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Stargate Atlantis



Stargate Atlantis (often abbreviated SGA) is a Canadian-American adventure and military science fiction television series and part of MGM's Stargate franchise. The show was created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper as a spin-off series of Stargate SG-1, which was created by Wright and Jonathan Glassner and was itself based on the feature film Stargate (1994). All five seasons of Stargate Atlantis were broadcast by The Sci-Fi Channel in the United States and The Movie Network in Canada. The show premiered on July 16, 2004; its final episode aired on January 9, 2009. The series was filmed in and around
 Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:




The story of Stargate Atlantis follows the events of Stargate SG-1's seventh season finale episode "Lost City" and eighth season premiere episode "New Order", in which the cast of that series discovered an Antarctic outpost created by the alien race known as the Ancients. In the pilot episode "Rising", Stargate Command sends an international team to investigate the outpost, where Dr. Daniel Jackson discovers the location of Atlantis, the legendary city created by the Ancients, and Colonel Jack O'Neill visits the outpost after having been put in stasis and retrieved from it
The series was a ratings success for the Sci Fi Channel, and was particularly popular in Europe and Australia. Although it received little critical response, Stargate Atlantis was honored with numerous awards and award nominations in its five-season run. After Stargate Atlantis was cancelled, the show's co-creators began working on the already-conceptualized Stargate Universe which the network had approved to have a bigger budget, be less mythology-dependent, and have more focus on character development; Stargate Universe premiered on October 2nd 2009, and was cancelled after two seasons. Merchandise for Stargate Atlantis includes games and toys, print media, and an original audio series. With the cancellation of Stargate Universe, the intended direct to-DVD Stargate Atlantis movie, titled Stargate: Extinction, was also cancelled.

Stargate Atlantis follows the present-day adventures of Lt. Colonel John Sheppard and his military team from Earth that, along with two dozen other teams, explore distant planets in the Pegasus Galaxy. They use an alien device known as a Stargate that was built millions of years ago by an advanced race of humans known as the Ancients. The expedition is based in the Lost City of Atlantis on the planet "Lantea". The city was built millions of years ago and abandoned 10,000 years ago by the Ancients. Five to ten million years ago, due to a plague in the Milky Way Galaxy, they were forced to flee to the Pegasus Galaxy, and there they seeded life on hundreds of worlds as they had done to Earth in the Milky Way. After encountering a powerful enemy known as the Wraith and going to war with them for one hundred years, the Ancients ultimately lost and were forced to submerge their city beneath Lantea's ocean, which, in the Stargate universe, is the source of the Greek myth of the Lost City of Atlantis.

Stargate: Atlantis episodes feature a self-contained story that also contributes to the larger storyline of the war against the Wraith and the Atlantis residents' search for the means to destroy their enemy. Each season has also featured a two-part episode, and some episodes that, while not technically two-parters, feature direct continuity with the story of the previous episode (for example, season 3 "Progeny" and "The Real World"). Each episode begins with a cold open, sometimes preceded by a recap of events relevant to the upcoming narrative. The opening credits feature an original theme by Joel Goldsmith. Though they were drastically cut at the start of season 2, the full credits were recovered after the mid-season two-parter. They were again cut short in the 5th season.

Season one began airing in the United States on July 16, 2004. The Atlantis expedition, led by Dr. Elizabeth Weir, arrives at Atlantis, the city of the Ancients. The expedition quickly finds itself in a dire situation that forces them to seek new friends, the Athosians, but they also acquire a powerful new enemy: the Wraith. Due to the power requirements for reaching Lantea, they are unable to contact Earth. The expedition must survive in a new galaxy, while deciphering the Ancients' technology in order to find a way to destroy the Wraith and to acquire important new knowledge. Major Sheppard puts together a team consisting of himself, Dr. Rodney McKay, Lt. Ford and the Athosian leader Teyla Emmagan, who serve as Atlantis' first contact team. In one of their first missions, they make another enemy, the Genii, a human militaristic civilization with a 1950s level of technology. After several more revelations about the Wraith are made, the expedition prepares to evacuate. Just before they do, however, a military contingent from Earth arrives to help defend the city against the impending Wraith attack long enough for Earth's latest battleship to arrive. The season ends with a cliffhanger, while the city is still under siege by the Wraith

