Stargate Atlantis

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Fandom
Name: Stargate: Atlantis
Abbreviation(s): SGA
Creator: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright
Date(s): 2004-2009
Medium: Television Series
Country of Origin: US and Canada
External Links: IMDB
EpGuides
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

Contents

Stargate Atlantis is a highly successful spinoff of Stargate SG-1, making it part of the gateverse. The show aired for five seasons on the originating channels, SyFy in the US, The Movie Network and Space in Canada, as well as in many other countries.

Canon

Stargate: Atlantis is an episodic television series about a group of international explorers from Earth living in the Pegasus Galaxy in the lost city of Atlantis. The pilot episode, The Rising (Part 1 and 2) explains how the group comes to arrive in the city. The pilot spins off from events on Stargate SG-1 and the character Dr. Elizabeth Weir. She assembles a team of the finest scientific minds on Earth along with an international military contingent under the command of U.S. Marine Colonel Marshall Sumner to take a risky journey through the Stargate to the address they have discovered. The team does not know what they will find, or if they will ever be able to come back to Earth, as they have no power source they can take with them. Dr. Rodney McKay, who also had also originally appeared on Stargate: SG-1, is the chief scientist of the expedition.

While piloting Jack O'Neill to the Antarctic outpost, Major John Sheppard learns about the Stargate Program for the first time from Dr. Carson Beckett, and then sits down in the Ancient control chair, revealing that he possesses the "ATA-gene" (Ancient Technology Activation). Both Weir and then O'Neill recruit Sheppard for the Atlantis mission. After some hesitation, Sheppard agrees.

The expedition arrives in an abandoned Ancient city that is submerged under water. McKay and his team quickly discover, though, that the shield around the city is dangerously weak and about to give in, flooding the city and killing everyone. While dealing with various crises and attempting to find either a safe haven or a power source (the quest for a ZPM will become a running theme of the show), the expedition meets the leader of the Athosians, Teyla Emmagan, who first tells them about the Wraith, a humanoid alien species that has been terrorizing the galaxy for thousands of years. The Wraith literally feed off of human beings, sucking the life energy out of them as food.

Sumner is killed off, and Sheppard becomes the leader of the military. His team, the central focus of the show is made up of McKay, Teyla Emmagan and Marine Lt. Aiden Ford. The rescued Athosians move to the mainland on the same planet that houses Atlantis.

During the first season, the city has no contact with Earth and must survive on their own. The show uses the same format as SG-1, with most episodes focusing on Sheppard's team travelling to various planets and meeting new people. The Atlantis team manages to make enemies more frequently than allies, including another relatively advanced society called the Genii.

Significant secondary characters introduced during Season 1 include Dr. Radek Zelenka, sort of the second in command of the scientists after McKay; and Dr. Kate Heightmeyer the team's psychiatrist who befriends Teyla; and Bates, who is in charge of the security of the base during the season. Also appearing in several seasons is Dr. Kavanaugh, a thorn in the side of most everyone in Atlantis.

Season Two opens with a dramatic rescue that also introduces Colonel Steven Caldwell, commander of the Daedalus. Unfortunately, the second season also sees Ford injured in the battle and going rogue from Atlantis. His place on Sheppard's team is filled by Specialist Ronon Dex, who is introduced in the episode "Runner."

Season Two also introduces Sheppard's de facto second in command, Major Evan Lorne, another Stargate SG-1 recurring character, and a new villain, Michael, a Wraith who is experimented upon by the Atlantis team before escaping.

Season Three introduces yet another villainous group, the Asurans, the Pegasus Galaxy Replicators, while also bringing back Michael and Kolya. Todd, a Wraith held captive by Kolya, is freed by Sheppard and eventually reappears in both Season Four and Five.

At the end of Season Three Weir is gravely injured and she is written out during Season Four. Not long before this, Beckett is killed in an explosion and his position as the primary doctor is taken by Dr. Jennifer Keller. Weir's place as leader of the expedition is taken by SG-1's Colonel Samantha Carter , who is herself replaced by another recurring SG-1 character in Season Five, Richard Woolsey.

