The Second Season
Stargate Atlantis is a spin-off series from the popular science fiction television series Stargate SG-1. "Atlantis" is set in the Pegasus Galaxy, a remote corner of the universe, where a new team of scientists and military personnel follow leads about the ancients and face a new terrible foe called the Wraith. The spin-off series has been quite successful and later this year will begin airing its fourth season. For more details about this series, please refer to DVD Talk's reviews of the pilot episode, season one and season two.
This season has a couple cast changes. Season one cast member Rainbow Sun Francks, who plays Lt. Aiden Ford, leaves the cast. He appears in season two as a reoccurring character in a pretty cool story arc. Replacing Ford is Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa). Ronon is a very different character than Ford. He is a tough and experienced former soldier with a purpose. His race was wiped out by the Wraith, as well as the woman he loved, and he intends to kill every last Wraith in the galaxy. He is a good character and has better chemistry with other characters than Ford. Another new character is Colonel Caldwell (Mitch Pileggi, The X-Files), the commander of the new spaceship Daedalus. Caldwell is a tough, by-the-book military officer who often butts heads with Weir and Sheppard. At times he appears like he is against the Atlantis team, but he really has everyone's best interests at heart. I think he is a great addition and it is too bad there isn't more of him (he is reoccurring).
As for the storylines, the second season begins with the conclusion of a three-part story. The inaugural season ended with the first two parts. In those two episodes, the Atlantis crew were preparing for a massive assault by multiple Wraith hive ships. The crew was prepared to sacrifice the city, and when all looked like it was lost, a special team of Marines appeared in the nick of time to help defend the city. They had to hold the city until the warship Daedalus arrived, which had a ZPM to power the city. The second season begins with the concluding episode to a great three-part story. This episode is a race of excitement as the battle with the Wraith comes to a close.
In the following episodes, the second season has story arcs and episodic storylines. The story arcs are what really drive the season, all of which tie into the Wraith. Following the major battle in the season premiere, Lt. Ford was found in the water on the outskirts of the city. And with Ford was a Wraith attached to him. Carson was able to stabilize him and remove the Wraith, but at a cost. The Wraith had been pumping a special enzyme into Ford that made him stronger--an addictive drug that fools the mind and gives individuals superhuman strength. Throughout the first half of the season, Ford and the Wraith enzyme play a big role. It is an interesting story arc and the change with Ford makes him a much stronger character. It is a shame Ford's storyline isn't taken further.
Another strong part of season two is the further development of the Wraith as a species and culture. There are some interesting storylines that provide more information about them. This storyline ties into Carson developing a retrovirus that removes the Wraith DNA, leaving only a human. Towards the end of the season, Carson perfects the retrovirus and the team puts it to the test. They take a Wraith and convert him to his human form with the intent to see if they can integrate the human Wraith into society. The result is Michael, a half human, half Wraith. He is an interesting character who plays a vital role in a Wraith-Human alliance, as well as a betrayal at the end of the season.
In addition, this season sees the return of the Genii and more details about the Ancients. The Genii were a crucial part to Atlantis's successful defense against the Wraith in the beginning of the season. They have a major shift in power towards the end of the season, and the Atlantis team is at the center of the shift. More about the the Ancients' past is revealed, which include the acquisition of a new and powerful battleship.
Overall, the second season of Stargate: Atlantis continues the great tempo set in the first season. The show's big picture, battle against the Wraith, proves to be a solid storyline and finishes the season with a great cliffhanger. The season has other story arcs that are really exciting. Fans of this show will appreciate the season's high entertainment value.
1. The Siege - Part III: As Lt. Aiden Ford recovers from his near-fatal encounter with a Wraith, the team races against time to save the city from an impending Wraith assault.
2. The Intruder: A mysterious intruder has infected the Dadealus' computers with a virus that may allow them to take control of the ship.
3. Runner: Ronon Dex, a fierce survivor of a Wraith attack, may be the team's only hope in combating the now dangerous, Wraith-infected Ford.
4. Duet: A technical glitch during their rescue from a Wraith ship forces McKay and Lt. Cadman to coexist inside McKay's body.
5. Condemned: The team visits a technologically advanced planet inhabited by a civilization mysteriously unharmed by the Wraith.
6. Trinity: McKay may have found a new and potent source of energy for Atlantis based on unperfected ancient technology.
7. Instinct: While experimenting with a retrovirus that could turn Wraiths back into humans, Dr. Beckett inadvertently puts Sheppard's life at risk.
8. Conversion: The team races to find a cure for the retrovirus that is mutating Sheppard into a Wraith.
9. Aurora: The discovery of an ancient warship whose millennia-old crew lives in a virtual environment leads Sheppard and his crew into a direct confrontation with the Wraith.
10. The Lost Boys: As they are exploring a new planet, Sheppard and his crew Lt. Aiden Ford living in a cave under the influence of a powerful drug and planning revenge on the Wraith.
11. The Hive: The effects of the enzyme's grip on the Atlantis team begin to wear off, sending them into withdrawal as they look to escape from the Wraith hive ship.
12. Epiphany: Sheppard is pulled through a mysterious portal and trapped in a world inhabited by ancestors of the Ancients.
13. Critical Mass: The team races against time to foil the Goa'uld's plans to destroy Atlantis
14. Grace Under Pressure: Help comes to McKay in an unlikely form after his puddle jumper crash-lands in the ocean.
15. The Tower: The team encounters a village with an enigmatic leader who possesses the ability to protect his subjects from wraith attacks.
