When production resumed on Stargate: Atlantis’s fifth season, little did we realize at the time that it would be our final year.  We were coming off a terrific fourth season and had some great scripts on deck and some big ideas for what lay ahead.  Samantha Carter was on her way out and a new Commander was on his way in.  And this time, there would be no discussion over potential candidates.  There was only one. I picked up the phone and called Robert Picardo, told him we’d love to make Richard Woolsey a regular.  I pitched him what we had in mind, a move that would complete Woolsey’s transformation from pencil-pushing pain-in-the-ass to surprising and lovable friend and ally.  Bob loved the idea, welcomed the opportunity and his deal was closed that day.  It was tough to say goodbye to Amanda, but we were happy that she would be leaving for a passion project, the first season of Sanctuary, in which she would be producing and starring (and, eventually, directing as well over the show’s five year run).

The change in command was not the only development in this final season.  Teyla would finally give birth, the Michael storyline would be concluded, Elizabeth Weir would make a (sort of) return, while the introduction of a powerful new enemy would complicate matters for our intrepid expedition.

But first things first.  We had a story to conclude, some trapped team members to rescue and, of course, a baby to deliver…

VFX Supervisor Mark Savela at the Search and Rescue concept meeting.
VFX Supervisor Mark Savela at the Search and Rescue concept meeting.
The show's visual effects were second to none, thanks to the work of Mark Savela and his crew.
The show’s visual effects were second to none, thanks to the work of Mark Savela and his crew.
Art Department package for the episode.  The Construction Department had their work cut out for them on this one.
Art Department package for the episode. The Construction Department had their work cut out for them on this one.
The former village set is transformed into a ruined facility on what we used to call The FX Stage.
The former village set is transformed into a ruined facility on what we used to call The FX Stage.
That's a load-bearing ladder.
That’s a load-bearing ladder!
A relaxed Jason Momoa returns from hiatus sans dreads.  It would be a couple of episodes before we could write them out so we had to wig him to start the season.  The wig, by the way, was made of his own hair.
A relaxed Jason Momoa returns from hiatus sans dreads. It would be a couple of episodes before we could write them out so we had to wig him to start the season. The wig, by the way, was made of his own hair.
One easy to handle baby for the birthing season.
One easy to handle baby for the birthing season.
Don't forget the umbilical cord!
Don’t forget the umbilical cord!
Inside Michael's hive ship.
Inside Michael’s hive ship.
An Alien-esque feel.
An Alien-esque feel.
The wraith tech was always very organic-looking.
The wraith tech was always very organic-looking.
Wraith tablet.
Wraith tablet.
Michael (Connor Trineer) at the controls.
Michael (Connor Trineer) at the controls.
An Andy Mikita joint.
An Andy Mikita joint.
A visit to the wraith OB GYN.
A visit to the wraith OB/GYN.
Kanaan, Teyla's baby daddy, relaxes between takes.
Kanaan, Teyla’s baby daddy, relaxes between takes.
Martin Christopher (aka Major Marks) checks out the craft service offerings.
Martin Christopher (aka Major Marks) checks out the craft service offerings.
Amanda Tapping and Mitch Pileggi.
Amanda Tapping and Mitch Pileggi.
Stand-ins (or, more appropriately in this case, sit-ins) aboard the Daedalus.
Stand-ins (or, more appropriately in this case, sit-ins) aboard the Daedalus.
Preparing to send out the MALP.
Preparing to send out the MALP.
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok at work.
Special Features Producer Ivon Bartok at work.
David Hewlett and Kavan Smith take a break from the dust and debris.
David Hewlett and Kavan Smith take a break from the dust and debris.
Major Lorne looking the worse for wear.
Major Lorne looking the worse for wear.
Exhausting work.  McKay's jacket gets a workout.
Exhausting work. McKay’s jacket gets a workout.


The ruined facility.
The ruined facility.
The jumper.  Stage 2.
The jumper. Stage 2.

And a few behind the scenes vids…

Wraith tech:

On the hive ship:

Search a rescue rehearsal:

And the scene:

37 thoughts on “January 5, 2013: Resuming our trip down Stargate: Atlantis memory lane with seasons 5’s Search and Rescue! A slew of behind-the-scenes pics and vids!

  1. Thank you ,thank you, I have always really enjoyed the behind the scenes stuff, the show had so many talented people who made it look so seamless and exciting. Appreciate your sharing it. ~~sigh~~ miss the show~

  2. G’day Joe

    Thanks for the cool pics. Mitch Pileggi…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…oooooo…yeah!!!

  3. Aww, I’ve been waiting for this! Thank you! Search and Rescue was one of my favorite episodes, sad to see Sam go but Woolsey was a terrific replacement. Loved the Shep whump too! 🙂

  4. Hot Chick with full auto; I am in Love!
    (or at least I wish I could)
    In watching the commentary of the DVD they alluded to Amanda leaving the show but did not give a reason to why. And as you wrote above about Amanda’s departure after such a short stay as Atlantis Commander, this is how I came to start reading your blog. The commenters (Paul Mullie and Martin Wood) mentioned your blog.

