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Stargate SG-1 Bests and Worsts

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This is your place to gush and snark about various Stargate SG-1 superlatives: Favorite and least favorite seasons, favorite and least favorite episodes, favorite and least favorite characters and intra-team relationships, favorite and least favorite storylines, favorite and least favorite hairstyles...etc. 

Here's a tough but fun one to kick us off: How you would rank the seasons from your personal favorite to your very least favorite? No ties allowed, of course :) 

 

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I will hit this topic again at another time, but I wanted to get in early with the least favorite, everyone knows what I'm about to say.  That's right.  Uh huh, give it up for the suck that is Emancipation.  Almost all stinkers -- and let's face it, in 200 + episodes there will be some serious odor with which to contend (at least on occasion) -- most have some redeeming quality.  A funny moment.  A good guest star. Something.  Anything.  

Emancipation only has the "Thank the gods...the credits!" for redemption. But like most of Stargate's terrible episodes, there is some fun to be had in how awful it is.  I get actual enjoyment out of how high it set the bar for horrible in this series.  Plus, Sam glancing down at her own cleavage like, "Jeez, who knew, behold the power of boobs..."  was funny, if nothing else.  

And I always get to say, "Mongols....innnnnn.....sppppaaaaacccceeeee!"  To one of the best, cheesy scifi themes.  So ...there's that :)  So what are we doing here, mstaken?  Top ten in either direction?  Top and bottom five? 

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I was thinking of ranking all ton from best to worst, but it's up to you guys. 

Uh huh, give it up for the suck that is Emancipation.

This is among my top five episodes of the entire series! (Just kidding, of course...this one does rank way down there, but there MAY, just may, be episodes that I like even less. None of which are currently springing to mind.) 

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ranking all ton from best to worst

Ten? Yup, I think ten's perfectly doable.  Ranking all of them would be a task and a half, as in "Take the 210 episodes and rank" ...frankly, I'd just be making up ranking like crazy for the bulk of those, you know?  Like Cam vs. the Evil Orville Redenbacher, while bad, I'm not sure it would crack my top 10 bad.  Or even my top 100 ...it's only sin was being a little dull while being goofy.  

Okay, back later with the bottom ten.  The top ten will require more thought. 

Edited to add:  My "It sucked, pretty much without reservation or redemption" list.  I ended up with Thirteen, so three will be "dishonorable mentions": 

In the top slot from seasons 10: Family Ties: Vala's dad shows up to be a snake-oil salesman crossed with particularly slimy Used Car Monger, but that's not all! All of Vala's friends eat their "time to be a jackass flakes!" and give her undue amounts of grief about not giving daddykins his due love.  It's wildly out of character for all of them.  In the end, Vala is right: Her father is scum, but at least he's played by Fred Willard, to soften the blow ...not.at.all.  

Second runner up for suck: From season one: Emancipation.  Mongols. In. Space.  And insults aplenty to the concept of empowerment.  In perhaps the best way to underline why it is so bad, after forty minutes of being disgustingly sexist, Sam is allowed to be kick-freaking-ass again only after she puts pants on.  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, for the entire time she wears a dress she's damned near helpless.  Also, written by a woman.  Special trivia note?  She also wrote that Star Trek TNG episode in which Tasha Yar is "strangely attracted" to the guy who has kidnapped her and she must do mortal combat (to the death, but of course) with his actual wife...and it gets better yet: there are stripper poles involved.  I am making none of that shit up.  So not only did Emancipation suck, it has a twin episode on one of the biggest scifi shows of all time.  Same writer wrote for (do not scream, you'll want to) Charlies Angels.

If it can actually get worse that that, it would really have to try damned hard.  It didn't win on my list for the sole reason that it turned out to be a retreatd of another series story.  

Number 3: Season Two's Bane.  Teal'c turns into a bug.  It had the added bonus of being disgusting while being deadly dull. It has no redeeming quality at all.  It sucks so much I barely have a thing to say about it. 

