Children of the Gods
|"Children of the Gods"|
|Stargate SG-1 episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
Episode 1 & 2
|Directed by||Mario Azzopardi|
|Written by||Jonathan Glassner
|Produced by||Ron French|
|Featured music||Joel Goldsmith|
|Cinematography by||Peter Woeste|
|Editing by||Allan Lee|
|Production code||101A, 101B|
|Original air date||July 27, 1997|
"Children of the Gods (Part 1 & 2)" is the first episode of the military science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. It was written by producers Jonathan Glassner and Brad Wright, the pilot was directed by Mario Azzopardi.
"Children of the Gods" is about the re-establishment of the Stargate program after the events of the original 1994 film. The story follows six characters from the film and three new ones created for the series. The central plot involves Apophis attacking the Stargate Command (SGC) and the surviving soldiers from the attack believing him to be Ra from the film.
One year previously, as depicted in the movie Stargate, Colonel Jack O'Neill led a team through the Stargate to the planet Abydos. After killing the Goa'uld System Lord Ra with a nuclear bomb, O'Neill returned to Earth with two survivors of his team, Charles Kawalsky and Louis Ferretti. They leave behind Dr. Daniel Jackson, with his new love Sha're (called Sha'uri in the movie) and her brother Skaara.
The series starts in the empty Embarkation Room of the empty Stargate Command which has been left almost completely empty as a result of the Stargate Program being shut down. In the Embarkation Room, four male airmen, two of whom are Airman 1st Class Fryatt and Staff Sergeant McAfee. The four are joined by Senior Airman Carol Weterings and despite the game going, Weterings expresses doubt about being in the room. Seconds later, the Stargate apparently activates on its own, and the Goa'uld System Lord Apophis and several Jaffa soldiers come through to the Stargate Command base at the Cheyenne Mountain Complex. Weterings is rendered unconscious while her four colleagues including Fryatt and McAfee are killed in the ensuing firefight. The attacker then depart through the Stargate after General Hammond and his soldiers secured the room. Soon after this event, O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) is re-called to Cheyenne Mountain by Major General George Hammond (Don S. Davis). He is questioned along with his former teammates Charles Kawalsky (Jay Acovone) and Louis Ferretti (Brent Stait), about their mission to Abydos. When they refuse to reveal anything other than what is in their reports, General Hammond chooses to send a nuclear bomb through the Stargate to Abydos, believing that the aliens could only have come from Abydos and hoping to destroy whoever came through.
O'Neill reveals that he had lied about using the bomb to destroy Abydos. He admits that while the alien Ra was killed, the people of Abydos are still alive and Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) is living among them. After talking to his superiors, Hammond allows O'Neill to send a tissue box through the Stargate. The box is returned, proving that Jackson is alive and well, O'Neill is recalled to active duty, regains his rank of Colonel and is given permission to take a team through the Stargate to Abydos to investigate the alien invaders. A team is assembled which includes O'Neill, Kawalsky, Ferretti, and Captain/Dr. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), along with several others. When they step through the Stargate, they find a group of Abydonians waiting for them, armed with military weapons from Earth.
Daniel leads O'Neill, Kawalsky, and Carter to a large cavernous room that has innumerable hieroglyphs on the walls. Jackson reveals that he believes that the hieroglyphs of the cartouche match the various symbols on the Stargate, leading him to believe that the walls are actually a map of the coordinates of a vast network of Stargates across the galaxy. While O'Neill and the others are away from the Stargate, the base camp nearby is attacked by the same invaders who attacked the SGC earlier in the episode. The leader's eyes glow, causing many of the survivors to believe that he is Ra. The invaders take Sha're (Vaitiare Bandera) and Skaara (Alexis Cruz, from the 1994 film) with them. Determined to save his wife and brother-in-law, Daniel accompanies O'Neill and his team back to Earth. When the injured Ferretti is able to reveal the symbols that the invaders used to leave Abydos, General Hammond is given permission by the President of the United States to form nine teams who will use the Stargate to gather information about threats to Earth. O'Neill is given command of the team designated "SG-1", with Carter as his second-in-command and Jackson accompanying him. Kawalsky is given command of SG-2.
