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    FAN REVIEWS: Progeny

    Visit the Episode Guide
    STARGATE ATLANTIS - SEASON THREE
    EPISODE NUMBER - 305

    Weir and the team visit an advanced civilization that split off from the Lanteans thousands of years ago, but discover that they may not have left Atlantis in peace.

    VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE >>



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    Last edited by GateWorld; February 6, 2021, 09:38 PM.

    #2
    Holy Humanoid, Batman! They’re Replicators!


    “Progeny” written by Carl Binder (from a story he co-wrote with Robert C. Cooper) and directed by Andy Mikita played almost like two episodes, both interesting and exciting. In Part 1, our Atlantis team makes contact with an advanced race headed by the rather forbidding David Ogden Stiers. It soon becomes evident that these people, called Asurans, are descendants of the Ancients or Lantians that split off from the Ancients that eventually ascended or were defeated by the Wraith. At the end of Part 1, we find out that these people aren’t Ancients and surprise, the whole of Part 1 wasn’t real. It was a mental manipulation of the off-world team by a Lantean version of the humanoid Replicators! I found this to be a very good surprise. Although I knew something was strange about the decision to abandon Atlantis, I was caught totally off-guard that it wasn’t real at all. Part 2 focused on our team’s escape from the Asuran Atlantis.

    Carl Binder did a good job writing this episode. The mid-story twist was a very nice touch. My usual complaint that the Ancients don’t seem alien enough doesn’t seem to matter that much in light of the surprise that they weren’t actually Ancients.

    The straightforward direction of Andy Mikita conformed to the needs of this episode. He directed the actors well, most notably in subtle physical humor and in the fast talking and quick movements which helped to create the tension in the destruction of Atlantis scene. The editing and scoring followed suit. The clever use of the Atlantis sets shot in new ways and with different lighting and set decoration aided by green screen additions was very effective. It made the Asuran/Replicator Atlantis seem truly impressive as did the green screen view of a huge city surrounding this Atlantis. The shots from the” high in the sky” walkways between the Asuran skyscrapers even gave me a touch of vertigo. My wish for more interesting set decoration and more colorful costumes seems a minor quibble and could be argued to be appropriate considering that the Asurans are artificial life forms.

    Of the special effects, the Puddlejumper escaping the Asuran Gateroom underfire, the bombing of Atlantis and the take-off and space flight of the Replicators’ city were terrific. In this episode both Lantean cities felt large and impressive and different from each other which was necessary, but had to have been difficult to achieve. The attack of our Atlantis was shown from the outside with pretty Lantean bombs hitting the city looking like fireworks, and inside with realistic explosions tearing it apart. It was quite credible.

    I like Steirs in this kind of role because I’m a little intimidated by him and he didn’t disappoint. Their guide, Niam was played in an understated almost aesthetic manner by John O’Callaghan. O’Callaghan’s bland acting style didn’t endear me to him as much as Patrick Currie’s performance as Fifth in “Stargate SG1", so I wasn’t able to feel his tragedy as much as Fifth’s. In any case, his character seems set to return. The regulars on the show were in top form, not a false note to be heard. Torri Higginson had the central role as negotiator and leader of the expedition. I enjoyed seeing Weir take charge again. Joe Flanigan was very effective in the scene where he was the last one on Atlantis. He showed hesitation and emotion which added to the tension, most effectively as he closed his eyes and waited for Atlantis to self-destruct. His performance made our shock as great as his, when Sheppard found out it was all in his mind. He echoed what we were all thinking at home when he complained, “What the Hell just happened?” All the actors including David Nykl as Zelenka were wonderful in this scene, showing humor alternating with increasing fear. Unfortunately, Rachel Luttrell and Jason Mamoa had little to do except run and shoot. Dr. Beckett was unexplained in his absence.

    Once again, I enjoyed the banter between McKay and Sheppard although I do think he pesters McKay too much. Their little physical bits, like Mckay assuming Sheppard was still behind him, but startled that he changed position are amusing. Flanigan’s “probe” joke was very funny, but David Hewlett had the best line of the show when, once again, he was expected to solve a technical problem and he said, “Oh, that’s me. Surprise, surprise. Why don’t I go on these missions by myself?”




    “Progeny” is a good episode, well written, directed and acted with just enough originality, humor, nice visuals and excitement to make me want to watch it a second time. I recommend it as one of the better episodes in “Stargate Atlantis’ ” three seasons.


