View Full Version : FAN REVIEWS: 'Adrift'

September 26th, 2007, 05:53 PM
<DIV ALIGN="center"><TABLE WIDTH="450" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="0" CELLPADDING="7"><TR><TD STYLE="border:0;"><DIV ALIGN="left"><FONT FACE="Verdana, Arial, san-serif" SIZE="2" COLOR="#000000"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s4/401.shtml"><IMG SRC="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/graphics/401.jpg" WIDTH="160" HEIGHT="120" ALIGN="right" HSPACE="10" VSPACE="2" BORDER="0" STYLE="border: 1px black solid" ALT="Visit the Episode Guide"></A><FONT SIZE="1" COLOR="#888888">ATLANTIS SEASON FOUR</FONT>
<FONT SIZE="4"><A HREF="http://www.gateworld.net/atlantis/s4/401.shtml" STYLE="text-decoration: none">ADRIFT</A></FONT>
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Adrift in deep space with the city's protective shield failing, Dr. McKay and the team must do all they can to keep Atlantis alive. A radical injury threatens Dr. Weir's life.

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September 28th, 2007, 07:14 PM
This episode came as a big disappointment to me after last season. The writing was not up to par after the strength of last season and the cast changes do not seem to benefit the show. The one bright spot was the new doctor, Jewel Staite did a fine job. She's a fine actress and her character is believable. Sam was rather flat and her scenes could have easily landed on the cutting room floor without being missed.

Our regular characters were weak in this episode. Sheppard, who was previously established as having passed the Mensa test, is suddenly dumb. I did not care for "dumb Jack" on SG-1 and I do not care for "dumb Sheppard" either. The usual Sheppard sarcasm was not present either. Even in crisis, Sheppard has resorted to sarcasm in previous episodes. It was noticably absent this week. Rodney was rather bland and seemed a bit out of character. Where were the usual neuroses? In crisis, Rodney is usually a neurotic mess. Those neuroses was sorely missed in this episode. Ronon had a sweet moment with Elizabeth and it was the only emotional moment in an otherwise flat episode. Kudos to Jason for a lovely performance in that scene. Otherwise, Ronon did not seem to have much of a purpose in this episode. Teyla's lines were almost nonexistent and the few she had were no better than "hailing frequencies open, Captain". It's a sad day when such a fine cast is reduced by such weak dialogue. As for the loss of Elizabeth, I think it will create a hole that can't be filled and the show will suffer for it. I already missed her this week. There should have been more of a crisis over the decision to reactivate her nanites. That was a crucial point that was almost ignored. Hopefully, it will be revisited next week. Zelenka was involved in the episode, which is always a good thing, but I felt that he was out of character as well. Where was the Rodney/Zelenka banter? It was sorely missed.

The new soundtrack was rather flat. The music lacked drama and did not really fit the episode. It was not in keeping with previous musical scores and pulled me out of the episode on several occasions.

Overall, the episode was not in keeping with the wonderful premieres of seasons past. It felt flat and unemotional. It also lacked suspense. Makes me kind of sad really. I'll hang in for one more week and hope it gets better but if it doesn't, I'm not sure I can watch.

September 28th, 2007, 07:36 PM
I must say, “Adrift” did for me live up to past season’s level... I was slightly afraid it would have a radical change right off the start.
McKay was still his usual cocky in charge, the very beginning where Sheppard must explain they are both in charge of Atlantis with Weir out really still had that McKay/Sheppard relationship that was so amazingly developed in prior seasons. The moment at the end with Sheppard’s burst against McKay’s decision was also one of the more powerful scenes of acting in the entire episode.

All the actors involved really seemed to be at their best in that scene when Weir was reactivated. The introduction of reactivating the nanites in her mind to save her really was a twist I didn’t see coming, but also might lead to a possible good storyline, after what Weir went thru last time she was “attacked” in her mind.

I was a little sad that Teyla was left out for most of the storyline…she didn’t really have a role in this episode where as most of the entire rest of the cast did (even Zelenka had more time and development it seemed!). But it’s understandable with all the events going on.

I was glad Carter’s character was not thrown into Atlantis too quickly. Because she was a very quick side story at the midway gate, it seemed like the transition wasn’t like the first episode into a new series and Carter finds Atlantis and takes charge…that would have felt too rushed to me. Right now, her slowly trying to find Atlantis is a good way introduce her into the Atlantis series, although I was a little upset Amanda Tappings already took over Torri Higginson’s spot in the credits, and it seems empty without Paul McGillion’s spot, I thought it was odd the producers did not place Jewel Staite in his spot?

