Stargate SG-1

Season 11 Episode 2

Stargate SG-1: Continuum

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Jul 29, 2008 on Syfy

Episode Fan Reviews (12)

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  • Another chance to bring things full circle

    The first direct-to-DVD "Stargate" film, "The Ark of Truth", was burdened with the task of condensing a season's worth of resolution to the Ori arc in the space of about 90 minutes. The writers did well enough under the circumstances, but it was clear that the plot was the overriding consideration. "Continuum" also seeks to resolve a lingering plot thread from the final season of "Stargate SG-1", but generally speaking, the writers had more freedom with the story.

    In essence, the plot boils down to this: Ba'al, the last of the System Lords, has finally been captured (and we shall never speak of the Ba'al clones again). In a last ditch effort to reverse his fortunes, Ba'al uses a time machine to prevent the relocation of the original stargate from Giza in the late 1930s. Jackson, Carter, and Mitchell are in the middle of gate transit when this happens, so they retain their memories of the original timeline when they arrive in the altered reality. Hilarity ensues.

    As with most "Stargate" and science fiction time travel stories, there are several obvious plot holes throughout the story. The writers either ignore them or allow them to stand proudly, and oddly enough, that works to the film's advantage. There are a few golden moments where the characters themselves point out that a plot point doesn't quite make sense, and then they shrug it off. It's as if the writers are telling the audience, point blank, "just sit back and enjoy the ride".

    The producers were raving about the Arctic shots from the very beginning, and I can confirm that they are quite splendid. I love it when real military personnel are given cameo roles on the series, since the series is so popular among servicemen and servicewomen, and the nuclear submarine shots were glorious. I recommend watching the short added feature on the Arctic shoot; it was quite enlightening and entertaining.

    It was also great to see Richard Dean Anderson again, even if he's barely in the movie and his moments were only a pale reflection of the old Jack O'Neill. Thankfully, his presence was logically supported by the events in the film. It makes perfect sense that he would be there to see the last of the System Lords executed, since he was there at the very beginning, and it makes sense that he would still be in the military in the alternate timeline.

    Most of the story revolved around Daniel, Carter, and Mitchell as the lone members of the SG-1 team with memories intact in the alternate timeline. In an interesting move, a good deal of time was spent on the impact of that experience on the characters. They did something similar with the "SG-1" series finale "Unending", but now that the Ori plot arc is complete, it doesn't feel like such a waste of time.

    At the same time, it was a bit disappointing to see the three "timeline refugees" accepted so easily. They were held and questioned for a week, but several times in the story, the three of them are given little more than token disbelief. I would have expected SG-1 to be confined under lock and key until some part of their story could be confirmed. It's one of those nagging plot holes that we're supposed to be ignoring, I suppose, but it was the one that bothered me the most by the end.

    I was a bit worried that Vala would end up being tossed aside, but the writers recalled her past role as the host for Quetesh and gave her a substantial role in the altered timeline. Setting aside the silly notion that Ba'al would turn his back on anyone before his plan was fully realized (and probably not even then), Quetesh wound up being a critical element of the story.

    I mentioned the great practical effect of filming in the Arctic and with an actual nuclear submarine for a reason. While some of the space-based visual effects were very well done, I found much of the CGI to be far less impressive. It's understandable that a film with a limited budget for DVD release might choose to invest in powerful location shots instead of digital backgrounds, but the Tok'Ra city and the sinking of the Achilles were poorly rendered by any measure. A feature-level production should, at the very least, meet the same CGI standards as the series itself. As usual, whenever stock footage is used, the quality is well below par.

    The cast is excellent all around, and it's clear that they're enjoying the chance to tell a broader story with more character depth. The only real exception is Teal'c, who gets very little in the way of new territory to explore. On the other hand, Teal'c had some powerful moments in "The Ark of Truth", and it seems natural that he would play a more central role in the next direct-to-DVD release.

    Looking beyond the confines of the story itself, this film accomplishes a vital task. While the events of the film themselves are rendered moot (in typical time travel fashion), this wraps up yet another dangling plot thread from the "SG-1" series. Beyond the Ori and System Lord conflicts, most of the other elements have been more or less successfully shifted to "Stargate Atlantis". This should allow future writers for the DVD films to explore new ground and tell stories that aren't simply complicated conclusions. And while this film is far from perfect, it does make a great case for future adventures.