Stargate: Atlantis premiered ten years ago today.  I’m celebrating with a look back at my Top 10 favorite SGA memories.

In no particular order…


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!Production on the new Stargate spinoff was fast-approaching, but we were scrambling to cast one crucial role: the part of the intrepid, dedicated team doctor. Multiple auditions yielded no suitable candidates and the producers were at a loss until… Robert Cooper suggested a different tact.  Instead of casting a new character, why not bring in an established one – namely, Dr. Rodney McKay who had already put in a couple of appearances on Stargate: SG-1?  To say that this last minute switch “worked out quite nicely” would be an enormous understatement.  Could you imagine Atlantis without him?


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!Faced with the prospect of 40 episodes of television a season, we sought out new talent for the writers’ room.  Enter young Martin Gero who proved himself with his first script, Childhood’s End – and then went on to become the most prolific writer on the show.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!Later in SGA’s first season, we added one more writer to the room, a veteran of Punky Brewster with a penchant for schnitzel and off-colour humor.  He proved himself with his first script, Before I Sleep – and then went on to become the most prolific writer of ghost-themed episodes on the show.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!The show saw several cast changes over the course of its five year run, but perhaps none quite as significant as the introduction of the rough and ready Satedan, Ronon.  A great onscreen presence, Jason Momoa was also a hell of a lot of fun to work with.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!There’s nothing I enjoy more than an interesting, multi-layered villain and, while the show had them in bunches, none (in my humble opinion) matched the depth and color of Todd the Wraith, a soul-sucking alien with a devilish sense of humor.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!This one rivals the closing moments of SG-1’s Meridian as one of the most touching scenes of the franchise.  Rodney says goodbye to his friend who fades away to close the episode and Carson’s story…for a little while anyway.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!I loved Richard Woolsey’s evolution from pencil-pushing bureaucrat to principled suit, so when Amanda Tapping’s departure opened up the position of Expedition Commander, the first name that came to mind was: Bob Picardo.  I called him up, made him the offer and we closed the deal that afternoon.  One of my favorite characters to write for.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!It’s hard to pick one moment among the countless great ones I enjoyed as a member of the Atlantis writing team.  Amid all the story sessions, script notes, cut screenings and mixes, there was much hilarity.  More often than not, it involved Carl being “tricked” into eating something awful (


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!Meeting 5000 Stargate fans – simultaneously.


July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!Although it wasn’t planned as a series finale, the show’s last episode served nicely as a nice send-off, wrapping up existing storylines yet leaving the door open for further adventures.  The final group shot on the balcony overlooking San Francisco Bay was an emotional one for all.  We’d had five great years – but, dammit, we could have had so many more!

37 thoughts on “July 16, 2014: My Top 10 Stargate Atlantis Memories!

  1. Those are fantastic moments. Yes we had five great years and absolutely could have had so many more.

    Thanks for helping to make the show that I’ll always love more than any other.

  2. I cannot argue with any of those. You all had a great casting eye and huge talent behind the cameras in every area. Such a great show.

  3. The secondary/supporting characters are some of my favorites from any show: Lorne, Zelenka, Hailing..and even annoying Kavanaugh….who I just saw in something being a jerk..and shouted out..”Don’t do it Kavanaugh!” Chuck, Amelia…I could go on…

  4. And I do wish there had been so many more..

    Thanks so much everyone for your kind thoughts and words about my step-mom yesterday. This is such great community here, and Joe is an ever gracious host. I’m so thankful. We had to clean out her room at the nursing home today at it was pretty tough, I had more that a couple of little meltdowns but got through it okay. After my father passed away three years ago, I made it my goal to make sure she was as well taken care of as possible, in respect of his memory. I hope I fulfilled that promise, but in the meantime she became a true friend. She’ll be sorely missed by so many.

    @Bella&Kasper: “What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.”

    This quote was a big help today, thank you so much.

  5. You and the rest of the producers have a penchant for picking winners when it comes to cast and stories. Atlantis was a great series. I miss it.

  6. Hey Joe
    I can remember way back then thinking “If you screw up SG-1 with this off-shoot show, Mr. Wright, there’ll be hell to pay”. Well, I can happily say he didn’t. Thanks for all the memories, Joe.


