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By AARON SKETCHLEY (aaronsketch@HOTdelete_thisMAIL.com) Ver 1.01 2024.06.09

Stargate Atlantis Season 1 Reviews


Rising (Part 1)

Rising (Part 2)

Hide and Seek

Thirty-eight Minutes

Suspicion

Childhood's End

Poisoning the Well

Underground

Home

The Storm

The Eye

The Defiant One

Hot Zone

Sanctuary

Before I Sleep

The Brotherhood

Letters from Pegasus

The Gift

The Siege

The Siege (Part II)

Rising (Part 1)

4 stars

Air date: 2004.07.16
Written by: Brad Wright & Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on: 2024.06.09
Several million years ago, the continent of Antarctica became covered in ice. Their lies Atlantis, the great city of the Ancients. One Ancient bids a solemn farewell to another, who will stay behind. The city lifts off the surface and flies away like a great ship, leaving behind only a small outpost and the woman, who scientists will discover frozen in the ice millions of years later, and name "Ayiana" (Stargate SG-1 season 6's Frozen). In the present day, an international expedition has been set up on the same site to study the outpost of the Ancients and the technology in it. It is headed by Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Stargate SG-1 season 8's New Order (Part 2)), recently transferred from SGC. Also present are Canadian astrophysicist Rodney McKay (Stargate SG-1 season 6's Redemption (Part 2)), Scottish medical doctor Carson Beckett, and many others. Jackson is also there, and eagerly reports his findings to Weir and McKay: he's found a stargate address to the lost city of Atlantis, which is now in the distant Pegasus Galaxy. Gen. O'Neill heads toward the Antarctic base in a helicopter piloted by Major John Sheppard, who knows nothing about the Ancients or even the stargate. When Beckett accidentally activates an Ancient drone weapon—as he possess the rare gene that allows those with it to use the base's chair control mechanism—Sheppard must take evasive action to keep from being shot down. Shortly after arriving at the base, Jackson explains his findings to O'Neill, who does not approve an exploratory mission to Atlantis when he learns that it will take their only ZPM (Zero Point Module) power source to dial a stargate address beyond our galaxy. Weir and Jackson manage to convince him, however, based on the great wealth of Ancient technology (including more ZPMs) that they are likely to find should they discover Atlantis intact. Weir's team of dozens of international scientists and military personnel arrives at SGC and makes final preparations for departure. They successfully dial Atlantis and bravely head through the gate, knowing full well that they may never be able to return home. Even the reluctant Sheppard has agreed to go as Weir wants him, despite his checkered service record of disobeying orders to save lives, because he not only possesses the Ancient gene, he is a natural at controlling their technology. The team is lead by military commander Colonel Marshall Sumner, who is the first to step through to Atlantis. The facility is cleared and secured, and remarkably the systems begin to activate and light up as the humans begin exploring the massive city. It's not long before the team discovers that the city is underwater. They also learn that after seeding the human form of life on a thousand worlds, the Ancients awoke the Wraith, a terrible enemy who began feeding on the human-populated worlds. The team soon realized that Atlantis is nearing destruction, as the three ZPMs powering the city are nearly depleted, and the more things they activate in the city, the more quickly the shield that is holding back the ocean will fail! As they can't dial back to the Earth, Weir quickly organizes a team led by Sumner to head through the stargate to try to find either a new ZPM, or a safe place for the expedition to retreat to!

Rising (Part 1) isn't really meant to be viewed on its own, as it is mostly introducing the lead characters, and setting up not only the situation, but the circumstances behind why Atlantis is in the state the expedition finds it in. The episode strikes the right balance between exploration—both in Antarctica and in the Pegasus Galaxy—and character development. In addition to some familiar faces, we also get the wonderful and memorable Dr. Beckett. There are other new characters introduced, such as Lt. Aiden Ford and scientist Peter Grodin, however it is Paul McGillion's Beckett that stands out the most, especially as McKay's apparent frenemy. We also get hints that Sheppard sees through McKay's whinging and with a few quick words get him reorientated and focused on the task at hand.

The interesting addition to the episode is Robert Patrick as Sumner. While the wattage of his star power was a bit overwhelming on a first watch—coming so soon after appearing in such things as Terminator 2 (1991), The Faculty (1998) and The X-Files (2000-2002)—he is pitch perfect as the gruff, no nonsense Marine. While his immediate dislike of Sheppard is reasonable, it is also remarkable how much Patrick suggests is going on in Sumner's head with only a glare, angled chin, or sidelong glance. Rising (Part 1) is a great first episode that does an excellent job of both setting up the series and its characters, as well as foreshadowing the overwhelming threat of the series' protagonists: the Wraith. Perhaps its greatest achievement, though, is that it successfully captures the sense of wonder of exploring new places.

