they used to “rewind” the action in order to show us how the sting came about? Disturbed the hell out of me. Why? Because I was watching the ep on a DL that I’d had some trouble obtaining in the first place, at about 2am the night before I was to leave on a Tgiving trip, and when I hit that point in the ep where things froze and then started skipping… at first I didn’t realize they were “rewinding”. I thought my copy of the ep file was corrupted or something. I almost WEPT. It took me a few minutes to realize what was really happening, and to relax. And I really liked the sting aspect of things.

Thumbs up for actually giving Jack something to DO in the ep, towards his own rescue. I can just imagine the look on RDA’s face when he was looking over the script, and said, “You want me to go down in the tank HOW many times?” But it was cool that he did it. I’ll confess something: while I’m never really going to object strenuously to more Jack screentime, or to more wet!Jack… I thought those diving sequences went on just a wee bit too long. That could have been tightened up. Yet it was still impressive.

When this re-airs, I should do a proper write-up for it, or something.

"Stargate SG-1 10x11: The Quest, Part Two"

I have to give them some props for having pulled out the Perceval reference, which fits Cameron strangely well. I can’t say anything about Daniel being Galahad without a whole lot of snorting, but if they meant it ironically, okay then. It doesn’t seem fair to tag Sam as Guinevere… until you think about how many of her boyfriends she’s betrayed or seen die. Hmm. But the folklore geek in me feels compelled to point out that it was Nimue (sometimes indentified with the Lady of the Lake), not Morgan le Fay, who lured Merlin to his final entrapment. Tsk.

Given that, I was actually quite delighted when I figured out about two seconds before it was shown to us that they were actually going to find Merlin in “a Jack-box”, by which I mean one of those Ancient stasis dealies like Jack used in Antarctica. Be it by Morgan or Nimue, it was a graceful blending of the legend with the science-fiction trappings we were already familiar with.

Baal was a pain the ass and I’m not sorry that one is dead. He deserved the punch in the nose by Sam (go Sam!). Who cares, there’s plenty more where he came from.

You just KNOW that Jack is going to be SO pissed off that they let Daniel mess around with the head-grabby-thingie. Also, how is it fair that when Jack got his head grabbed, he mainly turned into MacGyver and also manifested weird healing powers… and when DANIEL got HIS head grabbed, he got to, like, summon lightning and shoot beams of fire from his hands, huh? Though perhaps those had more to do with Daniel having been Ascended himself once…

The scene between Cameron and Vala, the whole “hardest part is watching others take the risk” bit – that was REALLY effective. It reminded me of course of how very used to intense scenes together those two actors are, but despite that, I didn’t feel like I was watching John and Aeryn. For my money, Vala is more different from Aeryn than Cameron is from John, but still, apart from one or two pieces of perhaps-unconscious body-language business that was screaming FARSCAPE at me, that was the SG characters, and very well done, too.

Leaving Daniel behind – even a half-Merlinized, shooting fire from his fingers Daniel? Yeah. Jack is going to be SO pissed off.

"Stargate SG-1 10x12: Line in the Sand"

I will tell you up front what I disliked most about this ep (because it’s probably the only thing I did outright dislike about it) – the tonal whiplash of the opening scene, as compared with how the previous episode ended.

(But let me give Mad Props to SkyOne for a moment – for actually correcting their airing schedule when informed that they were about to totally screw up the order of the first 5 eps of SG-1’s second half. I have no idea who it was who got the message through to them in such a way that they made the effort, but I’m so glad that they DID make the effort.)

The way this ep starts, though, you could be forgiven for wondering if it WAS being shown out of order. The demeanor of SG-1 as they come down the ramp at the start is completely jarring, especially since, the way “The Quest 2” ended, there was no real reason not to think that this ep was picking up directly where the previous one left off. And when you have just left a brain-sucked, half-Merlinized Daniel buying your escape through the Gate in a gruesome battle of cosmic energies with the Orici… the last thing the audience really expects is to see the remainder of SG-1 come out of the Gate at the SGC all wide smiles and bouncy steps. The hell?

OH. It’s, like, weeks later, and apparently SG-1 has moved on with their lives. **YAWN** Oh, that Daniel. He disappears and is presumed dead ALL THE TIME. Why worry?

But look, even if you’ve had weeks to come to terms with Daniel’s MIA status – and even if you are delighted with the progress of whatever project you’re working on now – the over-arching fact is that the situation vis-à-vis the Ori is really not that much improved. It’s still really rather grim. I just wasn’t FEELING it, from the way SG-1 was acting, there.

I felt badly for Sam, being forced to try to make her contraption work on an unreasonable time-table. I felt even MORE badly for Sam that she was the one who had to suffer from the desire to show us a Really Serious Wound – even while I appreciated that. I mean, it’s really nice when it’s not just a flesh-wound that the person can shake off and work through while gritting their teeth in a heroic fashion. Yes, it made Sam kind of doom-laden, and I know that some (telepresence, chiefly) felt she was a little too ready to give up. Ehn, I could cut her some slack on that. That HURT, it was very bad, and things really did not look good there for a while.

