Stargate SG-1 Season 10 marks the final adventures for the team and the last instalments in the long running, and impressive, SG1 collection. It sees the SG-1 military squad undertaking missions across the universe through the Stargates, encountering various alien creatures and cultures on their journeys as they set out on another mission to defend the earth from the unknown. This new season is a historic one as it becomes the longest-running science fiction series on television, surpassing The X-Files and every series of Star Trek.
Besides being the final season for Stargate SG-1, the 10th season also features the much-anticipated 200th episode and the return of Richard Dean Anderson reprising his role as General Jack O'Neil. It also marks the return of SG-1 favourites Carter (Amanda Tapping), Teal'c (Christopher Judge) and Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) - as well as the newcomers from season nine - Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder), Vala (Claudia Black), Adria (Morena Baccarin) and veteran actor, Beau Bridges who plays General Landry.
The picture is bright and colourful with a high level of detail throughout. The interior scenes are well lit and, at times, the rather dodgy looking scenery can be quite clearly seen. Likewise, the many reoccurring forest locations (of which they must only have one set!) are rich, lush and green, whilst the CGI effects look remarkably good for a television series. Since we live in an age where computing power and the resultant animation continues to improve at an amazing rate, Stargate is the perfect series in which to highlight its many uses - and without going completely over the top too.
Also, given that this is a television series, there are no signs of print damage whilst pixelisation and outlining didn't appear to be an issue - even in some of the darker and more challenging scenes. Still, it doesn't mean that everything is perfect as there can be a little too much colour saturation at times whilst the picture can also be a tad grainy. Never the less, it's not bad for a television series and something that could quite easily put some bigger budget Hollywood productions to shame.
The usual downside to a television series on DVD is the soundtrack and, in a science fiction series such as this, the sound becomes an ever more important part of the programming. Unfortunately, the broadcast medium, and production budget, does restrict things somewhat, but the Dolby Digital 384 Kbps 5.1 soundtrack offered here is more than capable. Whilst it's not as dynamic as your average big budget Hollywood blockbuster, there's still some good stereo separation and clear and precise dialogue throughout. The musical score never drowned out the dialogue, whilst the various lasers, gun blasts and explosions found their way around all of the channels. Again, given the source material, a performance to be proud of.
Once you get past the ever present, and extremely annoying, anti-piracy spiel plus the dramatic studio introduction fanfare the menu is a rather disappointing static and silent affair. Still, static or not, the main menu and submenus are nicely designed and in keeping with the series. Not having seen any previous Stargate SG-1 releases on DVD before I'd simply assumed that, like the individual Doctor Who releases, they would be vanilla releases with no extras. However, along with subtitles for the hard of hearing (which I would never class as a bonus feature - but are never the less an extremely welcome addition), I was pleasantly surprised to discover quite a bountiful supply. I just hope the fans of previous season releases on DVD are just as well catered for as they are here.
First off, there's a number of Audio Commentary tracks with various programme Directors and, rather young sounding, Executive Producers. Again, not having seen any of the other seasons, I guess there's a lot of insider information and jokes that fans of the series will only understand. Also, with the amount of information thrown at you from all directions, the commentaries are not the most exciting you'll hear - and definitely something for the sci-fi junkies out there. Never the less, I did pick up a few interesting snippets of about the other possible spin off series Stargate : Atlantis and the much talked about direct to DVD movies.
Next up is the twelve minute featurette SG-1 Directors Series : "Memento Mori" with director Peter Deluise. The director comes across as a very affable man with a great deal of passion for his work. This results in a great featurette that looks at the Memento Mori episode included on the disc. Containing plenty of behind the scenes footage, on-set action, various stunts and the use of some el-cheapo, but extremely effective, special effects, it all makes for some very informative viewing. If all of the other featurettes in the series are as good as these then the entire SG-1 collection will become a gold mine of information.
Next up is the eighteen minute Stargate SG-1 : Behind the 200th featurette. You'd be pretty dumb not to be able to work out what it concerns, but the various executive producers, writers and cast talk about the historic 200th episode. With plenty of clips from the show and behind the scenes footage, it's yet more worthy viewing. The only minor quibble is that much of the information is repeated in the episode audio commentary. Things are rounded off with a Photo Gallery and Production Design Gallery. Each section contains an extensive range of stills from the related episodes and, although these sorts of things don't tend to interest me, fans of the series will surely be interested in the content. All in all, a cracking set of extras that adds plenty of value to the DVD.
Season ten of Stargate is the last in this multi-award winning series. As with other successful series, such as the hugely popular Crime Scene Investigation, it even managed to spawn another series in the form of Stargate : Atlantis plus, for the younger end of the market, the new animated series Stargate : Infinity. Unfortunately, after having a sneak preview of the former, Saturday morning cartoons are going to be a poorer place with some awfully cheap looking animation. Given the quality of the television productions, this animated series is quite shocking.
As with the new individual Doctor Who releases, it's actually quite hard to recommend anyone collecting a series on a individual disc basis - especially when the complete season boxset usually ends up costing less than the individual releases and, even more so, when they are presented in a rather nice boxset. However, the Stargate SG-1 box sets do tend to just be the individual releases in a pretty box so, unless you're a fan who's willing to wait for the end of a season, these separate releases will keep you more than happy. Although they are a tad on the expensive side, at least each disc comes with some extras to add some much need value for money, plus shopping on-line will always provide you with a hefty discount.
It may be the end of a era that was started by a much underrated film, but fans of the Stargate film and this series can continue their sci-fi enjoyment with Stargate : Atlantis and the new spin off, albeit poor relation, Stargate : Infinity. Given the current lack of science fiction series on television, let's hope that the much rumoured movies and other spin offs get the green light and offer something just as entertaining as SG-1 has managed to provide.
- Audio Commentaries on Episodes
- SG-1 Directors Series : "Memento Mori" Featuring Peter Deluise
- Stargate SG-1 : Behind the 200th
- Photo Galleries