Season two began airing in the United States on July 15, 2005, and it picked up where Season 1 ended. The Atlantis expedition successfully avoids being culled by the Wraith by making them believe Atlantis had been destroyed, and they recover semi-regular contact with Earth, thanks to the Daedalus and the new Zero Point Module (ZPM) recovered by SG-1. Sheppard is promoted to Lt. Colonel and former Runner Ronon Dex replaces Lt. Ford, who went missing in action (MIA) at the end of the battle with the Wraith. The central plot of the second season is the development of Dr. Beckett's retrovirus, which can, theoretically, turn a Wraith into a human. While an incomplete version makes a young Wraith girl lose all her humanity and almost turns Sheppard into an Iratus bug, a more developed version is tested on a living Wraith, "Michael", with mixed results. Michael's Wraith faction proposes an alliance with Atlantis, but they betray the team. The season closes again with a cliffhanger—the Wraith are heading for the rich feeding grounds of Earth

Season three premiered in the United States on July 14, 2006, picking up where season 2 ended. Having stopped the Wraith from reaching Earth and having failed to develop a working Wraith retrovirus, the expedition faces its third year in the Pegasus galaxy with the Wraith still a threat and a new, powerful enemy bent on destroying the expedition and Atlantis: the Asurans, self-replicating nanobots, also known as Replicators. The situation becomes complicated when an experiment gone awry drains their only ZPM, leaving them without a power source for the city's shields. Soon thereafter, they find a lost Ancient vessel and subsequently lose the city of Atlantis when the crew of the Ancient ship reclaims it. The SGC sends General O'Neill and Richard Woolsey to try to negotiate an agreement between Earth and the Ancients to allow the expedition to return to Atlantis. O'Neill and Woolsey dial Earth and inform them that the Asurans are taking over the city. They kill the Ancient crew who reclaimed the city after 10,000 years. The main members of the Atlantis expedition on Earth disobey their orders and go back to the city, rescue O'Neill and Woolsey, and repel the Asuran invasion. The season finale starts off with Earth launching a first strike against the Asurans, who are building an armada to attack Earth. The Asurans counterattack by attacking Atlantis with a powerful beam weapon fired through a satellite housing a Stargate. As a last resort, the Atlantis team fires up the city's stardrive and escapes into space. The finale ends when the hyperdrive malfunctions, leaving the city flying through uncharted space with a day's worth of energy left in their sole ZPM and Dr. Weir critically injured.

Season four premiered in the USA on September 28, 2007, and in the UK on October 9, 2007. The writers stated that season 4 would take the series in a new direction. As the 4th season begins where season 3 ended, the future seems bleak: Weir is incapacitated and the senior members of the expedition have suffered multiple injuries. With the city damaged, running out of power and drifting in space, cut off from Earth, the Atlantis expedition raids Asuras to obtain a ZPM and is able to travel to a nearby planet. Weir is captured by the Asurans and Colonel Samantha Carter joins as a regular and acts as the expedition leader.She appears in the episode "Lifeline" after helping to find and land Atlantis on its new home planet; she is then ordered back to the SGC. In episode 3, under the IOA's orders, Carter returns to Atlantis as the new leader of the expedition after Atlantis lands. The season focuses on the main antagonists: the Asurans and the Wraith, as well as the pregnancy of Teyla Emmagan. The Asuran base code is reprogrammed by McKay, leading the nanobots to fulfill the purpose for which the Ancients created them: to wipe out the Wraith. Midway through the season, they are seemingly destroyed, and the remaining episodes concentrate mainly on Michael's efforts against both humans and the other Wraith

