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MGM Studios DVD presents
Stargate SG-1: Season 9 (2005-2006)

"It doesn't look like we’re getting the band back together."
- Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell (Ben Browder)

Review By: Dan Heaton   
Published: October 02, 2006

Stars: Ben Browder, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Amanda Tapping, Beau Bridges
Other Stars: Claudia Black, Lexa Doig, Louis Gossett Jr., Don S. Davis, Tony Amendola, Cliff Simon, Julian Sands, Richard Dean Anderson, William B. Davis, Bill Dow, Tony Todd, Barclay Hope, Robert Picardo, Cameron Bright, Reed Diamond, Matthew Glave, John Noble, Matthew Walker, Gary Jones
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (suitable for television audiences)
Run Time: 14h:32m:00s
Release Date: October 03, 2006
UPC: 027616000859
Genre: television


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-A- A-

DVD Review

The eighth season of Stargate SG-1 ended with five episodes that easily could have offered a wonderful conclusion to the long-running series. Star Richard Dean Anderson had decided to leave the show, and nearly all of the major enemies had been defeated. However, the Sci-Fi Channel did renew the series for a ninth season, which sent the writers scrambling to create new characters and a nasty villain. Their first major coup was signing Farscape star Ben Browder to play Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell, who would lead the team into the future. Acting heavyweight Beau Bridges also joins full-time as General Hank Landry and offers a strong presence on the base. Claudia Black (Farscape) Louis Gossett, Jr. (Iron Eagle), and Lexa Doig (Andromeda) appear as recurring characters during this season and help to generate a solid ensemble cast.

The second major change is the arrival of a powerful new enemy, the Ori. These religious fanatics are Ancients who choose to involve themselves in the fate of mankind. Their energy increases as the number of followers grows, which causes them to recruit devotees by any means necessary. Unlike such past major villains as the Goa'uld and the Replicators, the Ori do not appear to have a weakness that can be exploited by SG-1. The result is consistent defeats that push the Earth to the brink of disaster. Unfortunately, the Ori are cold beings and lack the excitement needed to generate excellent drama. There are some exceptions, particularly in the creepy Origin and enjoyable mid-season finale The Fourth Horseman, but they often create more tedium than entertainment.

Thankfully, the show's regular actors remain charismatic throughout the season and deliver good entertainment. Michael Shanks continues to expand his character and has plenty of screen time this year. Christopher Judge does not receive as many pivotal scenes as other years, but he continues to make Teal'c a strong and believable individual. Following her maternity leave early in the season, Amanda Tapping returns as Samantha Carter and eventually hits her stride. Her first few episodes are a bit sluggish, but she continues to play an interesting role. Ben Browder is surprisingly comfortable from the start and takes the lead without a hitch.

Stargate SG-1 is a series that could face ridicule when compared to the hard-hitting drama of an unpredictable critical favorite like Battlestar Gallactica. However, the episodes still offer an interesting serial with top-notch effects, engaging characters, and consistent entertainment. The ninth season struggles with the transition away from its original format and almost feels like an entirely new series. The producers actually thought about changing the name to Stargate Command, but this modification probably would have confused many viewers. Although it falls short of the classic stories from past years, this collection still offers an entertaining ride. Enjoy the episode summaries!

Disc One

Mitchell: I was hoping you could tell me something personal.
Soldier Dave: People call me Dave.
Mitchell: Yeah...it says here that that's your name...


Avalon, Part One
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Andy Mikita
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Obi Ndefo as Rak'nor, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, Matthew Walker as Merlin, Richard Dean Anderson as General Jack O'Neill
Commentary: Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Director Andy Mikita

The season begins with the arrival of Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchell at the SGC with hopes of joining the remaining original SG-1 members. Unfortunately, the three remaining team members have ventured into new avenues. Teal’c is striving to create a free government for the Jaffa at Dakara, Carter is working at Area 51, and Daniel has plans to visit Atlantis. Everything changes with the return of the devious Vala Mal Doran (from Prometheus Unbound), who brings them a tablet that could lead to a lost Ancient treasure. Trapping Daniel with an alien device allows her to join him, Mitchell, and Teal’c to explore a possible cache of Merlin, who may have been an Ancient. This impressive episode begins the post-O’Neill era in strong fashion by replacing him with several acting veterans. Richard Dean Anderson does make a quick appearance as O’Neill to bridge the seasons, but it provides only minor interest. The lone drawback is the Arthurian aspect, which appears to indicate signs of desperation from the writers.

