We’re celebrating 20 years of Stargate SG-1 by counting down 20 of the show’s finest hours — as voted on by you! Click here to start at the beginning of the countdown.
Score: 9.56 (out of 10)
Season Nine’s finale brought the search for Merlin’s anti-Ori weapon to Camelot, a medieval village on an alien world. Though it aired in the middle of the show’s soft reboot “Camelot” is a classic SG-1 story: visiting an alien world, digging through centuries-old archives, all leading to a climactic space battle as the Ori invasion fleet arrives through the Supergate and the united forces of Earth, the Tok’ra, the Free Jaffa, and even the Lucian Alliance prove unable to hold them off.
#4. WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Coming in at number 4 is a true fan favorite. After they are caught up in a long-dead Ancient temporal experiment Jack and Teal’c are forced to relive the same day over and over again, eventually giving up hope of breaking it and deciding to just do anything they want. It’s not only SG-1‘s funniest hour (and one of Richard Dean Anderson’s finest performances) but “Window of Opportunity” ends with a moment of piercing drama — “I lost MY SON!” — showcasing this show’s true emotional range.
#3. THE SERPENT’S LAIR
The episodes that wrapped up Stargate SG-1‘s freshman season and then kicked off Season Two demonstrated the dramatic heights, the humor, and the sci-fi adventure that this show was capable of. “The Serpent’s Lair” is the Season Two premiere, in which Bra’tac (Tony Amendola) rescues the team from Klorel’s prison and helps to thwart a direct attack on Earth. Daniel “Space Monkey” Jackson is mortally wounded in a fire-fight, but surprises even his friends when he finds a sarcophagus and escapes the ship before its destruction. Here was SG-1 at its best: using all its resources to make a different, thinking creatively to overcome superior odds, and even laying down their own lives to protect Earth.
#2. WITHIN THE SERPENT’S GRASP
That story was preceded by the show’s first season finale, in which SG-1 — armed with intel from a parallel universe about an impending Goa’uld invasion — defies orders and gates to Klorel’s mothership. There they find not only their first zat guns but their friend Skaara under full Goa’uld control, the “son” of Apophis, ready to strike Earth. And just as they prepare to blow up the ship and sacrifice themselves, the team sees that there is a second ship poised to assault Earth: Apophis himself.
#1. THE FIFTH RACE
“There was once an alliance of four great races in the galaxy: the Asgard, the Nox, the Furlings, and the Ancients — the builders of the Stargates.”
This second season episode is perfect Stargate: the team working together to solve a problem, putting their lives on the line, and finally earning major pay-off for it. After Jack has the Ancient repository of knowledge downloaded into his brain he begins to lose control, first of his speech and then of his actions. But the knowledge helps him to save an SG team (including Sam and Teal’c) and eventually sends him to an Asgard planet in a distant galaxy — the first time we saw an 8-symbol Stargate address.
The Asgard give context for the many years to follow and speak to what SG-1 is all about: “Your race has much to prove before we may interact on that level. [But] You have already taken the first steps towards becoming the fifth race.”
What is your favorite episode? Which episodes do you think ought to be on this list?
Nice job Darren!
Great stuff! Love all these episodes….
1969 and Mobius parts 1&2
1969 and Urgo are 2 great ones
Good job. However a few honorable mentions: Foothold, The Nox, Deadman Switch, Fair Game, New Ground and Evolution Part 1. The list is almost endless. So many good episodes to choose from. Again good Top 20 picks
I must protest. The Lost City, Part 2 is NOT the first time we encounter a ZPM. At least, not entirely.
What O’neill creates in The Fifth Race is essentially a makeshift. primative ZPM to allow him to power the gate enough to reach the Asgaard homeworld in the Ida Galaxy. The devices are even shaped similarly, although they are made out of different materials, and obviously use different principles to produce their power.
Carter then later fixes it with the help of Mirror Carter to allow the Mirror world to contact the Asgaard as well.