The scene in the infirmary with Ronan saying thank you to Weir was one of my favorite moments of the episode by far, it really seemed important since Weir was leaving the series that there would be that little moment to say goodbye, and having Ronan of all people to do it really made it very charming. It really felt heartfelt from Ronan and I loved it so much. Plus when Weir starting to crash right after it was slightly funny when he thought he did it.

There were a few good funny moments throughout the episode like McKay’s puddle jumper like the Asteroid game, and the way Sheppard and McKay or McKay and Zelenka have moments where they don’t need to speak in complete sentences but they seem also to just read each other’s minds!

The puddle jumper sequence was also a very amazing positive for this episode because although we see jumpers on a regular basis, on most episodes there never was a moment with that impressive army-formation that was simply impressive visually for the audience. Also the visual effects during the “space jump” with Sheppard and Zelenka were very stunning and exciting shot for this episode as well. The dialogue so far doesn’t seem to have a radical change from last season.

September 28th, 2007, 11:37 PM
Adrift, besides being the episode title it's also the perfect word to describe the episode's plot. No other word conveys better the forced feeling character interaction as well as the events that happened. Floating between trying to be a serious space opera and the campy SciFi spoofs. Adrift, it fits the episode splendidly.

Let me begin with one of my favourite pet peeves, the plot, it had so many twists and turns and holes, especially - as usual, in the technology department, that it isn't even funny anymore: How probably is it that Murphy's Law is working so much against a group of people? Fix one problem with seconds to spare yet to find yourself facing yet another problem. One to three of such incidents is tolerable in an episode but when it goes beyond that it becomes annoying or to put it in other words: This plot reeks of a setup for a deux-ex-machina solution next episode probably by means of the amazing Samantha Carter.

Speaking of her, why was Samantha Carter even in this episode, her scenes felt like forced episode filler, which, and I will explicitly state this, is a BAD thing. Instead of that they might have as well spend some more scenes on Weir's peril or even elongate other scenes.

This poor plot might have been saved by good character development, but alas, even that was more off than usual: A dumb Sheppard? A non-neurotic McKay? No banter between McKay and Zelenka? No sarcastic remarks by Sheppard or McKay? Doctor Bill even more dumb than usual in the presence of Carter? Teyla even more wallpaper than usual? The interactions between characters felt forced, the characters itself behaved unusual and even the usual, established, banters seemed to have leaked away faster than the power did from the ZPM.

Luckily, despite their piss-poor script, most of the actors managed to do the best with what they got. Especially Jewel Staite, as the new doctor, did her best with those awfully written medical scenes and I hope to see more of her this season. Jason Mamoa, as Ronon, pulled a good emotional scene from his hat while David Hewlett and David Nykl managed to make their out-of-character character believable.

In retrospect I can only conclude that this episode was the worst season opener in the history of Stargate Atlantis. It's a shame we can't use puddlejumpers to shoot this episode down ,like the astroids, to make a clear path for good episodes, so I can only leave you with the advice to watch this episode as a parody since at least that way it makes sense and hope that when power gets restored in Atlantis the compass will also be activated once more.

September 29th, 2007, 12:01 PM
Following the rocky Season 3 of Stargate: Atlantis, I had begun to fear that my favorite television program was slipping. "First Strike" was a refreshing change of pace, with the new enemies launching an attack on Lantea itself. Our heroes countered with a daring plan to save the Atlantis Expedition, and were subsequently stranded in deep space, with no hope of rescue.

This is where "Adrift" begins, and it is an auspicious beginning indeed. The character interaction, compared to other "emergency"-based episodes, was a tremendous success. As I and my friends watched it, we were relieved to see the very unrealisitc sarcasm and joking take a backseat to a more-serious undertone. McKay's ever-present sense of elitism took a break, and allowed a more-frightened side of himself to show through. Even Sheppard mellowed, turning from flyboy-misfit to impromteu-leader right when leadership was needed most. I'm happy to see that the writers have learned that, in an emergency, this IS how people would act. And, even in the background, newly-introduced Jennifer Keller performed well above my expectations.

But not all of the characters acted spectacularly. While I was impressed with Ronon's fearful and, for once, calm demeanor, I was disapointed to see Teyla play very little part in the episode. She seemed to be mainly used as a way of telling the audience what had just happened, or asking relatively-obvious questions. But, in my opinion, the plot of this amazing season-opener was able to prevent that from bringing down the episode as a whole.

We see plan after plan fall through, which is a blessing following such episodes as "Echoes", where the first plan tends to solve everything with ease. From the damaged power conduits to the gaping hole in the city, realistic problems slowed the team down, and there were few inconsistancies or plotholes. The question of smaller asteroids, or chunks of the destroyed ones, not hitting the city was answered readily and acceptionally; simply, some did. The only real problem with this area was that no asteroid field would be packed as closely as this one was, especially this far out. But this is science-fiction, and creative liscense is allowed. And they used that to achieve a wondrous platline for Dr. Weir, bringing back old memories of RepliCarter and SG-1 without feeling done and done.

