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MGM Studios DVD presents
Stargate SG-1: Season 4 (2000)

Martin: A top-secret government program involving instantaneous travel to other solar systems by means of a device known as a Stargate.
O'Neill: That sounds like a good idea for a TV show, if you're into that sort of thing.

- Willie Garson, Richard Dean Anderson

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: October 21, 2003

Stars: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge, Michael Shanks, Don S. Davis
Other Stars: Teryl Rothery, Peter Williams, Carmen Argenziano, Vanessa Angel, Ronny Cox, Mirina Sirtis, Willie Garson, Peter Wingfield, Tom McBeath
Director: Varied

Manufacturer: Wamo
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for television audiences)
Run Time: 16h:08m:40s
Release Date: September 02, 2003
UPC: 027616895264
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- AA-A- A

DVD Review

Syndicated science-fiction series often receive shoddy treatment from critics and high-minded television viewers who regard them as second-class creations. These thoughts may apply to many shows, but remarkable gems do exist that warrant a closer inspection. A prime example of this type is Stargate SG-1 a long-running cult series that originally spawned from a big-budget feature film. Currently airing its seventh season with plans for another one already in the works, this wondeful program appears poised to continue for a long time. A strong and devoted audience spends extensive energy following the weekly exploits of Colonel Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Major Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal'c (Christopher Judge).

The fourth season finds our heroes continuing to battle the Goa'uld and introduces a score of new friends and nasty enemies. Relationships continue to develop between the lead characters, especially O'Neill and Carter, who finally profess their true feelings. Luckily, the series never falls into the soap-opera trap and continues to provide realistic emotional moments. Many story lines return and are enhanced from previous seasons, including the Replicator problem, a closer look at the primitive Unas, the discovery of the Harcesis child, and a difficult relationship with the Tok'ra rebels. The humor level remains very high, especially during the super-hero exploits of Upgrades and the silly, maddening time loop of Window of Opportunity.

While journeying across the galaxy, SG-1 continues to face increasingly dire situtations from which survival is doubtful. Jack and Teal'c barely survive a Replicator attack on a Russian submarine, Daniel tries to prevent an ancient Goa'uld from inhabiting a close friend, and Carter faces a personal invasion from a computer system. Much-needed assistance is provided the ever-present General Hammond (Don S. Davis) and Dr. Frasier (Teryl Rothery), who often become closely involved in SG-1's weekly activities. Notable guest appearances come from the striking Vanessa Angel as the Tok'ra Freya/Anise, Star Trek: The Next Generation's Mirina Sirtis as a Russian scientist, Willie Garson as a strange conspiracy theorist, and Peter Wingfield as the treacherous Goa'uld Tanith. Familiar faces also returning include Peter Williams as Apophis, Carmen Argenziano as Jacob Carter/Selmak, Tom McBeath as Harry Maybourne, and Ronny Cox as Senator Kinsey.

Further discussion of the series' numerous attributes can be found in the episode summaries below:

Small Victories
Written By: Robert C. Cooper
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Colin Cunningham as Major Davis
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Continuing the story from the Season 3 cliffhanger Nemesis, one Replicator has survived the Asgard ship's crash into the ocean. The dangerous entity lands in a Russian submarine and quickly begins to gain control of the vessel. O'Neill and Teal'c take an extreme risk and enter the ship to save Earth from destruction. Aboard the sub, they face a new type of bug that dwarfs anything seen in the past. The action cranks to a feverish pitch, and our heroes' chance for survival seems grim. Meanwhile, Carter must venture to the stunning Asgard home planet to help them fight the Replicator threat. She works with Thor to devise a less sophisticated plan that would not occur to the advanced race. Small Victories inaugurates the fourth season in grand fashion and retains the chilling intensity of its predecessor. The two episodes basically form a single 90-minute product and provide some of the more energetic moments of the series. We also finally receive a vision of the stunning Asgard home world, and witness a few more flirtatious moments between Sam and Jack.

Another excellent opening earns this story 4.5 out of 5 Stargates.

