The Stargate Franchise
Most people scuff when they hear the words Sci-fi or science fiction. A lot of them would think about the very cheap and far from good books and movies that have been released over the years. Yet a lot of people are fond of the Star Wars movies without even thinking about the fact that they are science fiction. Most people are dead set on the thought that only nerds and geeks watch science fiction. In that case, I am a nerd. I love science fiction, I live it and I breathe it. But that does not make me any different from my family or friends. In fact, we are all after the same thing: Entertainment.
There is so much in the Stargate franchise that would appeal to different people, from the age of 5 to 85, and I am always trying to find ways for people to see this. The franchise is easiest described as a military science fiction show, but it is also filled with mythology, religion, politics and a lot of humour.
What is now the Stargate franchise began in 1994 when Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer released the movie Stargate. It tells us the story about a transportation device called a Stargate that was found at a dig in Giza in 1928. Kept safe by the US government and the military they finally get it to work and send a team through the gate to a planet called Abydos. There, they come upon a race called the Goa´uld. They are parasitic beings that use humans as hosts as well as slaves and live in the image of ancient gods. The team fight the Goa´uld, free the people and most of the team returns home. It is a classic tale of good fighting bad and, like most times, good prevails.
The movie was a hit, big enough to create a Canadian based spin-off series three years later, a show that ran until 2007. The name of the show was Stargate SG-1. The story was in some ways different from the movie. For example the show gave us a lot of humour which I know for a fact is one of the thing that have given it so many fans. For ten years the US Air Force sent out teams to hundreds of different planets. But while they spent a lot of those ten years out in the universe there were a lot of things happening on our own planet. Politicians have been one of Stargate Command’s greatest foes on earth and I find the arguments, and even the back-stabbing, quite realistic. Since Stargate SG-1 was such a success with the fans another spinoff was created in 2004 called Stargate Atlantis. Having more or less the same storyline as SG-1 it stood out in by the fact that it took place all the way out in the Pegasus galaxy where we were introduced to a new foe. This series ran for five years and gave us the same mix as the previous show with a lot of influences from military, science and humour.
In 2009 a third spinoff series was created named Stargate Universe that lasted until 2011 when it was cancelled. Unlike the other two shows, Universe was leaning more to the grim side and as the characters gets completely cut off from Earth the show has a feeling of doom yet they never give up hope of getting home.
In 2008 Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer released two movies set during the Stargate SG-1 series, Continuum and Ark of truth. For a short period of time during 2002 there was also an animated show called Stargate Infinity that took place 30 years after the first trip through the Stargate.
Despite the fact that all the shows are now cancelled, the Stargate franchise is far from dead. Every year Fandemonium publishes new novels that take place in the Stargate Universe. There are also graphic novels, games, toys and a lot more merchandise to keep the fans satisfied. And for the extremist there are always conventions that take place all year round.
A classic convention takes place from Friday to Sunday with guest appearances from actors, writers and directors. Usually each guest spends about 30-60 minutes on stage where they answer questions from the fans or tell stories from their life or the show. You will also have the opportunity to get an autograph and a photo taken of you and each actor. There are also dinners, cocktail parties, karaoke parties and competitions to attend during the weekend and that is where my favourite part about the conventions enter the picture; you get to meet your fellow fans. The people who truly have been the reason for the success of the Stargate franchise.
At the end of Stargate Atlantis’s third season the writers made a terrible mistake. They killed the very popular character Dr. Carson Beckett, the Scottish hearth of Atlantis, which really made the fans upset. When the episode aired the response was immediate. Overnight the fans had created their very own campaign which has its own website even now. Save Carson Beckett dot com. The fans could not believe what had happened, and they would not accept it. They wrote to the writers and the directors as well as all kinds of different magazines and actually managed to get a lot of attention to this monstrous act. For several months the actors of Atlantis could look out the window and see a group of protesters, all with signs saying “Save Carson Beckett.” And this is when we really got proof that the fans are indeed the fuel of the show and that our voices can be heard. Since science fiction is science fiction they brought Beckett back to the show, as a clone. Quite handy and perhaps a bit sketchy but at least we got out Carson back and we all silently agreed to ignore the tiny gap of logic that suddenly introduced full-grown clones to series.
The conventions give you a wonderful opportunity to discuss things like this with fans from all over the world, from Finland to Australia. You will most definitely return home with fond memories and a lot of new friends.