Finally, there was the incredible special effects this episode offered us. The scenes in the asteroid field blew me away, particularly the puddle jumper squadron trying to blast a path for Atlantis. Seeing the entire city glide through space, and watching the shield shrink ever-smaller, was also breathtaking, and the effect of the field passing through the doorways was a stroke of brilliance, though the shield didn't always fall back as it should have (at the same angle). Regardless, the majority of the effects were simply astounding.

All-in-all, "Adrift" does exactly what it's supposed to; set up its second-half, "Lifeline", and introduce an amazing Season 4. If it continues with episodes as good as this, I can see this being the best yet.


September 30th, 2007, 06:49 PM
Well, I haven't been able to watch it till now because 4 teenage boys took over the tv with cable in the mountains. So, I DVR'ed it and I didn't watch it till just now.

Note: I wrote it as I watched the episode. So, if there are incomplete sentances, now you know why.

Good tease!! Dr. Keller is finally in her element. She seemed so out of place in the beginning.

From a Sparky POV the angst Shepp is feeling for Weir is great. It seemed that Sheppard was about to cry and nearly made me cry. Joe is just so awesome.

Loved the astroid sequence. It made for a nice bit of action and comedy, on Rodeny's part.

Couldn't Rodeny have made the Sheild smaller to begin with? Or wouldn;t it have made any differance? Those three guys wouls still be alive, but I bet the repair teams would all be able to find suites torepair the city in decompressed area's of the city.

At first, I didn;t think of the Nanites in Weir's blood. I mean I remembered that theyb were in her blood, but I didn't think of using them to repair Weir's body.

Ronan talking to Weir was absolutly the most sweatest thing that I have seen Ronan do so far. I think Imay be among the very small number of Weir/Ronan shippers.

Weir seemed a little cold toward Teyla. Maybe she wouldn't have been too cold toward Rodney if he was in there with her.

All in all I gave it a 10 out of 10. It was one of the best seaon openers to date.

October 1st, 2007, 03:58 PM
Stargate Atlantis 04x01 ‘Adrift’

Let me start by saying that Adrift was a severe letdown. Not from a plot standpoint or a character standpoint, but from a scientific standpoint. Originally, Atlantis’ parent show, Stargate SG-1 was based around the idea that what was happening in the show might actually happen. There wasn’t any completely stupid physics, or moments that made you say ‘There is no WAY that could happen’, or at least, not in the first few seasons.

Atlantis seems to have ignored this premise completely, instead focusing on the ‘tech fanwank’ ideal that seems more suited to science fantasy shows such as Doctor Who and Torchwood than a supposedly science-fiction show like Atlantis. The episode, from a plausibility standpoint, is completely absurd, there are many situations in both this episode and Atlantis in general that not only completely disregard logic, but also completely disregard established continuity (Take the entire ZPM power capacity plot black hole, for example).

Okay, firstly, the possibility of some random star system being along the path that Atlantis was taking to their new planet is slim to none. Galaxies are HUGE, and, in all likelihood, if the hyperdrive was to fail, you would end up in deep space, not the outskirts of an uninhabited star system.

Secondly, the asteroid field. This seems to be a repetitive failure of modern Sci-fi, in that NO-ONE can seem to get the idea right. Unless you are in a planetary nebula (Like the kind you get right after you blow up a planet), the density of an asteroid field will be absurdly small. Even with a city the size of Atlantis, the chances of you actually hitting an asteroid is absurdly slim. Not only that, they got the size wrong. The asteroids wouldn’t be the size of a small building, they would be, on average, about seven kilometers long – i.e. larger than the city. If you got hit by that, you die, full stop.

Thirdly, the idea of blowing up the asteroids just seals it. Blowing the asteroids up would do nothing to stop your impending doom. It’s just that instead of being squashed against the side of said seven-kilometer-wide asteroid, you would get ripped to ribbons by five hundred thousand millimeter-long rock shards. If Atlantis actually represented speed properly, this would be obvious. Probably due to the massive hunk of rock speeding at you at twenty kilometers per second.

And seriously, it is obvious that the Ancients have never heard the term ‘redundancy’. You are in a city that is supposedly the size of Manhattan, and you have one critical hyperdrive control system? That is completely absurd. In a city that size, five hundred thousand fold redundancy would be easy to pull off, not only with vital system controls (Like the hyperdrive controls that were for some reason in some random hallway in some random building on some random pier), but also primary power delivery.

