Mark Watches ‘Stargate SG-1’: Children of the Gods

Hello, friends! So, I answered an Ask on Tumblr not too long ago, and little did I know that people would read it. Which is a thing that happens to me all the time? Despite that I have a good number of followers on Tumblr, I’m always shocked when anyone reads anything I’ve ever written? I don’t know that I’ll ever get over this sensation, but at the very least, it keeps me grounded.

Anyway, I had never seen a second of Stargate SG-1 outside of a few commercials or catching part of an episode while my father watched it. Anything that had western or military influences was certain to catch my father’s interest, so I wasn’t surprised that he liked this show. That also meant that I seriously and truly believed that Stargate SG-1 was just an army show for years. I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS SCIENCE FICTION. That didn’t come until a few years ago. But even then, it just never crossed my radar. I never watched it, I didn’t really have friends who were huge fans of it, and nothing about it ever seemed to have caught my interest. That means I came into this show knowing pretty much nothing aside from the fact that there was a gate and Richard Dean Anderson on Stargate.

Let’s do this!

The video files for this pilot are split, since Amazon designated them as two separate episodes.

“Children of the Gods, Part 1”

“Children of the Gods, Part 2”

Thanks to Alexandria for commissioning these! All my Mark Watches videos can be found in my Dropbox folder.

  • This is really hard sci-fi. Seriously! Like, it’s dense as hell, and half the time, I’m sort of expected to know what’s going on. I didn’t find out until after I’d watched all three commissions for this show that there was a FILM. This series continues after the movie Stargate. Well, shit! That probably would explain a whole lot in this pilot.
  • That being said, I wasn’t terribly lost during “Children of the Gods.” The pilot still worked to a viewer like myself, who knew nothing about this universe. Yes, we’re dropped into the action and the story, but I learn what I need to about the show over the course of the first 90 minutes or so.
  • I didn’t even start watching Showtime until the past couple of years, so it shocked me to find out the first five seasons of this show aired on that network!
  • Seriously, I can’t get over Richard Dean Anderson’s resemblance to Henry Rollins. IT’S THERE. I SWEAR.
  • So, this show! I’d say that ultimately, this is a decent pilot that’s genre-heavy. And there were two things that made me want to keep watching: Samanta Carter and Teal’C. Both of their introductions and their development over the course of this pilot is fantastic and entertaining. Also, Teal’c has a larvae living in his stomach and oh my god OH MY GOD.
  • Really, good, fulfilling characterization can go a long way towards me forgiving a show’s faults or it’s less desirable moments.
  • Like… wow. This episode barely tries to avoid the stereotypes associated with people of color in a sci-fi narrative. All the villains are people of color! All the heroes are white! (Until Teal’c’s conversion.) They travel to a strange world filled with strange people of color! Dr. Daniel Jackson is basically Dances With Wolves but with vaguely Arab-looking people who are an amalgamation of bizarre tropes associated with people from the Middle East! Two-thirds of the people of color who have actual lines/characterization are kidnapped and impregnated against their will! I would not give this show a gold star. There was no attempt.
  • Okay, there was once Teal’c joined up with the SG-1, and I don’t want to ignore that. I’m intrigued by his character, especially since he’s clearly going to be the more stoic addition to the team.
  • All this being said, it’s a pilot episode. It’s one part of 210+ episodes spread out over ten seasons. I can’t judge the whole from a single part, you know? And I don’t want to! I knew going into this that it would be new and different, and I like to give the benefit of the doubt. At the same time, I didn’t want to ignore what I felt, and being honest about these things is what makes me enjoy writing what I do for Mark Does Stuff. There’s no point in ignoring my analysis, so I’d rather be upfront about it.
  • Basically, I ended up feeling mostly indifferent towards the plot over the course of “Children of the Gods.” Until it was revealed what the title meant, I was more fascinated by the characters. It’s a military-based drama, so I saw my father and his Army buddies in Kawalsky and O’Neill. I loved Carter’s enthusiasm for the Stargate and her insistence that her intelligence was a necessary asset to the team. (That whole sequence where she verbally spars with O’Neill is P O E T R Y, y’all.) I really, really, REALLY loved that the entire second half of the pilot showed us how determined these people were to save one another, to protect people who were truly innocent, and to risk their own lives to do so. Like, they didn’t have to take all those refugees with them; they could have considered them collateral damage (we are talking about the U.S. military here!) and chosen to go after Apophis.
  • And that dynamic was something I wanted to see more of in the future. The SG-1 team took their military objectives seriously, but each member of the team found a way to personalize their task, to keep their emotions relevant. Even O’Neill! His whole attachment to Skaara was extremely unexpected because I assumed he’d play the no-bullshit straight Army dude. Well, he did, but the writers added that extra layer to him.
  • All in all, this was okay. The characters are what made it enjoyable, and the fact that this ended on a cliffhanger was a nice touch. I was glad to watch more of the show because I believed it could get better. Like I said, I wanted to give this show a chance. Whenever I start something new, even if it’s just for a commission, I always keep in mind that I’m watching someone’s favorite thing. (The same goes for Mark Reads.) That doesn’t mean I’ll refrain from being honest, but truth be told, I’m not very interested in evisceration as critical analysis. I’m glad I did what I did for Twilight all those years ago, but lord, in the end? It’s really not that fun for me.
  • That being said, I do sort of dread the day I read or watch something I truly despise. Thankfully, that is definitely not this show.

Okay, tomorrow is the episode “1969,” and then Monday, I’ll write about “Window of Opportunity.”

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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