Whew!  Done!  For now anyway.  Today, Paul and I delivered the first draft of our SF miniseries.  The robust 204 page script is now with the studio – and, more importantly, in the hands of director Steve Barron who will be working his magic sometime in July.  Despite its four hour event status, it moves along at a mighty brisk pace.  Edge-of-your-seat stuff.  Will hopefully be able to tell you more about it in the coming weeks.

So, where we?  Ah, yes.  Continuing our stroll down SGA memory lane…

In the two part series premiere, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper deliver an opener that captures the spirit of the original series, SG-1, while simultaneously breaking new ground.  In those two hours, a new world and new characters are established, setting the foundation of a show that would run five glorious years before it’s far-too-soon conclusion.

June 7, 2012: Day Of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I And Ii

RISING I (101)

Do you remember the first time you met your significant other?  What they were wearing?  The conversation you had?  The thoughts running through your head at the time?  Hardly?  That’s okay.  People rarely do.  However, I’m willing to bet that fans of Stargate: Atlantis remember that first hour: the introduction of the Atlantis expedition, the wondrous step through the gate to the city of the Ancients, that first meeting with the Athosians and the subsequent encounter with the wraith.  Yeah, I figured.

Actors Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks guest star, helping to pass the torch – although it’d be two terrific years before they’d actually let go of it.  If there was any candidate better suited than Daniel Jackson to join Dr. Weir’s hand-picked team through the gate, I can’t think of one but, of course, we Jack needed him on SG-1.  Or, depending what fandom camp you’re in, he simply couldn’t bear the thought of Daniel being so far away.

The part of Lieutenant Ford was played by former VJ Rainbow Sun Francks.  He won the role on the strength of a great audition, preceded by an equally great audition with a funny hat.  Here’s some advice for all you aspiring actors.  When it comes time to audition, know your lines, keep your hand movements to a minimum, and don’t wear a silly hat because, no matter how good you are, when other people screen your audition, all they’ll notice will be that damn hat.  Fortunately for Rainbow, we were the first ones to see the audition, recognized the talent – and also the probability that, somewhere down the lines, somebody would dismiss him  on account of his headgear – and had him re-read WITHOUT the hat.  He did – and got the part.

One of my favorite moments in Rising I comes when the Atlantis expedition steps through the gate into the City of the Ancients which has stood abandoned for millions of years – yet has an albeit dead potted plant sitting at the foot of the steps leading to the gate room.

The Atlantis gate was, theoretically anyway, an improvement on the Earth gate.  Like I said, theoretically.  While the force shield certainly trumped the Cheyenne Mountain iris, the look of the new gate always struck me as a little glitzy Vegas in comparison to the cooler, staid gate at Stargate Command.  I mean, just compare them…

June 7, 2012: Day Of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I And Ii
The SG-1 gate
June 7, 2012: Day Of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I And Ii
And the Atlantis gate.

See what I mean?  It’s a little…oh, that’s not right.  Hang on a sec.

June 7, 2012: Day Of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I And Ii
Ah. Better.

The Atlantis gate also had the disadvantage of not actually being a working gate.  Before you conspiracy theorists race off to your respective forums to reprint my words as confirmation that the Stargate program does, in fact, exist (and, for the record, I neither confirm or deny its existence), by “operational”, I mean the ability to actually spin.  The gate at the SGC actually spun.  The Atlantis gate’s spin was all CG.

When the team first meets the Athosians, Teyla is introduced as “daughter of Turghan”.  But, later in the series, she names her first born Torren after her father.  So, what’s the deal?  Well, the fact that Teyla is leader of her people could suggest that the Athosians are a matriarchal society and that Turghan is, in fact, her mother’s name.  A lovely name for a young woman.

Also, gate travel implants travelers with translator nanites.  That’s why most everyone seems to speak English.

Eagle-eyed viewers will note that Elizabeth Weir’s boyfriend, Simon (Gavin Sanford), bears a striking resemblance to the late, to the late Tollan Narim, last seen getting blown up in SG-1’s fifth season episode Between Two Fires.  Teyla’s fellow Athosian, Halling (Christopher Heyerdahl), looks a lot like Pallan, that guy who lost his wife and got his mind wiped in SG-1’s seventh season episode Revisions, but looks nothing like the wraith, Todd, who would go on to play such a key role later in the series.