I appreciated that Sam wanted the device saved (AFAIK, Earth only has the one), and for Cam to bow to the inevitable and leave her and take the device. Evidently both the morphine and the fact that Cam isn’t Jack had gone to her head, because it couldn’t be any more obvious that there was no way in hell Cam was going to set foot back in the SGC carrying some damn **device** yet having to report that he’d lost the rest of his team, and had just left Sam to die. No way. And not even because Jack would kill him. Because I think that’s just the kind of guy that Cam is, too.

There was a moment, early on, when they were arguing about it, and Cam was going to blow the device up and try to drag Sam back to the Gate or whatever, and Sam, sounding panicked, argued him out of it – where I thought, yeah, Jack would have said fuck it, blown it, and dealt with her being mad at him for the rest of his life if need be. (Except of course, he wouldn’t, if the plot had required him not to; it was just that I could see him doing it.) Cam always seems to me, perhaps unfairly, as too ready to treat Sam and Daniel as equals, rather than members of his team, and to make his decisions partly based on the consensus, giving equal weight to their demands as he does to his own instincts. **shrug** Considering how often Jack did that too, it’s hard to complain of it in Cam. And naturally, it all turned out for the best.

(Which Cam has to do, mind you, and I'm about to **praise** the fact that he and Sam are equals, so yes, a bit of a contradictory reaction, there. Cam – you should act more like you LEAD the team! Cam – I like that you have a different relationship with the team than Jack does! It's a wonder poor Cam's head doesn't explode.)

Speaking of invidious comparisons, though…

Okay, look. I would like to be honest here for a moment, and I am not meaning to denigrate any particular camp of fandom. But the meta thing that I was thinking all during the scenes between Sam and Cam, while he was patching her up and then trying to figure out how to save them all, and bucking her up, and comforting her, and even at the very end, presenting her with macaroons? “God, it is a relief to be watching this all play out between Sam and someone with whom she has no troubled quasi-romantic history.”

I just mean that, it was nice to watch Cam and Sam having all that heavy, meaningful interaction, and NOT have the brain reacting to/against 10 years’ worth of Sam/Jack baggage. Had it been Jack still in charge of SG-1, and trapped in there with Sam, and keeping her alive, everything, EVERYthing would have been so freighted with double and triple meanings and regrets and complex longings that the basic interactions would have been buried.

To an extent, I even think I’d say that I like the way those scenes played out between her and Cam better than I would have liked to see it play out between her and Daniel or Teal’c – because they have their own weighty baggage with each other, too. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I REALLY LIKE the relationship that the show has managed to establish and build between Sam and Cam. I even really like that it does not have a lot of deep and apparent history behind it. I like the fact that they feel like equals, they talk to each other like equals, they seem to be of an age, they clearly LIKE each other – but I’m not sure they’re “family” yet, quite, the way that I feel Sam and Daniel and Teal’c and Jack are Family, which is one of the things that weighs down their mortal-danger interactions with each other.

Also, I just like the side of Sam that we get to see with Cam. You know why? Because it lacks the deference that has always had to be there between Sam and Jack. Because when I see Sam with Cam, I feel like I am getting to **see Sam** the person, not “Sam the USAF captain/major/colonel who is constantly struggling to balance expressing herself as a person with the protocols that the military demands of her when interacting with a superior officer”. It feels light and refreshing.

Yes, I did notice that we finally got some references to Daniel being missing here and there. Nice as that was, I felt like it was undermined by the tonal dissonace of the ep’s opening.

Finally, a word about guest stars…

I was glad to see Tomin back (his scenes with Vala were pretty effective, too, and I was glad to finally get to see someone grappling with the problem of twisting scripture for evil purposes). Having now seen him in something else (Lost Room), it’s clear that he is a good actor, and I only wish he COULD have come back with Vala, and become Our Insider Ori Guy giving us intelligence, instead of having to go off and doubtless shoot some other TV program.

And how about that aggressively multi-racial village, huh? I did notice that it was a former Goa’uld world, so the presence of multiple races made some sense as the Goa’ulds’ slave planets were ALWAYS more racially mixed – it’s the Ori planets recently that have tended to be kind of whitety-white. The headwoman ROCKED. More of her? PLEASE? Acting-wise, I thought that both she, and the bearded weaselly guy, were both pretty darned good.

In summation: sign me up on the Sam/Cam bandwagon. I just like that relationship.

"Stargate SG-1 10x13: The Road Not Taken"

WOW is what I mainly have to say about this ep. That and a whole lot of, “Did they really GO there?” Yes, they did. For an ep so heavy on the anvils, it impressed me.

I make no secret of the fact that I enjoy AU eps. I get jazzed to see all the changes and how they affect things. So I enjoyed this one. I especially enjoyed it because I was pretty much entirely unspoiled for anything but its basic premise, and even then, I didn’t quite know how they’d play the premise out. My initial guesses weren’t close to this.

