Thursday, February 28, 2008

Another Gate To Go Through

This week was originally going to be the Terminator post but three episodes in and I've not yet made my mind up. So I've been forced to think of another topic and the only other geek one I've got at the moment is Stargate Atlantis.

When it first started I didn't bother as I wasn't really watching SG-1 and couldn't be bothered with another show. Eventually I got round to picking up SG-1 again, as previously mentioned way back when I started this blog. Hints about the Atlantis expedition were dropped here and there and I kept thinking I might pick it up but nothing major. SG-1 finished and I thought about watching Atlantis to get my Stargate fix from but once again never followed it up. The news of Amanda Tapping's character Carter was joining the crew along with Jewel Staite of Firefly fame finally got my arse into gear and I started watching it from the very beginning.

During first half of the first season I started to think I'd made a mistake. The show felt like a poor rip off of SG-1 and not trying to do its own thing at all. Then things started to work, apart from a couple of niggles which I'll get to in a minute, the cast really started to work well and the series started to set itself apart from SG-1. McKay especially has become one of my favourite characters, mostly due to David Hewlett's acting. The episodes where he has a woman sharing his mind and an alternate version of him turn up were fantastic acting in my opinion. One problem still remained and that was Aiden Ford. Throughout season 1 he was an incredibly weak character and just seemed to be there to make up the numbers in the team. The crew seemed to realise this themselves because as soon as Season 2 kicked off the character goes through a pretty big change and a lot more interesting.


My other niggle is Sheppard. I do like the character, but my problem lies more in how the Stargate universe has a plethora of similar characters. When O'Neill was replaced by Mitchell in SG-1 I commented how apart from one or two slight differences the two of them were pretty much the same character. The same can be said of Sheppard. Admittedly with nearly three season under his belt (for me) and a totally different cast of characters surrounding him he's a lot more distinct than Mitchell, but I can't help but help shake the familiarities. Though I guess it is one of those features that make it feel like a Stargate show.

One thing that really amazes me about Stargate is how much of a shared universe the shows have. I didn't really notice it watching SG-1 but then it was in isolation at the time but now with Atlantis the amount they reference each other and continue minor plot points is crazy. I'm used to shows like Star Trek that while they do share the same universe the two barely meet or are mentioned. Stargate seems to revel in this though, and I must admit I do love it. That's pretty much how I feel about Atlantis too, its so wonderfully tied into the existing Stargate universe while at the same time telling its own story. A story which could be quite dark but they keep light hearted and the moments that come from the characters interacting, especially Sheppard and McKay, make it all worth while.
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