To most of the earth-bound humans in it, the Stargate verse is indistinguishable from the universe in which we viewers live. It's present-day, there isn't a whole lot of Applied Phlebotinum that you'd notice, and human history has unfolded just the way you remember, so far as you know. About the only difference is that there's about 80 billion dollars in the US military budget that no one can adequately account for. Oh, wait.In fact, human history unfolded in a radically different way than they teach in school. First, the pyramids were built by aliens.Many millions of years ago, aliens that looked exactly like humans evolved elsewhere in the universe, advanced to a stunning level, and filled the galaxy with really nifty Imported Alien Phlebotinum (not the least of which were the titular Stargates) before buggering off to a higher plane of existence. Some time later, a race of parasitic aliens called the Goa'uld invaded Earth, built pyramids, inspired (or assumed the personalities of) the various mythological gods, and created a human diaspora in order to serve them as slaves on other worlds, resulting in large populations of Homo sapiens throughout the galaxy.Really, the defining element of the Stargate verse is the Stargates: a Portal Network allowing instantaneous travel between the various worlds. Upon finding Earth's long-lost Stargate, the US Military promptly went out into the universe, and, mostly through pluck and determination, set out to completely rewrite the status quo, despite the fact that the rest of the galaxy is a lot more advanced.Fortunately, we're really good at it. So, as of 2010, while to most of the people on Earth, it does not seem like anything interesting is going on, we actually have offworld colonies, two expeditions to distant galaxies, and five (intact) intergalactic starships (Daedalus,Apollo,Odyssey,George Hammond, and Sun-Tzu; two older intergalactic starships, Prometheus and Korolev, have been destroyed).Works set in the Stargate verse include:
The Stargate 'verse is rare even in Science Fiction for having particularly cheap and easy interstellar (and later, intergalactic) travel.The other defining element of the Stargate verse is that there are a lot of Godlike Aliens, representing a wide range of concepts of God, degrees of Godlikeness, and degrees of friendliness.Another relatively unusual feature of the Verse is the scarcity of aliens: aliens do indeed exist, and the universe is teeming with life, but the entire population of the universe seems to consist of no more than two dozen or so distinct races:
Humans, who — thanks to the diaspora — live everywhere in the Milky Way Galaxy. Those from Earth specifically are called the Tau'ri. Humans also inhabit the Pegasus Galaxy and the unnamed galaxy of the Ori due to being "seeded" through genetic engineering by the Ancients and Ori.
Goa'uld, a race of snakelike parasites who, until recently, ran most of the galaxy by pretending to be gods. Goa'uld require an individual of another species to host them in order to survive, and most Goa'uld take full control over their host. They steal technology, filling their "parasite" role in multiple ways. Most prominent is their sarcophagus technology, which they can use to heal themselves (or to bring their corpses back to life). Unfortunately, this rejuvenation process is part of what makes them so evil (as revealed when Daniel becomes addicted to using a sarcophagus... and his personality mirrors that of a Goa'uld).
Some Goa'uld, however, decided that this system of involuntary symbiosis was evil. They call themselves Tok'ra, which means "Against Ra" (who was the Goa'uld emperor at the time). Tok'ra live in voluntary symbiosis with their humanoid hosts. Usually. Also, they don't use the sarcophagus technology, believing it to be unnatural to prolong ones life in such a manner and that it damages the soul, hence why the Goa'uld are so evil. They do not take being called Goa'uld very well.
Jaffa, a human-descended race genetically modified by the Goa'uld to serve as their soldiers and as organic life support systems for juvenile Goa'uld. After the fall of the Goa'uld, the Jaffa attempt to form a democratic, egalitarian society despite the fact that their history consists entirely of killing one another over their masters' territorial disputes. It turns out to be about as difficult as you'd imagine.
Nox, an ancient and super-advanced race of peaceful tree-huggers who keep to themselves and live in seclusion, aided by the ability to render themselves and other's invisible. It is likely that many of Earth's various legends of "The Little People" or "The Fair Folk" are actually about the Nox. They maintain an Actual Pacifist stance, refusing to defend themselves when threatened, (mostly because death is a minor inconvenience when you can resurrect the dead), although when pushed, they are perfectly capable of whisking away enemies back through the Stargate without their weapons. They were one of the Four Races, most likely The Heart of the group.