What I’m saying is – when Hammond appeared, I do believe that I squealed. Really loudly.

I really enjoyed the building sense of “Whoa!” and “Weird” and “Disturbing” and “Wrongness!” that the ep had. MAJOR LORNE is the LEADER OF SG-1? Adorable, but also very, um… weird. Wrong. Weirdly wrong. (I actually wish they’d gone into more detail about, why him.) That they established so early that AU!Sam didn’t make it was pretty fascinating, I thought. Not a bad storytelling decision; it underscored the rest of the ep perfectly. And it was a grim little jolt to start off with.

Fact that the president of the US clearly has his office down there in the deep bunker below NORAD, along with the SGC? Oh, that cannot be good… Who’s the president? Another shriek. Sam’s plan to save the Earth from the approaching Ori fleet? Awesome. AU!Sam is wearing a wedding ring… **brace self for groans**… oh, she’s divorced? That’s a new one… FROM McKAY????? BWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH! Okay, priceless. (Oh! Plus? AU!Sam’s black-widow field is clearly on the fritz, given that AU!Rodney was still alive and SHE died.)

Overall I just loved that it was a look at one possible way things could have gone if the Stargate and all was revealed to the world at large – a bleak look, yes, but not an unbelievable one. You can well imagine that the spectre of riots and the consequences thereof are what has convinced various folks in charge of the SGC all these years to try so hard to keep a lid on the real story.

So, nice subtle build of how wrong things had gone in that AU. The protestor was one thing – it was subduing him with a Goa’uld pain-stick that was the real kick in the gut. (And later, the Secret Service guys openly shooting Sam with a zat, in broad daylight.) Oh, and bringing back the Prometheus to be Air Force One? Really cute. (With disturbing implications.)

After I saw the direction the ep was going, I was grateful for the way they’d decided to structure it. I had initially thought that it might have made more sense if Landry had still been in charge of the SGC (or even if someone else had been; Davis, say), and Hammond had been president. But I really liked that they did not go for something that obvious. And the combo they went with worked for me much better, too. I wouldn’t have wanted to see even an AU!Hammond be as morally compromised as Pres. Landry was. I didn’t mind seeing Landry like that because I’m far, FAR less invested in Landry. (Still don’t love him. And having Hammond back? Only underscored for me how much better I respond to him, on some instinctive or reflexive level that I can't quite explain.)

Even though they nudged it just a bit farther in all respects, the parallels they drew with what has been going on in the U.S. over the last three years… wow. Pointed, much?

The thing is, Stargate has always been a bit left-leaning, despite being a show so prominently associated with and tied to the real-world military. In ways here and there over the years, the show managed to keep its military fairly neutral-good, while acknowledging that both militaries and governments can have good people and also very bad, slimy people. But they got their digs in at the right-wing from time to time, in ways that always gave me a feeling about where they stood.

And then there’s THIS episode. I say again: Wow.

Other random notes: liked the slightly-different AU version of Rodney, and as always like Sam-Rodney scenes. (I think it would have been great if our Rodney wore those glasses all the time. It was a good look for him.) I just like the way DH and AT work off each other. Sam’s dress at that first cocktail party? WHOA. It reminded me of something that Six on BSG would wear, and… well, DAMN, you go, AT. You and… all of your breasts, which I could see an awful lot of.

I was so, SO happy, I cannot even tell you, at that scene at the end where they decide to nab Sam off the street – so happy that somebody, the writers and the director and AT and whoever, remembered that Sam has been going hand-to-hand with Jaffa for YEARS at this point. “Hmmm… some sketchy guys in suits with black cars try to take Sam into custody. What would she do?” SHE WOULD BEAT THE CRAP OUT OF THEM, YES, THANK YOU.

I even liked that once they decided to send her back, we didn’t have to waste time on showing how they brought it about – they just said they’d do it, and then there we were, and Sam was back in her own SGC.

Oh, and – also a lot of love for the writers that the bombed-out village/"terrorist stronghold" was **Irish**. Thank you, thank you for not making it anything Islamic, anywhere. Big props for that.

With all of that love – and there was a lot of it from me for this ep – I had one nitpick.

When Sam arrives, she not-unreasonably starts going down the list of familiar names – names of people who might help her, with whom she has a connection and so hopes that the Sam in this world had a connection, and so on. Hammond’s there at the SGC still, so it makes sense that she doesn’t ask after Landry. Daniel? Missing. Vala? In custody at Area 51. Mitchell? Never joined the SGC. Teal’c? We broke off with the Jaffa years ago, and he’s with them.

Jack O’Neill? Who? **sigh**

I just don’t buy it, is all. Sam asks after every other prominent character with whom she’s close. She knows Hammond is still in charge HERE. She knows that Lorne is the leader of SG-1. That begs an OBVIOUS question, I feel, if you’re Sam Carter – where is Jack? What’s he doing? Might he be helpful to her?

