Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Debuting over ABC on July 27, 1997, the 60-minute science fiction series Stargate SG-1 was a continuation of the 1995 theatrical feature Stargate. The original film starred James Spader as eccentric scientist Daniel Jackson and Kurt Russell as Col. Jack O'Neill, who by being transported into an alternate world via a shimmering "stargate" portal created by an ancient civilization had thwarted a plan by the megalomaniac Ra, ruler of the planet Abydos and leader of the vicious Goa'uld race, to conquer the universe. The TV series began one year after the events of the film, with O'Neill (now played by Richard Dean Anderson) coming out of retirement at the request of Gen. George Hammond (Don S. Davis), now in charge of the Earth's top-secret Stargate Project, to first rescue Jackson (Michael Shanks, taking over from James Spader) then travel throughout the universe with a map of the vast Stargate network to prevent invasion from hostile aliens who might have the ability to transport themselves through the million-and-one portals in space. In addition to the recovered Jackson, O'Neill's Stargate-1 (SG-1) team included astrophysicist Samantha "Sam" Carter (Amanda Tapping), a woman of high moral principles and a strong sense of feminist values; and Teal'c (Christopher Judge), a member of the alien Jaffa race, who'd broken from his people when he denounced the oppressive Goa'uld as false gods. When actor Michael Shanks decided to take a break from the series during season six, it was contrived to kill off Dr. Jackson (though his soul was transported to another "plane of existence" and presumably retrievable), whereupon his place on the SG-1 team was taken by Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), a diplomat from the planet Kelowna who held himself responsible for Jackson's demise. Others in the cast included Gen. Hammond's trusted aide Dr. Janet Frasier (Teryl Rothery), who died a hero's death halfway through season seven; Sam Carter's father Jacob (Carmen Argenziano), saved from a painful death from cancer when his body became the host for the noble Tok'ra resistance fighter Selmak; Apophis (Peter Williams), the despotic warrior king who'd succeed the original movie's Ra as leader of the Goa'uld; and the equally odious Anubis (David Palffy), who took over the bad-guy duties after Apophis was blown to smithereens. Originally intended to run for only four seasons on Showtime, Stargate SG-1 proved popular enough to have its life extended for several seasons thereafter, though it moved to another cable network, Sci-Fi Channel, in 2002.