Geekbat Tunes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Doctor Who: An Unearthly Child

Hi there, Andrew here! It is my plan to join my wife in the prcoess of reviewing- complementing her fantastic reviews of Stargate: SG1 episodes with a few of my own humble musings on the classic episodes of Doctor Who.

Now, to start, a brief intro on my history with The Doctor:
Growing up, I actively disliked Doctor Who. Saw a few old episodes out of context as a kid, weirded me out.
I was re-introduced to Who (after being intruiged by a trailer) with Series 3 of the New Who with the phenomenal episode 'Blink.' I followed the next three episodes (The Series 3 finale- and for those of you wondering, by the by, in England they use 'series' to describe one year of a TV show the way we use 'season'), then immediately downloaded and jumped onto watching the New Who from the beginning. I followed it for about 1.5 seasons before Sarah came to join me, and we both rebooted back to New Who, Series 1. We carried all the way on through Series 4, and somewhere in the long, dark recesses of the Gap Year, between Planet of the Dead and Waters of Mars, we decided to take the plunge and start on the TRUE Series 1.

For those of you that don't get my jabbering about 'New' Who, the series, in brief, went like this: Doctor Who was designed as a science fiction/educational show for the BBC in 1963. The show was about a man (known only as 'The Doctor'- Not 'Doctor Who'! That's the name of the show, not the man (note from Sarah: Even though I know this to be true, it still takes an extreme amount of energy for me NOT to refer to him as 'Doctor Who".)) who traveled around with his companions, an ever-changing roster of individuals who accompanied him on his journies, in his spaceship/time machine, the TARDIS (or Time and Relative Dimensions In Space). The ship itself was designed to blend in with it's time period; if one were to travel to the era of ancient Greece, the ship would look like a Greek column; In ancient Perisa, a sedan chair. If one were to travel to the old west, it might assume the shape of an outhouse. Or visit easter island, and the outside appearence would probably be one of those giant stone heads. The only catch was, the TARDIS was broken; it had taken the shape of a Police Box- a sort of phone booth/temporary holding cell for petty criminals that was employed at the time- and was stuck looking that way, no matter where it went. And so, The Doctor (who was not a very good pilot and seldom knew where the ship would end up after he took off, thus making each adventure an exporation of the new location in which they'd randomly landed) and his comapnions would travel throughout time and space to the past and the future in a Blue phone booth (which, due to alien techonology, was far bigger on the inside than it was on the outside- although it was the size of a phone booth, the interior was spacious and contained many rooms.)

The show was intially designed as an educational program- each story would alternate; a future story with science fiction adventure to keep the kids hooked in, followed by a historical story set in the past and designed to provide educational programming to encourage children to learn about history. (Sadly, after about the first six years, the educational element was dropped and the show became pure sci-fi... though of course we fans aren't complaining! :-) ) The show changed formats several times; for a period, the Doctor lost his ability to fly the TARDIS and became an Earth-bound ally of a sort of British Men In Black/X-files organization fighting off alien threats to Earth, then alter returned to his space travels... ah, but I still haven't dealt with the primary reason for this digression- The 'Old' vs. 'New' Who.

Bear with me for one more rabbit-trail, and all will be explained. You see, the Doctor was eventually revealed to be a Time Lord, a human-looking alien with two hearts... and the ability to 'Regenerate' after a mortal wound or injury- more or less 'rebooting' his body like you would re-set a computer; the resulting man would still be The Doctor, and have all of the Doctor's knowledge and memories- but a completely different physical appearence and personality. This allowed the show a great longevity; when your main actor decided to leave, the show ddin't ahve to end- the Doctor just regenerated, changed appearences, and was played by a new actor. Thus, all incarnations of the Doctor are known by their 'regeneration'- the original Doctor, played by William Hartnell, is the 'First Doctor'- the man he changed into in the show's fourth year was the Second Doctor, etc. (On average, Doctors tended to stay around 3-4 years, with the exception of one of the most famous, Tom Baker, the Fourth Doctor. The guy with the scarf, curly hair, and big teeth. If you've seen the old Doctor Who, he's probably the one that you've seen.)

