In 1994, Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich brought Stargate to the big screen. The movie starred Kurt Russell and James Spader and proved to be a decent science fiction film and was a modest box office success. For all intents and purposes it was a one-off film, but it turns out that someone had different ideas. Three years later the movie would be turned into a Showtime series, Stargate SG-1, which would go on to run for a decade between Showtime and the Sci-Fi Channel. It would even go on to spawn a pair of spin-off series, Stargate Universe (set to debut in October 2009) and Stargate Atlantis, plus a short-lived animated series. This Blu-ray brings us two fan-selected episodes and is cased with cover art also selected by fans. It is the first appearance of Atlantis on Blu-ray, and the first episodes of either series in high definition (two straight to video films have previously taken a Blu-ray bow).
As I watch the extended versions of the included episodes, I realize that this is not the best place to start for a series newcomer. Just as the title implies, this Blu-ray is strictly for the fans. Why is that? Simple — the two episodes included are the series premiere and the series finale. You miss all of the middle seasons, where the story grows, expands, changes, and develops, while characters come, go, die, and change alliances. So, if you are looking for a taste of the series, go rent the first season, skip this until you know you like the series, then pick this up to satiate your high-def bug.
Let me start by saying the high definition Stargate Atlantis experience is definitely a good one. It does not match the clarity of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, but don't let that scare you away. These episodes are crisp, clear, and just really look good, the best I have ever seen them. I will say that the first episode, "Rising," suffers a little bit in that the special effects are not the best and the added resolution afforded by the format expose the technical and budgetary constraints of the early episodes. Granted it's not that bad, but it can be noticed. On the other hand, there is nary a spot to be found, colors look great, and the detail is very good.