16. The Long Goodbye: Sheppard and Weir become a threat to Atlantis when their minds are taken over by hostile entities.
17. Coup D'etat: When the team learns that the Genii are posing a new, dangerous threat, they realize that the truce with their old foe may be at an end.
18. Michael: When the team attempts to turn a Wraith into a human with Dr. Beckett's perfected vaccine, the results are disastrous.
19. Inferno: McKay must save the team when they are trapped on a planet with a super-volcano.
20. Allies: The team is shocked when the Wraith call for an alliance.
The video in this release is given in an anamorphic 1.78:1 ratio widescreen color format. The picture quality is quite good. It suffers from a slight grain, but detail remains to be sharp and clear. However, there are moments when the picture suffers noticeable compression artifacts. Overall, the picture is relatively clean and should look good on big screen televisions.
The audio track in this release is in English 5.1 Dolby digital surround and a dubbed track in French Dolby surround. In general, the sound quality is very good and it provides an audible and clean track. The dialogue is usually a little flat while music and sound effects come off rich and vibrant. Additionally the 5.1 track is dynamic and makes good use of the surround sound capability.
There are subtitles included in English and Spanish, as well as support for closed captioning.
The Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Second Season box set comes with a lot of extras. The collection contains twenty episodes spread across five discs. Each disc has four episodes, each with an audio commentary with cast and crew, one or two featurettes, and two photo galleries. That gives us twenty episode commentaries, eight featurettes, and ten photo galleries. It is a lot of content and great for the fans. Here is the breakdown for each disc.
Disc 1 Special Features
Mission Directive: "The Siege Part III" (10:45) features director Martin Wood. He provides insights into the thrilling season premiere episode. He talks about the special effects process of filming the space battles, other important scenes, and characters. Mission Directive: "The Intruder" (10:59) stars director Peter DeLuise. DeLuise talks about filming the episode, such as dealing with on-set challenges and the Daedelus set.
The disc 1 commentaries include "The Siege - Part III" with Martin Gero, David Hewlett, Martin Wood, and Joe Flanigan, "The Intruder" with Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones, "Runner" with Martin Wood and David Hewlett, and "Duet" with Peter DeLuise, David Hewlett, and Martin Gero.
Disc 2 Special Features
Mission Directive: "Instinct" (15:07) has director Andy Mikita. He leads a discussion about directing the episode, sets and props, cast/characters, and so on. Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex (15:04) is a featurette about the new season two character Ronon. It stars Robert C. Cooper, Martin Wood, Allison K. Rosenzweig, and Jason Momoa. They talk about his personality and what kind of character they were striving to achieve, as well as his history, key storylines, and future direction.
The disc 2 commentaries include "Condemned" with Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones, "Trinity" with Martin Wood and Damian Kindler, "Instinct" with Peter DeLuise and Paul Mullie, and "Conversion" with Martin Gero, Davie Hewlett, and Joe Flanigan.
Disc 3 Special Features
Road to a Dream (19:15) is a goofy featurette with writer Martin Gero. It begins with Gero making a statement about fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming an actor. It is a mockumentary (not serious) with Gero, Brad Wright, Allison K. Rosenzweig, Robert C. Cooper, Martin Wood, Joe Flanigan, Torri Higginson, Paul McGillion, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, and Rachel Luttrell.
The disc 3 commentaries include "Aurora" with Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise, "The Lost Boys" with Martin Gero, David Hewlett, and Joe Flanigan, "The Hive" with Martin Wood, and "Epiphany" with Neil Fearnley.
Disc 4 Special Features
Profile On: David Hewlett (20:50) features David Hewlett, Allison K. Rosenzweig, and Martin Gero. The topic of discussion is Mr. Hewlett, his character, role in season two, and so on. Stargate Atlantis: Stunts (18:20) is a featurette about season two stunts, specifically about the fight sequences. It stars Allison K. Rosenzweig, James Bamford, Martin Wood, Rachel Luttrell, Jason Momoa, and David Hewlett.
The disc 4 commentaries include "Critical Mass" with Andy Mikita, Rachel Luttrell, and Brenton Spencer, "Grace Under Pressure" with Martin Wood, Martin Gero, Amanda Tapping, and David Hewlett, "The Tower" with Paul Mulley and Andy Mikita, and "The Long Goodbye" with Andy Mikita, Torri Higginson, and Brenton Spencer.
Disc 5 Special Features
Profile On: Paul McGillion (20:40) is a featurette about McGillion. It stars McGuillion, Allison K. Rosenzweig, Martin Gero, and David Hewlett. The focus is McGillion's character, from season one to two, and how he was originally a reoccurring character. The success of his character turned him into more than intended. It is slightly weird to hear him speak without his Scottish accent. There is a portion when he speaks about a conversation he had with his dad that is a must see.
The disc 5 commentaries include "Coup D'etat" with Martin Wood, Martin Gero, and David Hewlett, "Michael" with Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise, "Inferno" with Peter DeLuise and Gary Jones, and "Allies" with Andy Mikita, Martin Gero, and David Hewlett.
The second season of Stargate: Atlantis continues with the great momentum set in the show's first season. The big picture plotline dealing with the Wraith, new worlds, new technologies, and new characters worked nicely. The changes made in season two, which include a couple new characters and racier plotlines, make for pure excitement. This viewing was the second time I have seen this collection of episodes (I watched season two as it initially aired) and I enjoyed it even more this second time around. This season set comes highly recommended.