If the Stargate franchise is considering another sequel, I've got an idea: Stargate: Vala. There's gold in that thar Claudia Black. After eons of playing Farscape's ultra-serious Aeryn Sun, Black is positively bursting with mirth as SG-1's resident bad girl. But Vala's no ditz when push comes to shove, the lady can play hardball, as evidenced during the budget conference. "Only an idiot would think you can defend this backwater planet with a few ships and a shield," she tells the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, throwing in a corny shot about his "shortcomings" for good measure. So why is Vala still at Stargate Command? Well, apart from her need to flirt with Daniel and pester him about credit cards, I'm guessing nobody was ready to let go of the Jaffa bracelets as a plot device. But as it led our heroes to the doorstep of Wallace Shawn's Arnus, I'm not complaining. Although I found the idea of Vala having "wonderful carnal times" with Arnus inconceivable, the gloriously farcical plot thread summed up Vala's catch-as-catch-can con artistry marvelously. Arnus refused to help SG-1 sunder the lingering bond between Vala and Daniel unless she returned a necklace. But she fenced the necklace for a power coil, and fenced the power coil for a ship well, you get the general idea. The SG-1 team, being legends (as Mitchell constantly reminds us), manages to return all the property to the proper owners only to find out that Arnus really doesn't know how to diffuse the Jaffa bracelets either. Wonk-wonk-wonkwaaahhhhhnnnnk. G.J. Donnelly
I just figured out a key difference between the hard-drinking Colonel Tigh and me: When I booze, my bad decisions amount to accidentally playing ELO's entire greatest-hits CD on the jukebox and annoying the crap out of the whole bar. His involve declaring martial law, smacking around one of his most loyal people the Chief and then ordering an ill-conceived boarding that gets a bunch of unarmed civilians shot up. But moving right along, I get a kick out of Number Six objecting to the use of the word "toaster" because it's a racial epithet. Uh... I know I've mentioned this before, but your people nearly wiped their people out, hon. They're p---ed.
Speaking of p---ed: "You're gonna blame me for your own inadequacies?" Tigh's wife screams at him. "You are so fracking passive that if I didn't push you, you'd never get your head out of that fracking bottle and do anything!" His reaction? A slap, followed by, for some reason, sex. Well, at least we can't call her castrating. But what's up with Baltar nearly killing the Chief to force Cylon Boomer to tell him how many of her kind are hiding in the fleet? You mean to tell me he couldn't have rigged something up to make it merely look like Tyrol was going to die? But do they know how to jack up the plot tension, or what? With Roslin off the ship and with Apollo piloting after saying goodbye to his out-of-commission father interesting things just got a lot more interesting. (Credit Tigh with one decent decision in ordering Hot Dog not to fire on the president's vessel, by the way.) What a testament to the show and to Edward James Olmos' work when you realize how much better you feel seeing Adama up and about. And did anyone expect to see Cally pull a Jack Ruby on Boomer? Don't feel bad for Grace Park, though. Remember the beauty of working on a sci-fi series: She'll still have plenty of work playing other versions of herself. Michael Peck