I just… look. All she had to do was say, “What about General O’Neill?” And then Lorne could have looked puzzled, and someone could have said either, “Colonel O’Neill died using the Ancients’ chair during the battle with Anubis over Antarctica”, or, “General O’Neill died using the Ancients’ chair turning back the first Ori attack on Earth”. Either one would make perfect sense, and take seconds to say.

I’d rather have a tragically dead AU!Jack, but at least an acknowledgement from the show that when Jack is away from the SGC, he still exists, (or at least used to exist), than out-of-sight, out-of-mind Jack. That’s all I’m saying.

What else I’ve been watching…

"The Lost Room"

If you missed this, this was a 6-hour mini-series that SciFi broadcast, um… I want to say right before Christmas, or right around then. I haven’t yet heard whether they’ll be turning it into a series or not. I hope so, because the mini-series was, IMO, tremendously good.

I can’t tell you TOO much about it because I wouldn’t want to spoil it unduly, and besides, it’s extremely complicated. But basically, Peter Krause makes a really good lead (and his name is Joe! NOT ANOTHER JACK, THANK GOD), and the premise is very twisty and very open-ended, so it would make a good series, and it sits at a nice juncture between science-fiction, and magical fantasy, and creepy horror.

And the mini, anyway, was filled to the brim with a lot of really good character-actors. Krause and Julianna Margulies are really the only two pretty people in it (and both of them are good; but the show has very very low slash potential, is what I’m saying; not that I consider that a bad thing). One of those actors was the guy who plays Tomin on SG-1. There are a lot of other recognizable Canadian actors in the background, although a good bit of the show was shot on some locations in the U.S.

But it was the feel of the show – contemporary, a little gritty, a little run-down, a little eerie, a little creepy, a little magical – that I really loved. About midway through the second episode, I looked up and said, “Oh my god, this show is a Tim Powers novel.” And my_tallest, my fellow giant Tim Powers fan, looked at me smugly and said, “You’re only just noticing this?” (He also claimed that he had found evidence of Tim Powers having been listed as a creative consultant to the show, or something – but I haven’t been able to verify this anywhere online, so unless he can tell me where he saw that, it will have to remain a tantalizing rumor.)

Upshot – if you missed it, and they rebroadcast it, definitely try to watch it.

"The Dresden Files"

This is a new series on SciFi that is now playing prior to BSG on Sunday Nights. (Farewell, SciFi Fridays! Skiffy never has learned not to kill a goose that was laying golden eggs.)

I don’t have much deep to say about this one. Basically – I’ve never read any of the books. Therefore I came to it cold, and had nothing to compare it to. On that basis, I liked it well enough to watch some more eps of it. I liked the actor playing the lead. I liked some of the twists of the pilot. I’m intrigued just enough. But I’m not in love with it.

At least there are no vampires yet. But there will be, won’t there? It’s inevitable, isn’t it? Ah well.

"Heroes 1x11"

Ah, it’s back, and as wacky as ever. Heroes delights me, in a low-key way. I love the show, even if I don’t quite LOOOOOOOVE it in the becoming-fannish for it sense. What’s on the screen is enough for me.

I have to confess that I didn’t recognize Chris Eccleston for the longest time.

I remain completely, utterly charmed by Hiro. Is there anyone who isn't?

It’s fluffy fun, with an appealing cast and neat twists. And they finally got rid of the “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” tagline! (Though it makes me almost frightened to think of what they will come up with next.)

"Battlestar Galactica 3x11: Rapture"

I have finally turned a corner with BSG. I don’t know exactly when this happened, but it was sometime before the break. Maybe having it uncoupled from the Stargates helped – I mean, because that used to make for a really, really long and late night of TV that came at the end of a long work week, and I think I was just tapped out energy-wise by the time BSG would come on.

In contrast, now I just greet its darkness and its disturbing violence with a snort. I feel detached from it now. It’s kind of like Deadwood, except that it doesn’t make me giggle as much as Deadwood does.

Now that the Cylons are dysfunctional and in-fighting and weird and sometimes kind of inept, I like them a whole lot better than when they were merely scary and unstoppable.

I am still so, so glad that we’re off New Caprica.

I still don’t like where the character of Starbuck has gone. And the whole Kara/Lee fucked up romantic thing? Like Dee, I am SO OVER IT. Yes, they can stop with the stupid damned soap opera shit ANY TIME NOW. Thanks.

I feel less sorry for Dee than I might, because I still haven’t quite forgiven her for Billy. Sam, on the other hand, I just want to make better, except I honestly can’t think of anyone on the show who’d be really good for him. (Obviously, the answer isn’t “Kara”.) Maybe I’ll start shipping him with Caprica Six, for the hell of it. God help me, but I actually really love the Sixes. And I never thought I’d say that about them, given the way I felt about them when the first publicity shots of the humanoid Cylons appeared, and my eyes could not roll out of my head fast enough.

I’m such an impatient viewer. Not always, but with this show, yes. Sometimes, there are mysteries that I enjoy seeing spun out and slowly revealed. (Lost Room, for example.) Not on BSG, dammit. I want to know who at least some of the Final Five Cylons are, and I want to know NOW. Stop teasing us.

