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10 June 2007 @ 09:01 am
Thoughts on Season One SG-1  
So, I am very fannish this morning. Actually, I am always more fannish on weekends, when no one is around LOL Ah well. I'll talk to myself anyway.

I was listening to some music and started thinking about my Jack-focused and early!SG-1 focused team fic, which then turned into thoughts on the dynamics between SG-1 during the first half of Season One.

One of my longer stories, tentatively titled "Unspoken" is a S1 story that I've been eager to work on, but I haven't because it requires me to sit down and watch S1 studiously, something which I haven't the time for right now.

But as I was listening to some songs that I associate with the fic, I remembered just how badly I want to work on it and also why I loved S1 so much. (From what I've heard, apparently, I'm in the minority.)

In it, Jack becomes mentally incapacitated which leaves the rest of SG-1 to cope and try to stick together on their own while looking for a way to fix Jack. Now, I'm not suggesting SG-1 is co-dependent on Jack, but I do believe that in season 1, Jack represented the glue that holds SG-1 together.

I look at the other characters and their relationship to Jack. Sam is new and fresh and eager to please. I often felt she was searching for some kind of affirmation from Jack that she was a good soldier. This doesn't belittle Sam at all. She was seeking respect from her CO. And I do think she looked up to him, not as a starry-eyed child, but just as someone that really appreciated being under his command and could accept both his merits and his flaws. Jack served as a balance for her; her enthusiasm is on par with Daniel and Jack helped keep them both in line.

While Jack and Daniel butted heads and came at a problem from different angles, I saw that the two had a deep respect for each other, even if they would never admit it. And though they had a strong bond and a sense of familiarity with each other, their friendship was still a fragile one. They bonded once through the peril of the Abydos mission and now they are reunited again to find Skaara and Sha're. In the first half of S1, Daniel was still readjusting to Earth and Jack was his main form of support in terms of hope and staying focused. If Jack was to be taken away, I see Daniel grasping at straws.

I always felt that the Jack and Teal'c relationship was the most blatant out of them all without ever saying so. Teal'c turned on his family and his life at Jack's beheadst because he truly believed Jack represented hope for him and his people. That is nothing to take lightly. And Jack knew that. Teal'c's bond is obviously strongest to Jack in this period because of this. That is not to say Teal'c didn't give a flip about anyone else. But his actions are telling. In The Broca Divide, he reports to Jack that he lost Daniel. This tells me that he's not only concerned for Daniel, but also that he feels he failed Jack. Jack is the one that basically stands up for Teal'c the most vocally and takes him under his wing to introduce him to Earth culture. If Jack was taken from Teal'c during this period, what would he be like? That is something I do want to explore.

We did get hints of all of this in episodes like Brief Candle. SG-1 worked tirelessly to help Jack. But that episode focused more on Jack (and rightly so) and the importance of seeing how brief life can be. Episodes like Brief Candle are just as important as Cold Lazarus to terms of bringing Jack out of his shell and helping him to continue to move on, but that is a another discussion for another day ;)

Also, my focus of Jack/other character bonding isn't meant to imply that the other team members didn't have any kind of bond. Sam and Daniel hit it off right away. While Jack kept Daniel focused, I saw Sam as giving him the companionship and intellectual stimulation to keep him happy. Jack kept him grounded; Sam provided distraction.

The show never really blatantly pointed out any kind of animosity between Teal'c and Daniel during S1, but I did get a sense that they were uneasy with each other. Not to the point where they were unable to function as a team or to the point where they wouldn't stand up for each other, but enough to get a vibe that if Jack and Sam weren't around, then Daniel and Teal'c wouldn't opt to spend much time together. By Cor'ai, all this had changed and their relationship continued to grow, likely in part to having to work together in The Broca Divide and Jack continuing to show that Teal'c was a part of their team. (See Thor's Hammer.) But the distance is S1 fascinates me.

Out of all the relationships of S1, I think Sam and Teal'c are the most difficult to define. And even now I have a hard time putting them into words. Their friendship is the most ignored on the show, imo. I didn't get any sense of unease or distress between them in S1. Sam accepted him and he accepted her. They seemed to have this quiet understanding, but nothing all too deep. Hmm. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Maybe that is what I loved so much about S1. Nothing was ever told straight out. We saw all of these undercurrents of character bonding and team building. They were subtle, yet profound. I can't wait to tap into that again. These are exactly the types of issues I want to explore in my story, if I ever get to the darn thing.

