Friday, November 2, 2007

Unending

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Okay not sure I could close the door on her?

Seriously, ten years later, and Stargate SG-1 finally ended or unended, if you will, bidding farewell.

The final episode, Unending, was a truly special departure as far as television goes indeed.

It's remarkable to me the mythology that has been cultivated so richly like Star Trek. It is spectacularly detailed and original building year after year on the vision of its creators. Where Star Trek has the Klingons and Borg, Stargate the Goa’uld and Replicators.

Such unique, wholly orginal and thoroughly realized worlds are precisely why these franchises succeed. It is why it was so hard to say goodbye to the original SG-1. They are like old friends.

Star Trek has existed much longer and Stargate might seem in its infancy by comparison, but like the Enterprise it is the Stargate that delivers the adventure. The imagination, the writing, the acting, the entire collaborative was pure genius thanks to the likes of Peter Deluise, Brad Wright, Jonathan Glassner, Robert Cooper and the cast and crew. It was this combined effort and chemistry that made such a lasting impression on modern science fiction.


Unending culled many elements from the show together [time dilation, the Asgard, the Ori, hyperdrive] and came up with yet another entirely refreshing new story, not to mention reversing time.
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In my opinion, it was one of the most emotionally resonant shows from Stargate's entire catalog [much to debate here] next to the 2 part episode Heroes. Perhaps it was the combination of writing, directing and performance combined with knowing it was the end. It was bittersweet. It was the end of an amazing run. It would seem fitting it was written and directed by one Robert C. Cooper.

Unending's focus: the comraderie of Ben Browder, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, Claudia Black and Beau Bridges [with a bit of old friend Thor voiced by Michael Shanks]. A montage of the cast's interaction plays over "Have You Ever Seen The Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival [the first pop song used in the series]. It is genuine, heartwarming and entirely appropriate as longstanding friendships sustain hope in sheer isolation. The sequence is sheer poetry and especially for the fans that had been watching for 10 years understanding the cast dynamics. It is not random filler, but friends coping yet again with extraordinary circumstances. The performance between Claudia Black and Michael Shanks is absolutely raw emotion. There isn’t a single note of dialogue that doesn’t ring true - not a false note in Daniel's reaction to Vala in terms of their relationship and it is simply heartrending. Tapping, Browder, Judge and Bridges all serve up star turns in this 42 minutes of stunning television to cap what amounts to an amazing finish. This beautiful swansong brings it all home. There is a nostalgic quality to this pitch perfect finale. As this family sits to dine and laugh, we laugh and dine with them as our own. Interestingly, Robert C. Cooper's hand in this feels just as personal as it is to us. There is an elegiac tone to Unending's proceedings from the fading flames of the Asgard to the sheer helplessness our heroes face while still finding comfort in each other.

Special effects aside and they are always brilliant, as they say, 'it's about the characters stupid.'

I won't give it all away, but if someone reading this hasn't lived through the Stargate SG-1 experience, you need to begin here.
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Funny thing is, whenever the creators had to write their season finale they never knew if it would be their last and some were certainly good. Thank the television gods we got to this one. Unending couldn't be a more fitting end and farwell. It is hard to say goodbye to this one indeed.

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