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Stargate: Recommended Viewing Order

Thursday - May 14, 2009
Category: FEATURES | Tags: ,

One of the most common questions we get is about the order in which newcomers to the franchise should watch Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, and the movies. You asked for it — now GateWorld is pleased to present our recommended Stargate Viewing Order!

Generally speaking, the continuity between the shows and films matches the order of their original broadcast and DVD release. In order to maintain the highest degree of continuity in your viewing of the Stargate franchise, follow this guide (don’t worry — there are no plot spoilers here):

1) Stargate the Movie. Ah, there’s no better place to begin than at the beginning. The television series picks up where the Kurt Russell and James Spader flick leaves off. Watch the 1994 film to be introduced to Jack O’Neill, Daniel Jackson, Sha’re (or Sha’uri), Skaara and the rest.

2) Stargate SG-1, Seasons One through Seven. This covers the show’s run from 1997 to 2004, before its spin-off Stargate Atlantis premiered. Starting with the pilot movie “Children of the Gods,” the story picks up one year after the original.

3) SG-1 Season Eight & Atlantis Season One. During the 2004-2005 season, SCI FI Channel paired the two shows on Friday nights and the writers wrote the timeline accordingly. For the most part, the shows’ continuity remained cleanly separated (there are only a few passing references, such as in “Prometheus Unbound”). If you don’t mind going back and forth, be sure to start with SG-1‘s two-parter “New Order” and then watch Atlantis‘s “Rising.” Then alternate, making sure to watch both parts of the SG-1 season finale “Moebius” before “The Siege.”

If you’d rather not alternate between the two series, watch SG-1 first. You can even finish all 10 seasons before starting Atlantis, though there will be the occasional reference to the other show — and one big crossover episode, Season Ten’s “The Pegasus Project.”

4) SG-1 Season Nine & Atlantis Season Two. The same goes for the 2005-2006 broadcast season. There are less points of contact in continuity this year, so it’s not as big a deal to watch them alternately or to watch SG-1 first.

5) SG-1 Season Ten & Atlantis Season Three. Same for 2006-2007. Stargate SG-1 concluded its television run with “Unending” (leaving the primary storyline from the final two years unfinished). Again, there weren’t a lot of direct points of contact (beside the occasional aside) during this year. The big exception is the crossover episode “The Pegasus Project” (SG-1 Season Ten), which technically ought to be viewed after you pick up the resolution to Atlantis‘s second season cliffhanger with “No Man’s Land.”

6) Stargate: The Ark of Truth. The SG-1 team’s first direct-to-DVD movie wraps up the storyline from the last two years of the show. Pick it up after “Unending” — no need to finish the third season of Atlantis first.

7) Atlantis Season Four. There’s a major cast change with the fourth season of the show, so you’ll want to have watched all of SG-1 and The Ark of Truth before continuing on into this season. (The last two years of Stargate Atlantis ran by itself, after SG-1 was cancelled.)

8) Atlantis Season Five’s “Search and Rescue.” The start of the fifth season concludes the Season Four cliffhanger, and ends with another cast change. There’s also a line of dialogue which places it immediately before the second SG-1 movie.

9) Stargate: Continuum. Though it is a stand-alone adventure for the team, it is set chronologically just after “Search and Rescue.” You’ll see why. Continuum also wraps up another story (that of a recurring villain) from SG-1‘s television run.

10) Atlantis Season Five, episodes 2 through 20. After Continuum, pick up with the rest of Atlantis‘s final season.

11) Stargate Universe Season One. The third Stargate series picks up soon after the events of the Atlantis finale (though there are no particularly explicit points of connection).

12) Stargate Universe Season Two. The second and final season of SGU further develops the story arc in important ways. But don’t expect any grand resolutions; the show was cancelled just when things were really getting going. (There have not yet been any announcements about any future continuations of the story, in any medium.)

Welcome to the world of Stargate! As you enjoy the franchise’s 314 episodes (to date) and three movies, read detailed analyses in GateWorld’s episode guides, and chat with other fans at GateWorld Forum! We’ve also done season-by-season audio reviews of the shows on the GateWorld Podcast to keep you company while you watch.

Darren created GateWorld in 1999, and today is the owner and managing editor. He lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children.

COMMENTS (24):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • This is great to know! Though if you do a little research it’s pretty to easy to watch Stargate chronologically without screwing up too badly.

  • You could simplify this a bit more, like the episode discloser gives a good overview of the previous seasons, which will take away the first 5 to 6 season, than you can watch 7 and up and atlantis

  • The only problem is that this news story will disappear off the main page after a few weeks and then newbies will start ask in the forums again.

  • /Rommel43: But then you’d miss some of the best years of SG-1? I’d rather watch those seasons than SGA any day.

  • @TwiceBorn I agree and the viewing order is not that hard to figure out. I would say to save 2010 and watch it just before 2001.

  • Since the last week of December I’ve been watching all of SG1 and SGA on DVD, two episodes a day, five days a week.

    Here’s the order list I came up with. Please, feel free to make corrections to it based on continuity (which is something I tried to pay attention to but I may have missed a few things).