Number 4: Season Three's: Seth.  Holy Jesus, did everyone have to act like a complete idiot in this one, in a strange standalone about a Goa'uld hiding as a cult leader on Earth.  Many people had to be stupid to support this sucker.  

Number 5: Season Four's: Prodigy.  Oh crap.  Hailey.  She was shrill, she was annoying.  We were assured she was wildly gifted (in being shrill and annoying) Honest to God, she was the most grating guest star in the run of the show.  

Number 6: Season Seven's Birthright.  The J'affa were always a little like extremely unpleasant, bickering adolescents.  Boy did that ever not improve when they were turned into a renegade group of Lady J'affa's whose battle cry (while understandable really) was basically "Up with Misandry!"  ...and then Teal'c had sex with their leader, because whenever Chris Judge either writes, or pitches a story, Teal'c gets it on.  It's actually hilarious and the only bright spot in all of this.  "Hey, Teal'c's having sex! Good for him.  Bet this story was Judge's idea." (and it was). 

Number 7: Season Ten's: Counterstrike.  Adria.  Lots and lots of Adria requires lots and lots of Advil.  And I like Morena Bacarran[/i], kind of a lot.  

Number 8: Season Six's Night Walkers.  An homage that's a LOT more like a true ripoff of the X-Files.  Only part of the team is even present for this rather dull -- but decently atmospheric -- outing in which a town has become nocturnal Goa'ulds.  Jonas is there and being pretty inoffensive, so really it has nothing to do with this being part of the season of Jonas for me.  

Number 9: Season Eight's Affinity: Teal'c gets an apartment.  Entire episode nearly saved by Teal'c taking out a mugger with an Avocado from at least thirty feet.  Daniel wears a Hawaiian shirt (and displays the five 'my wife is pregnant' sympathy pounds' that gave him the most debated tiny tummy in TV history) ...and he bafflingly brings Teal'c a fern.  But that isn't what makes this a bad episode.  Teal'c also has a girlfriend named Krista ...does Tai Chi in the park with her and then again with an improbable number of candles before having sex...but it's all a scam to get away from her abusive boyfriend, who is dead for most of the episode.  

Also, there are no huge freaking lakes in Colorado Springs , CO ...so I hate it on those grounds too. "They even blew the setting."  

Number 10:  I had the hardest time deciding which one still earned the top 10 of suck.  I know it was still the first season and the show really struggled to find it's feet and some unevenness will understandably result.  That's why this one isn't actually a lot higher on the list, because I made all of those concessions and season one's First Commandment is still just egregiously bad.  Jonas 1 was annoying as hell, but worse still, it was wholly unbelievable that Sam would have ever been involved with the guy, much less engaged to him.  Also? That's never, ever, oh my god ever, mentioned again...even when dying Jacob is telling his daughter to hook up with someone and have a life in Grace. 

How bad is the episode? Even the series just sort of pretended it didn't happen.  

Honorable mentions go to: Touchstone and it's weather machine.  Crossroad where Teal'c and the Priestess are long lost loves...and Teal'c gets his freak on again, made somewhat worse when he has a jealous fit when his actual wife tries to marry someone else at a later time so it contributes to the "J'affa: Misogynists? You Decide" discussions because Teal'c's a big ol' hypocrite there) and then Covenant rounds out that list for me.  I swear they used an inflatable gate in one scene at the Alpha site.  Season Eight's diminished budget painfully showed and the dude from The Nanny showed up for no Earthly reason.   

Edited by stillshimpy
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Geez, I enjoyed Covenant. Daniel in a suit makes up for a lot. And Thor is awesome in it.

Edited by marina to
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Fair enough, most episodes really did have something close to redemptive about them.  I just couldn't stand billionaire guy and the budget issue was really glaring to me.  Plus, it was sort of re-tread of a story.  

"Someone threatens to expose the Stargate program!" wasn't exactly fresh material by season 8, but I grant you, Daniel in a suit covers all manner of sins.  

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Any conversation of worst episodes has to include Hathor and the purple smoke of horniness.

As for best episodes, there are several which are arguably better, but I will forever love Window of Opportunity.

