Edited by Sharon Gosling

Review by Mike Hadfield

Titan Books   RRP  £16.99

ISBN: 1-84023-887-9 


Stargate SG-1 is one of those series which polarises the science-fiction community. You either love it or loath it.  I am proud to say I belong to the former.  I can’t wait to get my weekly fix of the adventures of Colonel Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Major Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping), Dr Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) and Teal’c (Christopher Judge). 

The original Stargate movie formed the springboard for this magnificent series that has taken the themes and mythologies from the movie and expanded them to a whole new level.  It’s a refreshing change to be able to say that, for once, this is a TV spin-off which far surpasses the heights of the movie which gave birth to it.  One reason the programme works so well is the dynamics of the cast. Richard Dean Anderson plays the central character with just the right amount of authority and humour. He is backed up by the other cast members who are also well-rounded individuals with distinctive personalities and backgrounds. This has helped the series go from strength to strength. It’s just embarked on it’s latest eighth season and has launched a spin-off of it’s own – Stargate: Atlantis - that aims to carry on the legacy for many years to come.


This rather hefty tome from Titan Books collects together six scripts, specially chosen by the show’s writers to demonstrate Stargate SG-1 at its very best. At 352 pages, you need to put a bit of time aside to work your way through it but you will be amply rewarded for your efforts. The six episodes selected are all pivotal episodes in the series history. Some are notable for their laying down of the mythology and back story of the Stargate universe (The Torment of Tantalus) while others mark milestones in the production such as the 100th episode, Wormhole X-Treme!

The book is divided into sections, one for each script. Each of these sections consists of an introduction, the script itself and finally a postscript. The introductions are very informative detailing key points in each scripts' development. They provide a fascinating insight into the way episodes come about and how they change from inception to final editing. The conclusions nicely round off each section by giving the writers' final comments and thoughts on how the episode turned out. Sandwiched between these are the scripts themselves. But here is the twist which makes this book an invaluable addition to Stargate fans' collections: they are the original shooting scripts and differ somewhat to what eventually ended up on screen.


Rather than just transcribing the final programme into a script (as many officially-sanctioned, sanitised "script" books do), what we have here are fascinating documents showing what the writer originally envisage. There are numerous examples of scenes being dropped, added, split or moved. These are easy to spot thanks to the grey box-outs detailing the changes made. You get an opportunity to discover scenes that have been lost from the final version. These may have been dropped for reasons of timing or story flow or whatever.

It’s also interesting to see which lines have been changed by cast members themselves during shooting. There are more instances of this than you might think and goes to show how well the actors identify with their characters – to the degree that they sometimes know what the character would say in a given situation better than the writers! The scripts included in this tome are The Torment of Tantalus, The Fifth Race, Window of Opportunity, 2010, Wormhole X-Treme! and Abyss.


The Torment of Tantalus

The Fifth Race

Window of Opportunity

Wormhole X-Treme!


While the information contained in this volume is excellent and informative, unfortunately the book is not without its faults. The layout is rather boring. The pictures used to accompany each script are poorly reproduced in monochrome only – colour would have been a better choice and should not have significantly increased the price tag.

If these were the only problems then I could have given the book a wholehearted recommendation. BUT, due to one inexcusable problem I feel unable to do this. There are actually whole blocks of missing text! These are at the end of several of the introduction sections. You are reading to the bottom of a page and are part-way through a sentence when it just stops – dead! Turning the page reveals the start of the script – what happened to the rest of the introduction text? Maybe it’s been sent through a wormhole…who knows? This is something which Titan should have spotted at the proof-reading stage and corrected.


Even with these problems it’s still a good book, but with a bit more care from the publisher regarding layout and checking, it could have been a great book.












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