  5. You just reminded me how much I miss that show…and all Stargate, in fact. I know we can’t go back since everyone has moved on to other projects, and some of the talent #coughRDAcough are getting a little too long in the tooth, but it would be nice to have one more movie. My fingers are crossed.

    @noellam: Regarding people with disabilities; specifically, Aspergers/Autism. As a psychologist and someone who has worked with people with disabilities over the past 15 years, I recommend that when a person has an invisible disability that may interfere with communication, it is best for them to let others know that they have “X disability”. Then they can add that they may come across in ways they do not intend. This concept is just getting traction, so not everyone uses it.

  6. Did you feel that earthquake? A 7.5 in Alaska. Tsunami warnings. Remember the one that hit there in 1964 and had a huge tsunami. “The tsunami warning was eventually expanded to include coastal areas from Cape Fairweather, Alaska, to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada – an area extending more than 700 miles.”

  7. Wow, what great memories from Atlantis S5. Now that we’re back to following these I’ve got to get the DVDs going to keep up. I haven’t watched them for a little while, so I’m looking forward to it.

    I think Sanctuary (unfortunately) only went 4 seasons. Another great show that ended before its time.

  8. So Jason Momoa was wearing a wig? My daughter Jackie will be so disappointed!

    @PBMom on traveling to Vancouver:

    Barb definitely wants to go…we just have to work out babysitters, dog sitters, fish sitters, and rat sitters (long story). My oldest daughter has agreed in principal, we just have to finalize the dates. Long story short; I think the seat is filled…sorry. 😉 I’ll try to post pictures though 😀

  9. Love the behind-the-scenes stuff, always makes me think what a fascinating business you’re in. That said, I really miss Atlantis!

    Otherwise, baby Michael is home, and home is turned upside down!

  10. Search and Rescue was one of my favorite episodes. Our team was in great peril and there was much consternation and searching and rescuing! And there was Michael!

    I know you mentioned that this was intended to be the conclusion of the Michael arc, but there was talk at the time that either the Michael who died was a clone or that there were one or many Michael clones around who could show up when we least expected it many seasons from now. Was that ever a consideration?

  11. LOVED Search and Rescue!! Great way to start the new season and it is one of my favorite episodes. The surprise opening dream scene with John and Teyla and unexpected, sudden appearance by Ford. It was good to see Rainbow again. Absolutely loved the camera pulling out of the hole, off the planet and into space to the wraith ship. Stressed out Rodney (“I’m not an MD!”) delivers Teyla’s baby…

    Teyla to Rodney: “You need to catch him while I push him out!”
    Rodney: “Oh God! Okay…well…just…underhand him…alright, I’ve never been good at baseball!”

    And John flying the wraith dart with the baby in his lap. So sweet. When Woolsey announced he was taking over command of Atlantis, I thought, this is going to be good and interesting.

    Thanks for all the great pictures and videos. I thought Jason’s hair looked good in this episode. As did he! In that picture “McKay’s jacket gets a workout” I think David looks very sexy! You should have dirtyed him up and made him rugged looking more often. 😛

  12. That was such a great episode. Everyone acted their socks off and the special effects were amazing. I loved Woolsey, and much as I like Amanda Tapping, I didn’t feel Carter was a good fit for the role. It’s such a shame that the series finished just as it reached its peak. I’m sure it could have ran for at least another couple of years.

  13. Ahhhh SGA, maaaaan I miss that show You sure it’s not coming back?? I was a little leery about Woolsey being the p.i.t.a. that he was,but … yah, he became likable. The fact that he had a dog … made him more human for me. Sam was a great fit for commanding Atlantis, I hated to see her go. I really enjoyed seeing Connor Trineer, since Star Trek Enterprise was another favorite. You sure there’s no revival or something??

  14. Wow! That’s a great prize. Thank you!!!!! It pays off being OCD sometimes. Small headache this morning, so I’ll come back and savor each morsel you wrote later. I don’t understand all the hoopla about Jason’s hair though. If it was making the actor sick, it’s a no brainer about cutting it. Sure, he won’t be able to hide weapons his hair anymore but…

  15. We’ll I’m on the plane to Vegas. Commenting will be light this week (if at all) and really depends on whether I can get the time and if I can get Internet access or not (150,000 techies in one place does awful things to WiFi and cell tower bandwidths).

    @for the love of Becket:

    Good luck to our teams…hopefully I can watch the end.

  16. JeffW: Safe travels.

    Das: I’m thinking about adding Chambord. Gotta make a liqueur store run because I used most of my Chambord for a cheesecake.

    Mr. M.: I really enjoyed your post today. It makes me sad to think about all those lost stories though. Show business looks like interesting work but I’m not sure I could take all that job insecurity.
    It was great seeing the vds/pictures of Hewlett, Kavan, Connor and Amanda. It would have been fabulous having Weir written back in the show and I think Bob Picardo’s character was on his way to being warm/fuzzy. Another big Thank You from Earth.