  7. I like most of your ten, although that “touching moment” with Rodney and Carson always puzzled me because I never got the impression they were all that close. Oh well…

    Some of my top moments were The Beer on the Pier scene (I have never, in my life, seen such chemistry (friendship or otherwise) as that between McKay and Sheppard. Hewlett and Flanigan just shone together). The entire episode Vegas, John and Todd’s meeting, John and Teyla’s “feelings” scene, discovering fanfic (in particular McShep), Atlantis rising from the ocean with Radek describing it, the pure joy of The Team and a hundred other character moments from some of the most memorable characters ever created.

    Of course Sheppard is my favorite fictional character of all time, so discovering John Sheppard was extremely fortunate for me. SGA created in me a lasting fan of quite a few of the actors and writers, whereas before I just enjoyed SG1 but didn’t devote time and energy into following it. I don’t think I will ever enjoy a series and become so passionate about everything surrounding it as much as I did Atlantis. It’s been a huge presence in my life for the past 10 years! Thank you to everyone involved!

  8. A great show for sure, and all those young faces..yea, even Todd, So many have gone on to many other projects, so you gave them a great start and us some great entertainment. thanks. Good friends and lots of memories.

  9. Ahhh, I miss it. We’ve been watching an episode a week, starting season two tonight. Love my team.

  10. Ditto what rileyo said…miss it.
    Nice selection of memories…savoring each and every one.

  11. Rodney McKay proved to be more multi-faceted than the citrus phobic irritant that he started off as. Bob Picardo made a very good commander after all the upheaval on Atlantis.

  12. I miss it terribly. What great memories.
    I can only agree with zelenka words: “Until I die…I don´t forget it, until I die.”

  13. Oh yes! we have just finished to re-re-rewatch all 5 years Atlantis! Boy I miss a good sci-fi show !!

  14. Great recap, Joe. Atlantis has always been kind of special to my wife and I. I had been a SG-1 fan for years, but she and I started dating just around the time Atlantis premiered, so that became “our” show. I and Atlantis introduced her to Sci-Fi.

    So as we celebrate our 10th year together, and today our 4th wedding anniversary, we also celebrate and miss Atlantis.

    Thanks for the memories!

  15. SGA is such a great show; humor, action, cool effects, awesome fight sequences and great characters. To this list I’d add “Vegas” because it was cool and because it’s a perfect example of the multiverses that Neil Degrasse Tyslon and Brian Greene lecture about. String Theory, cool action, muscle cars and Wraiths, what could be better?

  16. Uh…Joey…Todd was not a ‘villain’. He was the antagonist, the adversary, the opponent…”someone who offers opposition”. A villain is “a wicked or evil person; someone who does evil deliberately”…which in no way describes Todd. Kolya – now, he was a villain, but Todd was simply a worthy opponent, one who offered a challenge, but was no more ‘evil’ in his intentions than the Atlanteans in theirs (which was to not die, of course).


  17. I REALLY loved that series!!! It was our family’s favorite. Even Mushu, our dog, would look up at the tv when the Stargate would go “whoosh”. Your choices of actors and their characters was spot on! Thanks Joe and the rest of the gang from all 3 series for giving us such entertaining shows to make the day better. 🙂 Need some of those back.

    Just to let you know, my 16 yo daughter Bethany (she’s the one were trying to raise money for her service dog) was in the ER the last couple of nights. They are calling it Dystonias (facial contractions) and they thought it was her meds. Her regular dr didn’t feel so because she is on very low doses but is taking her off 2 of her meds and ordered an MRI. Her eyes are very dilated and she goes back and forth with symptoms of her eyes not being able to be open, not seeing well, and a smirk kinda like Elvis. She has been battling illness in one way or another for over 4 years now. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers. Thanks!

  18. Great picks, all of them. A lot of introductions which goes to show how much Atlantis evolved into a stand only series unto itself and not suffer some of the debilitations that other spin-offs do.

