Saturday, September 22, 2012

Stargate Atlantis--"Progeny"

Here we go…finally introducing a formidable enemy to go along with the Wraith. It would be the Replicators just liker with SGA’s parent show, but I am a fan of those buggers, so I am happy even with the unoriginality. Besides, David Ogden Stiers has played good villains ever since he was Maj. Charles Winchester. I assume this is a one off deal for him considering the ending. Too bad.

When our heroes discover an Ancient outpost, they make contact with the Asurans, a race they believe to be un-ascended Ancients. Weir joins AR-1 in traveling to the Asuran civilization it is a teeming city of millions identical to Atlantis. (Budget saving alert--set reuse.) Oberoth, played by Stiers, is the arrogant, uncooperative lerader of the Asurans. He is the one who ’confirms” the Asurans are brothers of the Ancients, but split off over a dispute about battling the Wraith. Oberoth announces they have a plan to defeat the Wraith in due time, but are uninterested in helping defend the rest of Pegasus against them.

With that being Oberoth’s final word, our heroes decide to leave, but are captured before they reach the stargate. The next act takes place only in Sheppard’s mind as he is--unbeknownst to the audience--imagining their escape and return to Atlantis only to find themselves under a massive, special effects-laden attack by the Wraith. Sheppard awakens as the city is about to be destroyed to reveal Oberoth has been probing his mind via intangible hand like the Replicators do. Armed with the knowledge the ancient city of Atlantis was not destroyed 10,000 years ago, Oberoth launches the city into space in order to destroy Atlantis now.

Our heroes find a sympathetic Asuran in Niam. Niam is interested in ascending, and believes Oberoth’s aggressive ways are preventing his people from doing so. Niam helps them escape. He further explains the Asurans’ origin. They were built as microscopic weapons--the Nan virus from ”Hot Zone”--but as they continued to evolve, the Ancients destroyed them. Or so they thought. The Asurans survived as ornery as ever and even more powerful. Our heroes convince the city has to be destroyed before it reaches Atlantis. He helps them do so, but winds up ejected into space when his aggressive programming kicks in and he tries to strangle weir.

I have high hopes for the Asurans as recurring villains. They were originally supposed to be the main villains when SGA was still on the drawing board. Atlantis was supposed to be on Earth with the Asuran Replicators threatening. However, SG-1 was renewed for an eighth season, so Atlantis was moved to Pegasus and the Wraith were created as antagonists instead. At least the powers that be managed to incorporate the Asurans into the series anyway. Hopefully, they will live up to their potential menace.

“Progeny” is a promising start. In spite of my joke at the beginning about reusing the Atlantis set to save money, there are some impressive effects in the episode. The dreamed Wraith attack on Atlantis, the Ancient ann9hilation of the Asurans, the city flying through space, the morphing through walls ability of the Asurans-- is all extremely impressive. I will bet there are going to be some episodes later this season that will be practically virtually shadow puppets on the wall to balance out the expense. I am not even going to complain an entire act took place in Sheppard’s imagination. ‘Progeny’ is a nifty mix of exposition an action with a special effects spectacle every few minutes. Me likey.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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