Where should Stargate go now?

Discussion in 'Stargate' started by Methos, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    But the Ren Fair look, isn't that just a bunch of crap they have left over from other shows? Costumes, huts..?
     
  2. gturner

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    I would think, but those costumes generally take a bit of time to get into, and everybody visible in a scene has to wear them, so you can't just have random people in the background. That also limits filming locations to spots where no outside people or bulidings are visible in the background, which can be especially troublesome if you're shooting lots of overs and need the background behind both conversing actors to be consistent with other wide-angle shots of the scene.

    Setting the show in what looks like a modern period gets rid of that, and opens up any city, small town, or rural area as a filming location. The one snag to deal with in the storyline is cars, which on most sci-fi shows set in the future need to look both different and "futuristic."

    Modifying one car to look halfway believable as a future model is difficult, and unless CGI is used to fill in the background traffic (or flying cars, of course), any production would need dozens of futuristic cars. As far as I can remember, Stargate avoided that whole problem by never having cars on other planets. (Can anyone remember an episode with aliens in cars?)

    That can be an important piece of backstory for the new show. We populated hundreds of alien worlds, and not a darn one of them had cars. We couldn't use Goa'uld, Asgard, or Ancient car technology because they didn't have any, either, darn the luck.

    So when we expanded into the galaxy, we just had to take our cars with us, jeeps and Hummers at first, and then road vehicles once we started building roads. Since shipping gas through a stargate is also inefficient, and since almost none of the planets we were settling had decades of exploration geologists hunting petroleum reserves, we started sending electric cars and more Naquadah generators to support the grid. So the production company can go buy or lease a bunch of Nissan Leafs, Chevy Volts, Teslas, and whatever else is on the market and write them off as an expense. They'll keep showing up on just about every planet the SG teams visit.

    But as the off-world populations expanded, demand increased to inconvenient levels. Since shipping millions of cars through the Stargate system is inefficient, if not downright stupid, we made duplicates of our car factories and shipped the tooling. So every planet ended up with couple of early 21st century car factories and just kept on making the same basic designs. Being planetary monopolies, none of them really faced any competition, anyway, so there wasn't much push to change what worked, with occassional retro-styling coming and going (like the new Mustangs and Camaros) as local oil reserves were finally developed.

    The show could even play with the mix for comedic affect, kind of like recurring jokes about cars in the old Soviet union. Jack O'Neill, early in a typical episode: "And today, boys and girls, we're on the Chevy planet. Gotta love Chevy." Sgt: "That's what you said about the Ford planet." Jack: "And it was just as true there."

    That highlights another odd advantage this show might have. With the rising use of DVR and other technologies, commercials are often getting stripped. In saving production costs by leaving lots of everyday items the same, centuries later (perhaps with clever tweaks), it is a perfect vehicle for product placement.

    Product placements can't be stripped by DVR's, rips, or any other means, and that might be a strong selling point with advertisers who'd rather have Jack or an alien talk endlessly about the durability of a Ford F350, proving itself over centuries, than airing a Ford F350 ad that would get stripped by everybody's DVR's anyway.

    The placements would even be in the season box sets, forever and unchanging. That's a potential selling point to the network suits, as this would be one of the few shows where the characters could consciously talk about existing products with amazement, even discuss them with awe and admiration (You're still using these! -- Yes, those are the most useful thing we brought through the gate!), without the whole scene looking ridiculous and forced.

    Lower production costs, higher revenue (hopefully).
     
  3. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I dunno.. I'm not sure Cargate sounds any more exciting than Rengate.
     
  4. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Well, I'm throwing in cargate as a necessity because without cars anything they shoot in a city or suburb would have to be digitally edited to remove the vehicles, or they would have to remove vehicles from the actual areas where they shoot, which still wouldn't explain the curbs, pavement, and white lines marking parking spaces. They could still do indoor shots without cars, and could rely on those for some planets, but it would be hard to present city shots without the street scenes and obvious roads between blocks of buildings. It also frees them to use tons of stock footage of Earth cities from around the world to reflect how the different countries recreated their home environments on other planets.

