Days of Stargate Atlantis past wraps up SGA’s third season with…

FIRST STRIKE (320)

Atlantis’s third season concludes in fine style.  Under threat from a powerful Asuran weapon, Atlantis has no choice but to do the unthinkable – leave!  And the City of Atlantis does just that, rising up off the surface of the ocean and taking flight.  It was an awesome sight and it opened the door to some wondrous possibilities – that were only explored for about two episodes, which was the length of time it took for Atlantis to find a new planet’s ocean to settle down on.  As much as I love the visual of Atlantis being surrounded by water, I was even more intrigued by the visual of Atlantis surrounded by stars, for all intents and purposes one giant space ship.  The argument against keeping Atlantis aloft (or having it touch down on a complete different setting like, say, a desert milieu or a snow covered expanse which were both ideas I pitched), came down to budget.  Over the course of the show’s three seasons, we had banked some amazing establishing shots, all of which captured Atlantis surrounded by water.  By placing the city in different surroundings, all of these establishers would have been shelved, necessitating the creation of all new establishers.  Ultimately, I understood why Atlantis had to end up on another body of water, but I still feel we could have extended the journey through space over a few more episodes.

This episode marked the introduction of Dr. Jennifer Keller played by the amazing Jewel Staite.  In the episode, she sports a Canadian patch on her uniform – which was later changed to an American patch through the magic of visual effects because Paul felt that Canada was already more than well-represented on Atlantis.

Also, that lovable technician played by actor Chuck Campbell finally gets a name.  After much brainstorming and careful consideration, the writing department decided to name him…Chuck.  Inspired, no?

First Strike also marked Torri Higginson’s final appearance as a series regular.  Despite the serious injuries Weir sustains at episode’s end, a decision on the fate of the character wasn’t made until shooting on the episode had almost completed.  I liked Torri a lot, both professionally (I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role) and personally (as a fellow dog-lover, she had my respect), and felt she had to know as soon as possible.  And, since Paul and I were going to take over as show runners in the show’s fourth season, I thought it only right that we be the ones to tell her.  Sure, it would have been easier to follow the lead of other productions, put off the talk and let the studio tell her agent, but, after three years, we owed her that much.  Torri was a consummate professional, graciously accepting the news and the opportunity we pitched her to continue on the show (as we had plans to take the character in what we hoped would be an exciting new direction, one that wouldn’t see her appear in every episode but would make her the point of focus of every episode she would appear in). Unfortunately, the planned arc we had envisioned for Elizabeth didn’t pan out (for reasons I’ll touch upon in future blog entries) and so, in retrospect, this will always remain a bittersweet episode for me.

Head on over to Gateworld and cast your vote in the Stargate Atlantis Season 3 Awards: Atlantis Season Three Awards: Vote Now!

22 thoughts on “August 24, 2012: Days of Stargate Atlantis Past! First Strike!

  1. I think my post disappeared. If this is a duplicate, please delete it.

    I liked “First Strike” but I hated losing Elizabeth Weir.

    My little sister gave me an unofficial Stargate Atlantis decal for my computer today. I had one on my old computer and she knew I would miss it. She’s sweet like that.

    Had more blood drawn today. My B12 level is low normal (293) and I should get the D3 results tomorrow.

    Anne Teldy

  2. No wonder season 3 was so controversial amongst fans, it had so many of the things people discuss to this day – the removal of favorites Beckett and Weir and the subsequent introduction of Keller. I’ve read literally thousands of posts over the years on these subjects. Still stirs up lots of emotions. Since Jewel is such a nice person (by your and other’s accounts) it is such a shame that her character came in at the same time the others left. (Kind of reminds me of SGA being canceled and then SGU greenlit simultaneously). And her character just never worked for many of us. Her looks and youth would perhaps have been better served if she’d been cast as a young intern or a young scientist or even another young Wraith Queen (she did so well as Elia) instead of the Chief Medical Officer. The eventual romance with McKay was equally ill conceived, IMO. But that’s a topic for another season.