 June 7, 2012: Day Of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I And Ii

 RISING II (102)

Part 1 is the wind up and the pitch while Part 2 is the base-clearing grand slam that hits it out of the park.  The sequence of the city of Atlantis rising from ocean’s depths is one of the most stirring moments in all of Stargate.  Hmmm.  That sounds like a great idea for a future post: Top 10 Moments in Stargate History.  Well, in my books, Atlantis’s resurfacing would rank right up there.

Ah, the puddle jumpers.  Brad had been pitching the idea of these compact hips capable of gate-travel as far back as SG-1’s seventh season.  And the new show was the perfect opportunity to introduce them.  As much as I thought the SG-1 gate superior to its Atlantis counterpart, SGA jumpers beat the hell out of both the F-302’s  and those clunky cargo ships.

Ah, Jinto.  We hardly knew you.  As often happens in television, certain characters pop and are developed (ie. Where’d that Zelenka guy come from?) while others eventually fade into obscurity.  The character of Jinto has the distinction of falling into the latter category for no other reason than: 1. He was a kid and 2. He was Athosian.  While interesting, Teyla’s people became a less important part of the narrative as the series developed and so, they eventually left Atlantis to make their homes on the mainland and, later, off-world.  As for Jinto, not much is known about following the events of those early episodes. I like to think that he became a productive member of Athosian society, settling down with his long-time sweetheart and eventually fathering two boys, Torren (named after Teyla’s fathter) and Toran (named after the Athosian who the wraith queen feasts upon in this episode). Alternately, I like to imagine he spent his years deep in the bowels of Atlantis, playing an protracted game of Hide and Seek following the episode of the same name, convinced he had the best hiding place ever – until his skeletal remains were discovered by an exploratory crew sometime in season four.

Speaking of evolving elements, two particular wraith attributes are in full display in this episode but appear to fade as the series progresses. 1. When our heroes are being harassed by wraith darts, they begin to glimpse ghostly images.  We learn that these images are hallucinations being created by the wraith to confuse them.  They’re, it turns out, a weaker manifestation of the queen’s mind controlling abilities.  The reason we eventually lost this ability was because it was, essentially, a mind trick – and once it stood revealed as such, there wasn’t much traction to be gained by going back to it either for the wraith (as an effective tool to be used against us) or the writers (as a dramatic element).  2. The wraith are damn hard to kill!  It takes multiple rounds to put them down for the count.  And yet, in subsequent episodes, a couple of shots will do the trick.  What gives?  The answer: switching to more devastating armor-piercing rounds.

37 thoughts on “June 7, 2012: Day of Stargate Past – Atlantis, Rising I and II

  1. Didn’t get to say it yesterday, but will say it now. Looking very much forward to all of your recollections of Atlantis

    Have a great night!!!

    Lisa R

  2. SG1 & SGA left a void in myTV viewing. Nothing has come close to replacing them. It’s to bad that SGU ever got off ground. They needed to leave the other two in place instead . Bad move droppingSG1 & SGA. I re-watch them on Netflex now plus own all episodes.

  3. Interesting perspectives on the serie’s opening episodes for sure. Question though: Wasn’t Atlantis only abandoned for 10,000 years before the SG expedition got there, not millions? I thought that’s when they were losing the Wraith war and evacuated to Earth.

    Anyway. You know who reminds me of Jinto? Carl, from The Walking Dead. Argh.

    I agree that the rising of Atlantis is one of the finest moments in Stargate, and what I really like about the sequence is that it was not rushed at all. The music, the pacing, the effects – everything was great!

  4. Recollections and recaps and reminders to actually go buy the DVDs. I’ve only got 2 seasons of SGA and none of SG1. Gotta go find ’em.

  5. @Joe:

    Also, gate travel implants travelers with translator nanites. That’s why most everyone seems to speak English.

    Was this something that was expressed informally among the writers? I don’t remember seeing it in any of the episodes, but I did read it in one of the SG-1 novels…sorry I can’t remember which one though. I was just curious when this was developed as an explanation for all the English speaking aliens.

  6. “I said don’t touch anything.”
    “I just sat down.”

    Rising 1 was pretty funny. Love all the humor. Any particular writer in the bunch funnier than the others?

    Rising 2 was pretty intense, especially when the wraith were demonstrating their feeding technique. I was thinking this could really scare a little kid, or me. 🙂

    Teyla just got prettier and prettier as the series went on.

