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Stargate Atlantis - The Complete Second Season
Review by Charles Mohapel
MGM (Video & DVD) DVD  ISBN/ITEM#: B000LC4ZI0
Date: 29 October 2007 List Price $49.98 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Speaking as a fan of both the original show and its offspring, this Stargate Atlantis, Season 2 DVD set is a must have for collectors who want more than what they see on TV. Enjoy all 5 discs, each filled with the kind of bonus features that make it worth collecting and keeping.

Mission Directive: The Siege – Part III Featuring Director Martin Wood
Canadian Director Martin Wood relates how much he enjoyed shooting the end of this 3 part episode and how it effectively wraps up Season 1. He said going from the physical action of The Siege – Part II to the virtual battle in space of The Siege – Part III necessitated a complete change of his mindset, particularly the tension-filled scene where hundreds of Wraith dart ships crash into the Atlantean shield which was shot on blue screen.

Martin Wood comes across on screen and in person as someone who is laid back funny. A practical joker who likes to keep things loose on set, he says that the director's mood works its way through the cast and crew. Keeping the set fun with a workday that runs from 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. with only a half hour for lunch makes the daily grind far more bearable than one with a dictator in the director's chair.

The viewer learns that the show's Executive Producers wanted to invent a new distinct, unique shooting style that would differentiate Stargate Atlantis from Stargate SG-1 and I think they did, imbuing Stargate Atlantis with a darker, edgier feel.

Audio Commentary for The Siege – Part III
I was surprised to discover that one of the maroon-bereted Marines escorting Dr. Rodney Mckay in The Siege – Part III is Ron Blecker, a decorated US Army Veteran who survived the real life action in Somalia that inspired the movie Blackhawk Down.

The owner and founder of Def Con 5 Inc., Blecker joined the US army at 17, retiring in 1998 at rank of First Sergeant. In the course of his 14 years in the military, he served as a member of the 2/75th Ranger Battalion, 23rd Infantry (Demilitarized Zone) Korea, Light Fighter Cadre 7th division, 1st Special Operations Command, and was also the team commander for the Special Reaction Team, Fort Lewis, WA.

Subsequently Blecker was a member of Army Special Operations Command (SOCOM) for 11 years and is Ranger Qualified, as well as Special Forces Qualified, and has been a Combat Leader Instructor, SWAT tactics instructor, and a Ranger school instructor.

Having worked in the film industry as a Military Technical Advisor since 1998, Blecker is quickly becoming one of the foremost Technical Advisors in the industry.

Mission Directive: The Intruder Featuring Director Peter DeLuise
Here we see how a good-humored Peter DeLuise laughingly says that The Intruder script by Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie "rips off" his script for Entity from Stargate SG-1.

Peter DeLuise then shows how Stargate Atlantis makes full use of the limited sets on the sound stage and their skill at making them look so different.

Mission Directive: Instinct Featuring Director Andy Mikita
When Director Andy Mikita read the script about a young female wraith brought up by a human, it immediately brought to mind classic monster movies and he decided to make it into a Frankenstein homage.

Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex Featurette
Executive Producer Brad Wright wanted the newcomer to be a military man, while fellow Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper wanted him to be outside Lt. Col. Sheppard's chain of command and this produced the character of Ronon Dex. Cooper wanted something similar to the Col. Jack O'Neill/Teal'C dynamic where Teal'C follows O'Neill out of respect for him, not because O'Neill is his military superior.

In some ways actor Jason Momoa is Ronon Dex's alter ego, but he is also a primal force with his sheer physicality and exceptional physique.

Profile on David Hewlett Featurette
The producers were having difficulty casting the role of Ingram, an African-American astrophysicist and they brought David Hewlett in, telling him to act somewhat like Dr. McKay. However, just before flying to Vancouver to begin shooting, the producers phoned Hewlett and informed him that he would be reprising his role as Rodney McKay on the Atlantis set. Martin Gero, one of the regular writers on the show, frequently incorporates parts of their conversations into his scripts.

Hewlett tells how his girlfriend Jane gives him 15 minutes after he gets home to "switch off" his Rodney McKay persona or face the consequences. A self-confessed Geek Boy, Hewlett enjoys looking at all the cool stuff on the set in his spare time. He mentions how his character is used as an expository device to fill in all the background information that some fans need and want. You also discover that the writers have a friendly "competition" to see who can "torture" David the most, a fact he relates with great gusto.