So, 'what is with all of this Old and New business, Andrew??' you may ask, glaring with irritation at the imagined avatar of my meandering, wandering ramblings of explanation and seeking to pin me down to a solid answer with a withering stare, or barring that, to pin by hands to the keyboard with a very sharp kitchen knife so as to prevent me from typing any further non-sequiters, as your mounting frustration continues to roar through your veins and you feel the start of a throbbing headache coming on...
(Note... that last may contain a bit of supposition on my part.)
Well, I shall tell you. At last.
Doctor Who ran from 1963 to 1989 in a serial format (a series of half-hour episodes linked together by to-be-continueds; every 2-6 forming a complete story) and covering seven Doctors in it's 26 seasons. After that, the show was canceled. An abortive attempt to revive the show was made in 1996 with a made-for-TV movie (featuring an 8th Doctor) in hopes of starting the series in the USA. It failed.
Finally, in 2005, the series started up again witha 9th Doctor, a far higher budget, and a standard single-episode format. It is still ongoing, now up to the 11th Doctor. This re-launched Series is known as the New Who (and it is FANTASTIC!) and started over from Series 1; but technically it's Series 1 was also Doctor Who's Series 27!

So, what you will see in these reviews- which will be far shorter than this introductory entry- are overviews of the episodes from the original, 1963-onwards Doctor Who series; albeit written from the perspective of someone who has overviewed the history of Doctor Who from the New series. Eventually- though it may be sometime in coming- we should work our way all the way through. But for now, we begin with the origin of the Doctow Who franchize itself, the 4-episode serial "An Unearthly Child." I'll give a brief synopsis, my review, and finally, a rating!

Serial Title: An Unearthly Child
Series: 1
Episodes: 4
An Unearthly Child
The Cave of Skulls
The Forest of Fear
The Firemaker
Doctor: William Hartnell
Companions: Ian Chesterton (William Russell), Barbara Wright (Jacqueline Hill), Susan Foreman (Carole Ann Ford)
Schoolteachers Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright (a science teacher and a history teacher respectively, in keeping with the shows intended alternation between sci-fi and historical education)- colleagues and friends with just the slightest hint of potential romance- have noticed something strange about their new student, Susan Foreman. At times, she seems very... different. Out of place. Almost... unearthly (Note from Sarah: *wink wink* get it?). On a whim, they decide to follow her home, one of approximately 3,952 things that were not as creepy to do in the 60s as they would be today- or perhaps were, but nobody noticed.
They find, to their surprise, that she returns to a junkyard, belonging to an I.M. Foreman (from whom she's taken a psuedonym last name) and there, encounters the Doctor, a gruff, brusque old man and Susan's grandfather. (As of 30+ Series' later, we still have yet to learn anything further about the Doctor's family, children, or history with Susan!)
After Ian and Brabarra stumble into the TARDIS, the Doctor, who does not want them revealing his secret, abruptly blasts of the TARDIS, rather roughly, knocking them all unconscious and shanghaing Ian and Barbara into time and space.
The first episode ends here, and is really the true pilot; the remaining three episodes are more like a sequel, thought technically still part of the same story.

After landing, the Doctor steps outside to survey the area (he is a meticulous explorer and scientist), and stops to smoke his pipe. He is observed a caveman of the paleolithic age, the time period in which the TARDIS has landed. The Doctor is knocked unconscious and kidnapped to the enclave of the Tribe of Gum. Za, the potential leader of the tribe, whose father, the previous tribe leader, did not pass on the secret of making fire to him before he died, is engaged in a power struggle. The cavemen, who worship Orb (the sun) and value fire above all else, are expecting fire from their new leader, and soon- and Kal, a stranger from another tribe- considered to be another strong contender for leadership- having seen the smoking Doctor, now sees the stranger as his ticket to fire-making dominance.

Ian, Barbara, and Susan charge and attempt a resuce, but are easily overpowered (Note from Sarah: Expect this to very much become the norm. Susan and Barbara pretty much get captured every other show. Susan actually pretty much exists just TO BE captured, but at least Barbara seems to really add to the show with her knowledge and least she does after a couple of episodes). Za, the tenuous leader, orders them taken to the Cave of Skulls to be sacrificed to Orb. He believes that Orb will then be pelased and return the secret of fire to him.

In the cave, filled with bones of previous victims, all killed by a blow to the head, the group truly unites for the first time, working together to use the sharp shards of bones to cut the ropes binding them... (Ropes? Those are some pretty advanced cavemen!) An elder who fears fire and does not want it's return enters the cave via a secret passage and frees them, turning them loose so that fire does not return. A pursuing Za is greivously wounded by a wild animal, and tensions mount as the two British school teachers insist on helpng the injured man. Back with the cave-people, Kal stirs up rebelion, claiming that Za was the one who set the strangers free; he is appointed the new leader.

