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DVD Review

DVD cover

Stargate Atlantis
The Complete Fifth Season


Starring: Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, Jewel Staite, Robert Picardo and David Hewlett
MGM & Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £59.99
Certificate: 15
Available 10 August 2009

When members of the Atlantis team are trapped under rubble, after an explosion on an alien planet, Carter launches a rescue operation. But the rescue party must beat Michael to the site if they are to stop their friends falling into the hands of the Wraith...

Search and Rescue concludes last season's cliffhanger which unfolded in The Last Man. While an entertaining enough episode, with some pretty amazing effects, I couldn't help feeling that sci-fi fans have seen this plot unravel hundreds of times before. A little cliched and not to exciting means that the end result is a bit of a dull opener for Atlantis's fifth season.

Martin Gero (executive producer) and Andy Mikita (director / producer) provide the audio commentary for this episode.



When Keller becomes infected by a Wraith virus, turning here into what appears to be a Wraith ship, Beckett's clone is revived from stasis in order to find a cure. But, as the virus starts to spread out through Atlantis, Keller's life is not the only one in danger...

The Seed is an interesting episode, even if once again we are revisiting another sci-fi idea that's been done to death. On a positive note, It's good to see Paul McGillion return as Beckett.

William Waring (director) and Lawren Bancroft-Wilson (executive producer's assistant) provide the audio commentary for this episode.



Tyre, a former friend of Ronon's who was turned into a Wraith worshiper, has broken free from his Wraith masters and is asking for the help and forgiveness of his old friend. However it's a trap. The former Satedan warrior is planning to capture Ronon in an attempt to be allowed back into the fold of the Wraith...

Broken Ties sees Tyre (who previously appeared in the season four episode Reunion) return much to Ronon's displeasure. There are enough double bluffs to keep you guessing what is really going on. Ronon fans will be pleased to hear that Jason Momoa gets quite a lot to do in this episode, including a pretty impressive fight sequence.

Joseph Mallozzi (executive producer) and Jason Momoa provide an optional audio commentary for this episode.



The Daedalus is on its way back to Earth, when another version from an alternate reality suddenly appears in orbit above Atlantis. A small team investigate and discover that it's empty, but that there seems to be a strange energy reading coming from somewhere. When the ship suddenly jumps to another alternate reality the team have to try and work out how to get back to their own reality. But each jump takes them into increasingly dangerous realities and it looks like they only have a small number of jumps left before the drive burns out stranding them in an unknown universe...

The Daedalus Variations is by far the best episode in this collection. Part of the reason why this works so well is the fact that you're kept on the edge of your seat for the episode's duration. Every time McKay solves a problem, another presents itself and you can almost get caught up in the episode and start to think they might not get home.

Alan McCullough (supervising producer) and Andy Mikita (director / producer) provide this episode's audio commentary.



Extras include the above mentioned audio commentaries; Mission Directive: 'Search and Rescue' With Andy Mikita and Martin Gero (11 min, 26 sec); Showdown! Ronon V. Tyre (5 min, 50 sec which is an interesting featurette that looks at how the fight sequence was constructed); Bringing 'The Seed' to Life (6 min, 53 sec look at how they made the Wraith virus work on screen); and photo galleries.


Disc two:

While on an away mission our heroes Jumper malfunctions as it's heading back to Atlantis through a Stargate. When the crew return to Atlantis the City starts to show the same signs of malfunctioning as the Jumper. It seems that these problems are caused by an entity, claiming to be Elizabeth Weir, who is asking for help...

Ghost in the Machine sees the final Weir story line for Stargate Atlantis. Sadly Torri Higginson decided not to return to play Weir, so the writers had to come up with a way to use a different body - which works, but is not as satisfying.

The end scene is rather moving, but would have been much more effective if Higgingson had returned.



