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July 18th, 2005

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02:33 pm - Stargate thoughts
I watched the season premiere of Stargate: Atlantis last night. I think I've finally grokked why this franchise won't be as successful as the long-running Stargate: SG-1.

Based on the 1994 movie and focused on the use of a device that generates a method of interstellar travel, SG-1 has some of the feel of Star Trek. A group of adventurers travels to distant planets and meets various aliens. The basic structure allows nicely episodic breaks. We go to a planet, have a problem, solve the problem and face a new set of these next week. One of the features of the show is a set of long-lived aliens that pose as gods of the people they enslave using their superior technology. These are the villains of the show and we come to know them as characters, something facilitated by the fact that their names reflect Earth mythology. Ra is the villain in the original movie and other Egyptian gods show up in the TV series.

Stargate: Atlantis starts several years into the run of SG-1. An ongoing background has been built up as the team of adventurers has explored more of the galaxy. One part of this is that the group that made the stargate in the first place, known as "the ancients," came from Atlantis to Earth in the distant past. When it is finally found, a team of people are sent from Earth to investigate what might remain there. The set-up of the show presumes that the trip may be one-way, separating these men and women from all they know on Earth.

This is an interesting twist. They will have limited Earth supplies and no way to get resupplied. More importantly, they will not be able to draw on the vast knowledge and experience of the characters in the other show when things go wrong. They will have to be self-sufficient and mistakes they make could have severe consequences.

Before long, they discover the bad guys in this new galaxy. Known as "the wraith," they are a race of vampires that feed on then life force of humans and capable of hibernating for long periods of time. The flaw they have as villains, however, is that thye have no personality. That is, in all of the first season, we are not told the name of any individual wraith. they are faceless bad guys, easily interchangeable.

Further, during the season finale, they broke the cardinal rule of the show: They recieved assistance from Earth to save them from a big attack by the wraith. So now, the interesting twist no longer exists. If they don't have the resources to battle a threat, they simply dial up Earth and get what they need. I don't recall seeing a show jump the shark in their first show of their second season....
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Current Music: Bimbala--Robin Adnan Anders--Omaiyo
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(3 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:July 19th, 2005 01:04 am (UTC)
I've only ever gotten around to watching just a few bits of Atlantisand have been generally disappointed. I'm a huge fan of SG-1, though. HUGE.

I like the characters on Atlantis (for the most part), especially David Hewlett, aka Dr. McKay, (though, of course, he's a crossover) but there's just something missing from the show itself. Like DS9 or Voyager as compared to TNG or TOS. It seems to lack the heart of the original show and you're not as drawn in to the characters and the stories.

That's my bit.
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Date:July 19th, 2005 10:04 am (UTC)
Dr. McKay is quite a character, to be sure. I think he was a better minor character on SG-1 than as a main character on Atlantis. Too much McKay can be too much.

I've started watching DS9 since Spike!TV started at the beginning last week or so. I liked the later episodes of DS9 better than the early episodes of TNG and some of the later ones as well; like Babylon 5, not having the option of leaving the area kind of made things interesting. So I wanted to see how they developed.

But Atlantis definitely lacks heart. Maybe it just hasn't found its feet, but its solution to its big problem at the end of the first season seems to me like it will just bring the problem back once their cover is blown. Then it's repeat the whole thing all over again. I'll watch a few more episodes but it's going to have to get a whole lot better for me to keep it on the TiVo's season pass....

(BTW, have you seen the Farscape actors joining SG-1? Interesting....)
Date:July 19th, 2005 01:46 pm (UTC)
I haven't really watched any SG-1 since the end of season 7, because I was buying the seasons and by the time I got around to watching season 7 (I found out about the show late in its life) season 8 had already begun, and I didn't want to miss out on the beginning of the season. So I am out of the loop to everything except the bits that I've seen in promos for the show. Which is to say that I've seen the trend of all of Farscape joining SG-1 but don't know much other than that Col. O'Neill does this and Ben Browder does this, etc. I am interested to see how it turns out, though I'm sure I'll have to wait until they come out on DVD, because now waiting for season 8 spoils season 9.

Horrible cycle.

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