Wow, so that turned into more of a meta post than I'd anticipated.
Current Mood: pensivepensive
beanpotbeanpot on June 10th, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
*g* talk to yourself! It gives me something to read while eating breakfast. I think the Sam/Teal'c friendship is the one that suffered if only because I am not sure anyone knew what to do with that. The dynamics were set up for Jack and Teal'c, then Teal'c and Daniel. Sam and Teal'c were..wayward. I give all credit to the actors for fleshing the friendship out as the years developed in rather subtle ways.

For me at least, I love watching the reruns now and looking for how Teal'c reacts to things. It just firms up my ever growing love for him.
Working for the Mandroid: Hatmoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 01:37 pm (UTC)
Most of the time I keep my thoughts to myself because I never think anyone would be interested in reading them. But I couldn't help myself today.

That aspect of Teal'c - how he reacts to things - is my fave part of his character. I capitalize on it when I write and I love to read fic when authors do the same. I can't tell you how much I enjoy when the show does it :)

And yes, kudos to the actors with Sam/Teal'c. Because they brought something there that otherwise would have been a gaping hole in the team dynamics.
Jenn: teal'c- hotsurreallis on June 10th, 2007 01:59 pm (UTC)
Actors aside, and just going all fannish for a second, you really have to wonder what was going on behind the scenes for Teal'c during season one, concerning Sam. He surrenders his staff weapon to her when he first walks through the gate onto Earth, and the soldiers surround him with weapons. I think it was a sign of respect and submission, more to Jack by proxy than anything else, but still...

And it becomes especially intriguing when, later on, we realize how the Jaffa view women and treat them. Bra'tac's first meeting with Sam is especially eye-opening when he scoffs at her gender and the fact that she's a woman. He changes his mind quite quickly, but obviously T and Bray weren't exempt from that Jaffa 'tradition'.

It makes you wonder how Teal'c adjusted to her over that first year, and if Sam picked up on any of that and what she thought.

I thought that in later years Teal'c showed a sense of pride in Sam that he didn't have for the others. When she did something particularly brilliant or especially if she proved O'Neill wrong, Teal'c would get this prideful smirk that seemed to say, "That's my girl!" And I think that would obviously come because she was a woman doing what he considered a man's job. But... that's all just speculation on my part, subject to change.
Jenn: teal'c- hotsurreallis on June 10th, 2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Er, this is supposed to be 'he scoffs at her gender and the fact that she's a soldier.' Otherwise it's rather redundant, isn't it? :P
Working for the Mandroid: lift memoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 02:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I feel that we get a good handle on Jack and Teal'c, and then Teal'c and Daniel, but Sam and Teal'c is left open in this weird place.

I always found Teal'c and his relationship to Sam and even Janet to be remarkable and fascinating. Obviously, we see that women in the Jaffa world are treated very poorly in conparison to our standards. Never do we se ethat attitude towards Sam or Janet. In fact, I would say that Teal'c has always been respectful to Tau'ri women, but there has never really been an exploration as to why.

I wonder if it had to do with Teal'c situation. He came into SG-1 with guilt of his past. He came into SG-1 with something to prove. Jack accepted him so openly, I feel like Teal'c had a loyalty to all of them because of Jack. He had to keep so many of his thoughts, attitudes, and issues in check, even keeping his family a secret in order to protect his position. I see Teal'c as someone that took a voluntariy vow of silence on his own personality for a while, only letting bits and pieces slip through. That changed as he become close to Sam and Daniel as well, and realized that he could be his own man without worrying about immediate deportation, but I do think its all rooted in Jack.

I don't know when or how it happened, but over the years there is this quiet comfortableness that grows between them, something never quite achieved with Jack or Daniel. They do find comfort in each other. Maybe because she is so open and good natured without sacrificing her morals. She doesn't get grumpy and stubborn like Jack and she doesn't have that arrogance that Daniel has. Maybe that spoke to Teal'c somehow. I don't mean to say that Teal'c doesn't respect Jack or Daniel. He obviously does. But it's different with Sam.