In the fifth season, Richard Woolsey replaces Carter as the leader of the expedition. Teyla, who was held captive by Michael, gives birth to Torren John and escapes with her team, before they are able to cripple Michael. Eventually, he invades Atlantis with a commandeered Puddle Jumper to take Torren and destroy Atlantis but, thanks to the efforts of Sheppard, Teyla, and McKay, Michael is finally killed. The season also introduces a group of rogue Asgard, who unlike their Ida counterparts, actually experiment on humans to prolong their lives, and steal a device known as "The Attero device" to destroy the Wraith, though the side effect is that any Stargate activated after the device has been turned on will explode. The device is eventually destroyed. With the Attero device, Michael and the Hoffan drug, the Wraith have become weakened, and are no longer the power of the galaxy they once were; the falling gives the humans freedom enough to establish a coalition. McKay falls in love with Keller, who eventually reciprocates his feelings, and they become romantically involved. In the finale, Todd the Wraith alerts Atlantis to the fact that an underling wraith possesses a Hive Ship powered by a ZPM. In the process of trying to retrieve the ZPM and disable the Hive, the Atlantis team is present when the Hive receives a communication sent from an alternate reality giving away Earth's location. The Hive disables both the Daedalus and the Apollo, then heads straight to Earth. Thanks to the efforts of the expedition, the ship is finally destroyed over Earth, and Atlantis lands in the Pacific Ocean near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Late in season seven of SG-1, talks began of a spin-off series and the producers were left with a serious dilemma, since the seventh season of Stargate SG-1 had been planned to lead up to the great discovery of the lost city of the Ancients, Atlantis. The Stargate SG-1 seventh season ended in a two-part episode, "Lost City", which was supposed to be a bridge between Stargate SG-1 and the new spin-off, either a show or a movie, and was not planned to run at the same time as Stargate SG-1. Wright and Cooper rewrote the script as the two-part season seven finale and moved the setting of the story. The city of Atlantis, originally planned to be on Earth under Antarctica in place of the SGC, was moved to the Pegasus Galaxy. This change not only addressed the problem of fans wondering why the SGC would not be coming to the aid of the Atlantis Expedition with each episode, but it also gave the producers a chance to start afresh with new ideas instead of having an identical copy of the original show

Stargate Atlantis was shot at Bridge studios in Vancouver and on location in several places in British Columbia. The Pemberton Glacier doubled for Antarctica during the opening flying sequence in series premiere "Rising". Lynn Valley Canyon was, for example, where the episode "Instinct" was filmed. At the end of the season, filming had become more expensive because of the financial crisis, which again led to the decline of the American dollar and rise of the Canadian dollar. When tasked with moving the Stargate sets from Vancouver to Los Angeles, Robert C. Cooper said he couldn't since all the "infrastructure" was in Vancouver, which would have made the move nearly impossible

Stargate Atlantis features a symphonic orchestra soundtrack composed by Joel Goldsmith. Goldsmith's first task for the series was to compose the main title song, which was nominated in the category Outstanding Main Title Theme Music in the Primetime Emmy Awards in 2005. When composing the music, Goldsmith went for a more pastoral, European and Americana approach, while keeping the adventurous, symphonic approach the producers wanted. Goldsmith's score for season 2 episode "Grace Under Pressure" was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Dramatic Underscore) in 2006.

