Stargate Atlantis - Rising (Pilot Episode)
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When SG-1 discovers what it believes to be the remnants of the Lost City of the Ancients ? the originators of the Stargates ? Stargate Command launches an investigation. A new team of explorers, headed by civilian Dr. Elizabeth Weir, travels to the distant Pegasus Galaxy, where it discovers an advanced but deserted city on the ocean floor, a group of nomadic humans and a deadly enemy that feeds on humans as an energy source!
There are those who may regard it as old wine in a new bottle, but that doesn't mean that Stargate Atlantis doesn't have something to offer to both newcomers and fans of Stargate SG-1, the franchise from which it evolved. Co-creators and executive producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, both of whom worked on the earlier show, have concocted an appealing premise for this spin-off, in which the so-called Ancients abandoned Earth millions of years earlier, taking their city (i.e., Atlantis) with them. Now, a new team has gained access (via the Stargate, the "wormhole" our heroes use to travel to different worlds) to the legendary sunken city, where new adventures and deadly new enemies await. Stargate SG-1 stars Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks make appearances in this series premiere, but the focus is on the new characters. Of these, Joe Flanigan excels as the insouciant Major John Sheppard, an Air Force pilot unexpectedly recruited for the new mission because of his preternatural ability to interface with the Ancients' wondrous technology. The new leader is Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson), a role that is neither especially well-written nor well-played. The new monster-villains, replacing the trusty old Goa'uld, are the Wraith, whose name is actually cooler than they are; they may eat humans, in addition to being all-powerful (natch), but they tend to come off like refugees from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Overall, the production values and special effects remain top-notch, especially for television, and the story itself is OK. But while Stargate Atlantis is certainly promising, it has a ways to go to equal its predecessor, which remains one of the best-made, most compelling sci-fi programs on television. --Sam Graham
- Featurette: Preview to Atlantis
- Sneak peek: Stargate Atlantis Season 2
- Stargate SG-1: The Alliance video game art and teaser trailer
- Special features are not closed captioned
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Top Customer Reviews
The story revolves around SG-1's discovery of a new Stargate on Antartica, at the end of Season 7, and then Daniel Jackson uncovers a link to the Stargate at the real Atlantis. This new team, headed by civilian Elizabeth Weir, and militarily by Colonel Sumner (Robert Patrick) are sent in to investigate the new find, knowing that they may never safely return. What they find is the ancient city of Atlantis, buried beneath an ocean on a planet in the Pegasus Galaxy. There, they find there isn't enough power to keep the city's shields from imploding with water, so they send a team led by Sumner to a random Stargate dialed from an Ancient code. It is here they encounter the two main races of beings which they will deal for most of the first season, the Athosians and the Wraith.
The Athosians are a nomadic tribe like people, who are friendly, and the Wraith are their feared enemies, but were not seen for a very long time. The SG team's presence there causes the Wraith to awaken, and the Athosians are forced to relocate to Atlantis, which has now risen from the water to become a spectacular city again.
There is plenty of action and tension throughout the entire pilot, and it gives high expectations for the new series. I was a little skeptical whether or not they could keep the interest up through an entire season, and was rather disappointed with the second episode (not bad, but a simple plot that was rather dull), but overwhelmed again with the 3rd episode, which was one of the best of the first season. I won't get into the rest of the season, as this is only a page for the pilot, but you can check season 1 and I will write a review there soon.
The best reason to get this ahead of the full release is the commentary by Joe Flanigan and Martin Wood--there are some interesting insights offered. The other features are sort of bland.
Atlantis itself is a worthy successor to Stargate SG-1 and probably has even more potential than its predecessor in that the spin-off's characters are, in some ways, more engagingly complex. If SG-1 is home to the "epic superheroes who always save the day," then Atlantis is home to the "everyday guys you can relate to and who save the day in spite of their shortcomings." The latter is likely to yield far more drama over the long term.
though i'll admit, even as a great fan of the show, that the wraith don't really become a terrifying enemy until about half-way through the season and surely some characters didn't get much development til very late in the season, i still will oppose the skeptics (of which i know there are many) and say this is an excellent series and has an excellent pilot :) can't wait for the whole season on dvd this fall, but this ep alone is certainly better than nothing for the time being :)
this show has an excellent cast (especially joe flanigan, who plays the unprepared and unexpected, not to mention emotionally-hurting, hero just incredibly-well over the course of the first season and rising is no exception), amazingly-talented crew, and great stories (excluding the few duds which every show is bound to have :D)
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