Stargate Sg-1: Season Three

A top-secret U.S. Air Force facility deep below Cheyenne Mountain holds a mysterious alien artefact, the Stargate, which is the gateway to a vast galaxy. The Stargate teams use the gateway to explore other planets and to defend Earth against the Goa'uld, evil aliens who are enslaving planets and want Earth. The first and most famous Stargate team is SG-1, whose exploits we follow in season three of this successful TV series adapted from the Kurt Russell movie. Season three is a cut above the previous two. It offers fun action-adventure sci-fi that's well-paced and exciting, but this time the characters are fleshed out more: Jack O'Neill (star Richard Dean Anderson), Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) and Teal'c (Christopher Judge) rise above the cardboard cut-outs they were in earlier episodes. Even the jokes are funny. Story wise, season three nicely picks up the plot threads and characters found in previous seasons while weaving in new ones. The Goa'uld remain a threat, but now the rivalries among the System Lords rise to the surface and reveal the bad guys lack a united front. In "Legacy," the team discovers an alien device and trace it back to an inventor that they encountered in an earlier season. Episodes are presented in 1:1.78 as originally filmed, and packaged in five individual cases inside a sturdy slipcase. The picture transfer is cleaner than previous seasons, while the Dolby 5.1 soundtrack is a commendable improvement as well. In terms of extras there are three featurettes, each with a hammy introduction by General Hammond (Don S. Davis) and Dr. Fraiser (Teryl Rothery). The first one amounts to 12 long minutes of cast and crew praising star Anderson. While "The Stargate Universe" and "Personnel Files" are light-hearted, though entertaining, looks at the making of the series with interview clips of writers and actors. Missing are trailers of each episode, included in each disc of season two, but not here. Plus: none. (MGM)