  3. @for the love of Beckett: Thank you, sweet girl, I’m so glad we’re friends. 🙂

    I kindasorta didn’t like Elizabeth Weir at first, but really came to like her as the series progressed and was sad to see her go. Of course, to me there was nothing like Sam Carter running the joint! Really enjoyed First Strike, though. So much so I might just go and re-watch it tonight. 🙂

  4. This episode is so amazing, I really enjoyed. See Atlantis taking flight was one thing I expected since first season. But I hated losing my favourite character.

  5. I liked the suspense of First Strike, but of course, at the time, I did not expect it would lead to Torri’s character leaving the show (it is Science Fiction after all). Especially with the initial season 4 Weir episodes, I was expecting she would be returning more frequently.

    My family got to meet Torri, Kate Hewlett, and Jewel Staite last weekend. All were wonderful (Torri gave my son two pieces of Maple Taffy as a prize for answering Stargate related questions). When playing Weir, she had to be serious, on stage though she was very funny and bubbly.

    Kate Hewlett was also very funny…in the picture she (including Jewel and Torri), took with my kids, she looks like she’s having a brain aneurysm. Makes me wonder what it was like to work with her on set! 😉

    I put some of the pictures on my blog, if anyone’s interested. You should be able to get there by clicking my name above…I think?

    @sylvia on non-chocolate moon pies:

    If you bring some to the September Pub outing, let me know how to compensate. How are your bangers hoding up? I could get more…

  6. ok since yesterdays original comment vanished, I said to Joe and Akemi, thanks for the puppy pictures, always a happy thing to see.
    and to @Deni, I am hoping we don’t see the hurricane/or whatever visit us, we could handle a little rain and wind, but nothing major please..
    ~ I did not like it when Torri left, it was not the way I saw it going. She was great in the series, I hope she knew that.

  7. 8 minutes in!
    8 minutes in!!
    Joe why did you guys string out the opening credits so long? I also like reading the credits, but come on! I’m trying to watch the show and watch the credits and I’m just not that talented! Especially when it takes more you than 8 minutes to run them. Geeez!

    I really enjoyed First Strike. When I saw that picture above, I thought, “oh I love that scene!” even though I couldn’t remember what exactly they were talking about. But that scene is where Ronon says “I’ve got to learn some science” so he could be more useful. Then Sheppard starts comparing them to the Fantastic Four. Sheppard to Teyla, “You would be the Invisible Woman”. Teyla: “I am not invisible”. Very funny scene. Chuck is cute. First Strike kept me engaged from beginning to end. Pretty amazing watching that big city moving, going underwater, then out to space. Some spectacular special effects, especially the control room blast and poor Weir being blown backwards. Great writing and directing.

  8. @JeffW…no worries re: non-chocolate stuff. For now, have satisfied my “need” for bangers. However, I know how to channel back to you if more is needed….THANKS.

  9. @JeffW: Great centerpieces! And congratulations on the win! Looks like you and the family had a great time. Sadly, I know nothing about Moon Pies, so I haven’t a clue about where to find non-chocolate ones.

    I’d have to watch First Strike again before I could comment and as I am going to a concert tonight (Reginald Robinson playing his original ragtime compositions on the piano!) and need to sneak in some exercise and chores before that, it ain’t gonna happen today. But I do remember the cool effect when Atlantis lifted off! I think Jewel Staite is as cute as a bug and I love her as an actress, but the Keller character just never worked for me as the chief medical officer on the ship. And Weir had grown on me over the season (I think I mentioned that season 3 was the first one I watched on broadcast TV) and I was sad to see her go.

  10. First Strike: I enjoyed it. I was confused by the term “surgical strike”. I thought that meant taking out one building in a city? It looked like they nuked half the planet. McKay and Zelenka were a fun team to watch. It was fascinating watching the city move. I could SO do laps in that big pool they have! 😉 Thanks for the look behind the writing scene. All the possibilities….

    Ponytail: Could just be a local problem. I don’t know if their hiring practices are regulated by the state/government or just local managers. I know that my S.I.L. tried to get a job with the prison system and they rejected her. They don’t take people with any kind of record (misdemeanor or felony). Right now, she’s sitting with elderly patients at night. Scary thing. I won’t see her for a while though. My mom’s got a restraining order against her. Long story. Family, sigh.

