the rantings and ravings of a not quite sane cow

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hyperbole Theatre presents: DVD Review: Stargate Infinity - The Complete Series

Stargate Infinity: The bastard child of the Stargate franchise. A Saturday morning children's cartoon. Naturally, I was thoroughly ecstatic to get my copy so I could review it.

I'll start where anyone who buys a DVD invariably must: the packaging. On the outside, you'll find a completely original cardboard slip cover protecting two also completely original slim cases, each with two discs.

Allow me to derail here a moment, if you will. While the art on cardboard cover is fine (the show's name, Stargate showing planets in the middle - anyone who actually knows anything about Stargate, please ignore how much that's bastardised the show, there's worse to come), when it comes to the art on the cases themselves... words can't really describe it. There are pictures of some of the main characters which look like a blind five year old, who had never heard of the show and had only a dull set of crayons, a can of poster paint and a funnel, after being given a thirty second description of what the characters actually look like.
By a monkey.
An earlier version of this review said "yes, it's really that bad", but then bad's lawyer called me and threatened to charge me with libel. Anyone willing to invent with a word accurate enough to describe this and happy to be whored out for my use here, please apply in the comments.

The rest of the packaging? The discs are fine. I assume. I have to blindfold myself whenever I get to the case, so I don't exactly get a great look.

Video quality: I didn't realise anybody still made CEDs, but that's what this show appears to have been stored on in the six years between when it was made and when it was released on DVD. That, or it was intentionally designed to look like film preserved from the 1930s. Probably both.
Audio: I'd actually prepared towels in case my ears started bleeding. Surprisingly, that didn't happen. That being said, it's going to win every award there is for sound design, what with its gloriously immersive 2.0 stereo soundtrack (with barely any separation!); sound effects borrowed from SG-1, shot, buried in three feet of dirt, rained on (twice), dug up, left on the floor, torn up by stray cats while on the floor, eaten by dog while still on floor, then crapped out by dog and used in completely the wrong situation (Zat sounds on a Stargate opening? You better believe it!) and voices occasionally so muffled that I've understood more when watching Russian scuba divers.

Now, unfortunately for you, my dear reader, I must get to actually discussing the show itself. Part of its problems are due simply to what it is (and that Fox wanted it classed as an educational show, so they could produce more of the mindless blather they're known for). The characters? I've seen more lifelike characters on cereal boxes, and the voice acting seems to be a contest to be so wooden that the trees that box was made from jealous.

And that's not when they're directly blasphemous to everything Stargate, such as an "Ancient" being a flying, dragon-type... thing. Or the "half-alien" who looks to be about one third human, one third crocodile, and one third toaster (I'd hate to be his supposedly 100% human mother). Or the blatant disregard for wormhole physics. Or the complete lack of any and all recognisable characters or races (except for that misnomered Ancient mentioned above). Now, being set roughly 30 years after SG-1, the lack of recognisable characters might be forgiven (although they're never even mentioned), but the only race that's in both proper Stargate and this... humans. Not that that's hard. The main villains look like a cross between apes and alligators, and there are so many hyphens and character and race names that this show actually caused a world punctuation shortage in early 2003.

One point I feel must be mentioned: this show has a theme song. As in, with actual words. It's just as terrible as you think it is (assuming you think it's so terrible that Al Qaeda is trying to destroy the western world just to be sure that they got whoever wrote this monstrosity).

Maybe I'm looking at it the wrong way. It is, after all, a children's cartoon. Now, even when I was a calf, I think I still could have noticed that at the end of every single episode, Gus Bonner saves the day, and one of the team learns an important lesson about how they were acting wrong at the start. And predictable? I've been less sure that the sun will rise than I was that the team would escape when they were all captured by Da'Kyll (I'll try to refrain from mentioning his name too much, lest the internet run out of apostrophes).

To be fair, this can be enjoyed. But only if you start watching it with expectations so low, you'd be happy if the TV punched you in the face. And then exploded. Better than flushing your $20 down the toilet, but you'd probably get more enjoyment out of buying some donuts and throwing them at old people.