    Love Dr. Beckett’s accent. His last meal on earth was . . . meatloaf? Not sure what I would eat.

    I’m sure it is common knowledge, but how did Rainbow Sun Francks get his name? Hippies for parents?

    Was there anybody inside driving that MALPS? (or however you spell it) Or was it mechanical and remotely controlled?

    Love the khaki pants and the beautiful dusty blue outfits,…excuse me,… uniforms. Didn’t I once see Carl wearing one of those shirts.

    When they were all going through the gate into Atlantis, what made up the noise that the gate made? It sounded like water and sounds from a mall with lots of people talking. How did you get that sound effect?

    Joe thank you so much for doing this!

  7. ‘Also, gate travel implants travelers with translator nanites. That’s why most everyone seems to speak English.’

    Wouldn’t it be easier just to say English is the universal language of The Milky Way galaxy? the Goa’uld, Tokra, Asgard all have scenes where they’re speaking in their native tongue, and at the same time have scenes where they are speaking english. Makes sense to go this route.

    Asgard likely would have the technology to study various languages, Goa’uld/Tokra(Well Tok’ra don’t do that but you know..) could of gained the knowledge of our language from enslaving humans.

    Just one problem the ‘nanite’ theory presents is, there’s quite a few scenes especially in SG1 where the team/specific characters have no idea what the heck is being said to them.

    Mostly Asgard/Goa’uld stuff.. Could name a few episodes.

  8. LOL at the typo: “Brad had been pitching the idea of these compact hips capable of gate-travel as far back as SG-1′s seventh season”

    Now were those hips Elizabeth’s, Teyla’s or Sheppard’s?

    I think the Atlantis gate is one of the most beautiful “props” ever to appear on a sci-fi show, the photo of it lit up with the glass windows behind it is stunning.

  9. @ gforce – I believe you are right. Ten thousand years, a point that was driven home when Todd revealed he was alive back during the war with the Ancients. Joey was probably drunk when he typed up this entry. 😉

    @ JeffW – The language thing always bothered me, especially when it came to the Wraith. For as much as I love Steve’s ‘I am your death’ speech, I would have preferred there to be a language barrier between the Wraith and the humans, at least for the first couple of seasons. I think it would have added to the tension if the Wraith were less chatty in English. I did, however, appreciate a little glimpse into the Wraith linguistic learning curve when a few years later Todd learned the word ‘bugs’. That put a smile on my face. 🙂

    RE: The RisingI loved this introduction to the show, the characters, and especially the Wraith. Loved the moment we first see the Wraith male walking down the corridor of the hive ship – a truly spine-tingling moment! I only wish the latter had kept their initial mystique – and menace – throughout the series. The Wraith were wussified too quickly, a complaint I’ve heard from both Wraith fans and non-Wraith fans alike. Of course, something good did come of it, for had the Wraith not turned into a buncha little girls there would have been no need for Todd to come looking for help from the Atlanteans. Still, towards the end killing Wraith was easier than shooting fish in a barrel. (I eventually came to the conclusion that it was because the writers probably hated the long-haired greaser/goth/emo/rocker types back in high school, and this was their way of showing it. 😉 )

    And I wish Francks could have stayed with the show. I loved his character, and as far as the ‘human’ characters went, he was my favorite in the beginning. I know standard show ‘politics’ were probably involved in his leaving (ya know, anything from contract disputes to personality clashes), but I missed the youthful enthusiasm Ford brought to the series.

    Okay, Mr. Das is chatting away at me and I can’t concentrate anymore, so gonna stop here for now.


  10. @ Bailey – Great catch! And to answer your question – Sheppard’s, naturally. Just ask Todd. 😉


  11. Congrats on turning in your miniseries script to the studio!

    Also, I agree with Bailey. The Atlantis gate was beautiful. SG-1 gate was plain jane. No contest there.

  12. Oh and one more thing. I will always remember and have that image in my head of Ford tossing himself through the gate backwards with that smile on his face. That’s classic stuff.

