By the time the credits roll for the final time at the end of Stargate Atlantis
’ fifth season, it’s hard not to feel some sadness. For this is the final season of the show, and it’s also, arguably, right up there with the best.
It starts with a fairly major gamble, by replacing Amanda Tapping’s Samantha Carter as Atlantis’ commander and instead giving the job to Richard Woolsey, played by Robert Picardo. But it’s a gamble that pays off smartly, as Woolsey becomes a less predictable and more interesting commander. That said, not all of the characters in the show will have you warming to them, but then that’s arguably deliberate. The fifth season follows the ongoing battle with Wraith, and leaves--in the aftermath of its excellent finale--a number of threads that were presumably designed to be picked up in the sixth season that we’ll now never see.
Yet don’t let that discourage you. Season five of Stargate Atlantis doesn’t just feature some of the best moments of the show to date, but also some episodes rival anything its forerunner served up, too. The ambition of the ideas here, and the quality of both the visual effects and overall execution, is something to be genuinely admired.
The Stargate torch now passes over to the new series Stargate: Universe. But Atlantis deserves time to be kind to it. Out of the shadows of SG-1 it emerged as something genuinely special in its own right, and this fifth season finds it on tip-top form. --Jon Foster