The group is re-captured and returned with the healing Za to the cavemen. The group manages to turn the tables and reveal Kal (who had killed the fire-fearing elder to cover his tracks) as a murdered- driving him off into the woods; a less-than-grateful Za returns them to the cave of Skulls, to either give up the secret of fire or be sacrificed to Orb. What a jerk.

Back in captivity, the group re-bonds, Ian defers to the Doctor in a show of respect, Kal returns, battles Za, and dies (probably not the best plan of his neanderthal life...) Za, despite recieving basic knoweldge of fire, decides to keep the handy strangers around permanently, and Ian and Susan comes up with a plan to create 4 makeshift torches, topped by a skull set in the flames, the apparition of which scares the superstitious cavemen long enough for the group to escape to the TARDIS and take off, for whatever unknown destination may await them...

A little uncertain. Comments I made at the time seem to indicate I enjoyed it greatly; now, about one year later, it has taken a distinctly less impressive turn in my memory. I think it was overall enjoyable... but fairly poor compared to what came after it.

At this point in the series, the Doctor hasn't been established as an alien- in fact, the first filmed version of the pilot indicates he and Susan to be humans from the far future of Earth, a line omitted in the final project. (This concept was adapted in the film series which cast Peter Cushing- Grand Moff Tarkin to you Star Wars fans- as Dr. Who- a human with the last name of Who that has a doctorate- that invents a time machine. There were two movies, with plans for a third, that adapted existing stories from the first couple of years of the program into movies. These are decidedly NOT canon with the rest of the series!) Thus, while the Doctor has some alienesque moments- his smug superiority that Ian and Barbara 'wouldn't understand' what they're being exposed to- very much of the Doctor's alien nature is not really present. Indeed, the Doctor's two hearts wouldn't be established for several years!

William Hartnell as the Doctor is at first very gruff, superior, impatient, unlikeable. Fortunately, he mellows greatly in coming serials to become my second favorite Doctor to which I have yet been exposed (4 of them) and a very funny, genial character. (David Tennant, the 10th Doctor, ret-conned this brilliantly, implying that this first incarnation of himself, still very young compared to his 900+ year lifespan by that time, was 'always trying to be old and grumpy and important—like you do, when you're young.')
Ian and Barbara are a bit dull here, and both Barbara and Susan do little more than act as screaming damsels- thankfully, all three will expand into better characters as the series progresses. Well... Ian and Barbara will, at least...

I really think this story would be far more interesting if it turned out that they were in another planet's prehistory.

Great moments:
Not as many as one might like; this story is somewhat dull and the epitome of 'humble beginings.' From William Hartnell's line flubs- there was seldom time in early production to do a second take, so if the actors messed up, they just kept it in the show, and Hartnell did frequently- to The Doctor being so anxious to return to the TARDIS and escape that he nearly murders the wounded Za by smashing his head in with a rock just to keep Ian and Barbara from delaying the group to help him- this is not the Doctor's finest hour. Fortunately, the Doctor never displays such dark tendencies again, and the flubs become a very humorous source of bemusement for the audience, looking back on dear, departed Hartnell- who likely would not have been nearly so dear had he remained the gruff, pedantic Dcotor from this serial. Even so, after the incredible episodes of the New Doctor Who, I had expected this serial to be a slog-through, with no likeable Doctor AT ALL until at least the 4th; I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first two episodes, and how much I liked the first Doctor.

Only one thing truly annoyed me about this episode... but I don't think I'll harp on it much as this board is only 'an illusion,' and the keyboard I'm typing with is a figment of my imagination, and the room I'm standing in apparently isn't real... or at least, one might be led to believe so by Ian and Barbara's rather thick-headed inability to accept what they were seeing when they first entered the TARDIS. They took the Denial Award and then some, with Barbara rather preosterously exclaiming that "Can't you see this is all an illusion?" and various related speeches to Susan while they're STANDING IN THE TARDIS. I mean, I've heard of denial, but telling someone to their face that the room you're both standing in is an illusion? That's pretty dense. :-)

