MGM Video & DVD
MSRP: $24.99
Not rated
RUNNING TIME: 873 minutes

Commentary on sixteen episodes by cast and crew
Mission Directive Featurettes:
   • Search and Rescue
   • Whispers
   • Tracker
   • Brain Storm
Production Featurettes:
   • Showdown!: Ronon vs. Tyre
   • Bringing The Seed to Life
   • Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate
   • Joe Flanigan: A Conversation with the Colonel
   • Dr. Jackson Goes to Atlantis
   • Building a Humanoid
   • The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore
   • Stargate Atlantis Goes to Vegas
   • Inside the Stargate Costume Department

Photo and design galleries
Deleted scenes

The Pitch

The fifth and final season for the the spin-off of the inspiration for Wormhole Extreme!

The Humans

Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, Robert Picardo, Jewel Staite, David Hewlett, Paul McGillion, Christopher Heyerdahl, Connor Trinneer.

“Hey, nice job dialing Camino, dumbass…”

The Nutshell

Season 5 of this popular Sci-Fi Channel show found the heroes of Atlantis dealing with such adversaries as the Wraith, alternate dimensions, a literal ghost from the past, a brain parasite that turns Mckay into a retard, another runner like Ronon used to be, a seed that grows into something dangerous, a tribe of lost but familiar aliens, and finally, a super hive ship that makes it all the way to Earth.  The only thing the Atlantis expedition couldn’t overcome was budgeting.

The Lowdown

Truth be told, I’m more than a little pissed that there won’t be a Season 6 and beyond of this show, because I enjoyed it just about as much as I did Stargate: SG-1, and I followed that show for its entire ten-year run.  Atlantis was able to take the formula that its predecessor had perfected and essentially hit the ground running when it premiered in 2004.  It didn’t have to make a lot of changes that other long-running shows make in order to hit its stride.  I found the show to be consistently good as it built up its mythology and characters.  It was very similar in tone to SG-1, yet still very different enough to carve out its own identity.  The show was filled with good villains and the stories were usually well written and even better shot.  The interpersonal dynamics were sustained by the characters even through what turned out to be too many cast changes. 

“Incredible, so this entire city is powered by a piece of plastic called a ZPM?”
“Well, that and the Ewok slave labor camp we have in the basement.”

What especially sucks to me about the situation under which Atlantis concluded its run was that I feel the show still had plenty of stories to tell.  It’s writing and production were always solid, and the cast, headed up by anchors Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett and Rachel Luttrell, who have been with the show since the beginning, was fun to watch and their characters were more nuanced than you find in typical genre fare.  Despite the fact that the primary villains, the Wraith, seemed to have been used past the point of where they were viable, I believe that other potential villains, namely the rogue Asgard and the aliens introduced in the “Daedalus Variations” could have picked up the slack nicely.  SG-1 managed to go on an additional two seasons after the Goauld were essentially defeated.

Also, whether it was the producers’ personal preferences or whatever, the show couldn’t seem to find a stable line-up beyond a season or more, and I’m sure it turned more than a few fans off when they got rid of major characters of Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson) and Dr. Carson Beckett (McGillion).  In McGillion’s case, they brought him back as a clone, but in Higginson’s case, she essentially told the producers to piss off and as a result, her story was unsatisfactorily wrapped up by another actress (Michelle Morgan).  As replacements, Jewel Staite for McGillion was fine, but Stargate veteran Amanda Tapping as Col. Samantha Carter was essentially wasted for her run on the show, and Robert Picardo was brought in for Season 5 to bat cleanup. 

“Okay, just so we’re clear, I have no problem with you feeding on most of Congress when we get to Earth…”

Season 5 had some great episodes, running the gamut from action-packed to funny, to very poignant.  “Broken Ties” revisited Ronon’s former friend, Tyre (Mark Dacascos), who was a Wraith worshiper and drug addict who kidnapped him in order to get back in good with the Wraith, but who then had to go through the mother of all detoxes in order to find redemption as Ronon had become a Wraith addict and traitor to Atlantis himself.  “Daedalus Variations” found the main team trapped on a Daedalus from another dimension that was hopping realities. 

“The Queen” had Teyla getting plastic surgery to appear as a Wraith Queen in order to help the Wraith, Todd (Heyerdahl), assume control of a Wraith alliance that was, if not sympathetic to Atlantis, at least willing to bargain from time to time.  The two-parter, “First Contact / Lost Tribe” saw the return of Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) to Atlantis to find a hidden lab, only to encounter a rogue batch of aliens familiar to fans.  And “Vegas” saw Sheppard in a parallel dimension as a burned-out Vegas cop who’s on the trail of a Wraith who seems to be rounding at poker for some reason.  Possibly my favorite episode of this season is the very touching “The Shrine,” where McKay is infected with a brain parasite that renders him virtually a child and will eventually kill him, unless the team can get him to a mythical shrine that will allow him one final day of clarity before the inevitable.

“Hey, let’s go buzz Mulder’s house again…”

Finally, the series finale, “Enemy at the Gate,” was good, but it obviously suffered from a seemingly rushed story, apparent budgetary constrictions that left out key sequences that would have been better seen than described in throwaway dialogue.  For instance, the Wraith Hive ship, which had been augmented by a ZPM and made nearly indestructible, took on two Earth ships and almost destroyed them on its way to Earth.  Would have been nice to see that, instead, we get a quickie message from Michael Beach’s colonel saying they got their asses kicked.  And most of all, they engage a brand new “wormhole drive” on Atlantis which allows the entire city to travel like it was going through a stargate.  Of course we didn’t get to see that either. 

Nevertheless, I felt that Season 5 was as good as any of the previous four and that this show had stories left to tell, but it just didn’t get the chance due to budgetary considerations.  I can understand the reasoning, but it just seems like a disservice to the fans, me included.  Seeing that Atlantis only had five seasons to SG-1’s ten would imply that the show was only half as good, and that’s not the case at all.  Atlantis wasn’t Battlestar Galactica, but it was a fun show that had good stories, characters and especially production value.  Syfy is placating us with one or two DTV films, so there’s that to look forward to at least.  And I’ll give Stargate: Universe a try, but with Atlantis, it was yet another case of a show not getting to finish its run the right way.

The Package

The episodes for Stargate: Atlantis all had great production value and looked good, and there was an almost cinematic quality to some of them.  The audio was also fine in English 5.1 and French and Spanish Dolby Surround, with available English, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.  There’s a stack of special features, most notably 16 commentaries (out of 20 episodes) by cast and crew.  There are also several production featurettes spread across the five discs and four “Mission Directive” featurettes on four episodes, “Search and Rescue,” “Whispers,” “Tracker” and “Brain Storm” that go a little more in depth.  There are also deleted scenes and photo and design galleries to round out the fairly impressive offerings.  There’s plenty of goodies here to keep fans busy, which is good since the Stargate: Atlantis movie won’t be out for a while.

8.3 out of 10