After "Stargate" turned out to be a major success in theaters, the Roland Emmerich picture was thought of as being a story with solid potential to become a regular television series. After disliking the feature film, I really didn't see much of a reason in going through the Stargate yet again. I haven't started watching this show until recently and after a few episodes, I've become very impressed with how well this show has translated to the small screen. You have two lead actors who are better in the roles than the original. Michael Shanks plays the James Spader character, scientist Daniel Jackson, and makes it a more interesting role, becoming less of the "nerdy scientist" that Spader played. Even better is Richard Dean Anderson, who takes the role that Kurt Russell played and makes it a lot less "soldier" and more "human".
MGM quickly announced that "Stargate SG-1" was coming to DVD, but it didn't really give many details on what was to be included on this disc. I thought that it would probably include the pilot program and maybe a few small extras. I was shocked and pleased to find that MGM has included not only the pilot, but the next two episodes for a total of a little over three hours of programming. The three episodes are "Children Of The Gods"(Pilot), "The Enemy Within" and "Emancipation". Although I've only been able to catch a few episodes, this disc gave me a good chance to catch up on the backstory of the program.
"Children Of The Gods" takes off where the feature film ended. The enemy "Ra", who was thought to be destroyed in the film, is believed to have come back to attack again, forcing O'Neill(Anderson) to go through the stargate once again to see if he can find Jackson, who stayed behind in the ending of the film. This first episode, which runs a little over 90 minutes, has on display all of the positive aspects of the production. The special effects are really quite good for a television production(according to the booklet included, the film was nominated for an Emmy for Best Special Effects in a series), and the performances and dialogue are excellent. It's a hard thing for a television show to improve upon the movie version, but this 90 minute episode does it - a great story and wonderful cast make it grandly entertaining.
"The Enemy Within" revolves around the story of an enemy that has infected the brain of Major Kawalsky(Jay Acovone). It's a pretty decent episode, but it doesn't really gain much tension until towards the end of the episode. The other episode included is "Emancipation", where a race must be defeated to gain the freedom of the women of the colony. Although both are a little slow at times, they still manage to be fairly entertaining overall.
Overall it's certainly a well-done series, and I'm pleased at MGM's effort to include all 3 episodes on one DVD. "Children of The Gods" is rated R, and the other 2 episodes are unrated.
VIDEO: Although there are some flaws, the image quality on this disc certainly looks better than when I've gotten the chance to watch the epsiodes on television. MGM has presented "Stargate SG-1" in a "16x9 fullscreen" presentation(owners of basic televisions will see a letterboxed image that looks about 1.78:1.). Images are adequately sharp, and consistently pleasing even in dark or dimly lit scenes. Colors are bold and enjoyable, looking nicely saturated and never having any instances of problems. Flesh tones remain accurate as well.
Some slight pixelation and shimmering appear in a few scenes, as well as some instances of grain, but I think that the positive aspects outweigh the negative ones in this image. Fans of the series(and there are definitely many), will likely be pleased with the quality of the presentation.
SOUND: While it's nothing that's going to amaze, it's certainly very good in comparison to the audio on other similar programs that were made for television. The score sounds wonderful and crystal clear, and much of the score is again done by David Arnold, who did the similar score for the original feature film. The audio even proves itself extremely able of handling some of the action that goes on throughout the show, especially the jump through the Stargate. Dialogue is consistently clear and never thin sounding.
MENUS:: A cool animated "Stargate" menu introduces you to the DVD. Although the other menus are not animated, the scene selection menus are organized nicely by episode.
EXTRAS: There are no extras, although the fact that 3 episodes were put on this disc probably restricted space. The booklet included does provide some interesting facts about the show.
The Episodes B+
Video 80/B- = (320/400 possible points)
Audio: 86/B = (344/400 possible points)
Extras: --/- = (---/--- possible points)
Menus: 75/C = (150/200 possible points)
Value: 87/B = (261/300 possible points)
EPISODES GRADE: B+
DVD GRADE: B