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I am unfamiliar with the (multiple) Stargate shows and films, other than the movie which I saw a while ago. I want to try watching the series to see if it is something that I like.

What are the non-subjective facts about the series (without spoilers) that I should be aware of when figuring out which series to start with, for example the original airing order of the series, chronological order of the series, frequency of references to a series other than the one that I'm watching, etc.

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We recently finished watching each TV series and movies of Stargate. We used Hixie's Stargate Canonical Viewing Order list in order to keep references consistent. We feel it worked incredibly well.

The raw episode + movie order provided is as follows:

Stargate movie
Stargate SG-1, episodes 1.1 to 8.2
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 1.1 to 1.15
Stargate SG-1, episodes 8.3 to 8.20
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 1.16 to 2.1
Stargate SG-1, episodes 9.1 to 10.2
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 2.2 to 3.4
Stargate SG-1, episodes 10.3 to 10.12
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 3.5 to 3.19
Stargate SG-1, episodes 10.13 to 10.20
Stargate: The Ark of Truth
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 3.20 to 5.1
Stargate: Continuum
Stargate Atlantis, episodes 5.2 onwards.

It seems that this was written before SG:U's debut. Considering that we've completed this series as well, I would say that you will be perfectly fine watching Atlantis to completion, and then begin Stargate Universe.

A few additional notes that Ian Hickson lists are things like;

  • Fast forwarding through/muting the "Previously On" segments at the start of many episodes.
  • Close your eyes during opening credits sequences, as they can spoil new footage and situations (especially in SG-1 Season 10...). Just wait until the theme music ends then reopen your eyes.
  • If you have the DVDs, avoid listening to any staff commentary really until after you watch everything.

We followed these instructions explicitly and the episode order felt amazingly consistent with regard to shared series' references.

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  • Does anyone know if this list counts the two-part episodes as one it two? For example, which episode is Atlantis 1.15? – ThePopMachine Sep 20 '20 at 19:38
  • I don’t have access to anything besides SG:U anymore, but my recollection is that two part episodes were two episodes, such as 11 and 12 for example. Atlantis 1.15 is season 1 episode 15, and not 16. Stopping in the middle of a two part episode does sound familiar to me, though it has been 9 years at this point. – VxJasonxV Sep 20 '20 at 22:23
  • Okay. I checked and we can infer from this list that SG-1 8.20 and 10.20 are the last episodes of their seasons. So that means that the two part episodes count as two episodes in this list. – ThePopMachine Sep 20 '20 at 22:37
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Stargate SG-1 is the first series. If you plan on getting in to Stargate, you should start by watching the first season of this, as it establishes the rules of the universe. After the final season, they released 2 direct-to-DVD movies, Ark of Truth and Continuum, which should be watched in that order. This show is overall a light-hearted sci-fi adventure across the galaxy. Sometimes things take a serious tone, as it's not all fun and games.

Stargate Atlantis is the second series. It started airing at the same time as SG-1's 8th season. Each week, they aired an SG-1 episode alongside an Atlantis episode. After the pilot episode, there's a fair amount of crossover between the two shows, as the two shows are taking place in the same chronology in universe during this time. But it's not necessary to watch both series at exactly a 1:1 episode rate, but it helps to be aware of the goings-on in the other series. This show maintains the same tone as SG-1, but with different dynamics within the central team.

Stargate Universe is the third and final series. It's set after SG-1 ends, and its premise depends on a status quo in the Stargate universe that was established over SG-1's run. It started airing after Atlantis ended (SG-1 ended a few years prior to that). There's almost no crossover with this show and the prior ones, as part of the premise of the show is to explore untouched areas in the Stargate universe with a darker tone to the storytelling. Characters from the other shows appear maybe 3-4 times total.

That's a solid overview of the franchise, let me know what other details you're seeking, and I'll add them.

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