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SG-1 is a team of crack military personnel at the forefront of interplanetary travel thanks to an ancient, yet secret device called a Stargate. Stargates can be found all over the universe and were once used by an age-old civilisation to enslave humans and many other races for their own benefit. It is Colonel Jack O’Neill’s (Richard Dean Anderson) job to lead SG-1 safely through these potentially dangerous missions to planets whose inhabitants aren’t usually expecting a visit.

Stargate SG-1: Vol. 30
Episodes
With volume 30 we get to see episodes 17 to 20 from season 6, these episodes include: Disclosure, Forsaken, The Changeling and Memento – leaving just 2 remaining episodes.

Disclosure
US Air Force personnel have been exclusively exploring the universe for many years, making new friends and enemies in the process. Only recently were the Russian government told about the Stargate’s existence, and that wasn’t out of choice. Now Senator Kinsey wants to bring France, UK and China into the equation in case their biggest threat - the Gau’old – decides to attack.

Unlike the Russians, the Chinese in particular don’t want to fall in and help in the effort. They pride themselves in being open with their people and plan to immediately alert their population of the gate. It is up to General Hammond to help them understand that the continued operation of their mission is vital and should be kept under wraps. Together with the fact that Senator Kinsey has arterial motives, Hammond’s objectives prove to be an extraordinarily difficult target.

Disclosure is basically an excuse for one of those character recollection episodes where they show clips from other past episodes. I remember when I used to watch television series’ a lot and recall feeling cynical whenever a show would do something like that; even animated series use them from time to time, such as The Simpsons. In my mind they are just an excuse to pull another low cost episode out of the hat to make up their season’s quota. About the only redeeming aspect of this episode is that you get to see good old Don S. Davis say more than the usual one-line orders.

Forsaken
Whilst on an off-world mission at S2X-005, SG-1 discovers a space craft that appears to have crash landed on the planet some time ago. The ship’s design is not familiar to the team but Jonas notices markings indicating a Celtic origin. Suddenly without warning three armed humans surround the SG-1 team; eventually both sides deciding to lower weapons realising neither were under threat. These humans explain that they are the crew of the vessel; their engineer died in the crash and they have lost all energy reserves.

To complicate the situation further, there appears to be an alien race living on the planet – possibly using the Stargate as a means of travel. It is apparent that the aliens don’t get on with the Celtic race of humans, since a shooting match results from every encounter. It is therefore up to SG-1 to get these unwelcome crash victims on their way before they all end up dead.

Stargate SG-1: Vol. 30
Forsaken being set on a different world obviously makes it more interesting, that combined with the odd plot twist helps somewhat recover from the otherwise predictable plot. Writer Damian Kindler actually named the script Forsaken after spending much of his holiday stuck in a cabin writing the script!

The Changeling
Teal’c appears to be loosing his mind. One minute he’s in his usual surroundings, talking to SG-1 team-mates on the base and the next he’s somewhere else. In fact the alternate reality presents him as a human working as a fireman – the rest of the fire-fighters being the same individuals he interacts with on SG-1 missions. As well as being a heroic fire-fighter, acquaintance Brae is in need of a Kidney transplant and Teal’c is ideally suited as a donor.

Throughout the episode Teal’c is constantly switching between the two different worlds, each switch making it more and more confusing. In both worlds he thinks the other is a dream because the present always feels the more real. Michael Shanks makes a guest appearance as psychiatrist Daniel Jackson in one of the worlds.

The Changeling offers a slightly unusual and memorable episode to the Stargate collection where we are kept guessing all the way through. It is especially apparent that Christopher Judge – the actor that plays Teal’c – wrote this episode since it is one of the few episodes where Teal’c is given more to do, is more interesting as a character and effectively made human. Director Martin Wood made good use of motion control techniques whist filming this episode since transitions between one world and another are spectacular yet not out of place. The Changeling is definitely the best episode of the volume.

Memento
New ship X-303 - built based on research from technology found on Stargate SG-1 missions - today goes on its maiden voyage. It is quite literally a massive spatial aircraft carrier capable of hyperspace travel. The ship is commanded by Colonel William Renson and the SG-1 team are invited to come along and help should anything go wrong.

Unfortunately the X-303’s hyper drive surge protectors weren’t up to much and have failed. Their only hope of getting back to Earth is to either go the long way around using human technology and taking years to return, or use the last of the reserves to jump to a nearby planet with a known inactive Stargate. If they can find the Stargate they can dial back home and organise the repair through that.

Here we have one of the better episodes of this volume with lots happening. It could so easily have been made into a two part episode. Shot in three uniquely different styles, this is Director DeLuise’s last episode of a season he assumed would mark the end of the Stargate SG-1 franchise.

Stargate SG-1: Vol. 30
Video
Stargate SG-1 Volume 30 is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. As with previous discs in the series, it is an almost perfect transfer with practically no problems. Memento in particular was a real test for the visual side as even producer/writer Damien Kindler commented this episode has a Traffic-like style. It goes from shades of blue on ship, to natural shades whilst they land on the planet and then to yellows and oranges in the desert scenes. All of which are handled well.

