'Stargate SG-1' signs off

by Maureen Ryan

Chicago Tribune (MCT)

22 June 2007


Time’s up for “Stargate SG-1” (8 p.m. EDT Friday, Sci Fi) .

Or is it? The outer-space staple, which has had 10 seasons on two networks, will keep the wormhole adventures going via two DVD movies that will come out later this year. And the spinoff series “Stargate Atlantis” will employ some “SG-1” cast members, including Amanda Tapping, whose character, Lt. Col. Samantha Carter, will be a series regular on the fourth season of “Atlantis,” which also arrives in a few months.

But in “SG-1’s” Friday swan song as a TV series, the clock runs out verrrry slowly for the Stargate team.

For reasons that aren’t really worth going into (mainly because plots involving time manipulation give me a headache), the Stargate team, along with Maj. Gen. Hank Landry (Beau Bridges), find themselves trapped aboard an intergalactic ship - for decades. We watch the Stargate team get older, deal with being trapped in outer space, and there’s even a romance between two of the stir-crazy team members (no, I’m not telling who the lovebirds are).

It’s sort of a strange note to go out on, though the episode itself passes painlessly enough, thanks to the skills of the able cast and the goodwill their characters have built up over the years. And I can understand the desire on the part of the show’s creative team to try to make the last outing with the Stargate characters “Unending,” which is the name of the episode.

Still, it’s disappointing that the final exchange of dialogue on the show is a string of cliches. I think “SG-1” deserved something more in its closing minutes as a TV show.

But we have the movies to look forward to, one of which will continue the story about the evil Ori, and another one that revisits the longtime “SG-1” baddie Ba’al (played by Cliff Simon) and that will co-star Richard Dean Anderson, who left the show a few years ago.

And here’s hoping the solid “Stargate Atlantis” will fill the Friday night space-adventure gap nicely. I’m also hoping that having only one show to write will lead the “Stargate Atlantis” creative team to employ fewer recycled plots and story lines. Anyway, it’s not goodbye for “Stargate SG-1,” but just “see you later” to the wormholes, the aliens, Walter the Gate Tech, the zat gun and the staff weapons and the mysterious hieroglyphs and the goofball wit. We’ll meet again soon.


If you think it was a miracle that the shoot for “Medellin,” Vince Chase’s pet project, actually wrapped more or less on time and sort of on budget, don’t think that the good times will continue for the “Entourage” gang (10 p.m. Sunday, HBO). As Vince (Adrian Grenier) and Eric (Kevin Connolly) arrive back in L.A. after an Italian vacation, trouble looms: Their director, Billy Walsh (Rhys Coiro), won’t show anyone his first cut of the film, Vince runs out of money, and no one will hire him thanks to the bad buzz about “Medellin.” And in a funny cameo, “Dead Zone” star Anthony Michael Hall gets Vince kicked out of his hotel.

It’s another rock-solid “Entourage” outing, which has been especially satisfying of late and one of the bright spots on the summer schedule. As the pressure on Vince has increased - he has to shore up his career, fight the bad buzz and, by the way, make sure “Medellin” is well-received (no small challenge) - the dramatic stakes of the show have been raised again, with usually satisfying results. The comedy on the show is always best when it’s mixed with real-world stress.

Still, if I have one complaint, there hasn’t been enough about Lloyd (Rex Lee), the harried assistant to superagent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven). A show of hands - who’d rather watch a Lloyd spinoff than “John From Cincinnati”?


Also Sunday, the diverting “Flight of the Conchords” continues (10:30 p.m., HBO), with Bret getting a job and leaving Jemaine high and dry (it’s hard to keep a folk duo going with only one person, though Jemaine soldiers on with a tape machine). Bret’s pressure-filled gig, which has him sporting a baggy suit and a Bluetooth thingie in his ear, has him working as a sign-holder on a street corner.

As usual, the songs provide more than a few laugh-out-loud moments, as with the disco number “Inner City Pressure,” a tale of being broke in the big bad city: “You know you’re not in high finance, considering second hand underpants. Check your mind, how’d it get so bad? What happened to those other underpants you had?” Jemaine sings.

“Conchords” is another sterling summer treat, and a delightful complement to the weightier “Entourage.”

//Mixed media