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Stargate Atlantis: Season 5 [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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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 --This text refers to an alternate DVD edition.
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Torri Higginson should have been persuaded to return and Dr Weir's character was in desperate need of saving, it's a shame that never happened.
Season 5 is also an excellent example of a series that absolutely deserved a 6th and final season to finish the story as you can tell its not done when you watch 'Enemy at the Gate'.
Alas this is it.
My Stargate Collection is now complete! And I couldn't be happier about it.
Still debating whether to get Stargate Universe but it was ended on a semi-cliffhanger so I may leave that one for a few more years to come.
Thanks for the memories Stargate!
What I will admit is that there were mistakes made by Atlantis in the past - killing Carson Beckett, poor use of the Aiden Ford character, repeated use of the Atlantis set in other contexts, beaming the crew out of danger at the last minute - and an ongoing problem (reminiscent of Star Trek: Voyager) of having advanced the technology level so much that it no longer makes any scientific sense. Season 5 goes a long way to rectify at least two of those points - Carson Beckett is back for no less than five episodes, and despite heavy use of the Wraith ship set, the stories are good and justify it. The characters are as well written as ever, but I really felt the writers stepped it up a notch this season.
Speaking of Star Trek: Voyager, the idea of bringing Robert Picardo back as Richard Woolsey and promoting him to the role of Commander was a stroke of genus. No disrespect to Commander Weir and Colonel Carter, but in Richard Woolsey, Stargate Atlantis had finally cast its ideal leader (and that's not a sexist comment - other reviewers on these pages may drool over Joe Flanigan but one of the reasons I love Stargate so much is an attraction to strong-minded, intelligent women). There are also a couple of deadpan in-jokes about his holographic Doctor character hidden in the dialogue, which are extremely funny when you spot them.
Despite the technology getting more and more advanced, there is less of a reliance on the technology itself selling the story. There is more focus on the characters than before and all the characters get at least one episode where they take centre stage in the story - for example, David Hewlett puts in an incredibly moving performance in The Shrine where McKay is struck down with a fast acting Pegasus equivalent of Alzheimer's. Very good use is made of the popular Wraith characters Michael and Todd, and the budding relationship between McKay and Keller is a refreshing antidote to some other sci-fi series where the awkward tech geek never gets the girl (Seamus Harper in Andromeda being a prime and excruciating example).
Oh, and thank you Atlantis for the episode Vegas - it finally gave me the push I needed to listen to Johnny Cash's music.
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