Asgard, an ancient and super-advanced race with the classic "gray alien" appearance, who inspired the Norse gods, and occasionally bail our sorry backsides out when we get in over our heads, now supposedly extinct, (although Atlantis revealed that more ruthless offshoot called the Vanir live in Pegasus). Unlike most such advanced species the Asgard have proved to be friendly, helpful, (as much as they can), and all things considered actually decent and polite as well, capable of acknowledging humanity's flaws compared to themselves, (and acknowledging where humanity can help them), without coming across as condescending and smugly superior. A member of the Four Races, acting as The Lancer to the Ancients.
The Ancients, an ancient and super-advanced race who built the Stargates and Atlantis, then most died from a plague and others evolved into Energy Beings. Their society shakes down, so far as we know, into the "Alterans", the original parent race which built the gates, the "Lanteans", who moved to the Pegasus galaxy and did more or less the same thing, and the "Ori", their evil cousins, and final SG-1Big Bad. Though we evolved separately, humans and ancients are more or less the same biological species, and most of the population of the Pegasus galaxy evolved similarly. They are also non-interfering to the extreme, to the point of seeming like total jerks. The Leader of the Four Races.
Furlings, an ancient and super-advanced race and member of the Four Races, who have, as yet, not bothered to actually show up. (A lampshade is hung in the episode "Citizen Joe", wherein one of Joe's readers is annoyed that he keeps mentioning them even though they never actually appear.) Although this may be because they are dead, since SG-1 did find a Furling colony once where they had created a paradise and lived in harmony with nature, until some plant that caused paranoia was introduced. The skeletons looked like short humans, although since they invited everyone to come join them, those skeletons might really have been human. Parodied, like many other things, in the SG-1 episode "200", where the Furlings finally appear... and their first on-screen action is having their planet blown up. It was just an Imagine Spot, though.
Unas, big, scary, humanoid and reptilian creatures, who were the common hosts of the Goa'uld before they encountered humans and subsequently abandoned as hosts, since while being stronger and more durable, humans regenerate more readily and have nimbler hands for tool use. They are believed to have evolved on the same planet as the Goa'uld, where they maintain a Stone Age tribal culture and level of technology.
The Wraith, evil, powerful vampiric creatures. The result of unfortunate genetic crossover between humans and a really nasty life-sucking bug. All but defeated the Ancients in the Pegasus Galaxy.
The Replicators, self-replicating Lego bugs (who later evolve into "liquid metal" human-form androids) whose ultimate goal is to consume all other civilizations in the universe, which makes them a major threat to pretty much all of the above. A different kind of Replicators, the human-form Asurans, who were made by the Ancients, inhabit the Pegasus galaxy and are pretty much as hostile as the Milky Way Lego bugs. The Replicators in the Milky Way were created by an android named Reese, whose "father" was likely also an Ancient, and learned to produce human-forms after studying her dead body.
The Reetou are invisible creatures that seem to fill the role of "token insectoid life". As could be expected, they were attacked by the Goa'uld, who apparently developed (read: probably stole) a weapon that not only kills them, it also makes them visible. Most notable for genetically engineering a human being to act as a go-between when they decided to warn Earth about the Reetou Rebels, a group of Reetou who decided that they'd stop the Goa'uld by killing every life form in the galaxy that could possibly be used as a host. Unfortunately, the genetically engineered kid suffers from multiple congenital defects, and has to become a host for a Tok'ra in order to survive.
One minor race, the Serrakin, who appeared in just two episodes (SG-1 season 6's "The Forsaken" and season 7's "Space Race"). They are a vaguely lizard-like humanoid race who live in harmony (and interbreed) with a Celtic-descended human culture, whom they liberated from the Goa'uld millenia ago. In the present day, they have a highly industrialized and corporate-dominated society, with advanced technology and interstellar travel. It is unknown exactly how widespread they are, but they have clearly managed to avoid attracting sufficient attention for any Goa'uld system lords to attempt to reconquer them. Since they are humanoid aside from their skin, facial features and corrugated forehead, they count as Rubber Forehead Aliens.
