|Studio: MGM / 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment Year: 2006-2007 Rated: Not Rated Film Length: 871 minutes Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French) Subtitles: English (SDH), French, Spanish|
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 Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Rachel Luttrell as Teyla, Jason Momoa as Ronon Dex, and David Hewlett as Dr. Rodney McKay. Movie: 4 out of 5 Season three begins right where season two's cliffhanger left off, concluding the space battle with the Wraith. After resolving the cliffhanger, the series 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. The third 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: No Man's Land Misbegotten Irresistible Sateda Disc Two: Progeny The Real World Common Ground McKay & Mrs. Miller Disc Three Phantoms The Return, Part 1 The Return, Part 2 Echoes Disc Four Irresponsible Tao of Rodney The Game The Ark Disc Five Sunday Submersion Vengeance First Strike 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 deep 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 Inside the Stargate: Atlantis Visual FX Department featurette Mission Directive: SATEDA> featurette Still Photo and Production Design Galleries Disc Two Commentary on PROGENY, COMMON GROUND and McKAY & MRS. MILLER Profile on: Rachel Lutrell featurette Mission Directive: PROGENY featurette Still Photo and Production Design Galleries Disc Three Commentary on all 4 episodes General O'Neill Goes to Atlantis featurette Mission Directive: PHANTOMS featurette Still Photo and Production Design Galleries Disc Four Commentary on all 4 episodes Masters of the Alien featurette Mission Directive: THE GAME featurette Still Photo and Production Design Galleries Disc Five Commentary on all 4 episodes Stargate Atlantis: A Look Back On Season 3 featurette Mission Directive: FIRST STRIKE featurette Still Photo and Production Design Galleries Overall: 4 out of 5 (not an average) Fans of the series will definitely find this a must-have set, and this is the season that showed what potential the series would later have. With a video and audio presentation that widely surpassed that of its standard definition 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.