Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 12
(Season 3 - Vol 2)

Starring: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, Paul McGillion and David Hewlett
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 24 September 2007

Along with Dr. Weir, Sheppard's team discovers a technologically advanced city whose people appear to have a past history with Atlantis. But while they hope to form a coalition against the Wraith, the city's leader has other plans for Atlantis...

Progeny is an interesting episode that revisits one of Stargate's old enemies. I won't spoil which one for you, but needless to say that it's pretty obvious that the Atlantis crew win through and that, the ending won't see the end to the threat.

There's a great scene where McKay is getting so frustrated with having to do everything he asks: "Why don't I just go on these missions alone?"

Andy Mikita (director) and Mark Savela (VFX supervisor) provide an interesting audio commentary which, it's not surprising to learn, mainly deals with the visual effects in this episode.

Dr. Weir awakens to find herself back on Earth in a psychiatric hospital. Even worse, she learns that a car crash killed her boyfriend and that her experience of the entire Atlantis expedition was merely a hallucination...

The Real World is one of those sci-fi cliché episodes. This has been done numerous times before in other shows and I couldn't help thinking: "Okay, when are we going to go back to Atlantis and find Weir is having her mind probed by an alien species; discover she is dreaming; or suffering from an alien hallucinogenic virus?"

Needless to say it's not spoiling anything to reveal that one of the above is correct. However, despite the fact we know that Weir will be okay, there is some serious jeopardy played out in this episode. And for fans who are still reeling from the fact that Rainbow Francks's Aiden Ford left the show in the second series, and that another of the regular cast is to bow out in this season, nothing is certain in Atlantis - which is probably why it appeals to fans worldwide.

An average story that manages to be much more than the sum of its parts.

Sheppard is kidnapped by the Genii and taken to an unfamiliar planet, where he's held prisoner by an old nemesis. Only by forming an unlikely alliance with another prisoner does Sheppard stand a chance of escaping alive...

Common Ground is an interesting episode - even though I generally dislike it when sci-fi shows try to humanise their alien threats. We've seen this with Star Trek and the Klingons, Jem'Hadar, and the Borg. While previous episodes in Atlantis have dealt with this enemy (I don't want to spoil anything for viewers who have yet to see this episode), and shown their human side, Common Ground goes a lot further - and shows us yet another side to this alien threat.

This episode also sees the return of a couple of characters and it's interesting to see that they don't really take centre stage. Instead the writing concentrates more on the relationship between Sheppard and the other prisoner. However, as there is no real "Previously on Atlantis" segment at the start of this episode, a lot of casual fans may feel a little lost.

William Waring (director) and Brenton Spencer (director of photography) provide an audio commentary that gives away a major spoiler for a future episode that reuses some of the characters in this episode. I'd seriously avoid listening to it for that reason alone.

When Rodney's estranged mathematician sister Jeanie comes to Atlantis, her warnings about an experiment's effect on other universes come true, and an alternate Dr. McKay arrives from another universe to beg the team to stop their tests - or risk destroying his world...

McKay and Mrs. Miller stars Kate Hewlett, the real life sister of David Hewlett - so the on screen chemistry is already there. This is a great episode, but is not played entirely for laughs as you might expect with a McKay heavy episode.

There is nod and a wink to The Terminator as the alternate Rodney appears, in that famous crouching position, on Atlantis.

What's also impressive is how, on the whole, a lot of the effects shots were their are two Rodney's on screen at the same time are pretty seamless. Normally shots like this stick out a mile, but almost immediately you believe that there are two different actors on screen.

Martin Gero (producer / writer) and Martin Wood (director / supervising producer) provide an interesting commentary (easily the most enjoyable on this disc) that claims that one of the most costly visual effects the show's ever done appears in this episode - the simple looking beaming effect. Also Gero reveals that originally the parallel universe McKay was going to sport a moustache - as an in-joke to all those Trek episodes where the alternate universe characters have facial hair to show which is which.

Extras include the three audio commentaries already mentioned; Mission Directive: "Progeny" featuring Andy Mikita (11 min behind the scenes on the episode Progeny); Profile on: Rachel Luttrell (15 minute interview and clips with Luttrell who plays Teyla Emmagan. However, I strongly suggest you skip this until you've seen all the episodes in this season, as it includes a major (and I mean MAJOR) spoiler); and stills gallery and production design gallery.

Pete Boomer

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