  • Shouldn’t they include the new Stargate:Atlantis movie in there?

  • @Michael Sacal – I always do that, I only watch the shows on DVD so get though a season in about 10 days (over 2/3 weeks)

  • How To Get Started Watching Stargate…

    My answer is at:

    Here’s why I came up with it and what it’s main focus is:

    Leo Laporte and Steve Gibson were talking about Stargate on Security Now! Episode 156 (and Leo and Colleen were also talking about Stargate on the August 8th Ultimate Gaming Machine program on and I was shocked to discover that Leo was a Stargate newbie. I wanted to offer up the attached page, which I have sent to many other people over the past few years, as a way to help Leo and anyone else get to the good parts of Stargate, with as few painful early episodes as possible.

    You could watch Stargate from any point, but it really is worth watching from the beginning. While their mythology is not perfect, often times it does appear that they are setting up concepts and storylines five years in advance. Especially with Stargate SG-1, they tried to not let any story go to waste – it built on what came before it and would be referenced again at a later point.

    Stargate SG-1 suffered from the miracle of being picked up as a series, then thrown into production. As such, many of the early episodes were just crap. I wanted to like it, but I really couldn’t stand it and stopped watching during season one. (I did see the season one finale, but even that wasn’t enough to draw me back in, because I had already missed almost all of the few good episodes of season one.) It wasn’t until I saw enough really good episodes five or six years later, as reruns, that I wanted to go back and really understand the whole thing. The purpose of this guide is to spare you from most of that early crap.

    The golden era for Stargate was from the end of Season 7 of Stargate SG-1, with episodes Inauguration and The Lost City, parts I and II, until the end of Season 8. This included all of Season 1 of Stargate Atlantis.

    When people would ask me when this show takes place, I’d say “today”, as in the day it was aired. For those three years that we had both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis on the air, the storylines where not only continuous within each series, but critical elements would jump back and forth between the two series. It wasn’t required that one watch both series, but there certainly was extra value and deeper understanding when one did. When you get to the overlapped years, I’d recommend interlacing the episodes to match the original airing dates and times.

    For more information, see

  • I’d have to disagree with StevenKo. Stargate peaked, for me, with the Season 7 finale. I do agree, however, that it was REALLY hard to get into the first season. I know a lot of people got very discouraged. It wasn’t until late Season 2, early Season 3 that it really found its focus as a show. But the first 7 seasons of SG-1, taken as a whole, were an AMAZING show.

    Atlantis is fun and we watched it faithfully, but failed to compel me in the same way. It remains to be seen if Universe will be good.

  • Okay… I am getting a little tired of everyone saying that the first few seasons of SG-1 were so bad. SG was the best show I’ve seen that showed the evolution of where we are and the process of getting the cool space tech. However, as I know there are some eps that are hard to watch with not much reward, I will give a brief listing of the first few seasons as a guide…

  • -Season 1-
    CHILDREN OF THE GODS – It started it all
    THE ENEMY WITHIN – okay that is crap
    THE BROCA DIVIDE – crap (but with a funny line: “Daniel, keep this up and you’ll have a girl on every planet!”
    THE NOX – eh… basically get to know one of the big 4, but you don’t realize that till
    BRIEF CANDLE – crap
    THOR’S HAMMER – Good! 1st clue to the Asgard, 1st mention of Unas, 1st clue that the host survives…
    THE TORMENT OF TANTALUS – good, 1st broken dhd, Find out about the big 4
    BLOODLINES – okay, background on Teal’c, they do some red herrings of ritual that aren’t picked up again
    FIRE AND WATER – in general, crap, but good for setting the tradition of they think Daniel is dead.
    HATHOR – ehh, more stupid funny than anything, Stargates ode to “Girl Power”… Hathor is decent looking at least
    SINGULARITY – ehh, they find Cassey, that’s about it.
    COR-AI – ehhh, Teal’c on trial
    ENIGMA – good – we meet the Tolan, and show them how an American treats aliens.
    SOLITUDES – Good, survival story, find Beta Gate, the whole Carter/Oneal thing…
    TIN MAN – ehh, Com-traya, gets to be funny.
    THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD – GOOD!, the first of the alternate reality eps, which I think Stargate did far better than trek and others… a good view of “how it could have gone”
    POLITICS – crap, clip show, skip it… the only thing of any value is Kinsey first shows up here
    WITHIN THE SERPENT’S GRASP – Good! Apophis is coming and there is going to be trouble! O’neil’s warning of “they can get here the old fashioned way” comes true…