The team finds Skaara inside the prison. Jackson explains that it was not Ra who attacked them, but Apophis. Before Skaara and SG-1 can escape, Apophis and the possessed Sha're enter with several guards. Several prisoners are chosen to become hosts to the "children of the Gods". Skaara is among the chosen and is dragged away, screaming frantically for O'Neill. Apophis orders that the rest of the prisoners be killed. The guards prepare to execute his orders, but O'Neill desperately convinces Teal'c, a reluctant guard, that he can save his people. Teal'c believes him and turns on his fellow guards, helping the prisoners escape.
O'Neill, Carter, Jackson, and Teal'c lead the prisoners away from Chulak toward the Stargate, with guards pursuing them. Teal'c shows O'Neill that he has a Goa'uld inside him, much to the shock of the others. Near the gate, SG-1 is pinned down by a Goa'uld troop carrier that has transformed into a death glider. (This transformation and the troop carrier appear only in the pilot, and were not continued into the series proper; the 2009 DVD version replaces the transformable ship with a trio of ships that match the later series continuity.) They are rescued by SG-2, who destroy the ship with a rocket launcher. At the gate they find Apophis' troops leaving with the prisoners. O'Neill gains Skaara's attention, but Skaara is already possessed by a Goa'uld. Skaara uses a hand device to knock down O'Neill and escape through the gate. As a battalion of Jaffa attacks their position, Jackson opens the Stargate and leads the prisoners through it. Before Kawalsky steps through the Stargate, he is invaded by an infant Goa'uld, unknown to the others.
After the battle, Jackson and O'Neill reaffirm their determination to find Sha're and Skaara and rescue them. O'Neill asks General Hammond to make Teal'c a member of their team, but the General says it is not his decision. As everyone leaves the gate room, Kawalsky's eyes glow like a Goa'uld.
Release and reception
Variety reviewer Tony Scott criticized that "superficial characters wander through their roles without stirring a modicum of conviction". He mocked that the wooden acting, "pedestrian writing, pulp-mag plotting, shopworn characters, hackneyed dialogue [...] and Mario Azzopardi's broad direction will all undoubtedly delight billions and billions". He predicted that the series is "essentially for young people", and that "if no one else, the kiddies are probably watching" but that it didn't stop the producers from "blatantly showcasing naked young women". Will Joyner from The New York Times considered Stargate SG-1 as a "challenging, if derivative, mix" that is "more than a Stargate [feature film] fan might expect but certainly less than one would hope for". His opinion about the main cast was mixed, and he found it disturbing that SG-1 used shock tactics to make up for its lower television budget. He would not recommend the show for children because of the "grotesque physical attributes in the new villains" and the "gratuitous use of sexual implication and nudity". The episode got a Nielsen rating of 3.3 / 3.4, -4.
MPAA rating and subsequent edits
The episode's original airing on Showtime in 1997 featured full-frontal nudity during the scene showing the possession of Sha're (Vaitiare Bandera) by Amonet. This has never been repeated, and future airings in the United States as well as Hulu and Amazon VOD prints have had the nudity cut out for syndication. The video releases, however, retain this scene. However, in the iTunes release of the episode, included as part of the Season 1 bundle, blurring has been applied to any visuals of the pubic region. This episode along with episodes two and three of the first season of the series are the only ones to be rated R by the MPAA for a scene of nudity, while in the UK the episode is rated 18 by the BBFC. It is rated M in Australia, recommended for (but not restricted to) viewers 15 and older. All other SG-1 episodes have generally been rated PG, or 15, at most.
The Stargate SG-1 pilot episode ("Children of the Gods") was re-cut as a third Stargate SG-1 direct-to-DVD special and released on July 21, 2009 in 16:9 widescreen format. A few months before its release, executive producer Brad Wright announced it was to have with brand new visual effects and scenes not previously included in the television version. The beginning was to be slightly altered, a new scene added, and the nudity scene taken out to make this episode suitable for children, with the final movie roughly seven minutes shorter than the original episode. Joel Goldsmith would re-score the music. Wright stated:
|“||"There is new material, but most of the new material is visual effects or scenes that have been cut. It is tighter. It is significantly tighter. ... The editing pattern is different, and therefore the performances are different. It's a different movie."||”|
Differences from the film
Dean Devlin had originally planned to have two movie sequels pick up the story from his 1994 original Stargate. The first movie already tapped into Egyptian mythology; the second one would have moved into other mythologies; and the third would tie together all mythologies. Devlin then gave Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) control over the franchise, and MGM decided to make a TV series based on the movie. Also, author Bill McCay wrote a series of five novels based on Roland Emmerich's notes, continuing the story the original creators had envisioned to Devlin's dismay. SG-1 showrunners Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner altered the canon by introducing many novel concepts with their mythology of the SG-1 and Atlantis series.