Although, admittedly, this would render all the events of the episode moot, which means that the producers would not be able to pull all the CGI that they did for this episode, instead, god forbid, being forced to write plausible episodes for once.

Granted, the characters in the episode had good dialog, considering. In all honesty, it was a refreshing change to see McKay happy for once in his life, an emotion that we seem to only see from him once every millennium.

However, the characters seemed to be a little… retarded. Of all the characters, only McKay and Zelenka seemed to have any sort of clue. Everyone else, including all the minor redshirt characters were completely idiotic, highlighted by one moment of dialog:
McKay: ‘I disabled their ability communicate, they’re HARMLESS!’
Sheppard: ‘No, you can’t know that for sure!’
He’s McKay. He would know. Stop being an idiot.

Overall, it seems that this episode was not so much an honest episode at storytelling, but rather an excuse to put massive amounts of CGI in an episode with minimum plotline work.

Overall, one and a half stars.

October 2nd, 2007, 02:34 PM
4x01 Adrift I loved Adrift. It debuts high on my repeatability scale.

Adrift is a worthy continuation of First Strike. Atlantis is lost in space and running out of power. There are exciting segments and interesting character development. As far as the science goes, my disbelief is in willing suspension.

The interactions between Sheppard and McKay as they try to save the city, even their heated argument, demonstrate a lot of mutual respect and trust. They come off as friends, equals and adults. McKay is focused on doing what needs to be done. His arrogance and sarcasm are toned way down. Sheppard is in command and he is believable as the commander. He is not and should never be a typical military officer. He is not rigid or arrogant. He looks uncertain about what to do, but he evaluates the situation, makes a decisions and gets it done.

Sheppard privately, tactfully and reluctantly reminds McKay that he is now in charge. (Sheppard: I understand that, but with Elizabeth . . . incapacitated, I hate to say it. But…) This produces a moment of sincerity between equals, between friends. Sheppard has to be kept current because it is his responsibility to make the decisions. McKay understands that and apologizes. (McKay: You’re in charge. I know, I’m sorry...) He immediately starts trying to explain the extent of the damage to Sheppard. I love this scene, but it is here to tell the casual viewer who is in charge.

Sheppard is stunned by Keller’s prognosis that Elizabeth will never be the person he knew again. He is speechless and struggles to maintain his composure. He fights the tears that are trying to come and nods tightly to Keller as she continues to talk. A very moving and unusual display of emotion from Sheppard. This is the scene that contradicts the apparent coldness of the Sheppard that would let Elizabeth die. That decision comes not from the heart but from the brain, the same brain that made the decision to fly a nuclear bomb into a hive ship to try to save Atlantis, a decision Elizabeth agreed with.

Sheppard disobeyed direct orders in Afghanistan, but risk only his own life. He disobeyed Elizabeth in The Hot Zone, but she was at least as much at fault as he was. My discussion of this: http://forum.gateworld.net/showpost.php?p=6984596&postcount=163 (http://forum.gateworld.net/showpost.php?p=6984596&postcount=163) Elizabeth never admits her share of the fault in the incident, but she does fight for his promotion. In The Return, he threw away his career and risked his life only to save Atlantis. He had to be stunned that he was not court martialed. I would have liked to have seen some repercussions from it, at least, ‘the talk’ with one of the generals. Of course, O’Neill has his own history of disobeyed orders.

Even though Sheppard has disobeyed orders in the past, that does not negate his right to give orders or expect them to be followed. He has been giving orders to the military and to his team for three years. He has not suddenly come into command. Even though his command style probably allows for disagreement and outright disobedience when conditions behind an order change, that is not the case here. McKay did not finish programming the nanites and was not certain they were safe. He knew that the nanites could not be shut down, because they would replace part of Elizabeth’s brain. Shutting them down would killed her. Not shutting them down meant they were a continuing risk.
McKay: She’d be part replicator for the rest of her life.
Keller: Yeah, Sheppard’s not going to go for that.

McKay disobeyed, if not exactly a direct order from Sheppard, the implied order to wait until he could make the decision (“I am not having this conversation until you’re sure.”) or, at least, until McKay was sure that Sheppard’s would agree. Elizabeth was dying, Sheppard was on a space walk, McKay was not finished reprogramming the nanites to be able to shut them down, but time became critical. He made the decision to go ahead and save her life. He took the chance because he could not take responsibility for Elizabeth’s death. It was the easy way out, a decision of the heart; it was not the hard choice; it was not the decision of a leader.

Sheppard is furious and concerned for the safety of the city. He had made the decision and taken the responsibility; he would let Elizabeth die rather than take any risk to the general population. Now he has to take action and order the nanites to be shut down, effectively killing her.