Apparently, BSG S4 hasn’t been picked up yet. (Neither has its spin-off, “Caprica”, which is just fine by me, as my interest in that was lower than nil.) All I can say is, DAMMIT, SCIFI – please, PLEASE not another show that you cancel before it has time to come to a proper resolution! If BSG’s going to end, fine. Let it end with them having warning enough to wrap it the hell up. Grrr.

Annnnnd… that’s about it, on the TV-watching front. Except for the hockey, of course. (The Canucks are doing pretty well at the moment, thanks for asking.)

Now -- bring on “The Shroud”! Woot!


( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 30th, 2007 04:44 pm (UTC)
OK, so can I just say...

They uncoupled BSG from the Stargates because (word on the street had it) they wanted the chance to have its ratings lifted by not being paired with those ghetto SF shows, thence to move it to NBC. Then the ratings started declining, and NBC told them to bugger off. And now they're thinking of CANCELLING it?


Sorry. As you know, I'm a little bitter.

Other than that...good read. There were so many things I agreed with you on I didn't bother quoting, because I would have quoted your whole damn post.
Jan. 30th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
Not to get into a big argument or anything, because folks have a right to like or dislike shows or the weird decisions of network suits as they wish, but that's not really how I've gathered things went down with BSG and NBC or the way the programming blocks were handled.
Jan. 30th, 2007 06:57 pm (UTC)
Do tell? I mean, what had you heard?

At the time the split happened, I got a different sense of why Skiffy was supposed to be doing it. But when they pulled the plug on SG-1 so quickly, I could see how people might think that it was an indication of a more negative attitude towards the SGs on the part of Skiffy than had been assumed prior to that.

I certainly remember at the time people noting that it felt like Skiffy thought of BSG as its Golden Child, and there were dark mutterings about how long that would last, and how it was untested as a ratings-getter on its own, even though it had usually out-pulled the two SG lead-ins slightly.
Jan. 30th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
I remember having the feeling at the time, actually, that they uncoupled BSG from the SGs because they wanted to see if they could keep up the ratings for SciFi Friday year-round, and they considered BSG their potentially stronger draw, so they chose to put that on during the fall/winter when other networks do their first-run programming (always bearing in mind that SciFi Friday always used to do its first run during what was re-run season for everyone else).

And at the time, that sounded vaguely like it might be an okay idea. In theory, anyway.

Of course, that was before ratings for the SGs declined, and they cancelled SG-1... and before ratings on BSG apparently got in trouble, too.

So indeed, who knows what they were thinking at the time they made the decision? Maybe it *was* that they already considered the SGs to be in trouble, or something.

I have to admit, though, that no matter what, I did always get the feeling that they considered BSG their Golden Child. And I remember DISTINCTLY saying at the time, "watch out, BSG, because other things will eclipse you and you won't be a Golden Child for long".

I'm not sure what all is behind the idea of them not picking a 4th season of BSG. All I know about that is the headline on Gateworld's BSG section, where I went to find out this latest ep title. It was saying that right now, a BSG *movie* ("direct to DVD", which I suppose means "could also be broadcast) is planned to shoot in the hiatus after S3... but that if S4 isn't picked up the movie could be in jeopardy too. That's all I know.

Is it the tanking ratings? Is it that the longer BSG is on the air, the more expensive it gets? Or what?

It's so hard for me to tell what SciFi is spending their money on these days, too. And how well those things are doing. Eureka? Dresden Files? Lost Room? (The latter was *fantastic* and I would watch a series in a heartbeat, but I heard vaguely that the mini got little attention and not-good ratings.)

So all I know is -- SciFi still has a crappy track record for handling properties that were doing well for them. It seems like they unerringly take something that is doing well in a modest but postive way, and they tinker with it, cause it to fail a little more, then throw it on the trash-heap. SciFi seems to have all of the property-managing skills of a tantrum-throwing 3-year-old.
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:39 pm (UTC)
Well BSG was/is the golden child in terms of critical acclaim, there's no getting around that. Farscape had a certain number of geek-friendly critics who championed it, but is was never really on the mainstream radar, and, as popular as the StarGate shows have been over the years, I don't think anyone in the mainstream press has ever called them the best shows on TV or top ten shows or whatnot, and I don't think they've ever gotten Peabody awards for excellence (I could be wrong there, but not that I know of). How are they supposed to treat a show that gets HBO series-esque critical buzz?

So, in that sense, Sci-fi channel/NBC aren't being assholes in thinking "This show has special qualities and we should try to leverage that." Particularly when you remember that pre-Heroes and Friday Night Lights, NBC had noooooothing that they could hang their hat on in terms of critical dramatic regard. They had a few good comedies, and that was it, and they were mired in fourth place behind ABC, CBS, ABC, and Fox in terms of ratings and advertising. NBC was also desperately trying to figure out how to cross promote and cross broadcast shows (for example, showing Heroes on sci-fi after it airs on NBC proper, or putting Queer Eye on NBC and Bravo)

So they were like "Hey, we've got this well regarded show that we actually own with some buzz, can we pull it onto our ailing main network? (And a little later "Oh hey, ABC is doing well with Lost, sci-fi is back, what can we do with that?") Can we use it as an anchor to expand the sci-fi channel? Are we going to keep SG-1 on forever? Will Sci-fi be anything other than the channel that runs Stargate shows?

