Stargate TV Series
Spanning over 17 years, the Stargate TV franchise is one of the longest-running and most successful science fiction series in the world. Full of adventure, cool technology, aliens, and a highly-developed mythology, Stargate is a classic science-fiction program. The series has aired 3 separate shows to date: Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, and Stargate: Universe.
The premise of the Stargate series focuses on the fictional “Stargate” devices, circular portals which can create wormholes to other Stargates, allowing the user to quickly travel great distances across the universe.
Left behind by a long-dead, highly-advanced race of humans known as the “Ancients”, the Stargates are scattered throughout the Milky Way and other Galaxies, linking together many different worlds.
When a Stargate is discovered on Earth, the American military takes control of it, and assembles a special branch to oversee it, along with a special team to use the gate. This is the central premise that all three Stargate TV series revolve, and connect around.
Stargate SG-1 is the first Stargate series. Conceived shortly after the success of the 1994 movie “Stargate”, SG-1 first aired in 1997, and lasted for a total of 10 seasons, becoming the longest-running science-fiction show in the US.
The story picks up 2 years after the movie, as the titular team, “SG-1”, is assembled, and instructed to begin using the Stargate in order to explore new worlds, acquire new technology, and create allies to defend Earth from the evil race of parasites, the Goa’uld.
The Goa’uld, which take humans as unwilling hosts, pose the main threat for the first 8 seasons of the show, as they set themselves up as gods throughout the Milky Way, and crush any who would oppose them.
The last 2 seasons of the show focus on the SG-1 team fighting against the Ori, a renegade group of the same highly-advanced and long-dead humans which left behind the Stargates, who dwell at a higher plane of existence along with their Ancient brethren.
While not battling the Ori directly, the SG-1 team is forced to fight against their worshippers who possess incredibly powerful technology and superhuman powers.
Stargate Atlanis was created as a spin-off of SG-1. Airing for 5 seasons from 2004 to 2009, Atlantis follows the story arc established in the season 7 finale of SG-1, when a second Stargate is discovered at an Ancient outpost in Antarctica, leading to the lost city of Atlantis, located in the Pegasus Galaxy. Similar to SG-1, a team is sent to Atlantis to set up a base.
Like its parent show, Atlantis follows the exploits of the team, as they travel across the Pegasus Galaxy using the Stargate, and discover new technology, create new enemies and new friends.
The main antagonists of the show are set up from the very first episode as the “Wraith”, a vampire-like alien race which feeds on the life force of humans, killing them in the process.
The Wraith control all the power in the Pegasus Galaxy, much like the Goa’uld in the Milky Way Galaxy. Throughout the show's five seasons, the Atlantis team fights to bring down the Wraith, to free the humans of the Pegasus Galaxy and to keep Earth safe.
Stargate Universe is the 3rd and last Stargate TV series. Airing for only two seasons, from 2009 to 2011, Universe was cancelled due to relatively weak ratings. While this was attributed to the show’s attempt to step away from sci-fi more towards character development, other viewers welcomed the change.
Universe's plot still revolves around using the Stargate, but much less so than the previous 2 shows. The basic story follows a group of civilians and military who become stranded on an Ancient ship called "Destiny" in a distant galaxy, after they are forced to flee through a Stargate.
The team attempt to find their way back to Earth, while simultaneously trying to survive, and explore the galaxies they visit on Destiny's automatically-charted voyage.
As noted above, Universe is quite different from the first two Stargate shows, as it focuses much more on characters than the sci-fi component. In fact, many would argue its only real link to the Stargate franchise is the Stargate on board the ship, and the rare appearances of cross-over SG-1 and Atlantis characters.
Future of the Stargate Franchise
Since the cancellation of Stargate Universe, there hasn't been any word on whether the Stargate series will ever be resumed again. What we do know is that the original "Stargate" film will be getting a reboot sometime in the near future.
Nonetheless, with 3 TV shows and a total 3 of films, the Stargate franchise has a lot to offer for science-fiction fans. So if you're looking for good, solid sci-fi, look no further!