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Stargate: Atlantis season five
cast: Joe Flannigan, Rachel Luttrell, David Hewlett, Jewel Staite, and Robert Picardo

creators: Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

873 minutes (cert) 2008
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
20th Century Fox DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 7/10
reviewed by J.C. Hartley
Spin, spin, spin, to every thing there is a season under heaven. How Firefly was cancelled and this universe-straddling monstrosity continues to flourish and send out new tendrils escapes belief. As I write, Stargate: Universe has launched with Robert 'must-need-the-money-cos-he-didnae-get-inta-Harry-Potter' Carlyle. While the new Universe is supposed to be 'dark and edgy', Stargate: Atlantis is somewhat formulaic, but hey, it lasted five seasons so its creators won't be complaining. And clearly the fan-base has some clout or something for the new spin-off to be licensed.

Season five starts with the tying-off of loose ends. The SG team have raided Wraith renegade Michael's base and triggered a massive booby-trap explosion. Pretty much everyone important gets out and what's more they go on to rescue team-mate Teyla who is pregnant with her Wraith hybrid lover's child. Needless to say this child will be important, as Michael reveals, although I think he stops short of identifying a 'chosen one'. Organic Wraith ship interiors are all black crusty columns and mysterious mists, eminently practical. Teyla's child is delivered by the geeky Dr McKay, the comedy interest; well he is Canadian. Teyla must decide if she's going to be a mom or an alien-ass-kicking member of the team; guess what she decides?

Carter, the female Colonel in charge of the Atlantis expedition, is replaced by suit Richard Woolsey, played by the guy who was the holo-Doc in Star Trek: Voyager. Pretty soon he realises that sometimes you can't play by the rule-book. What do you mean you don't know what I'm going on about; Atlantis is one of the cities of the ancients, in the Pegasus galaxy, accessed through a wormhole type star-gate. The Wraith are alien vampires. The good guys are military types from Earth and their alien allies. Some of the episodes are self-contained, some bleed into an overall story. It's all very simple with some wormhole stuff and parallel Earth theory thrown in.

Stargate Atlantis

The very best story is the penultimate and extended episode, Vegas, set on a parallel Earth where a Wraith ship has crashed. Shepherd, leader of the Stargate team in the Atlantis reality, here is a sleazy cop investigating the Wraith's serial killings. With a great soundtrack, moody contemporary noir lighting, some gangster cameos, and an X-Files vibe, it's an exercise in what might have been.

Obviously this stuff has a following and consequently must command some kind of power over the networks. It isn't very radical and is rather less cerebral than the original Star Trek. It is the SF of fan conventions.

A generous package of extras offers tons of stuff on every disc, extended episodes, commentaries, making-of featurettes, and behind-the-scenes documentaries and cast and crew interviews. If you love this show this is pretty much a must-have; I would hesitate to recommend it to anyone not already committed.
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