I mean, I've said this over and over, but I keep sensing this "Sci-fi/NBC screwed over/unjustly cut short SG-1 in favor of (insert whatever here BSG, Eureka, Dresden, Mansquito, Wrestling)", and the logic of that, looking rationally at the way the TV business works, doesn't hold up. (The way it was announced, yes, that was assy).

Anyway, one of the big things to keep in mind is that sci-fi is trying to do something that's enormously difficult: Produce a slate of original scripted programming. That's expensive, and very few basic cable channels can pull it off. This is made more complicated by the relatively high cost of sci-f/fantasy programming compared to other styles.
Jan. 30th, 2007 04:52 pm (UTC)
Love your notes about the SG-1 eps, and right there with you on most of your reactions.

Good point about the underwater tank scenes in Return 2 going on a bit too long; at the time I was happy for the Jack screentime, but in retrospect, you're right, they could have been condensed.

Big ::nodnod:: about the tone at the start of 'Line in the Sand,' and I loved reading your thoughts on the interaction between Mitchell and Carter. It was a relief not to have all that impossible-romance baggage weighting it down, wasn't it? I wasn't conscious of it at the time, but that absence was a factor for me too, and that's such a good point about how the scene could be about the two people instead of the complicated herd of elephants on their table. Meanwhile, I'm the same way about Sam/Cam as you are about Cam-as-leader/Cam-as-equal. I love that they don't have all the impossible-romance baggage, I love that they really do work together as professional colleagues ... and yet they make such a great pair. *g* And the headwoman did rock.

So true about how it would have taken only one line to answer the question of Jack in Road Not Taken -- and that Carter would so totally have asked the question. She needed support at that point, and anyone from her universe who might be reasonably likely to have authority in that universe, she was going to ask about. It was especially weird because the show has taken opportunities to inject a sense of 'Jack's still with us in spirit' through dialogue before, so why the omission now? Probably an oversight ... but an odd one.

Lorne as leader of SG-1 ... that niggled at me too but didn't come up to articulated awareness, so I'm glad you mentioned. I'd more easily buy Reynolds, but that wouldn't have played up the fact that there was no Atlantis expedition in that 'verse, and the ptb may have felt that Reynolds wasn't as recognizable as Lorne (although that's arguable, since there are SG-1 fans who don't follow SGA ... and it was fun to pull in a crossover character like that, and so much depends on actors' availability). I still don't buy Mitchell as an acceptable choice for leader of SG-1 in the first place, as far as that goes. *g*

::nodnod:: about the purported terrorist village being Irish instead of somewhere in the Islamic world.

Huh, I did take a miss on The Lost Room, but I'll try to catch it on re-broadcast sometime. ::is huge Tim Powers fan::

The Shroud next! Wheeeee!
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:42 pm (UTC)
at the time I was happy for the Jack screentime, but in retrospect, you're right, they could have been condensed.

I have a feeling they could have saved a little time on those and still given us some good Jack screen-time somewhere else.

I think it was when Sam was on the cot, and Mitchell sat down to give her another buck-up speech, where it hit me how much I felt the whole thing was benefitting from the absence of, say, the piano-music of Angsty Doomed Not-Romance.

I agree with you -- I'm half joking about shipping Sam/Cam. I like that they can be work colleagues and professional and all that, and that it means he can BRING her macaroons (that he baked himself) without everybody getting into a damned TIZZY about it.

I'm just saying that on top of that, I like their vibe. I am, as you know, not inimicably against Sam/Jack. (If anything, what I dislike is how the writers have handled it for the last 5 years, more than the basic concept, perhaps.) There were sometimes things I saw as effective in the Sam/Jack vibe. But for me, that always had to struggle uphill against the things I *didn't* like about the Sam/Jack vibe, which started with the way they were forced/expected to act towards each other on account of their ranks/positions/experience differential, and included the hinky way I thought Sam eventually started acting, as well as the uncomfortable way he tended to act towards the end (which I did read as "uncomfortable", not "tragically longing"). *shrug*

So when I see Sam interacting with Cam, what I'm seeing is a relationship that I could see being comfortably romantic; whereas, I haven't felt like Sam/Jack has been *comfortable* for... oh, many many years, if it ever *was* "comfortable".

It was especially weird because the show has taken opportunities to inject a sense of 'Jack's still with us in spirit' through dialogue before, so why the omission now?