About the only negative point I would pick up on were the special effects clips from Disclosure. Given that they were sourced from previous seasons where budgets may not have been as high as they are now, the earlier ones do look a little tired.

Audio
Again this disc matches the previous volumes in level of audio quality; offering a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track available in either: English, German or Spanish. Dialogue is clear and there’s good front separation, rear speakers are used fairly regularly but could have been used a lot more.

Extras
When first loaded this disc offers the menus in three languages: English, German or Spanish. Selecting one of these will also select that language as the default for the episodes.

Volume 30 features two SG-1 Directors Series, one for The Changeling, the other for Memento. Slightly more unusual though is the fact that they are both filmed by the directors of the episodes. Running at around the ten minute mark they provide a worthwhile look at the inner workings of Stargate. DeLuise for Memento goes around the set concentrating on the physical effects, taking things apart and trying to demonstrate how the effects will appear when finally filmed. Wood on the other hand goes around interviewing the actors and demonstrating how his complicated transition effects for The Changeling were achieved. These two featurettes were a lot better than they usually are.

There’s four commentaries featured on this disc, one for each episode. Containing either two or three people each, the commentaries are recorded as a group with participants interacting with each other’s titbits.

For the Disclosure commentary we hear from Actor Don S. Davis and Supervising Producers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie. They start of by immediately admitting that Disclosure is one of those clip shows. Apparently Stargate SG-1 have never experienced a clip show in its years of production, and when Executive Producer Brad Wright decided to commission one they jumped at the chance. Both Supervising Producers spend a while justifying the decision by pointing out that there’s an underlining story having significant repercussions for the future. Other than that we hear from Don S. Davis for the first time, he covers much of what he did before working on Stargate including being: a carver, painter, sculptor, army captain in Korea and proudly mentions his PhD in Dramatic Theory and Criticism! It is apparent that he is opinionated with a reserved commanding quality – ideally suited to his role. This commentary is jam packed with information; if it weren’t for the occasional silence I would exclaim it as the best one.

Stargate SG-1: Vol. 30
Director/Producer Andy Mikita and Producer/Writer Damian Kindler take us on a journey through Forsaken with this commentary. More technical than the rest, they talk about how manual vertigo shots are carried out and thanks to Panavision the process is much simpler now. They also talk about the difficulty filming within the crashed ship – the thirty degree angle resulting in vertigo itself. There’s also an indication of what will be happening in an upcoming episode currently in the works, and should be a continuation from this one. Finally they go off on a tangent for a few minutes when the subject of doughnuts is mentioned and the two different brands (one American, the other Canadian). This commentary was surprising easy to listen to, again recommended.

The Changeling is discussed by Actor Christopher Judge and Director Martin Wood. These two appear to get on incredibly well and complement each other resulting in a continuous stream of conversation. It was actually the first time Christopher had seen the episode and was therefore surprised at how well his script had been translated to screen. For Director Martin Wood this episode allowed him to do all sorts of experiments with transitional shots, talking about the use of a motion control device that wouldn’t normally be used due to time restrictions. He also talks about the movie-like feel that he narrows down to the use of especially long continuous shots and a distinct lack of television style quick cuts. Quite a few of the actors acquaintances get to appear in the episode so they often stop to point these out. This is a pretty funny commentary and provides an insight look into the best episode of the volume.

Final commentary for Memento comes from Director Peter DeLuise and Producer/Writer Damien Kindler. It starts off with the standard DeLuise bombardment of actor credentials then progresses onto DeLuise declaring that he ordered the crew of X-303 to wear their uniforms commando style. Damien then comments on how he came up with the idea, it was a team effort with a lot of influence from Brad Wright. Apparently this was Peter’s last episode of season 6 and he wasn’t optimistic of a new season being commissioned by the Sci-Fi channel, so his wife sent him a balloon-a-gram to cheer him up! This is a pretty funny commentary, though for once we have a DeLuise commentary that isn’t the highlight.

As always there’s the good old stills gallery containing lots of behind-the-scenes pretty pictures. Then there’s the trailer for the fan website – same as ever. Finally we have the volume 31 episode previews and given that the next volume marks the end of the season there’s only two episodes represented.

Stargate SG-1: Vol. 30
Overall
Not as good as the collection of episodes in the previous volume, it more than makes up for with the well-done SG-1 Directors Series featurettes and brilliant commentaries. Normally it is up to Peter DeLuise to add needed enthusiasm into these commentaries, yet this time they all hold up on their own, in fact it is a good sign that his own commentary was quite possibly the weakest.

I do think of it as a mistake that they chose to make a clip show. It just makes them out to be lazy or lacking funds. Christopher Judge’s episode brings some much needed variation to the storyline and it does make it evident that most Stargate episodes appear to follow the same safe but tired formula. I remember hearing from a previous episode’s commentary that they don’t accept unsolicited scripts; this is a shame since it could result in more originality. The final episode of the disc was pretty good too; it had a sci-fi epic feel to it that could so easily have been spread over more that one episode.
Overall I would recommend that you try this disc. If you are new to Stargate then it might be a better idea to go for volume 29 first since it contains the superior Paradise Lost episode that I found to be exceptional.


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