SG-1 gates to a world whose two superpowers — the Bedrosians and the Optricans — are locked in an ongoing war over their differing beliefs about the origins of life on their planet, inadvertently proving the Optricans' claims that humans were transplanted from elsewhere. O'Neill, Carter and Daniel are subsequently captured by the Bedrosian military in an attempt to destroy all evidence, leaving it up to a temporarily blinded Teal'c and a local archaeologist named Nyan to rescue them.
"New Ground" provides examples of the following tropes:
- Accidental Discovery: Nyan discovers the stargate totally by accident, while searching for evidence that would disprove the Transplanted Humans theory of his people's origins.
- Adventurer Archaeologist: Nyan becomes one by the end of the episode.
- Appeal to Consequences:Female officer: What if they are telling the truth? What if it is the gateway and the Optricans are right?
Rygar: No, it's a lie.
Female officer: How can you be sure?
Rygar: I am sure because we have not spent our lives praying to a god who does not exist and many of our people have not lost their lives fighting a meaningless war. I won't accept that.
- Big Damn Heroes: Teal'c and Nyan stage a dramatic rescue of the other three members of the team at the end of the episode.
- Determinator: Teal'c will stop at nothing to save the rest of his team, despite being blind for most of the episode.
- Double Knockout: Teal'c and a random Bedrosian soldier fire on each other at the same time; Teal'c lands a fatal blow, but ends up blinded as a result of his opponents' energy weapon discharging in his face.
- For Science!: An awesome and heartwarming version when Nyan explains to Teal'c why he's helping him, even though Teal'c represents everything Nyan has spent his life trying to disprove.Nyan: I am a scientist. When my theories are proven wrong, it's just as exciting to me as when they're proven right.
- Electric Torture: O'Neill, Carter and Daniel are imprisoned in electrified cages and shocked every time they answer a question in a way that's not to Rygar's liking. Rygar also uses the team's own zat guns on them after figuring out what they're for.
- Government Conspiracy: The Bedrosian military, presumably acting on orders from the government, is keen to cover up any evidence that the stargate is a portal to other worlds, as this proves the theories of the rival country with whom they are at war.
- I Will Punish Your Friend for Your Failure: When Daniel continues to deny the existence of a fourth member of the team, Rygar zats first Carter, then O'Neill, rendering them both unconscious. This is made more serious due to the fact that it causes O'Neill to slump against the bars of his cage so that he receive a continuous electrical shock.
- Instant Marksman: Just Squeeze Trigger!: Nyan proves to be quite adept at hitting targets on the first try when Teal'c gives him a zat gun, despie claiming that he's never used a weapon before.
- Interrogation Montage: Used when Rygar is interrogating O'Neill, Carter and Daniel.
- Some Kind Of Forcefield: A visible yellow energy barrier is used to capture the human members of the team at the beginning of the episode, and the military encampment where they're held prisoner is later shown to be protected by a similar shield.
- The Smurfette Principle: There only appears to be one female officer among the Bedrosian military, who also happens to be the most willing to consider the possibility that the Optrican theory might be right.
- Temporary Blindness: Teal'c is blinded after he gets shot in the face by an energy weapon, but his sight is partially restored after Nyan uses a healing device on him.
- Transplanted Humans: The original inhabitants of the planet are revealed to have been taken from earth by the Goa'uld Nefertum many years ago, though the Bedrosians dismiss this as Optrican propaganda and believe that life originated on their planet when Nefertum created them.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: One of the show's more egregious examples. Nyan is given asylum on earth and hired as Daniel's research assistant after acting against his government to help the team, but is never seen or even mentioned again after this episode.
- We Come In Peace: Twice lampshaded by O'Neill:O'Neill: Would you believe we come in peace?
O'Neill: You know that "we come in peace" business? Bite me.
- You Remind Me of X: Teal'c states at one point that Nyan reminds him of Daniel due to his passionate belief in knowledge for knowledge's sake.