  • -Season 2-
    THE SERPENT’S LAIR – Good!- Second half of the finalle
    IN THE LINE OF DUTY – okay – introduces the Tok’ra
    PRISONERS – eh… SG1 locked up and escapes
    THE GAMEKEEPER – Funny! – the A-Team’s Murdock as the Keeper is good
    NEED – okay – Daniel drunk on the sarcophagus
    THOR’S CHARIOT – Good – meet the asgard!
    MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE – ehh, has some more carter/oneil warmth
    FAMILY – eh, save Teal’s son, not much else
    SECRETS – eh, honey, I’m home!
    BANE – eh – Teal’c becomes the fly
    THE TOK’RA 1 + 2 – good, Jacob Carter, intro of Sam’s first byfnd to die
    SPIRITS – funny – Indians in space!
    TOUCHSTONE – eh, the first rogue NID
    THE FIFTH RACE – Great! – asgard, Anciet revealed, super O’neil, 8th chevron, … If you skip the others catch this one
    A MATTER OF TIME – what do you get when you cross a black hole with a wormhole… A damn good ep!
    HOLIDAY – not bad – Daniel being funny…
    SERPENT’S SONG – eh, Aphophis is dying… let’s move on
    ONE FALSE STEP – crap, stargate’s ode to the enviroment
    SHOW AND TELL – crap, “I see scarry monsters.”
    1969 – Good – the first Stargate timetravel
    OUT OF MIND – eh, the first future ep, sorta

  • -Season 3-
    INTO THE FIRE – eh – save sg1 from being locked up
    SETH – not really bad, but nothing important either…
    FAIR GAME – okay – the treaty negeoatied… What do we get again?
    LEGACY – eh – Daniel goes crazy… again
    LEARNING CURVE – eh – We get Naquadah generators.. that’s about it.
    POINT OF VIEW – another alternat reality, but it’s and Alternate alternate
    DEADMAN SWITCH – eh – nothing really
    DEMONS – EH – different spin on Gouald playing god
    RULES OF ENGAGEMENT – good – the whole SGC training camp was interesting
    FOREVER IN A DAY – eh – daniel goes crazy – “Save the boy, save the world”
    PAST AND PRESENT – eh – nothing major
    JOLINAR’S MEMORIES + THE DEVIL YOU KNOW – Good – SG1 goes to hell!
    FOOTHOLD – eh… sgc is taken over
    PRETENSE – Trial by the Tollan
    URGO – funny – SG-1 – sees the little voice on your shoulder isn’t so little
    A HUNDRED DAYS – Great! – Oneil starting over, (I still say he has a kid!) an example of the kind of story they couldn’t do after we build ships.
    SHADES OF GREY – good – shows how jerky we could be if we wanted to
    NEW GROUND – eh – sg1 locked up… The cold dialing sequence was interesting
    MATERNAL INSTINCT – good – the beginning of Daniel’s assention
    CRYSTAL SKULL – funny – first “I’m a ghost!” ep
    NEMESIS – good! – replicators… nuff said

  • -Season 4-
    SMALL VICTORIES – Good! – Carter’s dumb idea is to destroy the Oneal, funny!
    THE OTHER SIDE – eh – send in the clones
    UPGRADES – good and funny – Super SG1
    CROSSROADS – eh – Teal’c gets a girl… briefly
    DIVIDE AND CONQUER – eh – Carter/oneal, and Carter’s Black widow effect begins
    WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY – Funny! – and the winner of the comedy category for SG1 goes to… seriously if not the funniest, one of the top 5!
    WATERGATE – okay, Russians have the beta gate and screw it up
    THE FIRST ONES – okay – hey there are aliens that don’t speak english!
    SCORCHED EARTH – eh – nothing major
    BENEATH THE SURFACE – eh – everyone has their memory’s erased, Carter/ONeil
    POINT OF NO RETURN – eh – What happens when your paranoia is right?
    TANGENT – good – shows we really had a learning curve with alien tech… another example of the kind of story they couldn’t do after we build ships.
    THE CURSE – okay – Daniel’s school reunion – at least Sarah/Osiris is good looking
    THE SERPENT’S VENOM – eh – Teal’c is tortured, again.
    CHAIN REACTION – eh – there’s a new boss in town… the first naqudah bomb
    2010 – GOOD! – one of the best Future Eps
    ABSOLUTE POWER – good – what could go wrong if we get what we want, future ep
    THE LIGHT – eh – Whoa! trippy… Stargate’s “Drugs are bad” ep
    PRODIGY – eh – Carter, the next generation
    ENTITY – eh – AI is bad
    DOUBLE JEOPARDY – eh – fun with doubles ep
    EXODUS – Good – Fun with black holes and blowing up a sun

  • I [of sound mind and body]do absolutely believe the best way to watch The Gates is to buy both complete seasons and movies then watch them in the suggested order.I have watched many Scifi series in this manor and have found The Gates wild enough to make me not feel like I was watching My 3 Sons and not so aggravated that I wanted to punch a writer in the head like Battle Star.In conclusion I thought the gates – so far has been an intereting ride through Space the Final Frontier.So Says Your Hawgliness!

  • I have a question that’s not covered in this guide or in any of the other viewing orders I’ve seen:
    I’d like to watch Atlantis pretty much as a standalone entity with as minimal SG-1 cross-pollinization as possible, viewing only those SG-1 episodes that are absolutely relevant when it comes to the fabric and framework of Atlantis’ overall narrative. I know about Lost City, New Order, and The Pegasus Project, but have never been quite able to find a list of other SG-1 episodes that would absolutely be ‘required viewing’ in order to maximize my understanding of Atlantis as a series, and was hoping that someone could provide me with some answers on that score.

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