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Blessings of Orb; more on the strength of it being a pilot that established the characters and cocnepts well than anything else- even if said characters needed quite a bit of refinement after to become the truly likeable people we would later meet.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stargate SG1: Children of the Gods Original Release

So I decided to start Stargate SG1 over from the beginning. I got to tell you I came very close to skipping the pilot. When I first was introduced to SG1 by my husband we very logically started at the beginning, and I will be honest with you...Children of the Gods did not encourage me to give up my righteous stance of 'The movie is better! The tv show RUINED any chance of there being a sequel to the movie!". It felt a bit tacky, boring, and kind of exhaustive.
I was pleasantly surprised however, in my second viewing just this afternoon to find that it was actually quite good this time around. Though I suspect it might only be so because now that I know the characters, where they go, and how they act it was kind of interesting to see 'where it all began' to use a cliche. I am not saying that this is the only way Children of the Gods can be enjoyed...I am just saying I am pretty sure it's the only reason I enjoyed it. :)

So to start off. I have to say it still felt a little bit tacky in the beginning....I mean it kind of really felt as though they were all but waving a flag that said "We've seen the movie! We know what happens! This pilot is supposed to take place after the movie!"...not necessarily because of what they were saying but HOW they were saying it. Most of the dialogue that involved plot points from the Movie just were said really stupidly, like they kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. Especially Kowalski's line about "remember he kept saluting you?" when referring to Skaara. It was kind of like...yeah maybe a nostalgic line or two about how Skaara was idolizing O'Neill would have been good...but they just came out sounding like Lt. Major Dorkus.
I have to say it's really quite hilarious seeing how differently the characters act in the pilot, some of them have reason to act differently and you can draw a series of events to point to how their character arcs and changes...some others are just acting plain weird for no apparent reason other than that the script writers didn't actually have any idea how they were going to end up writing the characters in the future. Captain Sam Carter is a chief example of this. Not only is she highly competitive with O'Neill for almost no reason other than the fact that he thought she was a guy when he heard the name Captain Carter, hurling inflammatory and highly obnoxious lines at him that make her sound like a very un-practiced feminist. I mean the whole line about "...just because my reproductive organs are on the inside instead of the outside, doesn't mean I can't handle whatever you can handle.". Okay firstly...for seriously? And secondly...pretty much the only thing you accomplish when using a line like that is remind folks that you have private parts....real nice.
The funniest thing about Carter is that about five minutes later she's a totally different person! I mean from all accounts when we saw her at the conference table we pretty much get the impression she's going to be whining and moaning about how the guys are treating her differently or "if you think I can't do this because I'm a girl then..." and instead we get such sincere lines as "You know you really will like me when you get to know me" and "Don't worry Colonel, I won't let you down". It's kind of a confusing moment. It's like "oh...were you just being a jerk back there to show off for all the dudes in the room or something?" And we all know (if you've seen more than the first episode) that this is not even remotely how Sam is! She's way too confident in herself and her abilities to be a feminist.
General Hammond is also completely different, he's kind of....well....totally grumpy and meanish. Although that more makes sense because all he knows of these people is that Jack doesn't follow orders, Sam is a whiny scientist, and Daniel didn't come back to Earth the way he was supposed to. He hasn't formed relationships with these people yet, he doesn't trust them yet so his personality makes sense. Daniel definitely is a lot different in this pilot too. He's not as quirky-funny as he usually is...though we can reason that perhaps the reason he isn't is because his wife got kidnapped and now has a goa'uld in her....though I get the feeling watching him that that's not the reason he's not know when you just know a character had to have been envisioned differently? Even if there's a good reason why he isn't acting the way you know him to act?
Another thing....Skaara definitely should probably have chosen a different outfit by whoa.