After returning from a mission, McKay starts to suffer an alien form of Alzheimer's - which is widespread across the Pegasus Galaxy. An alien entity has wrapped itself around his brain causing Rodney to slowly (over the course of a couple of weeks) lose his memories. When Rodney's sister turns up to say goodbye to her brother, Ronon tells her that the same thing happened to his grandfather and that there is a shrine they can go to which will allow Rodney to return to his old self. The catch is that this only lasts for one day, after which Rodney will die. An away team decide to travel to the planet so that they can say goodbye to their old friend...

The Shrine is one of the show's most moving episodes to date, and certainly one that illustrates what an incredible serious actor David Hewlett is. It's also great to see Hewlett's real-life sister, Kate Hewlett, back to play Rodney's sister Jeannie.

There's also another relationship blooming in this episode - but I won't spoil it by mentioning between who.



Beckett is due to leave Atlantis when Sheppard asks him to accompany him on a mission. Another of Michael's research facilities has been found and Sheppard wants to check it out. When the team arrive on the planet it soon becomes clear that Michael's hybrid creations are roaming free and are not going to be easy to stop...

Whispers stars Paul McGillion return as Beckett. Other notable guest stars include Nicole de Boer (Ezri Dax in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and Christina Cox (Blood Ties).

While an interesting episode, it's a strictly by the numbers affair which pays homage to just about every zombie movie ever made- especially The Fog.

Joseph Mallozzi (executive producer) and William Waring (director) provide this episode's audio commentary.



The Atlantis team have a plan to convert the Wraith's genes to that they no longer need to feed on humans. They put the proposal to Todd, who agrees that it's a good idea. However, as his Hive's queen is dead, Teyla must pose as his queen in order to convince the primary queen that this will be beneficial to the Wraith...

The Queen is an interesting episode with more than a handful of plot twists. Rachel Luttrell's make-up as the Queen is particularly impressive. In fact it took me a while to be convinced that it was actually her under the make-up.

Alan McCullogh (supervising producer) and Brenton Spencer (director) provide an audio commentary.



Extras include the above mentioned audio commentaries (although it really is a shame that there was no commentary for Ghost in the Machine and The Shrine as well); Mission Directive: 'Whispers' with William Waring and Joseph Mallozzi (10 min, 50 sec behind the scenes featurette that looks at the problems of shooting the fog and the eyeless monsters); Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate (6 min, 48 sec look at shooting the submerged Stargate scene for The Shrine); Joe Flanigan: A Conversation with the Colonel (6 min, 13 sec interview with Flanigan who talks about his views on how Atlantis is different from SG-1, the other cast members and the fans); and photo galleries.


Disc three:

While off world, Doctor Keller is kidnapped. A group of Wraith turn up and prevent the planet's stargate from being used. Doctor McKay and Ronon are alone and must track Keller and her kidnapper - who is a Wraith runner like Ronon once was...

Tracker sees the start of the Ronon/McKay battle for the heart of Keller. There's also some subtle humour in the form of McKay revealing he used to be an Eager Beaver and still owns the Scouting for Beavers manual. How do they get away with it?

This also gives the writers a chance to pit Ronon against an equal - although, sadly, this feels like a missed opportunity.

Carl Binder (executive producer) and William Waring (director) provide an audio commentary for this episode.



Doctor Daniel Jackson arrives at Atlantis in order to find a hidden laboratory, which he believes his somewhere in the city. But when they discover it it triggers a beacon that results in a deadly alien race heading to Atlantis. Meanwhile an Atlantis team meets with Todd to discuss the implementation of the Wraith gene therapy...

First Contact is the first of a two-part story which sees Michael Shanks guest star as Daniel Jackson. We also get our first glance at what appears to be a ruthless new enemy who want to destroy the Wraith, and don't care what the consequences may be for the Stargate network.

The laboratory that Jackson and McKay discover holds the key to stopping the Wraith - a device that will destroy any Wraith ship (and only Wraith ships) as they enter hyperspace. But there's a slight drawback when the device is used.

Martin Gero (executive producer) and Andy Mikita (director / producer) provide this episode's audio commentary.



With Jackson and McKay held hostage aboard an alien vessel, forced to work against their will, the race is on to save them - not only from their captors, but also from Todd who wants to stop them destroying any more Wraith ships...

