Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 14
(Season 3 - Vol 4)

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 26 November 2007

When the team follows up on a rumour of an invincible hero off-world, they find that it's really just Lucius Lavin up to his old tricks. And instead of finding a superhero, they find themselves in a fight with Kolya and his men...

Irresponsible is a sort of follow up episode to this season's Irresistible. Richard Kind returns in the role of Lucius Lavin the loveable rogue who likes to make himself sound more important than he actually is. Once the team find that he has once again managed to secure the devotion of the inhabitants of another planet they assume the worst - that Lavin is once again using his intoxicating drug to keep the villagers under his spell. But, a quick medical examination soon puts a stop to their concerns, until they realise that he's actually managed to acquire a personal shield and that the villagers think he is a super strong hero.

This episode also sees the return of Robert Davi as Kolya, who puts in another great performance. The action takes place in the same location (although it's supposed to be a totally different world) as the SG-1 episode Revisions. The sad thing is is that it is so obviously the same location (a run down theme park in Canada called Fantasy Garden World) that it was a bit of a distraction.

Martin Wood (director/supervising producer) and Michael Blundell (director of photography) provide the audio commentary for this episode. Wood points out many issues he has with the episode - including continuity and poor plot developments - as well as talking about what a nightmare the location was to shoot in.

Zapped by a mysterious device that belonged to the Ancients, Rodney winds up with superhuman powers. But things aren't quite what they seem, and Rodney and the team must race to ensure his safety...

Tao of Rodney is a McKay based episode. And, as I'm a huge fan of the character, I loved this episode. It was pretty obvious that there was going to be a drawback to McKay's sudden increased brain activity, and it wasn't too hard to work out it was going to shorten his life expectancy. While there isn't really much jeopardy in this episode - you know McKay's not going to die - the gags keep coming thick and fast so that you don't particularly care. There's also a rather touching series of scenes as McKay accepts the inevitable and decides to spend his last hours helping others.

Martin Wood (director/supervising producer) and Michael Blundell (director of photography) provide their second audio commentary on this disc. They reveal how the donut effect was achieved without the use of CGI, as well as explain that McKay heals Ronon's Wraith scars so that the writers can have Ronon go topless in future episodes.

The discovery of a simulator game that McKay and Sheppard have been playing for a few years turns out to be real, and they must now put their petty competition aside or pay the consequences for inadvertently orchestrating a bloody war...

The Game is yet another McKay based episode. When an off-world team discover a country whose flag has McKay's face plastered across the middle, Weir wants to know why. McKay and Sheppard realise that the Ancient computer game they've been playing for a number of years is not just a game, and that their commands have been relayed to two nations who have been following their commands. This episode also co-stars Laura Harris (Dead Like Me, 24) as the leader of McKay's country.

William Warring (director) and Brenton Spencer (director of photography) provide the audio commentary. They point out the extra who appears after winning a charity auction and the fact that the Zelenka and Lorne scenes, where they both get sucked into playing another game, was added at the last minute as the script was a little short.

The Atlantis team discovers survivors from a civilisation who are in suspended animation aboard a space station. As some of the people awaken, it turns out that everyone on the station might be destroyed, including Sheppard...

The Ark is another strong episode with only one real drawback. I really couldn't understand why the episode started by showing us that Sheppard would later be trying to fly a vessel that appeared to be breaking apart. This doesn't add anything to the build up of the episode. It also spoils the episode, as it's pretty obvious, once they are trapped onboard the station, that he will eventually pilot the one remaining shuttle.

The space station set is pretty impressive too - there are a few long scenes where characters go from room to room just to show off how huge it is.

Martin Wood (director) and Mark Savela (VFX supervisor) provide the audio commentary. They reveal the scene in which a Snickers bar and bottle of water are clearly visible, and the fact that Ronon's head wouldn't actually fit inside the space helmets.

Extras on the disc include the four audio commentaries already mentioned; Mission Directive: The Game Featuring William Waring (13.5 mins look behind the scenes of The Game. Although sadly there's no interview with any of the guest actors); Look Inside Master FX Studios (18 mins featurette that takes us behind the scenes at the company that provides the prosthetic makeup effects - although we only see two of the designs they've dealt with, this is still interesting); Photo Gallery and Production Design Gallery.

So far, this disc represents the strongest collection of episodes in the show's fourth season.

Pete Boomer

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