Stargate: SG-1
Volume 38
(Season 8 - Vol 1)

Starring: Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 28 February 2005

Carter and Teal'c fly to the Asgard world of Hala to try and revive O'Neill. Replicators attack them and Carter is taken prisoner. Meanwhile, Dr. Weir and Daniel Jackson attempt to negotiate a treaty with Goa'uld System Lords who wish to unite against a common enemy. The Goa'uld send a mothership to Earth demanding that it prove its superior defences. Dr Weir is deep in negotiations with the Goa'uld while Daniel and the still unconscious O'Neill are beamed aboard Thor's ship where Thor tries to access the knowledge of the Ancients...

Season Eight of Stargate: SG-1 gets off to a flying start with the double length episode New Order. This episode also helps to establish the character of Doctor Weir, who also appeared last season, in order to help migrate fans over to spin-off show Stargate: Atlantis.

There are several major changes to the show's format. General Hammond has left the SGC (it's a shame to see the end of Don S. Davies as a regular cast member - although he will appear towards the end of this season) and is replaced by O'Neill, Carter is promoted and Teal'c has hair! It also sets up what is sure to be an exciting story arc for later in the season.

Daniel Jackson contracts a mysterious illness from a Russian Colonel assigned to the team. O'Neill is convinced an epidemic has infected the base and orders a lockdown. When Daniel comes around he reveals that he was possessed by Anubis who is now loose on the base. The team must do all they can to track Anubis down before it is too late...

Lockdown is a gripping episode which reveals that Anubis didn't actually die last season. Floating around in spirit form, he is attempting to leave Earth through the Stargate, without alerting the Ancients to the fact that he is still very much alive.

There are some great comedy moments in this episode. I especially enjoyed Daniel trying to fathom out which one of the SGC shot him when he was possessed, and O'Neill (who is the culprit) tries to change the subject as quickly as possible.

Gavin Hood is excellent as Colonel Alexi Vaselov - although I couldn't work out how, from the infirmary, his character knew what to do at the right time (sorry, that might sound a bit vague, but I'm trying not to spoil too much here). Entertaining, and not as clichéd as it could have been.

O'Neill finds his plate full when the president visits amid negotiations with the two warring tribes from the planet Amra. But when SG-1 is captured by a Goa'uld System Lord and he's forced to choose between the safety of the team and the fate of an entire planet O'Neill begins to question his competency...

Zero Hour is played mainly for laughs, so it will come as no surprise that it is an O'Neill heavy episode. In the run up to the President's visit to the SGC, just how many things can go wrong? Don't ask! For those who were worried that O'Neill's promotion would mean the end of Richard Dean Anderson's comedy... this episode will stop you fretting.

It was also fantastic to see that Gary Jones's character (Sergeant Walter Davis) actually get to do a lot more than sit behind a desk shouting: "Chevron one encoded..."

Extras include part one of The Lowdown: a featurette detailing the journey from Stargate to Atlantis; The Director's Series: a behind the scenes look at the making of future episode Avatar; plus photo and production galleries.

But wait! What's this? There are no audio commentaries? More often than not, the audio commentaries provided a wealth of information and can be (when director Peter DeLuise and actor Gary Jones were involved) extremely funny. So, it is terrible to see that they are being left out of the DVD releases for Season Eight.

Also I wish that they would stop running The Director's Series featurettes on a DVD that doesn't feature that episode. In the past these have often given away major plot developments.

Overall though, this is a fantastic start to Season Eight.

Darren Rea

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