REVIEW: Stargate SG-1 – Gift of the Gods (2008)

An Audio drama for Big Finish by Sally Malcolm

I came across an article yesterday entitled “25 YEARS AGO, A STELLAR SCI-FI SHOW SAVED A BROKEN FRANCHISE — AND CHANGED TV HISTORY”, a headline that made me feel insanely old and brought some nostalgia back for something that I had all but moved on from – Stargate SG-1. I used to absolutely love Stargate, I remember renting the 1994 film from Blockbuster Video multiple times, and was absolutely pumped when Showtime aired the “sequel” on July 27, 1997. The show has its ups and downs, especially considering how long it was on, but overall it was a solid bit of sci-fi TV for the better part of 10+ years. Every couple of years somebody mentions that some sort of sequel or reboot is being worked on, and largely nothing has materialized in something like 10-15 years aside from a web-series that I have yet to watch. This got me thinking – “was there any sort of Stargate books or audio adventures on the market?” Something that popular had to have extra material. No sooner did I start looking, then I found out Big Finish Productions, masters of Doctor Who full-cast dramas, had a series of what are basically audiobooks up for grabs.

“Doctor Daniel Jackson wakes up on the floor of his SGC Lab, with no memory of what happened or how he got there. With him is Lt. Hunter of SG12. The team that should have accompanied SG-1 on their mission to P2K-797, but now, here they are back on earth with the members of Stargate Command incapacitated around them. What has happened? Why can no one remember?”

Big Finish is known for full-cast audio dramas, however this is more of an enhanced audiobook, much like how most of the “bigger” Star Wars audiobooks are formatted. It has music, sound effects and other things that give it that “TV show feel”, but the entire thing is performed by Michael Shanks, the actor that played Dr. Daniel Jackson on Stargate SG-1. While it has been a long time since I’ve watched the show, I can assume this takes place within the first third of the continuity, sometime before the advent of The Replicators, when the main antagonists were still The Goa’uld and The Jaffa. Shanks does a great job of portraying his former castmates, being used to their mannerisms and speech style, but he doesn’t go too far into trying for impersonations. Overall, I enjoyed this, but hope that they get more of the actors involved down the road. I see that more of these were recently greenlit by MGM and Big Finish, so there is hope!

The story itself is not anything too insane, but it is a great re-introduction to the characters, and puts the storyline into an intriguing place for more episodes. Without spoiling too much, the story delves into things like divergent timelines that always make for interesting sci-fi. This doesn’t really stand on it’s own too much, seeing that it’s basically “Episode one” of a series, but it ends in such a way that I definitely want to listen to more. I was able to find this online through my local library, but I think I will probably end up buying these at some point since they have such a good deal right now.

Stargate SG-1 Series 1-2

  • Gift of the Gods by Sally Malcolm
  • Shell Game by James Swallow
  • Savarna by Sally Malcolm
  • First Prime by James Swallow
  • Pathogen by Sharon Gosling
  • Lines of Communication by Luke Mansell

I have never veered too far out of my Doctor Who wheelhouse for Big Finish audio dramas, but this is a nice nod to what else they have to offer. It’s just over an hour long, but has almost the same feeling as a couple of episodes of the TV show, which should be the goal of any of these. While this episode just sets the premise up, it will be interesting to see where they go with the plot device they introduce at the end of the story.

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