The Other Side
Written By: Brad Wright
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Rene Auberjonois as Alar, Anne Marie Loder as Farrell
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

A civilization apparently under serious attack contacts SG-1 for assistance in fighting their enemy of many years. In return for some minor technology, Earth will receive enhanced weapons technology that should provide great help in battling the Goa'uld. Unfortunately, issues begin to arise that raise doubts about their new friends' validity. Dr. Jackson immediately recognizes the possible troubles with the agreement, but the technological allure is difficult for O'Neill to ignore. This slower-moving episode takes a long time to get going, but it does provide a few interesting surprises. Although not one of the top stories, it is nice to see a one-off episode that avoids the usual alien enemies. A final moment with O'Neill features some excellent acting from Richard Dean Anderson without the use of any dialogue.This fair episode earns 2.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: David Rich
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Vanessa Angel as Anise/Freya
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Knockout former model Vanessa Angel arrives on the scene as the Tok'ra Anise/Freya who has discovered extremely powerful alien armbands. As part of a scientific experiment, SG-1 agrees to wear the devices while she monitors the physiological effects. These armbands give our heroes super speed and allow them to conduct daily tasks at a ridiculous rate. O'Neill enjoys the huge strength boost, Dr. Jackson can study at a ridiculous pace, and Carter writes a 1,000-page book in two hours. This silly episode even gives SG-1 a chance to hit the town for steaks, which results in a "cliched" bar fight, according to O'Neill. Events do become more serious during a risky attack on Apophis' new super vessel. A key moment aboard the ship for Jack and Sam showcases their burgeoning relationship and will become pivotal in Divide and Conquer.

This hokey story is great fun and earns 4 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Katharyn Rogers
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Vanessa Angel as Anise/Freya, Musetta Vander as Sho'nac, Peter Wingfield as Hebron/Tanith
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

The early fourth season showed the creators making a concerted effort to enhance the series' sex appeal, and Crossroads provides a perfect example. Vanessa Angel returns as Anise/Freya and is joined by Musetta Vander as the striking Jaffa priestess Sho'nac. While I'm not one to complain about these guest stars, the show doesn't need them to draw an audience. This episode concerns Sho'nac's revelation that she has communicated with her Goa'uld symbiote and converted it to the Tok'ra cause. Events are complicated by her past love for Teal'c, who appears to retain strong feelings for her. The larval Goa'uld has reached maturity, and time is short for a final decision. This story marks the first appearance of Tanith a formidable enemy who will haunt SG-1 for several seasons. It showcases notable moments from a vengeful Teal'c and a frustrated O'Neill, who has serious doubts about the Tok'ra/Earth alliance.

A nasty enemy is released! This story earns 3 out of 5 Stargates.

Divide and Conquer
Written By: Tor Alexander Valenza
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Vanessa Angel as Anise/Freya, JR Bourne as Martouf, Kirsten Robek as Lieutenant Astor, Andrew Jackson as Per'sus
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

The Tok'ra High Council is poised to draft an unprecedented treaty with Earth during a Summit meeting. Unfortunately, events are complicated seriously by an assassination attempt from one of the SGC's own members. A mind-control device called a Zatarg caused the soldier to go crazy, and it is possible that anyone going off-world could be affected. The stunning Freya/Anice once again plays a pivotal role and even makes a move on O'Neill. The story becomes extremely complicated when her device labels him and Carter as Zatargs. After another SGC member goes crazy, their fear increases that it may be hopeless. This complex, fascinating story develops several personal relationships that have been showcased in past episodes. The key moments relate to the Sam/Jack connection, which appeared most recently on Apophis' ship in Upgrades. Anderson and Tapping are at their best here, and the ultimate emotional revelation provides one of the series' best scenes.

