The Return of the Sci Fi Channel Friday-Night Blitz

The Two Stargates and Painkiller Jane Bring It On Again Starting Friday the 13th

Stargate SG-1 Some people may consider Friday the 13th a day of superstition and anxiety, but beginning tomorrow, science-fiction fans will only think of it as the the day that the Sci Fi Channel finally restored its renowned Friday-night lineup of non-stop sci-fi thrills and action. When the critically and popularly adored Battlestar Galactica departed from its 9pm Friday time slot in December, the weekend was never the same again without the familiar adrenaline-fused jump-start the last night of the work week used to provide. The Sci Fi Channel opted to use the vacancy to syndicate three- and four-hour blocks of a variety of interesting and relatively obscure series from the early 2000s, such as Jake 2.0, starring Ugly Betty‘s Christopher Gorham as the world’s first human nanobot, and Special Unit 2, an odd fusion of science fiction, dramedy, crime, and horror that lasted for almost one full season on the long-defunct UPN.

Times are a-changing tomorrow, however, with the return of the network staples and fan favorites Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis to the schedule at 8pm and 9pm EST, respectively, as well as the arrival at 10pm of the comic book-based newcomer Painkiller Jane, adapted from last year’s fairly well-received original telefilm and backdoor pilot of the same name starring Emmanuelle Vaugier. I’m always eager for a new scif-fi or supernatural series to help me get my imagination going, especially when they include strong female characters. But, sadly, the reviews for the debut series about a superhuman DEA agent on the hunt for genetically altered humans with special powers have been bloodcurdlingly harsh. I hope Amazonian star and co-executive producer Kristanna Loken is too busy counting her money to take the critical thrashing too hard.

Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis are entirely different beasts all together, with sizable, established fan bases and a history of television success already supporting them. The first series is returning to complete the second half of its tenth and final season following Sci Fi’s August 2006 cancellation announcement. On the other hand, Stargate Atlantis—a spinoff of Stargate SG-1, which was itself a spinoff of the 1994 theatrical release Stargate featuring Kurt Russell and James Spader—begins the second half of its third season with a renewal for Season 4 already in place. The night’s new one-two-three return to glory is preceded by a special program at 7pm, as well, the one-hour documentary Behind the Mythology of Stargate SG-1, which explores exactly what the title says.

Stargate SG-1 photo courtesy of the Sci Fi Channel

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