Most notably, many characters were portrayed by different actors in the series, and names were spelled differently. Daniel Jackson was played by James Spader in the movie and by Michael Shanks in the series. Kurt Russell's character Jonathan "Jack" O'Neil, a rather humorless Colonel, is played by Richard Dean Anderson as Jonathan "Jack" O'Neill (with two L's) in SG-1. French Stewart's character was named "Louis Feretti", in SG-1, Brent Stait's character is named "Louis Ferretti", with two R's. The spelling of Daniel Jackson's wife's name changes from "Sha'uri" to "Sha're", O'Neill's wife from "Sarah" to "Sara", and his son from "Tyler" to "Charlie".
The Stargate Command (SGC) setting was transferred from the fictional military facility located in Creek Mountain, to the real life Cheyenne Mountain military complex. The planet Abydos from the film changed the distance from Earth from millions of light-years away (in an entirely different galaxy) to becoming the closest planet to Earth with a Stargate, residing in the same galaxy as Earth. Also in SG-1, Stargate travel is limited to the Stargate network in the Milky Way galaxy. In the film, Ra was the last member of an unnamed race who were becoming extinct, shown as a humanoid species with large black eyes, gray/white skin and a lack of facial features; Ra was able to extend his lifespan by "occupying" (through unexplained means) the body of a human (Jackson describes the process: "Ra took him... Possessed his body like some kind of a parasite"). In SG-1 however, Ra is one of many "Goa'uld System Lords", who are a race of parasitic snake-like creatures who habitually infest and control human bodies.
There were also changes to the Stargate device. The set of 39 symbols unique to each stargate in the film were changed to 38 symbols that are the same for each Stargate (Earth's symbols based on Earth's constellations), plus a single point of origin symbol that is unique to that individual gate. While the "flushing" effect of the activated event horizon in the movie was created by filming water swirling in a glass tube the TV series achieves a similar but distinctly different effect using computer graphics. At the beginning of Season 9, the wormhole sequence was again changed to a new sequence similar to the one already used on Stargate Atlantis, but being blue as it was in the movie and SG-1, whereas in Atlantis it is green and in Stargate Universe, it is white.
- In Stores Today: Children of the Gods - Final Cut gateworld.net, July 2009
- Tony Scott (July 28, 1997). "Stargate SG-1". Variety Magazine. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- Joyner, Will (July 26, 1997). "Through a Gate to the Far Side of the Universe: A TV Series". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- "Children of the Gods". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
- "Children of the Gods". Reasons for Movie Ratings (CARA). Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- "Special edition of SG-1 pilot episode in the works". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- "Devlin Announces Plans for Stargate Sequels" (20 July 2006). ComingSoon.net
- Lee, Patrick (April 16, 2008). "Devlin Develops New Stargates". UK SciFi Networks. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- "What differences are there between the movie and the TV series?". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- "Interviews: Brad Wright". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- Darren Sumner. "Devlin optimistic about 'Stargate' sequels". GateWorld. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- "Stargate SG-1 - the TV Show". BBC. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Will Joyner (July 26, 1997). "Through a Gate to the Far Side of the Universe: A TV Series". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- "Stargate SG-1: The Complete First Season". thedigitalbits. Archived from the original on 2009-03-19. Retrieved 2009-04-04.
- Roland Emmerich (director), Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin (writers). Stargate (commentary track from DVD). Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer (MGM) and Carolco.
- Stargate Magic: Inside The Lab. Special feature on Stargate SG-1 DVD Volume 37 (Lost City).
- Audio commentary for "The Ties That Bind", SG-1.
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