- Stargate SG-1 is a campy and fun science-fiction series with elements of interstellar travel, alien villains, and character resurrections. It has several standout episodes that combine mind-bending twists and action.
- The best episodes of Stargate SG-1 focus on the relationships between the main characters, Jack O’Neill, Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Teal’c. These episodes tend to receive higher scores on IMDb.
- Some of the standout episodes include “The Torment of Tantalus” with a twist on Stargate’s usual formula, “The Serpent’s Lair” raising the stakes with Earth under attack, and “Thor’s Chariot” introducing the important Asgard race and featuring satisfying teamwork.
Stargate SG-1 is 214 episodes of science-fiction fun, with a few standing out as the best the series had to offer. Set in the aftermath of the 1994 film, Stargate, the show’s ten seasons are full of all the best elements of the genre. Instantaneous interstellar travel, a race of parasite alien villains, and several characters killed off only to be brought back to life—the campy and outrageous nature of Stargate SG-1 is all part of the charm. A few episodes brought these details to the forefront, combining them with mind-bending twists and a whole lot of action. The result is the makings of some excellent TV.
After the success of the Stargate film, Stargate SG-1 was set up to do well, and the series took complete advantage. Jack O’Neill, Samantha Carter, Daniel Jackson, and Teal’c were individually excellent characters, going through satisfying (though admittedly chaotic) arcs. As a group, they were even better, with unique relationships evolving between each character and their teammates. This was the foundation of Stargate, and the episodes focused on these relationships tended to get the best scores on IMDb. Of course, other elements also contribute to these great Stargate SG-1 episodes.
10 The Torment Of Tantalus
(Season 1, Episode 10)
Stargate SG-1‘s first season was good enough, but it would be a few seasons before the series hit its stride. Still, there are a few golden episodes within this first installment. A prime example is “The Torment of Tantalus,” which has a score of 8.2/10 on IMDb. The episode sees Daniel Jackson discover that a young professor went through the Stargate back in 1945 but never returned. To get him back, the team went through to retrieve the now-aged man but wound up trapped along with him. This was the first time the Stargate really failed the group, and it was a fun twist on the norm audiences had come to expect in Stargate SG-1, season 1.
9 The Serpent’s Lair
(Season 2, Episode 1)
Stargate SG-1 season 2 really jumped into the conflict with Apophis, finally seeing the villain aim his forces at Earth. This meant a desperate scramble to save the planet. Of course, the gang had all been in plenty of danger before “The Serpent’s Lair,” but something about the threat coming closer to home took the suspense up another level. The episode sees SG-1 team up again with Bra’tac, working to bring Apophis’ ship down from the inside before it can destroy everyone they have ever known. This is a concept Stargate would explore countless times again, but this first time holds its place as among the most impactful.
8 Thor’s Chariot
(Season 2, Episode 6)
There are a few Stargate episodes that stand out as being just a lot of fun. “Thor’s Chariot” is an extremely important episode since it introduced Thor and the Asgard, a race of aliens that would serve a significant role in the plot going forward. However, it’s the ancient escape room-like puzzles the team had to work through to survive that made this Stargate SG-1 episode a blast to watch. The stakes were high, and the teamwork of SG-1 (each working to their individual strengths) made the ultimate solution that much more satisfying.
Michael Shanks, who played Daniel Jackson, was also the voice of Thor in Stargate SG-1.
7 There But For The Grace Of God
(Season 1, Episode 19)
Alternate reality episodes are another staple of Stargate SG-1‘s charm, but once again, it’s the first instance of this type of plot that stands out. In the season 1 episode, “There But for the Grace of God,” Daniel Jackson finds a mirror-like gate and, after touching it, discovers that he has been transported to an alternate version of Earth. No one at SGC has any idea who he is, which is only complicated by the fact that Earth is under attack from the Goa’uld. This reality is rather grim, but there are some fun elements as well, such as the reveal that Jack O’Neill and Samantha Carter have become engaged in this version of their story.
6 Heroes Part 2
(Season 7, Episode 18)
By Stargate SG-1 season 7, audiences had a fair idea of what to expect from the series. However, “Heroes Part 2” took advantage of this to take viewers entirely by surprise. The first part of “Heroes” introduced a documentarian and his team, who were supposed to make a movie about the operation at SGC. The rest of the two-part episode is taken from their perspective, which means an added level of suspense since audiences can’t see exactly what’s going on when things hit the fan. We don’t know who is alive or who is dead when an army of Jaffa attacks, and the ultimate reveal that Janet Fraiser was killed is the final dagger in the chest for the emotional episode.
5 The Pegasus Project
(Season 10, Episode 13)
By Stargate SG-1 season 10, the spinoff series, Stargate Atlantis, had already been on the air for a few years. Therefore, many fans already knew and loved the team stationed on Atlantis and had been desperate to see Daniel Jackson finally have his chance to visit. This came to pass in “The Pegasus Project” when Daniel set out to look for Merlin’s anti-Ori weapon in Atlantis’ library. Seeing Jackson here was like watching a child in a candy store, and his interactions with other brainiacs like McKay made this Stargate SG-1 episode, which has an 8.9/10 score on IMDb, much more enjoyable.
4 Window Of Opportunity
(Season 4, Episode 6)
There are a few other episodes of Stargate SG-1 that were as fun as “Window of Opportunity.” Another in the long series of episodes where a piece of alien technology causes things to go horribly wrong, this season 4 moment sees the SGC trapped in an endless time loop. Daniel Jackson ultimately points out that this means none of their actions can have long-lasting consequences, leading to a lot of hilarious chaos. Still, after building up the fun, this Stargate SG-1 episode managed to bring things home with an emotional moment in which Jack breaks down about the death of his son. It was perfectly balanced and highly effective.
(Season 3, Episode 22)
Stargate SG-1‘s season 3 episode, “Nemesis,” is packed with action, suspense, and several emotional moments. This time in the series saw the introduction of the Replicators, an even more terrifying enemy than the Goa’uld, and some always-valuable vulnerable moments from Jack O’Neill. The leader of SG-1 had quite a soft spot for Asgard, especially Thor, who was among the few beings in the universe who recognized how remarkable Jack was. The emotional nature of these moments was balanced by the action and desperate hope for survival—the recipe for an excellent episode.
2 The Fifth Race
(Season 2, Episode 15)
Jack O’Neill is an excellent central protagonist. He is hugely guarded and struggles to open up, preferring to hide behind a feigned lack of intelligence and sense of humor, which makes the Stargate SG-1 episodes that dive into his secret vulnerabilities all the more rewarding to watch. “The Fifth Race,” which has a 9.1/10 score on IMDb, sees Jack gifted with immense knowledge, but if the team can’t figure out how to return him to normal, he is doomed to die. The episode sees the facade that Jack has worked so hard to maintain fall away, and the event allows him to deeply connect with Thor and the Asgard. Ultimately, this episode represents all the best things about who Jack O’Neill is.
1 Lost City: Part 2
(Season 7, Episode 22)
The 9.4/10 IMDb score of Stargate SG-1‘s “Lost City: Part 2” further supports the fact that there is something about Jack’s vulnerability that speaks to audiences. The episode combines many of the great elements of other fantastic episodes, resulting in an installment that perfectly exemplifies what made Stargate SG-1 so beloved. Jack was once again burdened with immense knowledge, this time paired with some tender moments between him and Samantha Carter, and the threat of Earth’s destruction meant the episode was driven along with the suspense scale blown off the charts. Additionally, this Stargate SG-1 episode was the perfect setup for Stargate Atlantis and the continuation of the truly excellent science fiction series.