    So my thought is that not only is it cheaper to leave the cars in, they could also support the story in clever ways when needed, and be ignored when not. They'd also provide a useful and obvious benchmark for the relative technology levels and freedoms on different planets. If the cars are all different and modern looking, it's a good bet it's a reasonably advanced world. If they're all small, black, and similar it's probably not. If there are almost no cars and the buildings are run down, it's an obvious clue that not every planet or people really advanced much. And occassionally they hit the planet with flying cars, for contrast.

    It's not really a feature, but more of a bug fix that lowers production costs, and frankly, most viewers wouldn't imagine a future without convenient high-speed personal transportation. Of course for many episodes the SGC people might not even make it out of the gate complex, because many societies might be more than paranoid about what might come through the gates, including humans from planets they despise. I'm sure Jack's arrival at the Nation of Islam planet will be interesting.

    Cars, especially future ones or special ones, can also make for very interesting action sequences, such as in the Matrix. Stargate mostly relied on small groups of infantry shooting at each other, shooting at bugs, running around, or standing in front of consoles. Hopefully the addition of car chases or crashes, with the twist that some cars are definitely not equal, would expand the program's visuals and change its look while providing something the viewers can relate to. Heck, whole series have been built around advanced cars with talking computers.
     
  5. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I want weird looking vehicles, like the Oka. And I want people living in them, nomadically. And I want it to be in a rugged and dangerous setting where keeping the tech working is the biggest focus because without the tech you will die. Deserts are also good.

    I don't suppose we can manage all that in Vancouver though.
     
  6. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

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    Parts of Atlantis and SG1 were both set in modern cities, it didin't bring costs down. And "Cargate" sounds a lot like Stargate Infinity.
     
  7. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Hrm. Well, I'm not that thrilled with the idea of cargate, either, I just don't see a good way to explain away cars for all possible futures, and cars are already everywhere here that looks at least "modern", anyway. I figure if most TV shows (that aren't just about singing and dancing) can deal with car scenes, so could Stargate, and Stargate frequently had scenes set on Earth that had cars in the background. They're much harder for the audio people to deal with but the whole industry seems to cope with that problem. Lot's of shows don't use them very frequently (especially soaps and sitcoms), which is really what I'd prefer, but I'd also like to avoid a gate-room centric show, with each human planet now having their own gate-room because it takes place in the future.

    Letting many of the planets at least have cars would save all the walking scenes while avoiding the nagging feeling that all alien cities and villages are within walking distance of their stargate (which probably led to the introduction of the Ancient's gate-ship for SG-A). Providing a background reason why many other planets would happen to have our current model of cars is just a way to avoid designing cheesy looking fake cars, while really saying that humanity from Earth just expanded to encompass other worlds, taking all our neat stuff with us.

    A gate-room centric show isn't bad, because it explains why the main characters walk out of a gate and immediately start intereacting with each episode's main characters, but it also implies that future gates weren't located in protected boonies like Cheyenne Mountain, but pretty much on the White House lawn or the steps of the Capitol. That, I think, would create a plausibility problem becaus the gates were also the future world's Ellis Islands and Port of Long Beach, and a world's capitol is the last place a security minded person would put a gate.

    So how would we really use stargates if we were settling other worlds?

    After initial exploration teams walked through and set up a camp, we'd send as much equipment and material as we could to start building. The area around the gate would become a mud-slog just from the heavy traffic, so we'd spread gravel and keep expanding. Most of the early structures would be set up around the gate, and we'd quickly start laying out some roads between the tents and storage buildings, just like a military base we throw up in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Years later they'd move the gate somewhere else, because the first location is crude, ad-hoc, and choked. Then an epiphany would hit. The easiest way to settle an entire planet is to use a Goa'uld cargo ship or a large helicopter to keep moving the gate all around the planet, dumping large caravans of people and supplies at each stopping point. Really bright bean counters, city planners, and geographers would quickly optimize the process.

