STARGATE ATLANTIS: COMPLETE SERIES GIFT SET BLU-RAY
Stargate Atlantis: Complete Series Gift Set Blu-ray
Flanigan, Rachel Luttrell, David Hewlett, Jason Momoa, Torri Higginson
Directors: Andy Mikita, Brad Turner, Brenton Spencer, David Warry-Smith,
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Subtitled,
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 20
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
DVD Release Date: July 26, 2011
Atlantis faced the same daunting challenge that all spin-off series do:
capture the spirit of the original series while still establishing its own
identity. Though imperfect at times, it sets about its task with enthusiasm
and pluck, and modestly succeeds at carving a place for itself in the
Stargate sun. The new Blu-ray
edition is an ideal way to enjoy it as a fan, though newcomers may find the
set a little overwhelming.
The plot itself actually does much better than the last few seasons of
SG-1 at enhancing and expanding the
Stargate universe. It focuses on the titular lost city: an outpost of
the mysterious “Ancients” that has been left abandoned for countless
thousands of years. A Stargate team is sent to explore it, but find
themselves cut off from Earth with a dangerous new enemy to confront. For
three seasons, the show followed this pattern, and it marked the strongest
period in the show’s history.
Seasons Four and Five represented a departure, with new
team leaders added and the formerly stationary city flying towards the
heavens. It smacked of excessive gimmickry – despite the welcome presence of
Amanda Tapping and Robert Picardo as series leads – and prevented the show
from settling on a regular tone. That may have ultimately doomed it, though
it taught some important lessons that
Stargate Universe capitalized on.
Even amid the worst of it, however, it wasn’t bad. The
cast possessed an easy chemistry and had a wonderful time with the material,
which featured the usual array of imminent threats, death-defying escapes
and insurmountable problems dispatched with the timely use of technobabble.
The best episodes found new ways to deviate from formula and develop cool
ideas like the villainous Wraith. The less-than-great episodes felt too much
like SG-1 leftovers, or worse: half-hearted cribs from
Star Trek. But good or
bad, they all contain copious amounts of swashbuckling action, and do their
all to keep us entertained.
In totem, there are exactly 100 episodes in the Blu-ray
collection, a daunting amount to pin down as far as quality goes. The
Stargate franchise never endeavored to the kind of greatness exemplified
by Farscape or
Babylon 5, content instead for mere
reliability. Atlantis suffered more under that weight than SG-1
did, as a more brazen money-making endeavor than its predecessor. It was
never brilliant, but it was often decent and occasionally pretty darn good.
And with the number of sweeping arcs it undertook, purchasing it piecemeal
really doesn’t make much sense. Those who go in for it go all in, in which
case the new Blu-ray set is the perfect means of enjoying it.
THE DISCS: It’s a big-ass set and it shows. Twenty
discs are divided among three cases, all kept in a good-looking box. Each
Blu-ray disc has at least one behind-the-scenes featurette and a handful of
audio commentaries for the episodes. Many discs offer expanded episodes and
some feature deleted scenes as well. The box advertises “over 50 hours of
special features,” which is a little deceptive (audio commentaries hardly
count) but it’s a lot to take in regardless.
The set really shines in audio and video quality:
absolutely sterling in every episode. The 1080p resolution works
exceptionally well with the show’s color palette and the sound is crisp and
clear. Stargate Atlantis
suffers a bit in the clarity of the effects, which were designed before HD
resolution and thus look a little fuzzy sometimes (one of the reasons why
you haven’t seen shows like Next
Generation on Blu-ray yet). But those quips aside, this is a damn good
WORTH IT? It’s an expensive set, but the additional
cost definitely shows. Break it down and you’re looking at about $2 per
episode . . . a good bargain all things considered.
RECOMMENDATION: At a whopping $200 American, it’s a
lot to ask for non-fans to pony up. If you’re new to Atlantis and want to
sample it, you’d be better off with the “Fans Choice” sampler Blu-ray
available for a much more reasonable price. Stargate lovers looking
for something definitive to put on their shelf, however, will find very
little to complain about here.
- Rob Vaux