Something I totally missed the first viewing around was Sam's classic line when she has her hands on the dialing device, she's talking about how it was the one thing that was missing at the dig in Giza and she says "It took us 15 years and 3 supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth". O'Neill as she says this makes a really funny face that we can translate into "You knew they had to bring that up at some point...". (Note from Andrew: Actually, you didn't miss this- when we watched the Final Cut version, this line was omitted.) For those of you who've grown up locked away in your basement and have never seen the light of a television screen...Richard Dean Anderson (O'Neill) played MacGyver in the long running television show. Which just happens to be a show SO iconic that fans are practically SALIVATING for there to be some kind of secret nod or code word that lets them know that Richard Dean Anderson knows they are watching and knows they remember who he played. I know...cause I'm one of them. It's almost as if you feel like it's a moment that's meant just for you when someone throws an in-joke in like that. Now...if only they would've gotten Scott Bakula to come and play some cool role beside Richard....I mean how cool would that have been? I mean they came close with the episode 'Shadow Play" that had Dean Stockwell in it...I mean...close...but no Sam Beckett. (Although interesting Geekynote: Don S. Davis was the surgeon in the AWESOME disney tv movie "I-Man" which starred Scott Bakula. I just think this is too cool for words...for obvious geeky reasons)
I was just kind of laughing to myself about all the things that they didn't keep up with from the Movie and this episode....although they could possibly have come up with solutions for them at some point during the series and I am just forgetting. Number one would be Daniel's allergies. He had them quite often in the movie, and they used that in the pilot with this cute scene where O'Neill sends a box of kleenex through the gate so that Daniel will know that it's them. And throughout the pilot there are a couple (okay one) scenes where Daniel sneezes....but I am as far as season six and he's definitely not been having trouble with allergies. But I will keep an eye out as I move on through season one.
Number two...and this is a biggy....the effects of a jump through the gate. We are told that you feel as though you've gone through a blizzard naked, and not only that but usually you kind of want to puke everywhere once you've gone through it. Now I can understand building up a tolerance to puking, I mean pilots do that all the time. But....building up a tolerance to the "compression your molecules undergo during the millisecond required for reconstitution"? Not so likely. The other thing that makes no sense is that when they DO do the 'pukey freezy' thing in the pilot, no one seems to be suffering from it whenever they return from's like...does it ONLY happen when one is leaving ones own homeworld? I am pretty sure that's not how it works...but watch the show...I am pretty sure that not once (when they are actually following the rules that you get sick and frozen) when they return to the gate room are they ever sick or frozen. (Note from Andrew: Actually, they do deal with this later- the jump FROM Earth is so rough because we are not using a properly calibrated DHD- just our own rough approximation dialing computer, which was not correctly calibrated. Gates returning to Earth are DHD-generated and have no such issues. In the first or second season they mention they used to have that problem but Sam had corrected it. Presumeably it happened just after the pilot. Sorry if I'm stealing your thunder! :-) )
And I know that the show made the whole Stargate thing it's own thing...yes I realize this....but my thing is that I cannot stop being annoyed at how they changed Sha'uri's name!!! Oh my WORD! My husband can attest to the fact that pretty much any time Daniel says her name I just repeat it incredulously. I did we go from Sha'uri to Sha're??? It's they ever explain this? Did her name get changed for some odd reason? Was Sha'uri the only copyrighted thing in the whole of the Stargate franchise?? I my husband pointed out they changed O'Neil's name by adding the extra 'L"...but at least that wasn't so....obvious! Sha' just...sounds so...weird.
But...I digress. (always wanted to say that!)
By far the most interesting was to see Teal'c, and know what was going on in his be able to see the conflict on his face. It was pretty amazing. Also I was really appreciative of how they had those emotional establishing shots when we would get the closeups of his face when Apophis kept asking his little goa'uld mate if the new nakey girl on the slab of a table was 'pleasing to her" I have to comment on THAT part. For seriously!? Like...why? Why....why do they have to be naked? It's like....okay I could buy that maybe they just want to be sure they are getting the best 'speciment' (gosh that's an awful word)...but for's yuck. Which brings me to my OTHER 'what the heck?!" moment....(This is the un-good edition of Children of the Gods aka: the nc-17 type one, that I am commenting on, which means if you've only seen the very much more classy and better done new version you might not have some of these scenes) why in the heck-world would the girls that they gathered for potential queenship be in like a little harem thing wearing pretty dresses? Especially if they are only going to have their pretty dresses taken off anyways in like five seconds? It's so stupid! There's REALLY absolutely NO reason whatsoever for them to be in the best of my knowledge the Jaffa wouldn't be able to go hang out with the Harem girls, nor does it seem like Goa'uld have any interest in....shall we say....taking "advantage' of humans that are not hosts. So it just felt like....pointless and kind of dumb. Which brings me to my NEXT 'what the heck?!" moment...which is....What the heck is that half naked guy doing on that chaise with that girl using a hand device? He's just sitting there....and for a second I