Welcome Ben, Beau, and Claudia! This engaging story deserves 4 out of 5 Stargates.





Avalon, Part Two
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Andy Mikita
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Obi Ndefo as Rak'nor, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, April Amber Telek as Sallis, Steven Park as Harrid, Lexa Doig as Dr. Carolyn Lam, Paul Moniz De Sá as Fannis
Commentary: Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Director Andy Mikita

After narrowly escaping several nasty challenges, Daniel and Vala are transported across the galaxy through a newly discovered communications device. Inhabiting the bodies of two villagers, they discover the existence of a powerful new enemy – the Ori. These apparent religious fanatics sell their message as offering truth, but they do not take kindly to resistance. While Dr. Lee (Bill Dow) and Mitchell attempt to sever the connection and return Daniel and Vala to Earth, the unlikely duo faces possibly deadly consequences for defying the Ori. This episode struggles to introduce a new enemy within the typical village setting. The Ori may be powerful, but they pale in comparison to past enemies. One strong point is the stunning final moment, which differs considerably from expectations.

The Ori make a less-than-stellar first appearance. This episode receives 2.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Origin
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Brad Turner
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Larry Cedar as Prior, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, April Amber Telek as Sallis, Steven Park as Harrid, Richard Dean Anderson as General Jack O'Neill, Julian Sands as Doci, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Louis Gossett Jr. as Gerak, Paul Moniz De Sá as Fannis, Gardiner Millar as Yat'Yir, Penelope Corrin as Dr. Lindsay
Commentary: Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Director of Photography Jim Menard

This conclusion to the three-part premiere brings Daniel into direct contact with the Ori through the Doci, played with a creepy intensity by Julian Sands. Our heroes’ arrival has revealed this galaxy’s existence to the Ori, and they appear ready to launch a crusade against the unbelievers. Meanwhile, Landry meets with the imposing Jaffa leader Gerak (Louis Gossett, Jr.), who may cause problems for peace in the future. An Ori Prior also arrives at a nearby planet and is brought to the SGC. His revelations about their plans for domination could reveal serious troubles for the future. After the hokey village scenes of the previous episode, this story adds considerable menace to the Ori. The visual effects of the Ori stronghold are top-notch, and Michael Shanks delivers another strong performance.

This pivotal episode is one of the season’s best, and it deserves 4 out of 5 Stargates.





The Ties That Bind
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: William Waring
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Bruce Gray as Senator Fisher, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, Wallace Shawn as Arlos, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Michael P. Northey as Inago, Malcolm Scott as Caius, Morris Chapdelaine as Tenat
Commentary: Director William Waring and Writer/Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi

Even after removing the bracelets, Daniel and Vala learn they are still bound together by the alien device. Assisted by Mitchell, they must follow a lengthy trail to determine the method for removing this connection. This path leads them to the Lucian Alliance, a group of smugglers and other mercenaries who have gained power following the demise of the Goa’uld. In other news, Landry worries about major budget cuts from the government that could cripple the program. This light-hearted episode gives Claudia Black a chance to shine, but it becomes tedious as the team meets a collection of shady characters. It offers a silly ride, but falls well short of the season’s better episodes.

This light-hearted episode receives 2.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Disc Two

The Powers That Be
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: William Waring
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Cam Chai as Azdak, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Greg Anderson as Prior
Commentary: Director William Waring, Writer/Executive Producer Joseph Mallozzi, and Writer Martin Gero

Penned by regular Stargate Atlantis writer Martin Gero, this episode focuses on Vala’s past and brings SG-1 into direct contact with an Ori Prior. When Vala reveals that she is not a god, she must stand trial for the crimes of the Goa’uld parasite Qetesh. Meanwhile, the Prior unleashes a deadly virus into the populace and will only cure them if they accept the Ori as their gods. Daniel strives mightily the win the battle of ideas, but his efforts may be futile if everyone dies. This interesting episode reveals the impressive powers of the Priors, who appear to be invulnerable to standard weapons. It also gives Claudia Black another primary role before the end of her guest appearances. The result is an effective tale that leads well into future Ori encounters.

This solid episode receives 3 out of 5 Stargates.





Prior: You will fail. The Ori are more powerful than you.
Mitchell: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...