McKay knows what he has done is questionable, possibly dangerous, he avoids eye contact, his eyes dart around, he is not telling the truth about being sure the nanites are harmless and Sheppard recognizes that. McKay is defiant, anyway, telling Sheppard that Elizabeth would have done the same for him.

Sheppard knows better. He has been her second in command for three years. Elizabeth has been willing to let him die when the stakes were bigger than a single person’s life. He understands the burden of leadership and the need to put the welfare of the many ahead of any one person no matter how important, politically or privately. He knows the way Elizabeth thinks. He lashes out at McKay, telling him that he did not know Elizabeth very well. The line is, “Then you obviously didn’t know her very well.” Past tense. Sheppard has accepted that Elizabeth is gone. This statement sounds hateful when it is said, but Elizabeth, when she is awake, confirms that taking the chance with the nanites was a bad idea. She would not have saved Sheppard or anyone else with nanites. If McKay can reprogram them, so can the replicators. Sheppard said it: “I want to save Elizabeth as much as anyone. But she wouldn’t want us risking the city, not even for her.” Zelenka agreed.

We never hear what Elizabeth says to Sheppard and McKay after she finds out that the nanites were reactivated and part of her brain is now made up of them, but we hear what she later says to Teyla. “They shouldn’t have done this.” “It’s reckless.” “Believe me, this is a very bad idea.”

When Sheppard and McKay first see Elizabeth, Sheppard pulls his gun, leaving it by his side. He is serious about the risk. Afterwards, Sheppard seems to have put the effort to shut down the nanites on hold. It’s different when Elizabeth seems so much like herself. He can’t kill her, but she stays in quarantine.

Spoiler for Lifeline When Elizabeth is taken to the jumper, Sheppard and at least, five guards escort her. The scene with the sound of marching feet is very military and very imposing. Sheppard is willing to take her with them and risk their lives on the chance that that she, in her altered condition, can help them steal a ZPM, but he is not willing to risk the city by having her in contact with it. He takes this precaution even after McKay told him that there was no need for quarantine.
Elizabeth and the nanites help them get a ZPM, which saves the city. The ZPM was the good result to offset the coming bad one.

McKay realizes that what he did should never have been done from the two leader’s view points, both Sheppard’s and Elizabeth’s. His apology is very McKay-like in that he does not fully accept his error (“you may have some cause”), but he recognizes that he has to show some contrition to diffuse the tension. It is his place to do so. After McKay’s apology Sheppard visibly relaxes; he seems to let go of the anger. He doesn’t want to be angry with McKay and he can’t afford to be. His acceptance seems to be real; in the next scene they begin to work together again.

* The scene as the shield is collapsing is tense and moving; they helplessly watch as three men fail to outrun it and die in the vacuum of space. Sheppard not only knows where his people are, he knows who is in danger and calls them immediately to warn them. Nice to see him actually using his leadership skill set.
* The jumpers destroying the asteroids was seriously cool. Okay, the asteroids location, size and spacing are all contrived. So what? It’s a fun segment. We see Sheppard giving orders and a pep talk to a bunch of inexperienced jumpers ‘pilots’ and McKay meeting expectations. The graphics are awesome.
* Fixing the hyperdrive array is another awesome segment. The walk through the halls, the spacesuits, Sheppard throwing Zelenka, their flying through space across the void, the ‘flying’ 180 degree view of their flight, micro asteroids, blood droplets in space, Zelenka, injured, continuing the repairs and Sheppard being supportive. “Trust me as far as I can throw you, actually.”
* Ronon’s ‘thank you’ to Elizabeth was touching and a nice character moment. I’m looking forward to his remembering who he used to be.
* Every time McKay gets some good news and he starts to think they’ll make it, the loud speaker calls him and Sheppard to the control room for another crisis. “Oh, come on!”
* I love these lines and their delivery. Sheppard: “Dumb this down anymore and you’re going to get hit.” McKay: “Sorry.”

* Carter’s introduction is well handled, if over long. We see what she does, helping to get Midway station online, and her interactions with Dr. Lee and Ellis. This should have been streamlined and the Dr. Lee jokes omited. They were a distraction from the main story line.
* Sheppard usually remembers gate addresses. He would know the replicator planet address. He would certainly know which planet has ZPMs. They were all cute doing the bit, though.
* Teyla counting down on the radio? Could they just think up something for her to do on Atlantis and develop it. Something that does not leave her looking like she is running the control room, please. Maybe in S5 the kid will give her direction.
* The nanites replaced Elizabeth’s hair. Accommodating little [email protected]!

October 12th, 2007, 02:47 PM
Season 4 of Stargate Atlantis blasted off with “Adrift,” a fast paced, action focused episode that offered superb special effects and some challenging character moments.