thought it was girl but then I realized the muscles were all wrong for a girl and then I saw the hand device and it was kind of like...."Whaaat?" I mean...I am guessing maybe he was healing her of her imperfections or something? Calming her down? Maybe she had a headache? I don't even know. All I know is that I definitely like the remastered version because the nudes are totally out of the pilot in that version and it's just so much better. The whole thing just doesn't fit with the show AT ALL and it feels kind of like they were desperate to hook viewers...i'd like to think that the viewers would have been hooked just as effectively with good storylines and characters, that people can like a show without having to have the whole "LOOK IT'S A NAKED WOMAN....AND SHE'S NUDE TOO!" aspect thrust at them to get them interested....people just aren't that dumb, and it seems the makers of the show agree with me since they pretty much used that line of gathering viewers from the next episodes on. (Note from Andrew: Aparently, as the pilot was produced for Showtime, this nudity was forced on them under protest- an apt parallel to the scene in question- and they immediately took it out as soon as they had control of the pilot, including syndication runs.)
Anyway...back to Teal'c. I feel like his character was handled so wonderfully in this episode, like I said the establishing emotional shots just make it totally acceptable that he rebels against everything and helps O'Neill and the others escape. This could have been a really terrible scene kind of akin to the "I escaped somehow!" scene in Thumb Wars. We could have been like "What the heck!? That's so conveniant, it's insulting! Why would he just suddenly help them!?" Because of those few shots where Christopher Judge so adequately shows us that Teal'c is totally disgusted with this, that he wants to be done with this life, that he knows these people he serves are evil, we totally buy that he wants to help our team of heroes.
I loved the scene we got when the last couple people escape through the Stargate from Chulak, when we get a rare view of the Stargate from behind as people jump through's pretty cool! (Although just before that part, there was this scene with Apophis and 'Sha're', and Apophis looks up at the death glider above him and then looks down...and I had to rewind it to be sure but the film was TOTALLY reversed! It's so obvious! I am guessing it was either REALLY important to them that Apophis look down at the end of the scene...or more likely...there was more death glider scene than Apophis scene so they had to loop it to make it last longer) Also seeing the hardly ever seen secondary window above the main window in the gate room where Hammond and that whiney guy are standing near the end of the pilot. Although I kind of laughed a little bit when Sam came flip flopping onto the ramp when she jumped through...cause she kind of clearly just normal ran through the's kind of like...unless her molecules were being flung faster than normal or came together sooner than expected just before she came through the event usually always come out of the Stargate the same way you went in.
I had to rewind the part when both Sam and Daniel are yelling "Hold your fire!" when Teal'c and that giant guy come through the gate, for some reason unknown to was an extremely cool scene.
Although not even that scene could top the extreme WOW of the scene that takes place at about 1 hour 35 minutes I believe...when we get a little tast of whats to come with Sam, Daniel, O'Neill and Teal'c standing together framed beautifully by the Stargate behind them. Now THIS is definitely a moment that you can't really appreciate fully unless you've seen and loved the show because when you are first watching the pilot you obviously don't know whats to come and therefore can't appreciate the whole "THERE THEY ARE! TOGETHER! It's SG1 and they don't even KNOW IT yet!....OH MY WORD THAT'S SO BOSS!" moment. That's the best thing about this show, is that it's got 'replay' value to the extreme. It's not a show you watch once and then give away to someone, it's something you watch over and over again and notice something different every time, it's got an amazing internal continuity that no other show has. It makes you realize that they KNOW we remember, that we really want to hear references to past episodes, plights, solutions, friends. It's one of the only shows that when someone dies in like say episode's not like, in episode 57, everyone suddenly has amnesia and is all like "Bareil? Bareil who?", people actually remember and go through the hard emotions that come with losing someone. It makes you realize that the people who make and write and act this show aren't lazy bums who don't want to have to remember past continuity because it's NOT easy writing and remembering everything that happened in the past and making sure that what happens in the future reflects that (anyone who has tried to write a book can tell you that). But it makes the world of Stargate SG1 so much more rich and vibrant and real! It feels so real because that internal continuity! And I seriously know of no other show that does it like SG1....which is why it is tied for first place on my top five list of favorite tv shows. :)
All in all this was a good episode, It would have held my attention had I gone into it not knowing what Stargate was but I think I would have been a little skeptical about what it could do.

I give this episode 2 1/2 Grenade Lobbing Giants out of 5.