Explain Stargate SG-1

In a similar vein to this Explain Firefly thread, I have to ask … just what is Stargate SG-1 all about? From what I see, the story is centered around a space portal of some sort, the Earth outlet of which is controlled by the US military. There’s also a big black guy with a brand on his head that plays a prominent role, although what it is I don’t know. After that, I’m lost. I’ve watched sa few episodes from beginning to end, and I still find myself not knowing what the “big story” is.

So, Dopers … what is Stargate SG-1 about?

First of all, understand that the Stargate SG-1 TV series was based on, and follows, the 1994 movie Stargate by Devlin and Emmerich. (The same two who later went on to make Independence Day and that awful rendition of Godzilla with Matthew Broderick.)

Once you understand that it is based on a Devlin and Emmerich movie, the rest will all make sense. :wink:

The Star Gate was unearthed in Egypt. It is a part of a system of transport developed by an ancients civilization that operates via wormholes between planets.

There is an evil symbiotic race called Gau’old (I think that’s the spelling) which poses as gods in order to control whole planets of people. Most of the mythological gods on Earth are really Gau’old. Earth is the origional population of humans in the universe and have been transplanted all over the place.

Teal’c is the giant black guy. He has the tat on his head because he used to be in the service of one of these false gods. All of the subjects are marked like this. Like a brand to show whom they belong to. He realized that his god was false and switched sides.

Earth and the Gau’old are very hostile for obvious reasons.

There’s your 10 cent tour of SG1.

( I see on preview that My Darn Snake Legs has alreeady posted a decent answer. Oh well, here’s mine anyway.)

In the movie, we learned that the ‘gods’ worshipped by the ancient Egyptians were in fact - surprise, surprise - aliens. Amid some newly excavated ruins, the Stargate was discovered. Young genius scientist guy figures out how to use it, and is dipatched with hardened military colonel guy to explore what’s on the other side of the gate. Confrontation with phony gods and liberation of enslaved peoples (who are descendants of Egyptians transported from Earth thousands of years ago) follows.

It’s actually more interesting and complex with that, but that’s the nutshell version. The movie had a few good and several bad points. Scientific accuracy - as is so often the case - was not it’s strong suit.

In the series young genius and hard-ass Colonel are put back to work, it having been discovered that the gate can in fact transport them a lot of different places, not just the one they already went to. They are teamed up with a military scientist, who happens to be a cute blonde woman, and sent to explore. On their first adventure, they are captured by more of the false god-guys, and escape with the help of an alien servant of the false gods, named Teal’c, who hooks up with the team and helps them with their adventures.

Again, it’s more complicated then that. The series is, IMHO, better than the movie. Not in terms of budget, obviously, but the stories are pretty good and the characters are likeable.

If you’re trying to join in part way through, a couple of things you need to know:

The ‘gods’ are called the Goa’uld. They are actually sort of parasitic; they use humans as hosts for themselves, kind of like Trills from Star Trek (if that helps). That’s one of the things they captured humans for all those thousands of years ago.

Humans are everywhere. Way back in ancient days, the Goa’uld, and humans travelled all over with the gates. There are planets throughout the galaxy with societies of humans, many of which are based on aspects of ancient earth cultures (there’s been Norse societies, Mongol societies, etc.). Some of the societies are relativelt advanced, some remain tribal. Some know about the Stargates, some don’t. Most know and fear the Goa’uld.

Hope that helps.

There’s not really a “big story” with Sg-1. It’s a workman-like sci-fi series and most of the episodes are stand-alones (tho’ the writers are pretty good at keeping up the continuity). Basically, it’s a Stargat that takes the team to other planets for adventures. For a while, (in Seaons 5, I think) they had a short arc that had to do with a shadowy government agency trying to take control of the Stargate but they’ve mostly abandoned that idea. (I think it was X-Files driven)

Big backstories:

[spoiler]Stargates were created by “the Ancients” who’ve left little bits of technology lying around for the team to discover. During the series, you find out that Earth is the origin of all the humans the team meets on other planets.

Stargates are currently being used by the Ga’ould, a race of parasitic creatures who take hosts. The Ga’ould are evil and once ruled the earth as gods. That’s why they all represent various human mythologies: Egyptian, Peruvian, etc.

The big black guy is T’ealc, a former Ga’ould guard who’s now against them. He carries (depending on what point fo the series you’re watching) an immature Ga’ould. (I’m probalby misspelling this)

The Tok’ra are a race of “good” Ga’ould who share the bodies with their hosts. They’re not always on the side of SG-1 tho’. Sam’s (the blond lady) dad now has a Tok’ra in him.

The Asgard are a pretty powerful race who kinda look like the “classic” Close Encounters aliens. They semm to exist mostly as a deus machina, and will swoop in and save everyone’s butt.[/spoiler]
I don’t think is great but the cast has good chemistry and there’s so little actual sci-fi being made right now, there’s not much competition. On SciFi on Mondays , they usually show four older episodes so you can catch up.

Not to confuse the issue, but the Goa’uld weren’t the only ones to transport humans around. Didn’t the Ancients bring humans to another galaxy? Or are those decendants of the Ancients? Anyway, that’s more important to SG: Atlantis, then SG-1.

Go here for a season by season guide, interviews, background, and all that. :smiley:

It’s basically a “we go somewhere, have an adventure, occasionally face a moral dilemma” sci-fi show. ST:TOS without the spaceship. Not great, but not bad, and downright entertaining sometimes.

Stargate SG1 is all about Sam Carter.


It’s about a ring that creates a wormhole to connect to other planets. There are a lot of other planets, and some have bad guys, and some have neutral, interesting guys. As tremorviolet points out, Stargate is episodic television–a style that’s almost unheard of in this day in age. The format really is: Go through the Stargate, explore new planet, end story in last five minutes.

There’s contiunity and backstory, but… the setting is the standard, present-day United States Air Force. There’s no world-building (after 8 years, we don’t even know much about the Goa’uld), little space-age technology, and only basic character archetypes.

Would character be portrayed by the actor who is the producer?

Except for the Episodes set on the spaceship :stuck_out_tongue:

you might want to do what I did at first, just watch the arc stories, and then if you like them go back and watch all of them (you’ll catch a lot that you miss that way)

T’ealc is a Jaffa. The Jaffa are a caste of genetically engineered humans who serve as “incubators” for infant Goa’ulds. (They’re racially diverse.) Once a Jaffa reaces a certain age (it looks like around 10 years old or thereabouts) they need to have a Goa’uld in them or they will die. Immature Goa’ulds can’t control their hosts, but they do posess great healing abilities. Because of this, Jaffa are stronger than humans, recover from injuries faster, are almost totally immune to disease, and live longer than humans. However, when the Goa’uld finally matures (IIRC, this takes about 100-200 yrs) then it leaves the Jaffa to enter a normal human, and the Jaffa dies.

Jaffa serve as the warriors of the Goa’uld. The fact that the Goa’uld are sacrificing large numbers of their own offspring by doing this doesn’t seem to bother them.

elmwood is there anything that needs explained to you that hasn’t been covered yet?

I think I’ve got most of it now. You all have done a great job explaining the show; now I’ll know what to look for when I’m watching it. :slight_smile:

Mature Goa’uld controlling a human body also produce these effects. Sam Carter’s father was brought in on the secret and hosted a Tok’ra (the ethical faction of Goa’uld who take hosts voluntarily and relinquish control from time to time to allow the host to live its own life) because he was dying of cancer and a Tok’ra ally had its own host die.