“Adrift” picked up where the cliffhanger left off at the end of season 3, with Atlantis lost in space and rapidly losing power with only hours left to figure out a solution before certain death. What follows is a series of events that epitomize Murphy’s Law – if something can go wrong it will – as each time they solved/prevented one crisis another problem/crisis occurred.

The first part of the episode depicted different ‘crisis’s’ with quick cuts back and forth between scenes of two very different, yet concurring events - Sheppard and Rodney’s struggle to save the city and Keller and her medical team’s fight to save Weir. While both illustrated the desperate struggle to survive, one looked at the broader survival of the city and the people on board while the other was on a very personal level, to save Weir. It was a nice interplay of these two major plotlines and the moment by moment decisions the characters needed to make. One could sense the tension slowly build as one felt that eventually those decisions were getting riskier and riskier and that the final decision would be the ultimate “do or die” scenario.

There were also cut away scenes from the life and death struggles on Atlantis to Carter and Lee on the Midway station. While these were necessary to introduce Carter and place her in the Pegasus Galaxy they did not work as well. Carter and Lee are both important and enjoyable characters, but something- the dialogue or the choice of Lee or a little of both felt off. One can compare it to “The Return” part 2 and the scenes where Sheppard is flying the PJ through the city in a desperate attempt to escape the drones - there are cutaway scenes to O’ Neill and Woolsey. These scenes worked well, the dialogue was crisp, sarcastic and fun and left the viewer with a fun ‘breather’ from the franticness of the PJ chase scenes. The scene with Carter and Lee was likely meant to give the viewer the same humorous break but the hapless Lee just appeared silly which left Carter feeling sympathetic towards him. Perhaps because of the magnitude of the events happening on Atlantis and to Weir it was hard for the viewer to feel comfortable with this. The balance between these scenes and what was happening on Atlantis was off.

If there was a star of the episode it was the CGI and special effects. From the views of the city in space to the PJ’s leaving the city then destroying the asteroids, it was all extraordinary and extremely well done. The best sequence was the shot of Radek and Sheppard jumping over the chasm to reach the damaged conduits. It was an awesome shot, not just the detail in the views but also the 360° turnaround.

As excellent as the CGI was, it was almost too much at times – the PJ’s destroying the asteroid is a good example, Very fun, very well done but a bit too easy and too contrived. Maybe it would not have felt so over the top if they had shown more of the “new” pilots struggling, scared, uncertain - more of the human side of it. The writers did a good job setting the scene up with John and Rodney talking to the “new” pilots but then failed to follow through on this during the actual sequence and afterwards. This scene needed a better balance between the special effects and the characters.

The episode also presented some challenging moments for the characters. John and Rodney – a lot was going on with these two characters both individually and together. From scenes in the beginning, where Sheppard awkwardly reminds Rodney that he is in charge and wants to kept in the loop, followed by the scene where he tells Rodney if he “dumbs it down any more I’ll hit you;” and then the disagreement over the nanites, the two characters went through a wide array of turmoil. There was some of the usual McKay-Sheppard banter but it was appropriate for the story. The scene in which Rodney apologies to Sheppard was very well done, from both a writing and acting perspective. Rodney’s apology for going against Sheppard’s wishes and Sheppard accepting it was a good human/friendship moment between the two of them. It was a show of respect and understanding between the two of them – yeah we disagreed, yeah I don’t think you should have done what you did but we can move beyond it and together deal with the consequences. It shows a sense of maturity and growth in their friendship instead of the usual one-upmanship rivalry they usually display.

The issue of whether or not to save Weir by reactivating the Nanites was a challenging decision for the characters. Sheppard took into account not only his duty to protect Atlantis but also what Weir would want. Rodney seemed driven by both the challenge of being able to safely reactivate the nanites as well as his heartfelt desire to save Weir. An issue that was not well addressed was the fact that Rodney made a life altering decision that would affect Weir the rest of her life – there was little discussion of this either before or after but perhaps will be further delved in to in “Lifeline.” In the end it was a no win situation – don’t reactivate the nanites and Weir dies, or reactivate the nanites and risk the nanites taking over as well as the fact Weir would be part replicated for the rest of her life and the unknown risks/consequences of that. This is the type of scenario that can set up some interesting and intense drama and character conflict.

The little character moments also held a big punch:
Sheppard’s reaction to Keller’s when she informed him of Weir’s condition. The tears in his eyes, the fight for self control and the look of helplessness on his face – all so well done by Joe Flanigan.
Ronon saying thank you to an unconscious Weir – very touching.
John alone in Weir’s office, then Rodney comes in, senses he is thinking about Elizabeth and asks how she is doing before he tells John his plan to decrease the shield.
Teyla talking to Weir about how they made the right decision to use the nanites to save her, then Weir saying, “No it wasn’t – you don’t know what I went through last time.” Very moving.