  13. I am reading every word with great anticipation, just like it was Christmas! I love SGA so much, every episode, some more than others of course. I loved all the characters and it felt like my loved one died when Beckett was killed. That is some mighty fine writing and producing to evoke such a strong loyalty out of me. I am a very fickle tv watcher. If i don’t like it, I change the channel. If I love it, I watch it again, and again, and again. then buy the dvd and watch it again and again….well you get the idea. While Shanks is my #1 fav, Hewlett, McGillion and and Jason tied for #2. got to have that eye candy. LOL

  14. The City of Atlantis rising out of the water was a great way to start out the new series and was truly majestic especially in HD 🙂

  15. Darn I was hoping that code would make a heart.
    Let me try again.

    Atlantis rising. <3

  16. Rising (1 & 2) was such an awesome series opener! 🙂 Probably one of the best at the time. My favorite moment will always be when Atlantis rises from the the ocean. The CG on that thing was just spectacular! 😀 It still…to this day…has that ‘wow’ factor everytime I watch it. Plus…it was a lot of fun…getting to know all the characters. I liked John Sheppard right away. I liked how he was a fish outta water. Plus…he was just simple charming. 😉 Also…liked Carson Beckett as soon as I saw him…with that drone spoof. Too funny! LOL! 😀

    That’s it! I’m rewatching SGA this weekend! 😀

  17. @Joe

    Paulie Walnuts alert-Jersey Shore Shark Attack…but will there ever be a BVW-Borg Vs. Wraith? Queen to Queen Smack-Down, see it could cover the wrasslin angle for the network formerly know as SciFi.

    Did any of the SF suits ever try to ‘recommend’ wrestler/actors for your shows?

    Love the SGA memory lane recollections. I like the SG-! gate better, it looks more solid and less plastickie, albeit the SGA gate sure is pretty.

    Translator Nanites? I thought you were joking, were they akin to the hidden bomb in a tooth detector nanites?

    Still basking in the warmth that Mr. Shanks delivered last night via that rare TV bird, acting ability! Best of luck to ‘Saving Hope’. Loved it because it didn’t feel like another homogenized plug & play soylent green entertainment illusion.


    PS Joe, come to DragonCon & I’ll buy ya a possum pizza!

  18. The first two episodes of SGA are some of my favourites and I regularly pull out my DVD of the first season to watch them. I particularly like that Sheppard is unaware of the Stargate program and also the way he takes it in his stride when he does find out all about it. I always like the episodes where we get to experience the wonder of the Stargate Program through a character’s eyes when they find out about it.

    I was a little disappointed with the Wraith initially. I felt that the introduction of the Pegasus galaxy’s Big Bad came a little bit too soon and would have liked to have had some more exploratory episodes before having to deal with the Wraith. Also, since the Goa’uld had recently been defeated it felt like the Wraith were a bit too similar for my liking. Sucking the life force out of humans in order to effectively achieve immortality? Sure, one was through symbiosis and one was through feeding but ultimately it has the same effect.

    Anyway, the Wraith grew on me and I thought they were pretty good by the end although I do agree with others that they were “wussified” over time. I would have liked to have seen more badass vampire traits in them.

  19. I loved your walk down SG1’s memory lane, and am so glad you’re doing it for SGA. The only problem I have is time–you’re making me want to watch all of the shows again and that’s over 300 hours! Then again, few shows have ever entertained me as much as the Stargate shows so why not take the time?

  20. Congratulations on the first draft! Sounds exciting and I hope it works out like planned. I can’t wait to see it. Is it anime? My son has been looking at your blog for anime series recommendations.

    Thanks so much for the memories. My comments on your memories: (1.) I missed Rainbow in the later SGA episodes. (2.) It was refreshing to have a matriarchal society. (3.)Oh, I didn’t know about the translation nanites but it helps explain things. (4)I loved all the quips in SGA. (5) Who did all the techno babble for McKay’s character?

    JeffW: I’ve frozen cheesecakes before but you can test one to try out. Cookies are way easier to freeze and they thaw as if I had just baked them. Good luck getting your “to do” list blank.

    Das: So sorry to hear about your eyes. I had something similar when they found optic nerve damage in one of my eyes. It’s pretty scary thinking about “what could be”. Have they done a field vision test yet? I was seeing spots for hours after that. Anyway, dr said that everyone has blank spots in their vision but our brain compensates. I hope they can find a benign cause and symptomless treatment for what is causing yours. As for your hands, it would be nice if you could have the surgery on your time frame. Are you having both hands done at once?