Fandom

Rodney McKay, by Lorraine Brevig, displayed at MediaWest*Con, 2009, oil painting on canvas board, 12" - h x 9"-w
John Sheppard, by Lorraine Brevig, displayed at MediaWest*Con, 2009, oil painting on canvas board, 12" - h x 9"-w

See also Timeline of Stargate Atlantis Fandom, Hewligan, Stargate Atlantis RPF

SGA fandom took off almost immediately, building on a base of existing Stargate SG-1 fans and acquiring new fans from other media fandoms. It is one of the fandoms that straddled the line between mailing lists and Livejournal, and thus has a fairly strong presence in both, although the journal-based fandom is more widespread and still active. Many mailing lists have their own archives and also affiliated LJ communities; sometimes mailing lists were more active earlier in the fandom's history, but as LJ fandom grew communities became more widespread. Communities exist for almost every pairing, and many of the major characters also have their own fan comms.

The Gateworld forums are a hub for fannish discussion that is more focused on the canon than discussion of fanworks, partially due to the site being for all Stargate related discussion.

On November 9, 2004, Leah and Alyse launched SGA fanfiction archive Wraithbait, which started affiliated to the Yahoo! Groups Wraithbait mailing list for SGA slash (founded September 14, 2004), but was open to gen, het and slash from its inception. Additional archives are listed below.

banner of the sga_newsletter community

Because many fans came into SGA from fandoms with a tradition of centralised infrastructure like due South, Star Trek: Enterprise, and Stargate: SG-1 there were efforts to create central and multi-ship spaces on Livejournal as the fandom got going. The Stargate Atlantis Flashfiction community was inspired by its due South equivalent and opened in February 2005;[1] the SGA Noticeboard was created in April 2005;[2] the daily SGA Newsletter in July 2005. A weekly newsletter, atlantis_news, existed from February 2005 to March 2006.[3]

The LJ fandom is often dominated by the McKay/Sheppard slash pairing. This is reflected in the meta discussion of the canon and fanworks, the kind of fanfiction that gets recommended the most, the stories people look for on SGA Storyfinders and what gets the most feedback on those communities. Other places on the net have a different focus.needs citation The LJ community Lostcityfound for all het and gen fic was created in July 2005.[4] notmcshep was created the following year for all pairings that were not McKay/Sheppard, including het, slash and femslash.

Gen Fandom

Like many SF canons, SGA provides a wide range of opportunity for Gen fans to explore the canon and create fanworks that are not pairing focused. Gen fans might be devoted gen-only readers, writers and watchers who leave the romance and sex to others, or they might be shippers of any sort who sometimes like to create or discover gen works.

In fanfiction, gen works cover the gamut from plot-driven, novel-length works that stick close to canon or go wildly AU,to short scenes or character studies that focus on one small aspect of the SGA world. In vids the field is wide open to interpret all sorts of aspects and relationships on the show that aren't about a ship, unless you mean a Wraith cruiser or the Daedalus. The work of many fanartists is gen, ranging from studies of individual characters, Atlantis itself or any other part of the SGA world an artist chooses to render.

Most fans believe that gen fanworks get less attention than their shippy counterparts, particularly in a fandom like SGA that has one dominant pairing. There are always crossover hits, stories that are talked about and enjoyed by fans outside the gen-only or gen-mostly crowd.

Freedom's Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose by synecdochic is a story that can be read as gen, but could be said to have slash backstory. It was and is very popular with fans of all kinds, but it did not really grow out of a gen fandom culture.

Samdonne's John Sheppard gen focused, Your Cowboy Days Are Over is more of a gen story for gen fans, although it is widely recced. (See as an example, mecurtin's Gen SGA Recs.) The story combined the complexity of ethical dilemmas that had no real right answers with a harder, more modern sci-fi basis and became a favorite for a lot of people because of its quality[5] while others found it too depressing; a fate it shared with Freedom.

