The Stargate SG-1 series picked up the story about a year after the events in the film Stargate and during 8 seasons gave us the adventures of the flagship team SG-1 lead by Col. Jack O'Neill (2 'l's please!) acompanied by Samantha Carter (astrophysicist in the Air Force), Daniel Jackson (anthropologist/archaeologist) and Teal'c (Jaffa).
|Teal'c, Jack, Sam and Daniel|
During this time their main opponents were the Goa'uld, a race of snake-like parasitical aliens that took over human hosts and then reigned over populations of humans and Jaffa as their Gods. Originally these gods were all of Egyptian origin (Râ in the film, then Apophis as the main baddie for several years, followed by Sokar, Baal and the rest of the System Lords and the worst of the lot: semi-ascended Anubis). In time we also got Greek (Chronos) and Oriental (Lord Yu) inspired "gods".
We also had friendly aliens who were inspired by Norse mythology, the Asgard. They, with their supreme military leader Thor, tried to protect the humans on some planets.
|an ascended Ancient|
What does all this have to do with the Arthurian legends? Because of the most important "alien" race in our Universe, rarely seen but pretty much responsible for having started it all: the "Ancients". These Ancients were the "gate builders", a highly-technological people who built the network of stargates which allows for instantaneous travel from one planet to another by means of a stable wormhole through space. That and a lot of other technology. They were also "the first evolution of our form" in our galaxy. "Our form" being humans. Eventually they evolved to the point that they were able to shed their physical bodies and "ascend" to a higher plane of existence where they lived as a form of energy and further discovered the secrets of the Universe, no longer interfering in what "lesser" beings were doing in the physical world. SG-1 and many other teams searched planets across the galaxy looking for caches of Ancient technology and weapons that could help defend Earth against the Goa'uld. This eventually led to the discovery of the "Lost City of Atlantis" in the Pegasus Galaxy (resulting in a spin-off series Stargate: Atlantis).
|Merlin. (photo from Gateworld)|
Again: we're talking about this why??? Aha! Because in season 9 of Stargate SG-1 things got shaken up a bit on the show! Col. Cameron Mitchell was brought in to replace Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson wanted to reduce his participation in the show to spend more time with his family in LA). Also, having pretty much fully defeated the Goa'uld and freed the Jaffa at the end of season 8, the series needed a new main baddie! The Ori. Basically the long-lost cousins of our "Ancients" with whom they disagree on a fundamental philosphical level as to how they should treat "lesser" beings (the Ori want to be worshipped as gods). With the introduction of the Ori and their "priests" the Priors as our adversaries, it becomes even more important for SG-1 to find some means of defeating them and their god-like powers... and even though the Ancients won't interfere, one of them had been expecting a possible invasion of the Ori and left clues as to where help could be found. The name of this Ancient? MERLIN!!! And so elements of the Arthurian legends (including the Grail and Camelot) were incorporated into many episodes of the final two seasons of Stargate SG-1, starting with the first episode of season 9: Avalon.
I'll write about the Arthurian elements in each of these episodes individually as I watch them (I've been re-watching the entire series this year, just started on season 9), and list (and link to) the episodes here: