HTF DVD Review: Stargate: Atlantis, The Complete Fourth Season

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  1. Todd Erwin

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    Stargate: Atlantis, The Complete Fourth Season




    Studio: MGM / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
    Year: 2007-2008
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 827 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
    Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
    Subtitles: English (SDH), French, Spanish



    US DVD Release Date: July 8, 2008

    Premiering on the Sci-Fi Channel in July 2004 as a spin-off to the popular Stargate: SG-1 television series, Stargate: Atlantis follows an international team of scientists and soldiers as they explore the Pegasus galaxy from their home base in the lost city of Atlantis. Upon arrival in Atlantis, the team unintentionally awakes a race of vampire-like beings known as the Wraith. The series stars Joe Flanigan as Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, Torri Higginson as D. Elizabeth Weir, Rachel Luttrell as Teyla, Jason Momoa as Ronon Dex, and David Hewlett as Dr. Rodney McKay.

    Movie: 4 out of 5
    Season four brings some cast changes, including bringing Amanda Tapping over from Stargate: SG-1, reprising her role as Samantha Carter, as the base commander. Also new this season is Jewel Staite (in a recurring role) as the new chief doctor. The writers continue their focus on more character-driven episodes, as they did last season, and further developing their villains, especially the Wraith hybrid Michael (Connor Trinneer) and the double-crossing Wraith, Todd (Christopher Heyerdahl). My favorite episode this season was Harmony, where Sheppard and McKay accompany a precocious pre-teen princess through the forrest as part of her quest for Queen. The fourth season consists of 20 episodes spread out over 5 discs, all housed in 3 individual slim cases within an outer paperboard sleeve. I definitely prefer this over digipak cases, although the paperboard sleeve used on this set was somewhat flimsy. One more added bonus to the presentation of the episodes is that the producers have had the normal commercial breaks removed to provide each episode with an even flow.

    Disc One:
    Adrift
    Lifeline
    Reunion
    Doppleganger

    Disc Two:
    Travellers
    Tabula Rasa
    Missing
    The Seer

    Disc Three
    Miller's Crossing
    This Mortal Coil
    Be All My Sins Remember'd
    Spoils of War

    Disc Four
    Quarantine
    Harmony
    Outcast
    Trio

    Disc Five
    Midway
    The Kindred, Part I
    The Kindred, Part II
    The Last Man


    Video: 3.5 out of 5
    The series is filmed with HD 24p cameras in Vancouver, Canada, which provides a nice, film-like look to the show. COlors are not oversaturated, with good blacks. Compression artifacts are rarely present, and are not distracting when they do appear. This is about as good as the series will look unless you are watching reruns on Universal HD or when the eventual Blu-ray version is released.

    Audio: 3.5 out of 5
    For a cable series, the sound design, in Dolby Digital 5.1 and encoded at 448 kbps, is rather impressive. Dialogue is clear and intelligible, emanating mostly from the center channel. Music is mostly stereo, with some bleed to the surrounds. Discrete sound effects are used, but mostly during action sequences. The soundtrack is active, but only when it needs to be.

    Special Features: 4 out of 5
    Stargate: Atlantis follows the same Special Features formula that was set starting with Season 6 of Stargate: SG-1. That formula consists of an audio commentary for most, if not all, episodes for that season, plus two featurettes per disc, one focusing on behind the scenes of an episode with the director, and the other a character, actor, or department spotlight. The commentaries on this set have improved over many of the earlier ones heard on SG-1, as both series share many of the same directing, producing, and writing staff. Photo galleries are also included on each disc.

    Disc One
    Commentary on all 4 episodes
    A New Leader: Amanda Tapping Joins Atlantis featurette
    Mission Directive: Doppleganger featurette
    Still Photo and Production Design Galleries

    Disc Two

    Commentary on all 4 episodes
    The Doctor Is In: The Return of Paul McGillion featurette
    Bloopers
    Still Photo and Production Design Galleries

    Disc Three
    Commentary on all 4 episodes
    Mission Directive: This Mortal Coil featurette
    Still Photo and Production Design Galleries

    Disc Four
    Commentary on all 4 episodes
    Mission Directive: Quarantine featurette
    Mission Directive: Outcast featurette
    The Making of Trio featurette
    Still Photo and Production Design Galleries

    Disc Five
    Commentary on The Kindred, The Kindred, Part II, and The Last Man.
    A Look Back On Season 4 featurette
    Deleted Scenes
    Still Photo and Production Design Galleries

    Overall: out of 5 (not an average)
    Fans of the series will definitley find this a must-have set, and this season continued and improved upon what made the previous season as good as it was. With a video and audio presentation that widely surpassed that of its standard definiton broadcasts on the Sci-Fi Channel, plus an impressive set of special features, make this an above average season set of a television series on DVD.


    This DVD was reviewed on the following home theater gear:
    Toshiba 56HM66 DLP HDTV
    Sony Playstation 3
    Yamaha HTR-5940 Home Theater Receiver (in 5.1 configuration)
    Yamaha NS-AP2600 Home Cinema Speaker Package
    Yamaha YST-SW010 subwoofer
     

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