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'Stargate Atlantis: The Compete Series' [Blu-ray]
(Joe Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Torri Higginson, / 20-Disc Blu ray / NR / 2011 / MGM)

Overview: Continuing the journey of 'Stargate: SG-1,' television’s longest running sci-fi series, <>'Stargate: Atlantis' explores the great city of Atlantis built thousands of years ago by the Ancients and the new home base for an elite expedition team from earth. Overflowing with exciting quests and surprises, fans will experience every captivating, and spine-tingling mission of the Intrepid Team from their first hostile encounter to their last rescue mission.

DVD Verdict: Did you know that 'Stargate Atlantis' ran for five long seasons? I didn't, I have to say, but watching ALL these episodes back to back, albeit spread over a few weeks, this spin-off from 'Stargate: SG-1' was quite a formidable, enjoyable series.

The feature-length pilot episode, Rising' (which jumps off from the seventh season of 'SG1'), and which also gave Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks a chance to see the newbie into our lives safely re: some extended cameos, sends a brilliant team of scientists through a Stargate to the legendary city of Atlantis. But not only is the city about to be engulfed by ocean water, an enemy appears who threatens everyone in the Pegasus Galaxy. And in the lengthened Enemy at the Gate from Season 5, as the team tries to disempower Wraith hive ships, the Wraith discover coordinates that will allow them to destroy Earth.

The show was created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper as a spin-off series of, as previously mentioned, 'Stargate SG-1,' which itself was created by Wright and Jonathan Glassner; and was itself based on the feature film 'Stargate' from 1994.

As we progress, we soon discover that the expeditionary team is large. This is a monumental trip for human kind. All the people that have volunteered to go on the mission know that there's a good possibility that they'll never make it back to earth. Wow, talk about a heavy choice to make! Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson) is the leader of the group and the geniune brains behind (Most all) the operations.

Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) provides much of the show's comedic relief as a bumbling, but brilliant scientist. Lt. Colonel John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan) is the muss-haired maverick who wasn't supposed to even come on this mission, but since he shares some of the same genetics as the Ancients he's recruited for the voyage. Robert Patrick ('T2') even makes a short appearance at the beginning of the series, but is soon let go.

Season 2 picks upm immediately where 1 ended. The Atlantis expedition successfully avoids being culled by the Wraith by making them believe Atlantis had been destroyed, and they recover semi-regular contact with Earth, thanks to the Daedalus and the new Zero Point Module recovered by SG-1. Sheppard is promoted to Lt. Colonel and former Runner Ronon Dex replaces Lt. Ford, who went missing in action at the end of the battle with the Wraith. The central plot of the second season is the development of Dr. Beckett's retrovirus, which can, theoretically, turn a Wraith into a human.

And just what is a Wraith? Well, they are the series bad guys. A mean, ugly race of humanoids who feed on other humans throughout the galaxy. They harvest people from other planets by using the same stargates that the expedition from earth are using. Basically, the Wraith soon find out that these new humans who have found Atlantis have come from a place called Earth, a virtual smorgasbord human flesh to devour!

Picking up where season 2 ended, season 3 begins with the Wraith having been stopped from reaching Earth. And having failed to develop a working Wraith retrovirus, the expedition faces its third year in the Pegasus galaxy with the Wraith still a threat and a new, powerful enemy bent on destroying the expedition and Atlantis: the Asurans, self-replicating nanobots, also known as Replicators. The situation becomes complicated when an experiment gone awry drains their only ZPM, leaving them without a power source for the city's shields.

Soon thereafter, they find a lost Ancient vessel and subsequently lose the city of Atlantis when the crew of the Ancient ship reclaims it. The SGC sends General O'Neill and Richard Woolsey to try to negotiate an agreement between Earth and the Ancients to allow the expedition to return to Atlantis. O'Neill and Woolsey dial Earth and inform them that the Asurans are taking over the city. They kill the Ancient crew who reclaimed the city after 10,000 years.

As was made very clear by the writers of 'Stargate Atlantis,' season 4 took the series in a new direction. And so as the fourth season begins where season 3 ended, the future seems bleak: Weir is incapacitated and the senior members of the expedition have suffered multiple injuries. With the city damaged, running out of power and drifting in space, cut off from Earth, the Atlantis expedition raids Asuras to obtain a ZPM and is able to travel to a nearby planet.