Beachead
Written by: Brad Wright
Directed by: Brad Turner
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala, Barclay Hope as Colonel Pendergast, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Maury Chaykin as Nerus, Louis Gossett Jr. as Gerak, Martin Christopher as Lieutenant Marks, Dan Shea as Sgt. Siler
Commentary: Visual Effects Supervisor Mark Savela and Visual Effects Coordinator James Rorick

Carter’s back! Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, Amanda Tapping seems to have forgotten how to act interested in the show’s crazy events, which are rampant in this CGI-laden story. Carter is one of my favorite characters, but for some reason she isn’t believable here. The story involves an ambitious Ori plan to create a Supergate that will allow them to begin their conquest of our galaxy. SG-1 attempts to destroy this mysterious device, but their efforts could actually help to bring about their destruction. Meanwhile, Landry questions a bloated minor Goa’uld named Nerus who appears interested in forming an alliance with the SGC. However, it is no surprise that his motives might not be so ethical. Maury Chakin chews up plenty of scenery in this over-the-top role. This visually stunning entry includes some great moments, but the lack of character development keeps it from being a classic episode.

The line deliveries are pretty flat, but the ambitious visual effects earn this episode 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Ex Deus Machina
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Martin Wood
Guest stars: Cliff Simon as Baal, Kendall Cross as Julia Donovan, Barclay Hope as Colonel Lionel Pendergast, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Peter Flemming as Agent Malcolm Barrett, Sonya Salomaa as Charlotte Mayfield, Louis Gossett Jr. as Gerak, Gardiner Millar as Yat'Yir, Simone Bailly as Ka'lel
Commentary: Director Martin Wood and Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi

Finally, an episode that has little to do with the Ori! Cliff Simon returns as the fan favorite Goa’uld Baal, who has taken refuge on Earth as a corporate leader, which fits him perfectly. He claims to want peace and quiet, but SG-1 refuses to believe his statements. They receive assistance from Fox Mulder, also known as Agent Malcolm Barrett (Peter Flemming), who has a soft spot for Carter. Gerak is also involved for the search for Baal, and he seems to gain the upper hand. But appearances can be deceiving. This earth-bound episode includes a nasty twist that works well here but becomes annoying in some future stories. Cliff Simon always shines as Baal, and his appearance helps to create an entertaining episode.

What don’t they just kill Barrett? Please? This episode receives 3 out of 5 Stargates.





Babylon
Written by: Damien Kindler
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Guest stars: Jason George as Jolan, Jarvis George as Volnek, William B. Davis as Prior, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Tony Todd as Lord Haikon, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Darcy Laurie as Tass'an, Bryan Elliot as Col. Raimi
Commentary: Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

In one of the season’s top episodes, Colonel Mitchell is badly injured and captured by the legendary Jaffa tribe of Sodan warriors. Their leader is the imposing Lord Haikon (Tony Todd), a amiable figure who believes in fair ancient rules. However, they also have encountered an Ori Prior (William B. Davis, The X Files’ Cigarette Smoking Man), and may also fall victim to his claims. During his recovery, Mitchell forms a bond with Jolan (Jason George), the kin of the Sodan he supposedly killed during his first encounter. This complicates their planned battle, which could lead to deadly consequences. This episode succeeds because it focuses more on character than visual effects and hokey religious moments. Ben Browder gets the chance to build his character, and the result is a gripping tale.

This strong episode deserves 4 out of 5 Stargates.





Disc Three

Prototype
Written by: Allan McCollough
Directed by: Will Waring
Guest stars: Neil Jackson as Khalek, Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Ivan Cermak as Altman
Commentary: Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Writer Alan McCollough

SG-1 discovers a strange being named Khalek (Neil Jackson) who may be a Goa’uld-human hybrid and bring him back to the SGC for study. Is that a smart move? I doubt it. Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo) arrives representing his international committee superiors, who hope to study Khalek. But the being’s increasing powers raise the concerns of Daniel and Landry, who decide to send him back to his stasis tube. But Khalek will not be defeated so easily, leading to another violent confrontation. This conventional story has an interesting premise, but it drags along and rarely moves beyond the expected territory.

This disappointing episode receives 2 out of 5 Stargates.