This tense and wonderful episode deserves 4.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Window of Opportunity
Written By: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Robin Mossley as Malakai
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

This charming episode has the writers taking the familiar Groundhog Day concept and using it to actually create an enjoyable, unique story. While studying an alien planet, a strange electrical storm occurs and a beam strikes Teal'c and Jack. They awake moments later and find themselves returned to the beginning of the day. Following countless attempts to escape the time loop, both guys begin to see the hopelessness of the situation. Thus begins the utter silliness. Teal'c and Jack fire golf balls through the Stargate and develop impressive juggling skills. Daniel always seems to be asking Jack a passionate, unknown question each morning, and Teal'c grows frustrated when a door hits him in the face every day. A few other fun surprises also occur that I won't reveal. Although this plot line could become tiresome, it actually leads to one of the series' most entertaining stories.

This episode generates a huge smile from me every time. 4 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Robert C. Cooper
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Marina Sirtis as Dr. Svetlana Markov, Tom McBeath as Harry Maybourne
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichener (Visual Effects Supervisor)

The Russians have a Stargate! The Russians have a Stargate! This stunning revelation opens the episode and creates the promise of an intriguing tale. While the events that follow don't completely live up to expectations, they still create a decent experience. This one gets a major guest star in Marina Sirtis as the Russian scientist Dr. Svetlana Markov, and she does well even while sporting an overdone accent. The central story revolves around a world made entirely of water composed of remarkable properties. Following the Russians' initial arrival, a nasty disaster occurred for inexplicable reasons. What caused these deaths? Our eventual discovery may not be fascinating, but it moves well and retains our interest until the tense finale.

This interesting but sometimes flat episode rates 2.5 out of 5 Stargates.

First Ones
Written By: Peter DeLuise
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Dion Johnstone as Chaka, Jason Schombing as Dr. Robert Rothman, Steve Bacic as Major Coburn, Russell Ferrier as Captain Griff
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director/writer)

Daniel faces serious peril when a hulking, primitive Unas kidnaps him during an archeological expedition with SG-11. His friends quickly mobilize to save him, but his danger may be different than initially expected. We do finally meet an alien race that does not speak English, which brings Daniel's excellent communication abilities into play. This planet also houses a much deadlier, familiar threat than the Unas within its waters that may infect members of O'Neill's team. Meanwhile, Teal'c and Chaka his Unas captor begin to develop a relationship while dealing with the difficult language barrier. We see a lot more of the Unas than in past episodes, and this helps to create a worthwhile tale.

This effective story earns 3 out of 5 Stargates.

Scorched Earth
Written By: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Brian Markinson as Lotan, Marilyn Norry as Hedrezar, Alessandro Juliani as Eliam, Rob Court as Caleb, Nikki Smook as Nikka Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

SG-1 feels pretty good about itself as they celebrate the relocation of the endangered Enkarans to a hospitable new planet. Unfortunately, another race of beings also has eyes on this planet to save their own dying civilization. Their ship must destroy the current state of the planet and decimate the Enkarans to achieve their goals. O'Neill feels indebted to the people SG-1 relocated, and considers taking a drastic action that contradicts General Hammond's orders. Meanwhile, Daniel tries to convince the ship's computer (in human form) and modify its thought processes. This episode nicely utilizes Dan and Jack's ideological conflicts and creates an interesting dilemma. However, it also moves very slowly and lacks any truly memorable dramatic moments.

This solid but uninspiring episode rates 2 out of 5 Stargates.

Beneath the Surface
Written By: Heather E. Ash
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Alison Matthews as Brenna, Kim Hawthorne as Kegan, Laurie Murdoch as Administrator Caulder
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

This tale begins with SG-1 working as slave laborers under the surface of a dire, frozen planet. Apparently their memories have been altered, their names have been changed, and forces are working hard to keep them from discovering the truth. A city actually does exist above the ground with the laborers unknowingly serving the comfortable citizens. Daniel begins to have dreams about the Stargate and question his past, so their memories must exist somewhere. When he begins to realize the truth and speaks with O'Neill and Carter, their actual personalities slowly begin to appear. Watching them regain their memories is surprisingly entertaining and leads to an engaging story. Although not directly connected to the larger battle with the Goa'uld, this episode provides some excellent personal moments.