Stargate Atlantis started as a spin off from the fellow American military science fiction series, Stargate SG-1. The pilot episode of Atlantis first aired on July 16 on American television broadcasting networks. The pilot episode, entitled "Rising" reached a Nielsen rating of 3.2, a height never surpassed by any other Atlantis episodes. "Rising" is also the strongest rated episode and most watched episode ever broadcast by Sci Fi Channel, gathering over 4 million viewers in the United States according to Variety Magazine (2004). In the United Kingdom, it was viewed by 1.28 million people, placing it first in the most viewed shows in Sky One for the week. "Rising" was nominated for several awards. The follow-up episode to "Rising", earned a Nielsen Rating of 2.5, a drastic decline from the debut episode. The average viewership of Atlantis first ten episode in the United States were around 3 million according to ABC TV Group analysis, there after the viewship declined until the second half of the last season, at this time the average viewer rating was around 2.1 million

Each season of Stargate Atlantis featured 20 episodes, and in the United States they are broadcast in two series of 10 episodes. The first 10 episodes air from mid-July to September in the United States, ending in the cliffhanger of a two-parter episode. The second half airs first in Canada, from November to January, ending also with a cliffhanger. In the United States, the second half aired from January to March during seasons 1 and 2, but season 3 aired from April to June 2007. Because of the offset, the show has often been bootlegged by American viewers.


Season four chalked up a viewer average of 1.8 million in the United States, beating the average Sci Fi Channel show. The final episode, "Enemy at the Gate" got a Nielsen Rating of 1.5, which was also the highest rating in season 5."Enemy at the Gate" was viewed by 2.02 million people in the US, including 973,000 in the 18 to 49 demographic, and 1.12 million age 25 to 54. In the UK, the finale was viewed by 633,000, placing Stargate Atlantis third in the top ten for Sky 1 in that week, behind The Simpsons and season seven premiere of 24
After the announcement on August 20, 2008, that Season 5 of Atlantis would be its last, it was announced the following day (August 21, 2008) that the series would be continued with at least one 2-hour direct-to-DVD movie. More movies were expected to follow in the Atlantis series if the first movie was to be successful. Executive producer Joseph Mallozzi has said that the rise of the Canadian dollar and the decline of the American dollar has made life harder for Canadian television since it has become more expensive. He further stated "Both MGM and Sci Fi have been great supporters of the show and, if you go by SG-1's example, fans can be assured that the end of the series will not be the end of Atlantis

Mallozzi called the Atlantis film Project Twilight until the title of the first Atlantis film was revealed as Stargate: Extinction in late May 2009.Andy Mikita was going to direct the first Atlantis film. The tentative shoot-date of the movie was bound for late 2009 (a date now passed), though there are as yet no details on the release date. As of May 2009, the confirmed actors were to be Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter, David Hewlett as Rodney McKay, Joe Flanigan as John Sheppard, Paul McGillion as Carson Beckett, Rachel Luttrell as Teyla Emmagan, Jason Momoa as Ronon Dex, Robert Picardo as Richard Woolsey and Christopher Heyerdahl as Todd the Wraith.

The script for Stargate: Extinction had been written and was ready to go into production, according to Joseph Mallozzi, "it involved a return mission to Pegasus, the tragic end of one relationship, the beginning of another, and a surprising progression in the alliance between one man and one wraith." The project however was on hold due to financial troubles at MGM and in the wider economy. In the meantime, an episode of Stargate Universe featuring Atlantis character Rodney McKay was filmed.

On April 17, 2011, Stargate writer and executive producer Brad Wright confirmed that the proposed Stargate Atlantis movie has been indefinitely shelved

The show has been nominated 62 times and won 19 awards, less than the sister show, Stargate SG-1, which was nominated over 120 times and won over twenty of these awards. Atlantis season one was nominated for two Emmy Awards in 2005 in the following categories, Outstanding Main Title Theme Music and Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series. Atlantis would receive two other Emmy nominations in 2006 and 2008 respectively. Television director, David Winning was awarded an Chicago International Film Festival award in 2005 in the category Outstanding Achievement in a Television Drama Direction for "Childhood's End". WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival and New York Film Festival also awarded Winning for his work in "Childhood's End." Atlantis was nominated twenty-seven times for a Leo Award and won only once in the category Best Visual Effects in a Dramatic Series in "The Eye" in 2005. The series won nine Leo Awards in 2009


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