You know, when this season ends, I think I'd like to do a count of how much they've actually done this. Because I *feel* like they have really not done it very much, and have in fact failed to do it at various points where they absolutely SHOULD have, such as here. (Always remembering that they've never confirmed what he's doing, either.) I think they *have* on a few occasions actually mentioned him when they *had* to because it related to the plot (like, "that's like that thing that General O'Neill built when he had the Ancient download in his mind", etc.). But not so much with natural references to him being with them in spirit, no. That's what irks me.

Lorne as leader of SG-1 didn't bug me too much -- I had no problem assuming that he had done something in this AU to earn it. As green_grrl mentions, I think it would have been better for them to refer to him as Colonel Lorne. I'm just saying, him being the leader of SG-1 hints at a very interesting story behind it, and I would have liked to have heard at least a little more about it. (Plus, once Sam found out that Hammond was still in charge of the SGC, and Lorne was in charge of SG-1, "what happened to Colonel O'Neill" should have been her first question.) Of course, I'm with you -- Mitchell always struck me as a borderline understandable choice as leader of SG-1, too, so...

And yes, it was an effective choice because it was immediate shorthand to savvy viewers about what it implies re. the Pegasus mission.

Oh man -- if you are as huge a Tim Powers fan as me and my_tallest are? You MUST WATCH Lost Room. As I remarked to green_grrl below -- if I didn't know better, I'd swear he'd written it, it has so many hallmarks of his type of stories and the FEEL of them.
Jan. 30th, 2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
If you go back and watch some of the early, flirtatious S/J stuff, they seem pretty comfortable with each other there. (They joke! She smiles, in a way that does not seem painful! It's cute.) It's really after Divide and Conquer that it all starts going downhill for them, and every time the subject comes up it has to be all Doom And Despair.

I’d rather have a tragically dead AU!Jack, but at least an acknowledgement from the show that when Jack is away from the SGC, he still exists, (or at least used to exist), than out-of-sight, out-of-mind Jack. That’s all I’m saying.

I found it particularly odd, given that he's been on SG-1 once already this season, and in three SGA episodes. It's not like they're actively trying to make us forget him. So... I dunno. Weird. Bad writing.
Jan. 30th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
I was very irritated that Sam didn't ask about Jack in "Road Not Taken." I realize he's no longer on the show, but still, even putting all the shipper nonsense aside, Jack is one of the most important people in her life and her work, so how could she not ask?

Lorne in green was worth the ep, though. ;)
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:12 pm (UTC)
That's what really bugged me. Her failing to ask after Landry or Hammond initially (I guess; clearly my recollection of my one viewing of the ep is a little faulty) was clearly just a plot device since the ep then proceeded to pull both of them out of their hats. When she initially failed to ask after Jack, I half-expected some other shoe to drop about him later in the ep, too. (I was sure he wouldn't be in it, but some reference to him.) It was when it became clear that wasn't the reason either that I felt really irked.

(Not that I'm not glad, in the end, that he wasn't the off-screen president, or actually in any way involved in the AU's shenanigans. That's another reason I wouldn't have minded if they'd just said he was dead.)

I did think Lorne was a great touch, though. ;-) Although, he's been in green before.

Jan. 30th, 2007 06:32 pm (UTC)
Word on all your SG reactions! I didn't mind the Sam wounding -- hell, everyone's had the big wounding over the years; it just happens. I did mind the men not listening to her in the first place about the device, and I've gone into it at length at janedavitt's and paian's if you can deal with the rant...

I do SO love the Cam/Sam!!! I don't mind that he defers to the others' opinions -- they have way, way more experience in the "saving the world" game than he does, and he knows it. And as you say, even Jack listened to their objections in the field.

And Tomin and headwoman ROCKED! Nice to see Tomin carrying the scripturebabble load rather than Daniel.

The only problem I had with Lorne as leader of SG-1 is that I'd imagine that he would have done something to get bumped up to at least Lt. Colonel before getting handed the flagship team. There are full bird colonels leading other SG teams, including Lorne's former assignment, you know?

And Sam's questioning -- actually, at that time, she didn't know Hammond was the SGC leader. So she probably would have asked for General Landry first, and then General O'Neill. But once again they sacrificed common sense so that she could have the dramatic surprise reaction to Hammond and then Landry. *sigh*

And The Lost Room is Tim Powersish? Ooo! I'll have to check it out now!
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
Now that I've actually seen the eps, and written up some thoughts, I'm going to try to go check out the discussions on them in some other folks' LJs.

I didn't mind at all Sam being wounded. I was glad, in fact. Just because, their luck can't always hold, sometimes some of them HAVE to get wounded that badly. So I found that effective.

I think you're right, that they should have just called him "Colonel Lorne" -- that would have increased the double-take factor on the part of viewers who know who he is on SGA (or they could just have had Sam call him "Major" and him say "Colonel", as a nice reversal of him addressing her). I don't have any problem with assuming that in this AU, Lorne *had* done something to make him worthy of leading SG-1. Presuming he did something, he makes about as much sense as Mitchell in that position! Lorne's been around the SGC longer, too.

