Famous Sci-fi Ideas That (You Never Knew) Doctor Who Did First – Stargate


(This post is second in a series. Click here for the first part if you missed it yesterday.)

Doctor Who has been around for so long that many of the sci-fi themes and story lines from the show have inspired other popular movies or television series plots. While the writers of these films and shows may not always publicly make note of this inspiration, a little careful observation shows that several of these “original” ideas were actually not so original after all.

Yesterday we discussed the similarities between Star Trek’s Borg and Doctor Who’s Cybermen, today we have another example for your consideration.

Case in point number two:

Stargate (The Movie)

The story: Before it was a tv series that dragged on for years and years, Stargate was a movie that came out in 1994. The original premise starts with a professor making an oddly advanced discovery during an Egyptian excavation – which turns out to be a gate that can be used as a tunnel through space and time. Somehow none of the cheap labor that dug it up spill the beans on what they saw, and like any good archeologist, the man turns over his priceless item to the U.S. government. Apparently Egypt had no problem with this either, and it stays a secret for decades, but we digress…

After they figure out how to work the damn thing, the “Stargate” takes them across the galaxy nearly instantaneously where our good heroes discover an alien race that previously came to Earth in the time of the ancient Egyptians. These aliens passed themselves off as gods and generally made the humans worship them and used them for labor, because hey, that’s what aliens do.

The aliens have armor which covers their real heads with helmets shaped like various animal-shaped heads, thus explaining why Egyptian gods were depicted as they were – half human, half man. They do not, however, explain why the hell they chose birds and jackals, but again, this isn’t relevant to the story.

The big bad in this movie, “Ra” uses his advanced technology to appear as if he has special powers and maintain his godlike status over a settlement of humans that are descendants of a large number of people they kidnapped as slaves back in ancient times, adding an uncomfortable subtext to the story is that even aliens took people from Africa to be used as slaves. Of course the heroes are rightly outraged (how dare they, we would never… um, wait…) and want to expose Ra as the non-god he really is.

You get the idea. If you’re one of the 12 people under the age of 50 who’ve never seen the movie, go rent it.

Why it’s familiar: The 1975 Doctor Who story arc called “The Pyramids of Mars” featured an archeologists that makes an odd discovery during an excavation. This discovery also involves advanced alien technology and freaking out the locals. (We say “also” even though this came out nearly 20 years before Stargate only because you’ve probably never seen the episodes in question.)

We later find out that the Egyptian gods were actually a powerful alien race called the Osirians, who came to earth and were worshiped as gods by the Egyptians. Hmmm… sounds familiar right?

But wait, there’s more.

There is also the odd matter of the space-time tunnel that leads to where one of this former gods, Sutekh (the big bad in this story) is imprisoned, and through which the Doctor travels nearly instantaneously. Although this tunnel only goes to Mars and not across the galaxy is of little importance, it is for all intents and purposes, the exact same concept – minus the cool design for the gate in question. This one more easily blends in with the Egyptian artifacts, and doesn’t require code-breaking to figure out how to work it, but still, it’s a space-time tunnel that was left in Egypt by an ancient alien race that were worshiped as gods! How is that not the plot of Stargate?

space-time portal

There’s also the fact that Sutekh wears an armor with a helmet that covers his real head making him look like the depictions of Egyptian gods we are accustomed to seeing, which then retracts to reveal his true form. So yea, all those clever parts of Stargate that made you think, “Wow, that explains it! They really tied it in to the existing mythology well,” were totally non-original ideas.


Oh yea, and did we mention Sutekh is also shown to have incredibly strong mental powers, and is able to inflict pain on the Doctor by force of will. Does any scene from Stargate come to mind?


(Look for our final post in this series tomorrow, where we talk about the most blatant rip-off of Doctor Who of all time!)

You Might Like These

Share and Enjoy


About Stella Inchaurregui Kennedy

Geeky girl.
Passionate lover of life, food, books, movies, comics, photography, music, and art.
Mother of three: one teenage girl and two baby twin boys.
WARNING: Known to the state of California to contain sarcasm!
Follow Stella on Twitter @ladysilvereyes

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-Swingle/689249570 Rich Swingle

    you realize that both ripped off the concept from new age pseudo-science conspiracy nuts, the type that “Ancient Aliens” is based on, whose books have been around since the late 60s/early 70s.