DVD Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
    DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Richard Dean Anderson as JACK O’NEILL
    Michael Shanks as DANIEL JACKSON
    Amanda Tapping as SAMANTHA CARTER
    Christopher Judge as TEAL’C
    Don S. Davis as GENERAL HAMMOND

    Not Rated
    Studio: MGM/Fox

    Directed by: Mario Azzopardi

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Twelve years after the MGM launched the series “Stargate SG-1” on Showtime, the producers have resurrected the pilot and given it a fresh treatment for a new DVD release. “Stargate SG-1: Children of the Gods” takes the first two episodes of the longest-running sci-fi series on television and trims some fat, remasters the music, includes some new special effects and covers some blemishes that came out in its first run.

The story takes off where the feature film ended, with the Stargate buried deep in Cheyenne Mountain Complex. However, when a group of Jaffa warriors emerge from the ring and kidnap military personnel, General George Hammond (Don S. Davis) brings Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) back from retirement to go on a rescue mission. Jack teams up with the brilliant and beautiful Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), who was left on the planet Abydos years before. By using the stargate again, the new team discovers a larger universe with new threats that can lead to a galactic crisis.

I became a “Stargate” fan through the back door. I never watched the early episodes of “SG-1” when they were on Showtime, or when they originally moved to the SciFi Channel in the early 2000s. I first became interested in “Stargate Atlantis,” which prompted me to go back and watch the original “SG-1” series – all ten seasons of it.

As much as I love the “Stargate” universe, I will be the first to admit that the original pilot for “SG-1” had some serious problems. While it’s not possible to fix everything, series co-creator Brad Wright did a bang-up job putting a new polish on this installment. And while I wasn’t happy to see the Showtime nudity trimmed out of this release, I did like the tightening of the show, especially the infamous introduction of Samantha Carter.

After George Lucas gussied up his original “Star Wars” trilogy in the late 90s, it became chic to put a new coat of paint on old movies. For the original “Stargate SG-1” pilot, it was worth it. The new soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith and the fresh special effects (not to mention the continuity hole that originally allowed two-way gate travel being fixed) are not gratuitous or out of place.

It’s easy to look back on work you did a dozen years ago and have perfect 20/20 hindsight vision. Brad Wright and the whole “Stargate” team used this to their advantage to fix some pretty glaring problems in the original pilot.

There are some parts to the original pilot that could not be fixed, including some clunky dialogue and cheesy acting. After being on the air for ten years, the “Stargate” production team has become pretty slick at their jobs, so anything from the earlier seasons is going to look a bit pale in comparison.

This new DVD comes with a commentary track featuring Brad Wright and Richard Dean Anderson, who hadn’t seen the re-cut pilot before. It also includes the featurette “Back to the Beginning,” which explains why this revision was made and details the changes that resulted.

Fans of “Stargate SG-1.”

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