Stargate Origins Review
Seventeen seasons and a movie, that’s not a bad run for a franchise that doesn’t have the word Trek proceeded by Star. MGM is back with the beloved franchise once again in a new format and a new origin story. It is hard to know who Stargate Origins is aimed at with its ten minute webisodes on a streaming service designed to be watched on a mobile device. In a world of Dolby Digital, 4K and HDR this all seem a little half heated.
But none of that matters right because Stargate has been off our screens for far too long and any return to that universe is a welcome return especially as the on again, off agian Roland Emmerich feature seems to be dead.
Stargate Origins is the story of Catherine and her father Professor Langford who discovered the Stargate in Ghiza in 1928. Keeping within the confines of the current lore Stargate Origins brings something new to the table with a story that is a prequel to the original movie. Throw in some Nazis’ who want to harness the power of the Stargate to aid Hitler’s rise to power and a return to Abydos and you have all the ingredients for a fun filled action adventure.
Except, this is so poorly executed and Stargate deserves so much better. The sets, the props and even the Stargate itself looks like cheap knock offs. The acting is atrocious, the actors horribly miscast and the lead was just annoying. The writers may have been aiming for a strong female lead with Catherine (Ellie Gall) and whereas they had the likes or Carter, Vala, Weir and Teyla to draw upon they went with damsel in distress who knows no fear. Perhaps this is a harkening back to a troupe of the 30’s era within which the story is set but it is simply grates and becomes tiresome very quickly. Philip Alexander’s portrayal of James Beal Catherine’s love interest, is simply cringe inducing, and does nothing to add any credibility to this production. There is no chemistry between either actor and the viewer is simply left with the feeling that if both die then there is no real loss to the world and may bring this shambles of a production to swift end.
The humour in this is comically bad and with some attempts at physical comedy it would be more at home in a Three Stoodges movie. You won’t find any of the series signature O’Neill or Sheppard one liners.
Had this not had the words Stargate in the title and been funded by MGM you could be forgiven for thinking this was a polished fan made project. Had this not aired in ten minute bite sized episodes I doubt many would have had the will to sit through the whole feature. Yet there is a certain charm to the show that hard core fans may find appealing if their hunger for a new installment allows the bar to be set very low. The use of the original Stargate theme will fool you into giving this more of a chance then it deserves, the tie into the movie and references to the TV show will give you the impression that someone actually cared enough about Stargate to follow continuity and the odd moment of genuine comic relief by Wasif (Shvan Aladdin) will give you hope that this may find its feet after a few episodes.
Stargate was once and still is an immensely popular franchise and has been hugely profitable for MGM over the years, it is extremely heart breaking to see it reduced to a Lifetime movie of the week affair. One has to hope that this is not the end of the franchise and MGM can find a way to finance a new, quality show.