Reading list & some thoughts on Stargate Atlantis’ AU Vegas ep

by Susan Getgood on January 6, 2009

in Books, Science Fiction, TV/Film

For some reason, I read more when we are at our home in Vermont or when I am travelling on business. I can actually start and finish a book, or two, in the same week. When we are “home-home,” other things always seem to intervene, and I’m lucky if I can read 10-15 minutes every night.

I highly recommend the two books I read over the Christmas holidays: Madame de Stael: The First Modern Woman by Francine du Plessix Gray and Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich.

What have you been reading? I’m loathe to start a meme, but I’d love some new books for my reading list.

On another note, I finally watched last Friday’s “Vegas” alternate universe episode of Stargate Atlantis. Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.

It wasn’t a bad episode all in all. It was nice to see Joe Flanigan (Sheppard) for more than a few minutes loading a tray in a cafeteria, which seems to have been his lot for the last few McKay-Keller centric episodes. I like David Hewlett and Jewel Staite well enough but they aren’t why I started watching the show. Flanigan and Torri Higginson, who played the “late?” much lamented, Elizabeth Weir, are. Their chemistry as actors — forget about whether you “ship” them — was so good, it made the show for many viewers.

Something the producers either didn’t see, or just didn’t want to see, but the show has not been the same since Higginson left, and while still good, neither has Flanigan. According to the interwebs, he asked for less, not more, screen time, and I’ve read that in the latest issue of Stargate Magazine, he has this to say about his character

Q: Is there anything that John didn’t get to do, in your eyes?

JF: I wish that I’d had a leading female romantic interest who was, like, my boss. I was thinking we could get some of that Moonlighting quality into the show, where it’s not gratuitous nonsense and romantic excess, it’s just under the surface, hidden, and consequently incredibly frustrating. You have a job to do, and you have to push your feelings aside. That makes for some of the best movies and television around.

Emphasis mine. Many — myself included — have interpreted this as a subtle dig at the producers for not capitalizing on Flanigan and Higginson’s acting chemistry and doing more with the relationship. Instead of quasi-killing her off.

Anyway, the AU episode (the show’s 100th by the way) had a decent storyline, and not too much Keller, which was refreshing because lately it has seemed a bit like the perils of Jennifer. It also had what seemed to many John/Elizabeth shippers a nod to the importance of the Weir character to the Sheppard character, the reference to the medic AU Sheppard couldn’t save.

What I hated? Initially it was the end, with AU Sheppard bleeding to death in the desert after saving the Earth from certain destruction, and The Powers That Be not lifting a finger to save him. It seemed such an unfair ending for such a heroic character.

Then I realized that it was perfectly fitting, and pretty much summed up how Flanigan has been served by the show he served so well.

No matter what any of the other actors did, for the producers, it was always the Rodney McKay show. McKay was the only character allowed a family more than in passing or as a one episode plot device. Nerdy science guy, he had two girlfriends on the show, while NONE of the other men or women — no matter how hot or hunky — ever had sustained, long-term relationships. The plot device of Teyla’s pregnancy does not count.

So no matter what they do on this Friday’s season finale, I think I’ll consider Vegas the final word on Stargate Atlantis as a series. Sheppard left hanging, Rodney safe warm and happy, and most of the other characters completely irrelevant to the storyline.

It could have been so much better. In fact, it was in the early years. Here’s hoping all the actors land in good vehicles.

So looking forward to new eps of Fringe, Burn Notice and Battlestar Galactica this month…

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