Colonel Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) picked up right where the characters left off in the 1994 feature film, adding to the new SG-1 team Captain Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and the Jaffa warrior Teal’c (Christopher Judge). Keeping the home fires burning at the newly commissioned Stargate Command were Major General George Hammond (Don S. Davis), Dr. Janet Fraiser (Teryl Rothery), and a host of experts and military personnel dedicated to exploring the galaxy and keeping Earth safe from alien threat.
The adventures kept on going for 10 years, 214 episodes, and two movies as SG-1 added new team members (Corin Nemec’s Jonas Quinn, Ben Browder’s Cameron Mitchell, Claudia Black’s Vala Mal Doran — plus new S.G.C. commander Hank Landry, played by Beau Bridges).
We’ve been celebrating the occasion with a free screening of Children of the Gods – Final Cut, an in-depth look at the amazing two-parter “Heroes,” and a supercut video of some of SG-1’s finest moments!
Today we mark the day itself by counting down 20 great episodes of Stargate SG-1 — as voted on by you! For more than 15 years GateWorld has run weekly episode polls asking fans to rate the newest hour of the show. What we call the “Fan Rating” is then tallied up using a 10-point scale, and can be found in our SG-1 episode guide and the season-by-season ratings reports.
Now we’re not claiming that these are objectively the show’s best 20 hours — only that they rank the highest in the polling. Some truly great episodes over the years ended up suffering from fandom conflicts (such as Daniel’s departure in “Meridian,” and his return in “Abyss” and “Full Circle”). On the other hand, what’s nice about this particular set of polls is that they are long-term, and ask fans to rate each episode on its own merits — not relative to other episodes on a list.
Many of the show’s finest hours, of course, scored above a 9 out of 10 in our polling. Those tended to be the less-controversial hours beloved by the widest cross-section of Stargate fans.
So, to celebrate 20 years of Stargate SG-1, what follows are the top 20 scoring episodes. What makes your top 20 list?
#20. … A THREE-WAY TIE!
Score: 9.24 (out of 10)
The countdown starts, ironically, with the episode that started it all! “Children of the Gods” has always been a fan favorite, and that first trip through the gate was responsible for getting many of us hooked.
Also scoring a 9.24 are Jack’s turn going rogue in Season Three’s “Shades of Grey,” plus the Replicator-Asgard battle royale in Season Eight’s premiere, “New Order, Part 2.” (That one ended, you’ll remember, with RepliCarter naked and covered in goo.)
#19. THE QUEST, PART 1
SG-1‘s tenth and final season headed into its mid-season break with “The Quest,” the first of a two-parter that saw SG-1 reluctantly join forces with two of its greatest adversaries — Baal (Cliff Simon) and Adria (Morena Baccarin) — to solve Merlin’s puzzles and track down a legendary weapon that might have the power to destroy ascended beings.
#18. THE SHROUD
After Daniel is captured by Adria at the end of “The Quest, Part 2” he turns up a few weeks later with a story to tell — starting with how Adria has converted him into a Prior of the Ori. Daniel’s dark turn was originally conceived to be longer and darker, but the show’s writers decided it would harm the character too greatly. Instead the remnants of Merlin’s consciousness protected Daniel from full conversion, putting him in a place to gain Adria’s trust and eventually use Merlin’s weapon against the Ori.
#17. THOR’S CHARIOT
Although SG-1 had encountered the Asgard from a distance back in Season One, it wasn’t until Season Two that Daniel and Sam would break through the hologram presented to the people of Cimmeria and see Thor as he really is: an alien benefactor, who stands watch over the planet. When Heru’ur (Douglas Arthurs) comes knocking, Thor brings his ship and makes the true power of the Asgard felt.
#13-16. SOLITUDES, NEMESIS, RECKONING (PART 1), THREADS
We have an astonishing four-way tie for the #13 spot, with all of these episodes scoring equally. They range from Sam and Jack’s icy tomb in Season One, to the debut of the Replicators in the third season finale, to a pair of pivotal hours late in the show’s eighth season. “Reckoning, Part 1” saw the Replicators attack the Milky Way Galaxy and decimate the ranks of the Goa’uld, while “Threads” tied up some loose ends with the defeated (but still half-ascended) Anubis — and between Jack and Sam.
NEXT: Cracking the Top 10