Stargate Atlantis, created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper: a Television Review


After the (accidental) discovery of a second Stargate on earth by the original SG-1 team, a new team has been studying the technology in the areas around the gate.  They have found that the gate system wasn’t actually created by the Goul’d as originally thought.  Another alien race, called The Ancients, are actually the ones who created the Stargate.

With this information the team working at the second gate finds even more technology and the information that the gate (which up till now has only been able to utilize 7 of the chevrons on the gate) is actually capable of FAR more so long as it has a power source to do so.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir is granted the opportunity to take a team on a mission through the Stargate to another galaxy powering the gate long enough to dial the 8th chevron and establishing a wormhole to the distant Atlantean gate.  As they proceed with the mission it becomes apparent that while the team made it through (one that is quite a bit larger than the teams we are used to seeing go through the gate) they may not be coming back to the Milky Way Galaxy anytime soon.

Pair that with a new big bad and suddenly the reason the Ancients left their beloved Atlantis is vitally clear.  What will the team do? And how will they survive the strange and frightening war they have somehow awakened by simply being in the city?

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fiction Action

-Creator: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

-Length: 5 seasons, 100 episodes, 45 minutes per episode

-Rating: TV-PG (rare sex and nudity, moderate violence and gore, science-fiction themes, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and smoking, intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: DVD, Blue-Ray, or find it at your local library

-Main Cast: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo

-Page of Reference in RPO: 215

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

This was a really great start to the spinoff of the wildly popular Stargate SG-1.  It has a great cast, some familiar and some new which is nice for the transition to the new show.  This season takes place during season 8 of Stargate SG-1 so there is some but not a lot of overlap and while the show can be watched independently of any other knowledge of the other show it is helpful to have some of the background for a full experience.

The new Atlantis team is comprised in a similar format to the team we fell in love with during Stargate SG-1.  You have the brainy scientist, the headstrong military man, a kickass lady and a strong but kind alien who they pick up on some mission.  Occasionally they get joined by other characters.  Mostly the head of medical who adds a sweet but sassy tone to the group.

This season is a lot of set up but not in a way that is condescending or heavy.  We learn as the team learns.  Action and exploration reign over the story which is one of the best parts of Stargate and one of the reasons I love it so much.  It has some serious Star Trek vibes but way more action.  This is a great start to the new series.

Season 2:

Michael…. Oh Michael.  Not really sure what to say about this season.  Between the experiment to change the Wraith to humans and Ford getting changed into a superhuman/Wraith hybrid…thing… there is just a LOT going on.

Rodney has a lot in this season between blowing up a star system, getting someone stuck in his head, getting caught in a virtual reality, gets caught in a sunken jumper and

We get introduced to Ronin and he joins the team.  Hilarity and danger ensue.

Shepard and the team discover how Wraith became Wraith and Shepard ends up feeling a little bit of how the whole process goes.  He even gets the chance to Ascend…though that doesn’t go as well as one would hope…or maybe it does since he is still with the team.

The Genii come back in and Atlantis comes to their aid. The team messes up a bunch and ends up with a Atlantean warship. And they learn a lot along the way.

Overall a great season full of action and intrigue. A definite push into the third season with some great storylines coming to fruition.

Season 3:

This season was full of ups and downs for the team and for my emotions. By now we have gotten to know the team and things have gotten hairy. It is important to note that this season takes place during the same time as season 10 of Stargate SG-1.

We have a few big things that happen: the ancients appear, the replicators (yes like the ones from Stargate SG-1) have taken a unique form, we lose someone dear to the team, McKay nearly ascends, Atlantis is attacked (as usual), and we end up in a vicious attack that almost ends in the destruction of the entire crew.

Between the explosions and the nanites, the replicators and the general battles that the Atlantis crew must deal with, this show is constantly full of action.  It is one of the most captivating and entertaining science-fiction shows ever created.  And this season didn’t disappoint.

I had to hold off on watching the finale episode because I had the foresight (watching this on Amazon Prime Video/DVD much after the show was over) that this would be a three-part episode and that some very upsetting things happen in the episodes… it took me a while to get into the headspace to watch it.  I’m glad that I did because boy was the end of this season heavy and I’m super glad I didn’t have to wait the summer to get to the next two episodes

Season 4:

So, season four starts off high on the emotions.  With the first two episodes being the continuation of the season three finale, we start the season off on a really nerve-wracking foot.  We nearly lose Dr. Weir…and then we lose her in a different way. We nearly lose Atlantis all together. And they have to find another new planet.  Not exactly the smoothest moments for the team.

The Replicators have become another big bad though Atlantis has reactivated the Wraith attack code in their makeup.  They seem to also want Ascend…which isn’t as easy as it seems for some bits of metal with incredible technology. 

We get more information on Ronin’s past. There is a lot of body hijacking, kidnapping, loss of memory and other diseases…just a lot of general insanity. We get to see how awesome the new head of medical is and how she will fit into the general makeup of the team and everything as a whole.

Rodney’s past comes back, and his sister gets kidnapped to solve a problem on Earth.  He also learns that maybe he isn’t the most adept at things outside of his world of technology.

The gate bridge to get from Atlantis is created and invaded during the course of this season.  Ronin and McKay have to join up to save Earth and Atlantis.

We get more information about Tayla and the missing Ethosians from earlier in the season. Beckett makes a surprise return in an incredibly interesting way (I was super thrilled to see him because his death at the end of season 3 really hit me hard).

This was really a great season. A lot of action. A lot of intrigue. And one of the craziest ends to a season…and I really enjoyed seeing how they solved a problem thousands of years in the future.  I can’t wait to see what happens with the next season.

Season 5:

This feels like the start to an excellent ending of the series though I do believe that the show could have fun for another 2-3 seasons without becoming tiresome or repetitive.  Todd becomes a big character which is incredibly interesting to see, especially as he is a Wrath and normally not someone the team interacts with kindly or well.  We get to see more aspects of the Atlantis team.

Zelinka gets the chance to shine throughout the season as does Dr. Keller.  We get to see the strong character we knew she would become (and know from her performance as Kaylee in Firerfly).  Woosley also gets the chance to step up in, what is my least favorite television trope: the clip show.  It was nice to see him step into the role that was so beautifully performed by both Elizabeth Wier and Sam Carter (of SG-1 fame).

The social interactions of the team as well as things like the reintroduction of Dr. Carson, Michael and Todd are all things that create a solid show.  It really is this aspect that makes me sad to see the show end after only 100 episodes.  Rarely do I wish for a show to continue to past its expiration date but this is one that I do wish had continued on past its final season.

Having watched the season finale I have just two things that bothered me.  One is that I felt the second to last episode was quite out of place with its style.  I understand that it was to set up what happened in the final episode but still…. very odd, yet very well-done CSI episode.  Second was that the final episode should have been at least two episodes long.  There were a few times in the series where a two-part episode didn’t feel needed but then this time it should have and they didn’t.  Just a weird choice in my opinion.

I highly recommend this show.


Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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