The Fourth Horseman, Part 1
Written by: Damian Kindler
Directed by: Andy Mikita
Guest stars: Cameron Bright as Orlin, Don S. Davis as General Hammond, Tony Amendola as Bra'tac, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, Panou as Lieutenant Fischer, Ty Olsson as Colonel Barnes, Julian Sands as Doci, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Louis Gossett Jr. as Gerak
Commentary: Director Andy Mikita and Writer Damian Kindler

In the mid-season finale, Earth faces possible destruction when the Ori transmit a plague through a SG-6 member. The ancient Orlin, who Carter met in Season Five’s Ascension, returns in the form of a child to assist in defeating this menace. As the virus spreads well past the walls of the SGC, the country is placed under quarantine by the president. Hoping to stop the plague, Mitchell and Jackson attempt to contact the Sodan and use their anti-Prior weapon. Meanwhile, Gerak begins to sway towards joining the Ori, which could lead to even more deadly consequences. This plot-heavy episode promises serious complications for Earth, but its success is hampered considerably by a wooden performance by Cameron Bright as the child version of Orlin. While his lack of emotions fits with the original performance from Sean Patrick Flanery, it brings every scene involving him to a serious halt.

Will Earth survive? This plot-heavy episode receives 3 out of 5 Stargates.





Prior: It makes no difference what you do to me, but know this. The Ori are all-seeing. (Daniel and Mitchell glance upward) They are already aware of this affront to their eminence, and shall strike down those who dare to defy them.
Mitchell: Nothing yet. You?
Daniel: Drawing a blank. Little thirsty.


The Fourth Horseman, Part 2
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Andy Mikita
Guest stars: Cameron Bright as Orlin, Jason George as Jolan, Tony Todd as Lord Haikon, Don S. Davis as General Hammond, Tony Amendola as Bra'tac, William B. Davis as Prior, Garry Chalk as Chekov, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam, Louis Gossett Jr. as Gerak
Commentary: Director Andy Mikita and Writer/Producer Paul Mullie

After a nearly four-month break, the series returned in January 2006 with this conclusion to the mid-season cliffhanger. Using their new anti-Prior weapon, Mitchell and Jackson capture a Prior in hopes that his blood will lead to a cure for the Ori virus. Meanwhile, Teal’c and his loyal Jaffa pals attempt to make a stand against Gerak, who has joined with the Ori. There chances of survival appear slim. This episode improves on its predecessor and provides several tense confrontations. Louis Gossett Jr. gives his best performance, and William B. Davis is effective as the Prior. It’s too bad that young Cameron Bright does receive considerable screen time.

This worthy conclusion receives 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Collateral Damage
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: William Waring
Guest stars: Anna Galvin as Dr. Reya Varrick, Warren Kimmel as Dr. Marell, Benson Simmonds as Dr. Amuro, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Ian Robison as Mitchell's Father, Brian Drummond as Officer
Commentary: Director William Waring and Director of Photography Peter Woeste

Mitchell faces serious trouble when a night with a young lady turns into an apparent murder. Events are more complicated because he actually remembers killing her. Did the good guy actually commit this crime, or is a devious force at work? Mitchell had been testing the Galarans’ memory device in a project run by Dr. Reya Varrick (Anna Galvin), the attractive scientist who was killed. Is his memory false? This question leads him on a muddled exploration that arouses suspicions about several scientists. This one-off episode does reveal a key moment from Mitchell’s past that still haunts him today. The story is interesting and includes some notable personal scenes.

This solid episode receives 3 out of 5 Stargates.





Disc Four

Landry: I am not about to turn this base into the Grand Central Station of the multiverse.

Ripple Effect
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Guest stars: Teryl Rothery as Janet Fraiser, JR Bourne as Martouf, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman), Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, Lexa Doig as Dr. Lam
Commentary: Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Visual Effects Producer Michelle Comens

This crazy, highly entertaining episode brings SG-1 into contact with numerous versions of the team from other dimensions. While the reasons for their appearance don’t totally make sense, it allows for several dead characters to return to the series. Teryl Rothery shines once again as Dr. Frasier, who served at the SGC for seven seasons. JR Bourne also returns as the Tok’ra Martouf, and he still has eyes for Carter. It would have been great to see an appearance by Richard Dean Anderson, but his absence is understandable. This entry offers plenty of ridiculous visuals, including the appearance of many Carters interacting at one time to solve the problem. The actors have loads of fun interacting with each other (and themselves), which leads to a very enjoyable story.