Surprising to many, Hewlett and Amanda Tapping actually have a good rapport on screen and off. Shocking to many fans who don't see beyond the self-centered charismatically-challenged genius, Hewlett brings a lot of subtle nuances to the character.

Stargate Atlantis: Stunts Featurette
Stunt Coordinator James "Bambam" Bamford choreographs and shoots the fight scenes with a video camera, then shows the footage to the directors, who in turn pare it down to fit the scene.

Bamford mentions that Jason Momoa is 6-4, 220 pounds, and is more athletic than any stunt man his size in North America.

We find out that the fight between Jason's character Ronon Dex and the Wraith-enhanced Lt. Ford, played by Rainbow Francks was shot in intermittent rain at 2:00 A.M. and was wrapped up in only one hour. I guess slipping and sliding in the mud was the added incentive the actors needed to get the scene right the first time.

Profile on Paul McGillion Featurette
Not commonly known is the fact that Dr. Carson Beckett was originally intended to be international in origin, not Scottish. In Real Life, Paul McGillion does not speak with a thick Scottish accent.

Born in Paisley, Scotland, Paul moved to Canada at age 2 with his family, moved back to Scotland for a few years in his teens, then returned to Canada. McGillion's parents still have their strong Scottish accents and he adopted it for his audition. Part of his success in portraying a medical doctor is the fact that he does his homework diligently, often consulting his younger brother Mike who is taking his PhD in medicine at the University of Toronto.

McGillion informs us that his first appearance in a Stargate-related show was when he played the role of the young Ernest Littlefield in Torment of Tantalus in Season 1 of Stargate SG-1, meaning he played the first character to ever walk through the Stargate in the 20th Century.

We see just how nice a man McGillion is to work with and how he was originally supposed to appear in a handful of episodes in Season 1, but ended up in 17 of 20 due to the intangibles he brought to the character. While David Hewlett and Paul McGillion are good friends on the set, they play characters that complement each other quite effectively.

As a member of the working press at San Diego Comic-Con 2007, I had a chance to attend a press conference with Producer Joseph Mallozzi, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite, Joe Flanigan, and David Hewlett. I was able to see for myself that Amanda Tapping and Jewel Staite are even lovelier in person and kept smiling during repeated questions. Joe Flanigan arrived with a muffin in hand and we chatted as the room was being set up. His dry sense of humor and quiet demeanor are part and parcel of the man, and you can see this onscreen during the quieter moments of Stargate Atlantis. I admit that I fully expected David Hewlett to be very much like Dr. Rodney McKay, an expectation fully dispelled the moment he spoke to us about "A Dog's Breakfast", a black comedy that he wrote and appeared in. This small independent production also included David's sister Kate, Paul McGillion, Rachel Luttrell, and Christopher Judge.

Absolutely a must have for any serious fan of Stargate Atlantis and the entire Stargate universe, the Season 2 DVD set is filled with a cornucopia of treats that come from a hard working team who genuinely love their work. It shows in all the myriad details.

Disc 1:

    Episode 1: The Siege – Part III
    Episode 2: The Intruder
    Episode 3: Runner
    Episode 4: Duet
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary on Each Episode
    Mission Directive: The Intruder Featuring Director Peter DeLuise
    Mission Directive: The Siege – Part III Featuring Director Martin Wood
    Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery
Disc 2:
    Episode 5: Condemned
    Episode 6: Trinity
    Episode 7: Instinct
    Episode 8: Conversion
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary on Each Episode
    Mission Directive: Instinct Featuring Director Andy Mikita
    Introduction to a Character: Ronon Dex Featurette
    Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery
Disc 3:
    Episode 9: Aurora
    Episode 10: The Lost Boys
    Episode 11: The Hive
    Episode 12: Epiphany
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary on Each Episode
    Road to Dream Featurette with Writer Martin Gero
    Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery
Disc 4:
    Episode 13: Critical Mass
    Episode 14: Grace Under Pressure
    Episode 15: The Tower
    Episode 16: The Long Goodbye
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary on Each Episode
    Profile on David Hewlett Featurette
    Stargate Atlantis: Stunts Featurette
    Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery
Disc 5:
    Episode 17: Coup d'Etat
    Episode 18: Michael
    Episode 19: Inferno
    Episode 20: Allies
    Special Features:
    Audio Commentary on Each Episode
    Profile on Paul McGillion Featurette
    Exclusive Still Photo Gallery & Production Design Gallery

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