  21. Hi Joe, nice read tonight, thanks! “Rising” is one of my all-time favorites of any Stargate. 🙂

    Been very down the last few weeks and nothing interests me too much, but I’m sure it’ll get better with time. I miss my boy so much. Meanwhile, training continues with Riley, and she’s thriving and getting big! She’s become very sweet and loving (although still a terror) and is a blessing to me. The next month or so will be crazy around here. We’re moving (got a great house) and my daughter will be arriving at the beginning of July. I’m reluctant to leave this place, almost feel like I’m leaving Elway behind (I know…), but also looking forward to new things. Anyway, here’s Riley (on top of poor Gumbo) now:


  22. @ Tam Dixon – The ‘spot’ is hard to describe – it’s not a black spot (my field of vision seems fine), it’s more like a tiny blur in the center of my eye (as if I had a scratch or dirt on my lens). It very well could be that my contacts just aren’t gliding as well as they could be (the weather was very dry last week, so maybe my eyes were a tad crusty). Or, it just may be the fact that I have crappy vision and and the older I get, the more I notice the lack of clarity.

    I did ask if it could be caused by wearing reading glasses. He said doubt

  23. Okay…I’m really starting to hate the posting box problems at WP… 😛

    To finish my thought:

    He said it’s doubtful that the reading glasses are causing it, but I have noticed that my eyes are adjusting much slower to distances after I’ve been wearing the cheaters, especially inside. Doc says that as you age eye dilation slows, so it may just be a problem with low light, and not really my eyes.

    It’s no big deal right now. I will see the specialist, mostly because of my age and I think I should, not because I’m worried (anymore) about a real problem.


  24. I think my favorite moment in Rising is when Shepard sits in……The Chair! It starts activating the moment he touches it and others like Becket (I liked him with his accent and I can hardly immagine him without it!) had to concentrate to use it.

  25. @While the force shield certainly trumped the Cheyenne Mountain iris

    Personally I thought from a logical standpoint the Earth Iris was better than the Atlantis gate shield, if only because, should under enemy attack either base lose power, at least with the Earth gate it has a manual Iris control. If memory serves me correct. Which means, should under enemy attack and loss of power, Earth is safe against invasion via the Gate in most cases.

    Something that can simply block anyone stepping through and isn’t reliant entirely on the base being powered is in my eyes better.

  26. @ Deni – Awwwww! *squishes Riley and Gumbo*

    Oh, what the heck! *squishes Deni* 😀


  27. I definitely agree with Heather’s earlier post. SG1 and SGA were both amazing shows, and there is no current show that can fill the void left by them. Atlantis has been my favorite, but it would be impossible to understand properly without SG1. SGU was too much like a soap opera. I re-watch the first 2 shows regularly on Netflix. I really hope that Dark Matter gets turned into a show. I’ve read the comics and I think if any show could fill the void left by the Stargates this would be it. I’m so glad that you are doing this recap! I will be here to read it every day.

  28. Watching the team exploring Atlantis for the first time, I could just imagine the real and fantasy blending when the light came on and the city awakened. That must have been awesome for cast and crew, as well as the characters.

  29. I meant to say, “when the lights turned on…” Too tired and just finished watching the first 2 episodes again. Gosh, I wish the show was back on…

  30. Poor Jinto…

    Sorry, my bad. I’m still laughing at the thought of his remains being found after a protracted game of hide and seek!

  31. “bears a striking resemblance to the late, to the late Tollan Narim, last seen getting blown up in SG-1′s fifth season episode Between Two Fires. ”

    Speaking as someone who was in the Stargate Worlds beta, Narim was still very much alive, and helped lead resistance efforts against goa’uld occupation.

    That is of course if you take Stargate Worlds as cannon.

    Which brings me back to an earlier question that I never made it into the mailbag, does all the extra Stargate stuff (Video games, books, comics, RPG source books etc.) count as cannon?

  32. I know I’m VERY late with my comments (& you know why) but I DO remember the time I met my significant other, not the exact clothes, but jeans and t-shirt, and I do remember our conversation, and later sitting on a beach that apparently was frequented by drug dealers, the police raiding it, us running because I was NOT going to go to jail the night before I needed to leave New York to come back to Houston. As I panicked and got up and ran, leaving my purse in the sand, the future hubs picked it up before running with me. When the police car stopped us trying to get away, I told him the truth, “I’m from out of town and I didn’t know we aren’t allowed to sit on the beach at night, and I’m so sorry, and….” Obviously when he checked my car plates it was for a rental car company at the airport in Newark, NJ there on Long Island. And I wasn’t drinking, so he could not bust me for drinking and driving either. Something I will NEVER forget.

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