1. They either should have been cancelled after S4 or continued on to S6.
S4 had this weird habit of doubled up episodes- two John and Ronon on Earth episodes, two Keller trapped episodes, two surprise it's our dead friends episodes.
Neither the writing, nor the acting, suffered any significant disimprovement. There are some fucking perfect sequences in S4, but both the metaplot and the soap opera (cause we all know those are the two things to watch on genre TV) really took a hit for some reason. Harmony stands out in my mind as the best example of this: it's particularly well-written and acted... but the plot is A New Hope.
IDEK what happened to S5. God.
2. Why waste Carter?
I'm not an SG-1 fan; I kinda sorta know what's going on, and I'm really gay for Teal'c, but I'm pretty much original movie/SGA only. Based just on watching SGA, I feel like I know nothing at all about Carter. She has all of Weir's bad points and none of the good ones. She just kind of sits in Elizabeth's office and gives the rubber stamp to whatever John and Rodney say.
Where was the Rodney/Carter? I mean, three damn seasons of Rodney making her out to be sex and science all rolled up together, and we get a grand total of two exchanges about it. I don't give a damn if he's dating Katie Brown. Never made all that much difference before.
Woolsey has more character development by Broken Ties than Sam got in all of S4. I know this is a spinoff and all, but it is just not good enough to take a character's personality as read like that. It's like we're supposed to go, "Oh hey, it's Carter" and be so impressed that we don't notice that she has no development.
Woolsey is my favorite, y'all.
3. Heteronormativity: you're doin it.
Sometime in S5, the show got noticeably more misogynistic and heteronormative. It feels like at some point they picked up a Writer On Board. It didn't occur to me until Whispers, which is, by far, my least favorite episode of the series. Everything about it smacked of tokenism- and plus it was just a really boring episode.
It doesn't even make any fucking sense to have an all female gate team! It's just as dumb as sending out an all male team, and for all the same reasons.
It's like this whole stupid rigamarole with one of the male characters being secretly gay. This is not like Dumbledore, where his sexuality remains extra-textual because there is absolutely no place for it in canon. But for SGA , all it would have taken is some offhanded reference. You don't need to break it out or make it a plot point, because the show takes place in our world and there are gay people in it already. To bracket it like that 1) smacks of trying to toss the fangirls a bone in the same way that Whispers does and 2) is a blatant statement that homosexual relationships are so Other that they can't even be mentioned in casual conversation.
Hell! Woolsey meets the personification of all his romantic desires in season 5. Just cast a dude. Problem solved!
Which brings me to my next point.
4. AUGH KELLER AUGH.
Just. Jesus. There's just so much about her character that is problematic that I don't even know where to start.
A lot of her character originally was ported straight over from Carson- being hesitant and scared and all “ew, space is icky”- but it looked so much better on Carson than it did on her. And yes, it's because she's a woman and he's a man. Part of the reason that Carson is a somewhat comic character is that he evinces so many traditionally female characteristics. He's the mother hen of Atlantis, and that is sweet and funny because it's counter to expectations. If you give a female traditionally female characteristics, it's not funny; it's just stereotypical. Did somebody just catch the dumbass on that one?
Carson had much more time to develop and many opportunities to prove that he had the proverbial balls to be the CMO. Keller wasn't given those same chances, at least not at first, and she seriously suffered for that. I'm sorry if I expect more out of my own gender, but I kept wanting to scream at her to put her big girl panties on or go the fuck back to Earth (I do, however, appreciate that Teyla obviously felt the same way).
I say her original character, because they just kept changing her- not developing her naturally, but in these weird bursts of information that didn't fit together. In particular, there's an episode where she just sort of declares that she was always the smart kid growing up, that she grew up fast, blah blah, all this stuff that makes her just like Rodney, and nothing about her characterization up to that point suggests that.
In so many ways, they crammed her into canon where she didn't fit. From the beginning, she's BFFLs with the team- it took Carson three fucking seasons to accomplish that!