This compelling entry rates a strong 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Point of No Return
Written By: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed By: William Gereghty
Guest Stars: Willie Garson as Martin, Robert Lewis as Dr. Tanner
Commentary: William Gereghty (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), Joseph Mallozzi (Co-Writer), Paul Mullie (Co-Writer)

In yet another silly Earth-based episode, SG-1 journeys to Montana following a message left on the base's answering machine. The goofball Martin at first appears to be a silly conspiracy theorist who accidentally stumbled onto the actual truth. His claims include an accurate overview of the Stargate program and the fact that he's an alien. Garson plays the paranoid guy wonderfully, and our heroes each receive some silly moments. Teal'c (a.k.a. Murray) seems especially fond of the hotel's vibrating bed, and O'Neill tries to remain calm while Martin spouts his constant theories. Events become more complicated when a group of strange guys capture Carter and Dr. Jackson.

This generally calm but enjoyable story earns 3 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Michael Cassutt
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Carmen Argenziano as Jacob/Selmak, Colin Cunningham as Major Davis, Peter Williams as Apophis, Steven Williams as General Vidrine
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Earth has finally developed an aircraft capable of defending the planet against a Goa'uld attack. This plane was developed from the gliders stolen in Season 2's The Serpent's Lair from Apophis. Unfortunately, the clever enemy inserted a recall device that draws the ship back to his home world. O'Neill and Teal'c are stranded aboard the vessel without any control and dangerously venture further away from home. Carter, Jackson, and Major Davis struggle for ways to bring them home, and recovery appears hopeless. An especially angry Jacob Carter even appears, which is always a worthwhile addition. This tense, difficult episode is one of my favorites of the season. The actors do an excellent job hiding their characters' emotions and help to craft a very interesting tale.

This strong episode deserves 4 out of 5 Stargates.

The Curse
Written By: Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Directed By: Andy Mikita
Guest Stars: Anna-Louise Plowman as Sarah, Ben Bass as Steven Rayner, David Abbott as Dr. Jordan
Commentary: Andy Mikita (Director), Peter Woeste (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Daniel once faced extreme ridicule for suggesting that ancient Egypt originated from aliens. This tale reveals some figures from that past when his mentor Dr. David Jordan dies mysteriously. Following this death, Daniel returns to Chicago for the funeral and meets several old friends, including his former girlfriend Sarah. Their studies of the Osiris Jar and a strange amulet correspond with Goa'uld technology and could be very dangerous. In the distressing finale, Daniel discovers that another close friend has been taken by the Goa'uld. This tense episode provides a refreshing connection to the feature film with its Egyptian story line. It also gives us interesting material about Daniel's life before joining the SGC.

A sad but effective story earns this one 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.

The Serpent's Venom
Written By: Peter DeLuise
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Carmen Argenziano as Jacob/Selmak, Obi Ndefo as Rak'nor, Paul Koslo as Terok, Peter Williams as Apophis, Douglas H. Arthurs as Heru-ur
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Teal'c returns to Chulak with noble aims of raising a Jaffa army to battle Apophis. However, his goals are thwarted when his supposed friends betray Teal'c to the Goa'uld. The big story presented is a possible alliance between Heru'ur and Apophis that could decimate the other System Lords. SG-1 and Jacob devise an especially daring plan to trick the two enemies into battling each other. Meanwhile, Teal'c faces a vicious interrogation from his ruthless Goa'uld captor Terok that could end his life. Here, we meet the Jaffa Rak'nor, who will return several times in subsequent seasons to assist Teal'c. This compelling episode combines many pivotal story lines that have covered much of the series and continue to play a role. Christopher Judge does a wonderful job in conveying fierce determination under severe duress.

