Spin-off finds ‘Atlantis’ home

Jessica MacIntosh

We have all had our fair share of reality and drama television shows, but science fiction is making a comeback. Beyond shows such as “Star Trek” and “The Twilight Zone,” there are some that go above the rest.

But one show has become extremely popular with science fiction fans today – “Stargate Atlantis.” To really understand where this spin-off show came from, you have to go back to the original movie Stargate, which starred Kurt Russell and James Spader.

Continuing where the movie left off, “Stargate SG-1” follows a team of explorers, headed by Col. Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson), who meets alien races on distant planets. At the same time, the team finds alien technology they can use to battle an evil race, the Gou’ald.

Seven seasons later, Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) deciphers a tablet, which contains information dealing with a city of the Ancients, a race who built the Stargates. By the beginning of season eight, he finds the coordinates a world no one knew existed – the lost city of Atlantis.

With the approval of O’Neill, who had been promoted to brigadier general in season eight, an international team of scientists and military personnel travel to the Pegasus Galaxy and comes in contact with a powerful race called the Wraith.

These life-sucking aliens search for people to feed on. It is the job of Maj. John Sheppard (Joe Flanigan), who is promoted to lieutenant colonel in season two, and his team to meet new races and steer clear of the Wraith.

Dr. Elizabeth Weir (Torri Higginson) commands the operations in Atlantis.

“Stargate Atlantis” made its debut on the SciFi Channel July 16, 2004 with the premiere of “The Rising,” which brought in 4.2 million viewers. The newly developed storylines, new characters and amazing special effects lend much to the science-fiction genre.

It’s typical to only have so many storylines for a science-fiction show, but with “Atlantis,” there are twists and turns you would not expect from any other show.

Now in its second season, the show’s producers and writers have come up with interesting stories, like an Air Force airman becoming trapped in Dr. Rodney McKay’s (David Hewlett) body after being swept up by a Wraith dart. Each episode has its serious moments, like elaborate battle scenes, and its funny moments, like the dialogue between characters.

In this season, two new characters have joined the Atlantis crew. Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa) who was being hunted by the Wraith, is found by Sheppard’s team and is brought to Atlantis. Col. Stephen Caldwell (Mitch Pileggi) commands the intergalactic starship Daedelus and seeks to bring military leadership to the expedition.

The entire cast has returned with the exception of Lieutenant Aiden Ford (Rainbow Sun Francks), who took on characteristics of a Wraith and disappeared.

A guest appearance by Lt. Col. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) from “SG-1” is slated for an upcoming episode in January. Appearances by stars from its parent show make “Atlantis” truly the show to watch.

The special effects are great, but they are not your multi-million-dollar feature-film type. The show is shot in Vancouver, where cheap-budget films and series are made. Despite the low budget, the effects are detailed down to every crack and crevice in the city.

“Atlantis” has come a long way since its first year. Every week the show brings in new adventures. It’s definitely a must-see.

“Stargate Atlantis” is part of the SciFi Friday lineup with “SG-1” and “Battlestar Galactica” at 8 p.m. Season two will resume in January.