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Stargate SG-1: Half Life (Series 3.1)

Big Finish Stargate Claudia Black Michael Shanks

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#1 Drew

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 04:37 PM

Yes, yes . . . I spend way too much time with Big Finish on my iPod. But it's great, because I can kind of "watch TV" while I'm doing any number of things. Although the TV plays entirely in my brain.

Also, I'm trying to gain Big Finish some more fans, and I think they're doing absolutely amazing things with the audio medium. I feel like we're back to a "golden age of radio," and I'm one of those people gathered around listening to the next installment of my favorite serials.

The first two Stargate series from Big Finish were sort of dramatized readings from both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis. For Series 3 they went to full-cast audio dramas, and a six-episode story arc.

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"Half Life" is the first episode of Series 3 -- a Daniel and Vala adventure, featuring series regulars Michael Shanks, Claudia Black, and with Cliff Simon returning as Ba'al.

The plot in a nutshell: returning from a mission through the Stargate, Daniel suddenly goes nuts and shoots Col. O'Neill point blank, nearly killing him. Daniel has no idea why he did it, and seeing as he's stewing in the brig, it's up to Vala to figure out what's going on.

How great it is to jump back into Stargate SG-1. This is like "comfort food."

Obviously Big Finish couldn't get all the cast members, so it's explained that Teal'c and Mitchell are off-world, and General Landry is back in Washington for some reason. And though O'Neill figures into the plot, we never actually get to hear Richard Dean Anderson. So it's just Vala and Daniel here, along with some other guest parts. (I've found that I actually prefer when casts for audio dramas are kept small. Helps me keep the action straight.)

Claudia Black and Michael Shanks slip back into their roles effortlessly. Claudia Black in particular ls good, but then I've always thought she had a very expressive voice. Shanks sounds a little bored at first, but he picks up once the plot gets going. Also, I forget just how dry and cynical he often is, and this character trait is accentuated by the medium. Also, he just shot his friend, so he's kind of out of sorts anyway.

Vala springs Daniel from the brig, and together they seek out an old friend of Vala's who has some kind of mind device that might help Daniel remember what happened on their last mission.

If you've ever enjoyed the banter between Daniel and Vala, you'll find it all here. Regardless of fans' feelings about the cast changes in the later seasons, the two of them had good chemisty and played well off each other. Pairing them up for Series 3 was a great idea.

Although the enemy here is Ba'al, the mention of the Ori (who Vala says might find more converts if they could do away with the pale, pasty-faced look) places this in Season 10 or afterward. But seeing as Ba'al is involved and knowing his fondness for cloning, you quickly surmise what's at work here.

This is really a story for fans. There's a lot of Stargate continuity that might be lost on anyone unfamiliar with the series. (Of course, I have no idea how this would sound to anyone who wasn't already a fan. Maybe they wouldn't be lost, but it's certainly going to be appreciated more by a Stargate fan.)

Although the main plot is wrapped up by the end of the episode, there's the usual "Uh-oh, this is a bigger deal than we thought" plot-bomb at the end to carry us into the rest of the series.

Even though the story is a bit on the downer side, it's still an excellent trip back through the wormhole to SG-1. Series 3 was released in 2012, and I gather sales were not strong enough to justify a Series 4, which is too bad. Stargate fans would -- should -- scoop this up. So what if it's just an audio drama? It's the series regulars in an original story with top-notch production values. Even my wife, who isn't a Big Finish junkie like me, but who watched all of Stargate, stuck this in her iPod for a walk, and said she enjoyed it quite a bit.

You will, too. :cool:
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#2 RJDiogenes

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 07:53 PM

I bought the Big Finish Doctor Who anniversary thing for my Brother, and it was quite a production.  I like the idea of these audio dramas because I love OTR (I even have an OTR homage on my YouTube page).  I'd like to listen to more of these if I can find the time.

If you like Lovecraft, the Lovecraft Historical Society has a bunch of these old-school audio dramas available.  Pretty good stuff.
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#3 Drew

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Posted 10 February 2014 - 08:40 PM

View PostRJDiogenes, on 10 February 2014 - 07:53 PM, said:

I bought the Big Finish Doctor Who anniversary thing for my Brother, and it was quite a production.

"The Light at the End"? Ah, wasn't that great? I loved the version of the Doctor Who theme they used. :cool:

Thanks for the tip on the Lovecraft stuff. I've always been curious. Seems like a great way to check those out.
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#4 G-man

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 02:47 PM

Of the Lovecraft stuff (which is available on Amazon) I've listened to "At the Mountains of Madness" (my personal favorite), and "Shadow out of Time", and have "Call of Cthulhu" just waiting to be listened to.

The Lovecraft society also put out a couple of films ... a silent picture done up in the style of Metropolis and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari of "Call of Cthulhu"; and a B&W Talkie that's reminiscent of the old Universal (or Hammer) horror pictures "Whisperers in the Darkness," both of which are worth checking out.

/s/

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Edited by G-man, 12 February 2014 - 07:45 AM.

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#5 RJDiogenes

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Posted 11 February 2014 - 07:21 PM

Indeed.  I have both of the movies and I absolutely love them.
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