This action-packed episode rates 4.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Chain Reaction
Written By: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed By: Martin Wood
Guest Stars: Lawrence Dane as Major General Bauer, Tom McBeath as Harry Maybourne, Ronny Cox as Senator Kinsey, Patti Allan as Kinsey's Wife
Commentary: Martin Wood (Director), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Following a vicious firefight that nearly results in SG-1's deaths, General Hammond announces that he is immediately stepping down as commander of the SGC. Can he be serious? Our heroes suspect foul play and search for the reasons for this sudden resignation. Major General Bauer takes over for Hammond and amazingly splits the team apart. Dr. Jackson is working only as a consultant, and Carter has been re-assigned to a very dangerous nuclear weapons program. Hammond finally tells O'Neill the real situation, and he contacts the only person capable of helping to clear the General Harry Maybourne. This episode returns two of my favorite guest characters in him and the nasty Senator Kinsey, a guy who reminds me a lot of our real-life administration. O'Neill and Maybourne join forces and make a surprisingly effective covert team. Tom McBeath does his usual excellent job and actually makes his character more understandable this time.

The series is definitely hitting its mid-season stride. This story gets 4 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Brad Wright
Directed By: Andy Mikita
Guest Stars: Christopher Cousins as Joe Faxon, Dion Luther as Molum, Ronny Cox as The President
Commentary: Andy Mikita (Director), Peter Woeste (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Ten years into the future, everything appears wonderful for Earth thanks to the alliance forged with the Aschen. This alien race offered them superior technology that will help in defense against the Goa'uld. However, all does not seem well in this future. Senator Kinsey has now become the President, Carter has married a U.S. ambassador named Joe Faxon, Hammond is dead, and O'Neill has holed himself up in a cabin due to objections to the alliance. Evidence begins to arise that raises questions about the Aschen's benign nature. Carter and Dr. Frasier discover some startling evidence about Earth's population. This remarkable episode contains a wonderful science-fiction premise and showcases some great personal moments, especially between Sam and Jack.

I'm a big fan of time-travel episodes, especially when done this well. 5 out of 5 Stargates.

Absolute Power
Written By: Robert C. Cooper
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Lane Gates as Shifu, Peter Williams as Apophis, Colin Cunningham as Major Davis, William DeVry as Aldwin, Erick Avari as Kasuf, Stephen Williams as General Vidrine
Commentary: Robert C. Cooper (Executive Producer/Writer), Peter DeLuise (Director)

The big moment has finally arrived: SG-1 has finally discovered the Harcesis child Shifu, who possesses the Goa'uld genetic knowledge. While trying to determine a method for extracting the information, Daniel receives it directly from the child. However, this material creates a terrible change in his emotional makeup and generates a paranoid lust for power. All of SG-1's tasks are thrown by the wayside as Daniel focuses on a military satellite program. These objects seem designed to protect Earth, but they may actually serve a more nefarious purpose. Has Daniel gone over the edge completely, or is there more to this tale than meets the eye? While a bit hokey with the child uttering more silly statements, this episode allows Michael Shanks to play a much different character.

An intriguing premise earns this story 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.

The Light
Written By: James Phillips
Directed By: Peter F. Woeste
Guest Stars: Kristian Ayre as Loran
Commentary: Peter F. Woeste (Director), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor), Andy Mikita (Production Manager) (

An Air Force lieutenant commits suicide by running into the event horizon for no apparent reasons. On the following day, Daniel nearly throws himself to his death from the apartment balcony. These problems may originate within a mysterious light structure that mesmerizes almost everyone that views it. The light creates an enjoyable narcotic effect, but it causes serious problems once a person leaves the area. Daniel's life hangs in the balance and SG-1 must discover the reasons for these troubles. Unfortunately, they're also facing nasty difficulties from their exposure to the light. This season has been surprisingly consistent and offered only a few minor failures. This episode represents one of the rare slip-ups and just isn't very interesting. It's not a total failure and contains a few notable moments, but still falls well short of my usual expectations.

