Another release for Tuesday, Stargate Atlantis – Rising provides the entire two-part premiere episode for Stargate Atlantis, along with a few extras. Read More for my review.
Most stories about the fabled city of Atlantis revolve around a lost city which disappeared into the ocean. Some stories suggest the city still exists. What if it was all true – a marvelous city from Earth, sunk beneath an ocean – bu that ocean was in another galaxy?
That is the premise behind the spinoff Stargate Atlantis. The Ancients, the creators of the Stargates, had a large city on Earth in Antarctica, but a plague forces them to leave Earth and travel to the Pegasus galaxy. However they discover a new and powerful threat and are forced to submerge the city beneath the ocean to prevent it from falling in the enemy hands.
Dr. Elizabeth Weir (now played by Torri Higgenson – some make remember her from TekWar) mounts an expedition to the city of Atlantis, but its a one way mission – not only do they not have enough power to get home, but they don’t have the power to protect the city and keep it submerged – the city rises to the surface, exposed to the threat of attach by the Wraith.
Also on the mission – Air Force Major John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan, Sisters), Colonel Sumner (guest star Robert Patrick, Terminator 2), Lieutenant Aiden Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks, Love Song), and Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewitt, reprising his guest role from Stargate SG-1).
Given this is only the premiere episode as opposed to a complete season set, I only expect so much in extras, especially since it is a single disc. Included is the “Preview to Atlantis” featurette, a sneak peek of the upcoming Season 2, and a short trailer and still shots for the upcoming Stargate – Alliance video game.
A better add on is the audio commentary track provided by director Martin Wood and star Joe Flanigan. Their commentary is both interesting and witty. They do talk pretty much throughout the show, show so you hear very little of the feature, so you definitely want to watch it without the commentary first. Joe has a tendency to start saying something, and then defers it to later, so Martin occasionally brings him back to complete what he is saying. They mention a lot of outtakes – hopefully they will be in the season set.
Plot/Story: Very well done considering how much backstory needs to be introduced for a whole new situation, despite the fact that it is a spinoff of an established series. It introduces a whole new and different enemy and touched on difficulties to be experienced later in the season. 4/5
Characters/Acting: At first, Maj. Sheppard appears to just be a replacement for Jack O’Neill – as the season progressed, he matured into his own character. Torri Higgenson has the tough job of stepping in to someone else’s character – Dr. Weir was originally played by Jessica Stein (Earth 2) in the two-part Season 7 finale of Stargate SG-1. She appears to have trouble playing the leadership role in the premiere, but likewise she comes into her own later in the season. David Hewitt’s Dr. McKay is perfect as the completely obnoxious know-it-all we loved to hate before. 3/5 for the typical pilot weaknesses.
Effects/Visuals: A whole new Stargate (kind of like digital vs. analog), a beautiful city, and frightening Wraith. The video quality is very good, with the exception of the beginning of the Preview featurette, which appears overcompressed. 4/5
DVD Extras: A very good audio commentary, plus a few extras – don’t expect much for a small release. 3/5
Overall: A good start for the show – some weaknesses, but they bear out later. 4/5
Total: 3.6 out of 5. Looking forward to an expanded Season set, hopefully with more extras, and the outtakes Joe keeps talking about… 🙂