    ***


    Trivia: I looked up the name Oberoth since it sounded vaguely Shakespearean to me. I didn’t find it under Shakespeare. Strangely it’s the name of a dragon-like creature on Neopets.com, a creature who’s brother had cast him aside.

    David Ogden Steirs is well known for playing Major Charles Emerson Winchester III on the T.V. series ‘M*A*S*H”. Recently he has had the recurring role of Reverend Purdy on “the Dead Zone”. John O’Callaghan (Niam) worked with Beau Bridges on the 2002 made for TV movie “We Were the Mulvaneys”.

    Bonnie Arbuthnot
    Last edited by TameFarrar; August 12, 2006, 12:44 PM.
    Hatshepsut, Queen Pharaoh

    Comment


      #3
      Progeny should have been a great episode. It contained everything a great episode needs: good characterization, sharp dialogue, a strong storyline, conflict and resolution (of a sort, anyway) and the introduction of elements that can be built upon in later eps. Unfortunately Progeny relies so heavily (and in some instances so blatantly) on earlier episodes of SG-1 that it eclipses a lot of the "good."

      The story started off well: the discovery of a world where the Ancients- or at least a very advanced people- still live. The team, with Weir in tow, steps through the gate for a meet & greet, leaving god-knows-who in charge of the city. Having read the spoilers beforehand, I knew what was in store for the team, but it didn't diminish my interest or enjoyment as the situation unfolded. Everyone felt wonderfully in character and it was a relief to see McKay acting like the competent scientist he's supposed to be instead of the petulant laughingstock the writers seem to enjoy making him. Sheppard, too, was strong and his wit was kept mostly in check, although the bickering with McKay over minutes and seconds grated a bit. I'd also like to thank the costuming department for allowing the female replicators to remain fully covered; it's always nice to see female characters who are NOT reduced to the role of scantily-clad sex kittens. I'd also like to thank Carl Binder for not having Shep letch after Niam's two female companions.

      The attitude of dismissive superiority was well played by David Ogden Stiers and it amuses me that Team Atlantis found his behavior frustrating when they've exhibited similar sentiments themselves. Weir's confrontation with Oberoth and her decision to leave seemed a little abrupt and the team's resultant capture seemed a little obvious, but Shep's induced vision of what happened was a joy to watch and it offered some great insight into his character. The sudden appearance of so many hiveships seemed overly suspicious to me, but watching the destruction of Atlantis I actually felt a bit wistful that it wasn't really happening because thus far the city has been woefully wasted by the writers and having the expedition unhomed has the potential to create some fascinating and intense storylines. Alas, it was only a vision, but as it ended I couldn't help thinking that Sheppard had just provided the replicators with three of the most destructive facts imaginable: the gate address to Atlantis, the gate address to Earth and the self-destruct codes for the city.

      This is when the story started to fall apart for me. As interesting as Shep's vision was, it and everything that came after closely echoed events in the SG-1 episode Unnatural Selection and the unease I felt about having the replicators in the Atlantisverse bloomed into full-blown dismay. It's bad enough they've resurrected an enemy from SG-1 and tried to transplant them to Atlantis, but to underscore the unnecessary recycling by having it closely follow one of the most pivotal replicator eps from SG-1 decreased Progeny's earlier value. Niam was far too much like SG-1's Fifth to be a unique and sustainable character and although Atlantis differed from SG-1 by actually saving Fifth Niam, it wound up not making any difference as the homeworld replicators were easily able to reprogram Niam despite the fact that McKay had changed his base code to a significant enough degree that Niam was unaffected by the "freeze" command McKay executed.

      The conclusion of the episode left me with a lot of questions. Why did the replicators choose to launch the city and waste time and energy traveling to Atlantis when it would have been much easier to make replicator versions of Team Atlantis to send back through the gate to engage the auto-destruct sequence in the city? Why was Niam's potentially dangerous personality glitch allowed to exist at all? How come Team Atlantis decided to wipe out all of the replicators instead of seeing if McKay's non-aggression upgrade worked, as had been originally planned? Why was Niam unaffected by the "freeze" command but easily overwritten by the "reset" engaged by the homeworld reps? How stupid is Team Atlantis to think that blowing up one cityship full of replicators will solve all their problems when they already know that blowing them up isn't effective? How stupid are the Ancients to think that blowing up the replicator world would solve all their problems? And why did they allow the replicators to develop to human form in the first place? Wouldn't that have made them less effective as weapons?