Ltlj's series Retrograde will turn up on nearly any list of gen fics. It is a complex novel-length fic exploring an Atlantis that has integrated into the Pegasus Galaxy and never connected with Earth. While the main novel is gen, some of the later installments are slash.

Many fans intrigued by the military presence in Atlantis enjoy Miss Porcupine/Domenika Marzione's extensive universe (with several AU offshoots) of gen stories focused on the military, especially Evan Lorne and a team of fleshed-out OCs. The stories range from short and humorous to novel-length action pieces, and include detailed knowledge of or research on military culture and procedure.

City on the Edge of Forever, the pilot (also by synecdochic) is another oft-recced gen story. It is a short exploration of how the first few episodes of Stargate Atlantis would have gone if the main characters had all been smarter than they were portrayed in canon.

Many communities and challenges are open to all kinds of fanworks and can be the source of significant gen works. The SGA Big Bang has 13 gen works in the 2007-2009 years.

For a list of Gen communities see: The Gen section on the List of SGA Lists and Communities

Popular Pairings

See also Category:Stargate Atlantis Relationships and List of Stargate Atlantis Pairing Names

Although there are a few canon relationships on the show, including McKay/Brown and McKay/Keller, the most popular pairings in the fandom are either based entirely on subtext or only hinted at on the show.

Slash fans quickly took the sometimes combative friendship between Sheppard and McKay, which featured heavily in many of the mission or team-oriented episodes, and ran with it to create the McKay/Sheppard pairing, often known by the portmanteau of McShep, which became by far the dominant pairing by numbers. The large amount of McKay/Sheppard fanworks and discussion of all kinds tends to dominate even inclusive spaces for fannish activity. Unfortunately the fandom can seem bifurcated between the McShep portion and Everyone Else.

Het

The most common het pairing and the second most common pairing in the fandom is John Sheppard/Elizabeth Weir, which some fans refer to by the name Sparky. Fans of this pairing used the growing loyalty between the two leaders over the course of the first season and the fact that Weir spent more time talking to Sheppard than to anyone else on screen as the source fodder for the pairing. Sheppard/Weir doesn't dominate SGA fandom the way McKay/Sheppard does, but it is the most frequently encountered het pairing in general fandom spaces.

The second most common het pairing is Teyla Emmagan/John Sheppard. Although the show appears in some lights to support the ship, it did not gain immediate popularity within the fandom. Some fans point to the nature of Teyla's "alien warrior princess" background, others to the fact that she and Sheppard did not spend an enormous amount of time on screen together in the early episodes. Another potential factor keeping the interest in the ship low is latent racism, given that Teyla is a Character of Color played by a Black Canadian actress. In later seasons her poorly explained canon relationship with Kanaan and subsequent pregnancy presented obstacles for any pairing with Teyla.

Other het writers have embraced Teyla Emmagan/Rodney McKay, a pairing that is also popular with fans who usually write slash. Elizabeth Weir/Rodney McKay also has some fans, although neither of these pairings is dominant among het circles. Teyla is also sometimes paired with Ronon, building on their outsider status among the Earth-born expedition. Teyla/Ronon sometimes shows up in McKay/Sheppard slash stories in a "paring up the spares" way that usually leaves them in the background.

Aside from Sheppard/Weir, fans of Elizabeth often pair her with Radek Zelenka, Ronon Dex or Major Lorne. There is some canon suggestion that Zelenka has a crush on Elizabeth, and there is definite canon evidence that Ronon makes her nervous.

Jennifer Keller, who had some UST with Ronon and then a canon relationship with McKay, is a surprisingly unpopular character. While some McKay/Keller and Keller/Dex has been written, and the occasional story with all three together, none of these ships are wildly popular.

Weir, Sheppard and Ronon all have canon past heterosexual relationships that often provide fodder for fanfiction writers to compare and contrast their previous relationships with their current ones.

