What Is It?
Stargate Atlantis is an offshoot of Stargate SG1; the result of a long arc to find the Ancients’ hidden city. This turns out to be in another galaxy and that the initial expedition is one-way. Connections to Earth are made in later seasons, first by spaceships and then by “Midway Station.” An early mission by the team attracts the attention of life draining vampires called the Wraith, who are the primary antagonists throughout the series’ five seasons.
Why I Love It
It’s hard not to fall in love with Atlantis. She’s found at the bottom of an ocean, but rises to the surface when her shields start to fail. Then she sits on the ocean, a massive, steel snowflake glittering in the sun.
As a show, Stargate Atlantis is similar in tone to SG1, but as the expedition team is made up of military and civilian personal, it has a slightly different feel. Often more military-minded officers arrive in the city, sure they can establish “proper” chains of command, but quickly come to realise that the system works. The comradery between the military and scientists and aliens gives the show so much heart.
Rodney McKay. He originally appeared in SG1 as an arrogant scientist who fixated on Sam Carter. He remains pretty arrogant in Atlantis, and is notoriously bad with people. Yet he will fight for his team and is seen to mellow somewhat over the course of the show.
I liked him from the moment in episode “Hide & Seek” (S1 E3), where he overcomes his fear and wades into an energy entity in order to save the city. Though a scientist, the threat of the Wraith mean the civilians undertake weapons training and, despite hating guns, Rodney becomes fairly proficient. I think it’s this urge to do protect people even when he’s scared that I really love about him.
Sci Fi Connections
Atlantis sees visits from several SG1 cast members including Amanda Tapping as Sam Carter and Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson. Robert Picardo, who plays Wolsey in both series, was the holographic Doctor in Star Trek Voyager. Trek illumi Connor Trinneer (Charles ‘Trip’ Tucker III in Enterprise), plays the Wraith-turned-human Michael Kenmore, while Colm Meaney (O’Brien in TNG and DS9) plays Genii commander Cowen.
Talking of the Genii, dedicated sci fi fans will recognise Ladon Radim as Ryan Robbins, who has roles in Sanctuary (Henry Foss), Battlestar Galactica (Charlie Connor) and Falling Skies (Tector Murphy)
Most notably, Ronon Dex is played by Jason Momoa, who went on to star in Game of Thrones and Aquaman.
Should You Watch It?
If you love great team dynamics and pew pew space battles, then absolutely. SGA has adventure, intrigue, moral grey areas, and romance. It’s about a mish-mash of people both human and alien coming together and becoming the best versions of themselves. It’s also about, ah, leadership.