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    Posted: Mar-09-2015 at 6:59am
Stargate SG-1: The Illustrated Companion, by Heather Hunt 

Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion
by Thomasina Gibson Seasons
Titan Books

Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion Seasons 1 and 2  
2001, ISBN 1-84023-354-0

Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion Seasons 3 and 4
2002, ISBN 1-84023-355-9

Stargate SG-1 The Illustrated Companion Seasons 5 and 6
2003, ISBN 1-84023-606-X

All three books get a 9 rating or 4.5 stars.

The meat of Thomasina Gibson's three companion guides are the 2-page spreads devoted to each episode, which include a half page plot synopsis, one and a half pages of comments by cast and crew, one black and white photo, and occasional boxes that highlight a new species, piece of technology, or recurring character that pertains to one of the series' story arcs.

The books also contain forwards and afterwards by key members of the production team. After the episode reviews, the books include full character biographies of the main characters plus several recurring characters. The guides also feature Behind the Scenes sections that cover the various departments that put the show together. Finally, every book contains a report on "Stargate and the Fans."

Specifically, the first guide has a Forward by co-creator Brad Wright and an Afterward by co-creator Jonathan Glassner as well as illustrated articles on Production Design, Visual Effects, Make-up, and Costuming.

The guide for seasons 3 and 4 contains a Forward by co-executive producer Michael Greenburg, an Afterward by writer Robert C. Cooper and illustrated articles on Production Design, Visual Effects, Costuming, and Locations.

The third guide has a Forward by Amanda Tapping, an Afterward by Brad Wright, and illustrated Behind the Scenes articles on Production Design, Visual Effects, Hair and Makeup, and Music.

These are all the good things that make these books true companions. Keeping them by your TV remote and referring to them as you watch will greatly enhance your enjoyment of the episodes.

The books could be better, however, and as Titan prepares, I hope, to publish another companion for Seasons 7 and 8, I hope they get the budget to make some improvements. First of all, some color illustrations would be fantastic. If they can't afford to do the entire book in color, at least have a center section with full-color photos-not the promotional shots that are available anywhere on the net, but behind the scenes and on the set shots that fans will really love.

Less expensive improvements include:

1. A title page at the beginning of each season, so we can see which episodes are season openers and which are finales. The current lack of a divider between seasons is awkward.

2. An index of episode titles so that readers don't have to flip through the whole book every time they want to look up a particular episode.

3. An indication of which episodes are Part 1, Part 2, etc.

4. A listing on the episode discussion pages of all other episodes that relate to this episode.

5. A listing on the episode discussion page of all the story arcs that are touched on in this episode.

6. Appendix A: A brief synopsis of each story arc that Stargate contains along with a listing of all the episodes that contain story elements in this arc.

7. Appendix B: A brief synopsis of each main character's story arc along with a listing of all the episodes that advance that character's story.

8. Appendix C: A listing of all the scenes that were cut from episodes. (Optional, but this would give the fans fiction ideas to last another decade or two.)

There, that's not too much to ask, is it? All very doable and not too expensive. I'm sure fans would pay a few more shekels for these added benefits.

And if Season 8 is indeed the last (say it ain't so), this would be a wonderful way to provide a final chronicle of the great epic that is Stargate SG-1.

Copyright© 2004,  Heather Hunt

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