      Instead of cheering for this episode I was left with a growing sense of dissatisfaction at the way things played out. There were certainly elements to enjoy about it and the launching of the cityship was terrific to watch (it was the main reason I tuned in), but I couldn't help feeling that at least part of the reason the replicators launched the cityship was so that the producers could impress everyone by showing the launch of a cityship. Yes, it was impressive, but I wish it had served a greater purpose to the story. Time and again the producers have introduced potentially structure-changing elements only to take the easy way out, reducing crucial storylines to the role of easily-defeated plot devices. When are the producers going to start taking real chances? And when are they going to allow Atlantis to be the gripping and original show it could be instead of the recycling bin for SG-1 plots and characters?

      Comment


        #4
        “PROGENY”
        An Awesome Episode!

        “Progeny” is probably, by far, one the best episodes I’ve ever seen from Stargate Atlantis. The special effects were amazing. We saw a gigantic, expanded, fully developed Ancient city with the Asuran version of Atlantis in the center. We saw the launching of the city. The jumping to hyperspace of that city was also very impressive. It made me think that one day that city could be Atlantis heading home to Earth. The destruction of the City Ship of was not what I expected to be of a ZPM overload, but eh! The special effects, I give it a 10/10.

        Anyway, the actors and actresses were great, as usual. Rodney, of course, was as funny as ever. I especially loved the banter between Sheppard and Rodney about how long “momentarily” is. Torri Higginson once again delivered an amazing performance. She has really come a long way from her first stint as Dr. Weir in the Season 8 premier, “New Order”. Overall, acting was pretty good.

        Now, on to the more important points of the episode, it’s obvious that the Asurans were original Replicators. This will most certainly bring up some extremely interesting stories of not just the Replicators, but of the Ancients as well! The Ancients have a lot to answer for should they ever decide to come back to lower levels of existence. I was not surprised at all by what they did to the Asurans. After all the help they’ve given us against Anubis and the Ori, why should we expect them to do something as a simple as rewriting a programming code instead of destroying the Asurans? I felt, what I assume Dr. Weir was feeling when she watched the Ancients destroy them in cold blood, horrified and sad at the same time.

        It was also interesting to see that Teyla was conveying the same voice of reason about abusing Niam’s trust as did Samantha Carter in Season Six “Unnatural Selection” regarding the trust of Fifth. I liked that a lot about Teyla!

        Overall, this episode will probably go down as a fan favorite for Atlantis. I give this Episode an 11/10 stars.

        ~Icer234~
        Is everything okay?!
        I got 5 and Teyla got-
        I got 8.
        I got 10 and she got 8
        (rolls her eyes)

        Comment


          #5
          So far this season, after a capable premiere, “SGA” has been struggling. A lot of the problems that plagued the second season have carried over into the third, and with the ratings down significantly from the first season (or even the second), the series needed a shot in the arm. While there is an argument to be made that the franchise is simply feeling the effects of “franchise fatigue”, given how often “SG-1” is run and how much material is available, the writers haven’t given the fans much reason to come back every week.

          One of the obvious solutions is better writing, but as I’ve mentioned more than once, the key is giving the audience something more than a string of stand-alone episodes. The first season managed to incorporate long-term plot elements while telling relatively stand-alone stories, and the first half of the second season seemed to be on the same path. Returning to stronger continuity could and should cement the fanbase, and episodes like this are a good example.

          On the one hand, some might consider this particular plot element an example of repeating plot threads from “SG-1”, rather than paving new ground. Yet this is something that “SGA” can do well: explain aspects of Ancient technology and history introduced on “SG-1” within a more direct context. This episode explains one of the lingering plot holes from earlier “SG-1” installments while delivering current consequences and complications for Team Atlantis. This series should explore the legacy of the Ancients, and if it retroactively explains some of the Ancient elements from “SG-1”, how could that be a bad thing?

          All that said, the writers had an uphill battle once the Replicator concept came around again, because I’ve never been a huge fan of that particular threat. So it had to work well for me to overcome my lack of enthusiasm. What sealed the deal for me was the promise of long-term consequences. Weir and the others managed to escape for the moment, but there’s a lot of doubt as to whether or not it was a clean getaway. The Asurans could be more of a problem than the Wraith, and it’s one more reason for Team Atlantis to uncover more information about the Ancients, their history, and their technology.

