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Season 5 – the best yet for Atlantis? August 23, 2008

Posted by ce9999 in Stargate: Atlantis.
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Based on the six episodes I’ve seen so far this season, I’d answer that question with a definite “yes.” Just a little while ago I finished watching this week’s story, “The Shrine.” As I was watching, it occurred to me that a lot of the criticisms I levelled at the show just a few weeks ago are being addressed fairly well by the six episodes so far.

Notice Sheppard in this episode, in particular. There’s a scene with him and McKay, the two of them just hanging out and having a beer while they wrestle with the painful fact that McKay’s brain is gradually being squeezed to death by an alien parasite. McKay, wracked with fear and embarrassment over his continually worsening condition, suggests that this meeting be their last, so that Sheppard can remember him as he really is. But Sheppard will have none of that, doggedly insisting that he’s going to be there for his friend until the bitter end. Why? Because that’s just the kind of guy that Sheppard is. And HEY! All of a sudden, in my mind, Sheppard wasn’t two-dimensional anymore. Not only that, he’s the kind of friend anyone would really want to have. Wow! I am loving this!

I wonder why they couldn’t have hit this point home back in season one?

Remember Firefly? That show makes an interesting contrast to Atlantis, when talking about issues like this. It managed to accomplish more with character and relationship in its mere 14 episodes than Atlantis did in its first four seasons. There were nine primary characters on Firefly, all with their own agendas, many of them in direct opposition to each other. Forming them into a cohesive ensemble cast would seem like a virtually impossible task, much less doing so in only a handfull of episodes. And yet, that’s exactly what Joss Whedon and his writing team managed to pull off.

I still remember marvelling at it, the first time I ever watched the series. In one particular episode (unfortunately, I can’t remember which episode), there is a moment of obvious resolution, when the last of the big initial issues between the nine characters is finally resolved. It felt at that point as if they were no longer nine disparate people, but almost a family. It also felt right, not artificial or as if it were being forced on the viewer by arbitrary writer fiat.

That’s some pretty good writing, and the way character based stuff ought to be done. It’s also similar to the way things felt on Atlantis this week, except on Atlantis it’s taken so very long to get to this point, and the journey has been as much one of trial and error as being intentionally planned.

And, of course, it’s happening just in time for the show to be cancelled, hallelujah!!!! :(

Comments»

1. Maggie Osterberg - August 26, 2008

This reminds me of college- I graduated shortly after I figured out how to really study!


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