Plot: What’s it about?
In our world of spin-offs and countless sequels, we have another one. This isn’t a bad thing if they’re well-made and, more importantly, well-acted. After all, what’s the point of watching something (on television or on a silver screen) if it’s not entertaining? “Stargate” was a movie with Kurt Russell in the lead and James Spader as the “nerdy” scientist who discover that through this stargate, they can travel to distant worlds; much like the crew of the Enterprise in their transporters (though the stargate has a much greater distance). The movie was a modest success and it was before Director Roland Emmerlich hit it “big time” with his disaster flick “Independence Day”. A few years later, “Stargate” resurfaced as a television show with Richard Dean Anderson (aka “McGyver”) in the lead. While the syndicated market is inundated with shows of this nature (countless “Star Trek…” spinoffs, “X-Files” and “Babylon 5” to name a few); this one seemed to stand out a little more than the rest. Now entering its eighth season, it’s clear that the show has a following. But the movie was only a precursor to what the series is actually about. It’s like a guideline, to say the least.
Season Six showed a lot of change for the crew. First and foremost, this is when the show moved to the Sci-Fi channel (an appropriate outlet for this, and other shows like it) which might have literally saved the show. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shinks) had left the show and it was a blow that they needed to recover from, no doubt. He was replaced, but the show seemed to take a turn for more of a storytelling nature as opposed to the personal plotlines we had known in previous seasons. That’s not to say that there weren’t great episodes, as “Abyss”, “Paradise Lost”, “The Changeling” and “Unnatural Selection” ranked among my personal favorites. This being the sixth season, the crew (or the root of the “main” crew, anyway) had their parts down. The dynamic was down and though this is criticized as one of the worse seasons, I found no fault in it. Much like “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, there comes a point when you have to break away from the original story and cut loose and have fun. They did that here and though some episodes lack the depth of others, I found it a delightful mix. Look for some star cameos by Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap) and John De Lancie (Star Trek: The Next Generation) during this season as well. All in all, this might not be the best season to get started, but it’s more of what fans love and want and a certain addition to your set (assuming you have the previous five seasons).
Video: How does it look?
The episodes are presented in their original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and are anamorphic. I’d have to say I was a little let down by the way these looked as there was some artifacting and even a trace of edge enhancement. For a show as new as this, I was expecting a bit more. This isn’t to say they look bad, by any means, but I figured they would have looked better. I do give kudos to MGM for showing them in a widescreen format as opposed to full-frame, like so many other television shows out there. Movies set in space (for the most part) can look amazing, though it detracts from the atmosphere when you see scratches and errors in the transfer. Again, this isn’t bad, but I was expecting a bit more (possibly too much information on the discs)?
Audio: How does it sound?
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is fairly good. Television shows don’t have near the depth that feature films do, but during the course of the season there were times when I was more than impressed. Surrounds were used effectively, if not all too frequently and dialogue is reproduced with rich, natural tones. Most of the action takes place in the front stage and your front speakers will get somewhat of a workout, but it’s nothing that will get a noise complaint! On the whole, a nice job here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
As far as extras go, Season Six is by far the most robust when it comes to supplements. Each episode contains a commentary track and there are a dozen featurettes on the discs as well. I found the commentary on “The Changeling” to be the most engaging, though most of them sounded alike. This episode seemed to be the favorite among the cast and crew (who participated in the tracks), as well. Alongside the commentaries are some featurettes, twelve to be exact, that correspond to the following episodes: “Redemption”, “Descent”, “Frozen”, “Night Walkers”, “Abyss”, “Shadow Play”, “The Other Guys”, “Allegiance”, “Cure”, “Prometheus”, “Metamorphosis”, and “Full Circle”. These offer more of an insight into the episodes and fans will love them. Though they don’t cover too much new ground as far as featurettes go, all are insightful and well-made. As happy as I was to see all of these features on the discs, I couldn’t help but think that it’s the additional supplements that might have contributed to the deterioration of the picture on the discs. In any case, fans will love the set as it’s loaded with extras and yet another to shelve next to the first five seasons.