I keep going back to the scene in Green Arrow (Quiver, I think) where Ollie and Kyle are talking, and Ollie tells him that seeing him instead of Hal is like coming to a Halloween party and seeing somebody dressed up as your dead best friend. Rodney never seems to feel like that, and that's a problem.
5. MAKE WAR, NOT LOVE.
I have come to realize that I might have sort of a weird view of what should happen in canon. I don't want my ships to become canon. Ever. Ever ever. We all saw what happened to Lex and Lana [please, contrast with Chloe and Clark, who had a huge “The world is ending let us kiss with tongues!” moment that was a Crowning Moment of Badass, but who did NOT hook up (before I stopped watching, idkwtf is going on over there anymore)] .
And here's the second part of that- I don't want anybody else's ship to become canon, either. Yes, I watch TV (and everything else) for all flavors of subtext. And that's the thing: SUBtext.
They didn't just make it canon, they rammed it into canon at full speed. If you're gonna do that, you better have a damn good reason. If you're just interrupting my show about evil space vampires and Colonel Sadist's slow yet inexorable descent into villany to develop an already questionable romantic relationship, you're doin' it wrong.
6. Gee, I wonder why nobody liked McKeller.
The whole Ronon-Keller-Rodney triangle was fucking asinine. It was also useless, because Ronon and Rodney have always been the most distant members of the team. If they're awkward, who the fuck cares? If they wanted to go that way, it seems like Ronon-Teyla-Sheppard would have been the triangle to go with; there's more set up, and Ronon and Sheppard's relationship means way more for the team. Or Christ, why not go the full Sue and set up John-Keller-Rodney! And why have Ronon- Ronon!- tell her that she reminds him of his dead wife if you're not going to go through with the pairing? That's just mean.
I think my problems with the whole thing can be summed up in one scene: where Rodney and Ronon shake hands and agree to let the best man win. In and of itself, not that big a deal- fucking ridiculous and somewhat OOC, yes, but pretty common. The problem here is that there's a second part of that trope. At some point, the girl is supposed to find out about that. And her very justified reaction is supposed to be, “You guys are a bunch of assholes, I'm going to date somebody else.” That's just how it works.
But Keller doesn't find out. Rodney and Ronon get off scot free acting like she's an object that they can fight over. And I don't give a shit how bad of a character or what a stereotype she is, that type of bullshit does not fly.
That one scene left such a bad taste in my mouth that I couldn't have enjoyed the pairing even if I was dead set on liking it. Fuck that shit.
It really, really sucks, because David Hewlett and Jewel Staite really do have good chemistry, and their bits in Brain Storm and Identity are fucking adorable (I gagged at the bit in Enemy at the Gates, however, but I gagged at that whole episode).
And seriously? I have been crushing on Jewel Staite since fucking Space Cases. How fucking badly do you have to write her character to alienate me?
Good job breaking it, Gero.
7. I don't really understand how people were surprised that McShep never happened.
It is fucking depressing that, in fucking 2009, I can sit here and say that there was never the thinnest chance that one of the male main characters would have ever been revealed to be anything other than 100% straight. That really does sadden me; and I think that we, as slash fen and/or uppity homos (I include myself in this number) and/or people who just like gay makeouts and explosions, need to stand up, both for what we want and against what we won't put up with, or else we're going to get bullshit TV written to the LCD forever and ever.
But, that's not what I'm talking about.
Let's assume, for a moment, that we lived in a perfect world (or that we were Torchwood fans, idk). The award for Guys Most Likely to Be Doing It clearly goes to Carson and Rodney, with John and Rodney pulling in at a very distant second (and Radek and Rodney riding the hatesex train into third, but that may just be me). It's not just the quantity of their respective interactions, it's their quality. John and Rodney have great chemistry from the very start of the show, but it's guy love, between two guys. They interact like straight dudes interact. In contrast, Carson has totally got this gay or European thing going on, and when you put his mother hen tendencies next to Rodney's flamboyant hetero thing- well. I mean, they already made out.
