In 1994, “Stargate” the movie was released, produced and directed by Roland Emmerich, whose credits now include, “Godzilla” and “Independence day”. This film has gone on to spawn two spin-off TV series, Stargate SG1 starting in 1997 and Stargate Atlantis starting 2004. The first series ran for a record 10 years, and Stargate Atlantis is on its fourth season, so clearly, the formula works.
Briefly, the Film was based on the Largely discredited notion that the Pyramids of Egypt, were constructed by visiting aliens and that the Pantheon of Ancient Egyptian Gods, were actually visiting Aliens. Nevertheless, this Roland Emmerich film, a firm favorite of mine, carries this premise off with verve. The story goes that Aliens visit Earth, use humans to build space man stuff, leave Earth to go to another Galaxy at the far end of the Universe, and leave behind the material wonders of ancient Egypt, and the Stargate. The Stargate is discovered by scientists, acquired by US air force, experimented on, for decades. The final codes are deciphered by an outsider invited in. Then, a team is sent for first time through the Stargate to another Planet in another Galaxy. They meet enslaved Humans transported to the planet millennia ago, do battle with the aliens, and win. Stargate SG1 follows on from here. The Stargate TV series are a very rich tapestry of complex events and the writers rarely leave loose ends dangling and forgotten about.
In series 8 of Stargate SG1, a City Built by a race known as the ancients is discovered. From records in this city, information is found about an even more magnificent city in the Pegasus Galaxy. A large scientific expedition with military escort is gathered and sent through a Stargate to investigate the City in the Pegasus galaxy. Thus began Stargate Atlantis.
Stargate Atlantis is as complex as its predecessor. However, it has a completely different flavor. Where Stargate SG1 focuses on the activities of a team of 4 persons, and then gradually widened its focus, Stargate Atlantis starts with a full expedition as its cast, though focused on a core of about 10 persons, plus its focus is immediately at a Galactic scale. There are four major drivers that give Stargate Atlantis a flavor of constant urgency and tension.
Firstly, the team is trapped in Atlantis unable to return to Earth. This is primarily because the Stargate only had enough power for a one way trip , ego, they expect to find a power source to power their return to Earth. There is a continuous search for the correct power source.
Secondly. the Ancients were beaten by a formidable Enemy. This is important because, the Ancients are humanoid, assumed to be related to mankind, and their technology annihilated all protagonists in the Milky way Galaxy, the Battle ground of Stargate SG1. Whoever beat the ancients had to be bad new, and although the defeat was 10,000 years previously, the enemy still Held sway in the Pegasus Galaxy. The Enemy, the Wraith uses humanity as Food. The Wraith give no quarter, surrender is no option, the Wraith “cull” entire planetary population and this is portrayed in horrifying detail, The Wraith are aware of the return of people to the City of the Ancients, Atlantis, and are gathering their forces for a titanic battle
The scientific expedition is short of all supplies, including food. They are forced to trade with communities they discover via their short range Stargate, this leads to both positive and negative encounters.
The City, properly powered is capable of flying back to Earth. This discovery is made by the expedition and the Wraith also find out. The Wraith’s depredations have so badly affected Human population numbers that the Wraith have started to Starve. Then they discover the Existence of Earth, and the rest of the heavily populated Milky Way Galaxy , filled with Races, technologically inferior to the Ancients, whom they have already defeated. Their keenness to Acquire Atlantis escalates and their advance towards Atlantis speeds up.
In summary, Robert C Cooper and Brad Wright, the Creators of the series have crafted a sumptuous and fabulous series which in season one almost never disappointed me. Their development of the characters and the overall concept of the series is in my opinion first rate. The episodes swing effortlessly from a story about a small expedition to a small village dealing primarily with human interaction, to titanic Interstellar Battles superbly portrayed for a television audience.
The science is not always immaculate, but it must be remembered that the actual performance of sciences 10,000 years in advance of ours can not be accurately by 21st Century TV. This is a series to be treasured, get it.