The Lost Tribe concludes this two-part story. I was impressed with the real jeopardy that unfolds at the end of this episode. Without spoiling things the writers set things up so that one of the main characters may or may not bowed out of the show here. Whether they do or not is for you to discover yourself.

Martin Gero (executive producer) and Andy Mikita (director / producer) provide their second audio commentary for this disc.



Doctor Beckett has been treating a group of survivors from the planet Balara who survived the Hoffan plague and are now living on another planet as refugees. When the Wraith turn up hunting for the Balara survivors, the planet's leaders have to decide whether to turn them over or risk the Wraith killing everyone on their planet...

Outsiders sees Paul McGillion return as Carson Beckett. This episode has some neat twists and turns as the Wraith split the leaders of a world on whether to hand over their visitors or to defend them - when this will surely lead to annihilation.

Alan McCullough (supervising producer) and William Waring (director) provide this episode's audio commentary.



Extras include the aforementioned audio commentaries; Mission Directive: "Tracker" with William Waring and Carl Binder (12 min, 26 sec behind the scenes on Tracker. Highlights include a look at the traps in this episode, and how Jason Momoa (Ronon) wanted to do the swinging log stunt for real); Dr. Jackson Goes to Atlantis (6 min, 13 sec a look at Michael Shanks's appearance on the show); Building a Humanoid with James Robbins and Martin Gero (7 min, 21 sec look at designing the costume for a new (?) alien); and Photo and Production Design Galleries.


Disc four:

When the Atlantis team is invited to join a coalition of planets, an away team is sent to make contact. They are promptly abducted and made to stand trial for the crimes against the Pegasus Galaxy. Past events are presented to the Atlantis crew, who have to account for their actions...

Inquisition is a clips show - and not a very original one at that. Shepherd and his team go on trial for mankind's crimes against the other races in the Pegasus Galaxy - mainly due to the fact that they awakened the Wraith in the first place. There's not much to say about this episode as it's pretty dull and functions more as a catch-up for casual fans of the series. You can read into this a little social commentary that draws parallels with America's foreign policy - in that the Atlantis team are accused of doing what they like without seeking approval of the other races - but other than that it's pretty dry.

Brenton Spencer (director) and Tobias Slezak (actor) provide this episode's audio commentary.



When the power goes out across Atlantis no one realises that it's because Michael has managed to fly into the city's control room and hack into the computer system. Michael is planning to abduct Teyla's baby and will do anything in order to achieve his goal...

The Prodigal sees Connor Trinneer return as the Wraith/human hybrid Michael. Without spoiling too much, this is the last Michael episode, which is a shame as this is certainly one of the weaker stories he's been in. Again, there's not much more to say about this episode as it's pretty run-of-the-mill - apart from the conclusion. There's a little much-needed humour injected with the inclusion of book-end scenes that see Ronon having to record his mission reports for Woolsey.

Carl Binder (executive producer) and William Waring (director) provide this episodes audio commentary.



Sheppard is off-world babysitting biologists when he is abducted by an old enemy. Meanwhile, on Atlantis, there's romance in the air for Woolsey, and McKay makes a shocking discovery about an ancient race called Sakari...

Remnants is by far the most interesting episode on this disc. I doubt it's spoiling much by revealing that Kolya (Robert Davi) makes a return appearance - the fact that the DVD box has him plastered on the front is a bit of a giveaway. But how did he survive being shot by Sheppard when last we saw him? All is revealed, and quite nicely too. Zelenka and Rodney make an interesting discovery on the sea bed of Atlantis, and Woolsey starts to fall for a mysterious woman.

This is one of those episodes that's worth watching twice to pick up on the subtle plots threads. It also has a great conclusion, with McKay realising he's not quite as smart as he thought he was.

Joseph Mallozzi (executive producer) and William Waring (director) provide an audio commentary for this episode.



McKay is invited to attend a mysterious scientific presentation back on Earth by an old rival. He finally plucks up the courage to ask Keller to go with him on their first date. The presentation is to showcase a system which appears to be a solution to global warming. But everything does not go as planned and it's up to McKay to save the day...