Arguably the least effective story of the season, this tale earns 1.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Brad Wright, Joseph Mallozzi, and Paul Mullie
Directed By: Peter DeLuise
Guest Stars: Elisabeth Rosen as Jennifer Hailey, Hrothgar Matthews as Dr. Hamilton, General Ryan as Himself, Russell Ferrier as Major Griff, Keith Martin Gordey as Professor Monroe
Commentary: Peter DeLuise (Director), Paul Mullie (Co-Writer), Joseph Mallozzi (Co-Writer)

Carter returns to the Air Force Academy to teach a class and discovers Jennifer Haley a brilliant young prodigy. Her mind goes well beyond the ideas of her classmates, but she lacks discipline. Haley immediately catches Carter's eye and could be a candidate for the Stargate program. Meanwhile, O'Neill and Teal'c venture to a planet occupied by scientists who disdain the military. He clashes over Dr. Hamilton with a strange lighted being that compares to few things ever seen in past missions. Carter and Haley join them on the planet, but complications ensue when the lighted beings turn nasty. This tale gives us a nice look at Carter's Air Force past and introduces an intriguing young character. It also contains a brief guest appearance by real-life General Ryan, the leader of the United States Air Force. The dramatic conflict here isn't that strong, but it does provide some interesting elements, including an excellent performance from Elisabeth Rosen as the young cadet.

This solid episode rates 3 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Peter DeLuise
Directed By: Allan Lee
Commentary: Allen Lee (Director), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

An SGC probe enters the Stargate and runs into a strange electric surge that seriously disables the control room. This "entity" also injures technician Walter, strikes Carter in the hand, and invades the computer system. Hammond initiates a quarantine and wants to be certain no further problems take place. Of course, plenty of troubles are still going to occur, especially once it takes over Carter's body. Will SG-1 find a way to remove the intruder without killing their friend? This slow-moving tale is another "alien in the base" story that, while different, still has an aura of familiarity. The best scenes concern O'Neill's showing his strong feelings for Carter while she faces almost certain destruction. They stand as the rare memorable moments of a mediocre tale.

This touching yet generally dull episode rates 2 out of 5 Stargates.

Double Jeopardy
Written By: Robert C. Cooper
Directed By: Michael Shanks
Guest Stars: Jay Brazeau as Harlan, Ron Halder as Cronus, Tracy Hway as Hira
Commentary: Michael Shanks (Director/Daniel Jackson), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Oh yeah! The series' action side returns in full force as SG-1 battles the vicious System Lord Cronus from a planet they'd previously freed from Heru'ur. It's also immediately apparent that our heroes have quickly reverted to their look from several years ago. These characters are actually the androids from Season 1's Tin Man created to identically match SG-1. When the actual team arrives to save "themselves" and past friends, both groups must join forces to battle the vicious enemy. O'Neill shares some silly moments with his double, and Teal'c seeks revenge against the Goa'uld who murdered his father. This episode represents the directorial debut of Michael Shanks, and he obviously faced serious challenges with this complicated episode. He performs admirably and delivers one of the fastest-paced episodes of the season.

This energetic, big-budget episode receives 4 out of 5 Stargates.

Written By: Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Directed By: David Warry-Smith
Guest Stars: Carmen Argenziano as Jacob/Selmak, Peter Wingfield as Tanith, Peter Williams as Apophis
Commentary: Joseph Mallozzi (Co-Writer), Jim Menard (Director of Photography), James Tichenor (Visual Effects Supervisor)

Following their surprising defeat of Cronus, SG-1 visits the Tok'ra in their newly acquired Goa'uld mother ship. The vicious traitor Tanith has served his purpose and now must face a painful extraction from the host Hebron's body. Everything appears under control, but nothing is ever this easy. Tanith escapes their clutches and summons Apophis and his giant attack fleet. Jacob and Sam devise an extremely "ambitious" plan to destroy a sun and decimate their eternal enemy. The excellent fourth season concludes with a wonderful dramatic tale that brings together pivotal story lines from all over the series. Christopher Judge once again performs deftly in conveying Teal'c unflinching quest for revenge, and Peter Wingfield makes Tanith a classic opponent. The story ends in another heart-stopping cliffhanger that will culminate in an all-out Earth/Goa'uld/Replicator battle at the onset of the fifth season.

