I suppose you could complain that there are only three episodes on Volume 5 of the "Stargate SG-1" Season 1 DVD collection, but that seems a minor matter given we are talking about the final three episodes from the best first season of a dramatic science fiction series ever (as in way better than "Star Trek: The Next Generation," better than "Farscape" and "Star Trek: Voyager," and even slightly better than season one of "The X-Files"). Besides, there is a thematic unity to this trio of episodes:
Episode 19, "There But For the Grace of God" (Story by David Kemper, Teleplay by Robert C. Cooper, Aired February 20, 1998) has Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) stepping through the looking glass he finds in an alien Stargate complex on P3R233. When he returns through the Stargate he finds himself in an alternative reality on an Earth where the Goa'uld have killed millions and are about to take Stargate Command. This is a world where Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) is the general and George Hammond (Don S. Davis) the Colonel at Cheyenne Mountain. But Dr. Jackson is able to convince Elizabeth Hoffman (Catherine Langford) that he is speaking the truth and as the base is attacked by Teal'c (Christopher Judge), who is still the head Jaffa of Apophis it is clear it is too late to save this Earth. But there happens to be another one out there to which the Goa'ulds are also on their way. This episode gives you all of the fun elements you expect to find in an alternative reality program (Samantha Carter with long hair), but it also provides the first half of the equation for the first season's cliffhanger. 5 Stargates.
Episode 20, "Politics" (Written by Brad Wright, Aired February 27, 1998) has Senator Kinsey (Ronny Cox) showing up with Lt. Colonel Samuels (Robert Wisden) in toe, ready to bring his righteous legislative fury down on the heads of Stargate Command. Dr. Jackson warns that the Goa'ulds are on their way, but the Senator only wants to talk about how wasteful and dangerous (in that order) the Stargate program has been. This is one way of reviewing the highpoints of the first season and we all know that Ronny Cox can play a powerful jerk as well as anyone (remember him on "St. Elsewhere"?). Yes, the ending is rather predictable, but clearly the point is to set in place the season finale. 4 Stargates.
Episode 21, "Within the Serpent's Grasp" (Story by James Crocker, Teleplay by Jonathan Glassner, Aired March 6, 1998) ends the first season with a pretty good cliffhanger. The bad news is that Stargate has been ordered shut down, but even worse a pair of Goa'uld ships are on their way to Earth. SG-1 intends to go down fighting and goes through the Stargate on a final, unauthorized mission to the location that they think is the point of origin for the attack. But they are in for a major rude awakening and O'Neill in particular is going to be stunned by what they find. I really do not want to spoil the rest of the fun for you. Is this as great a cliffhanger as "The Best of Both Worlds, Part I"? No, but nothing is so that is a moot point. The only problem is that "SG-1" is going to have a hard time topping this one (or maybe not; these writers are pretty good). 5 Stargates.
True, there are minimal DVD extras in this series, even on this volume where there are only the three episodes and plenty of space. But the good news is that Season 2 of "Stargate SG-1" is available so you do not have to wait a long time to find out what happens next. This series is going to become the second longest running science fiction television series of all time, behind "The X-Files," when it starts its eighth season. However, that is not all that surprising when you see how the solid premise for this series was developed during this great first season.
on April 6, 2003
If you can only have 1 DVD from the first season, THIS IS IT! Don't let the low number of episodes on the disk fool you, this DVD is well worth buying. The 3 episodes are not only meant to be viewed in order but they are also carry a very intertwined and on going story line.
Episode #19, There But For The Grace of God, is about Daniel's trip to an alternate universe where he gets a glimpse of a possible future for his universe. It is helpful if you had seen the previous episode, Torment of Tantulus, but not required. Very action packed episode.
Episode #20, Politics, takes up literally where #19 leaves off, with the SG-1 team cleaning up from the previous mission. An evil budget cutting senator is out to get the Stargate program and the team must justify it's existance in a hearing. Ends as a To Be Continued.
Episode #21, Within the Serpent's Grasp, is the season finale and begins with the SG-1 team AWOL in an attempt to thwart the Goa'uld attack against Earth and justify the existance of the Stargate program. Another "To Be" episode that leaves you hanging and wanting more.