Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stargate SG-1--"200"

In case there are any pedants out there, yes, “200” is the 200th episode of Stargate SG-1, so it ought to be my 200th review. It is the 199th label because I reviewed the two hour “Children of the Gods” premiere as one episode instead of the two in which it is split in syndication. This means ’200” is still technically the 200th episode reviewed even if it is not the actual 200th review. Does that satisfy all parties who may have their panties in a wad over discrepancies? I have bore the brunt of “Trekkie Trauma” over this sort of thing in the past. There are no episodes missing, I assure you.

The episode is a sequel to ”Wormhole X-Treme,” an episode I consider near the bottom of the series in terms of entertainment value. The episode felt like a Hollywood insider circle jerk. I described it as watching other people have a party to which I was not invited. I did not think “200’ would be much better. Truth be told, it is not, but there are more laughs to be enjoyed because the in jokes are tweaking Stargate SG-1 and its fans instead of Hollywood in general, so there is more to which I can relate.

Martin Lloyd, the alien refugee turned television producer, comes to SGC to consult with our heroes on a film based on ’Wormhole X-Treme.” In a nod to Firefly, the series only lasted three episodes, but did well enough on Dvd to merit a film based on it. What ensues is a load of parodies, in jokes, and fan criticisms relating to Stargate SG-1 over the years.

There is no sense in running through all of them. A dry recap would not be funny. But some of my favorites are criticisms I have made. When the lead actor of Wormhole X-Treme holds out for too much money, Lloyd and our heroes brainstorm how to get along without him. Their ideas echo the seventh and eighth seasons when Richard Dean Anderson was barely a cast member. The ’sam” actress complaining the writers have no idea what to do with her character sounds like what I used to say about her through the first three seasons or so. Some of our heroes’ convenient escapes are addressed over an extremely convenient beaming away from the Cheyenne Mountain explosion at the last in the movie script. Furlings turn out to be Ewoks. I cringed, but kind of liked the idea anyway. There is a Wizard of oz reference. How long has it been since we had one of those? At one point, they were ubiquitous.

The most amusing bit is the never before mentioned incident of Jack becoming invisible. He humorously clowns around as much as you would expect. The joke of him peeking at Sam in the shower is not as funny as the powers that be were probably hoping. It is a crass enough thing to do normally, but to have a colonel gawking at a naked female captain/major under his command is even worse. I should be able to loosen up enough to laugh at the scene, but I cannot. At least there is a wedding scene between the two to snap any shippers out of their irritation over the shower bit. The rest of the sequence is hilarious. It brings back memories of the first four seasons when the team encountered all sorts of strange scenarios while saving earth from the Goa’uld. All that was only a few months ago for me. Old school fans watching “200” in its original airing must have felt some serious nostalgic rage.

Mention is made of, a website which is still active after ten years, and the fan bought advertisement in Variety asking for Michael shanks’ return to the show. No wonder Corin Nemec felt like such a pariah with that sort of thing going on. Needless to say, Jonas Quinn is not even mentioned in “200” even though every character who has ever been officially a main cast member is in the episode. Geez, guys. Jonas was not that bad a character. Has anyone noticed that Shanks has been billed dead last in every season since his return, too? It is not like he has been given the star treatment since testing the acting waters outside the show and finding them chilly.

Cam and Vala are not left out. Llotyd constantly patronizes Cam when he forgets the main character is not based on him, but Jack. Cam once criticizes Lloyd for not respecting the intelligence of the science fiction audience, which echoes Ben Browder’s comments regarding the quality of Farscape. he never wanted there to be an incomprehensible techno babble solution to a problem or a reset button on the series. I cannot vouch as yet how well his desire played out, but I have heard him talk about his respect for fans in interviews and take him at his word he cares how they feel about the quality of his shows. There is a Farscape parody suggested by Vala. She is also the one to bring up the Wizard of Oz with her in the Dorthy role.

Martin Wood says in the DVD commentary this story is not canon. It is a gift to fans. As such, it is a little better than a sweater from your grandmother, but not much. In the spirit of not taking the episode too seriously, I will not critique it more than I already have. It is frivolous fun. Even if some jokes fall flat, many of the poking fun at the show’s flaws most often do not. I would have rather seen a big adventure for the anniversary episode instead of a detour, but this will do to mark the occasion.

Sad thing to not; the Sci Fi Channel announced Stargate SG-1 would not be renewed the day after “200” aired. I am skeptical the announcement came exactly the day after, since that would have been a Saturday, but it does not surprise me the announcement came soon after the big celebration. Oh, Bonnie Hammer. How many science fiction fanbases can one network executive possibly alienate/

Rating: *** (out of 5)

From the Department of Why the Heck Not?, Buck Owens:

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