“Adrift” was an exciting, plot driven action adventure that had some of the best special effects of any Stargate episode along with some difficult/challenging moments for the characters; and while the episode was not perfect, it was a good hour of exciting and enjoyable TV viewing.

October 13th, 2007, 09:05 AM
The trilogy is a well-worn format in sci-fi and fantasy literature with a common issue: the second book is never as good as the first and its storyline always suffers because its primary task is to build tension for the concluding part. Stargate: Atlantis might live in the different medium of television rather than literature but its season four premiere certainly comes afoul of the middle story syndrome. On first viewing the episode is rather plotless – as adrift as the title suggests – but this is to miss the more subtle character stories that provide some excellent performances by the cast, and which weave through the set action pieces with their great special effects.

The main plot, or rather the seeming lack thereof, is jarring as the main thread of the episode is Atlantis lurching from crisis to crisis following its sudden drop from hyperspace. It’s not so much that there isn’t a plot; it’s just that it repeats three times with only the core problem changing: the power leakage, the asteroid belt, the hyperspace control array. While the intent may have been to keep the action element high, the constant lurching is unsettling; maybe that was the point – the city being lost and running out of power with imminent death for all is meant to be unsettling – but it makes uncomfortable viewing and not necessarily engaging viewing – unusually my attention wandered. However, that aside, the set action pieces are accomplished as always, with the CGI especially fantastic in the asteroid section.

First Strike was so dynamic and so dramatic that the action in Adrift, no matter what danger was proposed, always ran the risk of being anti-climatic. What Adrift does well is showcasing that the action in First Strike had real consequences for the city; that there was damage to both the infrastructure and the personnel. It is in the scenes dealing with these consequences that the true plot gems of Adrift are buried as the characters absorb and deal with their situations; Ronan’s frustration at being in the infirmary, Teyla’s quiet leadership in telling McKay ‘you would rather not try?’ as he makes another pronouncement of doom, Zelenka’s heroism in maintaining his post and finishing the job when injured, Sheppard dealing with his previously stated unwanted position leading the city. Joe Flanigan does a fabulous job of conveying a man struggling under the sheer weight of responsibility while rising to the challenge anyway. Of the usual Atlantis regulars, only McKay seems left behind in all these character moments as he is used mostly for exposition.

Indeed, McKay’s character for all its screen time seems strangely relegated to serve mostly as the robot in Lost in Space muttering ‘Danger Will Robinson! Danger!’ over and over, and what could have been a great character arc – his intense desire to keep Weir alive overriding Sheppard’s order and what Weir herself would want – is lost among the action piece of the EVA and Zelenka’s heroics, and actually isn’t explored very much at all. David Hewlett can only do so much with the scant scenes afforded him on this arc. Personally, I would have happily traded one Atlantis-in-doom scenario (and accompanying McKay pessimism) to have explored this arc more.

Weir’s fate is the sub-plot in the story and it is done slightly better than the main plot. It is also rich in character moments; Ronan’s heartfelt thank you, Teyla’s joy at Weir’s survival, Sheppard’s personal struggle with Weir’s fate, Weir’s own repulsion to her treatment, McKay's contrition; all are brilliantly acted by the cast and there is real emotion on display. Keller’s determination to keep her patient alive is also impressive but while the doctor may say the right things and even in the right way (Jewel Staite doing an excellent job of delivering the lines with authority) visually Keller comes across as too young for her position.

In many ways this sub-plot parallels with the main: as Weir worsens, the city’s situation becomes ever more dire; in finding a solution for Weir in replicators, the ultimate solution for the city seems a daring raid on the replicator home-world to retrieve a ZPM. It’s a nice dynamic and one that works well, although tying the city’s fate even subtextually with Weir’s seems a little odd given the imminent changes.

The introduction of Samantha Carter is subdued. Given Tapping’s previous cameos on SGA a casual viewer may be forgiven for believing she was simply doing another. The scenes on the Mid-way Station are somewhat superfluous, and the unnecessary comic relief provided in the shape of Doctor Lee, an annoyance. Am I the only one who yearns for the days of SG1’s Paradise Lost when Lee was a somewhat serious scientist instead of a poor carbon-copy of Felger? Again, these scenes are so clearly ‘set-up’ for the next episode that they might well have had the words in bright flashing lights scrolling across the screen.

As a set-up, Adrift does work incredibly well. It leaves the viewer wanting and primed for the next episode. All the necessary elements to tell the next piece are in place: Weir’s condition, the city’s predicament, the suggested plan of action, Carter and the Apollo poised as cavalry. The whole serves to entice the audience and promise more.