          Weir is now facing threats on various levels: the Genii, the Wraith, and the Asurans. With all of that happening in the Pegasus Galaxy, the question is how all of this will begin to overlap. It would be interesting if the writers managed to unleash the Asurans on the Wraith sooner rather than later, thus shifting the balance of power in the galaxy and forcing unusual alliances to emerge.

          Of course, that is the other element that has yet to emerge: where are the allies for Team Atlantis? By this point in “SG-1”, the Tau’ri had made contact with the Asgard, the Jaffa Resistance, and the Tok’ra. The conflict between those groups, relative to the struggle against the Goa’uld, made it possible to touch on continuity and intrigue nearly every week. While Team Atlantis is facing serious threat from many corners, those threats can’t appear constantly, or survival seems contrived. If allies were to emerge (beyond the SGC), it might help give the writers enough complexity to develop a strong season arc. This is a good step forward; it remains to be seen if it will be enough.

          Comment


            #6
            After one and a half seasons of speculation, Progeny is at last the episode that introduces us to the creators of the ‘Hot Zone’ virus and they are certainly not who or what most fans expected them to be. Atlantis has often taken a darker and less clear cut route than its sister show, treading far murkier and more controversial waters than SG-1 does. This episode is no exception.

            Firstly, we learn more about the Ancients’ not so stellar past. Having created ultra-violent nanites as potential weapons against the Wraith, they stood back and allowed them to develop into highly complex AIs. Did they do this because they thought they would become better weapons or was it simply a matter of scientific curiosity? It is hard to tell but considering that they were fighting a losing war at the time it is not really surprising that they made such an error in judgement. Yet again, we are shown that the Ancients are not infallible. I wonder if this is conscious decision by the writers for two reasons; one, it makes them more humanlike and shows that one day humans themselves may be able to become what the Ancients are and two, it further explains why the Ancients in their current form will not interfere with other species – not only have they had disastrous consequences from mistakes they have made in the past but they have also seen the importance of learning from those mistakes.

            I doubt that what Weir was shown by Niam was the full truth concerning what happened between the Ancients and Asurans. They likely had a very good reason to wipe them out (it is hinted that it was because the Asurans created the Hot Zone virus – perhaps the Ancients saw that they had become a threat to everyone) and it will be interesting to see whether this will be brought up again in their future appearances. Considering they wiped the knowledge from the database will we ever get the Ancients’ side of what happened?

            The Asurans themselves are a nice addition to the SGA universe. Yes, they are like Replicators and a lot of fans seemed to be dismayed by this idea, but they are more complicated and have more potential as villains than the SG-1 versions ever had. The SG-1 Replicators lacked depth because of their simplistic motivation. Even the human form, as interesting as they were, were essentially machines. The Asurans seem to be the very peak of AI. Do they really feel emotions? It is hard to tell, but it is interesting to see how some of them desire for ascension. Is that a function of their programming, compelling them to improve themselves and evolve as instructed to do? Or is it something deeper than that pushing them? Just how far has their AI come? Do they really have a soul? I hope these kinds of issues will be explored in the future. It would also be good to see how these fit in with the development of the Milky Way Replicators – was Reese’s creator trying to recreate the experiment without the mistakes that made the Asurans?

            As villains they definitely have potential. They are not evil as such, but are acting upon their programming. Unlike the Wraith they have the capacity to change and offer the chance of negotiation which will likely make SGA’s interaction with them much more varied.

            The overall plot of the episode was well executed. They managed to get across an awful lot of information in a way that the audience could easily follow. Having avoided all spoilers, I was totally fooled by Sheppard’s vision right up until the city blew up. The reveal that they were replicators was extremely shocking. Yet again, the team is forced to make the hard choice in order to protect the people of Atlantis. Once the Asurans went on the aggressive it was clear they were a huge threat and it was unlikely that Oberoth could have been persuaded to halt the attack in favour of Niam’s plan.

            Niam’s ultimate fate was a pity as it would have been interesting to see how he would have developed, especially as he tried to gain ascension. A vast niggling point of the episode was the fate of the two female Asurans. I know they were really glorified extras, but the writers made a poor decision in just allowing them to disappear. Why wouldn’t they be offered the say deal as Niam?

