The Sci-Fi Channel’s new hit television spin-off based on the extremely popular Stargate SG-1 series has hit the ground running. If you haven’t seen it, the story takes a team of Earth’s ‘best & brightest’ through the ‘stargate’ (a device created by an ancient race for instantaneous interstellar travel) to a far-off galaxy where they discover the lost city of Atlantis.
Atlantis is actually a huge, self-contained, undersea city that appears to be abandoned except for plenty of high-tech gear including a collection of spacecraft small enough to fit through the stargate. In episode one, Atlantis responds to the visitors’ presence by releasing its undersea moorings and rising to the surface to become a floating city. Unable to return to Earth, the team must explore local worlds through the stargate to find food and alliances in their battle against the (you guessed it) evil ‘Wraith,’ resident energy-sucking bad guys from this part of the universe.
Finding the right chemistry of personalities to attract our weekly interest and eventual ‘caring’ is usually the most difficult part of any successful series. Although not quite as likable as the Stargate SG-1 cast of Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks & Christopher Judge… Executive Producer, Brad Wright has once again assembled a decent group of likable folks for Stargate Atlantis. We’ll have to see how they hold up over time. Meanwhile, no corners have been cut in providing fantastic sets, special effects, solid stories and great musical scores.
The idea for Stargate Atlantis actually began several years ago as a movie script for SG-1. But Stargate SG-1 continued to be so successful on television (now in its 8th season) that the movie script seemed better suited for a whole new spin-off series.
Art Director James Robbins was then set to work to provide preliminary sketches for the new nemesis… the essence-sucking Wraiths. His drawings were so terrifying that they couldn’t be used on mainstream television. Even so, the version they eventually settled on is not pretty.
The Wraiths have mass feedings on humans and then hibernate for several generations (or ’til the indigestion clears up). They can make you see things that aren’t really there and then drain your life force leaving you as a hollow shell. It’s my conjecture that their earliest predecessors were the result of inter-breeding between television network executives and politicians.
Unlike Stargate SG-1, the Atlantis team was designed to be more of a civilian operation. Although if you’re going to be battling bad guys every week you had better have a few military guys in the mix. So, let’s take a look at who’s living on Atlantis these days:
Dr. Elizabeth Weir—Team Leader and former head of Stargate Command. She has a political-science background and experience with international diplomacy.
Major John Sheppard—Military Chief and son of a respected Cold War Colonel. Sheppard tarnished his career by disobeying a direct order in an attempt to save the lives of three service men. Think “Jack O’Neill of SG-1” at age 20 something.
Lt. Aiden Ford—Military 2nd-in-command who oversees the Stargate Atlantis security team.
Dr. Rodney McKay—A familiar face from a few SG-1 episodes, Rodney Mckay is the fast-talking, brilliant astrophysicist with an acerbic wit that has no match.
Teyla Emmagen—Leader of the now primitive but once technologically advanced civilization on the planet, Athos, in the Pegasus galaxy. She has allied her people with Earth’s Stargate team and is unmistakably the ‘Atlantis hottie.’
So far, so good. Sci-Fi’s new series seems to be well on its way to following in the successful footsteps of Stargate SG-1. Because the ratings, like Atlantis… are Rising!
Rob Resetar lives in Tucson, Arizona with his television and a small cactus plant. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org