M/m Slash

There is lots of slash that isn't McShep. McKay is often paired with Zelenka, Beckett or, more rarely in McKay/Dex. John/Ronon is far and away the second most popular ship for slash fans. Evan Lorne also appears frequently in slash fic, either paired with Zelenka in a kind of mirror of McKay/Sheppard (as the two men are the second in commands in those respective departments) or in the unusual pairing of Evan Lorne/David Parrish which has the mostly fanon character of Dr. Parrish who appeared in only two episodes for a few seconds at a time. There are also crossover slash pairings with either Sheppard or Lorne paired with SG-1's Cameron Mitchell that have a small following.

Femslash

Even though the show has several woman as main characters and recurring characters, femslash is relatively rare. The most common pairing early on was Teyla/Elizabeth. The pairing of Teyla/Kate Heightmeyer has a following and some canon foundation in brief scenes of friendship between the two women. Laura Cadman, a recurring character, features in the femslash fandom as well.

OT4 and Teamfic

fanfiction cover with the core team

The team structure of the show lends itself to OT4 fanworks, usually involving the second version of the core team: John/Rodney/Ronon/Teyla, but occasionally with Aiden Ford as well. A multitude of threesomes are available either in variations of the main four-person team or taking two of them and bringing in Elizabeth, Carson Beckett or one of the secondary characters.

Canon or Fanon

SGA fandom has a lot of fanon, some that is so common not all fans know or remember that they aren't canon facts. In some cases, the fanon arises to fill gaps left in the canon details. For example, while Stargate SG-1 uses specific numeric designators for teams, Atlantis doesn't follow that tradition, and instead the team leader's last name is the official designation (Lorne's team, Sheppard's team, etc.). Producer Joseph Mallozzi has jokingly called Sheppard's team the "First Atlantis Reconnaissance Team" [6] as well as other names that make rude acronyms. Some fanfiction writers refer to the teams as SGA-1 or AR-1, but the show canon never used either designation.

When a team uses a jumper, then the jumper's designation is used (Jumper One is most frequently used by Sheppard's team).{can someone who recalls this clarify--were numbers ever used in canon or is the whole concept fanon?}

Fanon can vary from one part of fandom to another, and some bits are more commonly seen than others. Common SGA fanon includes:

  • Zelenka owns and operates a still
  • Sheppard hates doing his paperwork and often foists it off on Lorne
  • Sheppard has an office but doesn't use it, or doesn't know where it is
  • The city is either sentient or semi-sentient
  • Elizabeth goes out onto the balcony when she doesn't want to be disturbed
  • The city runs out of coffee frequently, causing lots of arguments
  • Dr. Parrish's first name is David
  • Laura Cadman is not merely a demolitions expert, she really loves explosions
  • Elizabeth and Teyla get together to drink tea
  • There are regular movie nights
  • Elizabeth often works through her meals and has to be reminded to eat
  • The picture on the nightstand in Sheppard's quarters is of him with his grandfather

Fanworks

Fanzines

While Stargate Atlantis is mainly an online fandom, a few fanzines are still being produced.

Examples:

See List of Stargate Atlantis Fanzines for a complete list of SGA zines and Category:Stargate Atlantis Zines for an index of SGA zine pages and zine art on Fanlore.

Fanfic

See also Category:Stargate Atlantis Fanfiction
fanfiction cover for the prison AU Crimes Against Humanity

Fanfiction for SGA is highly diverse, with almost every imaginable pairing represented and every genre enjoying some level of popularity. Pairing-specific communities and groups are usually the best source for fanfiction about characters, though some individual characters have stronger followings as well. Gen, het, slash, femslash, threesomes, and moresomes or OT4s are all represented in the fandom. On LiveJournal the sga_newsletter and sga_noticeboard are two of the most central spaces for locating fanfiction. Additional resources are listed below under "Archives."

Gen fic often centers around the main team of Sheppard, McKay, Teyla and Ronon (or Ford) as most episodes followed that pattern. OT4 is a reference to fic about these four characters involved in an intimate relationship, though threesomes with various groupings of both the four teammates or some of them plus other characters are very common.