Easily the most fun episode of the season, this story receives 4.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Stronghold
Written by: Allan McCollough
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Guest stars: Tony Amendola as Bra'tac, Cliff Simon as Baal, Reed Diamond as Major Bryce Ferguson, Dakin Matthews as Maz'rai, Yan Feldman as Til'Vak, Veena Sood as Dr. Kelly
Commentary: Director Peter DeLuise and Actor Gary Jones

Teal’c and Bra’tac become concerned when their allies strangely shift their positions on key issues. The concerns grow even stronger when Teal’c disappears, causing everyone to attempt a daring rescue from Baal’s fortress. Also, Homicide’s Agent Mike Kellerman, aka Reed Diamond, guest stars as a friend of Mitchell’s dying from a brain aneurysm suffered while saving his life. While this story has little to do with the primary story line, it helps to build Mitchell’s character once again. This action-packed episode showcases Christopher Judge as Teal’c struggles against Baal’s brainwashing techniques. It does feel a bit too similar to episodes from previous seasons, but offers an exciting ride.

This episode feels more like classic Stargate, and it earns 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Ethon
Written by: Damian Kindler
Directed by: Ken Girotti
Guest stars: John Aylward as President Nadal, Ernie Hudson as Commander Pernaux, Matthew Bennett as Jarrod Kane, Desiree Zurowski as Minister Chaska, Barclay Hope as Colonel Lionel Pendergast, Gary Jones as Walter Harriman, Martin Christopher as Captain Marks, Chelah Horsdal as Lt. Womack
Commentary: Writer Damian Kindler and Actor Barclay Hope

Daniel receives a message from Jarrod Kane (Matthew Bennett) of the planet Tegalus, the place where he spent considerable time in Season 8’s Icon. The battles between the Rand Protectorate and Kane’s Caledonians continue, and the appearance of the Ori has threatened to give the Rand a major edge. They now possess a nasty satellite weapon that could generate massive destruction. Arriving on the planet with the Prometheus, SG-1 tries to convince the Rand about the Ori’s evil aims, but their confrontation leads to dire consequences. Ernie Hudson guest stars as Commander Pernaux, the Rand second in command who begins to harbor doubts about the Ori. Can SG-1 avert total annihilation and defeat the Ori? The prospects of a happy ending look grim. This episode treads similar ground to many previous episodes and tries to be unique, but it never moves into gripping territory.

This episode is one of SG-1’s rougher outings, and it receives 2.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Off the Grid
Written by: Allan McCollough
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Guest stars: Cliff Simon as Baal, Matthew Glave as Colonel Paul Emerson, Vince Corazza as Worrel, Eric Steinberg as Netan, Gary Jones as Sergeant Harriman, Erik Breker as Reynolds, Maury Chaykin as Nerus
Commentary: Writer Allan McCollough and Director of Photography Jim Menard

Why does almost every episode with the Lucian Alliance stink? It could be coincidence, but I doubt it. In this dull entry, SG-1 find themselves wearing silly leather outfits and are shocked when the planet’s Stargate disappears, blocking their escape. Landry immediately suspects Baal, and decides it’s time to use the imprisoned Nerus. Devising a complex plan, he hopes to use the Goa’uld to catch the much bigger fish. Meanwhile, SG-1 faces torture and possible death at the hands of the Lucian Alliance. This episode is very dull and introduces the recurring Colonel Paul Emerson, played blandly by Matthew Glave. The Lucian Alliance is a much-different enemy, but they don’t present any formidable opponents and are one-note villains.

This clunker receives 2 out of 5 Stargates.





Disc Five

The Scourge
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Ken Girotti
Guest stars: Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey, Tamlyn Tomita as Shen Xiaoyi, Mark Oliver as Lapierre, Andy Maton as Chapman, Tony Alcantar as Dr. Myers
Commentary: Executive Producer/Writer Joseph Mallozzi and Visual Effects Producer Michelle Comens

SG-1 must escort four representatives of the International Oversight Advisory (IOA) for a tour of the Gamma Site, which does not excite our adventurous heroes. This peaceful trip could be jeopardized by the spread of a nasty bug called R75 that may have ties to the Ori. The scientists obviously haven’t watched other episodes of the series, and they unwittingly allow the bugs to spread across the base. The IOA members include the familiar faces Richard Woolsey and Shen Xiaoyi, the outspoken Chinese representative. This unfortunate experience obviously will not have a positive effect on the SGC’s relations with the IOA. It also does not translate into an enjoyable episode. In fact, it stands as the least successful entry of the season.