    At some point they'd realize that the quickest way to transport large quantities of materials between planets, for long-term continued trade, is to build a system of maglev trains centered on the gate. The gate would sit on a rotating base so it could pivot at the center of converging track systems, which radiate out like spokes on a wheel.

    Sometime later they'd realize that the quickest way to ship large quantities of materials between continents on the same planet is to go find more stargates, put one on each continent and toggle which gate is their planet's primary, and then tranship the loads via another planet whose sole purpose is to serve as a turnaround point.

    At least that's how it might be done in humanity's core worlds.

    So Each planet has a tight dialing schedule where the sender has a train lined up, charging toward the gate with just enough distance to divert to an alternate track if the dialing fails. If the dialing succeeds, a radio link signal verifies that the destination track is clear and the train, a mile or so long, proceeds through at a hundred or so mph. Then the planet either dials someone else or waits to receive an incoming train, according to the preset schedules. Coming to a core world in an unscheduled arrival would really upset things and cause a lot of stress, but most travel to core world's would start with getting on a train in another core world.

    The high-speed trains are just a logical extension of current technology, and the Ashen idea to use the gate to transport commodities. The built-up gate transport system might make a good contrast for the show, because going out to handle an SGC problem would involve going from a place so busy that it makes Manhattan look like a slow medieval village, to stepping out onto a grassy plain or deep forest.

    Of course every bit of the built-up transport scenes would have to be CGI, and the stargate teams probably wouldn't have much business gating around the core worlds because their expertise is exploration and conflict on remote planets, and that's also the focus of the show itself.

    Perhaps such a transport system could feature in a few episodes if it makes for an interesting plot, but otherwise it could just be set up as part of the backstory and not really be mentioned again, just as SG-1 never dwelt on our dependence on semi-trucks, trains, and ocean transports unless there was a storyline to be found, like Ba'als attempted interception of the cargo ship carrying our first Stargate from Egypt to the US during WW-II.

    One other advantage of the mag-lev interplanetary train as a story device is that all such trains would be not only standardized, but the exact same trains are shooting between all the planets, getting re-used just like semi-trailers or Boeing airliners. You only need to build one small interior set of a train car and you could use it for the entire series, and it could be the mechanism that carries the stargate team from the President or directors who dispatched them on one planet, to the President or characters they need to deal with on another planet. I'm not sure that would be particularly interesting, though, but it would be the equivalent of our modern show's "airline flight" scene that explains why scene II takes place in a different city or continent from scene I.

    Anyway, I think these kinds of ideas at least open up options for changing some of the look and feel of the show so it wouldn't seem like a rerun with a different cast. I'm not suggesting that the show should go this way, just that it could, and exploring some of the implications if it did.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2012
  8. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    I think the larger part of the budget is probably The Stargate effect itself, The Alien ships and Technologies, and the weapons/battles. I don't really see how your premise is going to eliminate those costs without trading them for similar costs for something less entertaining (IMHO)
     
  9. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    That's possibly true. Perhaps the only real saving with the trains is that the same scene of a train going through a stargate would get re-used more often than the guards walking their posts outside the entrance to Cheyenne Mountain. :D

    The Stargate Ecosystems idea (way upthread) was a way to revisit the old elements of the show, expand on them in a greater variety of ways, and allow for different types of ships and technologies in the isolated "mini-universes" hidden in our own galaxy. There are some ways it could cut some of the production costs, but not very many, and not ways that probably weren't already being used.

    The Stargate Futures idea, while allowing for a wider variety of human-centric plotlines (more "Earths" to get invaded, etc) seems more limited in alien interactions because it doesn't directly leave room for many aliens, especially if it takes place in the galaxy as SG-1 and SGA left it, rather depopulated of enemies and threats.

    Perhaps the "Futures" idea should be folded in to the "Ecosystems" idea, somehow.

    *thinks a minute*

    You could have our modern SG teams visit an ecosystem where Ancients had dropped off early humans, who then expanded to that level of technology. Then the arc could play itself out without dragging down the whole franchise, which it could if Cargate was the entire premise. The teams would just start visiting a more interesting ecosystem with warp capable starships or something.

