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Premiere: Stargate: Atlantis

So, we watched the premiere of Stargate: Atlantis last night. I like the premise just fine, but the enemies just don't really make sense to me thus far. From what we can tell so far, the Wraith are essentially xenophobic space vampires.

Evolutionarily, this does not seem terribly plausible. Even parasitic organisms have to have a plausible niche within an ecosystem, else become extinct. How would this race have evolved to feed on humans specifically? No food source prior to humans has yet been referenced; feeding on humans has been specifically stated on the web site and demonstrated in the initial episode. How did the Wraith come into being? I'm sure that question will eventually be answered, and it definitely needs to be. Their demeanor and mien also reminded me slightly of Klingons.

Additionally, every advanced human culture that we know of has thinkers and philosophers. Granted, the Wraith are alien, but . . . does it make logical sense to talk with your food? If they're that advanced, would they not have some recognition of consciousness? Talking creates a connection and a certain intimacy. Not necessarily respect, mind you: we've had wars and plenty of human enslavement despite being able to talk with one another . . . but while we do kill one another for various reasons, cannibalism is fairly rare in most advanced cultures.

The makeup looks really good, and they did a decent job with the special effects, I'm just not sold on the villains so far.

I also found Teyla Emmagan annoying. Some actors can carry off stilted speech that is supposed to represent a not-quite-as-advanced human culture, but Rachel Luttrell isn't managing it very well thus far, in my opinion. Joe Flanigan (Major John Sheppard) sounds like Owen Wilson to me.

We'll see where it goes. I will say that I think the SciFi Channel is being very smart in putting the parent show in the time slot just before the spin-off for a full season, to allow time for the viewership to get comfortable with the new cast and make it a habit to tune in.

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tagplazen
Jul. 17th, 2004 10:42 am (UTC)
We watched it also last night, and I have to say, SciFi channel just doesn't impress me that much. I don't have a problem with the space vampires talking with their victims, but then again I think the creepiest thing I've ever read is Lautremont's Maldoror where he talks about kidnapping a young boy, torturing him and in the process leaving him blind, then leaving him alone as if he's been dropped off beside a roadway to come back hours later pretending to be the boys rescuer just to see the hope before revealing himself to be the torturer and starting the process all over again. I think a killer that will talk to it's victim is more creepy than those stupid shambling shapes of the Friday the 13th Halloween variety (ever get the sense those movies are only half there?) In the same way, I don't have a problem with them being parasites, the show never said what else they've killed before discovering humans, I least I think they didn't, a race that's wiped out a few others in it's evolutionary process doesn't seem that bad.

It's the acting that kills me, same reason I can't watch the SG original series. How about that accent, that's pretty choice, ever noticed that the only word most actors can really pull off in a scottish accent is 'crap'? And the woman playing the head of the expedition? WTF is that? Strong willed driven woman but when it comes to making a decision she becomes indecisive and it takes the rougish warrior to really make a choice, now there's a novel idea.

The costumes on the Atlanteans was particularly funny, looked just like the cover to a 50's era sci-fi pulp. That and good goddamn do they need directors that know what the fuck they're doing, some particularly groan worthy moments were when the 'forgetful scientist' says he needs to see them in the beginning, disappearing stage left to reappear seconds later like "oh, I forgot that's where the big ass door I just talked to you through is" or when at the end "I think you've made a lot of friends" and cut to bent over father looking lovingly into his reunited sons eyes, now that is worthy of spontaneous vomiting, fuck me jesus with a masterbuating crucifix. I actually wonder whether it's not the fact they hire bad actors, but the directors force them to make every emotion so large and overwrought, "That was good, but this time I really want to see the fear, make me feel it!" and the actors rebelling by going completely over the top to say "Fuck you, check this out you hack" and then being horrified to hear the director going "That's it! Print that, next scene." For some reason I can imagine that quite clearly.

I did like the power source to the city being almost expired and that being the motivation to explore other worlds in the galaxy, but it was a weird appreciation because I found myself thinking "That's a clever bit of screenwriting there, good plot device" and I think any time you're actually able to realize something like that it shows they haven't suceeded in pulling you all the way in to the story itself.

It was interesting enough to watch all the way through, and I'll probably watch a few more to see which way it goes, but it still leaves me bemoaning that there's so much good sci-fi out there, esp with young directors doing good short movies, that we keep getting these rehashed Analog stories.

Oh, and we did have a great time going "Look, Mortiis got his own planet! The not living beings, I didn't think he sold enough albums to buy an entire planet, good for him!"
tagplazen
Jul. 17th, 2004 11:13 am (UTC)
I just went and checked the website to see who had directed that, and I can't find it anywhere. WTF? You get to see the producers, but not the director? Did they not have one, or is someone just not willing to put their name on the thing?

Damn, and Sci-Fi is doing Clive Barker's "History Of The Devil", I'm still hopeful for that, but have this sinking feeling they're going to turn a damn witty play into some special effects ridden monstrosity filled with the same scene chewing actors. I can't imagine having to do sets on a Sci-Fi original production, "Hey, you try covering up all the damn teeth marks!"
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