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Heh----I actually meant ranking the 10 seasons from most to least favorite, but doing episodes would have been my next suggestion anyway! 

Window of Opportunity

 

And now I kind of want to skip ahead of wherever I'm supposed to be in the rewatch and watch WoO again. Yes, I'm THAT suggestible! 

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Heh----I actually meant ranking the 10 seasons from most to least favorite

Ooooooh.  Well I can do that too!  Ranking of seasons, # 1 being favorite #10 being least. 

1.  Season Five is my favorite.  I thought they'd settled into a really good groove.  Everyone was well-developed, but they'd primarily moved past all the shippiness of the early days of Jack and Sam.  Sure Meridian is hard to watch, but it also made me feel, a lot.  It had everything that made me like this show and none of the things that made me question at times why I did.  It was the last of the Showtime seasons and I just really felt they fired on all pistons here. 

2.  Season Four is my next to favorite.  Some darker stories, that I really enjoyed.  The fun of Window of Opportunity, but the darkness of The Other Side and that thud against the Iris at the end.  Good balance of storytelling.  

3. Season Eight.  I really enjoyed this one, although it is deeply uneven and you could tell that different actors were negotiating for less time, but it had great episodes like the seemingly ridiculous Avatar that absolutely gutted me.  Teal'c giving up?  Oh man.  Then there was my favorite episode Threads and that great "You're...Anubis." moment in the OtherWorld Cafe.  

4.  Season Seven: I liked a lot of the stories in that season and it was good to have Daniel Jackson back. 

5.  Season Nine.  I really thought that it was great to add Cam to the team.  It was just a little too obvious (for about three seasons) that RDA wanted to be done with regular appearances, so the enthusiasm Ben Browder brought to the table was greatly appreciated by me.  I loved Cam.  I do think he suffered from TPTB holding Browder back thanks to the Quinn debacle.  

6. Season One.  Hey, it had some bad ones.  Some painfully bad ones, but it also has the one of my favorite episodes of any series, ever: There But For The Grace of God which rocked the alternate universe concept.  I loved AU stories.  The Torment of Tantalus was another, "That was just a freaking great episode" by my standards.  Plus, "Solitudes" and the Crystal aliens and...yeah, as cheesy as it could be? It could be that good.  I still cry when Earnest tells Daniel "I should know."  with that quaver in his voice. 

7.  Season Three: You know, Forever In a Day is a truly good episode, but I never cared for Sha're as a character.  I'm just going to admit that the actress, while stunningly beautiful, and often good as the imperious Goa'uld, just didn't have the goods to deliver on that incredibly emotional storyline and I was glad to see it end. 

8.  Season Six: Whereas I've grown to appreciate Jonas on many levels and this season has two of my favorite episodes of all time, it just doesn't feel like SG1 to me. 

9. Season Two: Boy, I know I'm being a bit unfair to rank this one down so low, but it's a relative thing, you know? I own all ten seasons on DVD.  I have a fondness for this series that is difficult to explain.  The other day my son texted me "Quick fun exercise, name your top five favorite characters on TV of all time."  Our lists differed a fair amount, except for two that made both: Mal from Firefly and Daniel Jackson.  Here's the weird part: Daniel Jackson took both of our top spots.  Why?  He's a good man and he's also sarcastic.  It's a trait we both admire.  So the reason I'm explaining that?  My bottom two seasons for this show are still going to kick the butt of some serious quality television.  Like Mad Men, just as a for instance.  Given a choice of "Want to rewatch Mad Men, or marathon some SG1?"  ...I'd love to say I'd pick the one with all the Emmys and acclaim, but truthfully? It would be Stargate.  So whereas this season is bringing up the rear, it's relative. 

10. Season Ten.  Boy the Ori story dragged.  The show was showing a lot of signs of premise fatigue and I'd still likely watch this season over Mad Men repeats.  

Edited by stillshimpy
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I love S5 as well, stillshimpy. I'll agree enthusiastically with all the reasons you gave, and add one of my own: Wormhole X-Treme! :) S5 is probably second for me, though since I've only watched the series once, my impressions may change as we do our rewatch. For now, though... 

