With “200” – a title that works on two levels - “Stargate SG-1” [Friday, 9/8p.m. Central] reaches a landmark in science fiction TV – it’s two hundredth episode. So, how do they celebrate this landmark? In typical “SG-1” fashion, they go completely nuts! “200” is the single funniest episode of any show I’ve seen this season!
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The premise of “200” is that Martin Lloyd’s [Willie Garson] failed TV series, “Wormhole X-treme” has done so well that it’s being turned into a TV-movie – and SG-1 is assigned to give notes on his script. At the same time, Col. Mitchell [Ben Browder] is looking forward to his 200th trip through the Stargate [not his 200th mission, mind you – his 200th time to step through the gate!].
The fun comes from the many ways in which Marty’s script varies from the original – and his rationale for scenes that make no sense – as well as the efforts of SG-1 to either avoid him, pitch ideas to him, or provide material to improve his movie. Vala [Claudia Black] really gets into the spirit of things, pitching [as her own adventures] thinly veiled rip-offs of “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Gilligan’s Island” before stumping Marty with a version of a slightly more obscure series… Other spot on parodies include “Star Trek” [the original series], and the situation surrounding “Firefly’” cancellation and resurrection as a movie – and Teal’c’s [Christopher Judge] pitch may be the best of the bunch!
Richard Dean Anderson’s return is handled in such a way that you might be forgiven for thinking that he’s never going to actually show up onscreen. His appearance [so to speak] in a [new] flashback adventure and as a puppet in a terrific Gerry and Sylvia Anderson parody are likely more than sufficient to make his presence notable. In the words of TV hucksters from K-Tel to Ronco, “But wait! There’s more!” Jack O’Neil gets some excellent [real] face time and it’s to the episode’s advantage – especially after the three original SG-1 members punk Mitchell about a mission so secret that they can’t reveal the details to him [“But I have the highest security clearance known to mankind!” he whines].
Besides taking precisely targets shots at a number of SFTV series, “200” also takes a few shots at itself. There’s a terrific barb directed at the truncated credits of early season nine; another is directed at a certain actor who left the series and returned [could be Michael Shanks; could be Anderson – works both ways, but is more effective in one than the other]; yet another finds the entire team – including Walter [Gary Jones] and Col. Landry joining the SG-1 team and O’Neil for a trip through the gate as a “special occasion.” And did I mention the remarkable sequence that features O’Neil and Samantha Carter [Amanda Tapping]?
Usually, when a lot of writers work on a film, or TV episode, the result is [shall we say] regrettable. Here, however, the entire writing staff of “SG-1” has combined to create a truly enjoyable experience. “200” isn’t quite a work of comic genius, but it is one of the best standalone episodes from a series that has done a lot of good standalone episodes – and it’s easily the best comedy episode of the series. Miss this one at the risk of missing one of the best endorphin rushes you may ever have.Grade: A-