Thanks for the reminder of what Sam knew at the time (yeah, already the little details are eluding me!) -- in recollection, I thought she knew about Hammond at that point, but I guess not.

In which case -- it's not that I have a big problem with them having her *not* ask after Landry, and then Hammond, just so they could surprise her and us with them. Because they dropped those other shoes pretty quickly in the ep.

As I said to Miera above -- when she so conspicuously did not mention Jack, I FULLY EXPECTED some other shoe to drop about *him* later, too. I knew he wouldn't be a guest-star, but... something that would have finally told us where he was. There was opportunity later (when Hammond was telling her about the two different attacks, both repelled by the Antarctic chair) in which to toss of a mention of O'Neill dying heroically.

Her not asking after him in that sequence still would have made no sense. But it was extra-glaring for me when the whole ep went by with no toss-off reference to him at all.

The Lost Room -- honest to god. Every feature that you can THINK of, of a typical Tim Powers novel? Is there. If I did not know differently, I would swear that he had written it. It would not shock me if the writers were fans of his work. (After it ended, my_tallest and I went through a checklist of all the features that felt Powersish to us; it was a substantial list.)
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:50 pm (UTC)
I had to go back and watch that sequence, just to see how the revelations went, and the only thing she knew about at first was Lorne. So, really, after asking for SG-1, the next thing she would do would be to ask for Landry, and since they didn't want to spoil that moment, they cut the questions off there. (And they should have REALLY cut her off, with some sort of interruption, so the lack wasn't so glaring.) Jack hasn't been around the SGC for a year and a half, so her next one would have to be Landry, then Jack. And you're so right, considering that they DID do the artificial cut-off in her requests, they should have dropped in a Jack update later.

Must go hunt for The Lost Room now!!
Jan. 30th, 2007 07:31 pm (UTC)
I’m so with you on most of the SG-1 responses, especially the Jack squee!

The fact that they didn’t mention Jack at all, ticks me off! I don’t know what their reason may have been, but it seems way too deliberate to be an oversight—especially with Hammond there. (Yay!) I can’t imagine that they would revisit that AU to answer the Jack question—maybe the writers just don’t want to close the door on any episode. Inconsiderate of them!

The rewind thing was cool in retrospect, but scary at the time. :)
Jan. 30th, 2007 10:21 pm (UTC)
oh my god, the shroud. thank you for reminding me. :::twitches:::

and hee! jack in the box, that's good.

i love reading your recap/review, but sadly my brain is too fried to say much in return. although, yup, jack is gonna be PISSED off. i hope they insert snark as appropriate in the appropriate moments to come.

also good points about the scene with cameron and vala in the quest part 2.

and yes to what you said about the opening scene in 'line in the sand'. i found it quite jarring. the emotional dissonance made me cringe. and it felt a bit as if the makers of the show were again not connection emotion and experience, and not expecting the viewer to do so either.

oh, and hammond in the road not take, very squeee-worthy. wheee! but i was so "oh hammond" that i ended up doing a double take , i didn't expect him, but when he was there it felt utterly right and natural. and good poing about the pain stick in that episode by the way. :)

Jan. 31st, 2007 08:48 am (UTC)
Actually, I was about to start point for point but I won't annoy you that much, just a few things:
Also, I just like the side of Sam that we get to see with Cam. You know why? Because it lacks the deference that has always had to be there between Sam and Jack. Because when I see Sam with Cam, I feel like I am getting to **see Sam** the person, not “Sam the USAF captain/major/colonel who is constantly struggling to balance expressing herself as a person with the protocols that the military demands of her when interacting with a superior officer”. It feels light and refreshing.
OMG WORD. Finally a Sam relationship (whether you see it as a friendship/family/love thing, it doesn't matter) that is NOT fucked up. I just give them kudos on the whole equal thing and no-daddy-issues-that-creep-me-out thing for this one. Add that to the fact that Cam being a main character shouldn't die (or stay dead long) and that he has no tragic past in relation to Sam and he's honestly the best candidate for her! (that's also one of the things I loved about the Sam/Teal'c interactions, that in spite of their many, many, differences, they felt like equals. I pitied they didn't exploit that as much as they did on season 8)

In relation to this...
Oh! Plus? AU!Sam’s black-widow field is clearly on the fritz, given that AU!Rodney was still alive and SHE died.
I thought the exact same thing.

Anyways, many of your reactions were exactly like mine (though I have to admit I actually shrieked when I saw Rodney in glasses; and also, when his name appeared and they were doing this whole build up to the big reveal of President Landry I wondered if Rodney was president... yes, I'm stupid like that, it didn't matter he was Canadian, shut up) but now, upon reading your review, I gave further thought to the whole Jack thing (which, obviously, also struck me up as odd and/or stupid from part of the writers) and now I'm wondering if maybe, given when and how their universes diverged, Sam may not have wanted to ask about him because she was terrified the answer was something like what we thought. But meh, I think that's giving the writers too much credit on this case, which is unnecessary because it was still one of the coolest eps. in the history of the show.

Ok, done babbling now.
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