Season Nine.  I really thought that it was great to add Cam to the team.  It was just a little too obvious (for about three seasons) that RDA wanted to be done with regular appearances, so the enthusiasm Ben Browder brought to the table was greatly appreciated by me.  I loved Cam.  I do think he suffered from TPTB holding Browder back thanks to the Quinn debacle.

...is my special favorite. I don't think I can even claim that it's the 'best', but it's the one to which I'm most personally attached. Like you, I loved Cam. I have no idea why, but I did. And I was never really enamored with Jack, so his absence didn't adversely affect my enjoyment of this season like it understandably did for many others. I really like Vala, which is odd because on paper she's exactly the sort of character who would be detrimental to my poor blood pressure. Behold the power of Claudia Black to sell me on characters I'd normally loathe! I'm a sucker for the Merlin/Camelot stuff, as clunkily executed as parts of it were. And there was just this certain feel and energy to this season that really worked for me. And this one has my beloved Ripple Effect! (stillshimpy, you're not alone in loving alternate/parallel universe episodes!) 

I even really loved S10 and would probably rank it just behind S9 and S5. I'm such a fan of 'scarily dogmatic "religion" is bad, mmmkay?' themes in general that the Ori stuff worked for me better---or at least not as badly---as it seemed to for most.

S4 gets fourth place for me. And then...maybe S8? Clearly, another rewatch is in order! 

Season One.  Hey, it had some bad ones.  Some painfully bad ones,

Ha! Yeah, there's a lot to love about S1, but some of its lows were REALLY low. :) 

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Heh----I actually meant ranking the 10 seasons from most to least favorite, but doing episodes would have been my next suggestion anyway!

Oops ... my bad.

As for my season rankings, I'm going to cop out a little bit and put the trifecta of seasons 3-5 at the top ... there were just so many really good episodes and surprisingly few clunkers during those three years. I can't choose between them -- and you can't make me :)

Next, I'd go with season 7, even if it has that dreadful Felgar episode in it (plus, you could begin to see RDA check out of some eps).

After that, I'd go with season 9, for the joy of seeing Ben Browder and Claudia Black regularly on my TV screen again, season 10 (ditto, plus the series finale hit most of the right buttons, killing off Thor's race notwithstanding), season 2 (very uneven), season 8 (extremely uneven), season 1 (you could tell they didn't have a handle on their characters yet) and season 6 (Jonas ... 'nuff said).

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Favorites in no particular order:

WOO - for so many reasons. I love Jack's slow descent into insanity, the KISS, and the ability they have to go from campy humor to gravely serious.

Threads - deep down I am a S & J shipper. At least for this moment.

Evolution 1 & 2 - I love dark story lines and I loved learning more of Jack's history and seeing him in his Black Ops element. Enrico Colantoni nailed it as Burke.

The Other Side for bringing assumptions we make about others without hearing both sides of the story to the forefront.

Shades of Grey - RDA was brilliant playing off the under-cover operation and making you wonder if Jack really did go off the reservation.

2001 and 2010. The Aschen were so, so evil and it's one of those story lines that could happen in real life.

Anything with Maybourne

I hated anything with Sha're. I know the actress was married to Shanks but to me, there's a glaring lack of chemistry between them as Sha're and Daniel.

Hated Wormhole X-treme. Hate, hate, hate it more than I hate Hathor.

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Mstaken, brace yourself: We fully agree.  On paper Vala should make my skin fall off from annoyance, but I loved Vala.  Memonto Mori remains one of my favorite episodes and whereas I enjoy Jack, he's actually never my favorite character.  Oh, occasionally sure and RDA can rock a scene when he wants to, but he wanted out, it was easy to tell and I got frustrated with that.  I like the actor, I like the character, I love the show, but Jack just isn't the be all end all of Stargate for me. 