Another minor race is the Re'ol, who were seen for but a few moments in a single episode. They can generate a chemical which, when injected into humans, causes them to see the Re'ol as a human being, or whatever the Re'ol wants to be seen as. The single Re'ol to appear onscreen used this to get SG-1 to help it escape the Goa'uld, since it was afraid to ask. When it is seen, it looks like a skeleton with leathery gray skin stretched over it, more or less.
The Unity, a race of crystalline energy beings who only appeared in one episode.
The A't'trr, a Hive Mind race of microbes who only appeared in one episode.
The otherwise unnamed (in the episode at least) "GIANT ALIENS!" from the SG-1 episode "Crystal Skull." Not to be confused with the Indiana Jones movie of the same name. Almost nothing is known about the "GIANT ALIENS!" except that they are enemies of the Go'auld and live out of phase with the rest of the universe. Note: "GIANT ALIENS!" must be said with a Dutch accent for proper effect. Apparently, they're officially called the Omeyocan, but not only does that not show up in the one episode they appear in, saying "GIANT ALIENS!" is far more amusing and descriptive.
Then there's the unnamed "foothold aliens," a mildly humanoid, technologically advanced race that briefly conquered Stargate Command using devices that let each of them take on the appearance of a captured human individual. They were only seen in one episode, but their captured devices were used again later. It's not clear what these guys actually look like, as they seem to constantly wear armour or environment suits... unless that's just their normal appearance. For the record, the RPG calls them the Stragoth.
Oannes, aquatic humanoids who had visited Earth during Babylonian times appeared in one episode.
Another unnamed race of gill-faced humanoids possessed of shapeshifting and teleportation powers appeared as protectors to a dislocated tribe of Native Americans in one episode.
The Oranians are another type of Aliens in Rubber Suits, who are also vaguely reptilian. The species is primarily represented by the unscrupulous businessmen Jup and Tanat. If they are any indication, Oranians seem to be fairly hapless and stupid. When Tenat finds out that he has been tricked into firing on his commanding officer and is about to die, he delivers the hilarious Kirkesque line "Damn you Cam Mitchelllll!"
The sulphur based some what reptilian looking Gadmeer who make their appearance in season four's Scorched Earth. A milky way native, they were wiped out by a superior military power who may or may not be the Goa'uld. They created a large terraforming ship to recreate their society.
The silicon based Sekkari, who look somewhat like a cross between a skeleton and an anatomy model. Some tens of thousands of years prior, they realized they were going extinct, and spent the rest of their days creating over fifty seed carriers that would restart their evolution on new worlds in the Pegasus galaxy. The Atlantis personnel encountered the only still functioning device.
The Nakai, who are hunting after the protagonists of Universe. They are vaguely humanoid, but with catfish-like faces, and glow neon-blue. They possess advanced starship technology and even devices that allow them to communicate with humans telepathically, although understand English well enough to issue the demand to "Surrender" and taunt Destiny with "No Escape", after crossing into another Galaxy in pursuit of them. They appear to communicate to each other in the form of clicks and grunts.
Ursini, about 1.2m (4') tall vaguely humanoid (seems like a recurring theme with advanced Stargate Universe aliens) brown-skinned insect-like aliens with whom the crew of Destiny have first encountered on a derelict stargate-seeding ship. They also possess advanced spaceships, stun guns and other pieces of advanced technology. Their language is as for now incomprehensible, though it remains to be seen whether they will learn English from Telford or not. They aren't particularly hostile, but the first contact didn't end on good terms due to difficulties communicating. They are probably waging a war with something else. As of "Deliverance," They're apparently extinct.
Berserker Drones, a type of mechanical drones that were created a long time ago for a war, with the unfortunately vague directions to "Destroy all advanced technology." This naturally backfired when their creators owntechnology advanced, causing the Drones to turn on them and wipe them out. Since then, their creations have been terrorising their local galaxy, driving races like the Ursini to the point of extinction. Most of the final episodes of SGU deal with Destiny's desperate attempts to avoid them.
