Blu-ray Review Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Series Blu-ray

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Todd Erwin, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Stargate Atlantis: The Complete Series


    Studio: MGM / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

    US Blu-ray Release Date: July 26, 2011

    Rated: TV-14

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Video: 1080p AVC

    Audio: DTS-HD MA 5.1 (English)

    Subtitles: English (SDH)


    Movie: 4 out of 5

    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 awakens a race of vampire-like beings known as the Wraith. The series stars Joe Flanigan as Lt. Colonel John Sheppard, Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Rachel Luttrell as Teyla, Jason Momoa as Ronon Dex, and David Hewlett as Dr. Rodney McKay.


    Season one opens as Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks) uncovers the gate address to the Lost City of Atlantis at the Antarctic base, and Dr. Weir assembles a team to explore the city in what is assumed to be a one-way trip. Upon arrival, they awaken the Wraith during a rescue mission, and explore other worlds within the Pegasus galaxy. As with most series, season one is perhaps the weakest, partially due to the fact that it takes time for the writers to get to know the characters and the dynamics of the series. In fact, most of the characters during this first season are never fully developed, and the interactions with other characters often seem forced. In particular, the character of Lt. Aiden Ford, played by Rainbow Sun Francks, often feels like he's just tagging along as a member of Sheppard's exploration team, the proverbial fourth wheel of a tricycle. In true Stargate form, the season ends in a cliffhanger.


    As soon as the cliffhanger is resolved, season two begins to kick the series into gear by developing the characters and their relationships. One of the problems with Season One was the lack of a character on Sheppard's team similar to Teal'c from SG-1. The writers fixed this problem by introducing Ronon Dex (Jason Momoa) in episode three (Runner), a former soldier captured by the Wraith, implanted with a tracking device, and hunted for sport. Ronon added some much needed conflict to Sheppard's team, as well as some additional comic relief with his knowledge and methods of tracking and weaponry. The character of Dr. Beckett (Paul McGillion) is expanded, and his friendship with McKay is also further developed.


    Season three departs somewhat from its standard formula by taking time to develop its main characters and making the enemies less generic by using recurring characters. This season also further develops the theme of creating your own worst enemy in Michael, played by Connor Trinneer (Tripp from Star Trek: Enterprise), a Wraith the Atlantis team experimented on near the end of season two to see if they can be turned back into a human.


    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 Jennifer Keller, the new chief doctor. The writers continue their focus on more character-driven episodes, 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 forest as part of her quest for Queen.


    Season five brings the series to a satisfying conclusion, tying up the story arcs with the Wraith-hybrid Michael and double-crossing Wraith Todd. Jewel Staite joins the cast full-time, as does Robert Picardo, reprising his role as Richard Woolsey, who assumes command of the Atlantis Expedition. The writing in this final season was strong, with many notable episodes:


    Brain Storm - McKay is invited to a science conference by a former classmate, played by Dave Foley, who has a solution to global warming. The episode also features a humorous performance by Bill Nye as himself.


    Vegas – An alternate-universe episode with Sheppard as a Las Vegas homicide detective on the trail of a serial killer, who happens to be a Wraith. The episode is also an homage to the CSI franchise, and is featured in an extended edition, adding approximately three minutes of footage that did not appear in the original broadcast version.


    Enemy At The Gate – The Atlantis team along with the SGC are in a race against time as a Wraith armada makes its way through hyperspace towards Earth. This episode also appears in an extended edition, adding approximately three minutes of footage that did not appear in the original broadcast version.


    Missing from this set are the original broadcast versions of the series' final two episodes, Vegas and Enemy At The Gate, which were included on an exclusive bonus disc on the Complete Series DVD set.