In the end, Adrift serves its purpose; it builds the tension for the conclusion in the final part of the trilogy but it also suffers the usual fate of the second instalment: while it is solid, certainly enhanced by its character moments, performances and special effects amongst the rather repetitive plot; it isn’t anywhere near as good as the first. The hope though is that with this set-up, the conclusion will be incredible.

September 3rd, 2012, 07:05 AM

So we begin a new season of SGA and as promised, the potential that was there in the season finale of Season 3 is used. We have Atlantis in space and since we have that we have all kinds of new threats; asteroids, shield failures, uncertainty, definite life & death on the line and we also have what could be the most positive thing for Atlantis so far, the damage it incurred itself which should return Atlantis to it's Season 1 & 2 roots.

From the moment the episode begins, you're thrown with a couple of images; weir incapacitated, Rodney working as hectically as he can, yelling and screaming about and those images prove that this isn't going to be your usual walk in the park. Never have we seen the crew work hard like this before; the threat that they face, the near determination and survivalism that they show, it's almost as if they feel revitalized by what's going on yet afraid at the same time with McKay seems oddly focused and concentrated; sprouting out less of those jokes and catchphrases that he's known for and instead placing his efforts on being a helpful person, trying to save Atlantis from potential harm and Sheppard seeming oddly forthcoming with his attempts to lead, his caring of the people, his stern behavior and newfound dynamics. Their performances makes us feel for the situation at hand, the aftermath of the attacks, the various damage around the ship, the deaths that happen around us; it's almost like we're there ourselves and we're feeling the possible threat of death as much as they are.

Truly chaotic.

The amount of obstacles that they face are ever so insurmountable and ever so representative of the situation they're in; the damaged power conduits, the unexpected surprises, moments where you have to do the impossible and they really make it so that it's not so easy to get out of. You keep watching this episode expecting them to find that one moment where they magically fix it but it never comes, instead the obstacles keep coming at them with relentless pace, we've seen Atlantis face threats before but never have we seen them face this and this is what makes it so engaging; seeing Sheppard risk everything, seeing Dr. Keller trying to save Weir, being faced with a no-win scenario, really grabs you at the edge of your seat and these moments don't let up with their amazing visual effects and their almost real stakes. It's beautiful, it's almost awe-inspiring in itself but you're left with a feeling that they won't make it, that there a chance they will die. Atlantis in space truly provides an episode where heroics are noble and every bit is as good as the next.

And they even manage to do some good drama too. Weir's plot is the main example with life & death on the line and the shots do an effective job at showing Weir with the appropriately bloody and bruised looks and the effective combination of lighting and atmosphere; you can take one look at her and be convinced about the situation she's in. Though it's not mentioned much in the episode, you can clearly see the impact that Weir has on her team and how the team reacts whenever she is mentioned, they can't help but to feel something for her and even Ronan has some kind words for her in what might be his most sympathetic performance yet. Then there is the situation about the nanites in her body which leads to good tension with McKay and Sheppard yelling and being stern; you can tell that both of them are putting on their best performances, putting all of their energy into making their characters feel real, every breath they take and the infliction of every harsh word they say can be felt and all of that makes you care more for Weir, who manages to provide a unique twist on her situation. It's funny, there's an objection to what she's going to be come (raising good questions) and yet she takes the objection seriously herself; knowing that she's becoming what she's objecting to. Makes you think whether or not humanity can face themselves...

Poor Weir... and Ronan.

Of course, there's also some things that really effect the viewing of the episode; one being the now certain replacement of Elizabeth Weir with Samantha Carter. (thank you freshly painted opening sequence; even Season 2 held on to the previous season's for a while.) While I understand the need to put Samantha Carter on there (for both the producers and channel execs.), I really don't think she's the proper person to replace Weir and it's evident during those scenes in the now completed midway station where she doesn't show the incandescence or even the appeal that Weir had; in fact she seems to act differently then even prior appearances in the show. It is nice to see Sam but nothing I'm seeing here is convincing me that she's leader material. The scenes at the midway station do serve some purpose, thus giving a purpose to the bridge which seems slightly pointless; they serve to show that there is at least somebody out there that can help Atlantis, thinking of plans, coming up with ideas... even though the scenes themselves aren't great, it's nice to know there's someone that can save them. Oh, and the gateships blowing apart the asteroids felt a bit flashy and distracting; that's all.

Season 4 opens up utilizing the newfound potential amazingly well. Atlantis in space is engaging grabbing the audience with it's tension, action and drama and giving our characters a refreshing breather that allows them to put on engaging performance. There is no doubt in my mind that you will be on the edge of your seat for the 44 minutes this episode airs and even though there are some things that could of been done better, it's as close as it's going to be for a season premiere of this caliber. Nicely done.