Weir is captured by the Asurans and Colonel Samantha Carter joins as a regular and acts as the expedition leader. She appears in the episode "Lifeline" after helping to find and land Atlantis on its new home planet; she is then ordered back to the SGC. Indeed, in episode 3, under the IOA's orders, Carter returns to Atlantis as the new leader of the expedition after Atlantis lands. The season focuses on the main antagonists: the Asurans and the Wraith, as well as the pregnancy of Teyla Emmagan.

In the fifth, and final season, Richard Woolsey replaces Carter as the leader of the expedition. Teyla, who was held captive by Michael, gives birth to Torren John and escapes with her team, before they are able to cripple Michael. Eventually, he invades Atlantis with a commandeered Puddle Jumper to take Torren and destroy Atlantis but, thanks to the efforts of Sheppard, Teyla, and McKay, Michael is finally killed.

The season also introduces a group of rogue Asgard, who unlike their Ida counterparts, actually experiment on humans to prolong their lives, and steal a device known as "The Attero device" to destroy the Wraith, though the side effect is that any Stargate activated after the device has been turned on will explode. The device is eventually destroyed. With the Attero device, Michael and the Hoffan drug, the Wraith have become weakened, and are no longer the power of the galaxy they once were; the falling gives the humans freedom enough to establish a coalition.

And, for those that wish to know, the series' score sounds great too, despite the fact that it isn't always properly featured in the mix! Indeed, 'Stargate Atlantis' sounds as good as it looks, perhaps better, and MGM's DTS-HD Master Audio track adds even more value to the Complete Series box set. Also, the 1080p picture looks good for the most part. Great detail and depth. And sure the show does suffer from lower production values, and the fact that large scale visual effects never work quite that well on television. With the help of high definition a lot of the CGI effects in the series look, well, far from classy, shall we say! Regardless, buy this incredible box-set today and you will be transported far, far away like never, ever before! These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Seasons 1 – 5 Special Features of:
14 Season One Audio Commentaries
20 Season Two Audio Commentaries
19 Season Three Audio Commentaries
19 Season Four Audio Commentaries
16 Season Five Audio Commentaries
Mission Directives (SD, 242 min.) - Indepth Behind-The-Scenes Featurettes

Season 1:
'Stargate Atlantis' Set Tour (SD, 11 min.)
Wraithal Discrimination: It's Not Easy Being Green (SD, 11 min.)
Diary of Rainbow Sun Francks (SD, 9 min.)
A Look Back on Season 1 (SD, 17 min.)

Season 2:
Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex (SD, 15 min.)
'Stargate Atlantis:' Stunts (SD, 18 min.)
Road to a Dream (SD, 19 min.)
Actor Profiles (SD, 57 min.)

Season 3:
Inside the 'Stargate Atlantis' Visual FX Department (SD, 18 min.)
General O'Neill Goes to Atlantis (SD, 14 min.)
Masters of the Alien (SD, 18 min.)
A Look Back on Season 3 (SD, 20 min.)

Season 4:
A New Leader: Amanda Tapping Joins 'Atlantis' (SD, 15 min.)
'Stargate Atlantis' Bloopers (SD, 7 min.)
The Making of "Trio" (SD, 16 min.)
Deleted Scenes (SD, 24 min.)
A Look Back at Season 4 (SD, 12 min.)

Season 5:
Bringing the Seed to Life (SD, 7 min.)
Showdown! Ronon v. Tyre (SD, 6 min.)
Tricks of the Trade: Submerging the Stargate (SD, 7 min.)
Joe Flanigan: A Conversation with the Colonel (SD, 6 min.)
Building a Humanoid (SD, 7 min.)
Dr. Jackson Goes to Atlantis (SD, 6 min.)
The Life and Death of Michael Kenmore (SD, 7 min.)
Inside the 'Stargate' Costume Department (SD, 7 min.)
'Stargate Atlantis' Goes to "Vegas" (SD, 21 min.)
Deleted Scenes (SD, 17 min.)

www.MGM.com





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