(Sidebar: Is it just me, or does a preponderance of SGA making out involve Rodney? It's seriously fine with me, cause... sorry, I got distracted by youtube. Did you know “David Hewlett kiss” is a suggested search?
Somebody remind me to watch Century Hotel.)
And here's the part where I think everybody else is doin' it wrong: I don't ship McBeckett. I do ship McShep.
What the fuck do you need canon for?
The take home message for this section of my rant is: more explosions, fewer emotions- that's what we have fanfic for.
8. Good on them for not tying Teyla down too tightly in the last couple seasons.
It's never a big thing, just, "Ooh, Teyla wants to bang a Marine" or "Ooh, Teyla's got a date" or "Ooh, Teyla's hot for Ronon and/or Sheppard". I like that. It's a nice counterpoint to Ronon's Great Lost Love, Sheppard's Kirkin' around Pegasus, and Rodney's little woman. It's just kinda, hey, Teyla likes dudes, and that's okay. They could have done a lot better job introducing Kanaan, and I'd vastly preferred if they hadn't spent so damn much time focusing on Keller to the detriment of Teyla in general. But. It's still okay by me if Teyla just kinda likes dudes.
And the scene where Ronon and Teyla hold hands? Cutest scene ever Y/MFY?
9. The new uniforms were a bad choice.
Keller and Woolsey look good in it (except that Keller's jacket doesn't fit), but the chevrons on the back of the sleeve draw the eye to and thin McKay's arms, and it's inappropriately flashy on someone who makes that many hand gestures. The relative lack of color makes Zelenka look even tinier than usual, and I'm not sure why that is (the man is 5'8" for christ's sake). And for god's sake, wardrobe, get Carter some clothes that fucking fit. Her poor breasts are SUFFOCATING. Look at them, yearning to be free! There is absolutely no way she could comfortably zip her jacket all the way up over those things.
I dunno. The old uniforms had just the right sci-fi look to them- a little retro, nicely distinctive, easily identifiable, not something you'd see on Earth but something humans would wear. The new uniforms just look like badly cut suits.
Does John even have one? He keeps wearing that weird black workshirt that's obviously a size too big for him. And Teyla's maternity clothes make her look like she's wearing somebody's Athosian grandmother's couch. Except for that black thing- it makes her look like some kind of preggers dominatrix.
Did I mention I really hate John's weird black shirt? I mean, I would never consider writing a fic to torture a character I hated (characters I like, on the other hand), but as god as my witness, I'm gonna go out of my way to destroy that shirt.
...Again, I seriously need to calm down about costuming. I'm gonna catch an aneurysm.
10. This show's moral compass needs a serious recalibration.
There's a steady decline in Atlantis's moral judgment leading up to the end of S2; S3 is comparatively less metaplotty, with a couple solid runs of episodes that are primarily character development/VotW (McKay and Mrs. Miller, Tao of Rodney, The Game). The sheer moral badness of Atlantis isn't emphasized as much after Allies; which is good, because if they'd gone straight on down, they'd have become outright bad guys pretty quickly. It doesn't come up much in S3; maybe you can count The Game, but that's something that John and Rodney did unwittingly that spiraled out of control, and they fix it by the end of the episode.
The problem is, they keep hitting on the theme in S4 and S5, and sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't. In Miller's Crossing, feeding Wallace to the Wraith just makes John look more like a sadist than he does usually; in Ghost in the Machine, sending Weir!FRAn into space is just... wrong. I just... no. Just no. John freaks out for four whole seasons about having left Ford behind, and then he sends a sentient being with Elizabeth fucking Weir's consciousness into the void?
To their credit, everybody looks enormously uncomfortable with doing it, but no. That's evil even for Atlantis.
And then there's stuff like in The Kindred (?) when they've captured the trader who's selling the Athosians' stuff, and he calls Atlantis "the do-gooders of the galaxy".