TheRedHead, God I'm on record all over the TWoP thread with this, so it will come as no surprise, the Aschen scared the hell out of me.  The Goa'uld?  No, they aren't scary to me.  Ba'all in Abyss? Sure, he was scary, but in a Hannibal Lecter sort of way in that episode. 

The Aschen scared the bejesus out of me because what they planned would COMPLETELY work as a plan.  Genuinely help at first.  Freely give medical advances. Never raise a weapon and still kill everyone over time anyway because you've rendered them all infertile.  By the time people knew for sure what had happened, it would be far too late.  Scared. Me. Spitless.  

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So much word! stillshimpy. I prefer my SciFi to be fiction with the pipe-dream of reality. A real life Stargate, a worm hole to an alternate universe, traveling to galaxies and establishing deep space bases in our lifetime would be amazing to witness.

The Aschen plan (and to some extent, the Ori dominance) could happen. The Ori scared me too, for similar reasons. They were so evil, just beamed wherever they wanted to go and it was Hallowed are the Ori or die. Looking at what's going on in Russia, it doesn't take much for a powerful group take what they want.

G'ould weren't scary. You could hear them coming from a mile away. Clang clang clang.

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How about picking your 2-3 favorite and least favorite episodes from each of the 10 seasons?  Theredhead, I suspect that Wormhole X-treme will be one of your worst from S5 :) 

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As was stated upthread, S5 was the one where the show seemed to be firing on all cylinders (and then they damn near blew up by killing Daniel). I'm thinking I would rate them (in descending order) as 5, 4 (despite a weak first half), 2, 3, 6, 1, 8, 10, 9. Yeah, not even Ripple Effect is enough to save S9 from the bottom of the barrel. As for episodes ...

Bests: The Fifth Race, 2010, Entity, The Changeling, Rite of Passage, Hathor, 1969, Foothold, Abyss, Solitudes

Worsts: Crusade, Emancipation, Prometheus Unbound, Demons, The Other Guys, Chimera, Divide and Conquer, The First Commandment, Touchstone, Gemini

To paraphrase a wiser man, that's only my opinion. What do you think?

Edited by Idiotboy

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Two of my favorite TV episodes period, not just SG1:

WoO

1969

Other SG1 favorites include:

Tin Man

Solitudes

The Fifth Race

Worm Hole Extreme

Lost City

Moebius

200

Unending

Edited by shapeshifter

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One of my favourite moments is heroes part 1. SG13 are exploring a random planet and Adam Baldwin's character goes into an epic rant. And then there was this nugget

Balinsky: (after SG-13 discovers Ancient built ruins) This place was built by the Ancients.

Dixon: You sure?

Balinsky: Yes. These markings and this stone architecture... Dr Jackson is going to die when he sees this.

Dixon: What, again?

Balinsky: Funny.

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Best episodes really hard decision so I'm just going to name a few, hardly all of them: Heroes, Window of Opportunity, the fifth race and lost city.

 

Worst episodes:

 

1.emancipation

2. the first command: annoying sg team.

3. Hathor

4. Need: annoying relationship with that girl and Daniel.

5. Divide and Conquer: not that it's horrible but it is unnecessarily sad.

6. Grace: mainly because it was boring

7. Citizen Joe: I remember this one being really awkward.

8. Affinity: Kind of boring, and I still wonder why it was so long before Teal'c got an apartment.

9.  Memeto Mori

10. family ties: way to much Vala and her annoying dad (which is actually all I remember from this episode)

Edited by blueray
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I like Hathor. No, I don't know why. But I do.

Hathor, for me, is strangely watchable ... I don't think it's good, mind you, but I can't turn away from watching the train wreck, if you catch my drift.

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I think Hathor, both episodes that feature her, actually dance that line of "this is intentionally campy, roll with it" instead of "What the ever living fuck could you have been thinking?" bad-writing.  The first Hathor episode absolutely goes ricocheting directly into the "What the actual fuck?" territory, between the women having to vamp it up (barf) and the male-rape and just...yeah, there were terrible "that's from a different era, but it's so backwards it ought to be from well before this period" ...but also adds thing to the mythology and is again, more of that old silver-screen-esque kind of camp. 