This all-too-familiar episode receives 1.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Arthur’s Mantle
Written by: Alan McCollough
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Guest stars: Jarvis George as Volnek, Doug Wert as Major Hadden, Bill Dow as Dr. Lee, Gary Jones as Chief Harriman, Eric Breker as Reynolds, Tony Todd as Lord Haikon
Commentary: Writer Allan McCollough and Director of Photography Jim Menard

While examining a mysterious alien device recovered during Avalon, Carter and Mitchell are sent out of phase from our dimension. They attempt to communicate with Daniel and the others, but no one can see them. Meanwhile, Teal’c joins SG-12 to investigate a garbled message from the Sodan and discovers that their camp has been destroyed. One of their own has been corrupted and may be impossible to defeat. After finally learning what happened to Carter and Mitchell, the SGC members struggle to return them to form while defeating the Sodan enemy. This episode is a welcome change from the two previous clunkers and does generate tension with its dangerous enemy.

This episode receives 3 out of 5 Stargates.





Crusade
Written by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Robert C. Cooper
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala Mal Doran, Tim Guinee as Tomin, Daniella Evangelista as Denya, Garry Chalk as Chekov, Tamlyn Tomita as Shen Xiaoyi, Michael Ironside as Seevis, Alex Dafoe as Halstrom
Commentary: Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Director of Photography Peter Woeste

What happened to Vala Mal Doran? Using the communications device (correctly this time), she inhabits Daniel Jackson’s body and recounts her experiences at the Ori village. Vala is now pregnant, but the baby is not the result of any relations. Also, the tale involves an anti-Ori underground lead by Seevis (Michael Ironside) who she eventually joins. Unfortunately, Vala discovers that the Ori plan to launch an all-out crusade into Earth’s galaxy that could mean the end of our world. Meanwhile, Landry faces tough negotiations with the Russians, who want to take the Stargate back and begin their own program. This interesting episode does a nice job in setting up the season finale with the appropriate sense of dread.

How will Earth survive? This episode receives 3.5 out of 5 Stargates.





Mitchell: So all you had to do was shoot the control crystal.
Daniel: Pretty much.
Mitchell: Sounds like one of my plans.


Camelot
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie
Directed by: Martin Wood
Guest stars: Claudia Black as Vala Mal Doran, John Noble as Meurik, Katharine Isabelle as Valencia, Matthew Glave as Colonel Paul Emerson, David Thomson as Antonius, Eric Steinberg as Netan, Gary Chalk as Chekov, Matthew Walker as Merlin, Martin Christopher as Major Marks
Commentary: Director Martin Wood and Actor Amanda Tapping

It’s season-finale time, and the task has rarely been tougher for SG-1. All four team members journey to a distant planet in hopes of securing Merlin’s anti-Ori weapon to protect Earth. They struggle to unlock its secrets and try to assuage the villagers’ fears about magic. Meanwhile, Carter returns to the Odyssey and attempts to dial out of the Supergate before the Ori ships arrive, and Teal’c tries to secure help from the Lucian Alliance. The final battle could lead to a grand victory or the end of SG-1. This fast-moving episode includes some enjoyable moments, including Mitchell’s second battle with a holographic knight. The only downside is the concluding scenes, which are overdone and lessen the tension of the pivotal conflict.

It could have been stronger, but this episode still earns a worthy 3 out of 5 Stargates.



Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.78:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This release continues the past trend and offers impressive 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfers for each episode. The visual style is much closer to the companion series Stargate Atlantis than in past years and showcases a broader range of images. The darker scenes do contain a small amount of grain, but it fails to detract significantly from the overall presentation.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchno
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The high-tech battles with the Ori and other enemies provide numerous opportunities for impressive audio, and the 5.1-channel Dolby Digital transfer does not disappoint. The spaceship and Stargate effects are strong, and the considerable dialogue is easily understandable. The complexity may fall a bit short of the best movie releases, but it succeeds when compared to similar television offerings.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 80 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish with remote access
20 Feature/Episode commentaries by cast and crew on each episode
Packaging: Box Set
Picture Disc
5 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Photo and Production Design Galleries
Extras Review: Stargate SG-1: Season 9 includes commentaries on every episode and an impressive collection of featurettes about specific episodes and various aspects of the production. While it falls a bit short of superior past releases, it still offers plenty of worthy elements (and slimmer packaging!). The individual extras are described in the sections below:

Commentaries
Stargate SG-1 is one of the few shows on television that has consistently offered commentaries on every episode (since season four). This collection includes discussions mostly from the directors, writers, and a few other crew members. For example, Director Andy Mikita and Robert C. Cooper appear for both parts of Avalon and cover a wide range of notable issues. They also converse about the significant changes made to the series. The one appearance by a primary cast member comes from Amanda Tapping, who speaks about the finale Camelot with Director Martin Wood. It would have been intriguing to hear feedback from the main actors about the show, but it's hard to complain about 20 commentary tracks. The participants for each individual episode are described in the summaries provided in the main review.