Brain Storm is an interesting episode that revolves around McKay and Keller's first date. McKay's arrogance embarrasses the two of them as he stands up in the middle of the presentation and accuses his old rival of stealing his invention. But it's not long before McKay has to come to the rescue and try and stop the device from malfunctioning.

This episode guest stars Dave Foley, as well as Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson playing themselves.

Martin Gero (producer / writer / director) provides this episode's audio commentary. It was during this episode that it was revealed to the cast and crew that Atlantis was being cancelled.


Extras include the aforementioned commentaries; The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore (7 min, 07 sec look at the evolution of the Michael character with an interview with actor Connor Trinneer); Deleted Scenes: Part I (8 min, 16 sec deleted scenes from various episodes with brief introductions by relevant crew members); and Photo and Production Design galleries.


Disc five:

Todd's Wraith Hive ship appears in orbit above Atlantis. A distress message is being broadcast, but there appear to be no life signs on board, so Sheppard prepares a team to search the ship. Once on board the Wraith ship our heroes learn that the crew is in hibernation after they were infected by a deadly disease...

Infection is an enjoyable, if somewhat predictable, episode which retreads familiar ground. There are elements of Alien in here, along with just about every zombie movie ever made.

It also appears that Atlantis's plans to stop the Wraith from feeding, by sucking the life out their prey, is also under threat.

There is no audio commentary on this episode.



An ancient device swaps the bodies of Keller and a dangerous fugitive. While the person in Keller's body is keen to pass as her new identity without arousing any suspicion, the Atlantis crew don't realise that the body Keller is now trapped in is imprisoned awaiting execution...

Identity is another rather predictable story which we've seen before. As there are only a few episodes left before the show is finally cancelled, there is some real jeopardy injected as one of the Atlantis regulars is stabbed and slips into a coma.

Again, there is no audio commentary for this episode.



In an alternate reality John Sheppard is a local sheriff and Richard Woolsey is an FBI Agent. The two of them meet on the trail of a serial killer - a murderer who just happens to be a Wraith...

Vegas may well be enjoyed by many of the fans but personally I didn't particularly like it. This is the sort of episode I'd have expected to see half-way through a season run, not as the penultimate episode of a show's entire run.

The episode pays homage to CSI, which it manages to do spectacularly well, but I couldn't help feeling that it was all just a little too dull. The ending was also a little weak - designed rather too conveniently to link into the show's final episode. Personally, I thought it a little clumsy.

Robert C Cooper (executive producer), John G Lenic (producer) and Mark Banas (editor) provide an audio commentary on this episode.



After he is betrayed by one of his crew, Todd arrives at Atlantis to warn them that a new super Wraith Hive is in existence that is powered by a ZPM. When the Daedalus encounters the ship it is clearly more powerful than any firepower the Atlantis crew has. With the Daedalus dead in space, its crew awaits the death blow, but it never comes. Instead the Wraith Hive jumps to hyperspace. It soon becomes clear that the ship received new orders - the Wraith have finally discovered Earth's coordinates and plan to lead an all out attack...

Enemy at the Gate, for me, just felt such a let down. Way too much happens in this episode and it really should have been a two-parter. I know that Atlantis will live on in the planned movie, but the ending just seemed way too rushed. I was hoping for something a bit more moving or at least a way for the cast to all bow out gracefully, but what we get is a shot of the cast and then the end credits. I couldn't help feeling it was an opportunity wasted.

There's a nice bit of curve ball is thrown in to the mix when one of the main cast is killed, but otherwise I thought this was a pretty average episode.

Paul Mullie (executive producer) and Mark Savela (VFX supervisor) provide the episode's audio commentary.



Extras include the aforementioned audio commentaries; Stargate Atlantis Goes to Vegas (20 min, 26 sec); Inside the Stargate Costume Department (7 min, 04 secs); Deleted Scenes (Part II) (8 min, 43 sec) and Photo and Production Design galleries

Pete Boomer

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