Shout! Factory // 2002 // 600 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Dylan Charles (Retired) // July 9th, 2008
"Built by ancients so long ago, the Stargate later we broke the code, now it takes us through the universe, on a mission to get back to Earth."
Way back when in 1994, before Independence Day, Roland Emmerich directed Stargate, a decent enough action-scifi flick. It was followed a few years later by a television show called Stargate SG-1. This culminated in the creation of the cartoon show Stargate: Infinity, which is Stargate...for kids! Eventually this lead to a DVD being released and Dylan Charles (you know, me) yelling at his TV screen.
Sometime in the indistinct near future, Stargate Command is still doing its thing. A new generation of cadets is ready to step out into the world(s): There's Harrison, the brash arrogant young male; Seattle, an empathic Native American woman; Stacy, the tough, punk-rocker wannabe chick; and Echo, a green, alien?thing. Leading them is Gus Bonner, a veteran Stargate traveler and falsely accused of treason. Also joining them is Draga, an orange alien thing?with wings! Together they'll travel around the galaxy trying to make their way home.
This set has the whole series (twenty-six episodes) on four discs:
* "The Decision"
* "Double Duty"
* "The Best World"
* "Coming Home"
* "Hot Water"
* "Who are you?"
* "Can I Keep It?"
* "The Mother of Invention"
* "Us and Them"
* "The Face of Evil"
* "The Key"
* "Chariot of the Sun"
* "The Answer"
* "The Look"
* "Feet of Clay"
* "The Natural"
* "Big Mistake"
* "The Illustrated Stacey"
* "The Long Haul"
Where do we begin? Stargate: Infinity commits a dangerous crime in that it assumes children have the intelligence of a slightly spoiled grapefruit. Any moral message an episode decides to espouse, delivers said message with the force of a sledgehammer blow. Hey guess what kids, lying is bad! And just in case you didn't get that the first time, don't worry, you'll be hearing it at least five more times over the course of the next twenty minutes. And then there was the peculiar episode that cautioned against performance enhancing drugs, a real danger with the elementary school crowd nowadays I've heard.
The plots and characters are thin, watery gruel versions of better, more substantial shows and movies. Don't look for anything resembling character development or even three-dimensional characters. Instead, we've got a healthy load of clichés to act as role models for today's youths. Look, it's a brash, arrogant young man. And over here is the Native American who just happens to have empathic powers, because that's not mining deep into the well of stereotypes. Although, maybe I should be glad that they have a Native American character at all. But luckily, her empathic abilities are rendered moot by the presence of Draga, who can do the same damn thing.
And clichés are the very foundation that Stargate: Infinity builds its house on. Dumbo's Magic Feather Syndrome ("the power was inside you the whole time")? Present and accounted for. Character has an irrational dislike of a race, but learns a valuable lesson that you can't judge by appearance? We get to see this particular gem numerous times. Every science-fiction cliché gets hauled out and thrown in, because god forbid we waste our innovative and best ideas on the kiddies.
There's also the odd lack of concern about the fact that the characters can't go home. They don't really ever try to go back to Earth and clear their names, in spite of the fact that they know who and what the traitor is. Instead, they focus single-mindedly on getting Draga home, in spite of the fact that they don't know where home is. Wouldn't it be easier to get her back to where she belongs with the help of Stargate Command? Isn't there some way, any way they could get a message back home?
The animation is similarly a step-down from other shows. There were a few times when I got to play the fun game of "Where's Echo?" because he blended in with the grass or trees behind him. This seems like it would be an easy problem to fix, simply by darkening or lightening the colors behind him.
Stargate: Infinity does have a few good points. It tries to deliver a few historical and scientific facts. And any show that tries to educate while it entertains deserves some bonus points.
And the messages it teaches aren't bad. Respect other cultures; don't judge by appearances; money is good, but greed is bad: the problem isn't in the message, but in the delivery.
The discs themselves are also pretty and shiny, with a good clean transfer. The extras fall more into the educational, than the entertaining. There is a collection of concept art and walking models that give kids a little peak behind the curtain.
The series deserves a little bit of credit for having its heart in the right place. But everything from the sub-par animation, the cliché raddled scripts and the almost condescending dumbing-down make this a below average show.
Stargate: Infinity is guilty of corrupting youths with clichés and bad puns.
Review content copyright © 2008 Dylan Charles; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 (English)
Running Time: 600 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* Animated stargate effects test
* Never-before-seen animated character walking models
* Original concept art