            Character wise, two main things stood out this week. Slightly superfluous reasons for her going aside, it was good to see Elizabeth being able to do her job and negotiate. Her main scene with Oberoth was very well played, and it was good to see her thinking on her feet by coming up with alternatives when he kept refusing her offers. She chose her words wisely and was extremely careful not to reveal where they were from. It was impressive at the end to see how she turned his own words against him, accusing him of the arrogance that he said was the Ancients’ failing in order to give him something to think about until they contacted him again. Once more she was forced to make the tough decision and once more she did so without hesitation, putting the safety of her own people first. At least with her in charge the people of Atlantis know they have their best shot of staying alive.

            Rodney was mostly ‘tech-guy’ this episode but he did have a couple of interesting moments. After Carson’s questioning him last week over his care for the team, he shows active concern for Elizabeth on two occasions. Now, he always does seem to have a better friendship with her than most, but is this evidence of what Carson said sinking in? How many times does Rodney ever actually say he’s sorry to anyone – usually he’s the first to protest his innocence when things go wrong. Is this the start of some long awaited character development?

            9/10 - Overall, a very good episode in an already very good season. Marked knocked off for the disappearing females and for no explanation as to why Atlantis didn’t detect the City Ship.
            sigpic
            by Kaaatie

            Comment


              #7
              Progeny introduces a new enemy in the Pegasus Galaxy, not unlike the Replicators from SG1. Although they will probably make a great enemy in the near future, their introduction isn’t so fantastic.

              The beginning of the episode puts us right in the middle of the story with what appears to be a living colony of Ancients, with their own huge city living on another planet. The casual viewer might be fooled, but the loyal fans probably doubted these Asurans from the start. There was just something off about them. They were, as Sheppard so eloquently put it, not very Ancienty. This was nicely done by the writers and the actors and gave the viewer a looming sense of danger, even when everything seemed to be fine.

              The sequence where the team escapes to Atlantisn only to be attacked by the Wraith was also a very good move. Their escape was way too easy, like Sheppard said, but that happens more often on Stargate. When the Wraith show up and immediately find the city, the feeling that something is not right returns. Still, everything looks very real and you’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

              And drop it does. Fans of SG1 would have immediately recognized the hand in the head thing as the Replicators way to probe someone’s mind. Soon enough, we learn that the Asurans are indeed a form of Replucitors, maybe even the original Replicators.
              Here arises one problem. SG1 viewers know the Replicators and what they are capable of. In that series, they were at first simply the enemy of the Asgard, we knew nothing else. Later on, we met the bugs and it wasn’t until several seasons later that the human form Replicators came to be. So as such a powerfull enemy, the Replicators were quite well introduced and their image built up over the years. If you know all this, you know what kind of the threat these Asurans will make. But if you are not a loyal SG1 fan, it’s lost on you completely. This happens sometimes with little remarks en references that only SG1 fans will get, but this is much bigger. Off course, anyone can see how advanced the Asurans are, but I doubt everyone gets just how big an enemy they can be.
              After all, the team does manage to escape without a great deal of trouble and even blows up the entire Atlantis type city.

              The whole episode just a the same feel as SG1’s Unnatural Selection, where the human form Replicators are first introduced, minus the build up until that point. The team is captured by the Replicators, they manage to escape using one of the more gullable Replicators and take off, having made a powerfull enemy. The biggest difference is that SG1 choose to betray Fifth, while the Atlantis team was forced to throw Niam out the Jumper. Although I somehow doubt that’s how he sees it. In any case, we will see more of the Asurans and Niam.

              So, the smaller things that were in the episode. Once again, I enjoyed the acting. Ronon seems to have loosened up a bit after Sateda and even refers to the team as we at one point, once again signifying he finally sees himself as part of the family.
              My favorite character of the week was, once again, Rodney McKay. He was very much his usual self and I loved the ‘Why don’t I go on these missions by myself?’ remark. Another thing that struch me is that everyone seems to think Rodney can do anything these days. Even when he says he doesn’t know how long the Asurans will be frozen, they still want a number. And when he’s working on the code and the ZPM overload, they are not exactly patient with him.
              In any case, great acting once again and even some little character moments between the team members.
              The CGI this episode was absolutely stunning. I love the zoom out from the Atlantis like city to the wide shot of the surrouding buildings. Same goes for the lift off scene, the city blowing up and especially the shot of all the Ancient ships bombarding the city. This last one doesn’t show much detail, but it’s quite clear there are bigger ships there than the Orion and Aurora. Let’s hope we get to see some of those in the future.

