Being a long-time fan of Stargate, I was excited by the arrival of the spin off Stargate Atlantis. The first season was good, but in the second season, it became an intriguing show, developing into a fine blend of characters and story. An excellent feature worthy of special note is that Atlantis (like Stargate – SG1,) portrays advanced technology based on sound scientific principles. This is very important in households where the scientist in residence is often heard shouting at the television “they cannot possibly do that.”
Season 2 begins with the third part of a story arc titled “Siege” in which Atlantis is being attacked by hordes of Wraiths. In a last ditch effort almost everyone is evacuated, a nuclear explosion detonated and the city is cloaked so that it appears destroyed. The plan works, the Wraiths leave, and Dr. Weir (Tori Higginson) and team return. They soon discover that Lt. Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks) has been attacked by a wraith and appears to be undergoing some type of bizarre transformation. Unable to regain the trust of his comrades, Ford leaves Atlantis, in hopes of finding a way of proving his worth.
While looking for Ford, Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) and team encounter the “runner” Ronon Dex, (Jason Momoa) an escapee from a Wraith hive ship. Not only is Ronon distasteful to the wraith, he has the attributes of a former military man and is an incredible warrior. Ronon is asked by Sheppard to join his team, which is a good set up for some wonderful lines and scenes throughout the season.
The team of Col. Sheppard, Ronon, Dr. McKay (David Hewlett), and Tayla Emmagan (Rachel Luttrell) carry out offworld missions - often involving the aid of Dr. Weir and physician Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion.) Recurring roles by Mitch Pileggii as Col. Caldwell, and an episode featuring Col. Samantha Carter as a helpful hallucination of Dr. McKay’s injured brain, are just a couple of the goodies in Season 2. There is humor and there are tears in these stories, and there is much bravery and nobility of spirit portrayed by excellent actors. One believes in this team.
Season 2 is now released on five disks, with some good special features. First of all every episode has an audio commentary, and each disk has several mini-documentaries and/or featurettes as well as the still photo gallery and production design gallery. Nice treats for the Atlantis fans.
*The following is brief description of the season’s episodes and does contain spoilers. Some readers may want to skip this part of the review.
Disk One includes: (Notes from liner)
The Siege – Part III - As Lt. Aiden Ford recovers from his near-fatal encounter with a Wraith, the team races against time to save the city from an impending Wraith assault.
The Intruder - A mysterious intruder has infected the Dadealus’ computers with a virus that may allow them to take control of the ship.
Runner – Ronon Dex, a fierce survivor of a Wraith attack, may be the team’s only hope in combating the now dangerous, Wraith-infected Ford.
Duet – A technical glitch during their rescue from a Wraith ship forces McKay and Lt. Cadman to coexist inside McKay’s Body.
Special features on Disk One: Audio Commentary on Each Episode, Mission Directive: THE INTRUDER featuring Director Peter DeLuise, Mission Directive : THE SIEGE – PART III featuring Director Martin Wood, Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery.
Disc Two includes:
Condemned – The team visits a technologically advanced planet inhabited by a civilization mysteriously unharmed by the Wraith.
Trinity – McKay may have found a new and potent source of energy for Atlantis based on unperfected ancient technology.
Instinct – While experimenting with a retrovirus that could turn Wraiths back into humans, Dr. Beckett in advertently puts Sheppard’s life at risk.
Conversion – The team races to find a cure for the retrovirus that is mutating Sheppard into a Wraith.
Special features on disk two: Audio Commentary on Each Episode, Mission Directive: INSTINCT featuring Director Andy Mikita, Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex featurette, Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery.
Disk Three contains:
Aurora – The discovery of an ancient warship whose millennia-old crew lives in a virtual environment leads Sheppard and his crew into a direct confrontation with the Wraith
The Lost Boys – As they are exploring a new planet, Sheppard and his crew find Lt. Aiden Ford living in a cave under the influence of a powerful drug and planning revenge on the Wraith.
The Hive – The effects of the enzyme’s grip on the Atlantis team begin to wear off, sending them into withdrawal as they look to escape from the Wraith hive ship.
Epiphany – Sheppard is pulled through a mysterious portal and trapped in a world inhabited by ancestors of the Ancients.
Special Features on Disk Three: Audio Commentary on Each Episode, Roat to Dream Featurette with Writer Martin Gero, Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery.
Disk Four contains:
Critical Mass - The team races against time to foil the Goa’uld’s plans to destroy Atlantis.
Grace Under Pressure – Help comes to McKay in an unlikely form after his puddle jumper crash-lands in the ocean.
The Tower – The team encounters a village with an enigmatic leader who possesses the ability to protect his subjects from Wraith attacks.
The Long Goodbye – Sheppard and Weir become a threat to Atlantis when their minds are taken over by hostile entities.
Special Features on Disk Four: Audio Commentary on Each Episode, Profile on David Hewlett Featurette, Stargate Atlantis Stunts Featurette, Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery.
Disk Five contains:
Coup D’Etat – When the team learns that the Genii are posing a new, dangerous threat, they realize that the truce with their old foe may be at an end.
Michael – When the team attempts to turn a Wraith into a human with Dr. Beckett’s perfected vaccine, the results are disastrous.
Inferno – McKay must save the team when they are trapped on a planet with a super-volcano.
Allies – The team is shocked when the Wraith call for an alliance.
Special Features on Disk Five: Audio Commentary on Each Episode, Profile on Paul McGillon Featurette, Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery.
In an age where so much science fiction depends on the “gross out” factor of slimy beyond ugly creatures and way too much blood spilling to hold audience attention, it is a pleasure to watch the stories and characters of Stargate Atlantis. Of course the Wraith are not beautiful, but it is the motivation of their species that is important, not how many bloody bodies they can create per scene.
Careful watching will give the viewer much in the way of humor, and clever allusions (remember the “twilight bark”?) Bits of the character’s personalities are revealed, but not dumped out in over-emotional soap opera style. In all, it is interesting, thought provoking, and most of all fun viewing.