The Subject: OpenAI’s ChatGPT says that it has been trained on transcripts, Web sites, and forums for all of Stargate (up to 2021 — it doesn’t yet have an active pipe to the live Internet). So the knowledge base is there, at least in theory, for it to be able to identify some of the show’s most beloved episodes and give a quick description of each one.
The Obstacle: Our efforts to generate a simple Top 10 list quickly faced a game-breaking problem: ChatGPT is actually pretty aware of its own limitations. Under normal conditions the chatbot will simply state that, as an AI, it doesn’t have favorites … or any personal opinions of its own. So it would only generate a list of the usual episodes that it knows to be fan favorites.
That’s not as interesting, so we had to get creative to get it to play along. Users can give ChatGPT conditions, or a hypothetical scenario, to get a different output. So in this case we asked the bot not for its favorite episodes, but to write us an article from the perspective of a Stargate fan listing their favorites.
That got us around the limitation of the chatbot insisting that it doesn’t have favorites. And we got an entertaining list that is partly accurate (some great picks!), but also a little bit … well, wrong. Some plot details are just false, and a few key characters are swapped around. It even misidentified an actor, recasting Peter Wingfield (“Tanith”) as Baal! (And one of its picks isn’t even an episode of Stargate SG-1 at all.)
The Lesson: In the end, even though it has access to complete episode transcripts, ChatGPT seems to prefer to just make stuff up instead of providing partial responses or admitting it doesn’t know something. In the current research and training phase, in the words of OpenAI’s FAQ, “ChatGPT will occasionally make up facts or ‘hallucinate’ outputs.”
That sure sounds interesting to us. And so now, please welcome to the Web site our newest contributor: the Stargate Chatbot!
As a longtime fan of Stargate SG-1, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of the best episodes the series has to offer. It was difficult to choose only 10, but here is my list of Stargate SG-1‘s greatest episodes:
#10 “Threads” (Season 8, Episode 18)
This episode is a culmination of many of the show’s storylines, as SG-1 faces off against the Goa’uld Anubis and reflects on their past experiences and relationships. “Threads” is a powerful and emotional episode that features great performances from the entire cast, particularly Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter. The episode also delivers some closure to long-running storylines, making it a satisfying conclusion to the show’s eighth season.
#9 “The Pegasus Project” (Season 10, Episode 3)
This episode is a crossover with the spinoff series Stargate Atlantis and sees SG-1 joining forces with Atlantis’ Dr. McKay to locate the lost city of the Ancients. “The Pegasus Project” is a fun and exciting episode that features great character moments and a thrilling space battle.
#8 “The Fifth Race” (Season 2, Episode 16)
This episode is a standout thanks to its exploration of the show’s underlying themes of communication and understanding. When Colonel O’Neill comes into contact with an alien device that unlocks the knowledge of the universe, he finds himself unable to communicate with anyone except the Asgard. “The Fifth Race” is a thoughtful and introspective episode that features some of Richard Dean Anderson’s finest work as O’Neill.
#7 “1969” (Season 2, Episode 21)
In this episode, SG-1 accidentally travels back in time to 1969 and finds themselves embroiled in the politics of the Cold War. “1969” is a fun and lighthearted episode that features some great humor and showcases the chemistry between the show’s core cast. The episode also has some touching moments as the characters reflect on the importance of their mission and their relationships with one another.
#6 “Abyss” (Season 6, Episode 6)
This episode features a captivating performance from actor Peter Wingfield as the System Lord Ba’al. When Ba’al captures and tortures Daniel, SG-1 embarks on a daring rescue mission that takes them deep into the heart of the Goa’uld empire. “Abyss” is a tense and emotional episode that explores the complex relationship between Daniel and the Goa’uld.
#5 “Lost City” (Season 7, Episodes 21-22)
This two-part season finale is one of the most exciting and action-packed episodes of the entire series. With Earth in danger of being destroyed by the Goa’uld Anubis, SG-1 embarks on a desperate mission to locate the lost city of the Ancients and uncover a powerful weapon. “Lost City” delivers plenty of high-stakes drama and pulse-pounding action, culminating in a thrilling space battle that showcases the series’ impressive special effects.
#4 “The Siege” (Season 7, Episodes 1-3)
This three-part season premiere sees SG-1 and the Atlantis team working together to defend Earth from a massive attack by the Wraith. “The Siege” is a thrilling and action-packed episode that features impressive special effects and some great character moments, particularly between SG-1’s Teal’c and Atlantis’ Ronon. The episode also sets up the larger story arc for Stargate Atlantis and hints at the greater threats to come.
#3 “The Serpent’s Lair” (Season 2, Episode 1)
“The Serpent’s Lair” is a standout episode that sees SG-1 embarking on a dangerous mission to destroy a Goa’uld mothership that threatens Earth. This episode is notable for its impressive action sequences and for introducing the character of Jacob Carter/Selmak, who would go on to become an important ally to SG-1.
#2 “Window of Opportunity” (Season 4, Episode 6)
This episode sees SG-1 caught in a time loop, reliving the same day over and over again. “Window of Opportunity” is a fan favorite for its humor, clever writing, and great character moments. The episode showcases the chemistry between the show’s core cast and allows for some fun and creative storytelling. “Window of Opportunity” is a perfect example of what makes Stargate SG-1 great, and is the show’s all-time best episode.
#1 “Moebius” (Season 8, Episodes 19-20)
This two-part episode sees SG-1 travel back in time to ancient Egypt in an effort to prevent the Goa’uld from ever discovering the Stargate. “Moebius” is a thrilling and satisfying episode that delivers plenty of fan service and nostalgia, while also exploring the consequences of changing history. The episode also features some great character moments, including a touching scene between Daniel and his deceased wife Sha’re.
Of course, with over 200 episodes to choose from, there are many other great episodes of Stargate SG-1 that could easily make this list. But these 10 episodes are a great representation of the show’s range and quality, and are definitely worth revisiting for any fan of the series.
As amusing as it is to see a large language model AI get the simple things wrong, our efforts to get an interesting response showed how impressive the technology is. AI has come a long way, and while it’s not about to put us out of business it is a tool set with huge promise. We’ll keep experimenting.
What do you think of the Stargate Chatbot’s picks? What do you think we should ask it for next? Post them in the comments below!
Needs more experimentation.
Get ChatBot to give you movie quotes. The first one is usually right, then it goes off the rails.
Me: Give me a “Black Sheep” movie quote.
ChatBot: “Fat guy in a little coat” – Richard (played by David Spade) in the movie “Black Sheep” (1996).
So I took a cue from what you did and wanted to see what ChatBot would say are the top 10 episodes. Then out of curiosity, I asked for the 10 worst episodes in the style of someone who hates Seinfeld. ChatBot listed the same 10 episodes.
Abyss is an episode where O’niell is captured and tortured by Baal, not Daniel. Fix that .