              Off course, this episode does bring up some questions. For example, just how stupid and arrogant are the Ancients? They couldn’t do a proper job getting rid of the nanites? They were the most powerfull race ever to inhabit the galaxy! I’m hoping we’ll discover that Niam’s version of the story wasn’t the thruth, because if not, I would have been one major screw up for the Ancients.
              Second question, if the Asurans are programmed with even more hostility than the Wraith, why didn’t they kill the team as soon as they came through? And why did some of them help the team destroy their’s own kind? Seems way too much of a stretch if you ask me.

              In any case, let’s just hope we’ll get to see more of these Asurans in the near future to expand on the basis laid by this episode and they might turn out to be on hell of an enemy. So, a good episode overall, but Progeny does leave me with serious questions and doesn’t really hold my attention as tight as it could have. It gets 7 not so very Ancienty Replicators out of a possibly 10.
              *And that's all I have to say about that*

              Comment


                #8
                The Replicators make their first appearance in the Pegasus galaxy in Progeny and provide a chilling additional enemy for the Atlantis team to face besides the Wraith. The story provides a nice set-up for an arc for Weir while showcasing McKay’s technical abilities, and his relationship with Sheppard. The result is an accomplished piece of work that ticks all the right boxes but somehow feels as soulless as the Replicators themselves.

                Although SGA has always seemed more in need of allies than enemies (as Sheppard comments ‘just what we need; more bad guys’), arguably, the Replicators especially in their human form were the most successful of the enemies created to face SG1. Their destruction, and in particular, the destruction of Repli-Carter at the end of SG1’s S8 seemed to cut short the life of this enemy before its time. While the revival of them in the Pegasus galaxy may seem like re-treading old ground for some, for others they are welcome resurrection.

                In SGA they are presented as a Replicator-like enemy rather than exactly the Replicators of old. They are created by the Ancients themselves as a failed weapon against the Wraith and programmed with brutal aggression. David Ogden Stiers is fantastic as the Asuran leader who embodies their nature; cold, hard, arrogant, remorseless with aggression beneath a thin veneer of humanity.

                Equally, John O’Callaghan, is excellent as Niam, a Pinocchio-like Replicator whose greatest ambition is to emulate his creators and ascend. Niam is remarkably likeable and sympathetic which is a success of how well the character is written and portrayed. It’s so successful that Niam’s sudden attack on Weir is the shock it is intended to be.

                Unfortunately, it is in the relationship that the Atlantis team builds with Niam that the similarities to SG1’s Unnatural Selection are most evident. The question over whether the destruction of the Asuran city is a betrayal of Niam’s trust; even the decision to take Niam with them; his relationship with Weir reminiscent of Fifth/Carter – all feel a little too similar even if the choices made and relationships are ultimately different.

                Still, these Replicators are a success as a hard-to-defeat enemy. The Atlantis team are amazingly fortunate in their escape which is completely down to McKay and his technical skills. McKay’s ability to change the base code gives them the access which allows him to freeze the Replicators for a short space of time. It is entirely believable technically and wholly in character. However, as the team then turn to the question of how to blow up the Asuran city, McKay is once again called upon for an idea. As he says he should go on these missions on his own; it would have been better had Sheppard suggested the idea of a ZPM overload even if McKay was still called upon to rig it. McKay’s inability to change Niam before he attacks Weir and his own innate arrogance at the end ground McKay back in reality after his brilliance in saving the team and Atlantis but it still feels imbalanced and the escape very convenient.

                What is fascinating is the difference in the actual escape and Sheppard’s imagined one. In the latter, it is Sheppard’s brawn (with a little help from Ronan) that saves the day with a soupcon of McKay’s technical skills. In the actual escape, Sheppard is left to twiddle his thumbs. His frustration comes out in his constant nagging of McKay and their bickering over how much time McKay has actually bought them. These exchanges do provide some much needed humour and the sibling rivalry aspect is played up nicely continuing the theme from the previous episode especially as Weir rebukes them a la Mom. The team’s concern for her at various points emphasises her role in their family and family continues to be an underlying theme, this time played out in the parent/child relationship between the Replicators and the Ancients.