Despite being one of the newer Sci-fi franchises (compared to, y'know, the otherfranchises that start with "Star") The Stargate verse is the third longest science fiction franchise in terms of hours. No single Trek series has more episodes than Stargate SG-1. It's a long way from either Doctor Who or Star Trek, but those have been around since The Sixties, whereas the Stargate movie was released in 1994.Notable characteristics of the Stargate Verse include:
Aliens Speaking English: Averted in the original movie, where the Abydonians speak a derivative of ancient Egyptian. Played straight thereafter, which was eventually handwaved (by Word Of God) with Translator Microbes in the form of an effect created by the stargates themselves.
Apocalypse How: Between blowing up stargates (equivalent to a supervolcano), 100-plus gigaton nuclear weapons, planet smashing asteroids, and blowing up an entire solar system (at least twice!), you would think that there was a universe-wide unofficial contest going on for the most creative way to destroy everything.
Backed by the Pentagon: Which has resulted in Richard Dean Anderson (Jack O'Neill, two Ls) to be made an honorary Brigadier General.
The Battlestar: For bonus points, the human battlecruisers even bear a passing resemblance to the Battlestar Galactica, with a hangar bay mounted on each side of the main hull. The similarities end there, however. The Goa'uld ships instead look like flying pyramids, and the Asgard ships look vaguely like giant hammers or axes. Other ship designs vary widely.
Colonel Badass: The movie and SG-1 have Jack O'Neill. SG-1 later adds Samantha Carter and Cameron Mitchell. Atlantis has John Sheppard. Universe has Everett Young.
Constellations: The 38 symbols on the rim of the gate are constellations as seen from Earth, one being specifically identified in Stargate as Orion. The movie and early TV episodes stated them to be six points in space and the point of origin, but the SG-1 showrunners eventually recognized the obvious flaw in this reasoning: the constellations are not static and, since the stars involved are not physically near each other even on astronomical scales, would look completely different from other planets anyway. By "Lost City" they settled on the symbols being the letters of an alternate form of the Ancient alphabet, and had previously noted that, since the dialing devices periodically update to compensate for stellar drift (making the gate address essentially a "phone number" for the planet), any comprehensible coordinate system they once formed has long been lost to the fog of history.
Cool Gate: It's right there in the franchise title.
Cool Guns: The protagonists' FN P90s, which are eventually adapted as a standard personal weapon for a better punch against armored enemies.
Cukoloris: To avoid CGI costs, the open gate is in many shots offscreen but its flickering light — produced by a stagehand warping a flexible mirror — illuminates the rest of the scene.
Depleted Phlebotinum Shells: As a minor Call Back to the movie, by the beginning of SG-1's second season the SGC's strategic weapon of choice is a thermonuclear bomb enhanced with naquadah. By the final season, they've got bombs capable of destroying stargates. By Atlantis, they've developed the Horizon, a starship-deployed MIRV tipped with six 280-gigaton warheads. For reference, that's over 13 million times the yield of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima per warhead. We're talking a continent-buster.
Also the energy weapon the SGC developed in SG-1 season 7 to reliably kill Kull warriors.
Faster Than Light Travel: By stargate, which is nearly instantaneous regardless of distance, and by hyperspace, whose speed varies by faction.
Genre Savvy: Unlike in many settings involving interplanetary travel and fantastical conflicts, almost all the protagonists in the Stargate verse are people from the modern Western world who are well aware that their daily life resembles science fiction. It shows: every series has at least one Deadpan Snarker, characters frequently lampshade bizarre events, and the intended plan for any situation is usually Awesome Yet Practical (it rarely succeeds, but at least they try to be practical).
Humans Need Aliens: The Verse implies that the Ancients and the Asgard have protected us for a lot of our history in the hopes we would one day become the badass "Fifth Race"note the first four being the Ancients, Asgard, Nox, and Furlings we have. Tragically we only earn that title when the Asgard are on their deathbeds, and so we have to take up their mantle as the intergalactic guardians of less developed peoples and planets. An exchange between Thor and Carter:
Sam: "There must be something more you can do." Thor: "I assure you, we are providing you with all the latest Asgard technology, as well as a knowledge base, including our entire recorded history." Sam: "That's not what I was talking about." Thor: "Everything that can be done, has been done. The final attempt to solve our physiological degeneration has left each of us with a rapidly progressing disease."
Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: With one exception (see We Will Use Lasers In The Future below), Earth firearms are favored over any of the Ray Guns favored by more advanced offworld cultures. SG-1's "The Warrior" specifically demonstrates the FN Herstal P90 to outperform the Goa'uld staff weapon in every area except ammunition capacity (the staff relies on a liquid naquadah power cell which is never once shown to run dry). The SGC's starships also follow this philosophy, with railguns as the primary weapon until the Asgard give them the sum total of their collected knowledge, including extremely powerful energy weapons, in the SG-1 finale. And even then, the Asgard plasma beams can't track small targets so the railguns are still used for point defense.
Loads and Loads of Races: Somewhere in the range of 24 known sapient species, many of which only appeared in one or two episodes.
Medieval Stasis: Most of the Transplanted Human civilations encountered in the series haven't advanced much, if at all since they were first seeded on that world, despite the fact that many have been left to their own devices by whoever seeded them for centuries or even millennia. However this varies: at least three planets in the Milky Way have technological parity with mainstream Earth societynote The Langarans are in the late '40s/early '50s, the Tegalans were probably 1970s until they self-destructed in "Ethon," and the planet visited in "Bad Guys" are probably mid-90s. and a few more are actually ahead of us (the big one being the Tollans, who were FTL-capable and had weapons tech superior to the Goa'uld).
Justified because so many of these humans are living under Goa'uld, Wraith or Ori oppression - and the fact that even in those human communities that aren't under their thumb, these races tend to wipe out or enslave any civilization whose technological advancement might allow them to become a threat. The humans the SG teams encounter are those that are left after that process. Even so, certain planets slip under their radar, as you described (plus, of course, Earth itself).
Mildly Military: All the television series set in the Stargate verse include active duty military characters, and all have a very loose approach to orders and discipline, but that has relatively rare and minor repercussions for them. In Universe and Atlantis, that's because the expeditions were cut off from Earth and fending for themselves (at first, at least). In SG-1, it's because the titular team is the best in their respective areas and in some cases outside the military chain of command entirely, so their bosses have no choice but to put up with insubordination, making them Bunny Ears Lawyers.
Minovsky Physics: The stargates' "wormhole physics" are pretty consistent. Matter only goes one way (from dialing gate to receiving gate), but energy and gravity can go both ways. A gate can only stay open for 38 minutes (give or take a few seconds), barring extreme energy or Time Dilation effects on one end. Any matter that is caught in the "kawoosh" when the gate opens (or tries to travel from receiving gate to dialing gate) is disintegrated. Dialing six chevrons and the point of origin gets you to another gate in your galaxy. Dialing seven chevrons and the point of origin dials a gate to another galaxy ("dialing another area code" is the analogy). Dialing all nine chevrons targets a specific gate by its "serial number", for lack of a better term, instead of its location in space. Sending a wormhole past or through a star is a Very Bad Idea: it may cause problems for the star (e.g. retarding fusion), or if it happens during a solar flare, may cause the wormhole to travel through time as well as space.
It should be noted that as the 38-minute restriction on wormhole duration can be overcome by extreme energy, it's possible this is an engineering limitation of the gate itself rather than a physics thing.
Theme Naming: The American-crewed vessels tend to be named after mythological figures. The exception being the aforementioned Hammond, which was originally called the Phoenix before being renamed in honour of the late general.
Nigh Invulnerability: There are many examples of this trope in the verse, and almost every category has an example. The Ori are Gods, The Ori Priors have Divine Protection, The Kull warriors and the stargates are Made of diamond, the Black Knights are Made of air, Human-form replicators are The Blob, the Wraith, the first Unas and the Replicators have Regeneration, Anubis: Can only kill part of him, Ba'al and the Replicators have Multiple bodies and Apophis had Extreme luck during the first four seasons.
Daniel Jackson, while not actually invulnerable in any reliable or definitive way, has managed to recover from death on a frightening number of occasions, arguably placing him in Resurrection. To the point where the fanon has him dying and recovering on an almost monthly basis.