    Episode Listing:


    Season One, Disc One:

    Rising, Parts 1 & 2

    Hide And Seek

    Thirty-Eight Minutes

    Suspicion


    Season One, Disc Two:

    Childhood's End

    Poisoning The Well

    Underground

    Home

    The Storm


    Season One, Disc Three:

    The Eye

    The Defiant One

    Hot Zone

    Sanctuary

    Before I Sleep


    Season One, Disc Four:

    The Brotherhood

    Letters Form Pegasus

    The Gift

    The Siege (Part 1)

    The Siege (Part 2)


    Season Two, Disc One:

    The Siege (Part 3)

    The Intruder

    Runner

    Duet

    Condemned


    Season Two, Disc Two:

    Trinity

    Instinct

    Conversion

    Aurora

    The Lost Boys


    Season Two, Disc Three:

    The Hive

    Epiphany

    Critical Mass

    Grace Under Pressure

    The Tower


    Season Two, Disc Four:

    The Long Goodbye

    Coup D'etat

    Michael

    Inferno

    Allies


    Season Three, Disc One:

    No Man's Land

    Misbegotten

    Irresistible

    Sateda

    Progeny


    Season Three, Disc Two:

    The Real World

    Common Ground

    McKay & Mrs. Miller

    Phantoms

    The Return (Part 1)


    Season Three, Disc Three:

    The Return (Part 2)

    Echoes

    Irresponsible

    Tao Of Rodney

    The Game


    Season Three, Disc Four:

    The Ark

    Sunday

    Submersion

    Vengeance

    First Strike


    Season Four, Disc One:

    Adrift

    Lifeline

    Reunion

    Doppelganger

    Travelers


    Season Four, Disc Two:

    Tabula Rasa

    Missing

    The Seer

    Miller's Crossing

    This Mortal Coil


    Season Four, Disc Three:

    Be All My Sins Remember'd

    Spoils Of War

    Quarantine

    Harmony

    Outcast


    Season Four, Disc Four:

    Trio

    Midway

    The Kindred (Part 1)

    The Kindred (Part 2)

    The Last Man


    Season Five, Disc One:

    Search And Rescue

    The Seed

    Broken Ties

    The Daedalus Variations

    Ghost In The Machine


    Season Five, Disc Two:

    The Shrine

    Whispers

    The Queen

    Tracker

    First Contact


    Season Five, Disc Three:

    The Lost Tribe

    Outsiders

    Inquisition

    The Prodigal

    Remnants


    Season Five, Disc Four:

    Brain Storm

    Infection

    Identity

    Vegas

    Enemy At The Gate



    Video: 4 out of 5

    Arriving nearly two years after testing the waters with a single-disc Fans' Choice release of four episodes, this Complete Series set on Blu-ray contains all 100 episodes, spread out over 20 discs (4 discs per season) and encoded in 1080p using the AVC codec.


    The series was filmed, for the most part, with Panavision Genesis HD cameras (with some occasional use of 16mm and 35mm) in Vancouver, Canada, which provides a nice, film-like look to the show. Overall, colors are not over-saturated, with good blacks. Compression artifacts are virtually non-existent. Detail is very good to exceptional, improving with each season. The season five episode, Vegas, really pops with its amped color palette and contrast levels. Comparing this episode with the DVD release is almost night and day.


    Audio: 4 out of 5

    For a cable series, the sound design, in lossless DTS-HD Master Audio, is very 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, providing a nice, full soundstage that envelopes the room. This is a definite improvement over the DVD's 448 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack.


    Special Features: 3.5 out of 5

    I am happy to report that the packaging for the Blu-ray release is a marked improvement over the DVD set debacle. All five seasons are housed in three sturdy Blu-ray keepcases, combining seasons one and two in an 8-disc case, seasons three and four in an 8-disc case, and season five in a 4-disc case, with a paperboard sleeve holding all three cases together. Personally, I would have preferred each season in its own keepcase, but this is an acceptable alternative.


    Although a sticker on the shrinkwrap states that all of the special features are included on this set, missing are the two reflective and retrospective featurettes in addition to the original broadcast versions of the series' final two episodes that were included on an exclusive bonus disc on the Complete Series DVD set, Mission 100: Atlantis Reaches a Milestone and Stargate Atlantis: A Retrospective. Also missing are the various Photo Galleries from the individual season DVD sets and the featurette The Doctor Is In: The Return of Paul McGillion from season four.