                Weir is the other character centre stage in Progeny. Her leadership skills are fully on display in the one to one session she has with Oberoth, with her controlling the team discussion on their escape plan and in her persuasion of Niam to help them. Yet her Achilles heel is also shown once more; her compassion. It is this that leads her to invite Niam to return with them which in turn leads to her almost being killed and future ramifications are hinted at with the final scene being a sinister shot of Niam in space.

                It is a nice touch that in reviving one of SG1’s most reviled enemies that it is the Atlantean characters that originated in SG1, McKay and Weir, who carry the bulk of the story. Yet for all the positive points of the episode including the outstanding special effects that show the superiority of the Asuran planet, the apocalyptic destruction wrought by the Ancients and the breath-taking flying city, there feels like something is missing.

                Perhaps the failure is down to a major question left by the plot; why the Asurans decide to attack Atlantis. Weir puts forward the theory that they are destroying the city out of a sense of revenge on their creators mixed in with a little sibling jealousy directed at humans but it doesn’t feel like a compelling reason. This coupled with the convenience of the escape, and the similarities to Unnatural Selection, make it all a little too much like painting with numbers. The colours are all in the right places but the soul of the painting is missing.

                Progeny is still an accomplished episode and highly enjoyable with some simply breath-taking moments including the destruction of Atlantis in Sheppard’s vision and good use of the characters although the show is failing to find a balance for the six regulars as Beckett is once again MIA. It’s a good set-up and one that hopefully will be used to its fullest potential.
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                  #9
                  Although "Progeny" was well put together in terms of technicalities, with certainly impressive visuals and good acting , the story itself bears an amount of criticism. Not only is it partially recycled, but it's difficult to see things from the protagonists' point of view.
                  First of all, how does the team call the Asurans "arrogant" when they almost immediately criticize and judge them about their hypothetical disagreement with the Lanteans? Granted, they didn't know the Asurans were actually replicators that were betrayed and almost exterminated by the Lanteans, but that isn't the way to act around a supposed potential ally. Sheppard's "bone to pick" with them and Ronon's mouthing off is offensive and ignorant when they don't even have all the facts. This combined with the team's suspiciously curious bearing and fixation with the zero point modules makes any offense taken at Oberoth's "condescending" behavior quite frankly laughable. Then, as if to make things worse, Weir essentially demanded that the Asurans hand over the ZPMs or even let them live in their own city. She acts like they're under some sort of obligation to help them against the Wraith and break out of the "minding their own business" lifestyle (maybe the team has something to learn from them before they screw things up in other galaxies with their interventionism). How did she ever become a diplomat when she goes "we need this, so have to give it to us or you're horrible people". Any civilization would probably be unimpressed with AR-1's insolent manner. Conclusion: The Atlantis team was every bit as "arrogant" as Oberoth and their apparent hurt feelings makes them hypocritical. They actually reminded me of the Eurondans in SG-1's "The Other Side".

                  Now on the next part of the episode - Yes, the Asurans were rash in imprisoning the team and mindprobing them. Yes, the team didn't do anything wrong except act like arses on first contact and possess information about Atlantis. And yes, the Asurans may have been motivated by the aggression programming installed in them by the evil Lanteans.
                  Even so, if the team had gotten over their (maybe understandable) prejudice against replicators and at least morally evaluated the situation, maybe they wouldn't have immediately assumed that the Asurans were wrong and the Lanteans were right. Sheppard comments that the "ancients didn't do a good enough job of wiping them out" and immediately after calls them "more bad guys". They do not consider the implications that the supposed benevolent Lanteans committed mass murder.

                  And then Niam offers them a chance to fix everything by removing the aggression programming for all the Asurans. Instead of doing this, McKay doesn't hesitate to betray him and freeze all of them and destroy their city, bringing upon themselves another war. There's also another "how long" banter moment between him and Sheppard, which isn't even funny. When Niam gets reset, they stop him from killing Weir but in the end have no qualms about their betrayal like SG-1 did in "Unnatural Selection". All in all, very disappointing.

                  The Asurans could have been good villains if they had actually given them a reason to be, but although the essential premise of the introduction was fine, its execution was poor and made the team look just as bad.
                  R.I.P Stargate 1994-2009

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                    #10
                    Progeny

                    As we all know, SGA's previous enemies aside from The Wraith were people known as the "[IGenii[/I]" and they were formidable foes for their time. Sadly they were taken out of the equation following the episode "Coup D'eat" and therefore SGA needed a new enemy; this is where this episode comes in. Audience, met the "Asurans"; a bunch of replicator-like people modeled after the Ancients with a violent tendency within. These people are modeled after the ancients but they're aggressive, to the point where they want to destroy Atlantis and if that's not enough to convince you then they even have a rich history and society that you would just love to pick at.

