I know I’ll lose a lot of credibility for saying this (ok, let’s be real – I didn’t have any fucking credibility to start with) but man, do I love me some Stargate. It’s one of those things you know you shouldn’t love but you just…can’t…help it. Like that one-hit-wonder song that you turn way up when it comes on and sing at the top of your lungs. But only if no one else is in the car. Guilty pleasures. And I’m a total fangirl about it. I’ve got every season and every spinoff and all the movies on DVD. I’ve watched all the special features and every episode with the commentary on. I know every character’s whole fucking life story, every alien race, every planet, every contradiction, every hanging lantern (look up that writery term, non-English majors, mwahahaha). I’m probably more of a geek about Stargate than I am about anything else. Except books, but that doesn’t count. Booklove is an overarching, penetrating-every-aspect-of-who-I-am kind of obsession. Scifi fandom is way more focused. It’s the difference between breathing air and loving a particular smell. I’ve really got to stop talking in analogies. Or just find better analogies.
Anyway, Stargate’s underrated. It’s cheesy. Like, really cheesy. But not hammy, like Farscape. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously, like Babylon 5. Admittedly, I like both of those as well. The thing about Stargate is that you get really sucked in by the characters. Each episode is different, more or less, because the story arc follows the people, not the people chasing the story arc (like X-files, say, or Lost). It’s a scifi show running almost entirely on a soap opera dynamic. Which can create massive amounts of cheese, but works really well. In a crack-addict kind of way.
I’ve caught a lot of shit for my Stargate fandom. From geeks and nongeeks alike. Nongeeks (civilians, I call them, which is terribly exclusive and offensive but whatever) make fun of me for my fangirl gushiness. About all this stuff, not just Stargate. Other scifi fans make fun just because it’s Stargate and not something else. And that, to me, is what’s most interesting. How can someone wearing a Starfleet uniform find any leg to stand on to make fun of me or Stargate? Seriously? (Not that there’s anything wrong with cosplay, don’t send me hatemail.)
At the bottom of it, there are two ways to see this phenomenon:
1) People are viciously protective of the things they love and will defend them as better than other things that other people love. It’s an interesting point of modern human nature and can’t be avoided, so why analyze it? Or,
2) there really is some invisible underpinning of scifi hierarchy. Maybe some things really do mean more to geekdom than others. This could be totally made up, and I’d have to leave my abandoned little corner of the world and venture out into civilization to examine it further. If anyone wants to buy me Comic-Con tickets, I’m totally down for a research trip.
But think about it. When you think “scifi geek” what comes immediately to mind? Star Wars and Star Trek, right? There’s a big beef between these groups of fans, which I plan to dissect another time. Coming soon to a blog near you. Point is, everything else kind of falls below and between these two megaliths of nerdism. But why, damn it, why? There’s structure here. I just can’t quite figure it out. For the record, I love Star Trek and Star Wars equally. But they’re very different. And they’re related. It’s like loving your creepy identical twin sisters the same way even though one’s a goth and one’s a jock. (True story.)
I feel like the things we love in the scifi universe (multiverse?) are more like a spectrum and less like a Venn diagram. Or should be, anyway. Maybe a color wheel. Something less dividey, is what I’m saying. None of them is, intrinsically, any more or less silly than another. We think they are, but they’re not. If we’re talking about production value or acting, some things are definitely “better,” but only in technical terms. Some shows have more money or better marketing or a worse time slot or they’ve been rendered absurd just by virtue of time having passed. But that doesn’t change the content or the intent. It doesn’t change the love of the fans. Scifi is all about suspension of disbelief. If I can buy that a Federation of planets would send out multiple ships to peacefully explore the far reaches of the universe, why would I then turn around and not believe that a telekinetic dictator would want to rule a galaxy far, far away with a Nazi-like iron fist? I wouldn’t. I don’t. Equally ridiculous and fun. So don’t tell me that it’s out of the question for a bunch of American Air Force officers, a clueless linguist/archaeologist, and a rogue alien soldier to go through an ancient wormhole device every week for ten years and explore new planets, under presidential order via a big fat government conspiracy. It could totally happen.
Also, just as a fangirl side note, if you did want to start watching Stargate, for whatever reason, a few points:
– Watch the original movie first. The show picks up right where it leaves off.
– The first season and a half or so is the cheesiest. But it gets way better, and their budget gets bigger. Plus you need those episodes to get a few key story points.
– There are some contradictions in the rules. Ignore them. All the characters do.
– Don’t get attached. Everyone dies at least once.
– Let me know what you think. We can gush together. Or not. Whatever.