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Old September 15 2012, 11:01 PM   #51
Location: Kentucky
Re: Where should Stargate go now?

Mister Fandango wrote: View Post
Agent Richard07 wrote: View Post
I actually liked that development. Even before that was revealed, I thought it would have been nice if they discovered that the stargates were built by humans from Atlantis.
I hated that they were a different species from Humans, but just happened to be identical in nearly every conceivable way. The whole "second evolution" was just dumb. Humans from Atlantis, a civilization on and from Earth, yes. A different alien race that was also human (or whatever the convoluted backstory was), no. And, honestly, I would much rather they be a truly alien species with Earth just benefiting from what they had accomplished. But then, I hate the whole "humans are actually aliens" and "humans can't accomplish anything on their own, they're the stupid rednecks of the universe" cliches that plagues sci-fi.
I think nuBSG went down the wrong road regarding the evolutionary backstory, too. It was perfectly set up to be an advanced culture descended from ancient Greek and Egyptian cultures, which heavily implies that the humans got to the twelve colonies either with the help of aliens or perhaps Atlanteans or something, abandoning us to develop without them. It pretty much screams that they know they were colonies - from Earth, which was the whole freakin' plotline, and the only question was whether they here arrived now or in our future.

They took that plot, loaded it into a fighter bay, and launched it into space.

Honestly, the movie did a lot right. Humans originating on Earth and then shipped off to alien worlds as slave labor. Language barriers. Stargates that required coordinates to work properly, rather than operating as a universal telephone. An alien that actually came across as alien and formidable, rather than just a bad actor wearing funny clothes. etc.

The language barrier would be easy to handle. It would just require a Jackson-style linguist who struggles to learn what was considered to be a dead language during the first few episodes, but quickly adapts to the new dialects as the series progresses. They could even eventually come across some kind of alien device to aid the rest of the team as the novelty begins to wear off, or even just have them learn the language themselves. The aliens would still speak an alien language, but for all intents and purposes it'd be English for the audience. No different than when movies featuring German or other foreign tongues shift from subtitles to English for the audience's benefit.
I thought an excellent nuBSG plot would have the Colonials encounter human space travelers from Earth, and reveal (contrary to most sci-fi conventions) that since the Colonials came from the same general culture and had radio for thousands of years (probably since they got to the colonies), that they'd have ended up speaking only one language. They'd have been speaking only one language for so long that they would have lost the concept of foreign languages, along with the ability to think about the structural elements of their own language, since that comes either directly or indirectly from studying a foreign language.

So when the totally mono-lingual Colonials encountered someone speaking English, they'd hear us babbling incoherent noises and naturally assume that we didn't know how to speak. They would probably believe this for quite some time, perhaps until some little Colonial child in the easy language acquisition phase, after hanging around the chittering strangers for a few months, started spontaneously translating for them. That could be cute. Perhaps we'd recognize lots of Greek roots in their words, too.

A complement to that plot would be that English is even more dominant in Earth's future, at least to where no space ship would be flying without some officers who speak English, Russian, or Mandarin Chinese. Add in Halo's "Cole Protocol" where all navigation data is ejected upon encountering aliens (so as not to tell them where Earth is), and you'd have an Earth ship (with its database of all known ship types ever built by humans) that encounters a warfleet that doesn't match anything we've launched, whose radio emissions don't match anything we use, and who don't respond to standard calls in common spacefaring Earth languages. It would be a hostile advanced alien encounter requiring a complete wipe of all computer data, setting the stage for a long get-acquainted period.

There are similar changes that could be done with language in a Stargate reboot, such as giving the Goa'uld horizontal genetic information transfer (via plasmids) along with inherited memories, so a single Goa'uld could possess anyone on a new planet, instantly understand their language, and pass that understanding to all the other Goa'uld, while we would always have to learn the language the hard way. This same tweak would let all the Goa'uld and Jaffa speak English after the first SG person gets possessed. Their greater speed and versatility picking up language could even be treated as one of their key advantages.

The stargate dialing would be the main reversal I'd make, though. The first season or so would have the team struggle to figure out how to dial back, but it would become easier and easier as time went on. Mostly because they'd come to understand more about how the system works, how to use the gate itself to determine where they are relative to Earth, and/or with all the complicated maths involved becoming almost second nature to them. Again, they could find some kind of navigational device to help them figure out where in the galaxy they were in order to assist with the dialing procedure. Tons of opportunity for stories there alone.
Agreed. Even from where the series sits now, you could posit that the Stargate, as we perceive it, is a cheesy user interface designed for simple operation by children. It looks llike a big easy-button phone, but as you dig into it there are button codes (like star-69 and redial), and below those are fancy user features, and below those are lists of settings (pulse - touch tone, analog - broadband), and below those are an actual operating system, and below that is a CPU with actual program code implementing the easy-button look. Then it could turn out that the Stargate itself is just a end-user device on a central network, with a vast array of servers (the actual phone company), and in turn that's monitored by vast computer farms at an ancient NSA. It looks like you just pick it up, dial a number, and are magically connected to another phone, but that's not remotely what's going on.

I'd also want to make sure that any FTL capabilities that existed in the show were painfully slow. It would take weeks, if not months, to travel from system to system, and months if not years to assemble a fleet. There'd be a reason everyone would want to get their hands on the stargates, and not just because it would be a small convenience compared to just flying wherever they want to go.
The show certainly changed character when it become more ship-based. Having a phone to call around town isn't so important or interesting when you give everyone cars. But perhaps it also kept the gate-to-a-planet scheme from getting too stale.

Oh, and a final finally: I'd get rid of nearly everyone who worked on the old franchise behind the scenes. It needs fresh blood more than anything else.
You have to keep the guy with the big open-end wrench or the system will break down.
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