The final season of Stargate Atlantis was released on June 30th on DVD, bring to a close (for the time being – a DVD movie is planned) the spinoff saga in the Pegasus galaxy. So here is a review of the DVD set and final season, while we await Stargate Universe…
Season 5 picks up from the Season 4 cliffhanger, when Michael’s facility explodes and collapses on the team while they were attempting to rescue Teyla. By the end of the first episode, that storyline is mostly resolved, and the one major cast change takes place – Colonel Carter (Amanda Tapping) is removed from command, to be replaced by Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo).
From there, we see some old friends, old enemies, old and new problems, say some goodbyes, and glimpse alternate lives. All while trying to tie up some loose ends like the wraiths Michael and Todd, and even question whether the Atlantis Expedition has been beneficial or not to the people of the Pegasus galaxy.
We get to see some of the actors act out of their normal characters – Teyla as a Wraith queen, McKay as mentally disabled, Sheppard as a police detective in Las Vegas, and Keller as an escaped criminal. The actors in each case did well playing “outside the box”.
Just a few notable episodes from this season:
“The Shrine” – Dr. McKay loses his intelligence due to a parasitic organism. Some good acting from David Hewlitt.
“The Queen” – Teyla disguises herself as a Wraith Queen to take over a hive. Like the previous episode, Rachael Luttrell does well giving the attitude that a Queen demands.
“First Contact/The Lost Tribe” – Two-part episode featuring Dr. Jackson helping Dr. McKay with an Ancient weapon left behind by the renegade scientist named Janus, that several groups don’t want activated, but one does.
“The Prodigal” – Michael (Connor Trineer) returns once more.
“Brain Storm” – A fun episode featuring the blossoming romance between McKay and Keller, but also Dave Foley, and Bill Nye and Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson as themselves.
“Vegas” – Detective John Sheppard is on the trail of a serial killer in Las Vegas, who may not be human. An interesting alternate reality episode with a C.S.I. flavor.
I did expect more of a lead-in to a conclusive series-ending story that might have lasted two or three episodes, but instead the conclusion was left to a single episode, preceded by an alternate reality episode which although was quite entertaining only served as a minor lead-in to the final episode.
The DVD set arrives similar to previous releases – 5 discs in 3 thin plastic holders, held in a cardboard slipcover. The dominant color scheme this time is white, with a cost shot on the cover and Sheppard, Ronan and Teyla featured on each holder. Each disc is screen printed identically with a shadowy view of Atlantis.
Each disc opens with 1 commercial. Disc 1 opens with a brief teaser for SGU, the others are for various Stargate DVDs.
The menus open with a quick zoom in from space to Atlantis, then a simple menu overlays with some superimposed images from various episodes (not necessarily the ones on that specific disc).
Each disc features its own set of special features. All of them contain commentaries on most if not all the episodes on that disc, along with photo and design galleries. Each also has three other featurettes:
“Mission Directive: Search And Rescue” – Behind the scenes of making the season bridge episode.
“Showdown: Ronan vs. Tyre” – Choreographing the fight scene from “Broken Ties” with Jason Momoa and Mark Dacascos (Iron Chef America fans may recognize him as the Chairman).
“Bringing ‘The Seed’ To Life” – How the creature was brought to life.
“Mission Directive: Whispers” – Behind the scenes of the horror-themed episode.
“Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate” – Shooting the Stargate under water for the episode “The Shrine”.
“Joe Flanigan: A Coversation with the Colonel” – Discussing the transition from SG-1 to Atlantis and trying to make Atlantis its own show.
“Mission Directive: Tracker” – Lots of on-location shooting – and fights.
“Dr. Jackson Goes To Atlantis” – Michael Shanks visits Atlantis for the two part episode, “First Contact/The Lost Tribe”, interacting with McKay and the Asgard, and coming in fresh to his old role
“Building A Humanoid” – Creating the alien battle suits for “First Contact/The Lost Tribe”.
“Mission Directive: Brain Storm” – Making a fun episode, with real people.
“The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore” – The conclusion of Michael.
“Deleted Scenes (Part I)” – Deleted scenes and explanations, including some cut scenes from the fight scene between Ronan and Tyre.
“Stargate Atlantis Goes To Vegas” – Making the CSI-style alternate reality episode.
“Inside the Stargate Costume Department” – A look at the people who dress up the characters.
“Deleted Scenes (Part II)” – More of the deleted scenes cut for time, including a Public Service Announcement by Bill Nye.
All of the “Mission Directive” featurettes have a opening which features graphics and video along with the theme song, but there is an annoying tone during the first segment of the theme music. I don’t know why its there but it is every one. Maybe its just my audio system.
As an added bonus, the episodes “Vegas” and “Enemy At The Gate” are extended versions (extended by a few minutes each).
Although I would have liked to see some outtakes at last, there were none to be found. But the featurettes were interesting. Director Martin Gero is a character himself…
Alas, that’s the end of the franchise for now. Stargate Universe is set to debut in October, with an all new cast. And if things go well we should see the Atlantis cast again in 2010.