Friday, April 20, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"Redemption, Part I"

“Redemption, Part I” is the sixth season premiere and the first original episode to air on the Sci Fi Channel after five seasons on Showtime. I am curious to see if and how the series philosophy and production values change with the network switch. Thinking back to when Sliders and The Outer Limits made the same jump, both of which suffered plummets in quality, stirs the pessimist in me. But I let him frolic on a long leash anyway, and general buzz is the sixth through eighth seasons are the most consistently good of the series.

I must confess, “Redemption, Part I” is a strange start. It is a very manic episode which jumps from scene to scene without connection between them. The SG-1 team is having a difficult time adjusting to life without Daniel. Jonas Quinn is just sort of hanging around SGC Colonel Chekov shows up randomly requesting a Russian officer join the SG-1 team. Area 51 has built an interstellar space ship from Goa’uld technology which turns out to not work when desperately needed.. Teal’c learns his wife is deathly ill. Anubis launches a plot to cause an overload of energy by holding open the stargate long enough to generate a explosion that could wipe out all life on Earth. Rodney McKay shows up to brainstorm a solution. Anubis pulls the Sith lord routine of appearing as an ominous hologram to announce his evil plan for Earth. That is about it.

There is one complimentary piint to be made. I like how Jonas is not immediately brought into the fold. He did not take part in the previous episode’s adventure. He does not play a huge part in this one, either. His only real connection is sam, who invites him to join the team in traveling to Area 51 to see the new space ship because his naquadria offering was pivotal in its construction. Jonas has a scientific nerd bond with Sam and a certain alien outsider kinship with Teal’c, but Jack does not care for him at all. Hammond does little more than humor Jonas’ ideas in the middle of the Anubis=created crisis. The bottom line is that only teal’c is open to Jonas joining the team at all. The others have not even considered the possibility. Their reaction is far more realistic than having Jonas hit the ground running as a vital, accepted part of the team.

That said, the rest of the episode is just sort of…there. Perhaps someone more fond of Teal’c’s personal drama feel more moved by his wife’s death and his son’s anger. Rya’c is angry because his mother died because she was forced to live under the harsh conditions of exile because of talc’s betrayal of Apophis. I have said before Teal’c is my least favorite character and the Jaffa rebellion the least compelling aspect of the series, so no surprise the drama does not mean much to me. The prospect of the Jaffa planning to attack Anubis in order to save earth is promising, however. We shall see tomorrow. The failed flight of the new space ship in an attempt to contact the asgard for help felt thrown in to fill time.

Events only being used to fill time is the problem with “Redemption, Part I.” I have a hunch, without having seen part two yet, the Sci Fi Channel premiere would have been better as a two hour movie. Not that such is a good excuse for the lackluster results. Even a two hour movie is going to be split into two episodes for syndication. I am not saying the episode is bad, mind you. It is that it goes from A to B to C. I am sitting in the backseat eagerly nudging, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” The answer is no, but I am still hoping.

Rating: ** (out of 5)

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