A Quarter Century Of ‘Stargate’ (1994) – Retro Review

Television shows based on popular movies can go either way. In 1978, the timeless classic Animal House was released and became one of the greatest comedies in American history. To capitalize on the success, a television show was created to show the day-to-day hi-jinx of the fraternity from the movie. Delta House lasted just one season with half of the original cast and was a huge flop. Then you have the opposite effect with M*A*S*H. Based on the novel, the movie came out in 1970 and was a huge success. To capitalize on the film, the TV show came out in 1972. The show outdid the movie by leaps and bounds, lasting 11 seasons. The final episode of season 11, which was shown on February 28, 1983, was the most watched television show in US history until Superbowl 44 in February of 2010.


The 1994 film, Stargate, can be put in the category as M*A*S*H as a good movie that became an even better TV show. The idea of an inter-dimensional portal is a goldmine for science fiction stories because they can open up a variety of possibilities in terms of friends, foes and destinations.

The story, which was originally penned by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin (Bad Samaritan 2018), begins in the late 1920s where an Egyptian portal is discovered by Dr. Langford. The only problem is they have no idea how to open it. Nearly 70 years later, Dr. Langford’s daughter, Catherine (Viveca Lindfors), has found a way to power up the portal, but needs someone to translate the hieroglyphics.

That’s where Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader) is needed. He is not only able to open the portal to the other dimension, but he can also get Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell) and his strike team back home in case they meet unfriendly resistance. O’Neil is a down-on-his-luck military officer who is mourning the accidental death of his son. He takes two of his team members, Kawalsky (John Diehl) and Brown (Derek Webster), through the portal. Waiting for them on the other side is an old Egyptian civilization including the leader Kasuf (Erick Avari), the eager Skaara (Alexis Cruz) and the shy Sha’uri (Mili Avital).

Then the villains are introduced, who are led by the God known as Ra (Jaye Davidson). His top soldiers, Anubis (Carlos Lauchu) and Horus (Djimon Hounsou), pose the biggest threat to Jackson and O’Neil’s crew. Can Jackson defeat Ra, free the villagers and get the team home? You’ll need to see the movie to find out!

“Danger… Danger, Jack O’Neil!”

For its time, the CGI and production values were top notch. The story was hard to figure out sometimes, and even Spader himself said it sounded “awful” the first time he read the script. Eventually, he got the hang of it and turned in a fantastic performance.

The movie won the prestigious Saturn Award for Best Science Fiction Film in 1995 and grossed over $16 million its first week. This was only the beginning for the franchise. A video game was made for Super Nintendo where you play as O’Neil and fight various bugs and soldiers, taking a few liberties as most video games based on movies did in those days.

Then there’s the TV show. Ah, yes… the TV show. Realizing the potential of a science fiction show based on inter-dimensional travel after the success of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, networks execs clamored for a Stargate television show. Unfortunately, Emmerich and Devlin couldn’t participate because they were busy with their upcoming smash hit, Independence Day. In 1997, Stargate: SG-1 hit the airwaves and lasted a ten full seasons, ending in 2007. Stargate: Atlantis was launched in 2004 and lasted 5 seasons, featuring a young Jason Momoa.

As for the original Stargate, its legacy continues to live on. Not only was most of the main cast members already established stars, but many of the actors behind the smaller roles went on to become stars: John Diehl was a regular on Miami Vice for three seasons, Derek Webster later became a regular on NCIS: New Orleans and Djimon Hounsou was in Guardians of The Galaxy.

“I am Buzz Lightyear… I come in peace”

As we celebrate 25 years of Stargate with all the associated movies, TV shows, video games and merchandise, it’s important to remember how it all began. The science fiction movie in 1994 opened the door for 25 years of fun and adventure. Stargate deserves the 21 gun salute.

Watch Stargate right here!

About Kevin H

PopHorror.com's number one heel. Favorite horror movies: Insidious, Friday the 13th Part 6, Trick Or Treat (Gene Simmons version), the original King Kong, the Alien/Aliens franchise, Nightmare on Elm Street 3, I've been a writer since middle school and have been so controversial I was suspended in middle school, nearly got suspended in high school and kicked off two websites for bad language or different opinions. I can write reviews, fan fics, real fics, romance, sports writing, critiques and anything I'm challenged to do.

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