Wow! This action-packed episode provides countless stunning moments. It deserves 4.5 out of 5 Stargates.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: This season represents a significant improvement over past releases in terms of visual clarity. Episodes were shot in 35mm for the first time during this year, which eliminated most of the less attractive moments. The colors are much brighter and provide an even more impressive experience. A few grainy scenes do appear here and there, but they usually only last a few seconds and rarely provide a distraction. The improved transfers help to spotlight some striking visual moments, including the space battle in Serpent's Venom and the gorgeous Asgard homeworld in Small Victories.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: Stargate SG-1 thrives on effective sounds that sometimes even take the place of visual effects. This 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer provides a top-notch presentation and numerous energetic moments. The dialogue springs understandably from the speakers and combines nicely with the sound effects. The large-scale scenes work especially well for a television series, and the audio plays a large role in this success. Impressive examples include Osiris' ship leaving Egypt in The Curse and the electrical storms in Window of Opportunity.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 110 cues and remote access
3 Documentaries
22 Feature/Episode commentaries by Various directors, writers, and other crew members
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: This box set finally offers a collection of worthwhile extras that should please the series' dedicated fans. Descriptions of each feature are provided in the following paragraphs:

Commentary Tracks (Every Episode)
Considering the limited number of extras provided on past season releases, the inclusion of 22 commentaries was a major surprise. Unfortunately, these tracks do not contain cast members and focus on the technical side of the episodes. This omission is a slight drawback but does not at all make them a failure. The speakers generally include the episode's director, director of photography, and Visual Effects Supervisor James Tichenor. The writers also show up a few times, but not nearly enough for my tastes. The best commentaries mostly come from Martin Wood and Jim Menard, who inject a ton of worthwhile production information. On the other end is the silly Peter DeLuise, who spends way too much time describing obvious plot elements. Especially worthwhile are the Absolute Power discussion with the executive producer/writer Robert C. Cooper and Michael Shanks' comments on directing Double Jeopardy. The upcoming Season 5 boxed set reportedly will have cast commentaries on its January release, which should even improve on the success of these tracks.

Secret Files of the SGC—Enhanced Visual Effects (16m:10s)
This featurette begins in a similar vein to the extras provided on Season 3 with Teryl Rothery and Don Davis escorting us around the SGC. This entry takes us on a step-by-step process through the creation of specific visual effects and their insertion into scenes. The shots depicted include a large spaceship from Season 3's Deadman Switch and a long shot from this release's Upgrades. Another intriguing element is the use of stock footage, which helps the artists to create Moscow with a limited television budget. Digital effects artists and the producers describe the process in impressive detail, which leads to an informative feature.

Secret Files of the SGC—Alien Species: Friend or Foe (16m:58s)
This piece describes the alien enemies and friends of the SGC through discussions with actors like Peter Williams (Apophis), Tony Amendola (Bra'tac), and Christopher Judge (Teal'c). Many scenes from the first season provide introductions to the major Goa'uld and Jaffa players in the series. Robert C. Cooper describes the Tok'ra resistance, the Asgard race, and other notable alien encounters. This featurette offers mostly plot summary, but it does give some a nice overview to less knowledgeable fans.

Stargate SG-1: Timeline to the Future—"Legacy of the Gate" (25m:12s)
Finally, the creators give us a rightfully extensive look at the series and its origins. This 25-minute documentary is actually the first of three parts of a longer special. After presenting the initial ideas for the show, we receive an overview of the pivotal cast members from essential people like Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner. Amanda Tapping discusses the changes to her character after the dull, singular feminist of the initial episodes. Along with Richard Dean Anderson, they talk about the burgeoning relationship between their characters during the fourth season. Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, and Don S. Davis also speak candidly about their roles, which is refreshing and informative. The only negative of this documentary is the presence of too many lengthy clips that will be very familiar to the series' devoted fans.

Extras Grade: A


Final Comments

I cannot get enough of Stargate SG-1. Thanks to the DVD releases and nightly airings on the Sci-Fi network, the series has become one of my favorite television offerings. It provides a nearly perfect combination of intriguing science fiction ideas, action-packed shootouts, and personal scenes. Events may seem fairly inconsequential in certain one-off episodes, but they often return to play a larger role in future stories. The acting performances remain top-notch across the entire cast, and the crew takes a small budget and stretches it to the ultimate limit. I highly recommend this DVD release.


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