Director's Series: Avalon (11:13)
Director Andy Mikita discusses the new characters and big scenes from the two-part premiere. We do receive a bit too much plot summary but also get to see impressive behind-the-scenes footage. The comparisons between the rehearsals and actual scenes for the sword fight also are effective.

It Takes a Crew to Raise a Village (14:05)
This featurette describes the construction of the massive village used by both SG-1 and Atlantis. The indoor set can hold more than 100 villagers comfortably and be used for a wide range of environments. Production Designer Bridget McGuire, Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper, and Construction Coordinator Thom Wells explain the extensive building process. We also view interesting sketches and learn noteworthy details about the setting.

Inside the Stargate Prop Department (15:24)
The always silly Peter DeLuise begins this feature by explaining the definition of a prop. Next, Property Master Dean Goodine talks about his team and presents many items that have played a key role in the series. We receive specifics about the use of zat guns, a nuclear bomb, and swords.

Director's Series: The Powers That Be (11:22)
Director William Waring discusses this episode's plot and its variance from the typical heroic victory. Footage of the filming on sand dunes near Vancouver conveys the difficulties involved with shooting in the area. Waring also describes the switch from a camera operator to director and his filming style.

Inside the Stargate Special Effects Department (18:36)
Peter DeLuise appears again, this time to clarify the difference between visual and special effects. This enjoyable featurette explores special effects, which are practical effects created on the set. Special Effects Supervisor Ray Douglas is an enthusiastic guy who has worked on the show since the beginning. We're able to observe the crew planning explosions, discussing safety, and working with other unique items.

Director's Series: Prototype (13:55)
It's unfortunate that they chose a subpar episode for this featurette, but Peter DeLuise keeps things interesting with his light-hearted, informative approach. He speaks about this episode's style, which "borrows" considerably from Silence of the Lambs. We also learn about working with the guest stars, including the professional Robert Picardo. DeLuise even admits that the episode is pretty "talky," but still is proud of the creation.

An Introduction to Ben Browder (21:21)
This informative featurette offers plenty comments from Ben Browder, the newest series star. The humble actor discusses watching the entire past eight seasons over several weeks, which is a very large task. He also describes his feelings about replacing Richard Dean Anderson and what drives his own character. The final segment involves several minutes of Browder answering fans' questions.

Director's Series: Ethon (15:52)
Ken Girotti worked on Stargate SG-1 during its first season, and he has returned eight years later to again direct several episodes. The most interesting moment involves Michael Shanks taking us through an eerie set that may be haunted. Most of this featurette is pretty dull and includes too much plot summary from Girotti.

Profile On Brad Wright (20:46)
Brad Wright co-created the show with Jonathan Glassner and has been involved in every aspect of the production since the beginning. This lengthy interview covers his background on The Outer Limits, this series' early days, and its evolution throughout the years. Michael Shanks gives a very complimentary picture of Wright's working style and constant enthusiasm. We also see a few more fan questions at the piece's conclusion.

Director's Series: Crusade (15:16)
Writer/excecutive producer Robert C. Cooper has offered some of the best material in past releases, and this featurette continues this trend. This episode marks his directorial debut, and Cooper spends a good deal of time speaking about his style. We also learn about a childhood trip to see Jaws that spawned his interest in filmmaking.

Photo Galleries and Production Design Galleries
Each of the five discs includes a solid collection of photographs separated into typical pictures and production design images.

Extras Grade: A-

 

Final Comments

The ninth season of Stargate SG-1 was a transition year that allowed the writers to take the story in a new direction. This change obviously invigorated the cast and crew, but it leads to the show's weakest collection of episodes. While the current 10th season does offer some improvement, the Sci-Fi Channel has announced that this offering will be the series' last. If you're a Stargate novice, this set would not be your best choice for an introduction. However, it contains enough worthy moments to please devoted fans who continue to support the longest-running television series in sci-fi history.

 


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