    All bonus features are in standard definition.


    Season One, Disc One:

    Audio Commentary for Rising (Parts 1 & 2) with Director Martin Wood and Acor Joe Flanigan


    Audio Commentary for Hide and Seek with Actors Rachel Luttrell, Torri Higginson, and Paul McGillion


    Audio Commentary for Thirty Eight Minutes with Actors Racel Lutrell and Paul McGillion


    Stargate Atlantis Set Tour with Martin Wood and Peter DeLuise


    Season One, Disc Two:

    Audio Commentary for Childhood's End with Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Lutttrell and Rainbow Sun Francks


    Audio Commentary for The Storm with Director Martin Wood, Witer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Wraithal Discrimination: It's Not Easy Being Green


    Diary of Rainbow Sun Francks


    Season One, Disc Three:

    Audio Commentary for The Eye with Director Martin Wood, Witer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for The Defiant One with Director Peter DeLuise and Stunt Coordinator Dan Shea


    Audio Commentary for Hot Zone with Writer Martin Gero and Actors Rachel Luttrell, Rainbow Sun Francks, and Paul McGillion


    Audio Commentary for Sanctuary with Actors Rachel Luttrell and Torri Higginson


    Mission Directive: Sanctuary


    Mission Directive: Before I Sleep


    Mission Directive: The Storm/The Eye


    Season One, Disc Four:

    Audio Commentary for The Brotherhood with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for The Gift with Director Peter DeLuise and Stargate SG-1 Cast Member Gary Jones


    Audio Commentary for The Siege (Part 1) with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for The Siege (Part 2) with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actors David Hewlett and Joe Flanigan


    Mission Directive: The Siege


    A Look Back On Season One With Martin Gero


    Season Two, Disc One:

    Audio Commentary for The Siege (Part 3) with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actors David Hewlett and Joe Flanigan


    Audio Commentary for The Intruder with Director Peter DeLuise and Stargate SG-1 Cast Member Gary Jones


    Audio Commentary for Runner with Director Martin Wood and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for Duet with Director Peter DeLuise, Writer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for Condemned with Director Peter DeLuise and Stargate SG-1 Cast Member Gary Jones


    Mission Directive: The Siege (Part 3)


    Mission Directive: The Intruder


    Season Two, Disc Two:

    Audio Commentary for Trinity with Director Martin Wood and Writer Damian Kindler


    Audio Commentary for Instinct with Director Andy Mikita and Producer Paul Mullie


    Audio Commentary for Conversion with Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for Aurora by Director Martin Wood and Co-Producer Peter DeLuise


    Audio Commentary for The Lost Boys with Writer Martin Gero and Actors Joe Flanigan and David Hewlett


    Mission Directive: Instinct


    Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex


    Season Two, Disc Three:

    Audio Commentary for The Hive with Director Martin Wood


    Audio Commentary for Epiphany with Director Neil Fearnley


    Audio Commentary for Critical Mass with Director Andy Mikita, Actor Rachel Luttrell, and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer


    Audio Commentary for Grace Under Pressure with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actors Amanda Tapping and David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for The Tower with Producer Paul Mullie and Director Andy Mikita


    Profile On: David Hewlett


    Stargate Atlantis: Stunts


    Season Two, Disc Four:

    Audio Commentary for The Long Goodbye with Director Andy Mikita, Actor Torri Higginson, and Director of Photography Brenton Spencer


    Audio Commentary for Coup D'Etat with Director Martin Wood, Writer Martin Gero, and Actor David Hewlett


    Audio Commentary for Michael with Director Martin Wood and Supervising Producer/Director Peter DeLuise


     
  2. Arnie G

    Arnie G Supporting Actor

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    awesome review. thanks!
     
  3. Rl3058

    Rl3058 Extra

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    Here is something for everyone who owns this set to check out. I recently watched the episode "Vegas" which is on Disc 4 of Season 5, and at about 8.55 into the episode the picture breaks up into square pixels.
     
  4. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Cinematographer
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    Sounds like you have a defective disc. I found no such issue on my copy.
     

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