                    This episode has it all; action, adventure, diplomacy, a sense of urgency... it's almost like the writers crammed every brilliant idea they had into one and executed it successfully. Take for instance the beginning of the episode; it builds it up, introducing the society and planting the seeds of future exploration. We really learn much of the society and the scale of it... I mean if this is just the tip of the iceberg with what they have then imagine how much more there is and of course this introduction gives the crew a chance to be diplomatic, reading their faces, offering stuff to trade, getting a partnership going on... These diplomacy things have been hinted at but never have we seen it fully, to see what goes on in forming a partnership really adds to that feel that SGA is going for; the unfamiliarity in the galaxy, the need for allies against the fight for Wraith and the various factors that go into negotiating. Then at a certain point becomes tense and action-packed and the way it's executed just grabs us in instantly; there is a sense of urgency that drives the episode, allows it to do things it's never done before. It allows it to form a plot that digs at the characteristics of our characters, it allows it to do some unique sequences that mix sci-fi, action and adventure together; one which though a bit too obvious, it heartbreaking, mindbending and especially contributive to both the plot, the character and the back story of our new enemies and these sequences are unique. There are times where it feels like the writers didn't know what to put so it kind of drags on but for the most part, it has it all.


                    Truly massive.

                    The Asurans are a pretty interesting race (though much of it is ruined through the reveal of their history); though they may be similar to the replicators, their connection with the Ancients, their conflict and the way they operate makes them a race that's worth following. I personally find their desire to ascend to be the most interesting, mainly for the fact that a machine wants to ascend and the fact that it enhances their connection with the Ancients. The desire for evolution is a popular subject, especially mechanical evolution where nanites and silicon aren't exactly the same as flesh and blood; I just have to wonder how far an Asuran will go to ascend, how hard they try and how much they believe that they can ascend. Certain factors can come into here like whether or not it's natural for them to evolve or if this is their final state but there's only so much words you can leave; I'm hoping that their quest for ascension will get exploration in future episodes. That's not to say that the other aspects to the Asurans are good; their intricate network they share is intriguing, each one has their individual personality yet information gets to them like clockwork, including the code. Though it's similar to the Wraith, I find that the ability to change certain aspects like personality help to set them apart and the ultimate example of that intricate network comes near the end which I have to say, really showcased the conjoined society well. Plus the fact that they're near able to replicate Atlantian cities, technologies and societies; it just shows how persistent these Asurans really are in their efforts.

                    This episode contains some really impressive VFX. The initial reveal of the city and the shots of the city in space are true examples of the quality that the SGA visual effects team holds; just take one look of those shots and tell me that you don't see the scale and epicness that they tried to get across, it pretty much makes up for the fact that Asuran is just a redress of Atlantis. (though a much better redress of "Atlantis".) And the guys are no slouches either, being in a refreshing situation really gives something that they can use to be cool, sprout out lines, work together and provide some pretty good performances; there's no doubt in my mind that these are the guys we've come to know and love with Sheppard making snarky lines like the good old days, McKay having questionable awkward moments and Weir being the leader that she is; it almost seems like these actors have awaken from a long slumber. Stuff like this really works well for the team mechanic, simply put this episode would not work well together if they weren't acting like a team; unfortunately this episode continues the questionable choices they seem to make. I can understand if they were desperate or had no other choice but the way they're portrayed, it makes it seem like they can't even take a chance nonetheless a brief glimpse of hope that what they promised actually works. I have to wonder if they treat every potential enemy like this; Season 3 is going to be really bumpy if they keep acting this way.


                    Well, they're acting like a team.

                    Nonetheless, this episode introduces the "Asurans" as a force to be reckoned with; they're deadly, they have technology, they have an interesting history and best of all, they have intrigue. This episode is filled with so many things that you'll be engaged from the very beginning they arrive to the point where they "save the day". There is still some morally questionable stuff included in this episode but whether or not it's a good or bad thing will depend on the type of fan you are. Still, really good episode and something that gives me hope for the rest of Season 3.

                    8.5/10
                    Back from the grave.

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