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Rising (Part 2)

4 stars

Air date: 2004.07.16
Written by: Brad Wright & Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on: 2024.06.09
Col. Sumner's team, along with Major Sheppard, are continuing their investigation of the planet Athos. Sumner is in the midst of investigating the ruins of a city near the Athosian encampment while Sheppard is being shown around the settlement by Telya Emmagan, one of the Athosian leaders. Lt. Ford at the stargate reports that three Wraith "Dart" ships have come soaring through and are heading toward the camp. The Darts systematically cull portions of the Athosian-occupied camp. The humans are ill equipped to handle the bombardment. Sergeant Bates manages to disable a single Dart before he and Sumner are swept away in a culling beam. Teyla and a number of other Athosians are also swept up. Sheppard orders Ford, who is still at the stargate, to memorize the coordinates that the Wraith return to. In Atlantis, power readings have gone critical, and it is time to leave before the shield's fail and the ocean destroys the city. Just as Weir orders the evacuation, an incoming wormhole blocks their escape. Ford's IDC ushers in Sheppard, the remainder of Sumner's team, and the entire Athosian colony. Just then, Atlantis releases itself from the bottom of the ocean and rises to the surface. Now safe from drowning, Weir is hopeful that the shield will be useful if the city falls under attack. Unfortunately, there is only enough energy remaining in the ZPM to power only the most basic systems. Sheppard turns over the coordinates the Wraith returned to, ordering McKay to come up with the right combination. Weir, however, is not willing to let him attempt a rescue. She privately explains that once the Wraith become aware of the city, it will be impossible to stop them. Sheppard assures her that now that humans have been taken prisoner, Atlantis will likely be revealed anyway. Reluctantly, Weir grants the mission. Unfortunately, the coordinates the Wraith returned to end in space. McKay introduces Sheppard to the ships found earlier in a hangar in Atlantis. He is joined by Ford, Sergeant Stackhouse, and several military team members for the rescue mission. The ship, nicknamed a Puddle Jumper, remotely activates the stargate and flies through. Telya, Bates, and the other prisoners are forced to watch as Sumner is taken away by a trio of Wraiths from their cell. He is brought to the Wraith Keeper, who uses powerful mind tricks on Sumner to force him to reveal that there are billions of humans on the Earth. However, she is unable to learn the Earth's location other than that it is not in the Pegasus Galaxy. Sheppard lands the Puddle Jumper several kilometres from the Wraith compound. He teams up with Ford and they enter it. Inside, he separates to search for Sumner. Locating Sumner, Sheppard finds the Wraith Keeper beginning to feed on him—by draining his life force!

Where Rising (Part 1) was all about establishing the setting, Part 2 is about the series' main villains—the Wraith—and the expedition's first allies in the Pegasus Galaxy: the Athosians. Where Sheppard initially appeared to be a clone of O'Neill's character in Part 1, in Part 2 we see that he's quite a bit less of a wise-ass, and quite a bit more morally grounded. Joe Flanigan has put a compelling and unique spin on a character that almost appears to be equal parts O'Neill and Jackson's morality.

At first blush, it seems that the showrunners are continuing in Stargate SG-1's easy-breezy style with Sheppard's rescue team easily infiltrating the Wraith compound—later revealed to be a Hive Ship. However, it kind of makes sense that the Wraith would be so arrogant that they don't bother with ship security as the odds that they would be attacked are quite remote. Of course, having their stargate in orbit is also an extremely effective first line of defence. All in all, this episode does a great job of demonstrating what the show is about, while further defining its main characters and exactly what kind of danger the Wraith present, as well as setting the tone of the first season. A must see.

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Hide and Seek

? stars

Air date: 2004.07.23
Story by: Brad Wright & Robert C. Cooper
Teleplay by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: David Warry-Smith
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Thirty-eight Minutes

? stars

Air date: 2004.07.30
Written by: Brad Wright
Directed by: Mario Azzopardi
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Suspicion

? stars

Air date: 2004.08.06
Story by: Kerry Glover
Teleplay by: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
Directed by: Mario Azzopardi
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Childhood's End

? stars

Air date: 2004.08.13
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: David Winning
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Poisoning the Well

? stars

Air date: 2004.08.20
Story by: Mary Kaiser
Teleplay by: Damian Kindler
Directed by: Brad Turner
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Underground

? stars

Air date: 2004.08.27
Written by: Peter DeLuise
Directed by: Brad Turner
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Home

? stars

Air date: 2004.09.10
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
Directed by: Holly Dale
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Storm

? stars

Air date: 2004.09.17
Written by: Story by: Jill Blotevogel
Teleplay by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Eye

? stars

Air date: 2005.01.21
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Defiant One

? stars

Air date: 2005.01.28
Written by: Peter DeLuise
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Hot Zone

? stars

Air date: 2005.02.04
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Mario Azzopardi
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Sanctuary

? stars

Air date: 2005.02.11
Written by: Alan Brennert
Directed by: James Head
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Before I Sleep

? stars

Air date: 2005.02.18
Written by: Carl Binder
Directed by: Andy Mikita
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Brotherhood

? stars

Air date: 2005.02.25
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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Letters from Pegasus

? stars

Air date: 2005.03.04
Written by: Carl Binder
Directed by: Mario Azzopardi
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Gift

? stars

Air date: 2005.03.11
Story by: Robert C. Cooper & Martin Gero
Teleplay by: Robert C. Cooper
Directed by: Peter DeLuise
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Siege

? stars

Air date: 2005.03.18
Written by: Martin Gero
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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The Siege (Part II)

? stars

Air date: 2005.03.25
Written by: Joseph Mallozzi & Paul Mullie
Directed by: Martin Wood
Review by: Aaron Sketchley
Reviewed on:
In the works!
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