In this recurring feature, we take our first glimpse at shows which have been airing for several seasons. It may be one of your long-time favorites… but it’s new to us!
Series: STARGATE ATLANTIS
Episode: “Echoes”, airing Friday, April 20 on the Sci Fi Channel
Series overview: The STARGATE spin-off focuses on a group of scientists residing in and studying the culture of the lost city of Atlantis, which it turns out is in another galaxy.
Their take: The Sci-Fi Channel’s listing reads as such: Atlantis becomes a ghost town when spirits try to warn Teyla of an impending disaster.
Our take: A ghostly woman in white and a kinda creepy-looking burned guy – both of whom are spirits – begin appearing to several Atlantis residents while a scientist (bumbling and geeky in the manner of all B-movie/series characters) investigates the sudden arrival of several whale-like creatures. It takes the Atlantians a whole lot longer than us to figure out that the two phenomenon are connected. There’s much talk – often in bad accents – of “ancients” and the pre-requisite cocky pilot does more than his share of eye-rolling and hammy acting. Midway through the episode, a spaceship – piloted by THE X-FILES alum Mitch Pileggi – suddenly appears, apparently wanting to dock. With almost no explanation as to how (aside from an odd reference to the Macarena… we kid you not) the various Stargaters figure out what’s going on. Can they save the day? What do you think?
Accessibility: You won’t remember the character’s names or have much of a clue how they’re connected – if at all – to one another, but the cast is generally appealing and the story relatively self-contained. You’ll find recognizable elements of every sci-fi show from STAR TREK (the good guys use a transporter and even talk about being “beamed up”) to FARSCAPE (it’s hard not to see Joe Flanigan’s Sheppard as a knock-off of Ben Browder’s Crichton). And maybe it’s that very sense of familiarity that makes it so easy to dive into this rather cartoonish but inexplicably entertaining series. A first-time viewer will be a tad confused by mention of Ancients and Wraths, but find the episode fairly easy to follow. Despite being science fiction, it ain’t rocket science. When the closing credits roll, heck, you just might be compelled to come back next week.