    You could have them jump to the future for a long story-arc through the Cargate universe, then find a very good reason to jump back and alter the future. Perhaps splitting humanity up into hundreds of enclaves based on religion and politics turned out to be a very bad, bad idea, or perhaps things were working great until they did something very stupid.

    Or you could have a universe where the primitive humans had some kind of window looking into our world, like sentinels from the gods, and their hundreds of planets slavishly copied everything they saw being built on Earth, at least as best as they could. That would explain why so much of what they built looks exactly like things and locations here. Of course that sounds like a bad version of Galaxy Quest mixed with some Star Trek plots about societies run by computer overseers, and I don't see viewers really buying into it.

    You could follow up with the logical path of Ba'als character, and have a system lord with a vast empire who thinks "If you can't beat them, join them, and if you can't join them, copy them," knowing that if the hundred worlds of his domain think, act, and innovate like Earth, they could crush us. The shortcut through that arc could use the Asgard time-compression device so his worlds achieve parity with us in technology and per-planet population in just a couple of years of our time, with the added threat that they're also using Goa'uld weapons technology. That story might have enough legs to relaunch a series without other supporting elements (like the ecosystems), but eventually something new is going to be needed, given how Stargate first fights and eventually defeats its alien threats.
     
  10. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Hrm. That last one might work well.


    The renewed/enhanced Goa'uld threat is a host of new advanced human planets, and if a variety of system lords used the time-compression technique, it even reintroduces the dysfunctional-family version of system lords.


    Each new system lord would have to come up with their own ways to trick entire planets of non-Jaffa, fairly non-religious humans to do their bidding, and knowing the Goa'uld, a lot of these methods would come from human history.


    Their dilemma is a bit like the Soviet one. To out-innovate and out-produce the West, they needed to become like the West, but they couldn't remain Soviet and do that. Similarly, in their utter defeat the Goa'uld saw that their old way of ruling humans couldn't compete with us, so the old paradigm (playing God to a bunch of mindless, enslaved followers) had to be discarded.


    So we get Nazi Goa'uld, vampire Goa'uld, Soviet Goa'uld, warrior-diplomat Goa'uld, capitalist Goa'uld, and "enlightened" Goa'uld (Tok'ra with a twist). We also get planets where the Goa'uld overlord lost control and was cast down, leaving the humans with the remnants of whatever belief system the Goa'uld had been playing with.

    We wouldn't have noticed what had been happening with new Goa'uld threat because even Tok'ra tracking devices would fail to compensate for the immense time-compression effect the Goa'uld were using, so we get caught unaware. If the story arc peters out, the teams can notice the holes in shipping routes and gate locations that lead us to the discovery of the ecosystems, or we learn of their existence from some of the advanced Goa'uld or humans.

    It's a cleaner relaunch with a more familiar premise, but the Goa'uld worlds are more like ours.

    I suppose step one or two for the SGC is to combine Asgard time-compression technology with the Ancient weapon on Dokara to destroy the time-fields and keep the Goa'uld planets from advancing even further.

    ETA: And of course a few of the Goa'uld worlds are Cargate, the exact percentage depending on the dudes in accounting.
     
  11. poundpuppy29

    poundpuppy29 Commander Red Shirt

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    I just miss Stargate I hope it comes back :(
     
  12. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Agree.
     
  13. Sindatur

    Sindatur The Grey Owl Wizard Premium Member

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    Well, get on with it already then, we're waiting :devil:
     
  14. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Spoilers ahead for anyone who hasn't finished season 8 of SG-1.
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    In "Mobius Strip part 1 and 2" an alternate universe Sam, Carter, and Jack travel back to ancient Egypt, running into our universe Daniel who's also traveled back in time. They bury the gate and a ZPM and presumably live happily ever after, or perhaps die of some horrible disease, who knows. All we know is that the due to the time loops, all the current SG-1 members know is that they'd traveled back in time and fixed something, which meant they themselves never had to actually make the trip.

