Gone Before Its Time, My Heart's Still in the Lost City of "Atlantis"
Jul 28, 2009
After five seasons and one hundred episodes, Stargate Atlantiswas canceled prematurely by the Syfy Channel. The cancellation was said to have been a join decision between both the network and SG-1and Atlantisco-creators and producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper in order to make room for their new series Stargate Universe. On top ofSGU, Wright and Cooper also wanted to go ahead with another SG-1film as well as an Atlantis film to wrap up the series. While I believe all of this is true, it was a bad move for both the network and the producers. In the process of canceling Atlantis, Syfy lost what would have become their flagship program once Battlestar Galacticawent off the air and also managed to upset what has to be the most loyal fan-base in all of Science Fiction. SGU, despite my obvious excitement for a new show,could have waited, it wasn't going anywhere, but instead, they made the move and put to death a great show that had at least two more great seasons left in it.
Was I surprised when the announcement came that Atlantiswas being Canceled? Not in the least, simply because I was expecting it. It was a subject that had been talked about for months, and knowing the way in which the Syfy channel thought, I had already braced myself for the worst. Instead of being upset, I was left feeling disappointed knowing that I was right and that one of my favorite TV shows was coming to an end. Unfortunately, the cancellation cannot all be blamed on producers and the network. Atlantishad one major flaw and that was casting. In the first season a lead was replaced due to not enough character depth. In season three, Torri Higginson, who played Dr. Elizabeth Weir, was asked to leave the show due to the same reasons along with the character of Dr. Carson Beckett being killed off (only to be brought back as a clone due to mass fan outrage), replaced by Jewel Staite as Dr. Jennifer Keller. Weir's character was replaced by Samantha Carter played by Amanda Tapping, one of the original members of SG-1, for season four. Unfortunately after only one season, Tapping left Atlantisto go work on her new show that she both produces and stars in, Sanctuary. She was then replaced by long time guest star on both SG-1and Atlantis, Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey. So, in three seasons of the show, there were four major cast changes which unfortunately is never good news for a program. What didn't change though, was despite all of these casting issues, the show always kept getting better.
In some ways, Atlantis was a much better show than SG-1was. While SG-1took place in the Milky Way and on Earth, Atlantistook place in a whole other galaxy, adding some mystique that at times, SG-1lacked. For the first couple of seasons, there was this sense of desperation as well as fear and loss since the expedition wasn't able to get back home. This made for some really good first and second season episode writing. The show always got better though, even when they were eventually able to return back to Earth. The show dealt with issues of whether it was safe to go back because of the Wraith threat or spies from the Milky Way coming to Atlantis. Sure, there were a few really bad episodes along the way, but that comes with any television show. Even with the final fifth season, which seemed more like a stand alone season than episodic, left me truly hooked and entertained.
What made Atlantis superior to other shows on at the time was the character depth within the cast. Even with all the changes that took place, these were characters that you couldn't help but care about. There were so many great relationships in the show. The constant bickering yet brotherly relationship between Rodney and Sheppard...Rodney and everyone for that matter, the Han/Chewie type relationship Sheppard had with Ronon. These are just two examples. What matters most though was that whenever something happened to these characters, you got angry or you got scared which is so important in acting and for a show to be successful. Take the season five episode, "The Shrine". Rodney is dying in this episode because he is slowly losing all of his brain function, making him appear to be "mentally retarded" despite the fact that he is a genius. This was probably one of the hardest episodes of the show to watch because David Hewlett, who plays McKay, came through with such an amazingly convincing acting performance. Along with that, you had the rest of the team basically saying their final goodbyes to him and they all are so believable. It was truly touching. It was episodes and acting like this that made Atlantismy favorite TV show.
While I was sad to see Atlantisgo, I can rest easy knowing there is more to come. The script for the forthcoming Atlantisfilm is almost completed and I can't wait. If you have never watched the show, but you're a big fan of SG-1, pick up these five great seasons of Stargate Atlantis, it won't let you down. From multiple guest appearances from the SG-1 characters you love, to getting to know a brand new team that you'll love just as much, the stories from Pegasus will leave you at the edge of your seat wanting more. I only wish I could tell that there was going to be more. All I can do is hope that Stargate Universelives up to its namesake. One thing is for sure, my heart is still in Atlantis. Leave the gate open, I'm coming through.
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About the reviewer
Julian Brown (Husher315)
Hi, my name is Julian Brown. I currently write for The Brotherly Game, a local Philadelphia soccer website where I cover the US Women's National Team and the local WPS Philadelphia Independence. I … more
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Stargate Atlantis(often abbreviated as SGA) is an American-Canadian science fiction television program, part of the Stargate franchise owned by MGM. Developed by longtime SG-1 producers Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, it is a spin-off from the television series Stargate SG-1. It is filmed and produced in Canada.
Stargate Atlantis follows the adventures of a human expedition to the lost city of Atlantis in the Pegasus Galaxy. The Stargate has brought humanity into contact with other cultures, including new and powerful enemies: the Wraith, the Genii, and later the Asurans, all while trying to uncover the secrets the Ancients left behind.
Stargate Atlantis premiered on the US Syfy Channel on July 16, 2004 with "Rising", a movie-style two-part episode, that guest starred Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks from Stargate SG-1. The series is broadcast in HD in selected countries.