Dira Sudis (dsudis) wrote,

Demographics of Stargate SG-1, season one.

Inspired by beccaelizabeth's counting of characters in Torchwood, I decided to count characters in Stargate SG-1 while rewatching, to calculate percentages of female characters and characters of color. (SPOILER: the results were kinda depressing.)

Methodology: I counted the number of speaking characters per episode. Partly just as a matter of feasibility, I did not count: a) people who did not speak, b) people who spoke only in crowd scenes where it was difficult or impossible to determine who was speaking, and c) disembodied voices (which means that a couple of times I left Chevron Guy off the count for an episode he was in, which means in a few spots the stats should probably be worse). This also means that characters who appear at two different ages are counted as a single speaking character (characters who appear in two different universes/timelines/bodily forms are, however, counted twice).

Counting characters of color was, obviously, a judgment call. (I counted Sha're, Skaara/Klorel, all other Abydonians, Apophis, and Bra'tac, for instance, though I am not sure how all the relevant actors identify their own races.)

In addition to counting and calculating percentages, I tracked the Bechdel test (There are two women, who talk to each other, about something other than a man) and a race-Bechdel test (There are two characters of color, who talk to each other, about something other than a white person) for each episode. In a lot of cases this was also a judgment call, and scores range from 'Pass' to 'Pass?' to 'Fail' to 'FAIL'. Caps indicates that an episode included only one woman or one character of color who spoke.

I have my raw data sheet with comments on Bechdel and race-Bechdel pass/fails and lists of characters who spoke in the order they first spoke, if people want data to look at/quibble with/recalculate for their own purposes. I'm not posting it now because it's long and unwieldy, but I'm happy to share it if anyone wants it.

And with that: Results


Episode title Speaking Characters Women % Women Bechdel CoC % CoC race-Bechdel
Children of the Gods 26 3 11.5% Fail 9 34.6% Pass?
The Enemy Within 12 2 16.7% Fail 2 16.7% Fail
Emancipation 10 2 20% Fail 6 60% Pass
The Broca Divide 11 4 36.4% Pass 2 18.1% Pass
The First Commandment 10 1 10% FAIL 3 30% Pass
Brief Candle 10 5 50% Pass 1 10% FAIL
Cold Lazarus 16+1* 5 31.25% Pass 2 12.5% Fail
Thor's Hammer 8+1* 3 37.5% Pass? 2 25% Fail
The Torment of Tantalus 10+2** 3 30% Fail 1 10% FAIL
Bloodlines 11 3 27.3% Fail 4 36.4% Pass
Fire and Water 8+1* 2 25% Pass 1 12.5% FAIL
The Nox 14 2 14.3% Fail 3 21.4% Pass
Hathor 13 4 30.8% Pass 2 15.4% Fail
Cor-Ai 11+1** 3 27.2% Fail 3 27.2% Pass
Singularity 9 3 33.3% Pass 1 11.1% FAIL
Enigma 12 3 25% Fail 1 8.3% FAIL
Tin Man 12 3 25% Pass 2 16.7% FAIL!
Solitudes 7 1 14.3% FAIL 1 14.3% FAIL
There But for the Grace of God 14 4 28.6% Pass 3 21.4% Fail
Politics 10+1* 2 20% Fail 2 20% Fail
Within the Serpent's Grasp 12 1 8.3% FAIL 3 25% Pass

Table Tutorial



* + Non-humanoid alien who could not be assigned a gender or race, excluded from percentage calculations.
** + Character(s) shown at two different ages, counted as one person for percentage calculations.
! There are two people of color but TEAL'C IS BOTH OF THEM, AND ONLY ONE IS ALIVE/CONSCIOUS/A BIOLOGICAL ENTITY AT A TIME.
!! There are two people of color but TEAL'C IS BOTH OF THEM, AND ONLY ONE IS IN EACH UNIVERSE.
ETA2: Adjusted the count for "There But for the Grace of God" to reflect the fact that Laara Sadiq, who plays "Technician," is Pakistani and therefore counted as a person of color. This relieves us of the !! level of FAIL. \o/


Conclusions: I am actively trying not to draw too many (or too sweeping) conclusions; in a lot of cases the numbers and passes/fails speak for themselves, I think.

One thing I did notice is that in the two episodes where Sam is the only woman to speak ("The First Commandment" and "Solitudes") the episode centers significantly on Sam. ETA: Just realized that's two of the three episodes in which Sam is the only woman to speak; she's also the only one in "Within the Serpent's Grasp" and has no special role there. In the eight seven episodes where Teal'c is the only character of color to speak, he generally plays a no more than usually central role; in fact episodes that center on Teal'c tend to focus also on his family and/or the Jaffa, so they tend to include other characters of color and pass the race-Bechdel test.

I also noticed that - while percentages of women and characters of color are mostly dismal across the board - episodes frequently manage to pass either the Bechdel or race-Bechdel test, at times alternating from one to the other over a string of episodes.

Also, I do not think I would have bet dirt, going in, that "The Broca Divide" would manage to be the best episode of the season in terms of the Bechdel and race-Bechdel tests. I guess it had to be good for something.

I briefly attempted to track the statistics on who died and who was shown in some degree of undress, but it became unwieldy and crazymaking, so I leave that to future inquiries by brave people who are not me, and move on to counting season two.
Tags: bechdel test, meta-esque, sg-1
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