In 1994, a new sci-fi franchise was born with the release of Stargate. An alien portal was discovered in 1928 Giza. Jumping ahead to the present day, discredited Egyptologist Daniel Jackson (James Spader) figured out how to activate the portal and a military team led by Jack O’Neill (Kurt Russel) was sent through to identify potential threats. There, they found a planet much like Earth’s ancient Egypt where an alien posing as the god Ra (Jaye Davidson) had enslaved the populace. O’Neil and his team instigated a slave rebellion and overthrew Ra, freeing the planet.
The film was directed and co-written by Roland Emmerich and released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Opening on October 28th, it achieved the record for the highest-grossing opening weekend for an October film. Although critics were mixed about it, the film ended up earning over $196 million. Three years later, MGM planned to spin-off of the movie into a television series and hired Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner to develop it.
Stargate: SG-1 picked up a year after the film and followed the military team on missions through the Stargate to find technology and allies against the Goa’uld alien race, and later in the show’s run against The Ori. The O’Neill role was filled by Richard Dean Anderson for the first eight seasons until he was replaced by Ben Browder as Cameron Mitchell for the final two. SG-1 aired half its run on Showtime before moving to the Sci-Fi Channel after the premium network dropped it.
The show proved popular, spawning a wave of merchandising and its own convention, Gatecon. The show also spawned several spin-off series. The most well-known and received were the live-action spin-offs Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe. Stargate: Atlantis followed another military team who operated out of the Lost City of Atlantis on the planet Lantea and helped the Atlanteans find a way to combat a race called the Wraith. Stargate: Universe followed an exploration team flying on a spaceship trying to find a way back to Earth. However, the first spin-off was the lesser-successful animated attempt Stargate: Infinity.
|The Infinity team: Stacey, Seattle, Gus, R.J. and Ec'co.|
Created by Eric Lewald and Michael Maliani and developed by Kaaren Lee Brown, the series was set 30 years in the future from SG-1. Gus Bonner (Dale Wilson) was framed for insubordination and sending his men into an ambush by an alien. When the alien race Tlak’kahn, led by Da’Kyll (Mark Acheson), attacked Stargate Command for a recently-unearthed chrysalis, Bonner used the distraction to escape with a team through the Stargate in order to find the alien that framed him and clear his name.
|Draga, the newborn recruit.|
Gus’ team was comprised of his by-the-book niece Stacey Bonner (Tifanie Christun), who believed that Gus was actually a traitor; Seattle Montoya (Bettina Bush), a Native American with precognitive abilities; R.J. Harrison (Mark Hildreth), a recent academy graduate who served as the series’ comic relief; and Ec’co (Cusse Mankuma), a half-alien cadet who could fix anything. They travel though the Stargate to various worlds, trying to stay one step ahead of the Tlak’kahn while getting involved in the perils and troubles of the alien species they encountered. Along the way they were joined by a newborn alien named Draga (Kathleen Barr), a very powerful being believed to be one of The Ancients who originally built the Stargates.
The series premiered on September 14, 2002 as part of 4Kids Entertainment’s FoxBox line-up on FOX. It was produced by DiC Entertainment in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Animation. Unlike the other Stargate entries, Infinity downplayed the military aspect of the team to focus more on the pro-social messages woven into each script that the characters would have to learn about and deal with. It was written by Dean Devlin, Paul Francis, Michel Trouillet, Mark Edward Edens, Michael Edens, Katherine Lawrence, Richard Mueller, Randy Littlejohn, Christy Marx, Francis Moss, Ted Pedersen, Craig Miller and Brooks Wachtel. Animation duties were handled by Hong Ying Universe Company, Hosem Animation Studio and Suzhou Hong Yang Cartoon Company. Maliani served as an executive producer along with Andy Heyward. The series’ music was composed by Mike Piccirillo and Jean-Michel Guirao.
|The DVD cover.|
The series was poorly received and suffered from low ratings during its run, resulting in its cancellation after only one season and several plotlines left unresolved. The creators and producers of the other Stargate programs, who had no role in the development of the cartoon at all, have gone on record stating that Infinity was not a part of the official Stargate canon and existed in its own alternate universe. Shortly after the show ended, DiC released a 4-episode DVD. MGM Home Entertainment released a complete box set in region 2 in 2007, with Shout! Factory and Vivendi Entertainment releasing the region 1 version the following year.