By Cynthia Boris
Can you believe Stargate Atlantis is starting its fourth season? Seems like just yesterday they were stepping through the gate into a whole new adventure. We saw characters come and characters go, some we liked and some we didn’t. We saw old enemies and new ones and we saw friendlies turn hostile when the timing was right.
If you missed even a moment of Stargate Atlantis: Season Three, mark your calendar for September 18th because that’s when the brand new box set hits the shelves. This DVD is packed with commentaries, those cool Mission Directives, and featurettes on Rachel Luttrell, the visual effects department, a full season overview and much more.
As soon as you get your DVD set, pop in disc five and watch the final four episodes of the season. You’ll need this refresher course in order to fully appreciate the season four two-part premiere airing September 28 and October 4 on SCI FI Channel.
Want a sneak peek at what the new season has to offer? Well, I’m here to give it to you. Trouble is telling without giving away all of the plot twists these episodes throw at you. So let’s say, there are slight spoilers ahead.
Season Four of Stargate Atlantis begins with “Adrift” which picks up right where “First Strike” left off with the city of Atlantis hopelessly lost in space (danger Will Robinson!). Thanks to the attack by the Replicators, Elizabeth has been gravelly injured and so have many of the cities’ vital controls. Now it’s up to McKay and Sheppard to find a way to “land” the city on a habitable planet before they run out of energy to power the shield, after which they’ll all die in the vacuum of space.
It’s quite a problem and not the only one our heroes have to deal with during the course of the two hours. As a matter of fact, it’s a constant case of out of the frying pan and into the fire to the point where I started to grow weary of the whole thing. As much as I enjoy seeing Sheppard react to McKay’s doomsday prophecies, they come on a bit too hard and fast in this episode for my liking and it strained the credibility of the storyline.
There are a couple of truly different and spectacular saves which include space walks, a life-sized game of Asteroids and one daring mission into enemy territory. All very cool, indeed.
As most fans already know, the new season marks the addition of two new characters; both faces that will be familiar to Sci Fi enthusiasts. Amanda Tapping comes over from Stargate SG-1 in a transition that is very easy and understandable. Firefly’s Jewel Staite comes through the gate as Dr. Jennifer Keller, the new Chief of Medicine, but her introduction isn’t as smooth.
Keller was introduced briefly in “First Strike” as a person who didn’t want to be on Atlantis, let alone head of medical. When she reappears in “Adrift” it feels like they want you to believe she’s always been part of the team. It’s an odd transition. The other problem is Jewel herself. I like her as an actress, adored her on Firefly but I’m having troubling buying her as a top surgeon. It’s the curse of her little girl looks I guess but I found all of her scenes in these episodes hard to watch.
On the upside, with Elizabeth languishing in sickbay and the city in peril, McKay and Sheppard have a lot to do and they do it very well. The banter between these two, comical and otherwise, are one of the things I love about this show and in that it doesn’t disappoint. Ronon also has some uncharacteristically emotional moments and though she doesn’t get a lot of airtime, Teyla really steps up to the plate and it’s a joy to watch.
I will say that there was a twist I never saw coming and that makes up for any wrong turns made throughout the course of the two episodes.
When all is said and done, Atlantis will be a new city. Familiar characters will have new roles and Sheppard will have to deal with the consequences of a decision that will haunt him for the rest of this life.
Don’t miss the season premiere of Stargate Atlantis, Friday, September 28 at 10:00 on SCI FI.