Stargate: Atlantis
Volume 5 (Season 1 - Vol 5)

Starring: Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks and David Hewlett
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 11 July 2005

Having learned that the entire Wraith armada is headed towards the city, the team decides to use their remaining power to send Stargate Command a message containing information about the Wraith threat and the well-being of everyone on Atlantis. As most of the team are recording messages to their loved ones, Sheppard and Teyla embark on a mission that takes them directly to the Wraith army...

Oh dear! It's time for a clips show. We've not even completed the first season and off go the writers on a time and cost cutting exercise. Actually Letter from Pegasus is not your average clips show and almost works. It's just a shame that we had to revisit old episodes so early on.

The main thing that saves this from being really dull is (surprise, surprise) Dr McKay. His lengthy message back home is extremely funny and well worth trudging through some of the other, rather bland scenes. An average episode.

When terrifying nightmares about the Wraith haunt Teyla, she visits the city's psychologist and learns that she can sense the Wraith. Determined to discover more, she leads a small team on a mission to a planet from which victims of the Wraith "miraculously" return. There, they uncover what appears to be a genetics laboratory. Could Teyla's connection to the Wraith be the result of genetic experimentation...?

The Gift is a Teyla episode and one I have issues with (well, more of a nit-pick really). We are told that the Wraith (or one Wraith in particular) sent the abducted test subjects back to their loved ones, hoping that the way he had altered them would be dampened as they gave birth to future generations. Now, wasn't that a bit of a stupid risk to take? As the Wraith eat humans anyway wouldn't it have made more sense for him to just kill them? I think this is one I'm going to hand over to Johnny Fanboy... once his answer is live you can read it by clicking here.

It's good to see some good old fashioned blokey humour injected into this episode. McKay says: "I've got a little..." to which Ford asks: "You've got a little what?" The rapport between McKay and Ford is very realistic and is something which I hope the writers will expand upon next season.

With the Wraith armada closing in on Atlantis, tension builds between Teyla and some of the other members of the team over her connection to the Wraith. When she is accused of revealing the team's location, after a scouting mission ends in a fire fight, Sheppard steps in to defend her. But even he begins to harbour doubts when her accuser is left unconscious after an attack by an unknown assailant...

The Siege (Part 1) is a pretty gripping episode. Although, as this two-parter unfolded I couldn't help but be reminded of the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine station battle story arc - which was obviously a huge inspiration, although the Atlantis story line is not as intense.

Teyla's new found 'gift' drags up a whole heap of complications. Actually, having this episode follow straight after The Gift was a little sloppy. It felt as though the writers were desperately trying to think of a way of making us question her loyalty - maybe it was her that was letting the Wraith know about the Atlantis crews movements and secrets. And so, The Gift was simply written in a hurry to add a little more tension to the finale.

The ending is an interesting cliff-hanger, and may actually have worked a little better as the season conclusion.

As the Wraith attack on Atlantis begins, the team is bolstered by the appearance of reinforcements from Earth armed with nuclear warheads and good news: The battleship Daedalus is due to arrive in four days. But when the warheads are easily destroyed by the Wraith, it becomes increasingly clear that the reinforcements aren't enough to protect the city for four hours, let alone four days...

The Siege (Part 2) doesn't really go anywhere. What I mean is, after 45 minutes we are really no further on than when the episode started. Okay, there are a few surprises (one big one if you don't already know - although the synopsis above, which is taken from the DVD cover, spoils it). The conclusion seems a little too much like the end to the first part (in essence) but there are plenty of highs and lows along the way. First their plight looks hopeless and then there is a glimmer of a solution on the horizon, then that too is dashed at the last minute, and so it goes on.

Not the most exciting cliff-hanger, but it certainly leaves us wanting more.

Extras include Mission Directive: The Siege (11 mins) which is a behind the scenes look at the final two episodes of this season. It also has a very strange comment from Joe Flanigan as he says: "There's a bomb on the bus!" I don't know what he was referring to, but I watched this DVD the day after the London bombings on 07 July 2005, and his innocent, jokey quote suddenly took on a whole new meaning; Behind the Stargate: Secrets revealed Part 2 (20 mins) which is a look behind both SG-1 and Atlantis and is very informative - although SG-1 fans will get to see it again as it is repeated on Volume 43; A look back on Season One (17 mins). I really enjoyed this Mickey take as presenter Martin Gero (writer/story editor on the show) goes around asking the cast what they think of the calibre of the scripts. There are some great ad libs here and this is certainly an extra that will have you chuckling to yourself; and Preview to Season 2 (9 mins) with doesn't really go in to too much detail about Season 2 - mainly because none of the scripts had really been fleshed out when this featurette was made.

Pete Boomer

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