BULLSHIT AGAIN, I SAY.
Seriously, nobody in Pegasus can seriously think that about Atlantis. I mean, they're the America of the Pegasus Galaxy: yeah, they do a lot of really good things, and they save people's asses and give them free medicines and build them all kinds of barns and shit, but that's not what people think about when they think "Atlantis". They think, "I heard they blew up a whole system" and "Word is they work with the Wraith" and "Yeah, they're just like the Genii, only with better guns."
But when they finally come around to addressing this on the show, they do it with a clip show episode? Seriously though?
I actually really adore the frame story of that episode, because of the sexy political intrigue and sneaky sneaky Woolsey action (and Woolsey! in a suit! smoking cigars! with John! OMGOTP), but that doesn't stop it being a clip show, and a heavy handed one at that. It's really efficient, I'll grant you, but that doesn't make it good.
11. Carson should've stayed dead.
Sorry! I actually really love Carson- he's probably one of my favorites. It just wasn't very good development.
12. I'm pretty sure Michael is the father of Teyla's baby.
C'mon. It's the OTP. He's all talking about "family reunions" and shit. That is clearly his baby.
13. I wanna write a Midway AU where Kavanagh becomes the galaxy's most useless Wraith worshipper.
I'm just saying, hilarity would ensue.
14. Rodney/Teyla is still kind of the seekrit OTP.
I like it for many of the same reasons I liked Katie Brown, but Teyla's actually, y'know, awesome.
I very much need a Rodney from Search and Rescue icon that says, "I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies!" Just throwin' that out there.
15. In The Seed, they'd should've just let Keller become a ship.
It would've been awesome. Just like Ryo-Oki. Or the ship from Space Cases! It's a full-circle thing.
Plus, hey! Free ship. Everybody needs one of those, right?
16. In The Queen, why didn't Teyla just claim the Atlanteans were her worshipers?
She could've just pulled that good ole KNEEL on John and that would have been that. And shit! She'd been queen of all the goddamn Wraith just like that.
Wraith Queen Teyla is the sexiest of all Teylas.
16a. Oh, John.
Baby, you don't have to pretend you don't like it.
17. How sacrilegious would it be to make an Atlantis vid set to Still by Alanis Morissette?
Just askin'. I think it would be totally epic. Though I sort of recall that someone's done it already?
18. Watching SGA is really distracting on the TV.
I downloaded the first four seasons, but I TiVo'd the last one, and I'm watching The Shrine, and crying and wibbling, and then every commercial break is fucking Sharks in Venice and shit. It's highly disruptive.
19. "Major Marks, please make that ship go away" may be my favorite line ever.
I still love Caldwell.
20. WHERE THE FUCK IS SORA.
SHE HAS BEEN IN THE BRIG SINCE HALFWAY THROUGH S1.
21. DID I MENTION WOOLSEY IS MY FAVORITE Y'ALL.
HE'S GONNA NEGOTIATE THE FUCK OUTTA SHIT, AND THEN HE WILL BLOW SHIT THE FUCK UP IF HE HAS TO.
And then he will retire to his rooms for a glass of wine and a good book.
22. I really didn't know Rachel Lutrell was wearing a wig until I finally saw a picture of her with her real hair.
In retrospect, I have no idea how I didn't. Obvious wig is obvious, y'all.
23. AUGH ENEMY AT THE GATE.
I know Atlantis has always been Chekhov's Spaceship, but JUST NO. San Francisco Bay isn't even big enough!
I'm not even going to touch the incredible cheesiness of the last scene.
So, in the final analysis, I'm not sad to have wasted seventy-odd hours of my life watching SGA. Despite having shat itself in S5, it's a solid show and a really nice expansion of the franchise.
And, I mean, hot ass people in space. What more could you need?
ETA: You can now download the audio version of the middle part of this rant. Blame half_elf_lost.