 

Unlike something like Emancipation which is racially insensitive (boy is that an understatement) , sexist and insulting and then commits the cardinal viewing sin:  It's also dull.  

 

Hathor, that has at least a few "well that's gross  _____ ism!" s going on is at least no boring on top of its other sins.   

 

Plus, the actress is actually really quite beautiful, so I at least get that juxtaposition of "Oh my god, I'm really grossed the hell out here....gosh, she is pretty though, I wonder if she did any other work?"  

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I'm too lazy to rate season by season. Plus I have the memory of a gnat on speed, so...I can't really remember episode titles and/or which episodes go exactly with which season. So I'll clump seasons for my ratings.

 

Seasons 1-5 would be my favorite. I know 1 had some god-awful moments, but it was still an exciting beginning. I remember begging my mom to order Showtime when I saw the previews for the show. We loved the original movie in my family. Sadly, my parents did not believe in paying for premium cable, so I didn't actually see the first seasons until years later. Now I own all 10 seasons on DVD and can watch regularly. So, anyway, I liked the momentum and energy of the early seasons, and the world-building they did with exploring the gate network, meeting new races, and dealing with the Goa'uld system lords. I'm also an unrepetent shipper from way back, so I enjoyed the early Jack-'n'-Sam stuff. Oh, and General Hammond. Love General Hammond!

 

Seasons 6-8 definitely had some great episodes. But it was clearly also a show in transition. Shanks was gone for a while (don't wanna talk about Jonas), the show moved to SciFi, and you could start to see RDA's desire to go. I still watch these seasons on my DVDs, but they're the seasons that are watched the least. And when I do watch them, I watch mostly for the directors' commentary.

 

I really enjoyed seasons 9 and 10, in no little part due to my love of Claudia and Ben. However, it was basically a completely different show. A show I loved, but almost unrecognizable from the show that was seasons 1-5, IMO.

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I really enjoyed seasons 9 and 10, in no little part due to my love of Claudia and Ben. However, it was basically a completely different show. A show I loved, but almost unrecognizable from the show that was seasons 1-5, IMO.

 

I liked your list in general but this in particularly.   It is a pity that the show runners weren't allowed to rename it.  I think that would have taken away the expectations for it to be what it wasn't.  By season 8 the show half the time was phoning it in.  It was more than RDA, it was how the team so often wasn't, there was so much isolation of the characters.  Sometimes it was great (Like Prometheus Unbound) but a lot of the episodes were sort of forgettable.  I felt like in 9 &10 everyone was much more invested and just interested. I really grew to love the cast additions. 

 

Vala was an excellent foil for Daniel but she also brought out something different in all the other characters.  Cameron ended up being a ideal addition.  I want to use him as an example anytime a new character is added.  Not saying it was all perfection but they made him feel like he had earned his place even though we'd just met him.  And with the way he got the band back together, I couldn't help but subconsciously credit him with saving the team I already loved.  And General Landry just really quickly felt like the perfect fit for the show.  They needed to move from someone absolutely in charge (like Hammond had been)  but they didn't need as stern an authority figure anymore so what wouldn't have worked at the start of the series IMO really fit the later tone which became less a leader handing out assignments than a collaborator working with the experts that most on the team now were.   I also liked how they gave Landry a connection to the Dr. Lam.  It humanized them and made them more interesting quickly. 

 

I enjoyed the show pretty much all along  (well, not season 6) but I find now when I watch season 1-8, I really miss the new people.  It's not a negative reflection on the past, just that I'd moved forward with the show and I'm not as interested in going backwards. 

Edited by BkWurm1
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Seasons 1-4 are best for me. Season 1 isn't all that great, of course, but it was such an exciting new show that I have such love for that season regardless of the clunky writing. Season 5 on is when the show really started to fall apart and I'm one of the fans for whom Jonas, Cam, and Vala never worked. I actually don't like any of the characters added after season four. I would've rather had some of the other random SG members we'd occasionally see on missions get promoted than what the show ended up doing.

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