Sci-Fi Storm

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 DVD review

by on Sep.16, 2007, under General News

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 comes out on Tuesday, September 18th. Read More for a review of the DVD set, and get prepared for Season 4, which starts September 28th on the SCI FI Channel.

[Note: I am forgoing providing scores for this while I re-evaluate the scoring system. Scores should return if/when I complete the new site software]

Excerpt from the press release:

From the longest consecutively running sci-fi series ever, ?Stargate SG-1?, comes its thrilling spin-off, ?Stargate: Atlantis? Season 3, splashing onto DVD on September 18 from MGM Home Entertainment. For the first time MGM is releasing the complete previous season of ?Stargate: Atlantis? on DVD before the premiere of the next season allowing fans to catch up on their favorite episodes. Set in the lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy built millions of years ago by the most advanced race in the Stargate Universe, an adventurous expedition ensues, overflowing with intense battles, out-of-this-world visuals, amazing special effects, endearing characters and a two-time Emmy nominated score by Joel Goldsmith. ?Stargate: Atlantis? Season 3 is anchored with a compelling ensemble cast including Joe Flanigan (The Other Sister), Torri Higginson (The English Patient), Rachel Luttrel (Imposter) David Hewlett (?The Triangle?) and Mitch Pileggi (?The X-Files?). Executive produced by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, the five-disc DVD set is flooded with bonus features including audio commentaries for 19 episodes, many behind-the-scenes featurettes and a profusion of photo and production design galleries.

Stargate Atlantis Season 3 comes in a cardboard slipcase with the main cast on the cover and a couple subdued images on the back. Inside are three thin plastic disc folders, each with two discs except the third, which has one. They are labeled as Volumes 1, 2, and 3 – presumably for possible individual sales like was done in the early releases for Stargate SG-1, although I doubt they will do so. Each folder has a different image on the cover.

Each disc is identically screen printed except for an identifying mark. However, the way they are done makes it hard to tell which disc is which. There is a small Stargate symbol, within which there is a number in bold – but this is the “Volume” number, and each pair of discs (except the 5th, which is on its own) make up a volume. The disc number is in a thin font below that. I really had to look hard for it – at first I thought I had two Disc 1s.

The first disc starts with teaser for Stargate SG-1: The Ark of Truth, and the fifth disc has an ad for Stargate SG-1 Season 10. The others just have a generic MGM intro with clips from various movies, although the volume level was startling.

The main menu on each disc is an animated view of one of the Atlantis control screens, showing moving location markers on top of a simplified Atlantis map, with an inset video of highlights. The actual menu selections are pretty small and may be hard to read for some. Other menus are static.

Each individual disc has its own set of special features. Each one includes a photo and production design gallery, a set of crew commentaries on most all episodes (no cast commentaries), and two other specials. One is a “Mission :: Directive” special, showcasing a director of one of the episodes on that disc, and often talk about the shots and stunts of the episode. The featured episodes/directors are: Sateda” (Robert C. Cooper) (concentration on stunts); “Progeny” (Andy Mikita); “Phantoms” (Martin Wood); “The Game” (Will Waring); “First Strike” (Martin Wood)

The other featurettes are:

Profile On: Rachel Luttrell

Inside the Stargate Atlantis Visual FX Department

General O’Neill Goes To Atlantis – The return of Richard Dean Anderson to the franchise

Masters of the Alien – The makeup artists who come up with all the aliens

A Look Back on Season 3 with Martin Gero

All the featurettes were very professionally done and quite informative. Also, from the sampling of the commentaries I checked out, they were very well done as well, avoiding the dry “we did this and that here” but had some real banter between the commentators – to the point when someone DID need to point out something, they had to interrupt.

Overall, this was a great season for Atlantis. Perhaps its biggest shortcoming is in juggling two major story arcs dealing with separate enemies – the Ancient Replicators and the Wraith, and I’m not sure that was really that bad.

I’d list some notable episodes, but most all the season was notable. I seriously can’t pick out favorites. For standalone episodes, I’d note “Sateda”, where we learn more about Ronin, and “The Game”, where a game similar to Sid Meier’s Civilization series turns out to have real world consequences. And then there is “Sunday”, which starts off at a look of the characters’ “day off”, which goes horribly wrong, especially for- well, I really don’t want to spoil it.

Season 3 is the best season yet for Atlantis, and with its older sibling done (except for the upcoming DVD releases), it needs to maintain this quality as it takes up the Stargate banner. We’ll find out soon.

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