McKay/Sheppard is the dominant force in m/m slash fiction, though other pairings may be found. Many of the trends in overall SGA fanfiction are found in McShep fic.

Popular Story Tropes

  • SGA fandom is one of the homes of many Five Things stories. The idea was included as one of the challenges at SGA Flashfic.
  • Genderswap is a common trope in the fandom. Rodney's canon first name of Meredith (a man's name in many parts of the world) led many authors to write Rodney as a woman named Meredith, and stories with John as a woman are also common.
  • AU which cast the characters in contemporary or historical Earth-based settings or alternate realities are popular, as are crack AUs where the characters are in a variety of other times and places or even turned into inanimate objects. (see List of Stargate Atlantis Alternate Universes)
  • Anthropomorfic

Fanart

Missed the Saturday Dance (2006), multimedia installation

SGA is also known for the diversity and sophistication of its fanart in terms of both style and of media. Styles range from cartoon-type line drawings to more realistic chalk or oil on canvas.

Many SGA artists work in more than one medium, and many of SGA's challenge communities are open to all forms of art, so there's a lot of collaboration, experimentation, and playfulness, as well experimentation with multimedia fanworks.

Examples of multimedia fanart include Zoetrope's Missed the Saturday Dance[7], Newkidfan's Ambushed[8], Mamoru22's Scrapbook of my Life[9], and Bootleg: The Best of the Puddlejumpers. [10]

Comic book or illustrated fan fiction stories include such diverse offerings as moonloon and spaggel's Twenty Four Hours With A Rodneysaur [11], Lenkti's Never Should Do [12], Astridv's Creature (Double) Feature [13], Zelenkamatch.com by LillyJK and Newkidfan [14], and A Bed Too Small by liketheriver [15]

There are many SGA communities that encourage artmaking, including the LJ communities Artword and paintedspires. SGA_Flashfic also receives art submissions, such as The Pegasus Tinies[16]for the Ways to Die challenge. Starting in 2010, the SGA Reverse Bang offers an annual challenge where artists' work is the inspiration for an accompanying story, rather than the other way around.

Podfic

podbook cover of the Written by the Victors podfic (2007).

SGA fandom has embraced podfic; there's an active podfic community on livejournal (Stargate Atlantis Podfic), and many SGA stories have been recorded and stored at the multifandom Audiofic Archive. [1]

A notable example is the Written by the Victors podfic which is one of the most ambitious collaborative fan productions ever. 36 speakers from several countries read parts of the script, which was then collected, produced and edited into a remarkably seamless whole by Lim. The resulting podfic is almost five and a half hours long.

Vids

See also Stargate Atlantis Vids and the Category:Stargate Atlantis Vids

Vids in SGA fandom run the gamut, from joyfully absurd looks at canon, like Another Sunday by Jescaflowne, to critical assessments of the characters' actions like yevgenie's Open Secrets of the Pegasus Galaxy, to vids that break the fourth wall like Mamoru22's Cartoon Heroes, to metavids such as Speranza's Supersmart, and everything in between. Because so many SGA vids are unusually effects-driven, with a lot of created footage or highly worked footage, often there are some who say they aren't vids at all, but visual fanart. Others say SGA's just cutting edge--or just unusually prone to breaking the rules.

Other

Other kinds of fanworks include audiofics; fanart arts/crafts such as needlework, origami, and at least one[17] mobile; fan films and everything in between. Stargate Atlantis: A Mini Adventure by fraggledragon [2] for example is the First Prize Winner of the Stargate Atlantis McKay contest 2007 in the category "Animation".

