Stargate Commentaries
By Dwip February 15, 2010, 7:52 pm Comments (1) RSS Feed for this post

So, having finished up all of Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, I figure I ought to say something about the experience. This is going to ramble a little. Or a lot. Because I am me, and this is 15 seasons of television plus three movies I’m talking about. You have been warned.

Overall, somewhat contra Suzanne, I find myself as more of an SG-1 fan than an Atlantis fan, and here’s why:

– SG-1 had a much, much superior mythology to that of Atlantis, and I’m a mythology geek. As big evil bad guys, the Gou’ald are a lot more frightening than the Wraith, both because they make more sense, and because with the exception of Todd and Michael, the Wraith never got fleshed out enough to be interesting. On the other hand, Apophis, Yu, Anubis, Ba’al, Osiris, etc.

– Compounding that, too much of Atlantis was knock-offs on things we had already seen in SG-1, both episode ideas and enemies. To be fair, the Atlantis Replicators were a better idea than the SG-1 Replicators, but that horse is pretty dead at this point.

– On the other hand, the writing for Atlantis was by and large stronger than it was in SG-1, with some exceptions. Even the worst Atlantis eps were better than their SG-1 counterparts, and the best stuff, like the S5 ep Vegas, are among the best things I’ve ever seen. Atlantis spent a lot of time in strange reality warps, and was better for it. More plot arcs and multi-part eps, and it was the better for it.

– On the other other hand, there were some crazy uneven bits with Atlantis that just didn’t seem to happen as much with SG-1. For the most part, characters falling off the radar screen in SG-1 wasn’t a huge deal because there were more of them. The lack of Athosians was very strange by contrast. While SG-1 had fairly well-defined roles for its characters, there are a lot of Atlantis characters (Ford, Carter in her appearances, most of the SG-1 guest spots in general, Keller) who got severely underused, and that was coupled with a distressing tendency to do bad things to people the writers apparently got bored with.

– So, if somebody had told me that McKay would end up being one of my favorite Stargate characters ever, I’d have told you to stop hogging the good drugs, but sure enough, he’s great in Atlantis. On the other hand, Sheppard is sort of O’Neil lite half the time, Teyla may as well be played by a cardboard cutout in later seasons, and Ronon is saved from being Teal’c lite by subtle differences and the fact there can only ever be one Teal’c. SG-1 had a much better team dynamic, which really helped it out. Even the late season SG-1 replacement characters did better for themselves than the unfortunate Teyla.

– OTOH, Atlantis sure was a pretty show, wasn’t it? Lot of oooing and aaahing to be done. But then, a whole show shot in HD with modern CGI, as opposed to the 1990s, here.

– Also, weird pacing problems in Atlantis, which is another I hate the Wraith thing. I really wish that The Seige had been the finale for S4 or so instead of the S1 finale that it was. After having been built up over S1 as badasses, the Wraith never really recovered from S1. Plenty of other points at which the Atlantis crew comes close to some really awesome stuff, but in the end nothing ever really changes, as opposed to SG-1, where Earth gets a logical progression of stuff over the years. I expected more out of Atlantis in this.

– And just because it’s mandatory in these sorts of things, a list of some of the best eps, in no particular order:

1. Vegas (SGA S5)
2. The Fifth Race (SG1 S2)
3. 1969 (SG1 S2)
4. The First Ones (SG1 S4)
5. Beast of Burden (SG1 S5)
6. Lost City 1-2 (SG1 S7)
7. Threads (SG1 S8)
8. Continuum (movie)
9. Rising (SGA S1)
10. The Seige (SGA S1-2)
11. Michael (SGA S2)
12. The Real World (SGA S3)
13. The Shrine (SGA S5)
14. The Queen (SGA S5)
15. Moebius (SG1 S8)
16. The Changeling (SG1 S6)

Among, obviously, others.

And just for the obligatory other list, favorite characters:

1. Daniel Jackson
2. Vala Mal Doran
3. Rodney McKay
4. Carson Beckett
5. Jack O’Neil
6. Todd
7. Michael
8. Ba’al
9. Yu
10. Anubis

And also Teal’c, because Teal’c is better than any list.

I think I’m done now.

Well, almost.

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Comments on Stargate Commentaries
avatar Comment by Suzanne #1
February 18, 2010 at 5:11 pm

My favorite episode was Vegas, too.

“CSI: Atlantis” FTW.

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