  17. @Patricia

    thanks for weighing in on my question! We will keep your advice in mind as dear son makes his way into adolescence.

  18. I remember Jason talking about it in the commetaries. He said it was more painful than the dreadlocks he cut off because of how they had to attach the wig to him. Ouch! I am keeping my hair short. While Woolsey as introduces as a squared eyed apparatchik, he still showed signs of scruples which were later to morphed in to his like able character in season 5.

  19. Hi Joe,
    Thanks for the pics and vids. I love all of Stargate but SGA season 5 has most of my favorite moments. Cheers and Happy New Year

  20. I like seeing this stuff this far outside the production. I can’t look away if it’s available while I’m really obsessed with an on-air show and sometimes it ruins the magic to see it. I’m getting more used to that though.

    And if you update us on your projects, I’ll try really, really hard to resist that reading between the lines parlor trick. No good ever comes from that.

  21. @Tam Dixon @Das – Would an addition to the cake recipe risk it being too delicate? In the gluten-free world, baked goods almost too delicate to handle is considered a necessary evil so I’d worry about the effect of alterations without seeing how it is unaltered first.

  22. Awesome pictures there Joe, you were of course the Exec Producer/Writer/Photographer guy lol

  23. @ Scimani – Joe has been screwing up dates for about a year now. I’ve given up pointing it out. However, I will point out that I have no idea who ‘Samantha Cater’ is in that first paragraph.



  24. @ DP & Tam Dixon – I’m not sure about adding alcohol. It may be okay, or it may not set up correctly. What I would do is check online to see if there are any flourless cake recipes that include alcohol. If so, then I’d say go for it!


  25. I hope this doesn’t come across the wrong way, but I always wished that SG-1 had ended after season 8 and SGA should’ve gotten 7 seasons. This is my personal opinion, but seasons 9 & 10 of SG-1 were not the show’s best. I just wish that Syfy and MGM had saved that money to spend it later making a 6th & 7th season of SGA.

    1. @KG…me too! I watched Sason 9 & 10 the first showing and have not watched them since…even though I do own the DVD’s. Atlantis still had many more stories to tell.

  26. i just finished watcing universe season 2 on blu-ray, i wonder are we ever going to get some closure regarding destinys mission? 🙁

  27. I’ve heard that watching television or movies being made is like watching hotdogs being made. You might not like the end product any more if you do.

    I never really liked the Michael storyline because I could never get the thought out of my mind that they should have shot him the second time they had him. I just re-watched the episode (My son and daughter bought me the final blu rays in the set for Christmas) and realized the question of killing Michael was a little bit more difficult in retrospect since he did save the team and he was trying to get the virus in good faith, contrary to the wraith queen.

    But in the end, they kill wraiths all the time. After all, they are at war and he would have been killed.

    I have to say that the Stargate franchise is what I measure other shows by. Would I rather watch an episode of show x, or re watch Stargate. Re-watching Stargate often wins. I realize that while Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and Universe are all great shows, they really aren’t the end all and be all. Close mind you, but the occasional show is on TV that’s worth watching. Not too much in Sci Fi though, except for Fringe which has been interesting, but I don’t think it’s as good as Stargate. Too many plotlines that lead nowhere, like another show I enjoyed but it went off the rails to end as a sugar fueled directors day dream like mess.

    I’ve really enjoyed watching Justified and Fringe. Two shows that I go out of my way to catch the episodes, no matter what I am doing.

    BTW, a mystery book I really enjoyed was “Still Life With Crows” by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. It was not their first in the series, but in my opinion it was their best. It was the book that started me down the path of reading mysteries.

    If you like thriller slash mysteries I have enjoyed reading most of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, one of which (One Shot) was turned into a movie with the little person Tom Cruise. Jack Reacher is supposed to be a six foot five inch two hundred and fifty pound man. Which Tom Cruise is not.

    This brings to mind the long running series by F. Paul Wilson of the character Repairman Jack. Reportedly being turned into a movie. Sometime. Somewhere. In some universe. Just not this universe. Jack is an average looking guy who blends in, he’s anonymous, and wants to stay that way. He works as a fix it guy. When the police can’t or won’t deal with a problem, they call Jack. His stories have a supernatural or “otherworld” streak running down them. I’ve liked most of them. Not all.

    I stopped reading as much as I used to until I got a Kindle. I found the ability to change the font size allowed me to start reading again.

  28. I loved this, the photos especially Amanda and Mitch, and the videos especially Connor on the hiveship! Wow! God I want to go back and watch the show again…and it makes me miss it all over again! msstargate is right, SGA still had so many stories to tell, I try with my blog, I’ve started story #2 now, but still, writing it isn’t seeing it…but there’s always imagination…and Stargate conventions…and DVDs…and comic books…and magazines…and the internet…etc.;-)

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