No Such Agency: The SGC officially doesn't exist, though it was supposed to be revealed in the movie Revolution due partly to the number of people involved in the project making keeping the secret increasingly unwieldy. The failure of Stargate Universe and MGM's bankruptcy derailed the plan.
Phlebotinum Handling Requirements: The Ancients designed a lot of their tech to require the ATA gene to use. The gene is recessive so it tends to get bred out of smaller populations, but Earth's is large enough to maintain it and the SGC eventually developed a procedure to add it to people who didn't have it.
The Asgard are Benevolent Precursors. The only thing keeping them from wiping out the Goa'uld on general principles is the fact that they can't spare the ships from their Forever War with the Replicators. As it is, they placed around two dozen worlds in the Milky Way under their protection and curbstomp any Goa'uld stupid enough to mess with said worlds. They act as SG-1'sBig Good, adding Earth to the Protected Planets Treaty in season three and gradually introducing their technology to us so we can learn to use it safely.
The Oannes, the Furlings and the Nox (at the very least to the Tollan) also fall under this category. The former helped get Earth to rebel against the Goa'uld, and Word Of God has it that the Furlings also fought them thousands of years ago.
The Ancients are the kings of the Neglectful Precursors trope, so much so that they've got their own folder on the trope page. They constantly left Pointless Doomsday Devices and other tech lying around, and their Alien Non-Interference Clause was such that they wouldn't intervene in the lower planes even to save their own asses. Basically, the conflicts of the first eight seasons of SG-1 and all five seasons of Atlantis are their fault (the Goa'uld learned all their tricks from the Ancients and the Wraith were accidentally created by them).
Pyramid Power: Pyramids were built as landing pads for Goa'uld Ha'tak-class motherships.
Ramming Always Works: It's telling that the preferred ship-to-ship weapon of the Ancients is a shield-piercingattack drone that kills by running into things very fast. Outside of Ancient drones, SG-1 and Universe usually subvert this, while Atlantis usually plays it straight.
Running Gag: The individual series have their own running gags, but there's one in particular that happens in both SG-1 and Atlantis repeatedly. One character starts to explain how they have to do something time-consuming and/or complicated to solve a problem, but another character (usually O'Neill in SG-1 and Ronon in Atlantis) takes out a gun or grenade and shoots the problem.
1 guess which country's space battle ship is destroyed.
Be fair: The Americans have lost as many ships as the Russians so far. In fact, a Wake Up Call Boss in one of the later seasons of the show was a satellite that took down one of the American starships while proving impervious to counterattack. The first such ship lost by the Tau'ri.
Recurring Russian character Col. Chekhov managed to avoid this fate until the season 10 premiere, when he was in command of the aforementioned battlecruiser RFS Korolev.
Sterility Plague: The Asgard suffer from the fact that they have totally abandoned sexual reproduction in favor of cloning.
This is also how the Aschen conquer planets: by mixing sterility-inducing drugs into "miracle medicines". This winds up backfiring when (thanks to time shenanigans) SG-1 finds out and slips them a list of suggested Gate addresses. That starts with a black hole and "get progressively darker after that".
The Syndicate: The Lucian Alliance, a network of drug smugglers that developed into full-blown secondary Big Bad status after the Goa'uld were defeated in SG-1 season eight. They're an N.G.O. Superpower that operates its own battlefleet of looted Goa'uld motherships, and by Stargate Universe they've modified them to the point where they can challenge the previously superior SGC Daedalus-class cruisers.
Transplanted Humans: Probably the Trope Codifier. In SG-1, the Goa'uld kidnapped humans from Earth for use as slaves, seeding thousands of planets across the galaxy with us. In Atlantis, the Ancients seeded the Pegasus Galaxy with human populations.
We Will Use Lasers In The Future: Most advanced offworld cultures favor energy weapons, and though Tau'ri firearms are usually superior as weapons of war the SGC did develop a fondness for the versatile Goa'uld zat'nik'tel, a handgun that reliably stuns on the first shot and kills on the second. By later SG-1 episodes it largely replaced the Beretta M9 as the SGC's sidearm of choice.