Awards

example of a McShep Award banner 2008

Stargate Fan Awards 2008 banner
2007 Nominee banner

Button234x60.jpg
  • Skiffy Award - a Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis award that was awarded in 2007 and 2008.
  • Stargate Fan Awards - started out in 2001 as a Stargate SG-1 Fan Award that became the largest annual awards event in the Stargate fandom and in later years included Stargate Atlantis.
  • McKay/Sheppard Fan Awards - annual awards in Stargate Atlantis fandom for McKay/Sheppard fanfiction, fanart and vids with multiple categories. (2005-2008)
  • Isis Awards - founded as a Stargate SG-1 award in 2005 it included Stargate Atlantis from 2006 onward. The award focuses on het fiction.
  • Stargate Music Video Awards - annual awards for Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis vids (2002-2008)
  • Stargate Atlantis Big Bang Site warehouses 2007 2008 and 2009.

Archives

Heliopolis is one of the oldest Stargate SG-1 archives; it was founded in 1998. In August 2004 it opened a new section for Stargate Atlantis fanfiction. Due to its history -- as of December 15, 1998 Heliopolis no longer accepted slash material as per an agreement with Area 52 -- the Atlantis section of the archive is only for gen and het material, as of April 2011 hosting circa 220 stories. The Stargate slash archive Area 52: The HKH Standard in turn accepted SGA slash and femslash and hosts more than 2,000 SGA stories. Other Stargate archives, such as Wormhole Crossing (crossovers) and Stargatefan.com (gen fanfic), include both SG-1 and SGA fic as well.

On November 9, 2004, Leah and Alyse launched Wraithbait, an SGA-only archive. It started out as a slash archive due to its affiliation with the Wraithbait mailing list for SGA slash[18] but was open to gen, het, and slash from its inception. Wraithbait is the main Stargate Atlantis archive, hosting almost 9,000 stories as of April 2011.

In addition to Wraithbait there is Atlantica, another SGA-only archive for fanfiction of all genres. It opened December 1, 2004, and as of April 2011 hosts more than 1,300 stories. The Jumper Bay is another SGA-only archive; it allows only gen stories. It opened in May 2006 and as of April 2011 hosts 650 stories. Other archives include McWeir (Weir/McKay Fanfiction), GateWorld Fan Fiction archive for the GateWorld fansite and Atlantis: Revolutions which is actually open to fic from all the Stargate franchises.

Other than archives, the LiveJournal nature of SGA slash fandom demanded a different kind of structure and Crossroads, the Stargate Atlantis Slash Index, is the answer to that. The site is not an archive but an index, and indexes all SGA slash fiction by pairing and theme. As of April 2011, it links to more than 6,000 slash, femslash, and multi stories.

Resources

See also

References

  1. SGA Flashfiction community info (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  2. SGA Noticeboard community info (Accessed October 11, 2008)
  3. First Atlantis Newsletter issue from February 14, 2005 and last issue from March 17, 2006 (Accessed 10 October 2008)
  4. Lostcityfound Profile
  5. midday, later than, posted by Seperis, September 20, 2006 (Accessed April 6, 2011)
  6. Joe Mallozzi's Blog, April 27, 2007 (Accessed 1/2009)
  7. Missed the Saturday Dance archived on Open Doors, a mix of written fiction, art, audio, and video (Accessed 10 October, 2008)
  8. Ambushed, a mix of art and video in vid form (Accessed 10 October, 2008)
  9. Scrapbook of my Life, a mix of video and hand-drawn art, in vid form (Accessed 10 October, 2008)
  10. Bootleg: The Best of the Puddlejumpers is a fictional album by the fictional band The Puddlejumpers with fictional booklet and fictional liner notes included. It was inspired by trinityofone's The Four Quarters rockstar AU series (Accessed 18 October, 2008)
  11. Twenty Four Hours With A Rodneysaur (Accessed April 4, 2011)
  12. Never Should Do at SGA Flashfic
  13. Creature (Double) Feature
  14. Zelenkamatch.com (Accessed April 4, 2011)
  15. A Bed Too Small at Wraithbait
  16. The Pegasus Tinies (Accessed November 3, 2008)
  17. Stargate Atlantis: The Mobile by astridv, includes how-to instructions, 28 April 2009. (Accessed 10 April 2011)
  18. Wraithbait (Yahoo! Group), founded September 14, 2004
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