Stargate Atlantis is a spin-off of the quite wonderful original series of Stargate (that I have already commented on, somewhere below). It is only with great difficulties that I managed to finish my planned re-watching of the entire Atlantis series (a total of five seasons, which, when thought about, is not all that much), but I have done that now, and can offer a few thoughts, as well as the episodes which I considered to be the best for the series.
Namely, much like the original SG-1 but quite unlike the newer Universe, Atlantis has a very on-off comical attitude and humour is never too far from the screen. In that sense, (Rodney McKay) and the others do their fair bit to get some of a lighter attitude going even while death is just meters away. Thereby, the show is always of a more general tone and suitable for everyone — and also, it might be said, does not really touch upon issues we see portrayed in more dramatic sci-fi shows (say Caprica/BSG).
It must also be said that overall, seasons 4 and 5 are quite a bit better than 1-3 (that is, in my humble but honest opinion). Firstly, a cause for this is the prevalence of Amanda Tapping (Samantha Carter) in season 3, and secondly, the prevalence of (Elizabeth Weir) in the first three. For whatever values the in-universe people attribute her, Weir remains a very bad commander as I see it. Maybe not as much in season 1 where we’re really just getting to know the situation in general but most certainly by season 3 the “luck” of finally having her as commander had very much worn off.
On the other hand, (John Shepherd) manages to play his role as the next (Jack O’Neill) quite well and full to most expectations that could be made — he is also one of the few people that can make difficult decisions in Atlantis (the others being Sam, Richard Woolsely, and Todd). Todd could also be said to be one of my favourite characters in many a way — a Wraith that can work with humans (obviously trying to double-cross them nearly every time) and in general manipulating the Expedition into all sorts of interesting… maneuvers.
Overall, the episodes which were memorable in some way might be considered:
- The Defiant One: —
- Letters from the Pegasus: What would you tell your family/loved ones/friends if you had not spoken to them for three seasons, and you had the knowledge of quite possible imminent death…
- The Intruder: —
- Trinity: —
- Epiphany: —
- Last Man: A brilliant sad look at how things might turn out if just the smallest of changes were made, and one of the few actually dramatic episodes of this series in general.
- Brain Storm: Not that great an episode on the part of what depth of reality is perceived but quite enjoyable due to the presentation for scientists which goes horribly wrong — and thereby people need to work together (which, must be in the context of “Theoretical physics is a very competitive field!”)
- Vegas: overall, might be the best episode of the series. Done in a CSI-like way, we find a Wraith on the loose in an alternate universe Las Vegas, quite naturally trying to cause great harm and destruction. Plus, Johnny Cash. Altogether, many quite enjoyable scenes with a few brilliant touches and a radically different (or not-so-different?) Shepherd make for a very interesting look at how things may have played out.
- Enemy At The Gate: Give everything or nothing, there is no other way when we need to protect.
EDIT: [28/11/2012] — I found the small note which contained the names of some episodes from when I started watching this again. I’ve edited the text accordingly. Or rather, I’ve added the names of the episodes in so that when I am to watch them again I would look into what made these episodes memorable.