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Monday, July 25, 2005

"Stargate SG-1" invasion

One of the side-effects of being an American family abroad is that we often have to play catch-up when it comes to popular shows on TV. Last year, when we had a full 12 months Stateside, Two of Two became addicted to "Full House" and "Seventh Heaven." Now that we're back overseas, those shows are no longer on his radar screen. But never to fear...a friend dropped off several seasons worth of Stargate SG-1. So, we've had a major invasion of alien creatures in our home for the past two weeks, as the lazy days of summer turn into a sci-fi marathon for two brothers.

Even dad has sat down for a handful of episodes, and mostly, I like what I see. Admittedly, I miss Richard Dean Anderson's "MacGyver" who could build just about anything in 20 minutes out of wire, aluminum foil, and his trusty Swiss Army knife. His new character, Jack O'Neill, though a good commando, is about as bright as a 25w lightbulb, but that's not so bad. He provides a good foil for the other three characters, who are brilliant in archaeology and linguistics (Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson), math/science (Amanda Tapping as Major Samantha Carter) and alien mythology (Christopher Judge as Teal'c). "Stargate" makes being smart cool.

While "Stargate" is generally wholesome, some of the messages coming across are not helpful. In one episode, Teal'c must be disabused of his belief in a false god. The not-so-subtle humanistic undertone was that the only "god" that we should believe is the "god" of self-reliance. That's a good American message, but not particularly Christian. As Blaise Pascal once said, having faith is the most reasonable thing to do. Yes, there are false gods, unworthy of our worship, but there is a true God who is both good and loving. This lesson is entirely missing from "Stargate" ideology.

Despite these cautionary words, there is much to admire in the "Stargate" universe. The loyalty on-display between the four primary characters means looking out for each other, no matter what. Furthermore, notions of "good" and "evil" are often in evidence. The former is to be embraced, while the latter should be shunned.

"Stargate" has rightfully won a number of awards. We're come a long ways from the low-budget days of "Star Trek" when productions were made on a shoe-string. Parents should talk to their kids about some of the on-screen messages. "Stargate" is an excellent opportunity for good entertainment and honing the ability in our children to discern what is in agreement with a Christian worldview and what falls short.

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