As for your thoughts on Teal'c being proud of Sam, you have canon to back it up as late as The Quest pt 2. Just recall his face when Sam punched Ba'al in the nose.
Jennsurreallis on June 10th, 2007 02:49 pm (UTC)
There's also Shades of Gray, where you have Jack being suspended and Makepeace is given command of SG-1 over Sam, which obviously does not sit well with Daniel or Teal'c. In fact, I think Teal'c even walks out of the inpromptu meeting about the new commander, doesn't he? He shows then, not only his bond to Sam, but his willingness to accept orders from her and follow her into battle.

And I'm sorry, this is so NOT season 1, which is what you were originally discussing.
Working for the Mandroid: unbreakablemoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 02:54 pm (UTC)
And I'm sorry, this is so NOT season 1, which is what you were originally discussing.

LOL It's okay. Later seasons can always reflect back onto the earlier seasons, anyway. Actually, they should.

I always loved that scene from Shades of Gray. (I love that episode, period.) I loved how Daniel got mouthy with Hammond and Makepeace because he believed in Sam's ability to command. And yes, Teal'c just up and walked out. It was awesome. That small scene spoke so much about how the characters all related to each other and even how they related to Jack even if he wasn't with them.
Fig Newton: jack and daniel friendshipsg_fignewton on June 10th, 2007 02:22 pm (UTC)
Oooh, early season SG-1. My favorite dynamic, even if I prefer the storylines of S2.

I agree all the way - especially at the beginning, Jack was the connection that made SG-1 into a single cohesive unit. They needed him badly then. I think they always needed him, really, which is why so much of S8 falls flat, and S9-10 doesn't work very well for me. That's not to take away from Sam's capabilities as a leader, or Teal'c's decades of experience! But to make them into that single entity called SG-1, they needed Jack.

I love fics about the team rallying around him. It's not just that they need him; they know it, too. :)

Re Teal'c and Daniel: I don't think either of them truly realized that they'd accepted one another until Cor-Ai. Daniel has that little smidgen of hesitation before he says, "I wanted to hate him at first..." And Teal'c's expression (I love how CJ can make an expresionless face so expressive!) says whole volumes at the realization that Daniel is allowing Jack to use Sha're in Teal'c's defense.

Yes, Sam and Teal'c bond pretty uneasily in the first season. It's probably because they have almost no scenes together, though.

Write meta more often! And with the show ending, maybe we should institute a recapping of the show? Starting with COTG, once a week, on a regular schedule? It might be fun. :)
Working for the Mandroid: Strongmoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 02:46 pm (UTC)
I'm not as fond of S2, but that might be because I overdosed on it when I jumped into the show. And I am a sucker for intial dynamics.

I'm not as critical of the later seasons as you are, but I do agree that it's just not right without Jack. I think I could handle it more if they mentioned Jack more. I mean, he's still their boss. I could swallow S6 a little bit better even though Jonas was a flat character, but that might have been because they mentioned Daniel all the time.

Anyway, I digress.

I like your point about Cor'ai. Unless I'm missing an episode, I think that episode was a huge turning point for them. Oh, pssh. Let me go look or it'll bug me all day...

Well, I think the episodes around Fire and Water is where they really had become a true solid team. But yes, Cor'ai is a turning point episode. And I do believe I missed that expression which means, boo-hoo, I'll have to watch it again! ;)

But yes, I am a huge fan of the early dynamic. Maybe because thre was so much to explore. And I loved leader!Jack and science!Sam and explorer!Daniel and not-get-Earth-culture!Teal'c. Priceless.

And I love team fics with them rallying behind him, too. It's the goof stuff, man.

I'm all for a recapping sometime after the end of the series. OMG, two eps left! *cries* That would give me some time to get some writing (original fic) done so I could participate. That would be fun.
Abyssis: SG1 - team sets forthabyssinia4077 on June 10th, 2007 02:24 pm (UTC)
You know, back when I was first watching, I didn't like Jack much through most of S1 (he grew on me) but you are right that he was the glue for the team in a lot of ways.

He has that history with Daniel, the relationship with Sam as you said, and I think Teal'c transferred himself into thinking he was O'Neill's first prime.