    JeffW: A blog too! Thanks for the link. I’ll take a look at it.

    AnneTeldy: I’m so glad you are feeling better! Yes, I have the same problems with word press. It works well for me if I write the post in something else. Then copy and paste it here.

    Did you see the Apple-Samsung verdict? That will have ripples throughout the industry. All of the companies share patents. Samsung makes the majority of computer chips for everyone.

  11. I was sorry Weir left. As much as I loved Carter in SG1, I didn’t feel she was a good fit for SGA besides, I thought here was a lot more mileage in Elizabeth’s character. And, while I don’t dislike Jewel Strait as an actress, her character failed to grow on me. Chuck however was someone I did like. Why didn’t we see more of him?

    Thanks for the insight on the series Joe. It’s interesting as always.

  12. JeffW — Wow, great work on the centerpieces! Thanks for sharing the story and pix. I have a neighbor who either tantalizes the neighborhood with his smoker or grills the best steaks, the aroma of which wafts my way. *swoon*

    Deni — 😳 🙂

    Joe — It does help to know how things transpired with Torri Higginson, and good that it was in person. But…

    WHY did they decide to let go Torri Higginson as a Regular?

    ~your pesky blog sister 🙂

  13. Great episode, lots of drama, suspense and action. Also great character portrayals. One of the reasons the third season, despite some unfortunate events like irresponsible and Becket’s death, is probably my favorite season. Looking forward to your comments as you go into season four, and the Weir arc that was never played out.
    Rainy dreary day here; hope everyone is having a better time.

  14. The world is a lesser place today, we lost Neil Armstrong. May God rest you sir, fly straight and true unto Heaven.

    2cats

  15. Speaking of Weir, I’m going to sound negative again when I say that removing her from command was actually a decision I wasn’t a fan of really.

    It’s understandable why she didn’t want to come back, considering what happened to her character.

    I actually thought she did a fantastic job in the first few seasons, and although we wouldn’t of seen Carter or Woolsey, she could of done a fantastic job in Season 4 and 5 of Atlantis too, if she wasn’t ejected from the show in the manner she was.

    However I actually liked Season 4 and 5 of Atlantis and thought they were very fun. The negatives from Weir being gone were easily forgettable when the story didn’t come back to her.

  16. Hey I had my first Macaron today! I’ve been watching for them for at least a couple years since I read about them on the blog, and finally spotted them at White Mountain in White Rock! Apparently they’re made by a local French pastry lady. They were good but didn’t really blow my mind, now I’m wondering if they were substandard and I need to try them from a better Vancouver place or not. If you find yourself down in White Rock try them and let me know how they compare.

  17. @Sparrow_Hawk:

    Thanks for the compliment! The kids provided the design ideas while I guided (as to what was possible) and provided the production skills to build it. And besides that, we had a lot fun.

    @Tam Dixon:

    I started the Constant Insanity Blog when Jackie kicked my non-Corvette posts off of Cora’s Garage (which I setup up for her). She wanted Cora’s Garage to be Corvette related posts only and I really just wanted a place to put some foodie pictures and other thoughts on a (very) occasional basis.

    I’ll probably end up doing a weekly or bi-weekly post depending on what’s going on at the time. Just doing that makes me wonder where Joe finds the time to do daily posts and moderation! It makes me appreciate his commitment all the more…thanks Joe!

    I will still be doing some Corvette related posts on Cora’s Garage too, especially once we start restoration in earnest next month (we will be making the Corvette restoration a home shop class credit for Jackie, so it counts as part of her grades this year).

    @ for the love of Beckett:

    Thanks for the complements also, we had a great time (both displaying it and building it).

    On the meat smoking smell, I know what you mean. I love the smell of apple wood or hickory smoking (cherry wood is good too). I find that mesquite is a little too “sweet” for my tastes, but then I lean towards Carolina style BBQ anyway.

    My goal is to have the smoker rewired and back in service in time for Labor day; I ordered the high-temperature wire a couple of days ago and will probably start the rewiring later in the week. I’m thinking country ribs and maybe a picnic roast with apple wood chips.

    Also very sad to hear of Neil Armstrong’s passing. He was a truly great and humble man.

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