    Funny you mention the behind-the-scenes fun in the writing room, my blog entry for tomorrow introduces Atlantis’ writing staff as actual personnel in the series as Woolsey’s Senior Staff. Hope you like it. Akemi’s in there too as your love interest. 😉

  19. Dear gforce / Gary, have been praying ever since hearing the news. Am so sorry about your step-mom. It will leave a hole in your life, but your heart will be Full of memories. Every time you visited her, you were telling her you loved her, in a way she could understand. You don’t have to worry about leaving anything unsaid, because you told her every day. Bless you for not letting her walk this road alone. Sending a big blog hug…

  20. Joe, do I ever miss Atlantis. Watching the old eps is bittersweet. You’re right, it was over far too soon. Ten or 11 seasons might have been enough — maybe! Glad to see the “Sunday” episode on your list, as Carson Beckett’s and Rodney’s friendship was established from the premier in “Rising.” The good doctor was forgiving of Rodney’s quirks and enjoyed teasing him back. Oh! And them bickering over flying the Wraith drone, hilarious! In the finale photo of the cast lining the rails, he seems to be missing. A quick peek back at the original photo shows that he, too, was standing at the rails, next to Woolsey. Am still proud of the way Carson flew Atlantis from the chair. 🙂

    Hey, JimFromJersey, Happy Anniversary to you and your wife! What a neat way to celebrate, with Atlantis. Bet watching it is like walking down memory lane. Hope you were able to go out and eat a great dinner together. Congrats.

  21. There hasn’t been a show that has come close to SGA for me. Every aspect of it sucked me in. From the casting to the music, the special effects to the writing. It was so enjoyable to settle in on a Friday night and go along for the ride. You’ve given us a gift of great memories.

    @gforce I’m so sorry to hear about your step mom. My deepest sympathies to you and your family.

    @Jen Draves I’m keeping your daughter in my thoughts. I truly hope that the meds are the cause and that she will have some degree of relief soon.

    1. Paloosa-Thanks! 6:15 MRI We have our county fair starting tonight and I hope B will feel well enough to go tomorrow night. Her girlfriends are working the corn booth and I know she’d want to see them. Have a great weekend!!

  22. Joe, I haven’t seen most of these either.
    @Das, love Weird Al, part of my childhood and glad he’s still around and kickin’!
    Another version of Royals with a tall pale character (did I share this before?):

  23. I couldn’t imagine Atlantis without Rodney. Like I stated, I’d be willing to shave off my eyebrows to be on screen with him. He was my favorite character on the show, and his character central episodes are the ones I return to the most. Not to mention the ones that have commentary done by the “three” Martins. I watch those eps with the commentary as often as the regular run.

    All great memories of the Atlantis days.

  24. I was there at your first Comic and was happy to meet you. I was saying the same thing about Stargate Atlantis “” and then I cried a little.

  25. I grew up with this series and I loved it. Despite ways episodes as Harmony for example, the episodes were all of good quality with impeccable quality. Sometimes I made in my corner marathons and I can tell you that by looking at them, I know almost everything by heart.

    I had a wonderful time unlike SG-1. Stargate Atlantis was a fun team and a good atmosphere that I did not find in Stargate Universe. I hope that this is not SGU has stolen the two seasons more because of what I have learned in this series was much too expensive.

    Thank you for your work on Stargate Atlantis during these five years.
    I am a French fan who hopes to see new adventures of our favorite heroes, too bad it ends abruptly 🙁

  26. Just saw this but I really don’t know how you can say Enemy at the Gate tied up anything…anything at all?!! To me and many I talked to at a recent convention, SGA ended abruptly! Whatever bug you had against SGA, the fans deserved closure on a far further scale. Decisions like this caused the downfall of your Stargate franchise…sorry for you and sorry for the fans.

  27. With Syfy/NBC wanting to head back to the days of sci-fi drama you should get them to bring Atlantis back along with universe there is still so much left to be told on both shows.

  28. I’m new to the whole world of stargate. I only just finished Atlantis minutes ago, and sg1 months ago. Both of these shows were amazing and I can see so clearly that they ended before their time. It’s fun to see this list of moments of Atlantis when many of them are still so fresh in my mind! Now I can join the massive pile of fans left wishing for more.

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