Stargate SG1 ran from 1997 to 2007, a spin-off of the (frankly dreadful) Stargate movie, released in 1994. The series follows the adventures of a mixed bag of characters as they travel through wormholes via an ancient alien device to explore strange new worlds and seek out new civilisations. They’re also fighting an alien race called the Goa’uld, who tend to take on the persona of gods in order to subjugate planets.
For seven seasons, SG1 comprised of Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), Samantha “Sam” Carter (Amanda Tapping), archaeologist Doctor Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks), and Teal’c (Christopher Judge); a Jaffa who renounces the Goa’uld in order to fight for the freedom of his people.
Jackson was temporarily replaced in Season 6 by Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), from the planet Langara, after Jackson dies of radiation poisoning and ascends to a higher plane of existence. He later retakes human form and Quinn sadly returns home.
After Richard Dean Anderson retired at the end of Season 8, O’Neill was replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Cameron Mitchel (Ben Browder) and the team also… acquire Vala Mal Doran (Claudia Black) who’s the ex-host to a Goa’uld, an ex-con, and a general pain in the ass. I like Vala a lot.
Vala has an on-and-off-again relationship with Jackson, and I’m honestly not sure how that eds up. Last we see of her is in the second film Continuum, where she wanders off with the ex-host of Baal, Last of the System Lords.
Talking of whom…
Baal (Cliff Simon) turns up in the Season 5 two-parter Summit and Last Stand, apparently leading the other System Lords as they discuss recent attacks against their forces. Little background is given, bar the juicy fact he tends to give exploding presents, and he disappears again for over a season.
He returns, notably, in Abyss, where he tortures O’Neill to death only to revive him in a sarcophagus ad infinitum (or at least until the rest of the team rescue him.)
Known as the character fans loved to hate, Baal stands out by not buying into the Goa’uld propaganda of them being gods and being the most approachable of the group. He works with SG1 on several occasions, albeit under sufferance and for his own gain, being fairly instrumental in the fight against the Replicators.
In later seasons, where the main enemy is the Ori, cousin to the ascended Ancients, Baal uses cloning technology to recreate himself in order to track down a weapon powerful enough to destroy them. He eventually kills the clones off, though a few survive and feature in Continuum (the Goa’uld extracted is cloned, despite the script saying otherwise.)
I make little secret of absolutely adoring Baal. He’s clever and snarky, dresses to kill and, being totally honest, is hot as all heck. Where he loses the alien flange in later episodes, viewers get Simon’s sexy South African accent. Yum. I find the fact that little is known about him to be fascinating, making me wonder at why exactly he’s so different to the rest of the Goa’uld. And the way he plays off the other characters is just brilliant!
“Stargate fans are very loyal and will follow you anywhere.”
~Cliff in a recent interview
That is true. I’ve stuck with Cliff post SG1, watching his three NCIS franchise appearances, the incredible guest spot in The Americans (ep 2.5 The Deal. Go watch!), and listening to the audio version of his excellent memoir Paris Nights: My Year at the Moulin Rouge. I met him back in 2013, and he was an absolute delight.