Stargate SG-1: Season Seven (March 15/05)
It's remarkable to think that a cult classic like Stargate, a film that did decent business at the box office but nothing more, could spawn a television show as successful as Stargate SG-1. Now in its eighth season (with a ninth on the way), the series has managed to take the somewhat limited premise offered by the film and expand on it in a way that nobody could have expected.
Though the role was played by Kurt Russell in the film, former MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson effectively steps into the shoes of Jack O'Neill - a wise-cracking yet efficient military man. Anderson brings a sense of levity to the role, wisely avoiding the trap of turning the character into a watered-down copy of Russell's original. Another character to make the leap from the theatrical version to the small screen is Michael Shanks' Dr. Daniel Jackson, a role originated by James Spader. The supporting cast is comprised entirely of new characters, including Amanda Tapping's Samantha Carter and Christopher Judge's Teal'c (the latter is a member of the Goa'uld race that stands as the show's primary foe, though Teal'c has abandoned his species and is now working with O'Neill and company).
Interestingly enough, the character of Daniel Jackson was killed off at the end of season five - presumably because Shanks wanted to leave the role. But season seven opens with the character's return in a manner that seems to make sense, and certainly fits in with the mythology laid out by the series. Other notable episodes contained within this set include: Fragile Balance, featuring a teenager who claims to be a "reverse-aged" Jack O'Neill; Lifeboat, in which several cryogenically frozen personalities inhabit Jackson's body; and Inauguration, a clip show that's elevated by the presence of actors like William Devane, Ronny Cox, and Robert Picardo.
Stargate SG-1 is a series that depends more on the chemistry between the various characters than on outrageous special effects to propel the majority of episodes forward, a choice undoubtedly dictated by the show's budget (though there's no denying that it's what ultimately keeps the series watchable). Of course, it's the actors that really keep things interesting, with Anderson the obvious standout. While it occasionally seems as though he's channeling Bruce Campbell, Anderson does a nice job of imbuing O'Neill with the right combination of sarcasm and boldness.
Despite already being in its seventh season, Stargate SG-1 isn't a terribly difficult show to pick up (as long as you've seen the film, it's fairly obvious what's going on).