Presumably prolonging the storyline from the 1994 feature “Stargate,” in which Kurt Russell and associates plunged bravely through a circular gate onto another planet, two-hour telepilot’s superficial characters wander through their roles without stirring a modicum of conviction. Yet space addicts, be alerted: Pedestrian writing, pulp-mag plotting, shopworn characters, hackneyed dialogue (“with all due respect” pops up at least three times in the first hour) and Mario Azzopardi’s broad direction will all undoubtedly delight billions and billions.
Routine cast of “Stargate SG-1” is led woodenly by Richard Dean Anderson as retired Air Force Col. Jack O’Neill, who, with a team that includes pushy Air Force Capt. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and O’Neill’s pal Maj. Kawalsky (Jay Acovone), is returning via Stargate’ssilvery Jello barrier to peaceful Abydos. They’re on a mission to investigate hostile aliens done up like two-legged cobras who penetrated the gate to murder humans.Series is essentially for young people, but that doesn’t stop the producers from blatantly showcasing a front view of a naked young woman having a snake-like living creature inserted into her body.
So much for restraint or taste in Showtime’s new programming.
Back on Abydos, where friendly people in medieval clothes dwell among obelisks, pyramids and sand dunes, O’Neill learns that his close young friend Skaara (Alexis Cruz), whom he thinks of as a son now that his own has died, has remained loyal to him. He finds, too, agreeable anthropologist Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), who has married beautiful localite Sha’re (Vaitiare Bandera). More important, O’Neill learns that the Stargate pathway can lead to countless other worlds, depending on the code struck on a certain stone.Apophis (Peter Williams), serpent god who rules the night, leads the bad guys. By baring his palm and fixing folks with glowing eyes, Apophis can turn people into stupes. Most authoritative member of the cast, Williams moves craftily through his part as though he’s discovered something of substance there.
Tech credits are acceptable. Joel Goldsmith’s slam-bang score tries driving home the action. Richard Hudolin’s design for the production stretches from gray , concrete-block military quarters to vast hallways to futuristic Egypt-like exteriors and pagan worshipping spots.
Christina McQuarrie’s costumes, which sometimes look like whims, include straight contempo military styles, free-flowing Abydos outfits, Apophis’ gang’s Nile-side robes and exotic garb suitable for Anna May Wong. It’s to be hoped that maidens will be fully clothed in future chapters; if no one else, the kiddies are probably watching.
Program’s inked for 20 one-hour episodes starting Aug. l, and Showtime has committed to 22 more episodes for next year.
With all undue respect.