With Sam and Teal'c - I think they didn't know what to make of each other. I think Sam isn't like any woman Teal'c has known and he's never had female colleague, especially on the field of battle - and isn't sure what to make of her. Meanwhile, Sam is behind the team in having to adjust to meeting aliens and traveling to other planets and takes a while to figure Teal'c out too. I do love how they got to grow.

I like your thinky thoughts!
Working for the Mandroid: Her Gazemoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 02:37 pm (UTC)
I am one of those people that always loves initial dynamics. I find the characterization of all the characters strongest in S2-4, but no matter what show I watch, I always seem to go back to S1. S1 for just about any show isn't perfect, but it serves as that initial window into who these people are.

(And though I don't like SGA, I am known to like a good chunk of S1 of Atlantis.)

Since the show was made with RDA in mind as the star, but with RDA committed that the show not just be about him, we got all of this nice team dynamics in light of the Jack connection. It was all so beautiful.

I agree with you about Sam and Teal'c. At the beginning, Sam was meant to be our sense of wonder (a different kind of wonder than Daniel.) Daniel and Jack had been through the Gate before. Teal'c spent his life doing it. Sam really represented the audience for a time, where we were new and looking to follow her through the Stargate. I think the characters later morphed into different representaions, but that's a different discussion.

I think we need more S1 Sam and Teal'c friendship fic.
suzannemarie on June 10th, 2007 03:12 pm (UTC)
It's been my contention that Jack was the glue guy for SG1. Initially they related to each other through him. And he related to them in ways unique to each of them. This was, of course, especially true in season one because he was the focal point. But I think it even remains somewhat true through season 8--even though the dynamics between the others had long since developed and the dynamics between Jack and team had matured. He's their rock, the one that they count on, the one that they know will see anything through for them no matter the cost. (Hence it's Jack that Daniel trusts to end the treatment in Meridian. Jack who's looked to to make the call about Sam in Entity. Jack that Teal'c asks to look after Rya'c if necessary in Orpheus.)

To sum up: one of the things that I really like is the way that they used different colors in the pallette to paint Jack's relationship with his team. He may have treated them as equal to each other, but he didn't treat them the same (like and equal are two different things). And they were allowed to relate to him in their own unique ways.
Working for the Mandroid: Runmoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC)
You've said it better than I could. This is how I've always felt and why I do love Jack's character. They all had their own special relationship with him and I never felt that any of them were inferior in Jack's mind. he loves and cares for them in different ways, personal ways, just as they do him.
suzannemarie on June 10th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oops. I just noticed that my entire last paragraph wound up italicized. I wasn't quite looking to emphasize the whole thing. Oh well.

Anyway, I think (as you note) all of that is related to why you may find Jack so interesting to write for even if you identify and like Daniel more overall. I think it's easy for some people to pigeonhole Jack as the standard military guy, which is too bad. He is military honor, duty, service guy, but also compassionate, loyal, smarter than he likes to let people think, and he has a heart. And I think one of his best leadership qualities is that he's not afraid to let those in his command shine in their own ways. All of those different facets give a lot of different areas for exploration. And a lot of those layers are almost subtle. The others have layers too, but I think in many ways they're more straightforward than Jack. (In some ways it almost seems to turn stereotype on it's head.) It's not to say that Daniel, Sam, and Teal'c aren't as interesting as Jack, but I think they might be a little more accessible. What I'm finding is that Jack is really enjoyable to write for--and it's not just because he's my favorite because I love the others too. It's just that there's an awful lot to grab onto with Jack, and from a writing standpoint it seems like that presents some of the most interesting challenges.

Sorry to go on so long. Characters and how they relate and poking around at the layers is one of my favorite topics.
Working for the Mandroid: breathemoonshayde on June 10th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
All of this is very true. In addition, at least for me, I know that Jack (and Teal'c) are easier for me to write because I tend to hear their voices more clearly. I'm very much like Daniel in terms of morality and interests and I'm very much like Sam in terms of personality. For me, they are more difficult to write because it is easier for me to insert myself into them. I can't insert myself as much into Jack or Teal'c. So I know that is another factor for me.

And no need to apologize. I am a huge fan of discussing characterization. It's one of my fave topics as a fan and as a writer. It's what I'm passionate about :)