    All very nice, but it opens a potential storyline that coud've been used in interesting ways. In season 3 we met Seth, or Setesh, who was a Gou'ald who'd been hiding out on Earth for 3,000 years with a system lord bounty on his head for trying to overthrow Ra. Suppose the alternate universe SG-1 team ran in to a similar Goa'uld when they helped overthrow Ra to fix the future?

    Perhaps he's good, perhaps he's evil, or perhaps he's just Tok'ra. I'll assume he's good, and the point is that he would've interacted with the SG-1 members, most especially Daniel who knew eight years of SG-1's history of battling the system lords, and knew of another gate in Antarctica where an Ancient girl was buried in the ice but still alive, possessing in her head all the secrets of the Ancients.

    If the Goa'uld does anything to alter the timeline, there won't be a real and alternate SG-1 to come back and save him from certain death at the hands of Ra, so he can't change anything in any way that would have ramifications - for thousands of years. But he can change anything that happen's after the present-day events in Mobius Strip.

    Prior to Daniel's arrival, the SGC had only found one girl in Antarctica, so he'd be free to hunt for another without altering the timeline. So he does, and gains the knowledge of the ancients, perhaps by finding a corpse of an Ancient and reviving it with a Sarcophagus, absorbing their knowledge before the plague finally claimed the host. And with a Sarcohagus, he could've kept the SG-1 members alive for perhaps centuries, working to gather Ancient weapons or other technologies without altering the timeline.

    So in the present day, either SG-1 (or a subsequent series cast) uncovers clues to his whereabouts on Earth, or perhaps he shows up with very long notes (diaries) written by Daniel, Samantha, Teal'c, and Jack, telling of their long lives and adventures with him. He'd have had to wait until after the Mobius events to contact them.

    And there you get the potential for a whole new set of story arcs, or at least a few good ones.
     
  15. captainkirk

    captainkirk Commander Red Shirt

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    My idea for rebooting Stargate was to reboot it in the 1940's instead of the present. Similar to the episode The Torment of Tantalus, but this time they figured out how to use the stargate properly. I think that this could lead to interesting stories, or at least some cool stuff (death gliders vs. Spitfires!).
     
  16. timmy84

    timmy84 Commodore Commodore

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    So I must be in the minority but I thought SGU was a good attempt of a soft reboot of sorts (stranding them across the universe and changing the tone of the show). New rules but still exists with the current established universe.

    I think a full reboot is in order. Like BSG. Take some of the basic elements that makes Stargate Stargate and build something new. Change the rules a bit (I liked the fact that Stargates in Universe weren't powerful enough to gate anywhere in the galaxy, that to get to one side to another they had to gate to several gates along the way). New characters and reimagined (or better yet, original) aliens. Just start a new but with similar concept (modern day humans traveling across the universe). I don't think any other option will work really. Stargate isn't popular enough for a feature film. So a mini series to reboot it, that can happen.

    Sadly unless someone buys the Stargate franchise off MGM I don't think any of this is gonna happen. They only made Skyfall with help and they are whoring the crap out of Bond (beer commercials. Really?) to make extra cash on it.

    :borg:
     
  17. Tom

    Tom Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They should sell it to Universal, It would make a better fit.
     
  18. captainkirk

    captainkirk Commander Red Shirt

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    I was wondering why they can't keep the franchise but let someone else make a series. Sort of like with the Canadian Primeval spin-off. It's done by a different company from the British one as far as I know.
     
  19. MacLeod

    MacLeod Admiral Admiral

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    Me thinks you've been watching DW. :p
     
  20. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    I once had an idea that the U.S. was able to activate their stargate during the Cold War era, and then the Soviets discovered the Beta Gate in Antarctica and started up their own program, continuing the Cold War into the galaxy. But that would have probably required some rejigging of the 'laws' of stargate travel, since IIRC the Americans couldn't activate their gate while the Russians were using theirs.

    Anyway, it's probably not enough to sustain a series, but it could make for a neat AU miniseries, novel, or comic book.