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Author Topic: Stargate Atlantis
Member # 8547

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Sorry for the length of this obvious rant. It started out with me reading the first paragraph of a book where two spacefaring races are going around eating other sentients as if they can't get food any other way. That got me thinking how ridiculous such an idea is, and unfortunately that led me to The Wraith.

I remember the first time I watched Stargate: Atlantis Rising I took an immediate and violent dislike to the concept of the enemy they created to menace the Stargate team. The Wraith.

I don't think I've ever encountered a more poorly conceived race. For one thing, the notion that a species capable of interstellar travel should be so dependent on another species they encountered in their explorations for food that they HIBERNATE while waiting for human populations to replenish is patently absurd.

For one thing what did they eat before they found humans? And when they did find humans did they say "hey, these are delicious! Let's destroy all other sources of food and wait while low-tech, primitive tribes known to experience only slow population growth accumulate in such numbers that our entire race can feed. Since that can only happen every few hundred years, we'll have to all sleep while we wait, and after we eat go back to sleep again. Oh well, no such thing as a free lunch."

What, they suspend all forward progress in technology, expansion, and even living their own lives so that they can eat?

Any species of interstellar travel would, and MUST, develop the means to produce and preserve food for the barren environment of space. But even supposing that for some reason the Wraith WERE dependent on humans for sustenance, why wouldn't they take a more direct hand in ensuring that humans populate quickly and stay at high population so they have a constant supply of food? If they have the technology to defeat a race as advanced as the Atlantean Ancients then this would be child's play.

And on to another patently absurd flaw in the Wraith. In SG-1 the main enemy, the Go'a'uld, were technologically superior to humans. The reason humans were able to provide a threat to them was solely because of the Go'a'uld's own pride in refusing to change their tactics and utilize their technology, and even so the only reason Earth survived was because another advanced race, the Asgard, protected them.

Another threat, the Replicators, were so technologically advanced that projectile weapons were not computed to be a threat, and so their shield technology didn't protect them from guns. Okay, a bit weaker conceptually, and the fact that the Replicators never adapted is silly, but still there's some leeway, since the creatures for the most part couldn't adapt, only reproduce their own design.

But the Wraith have no excuse. Since they're ostensibly the most technologically advanced race yet encountered, having wiped out the Ancients, machine guns shouldn't be a problem to them. AT ALL. And the fact that they already defeated the Atlanteans means that using Ancient technology to fight them is doomed to fail. No amount of human ingenuity is going to bridge that kind of technology gap.

And to say that the Wraith lost the technology after defeating the Ancients, since they no longer had need for it, doesn't make sense because the Wraith are SLEEPING all the time. Which means that the same Wraith who killed the Ancients are still around, ready to overcome any enemy they encounter.

If the Stargate writers hadn't written themselves into such an obvious corner here I would say they could use the builder vs. destroyer concept. That being that it is far easier to destroy than to build, and that a peaceful race that has spent millennia developing technology on such a scale that they can terraform planets and cure aging and disease can still be wiped out by nukes.

No luck there. The Wraith are the destroyers. They know war.

Any thoughts?


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Member # 6757

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Yeah, down with the Wraith.

[This message has been edited by skadder (edited April 05, 2009).]

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Member # 8329

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It's my opinion that TV scifi is prone to this.

TV is even more mass market, in many ways, than movies, which are arguably more so than books. TV has to grab the viewer in seconds, before they change channels. Otherwise the show rates poorly, the network loses advertising revenue, and the series bombs (ie, Firefly).

Thus, the execs must ask the questions like which is more important, cheap thrills (gory aliens that randomly eat people and noisy ships in space) or logical integrity (hey wait, how could that actually come to pass? and isn't space quiet?).

A TV series, I suspect, is rarely if ever a milieu story first and foremost, and that aspect duly suffers. Rather, it is usually an idea/event story first (what will we wrap up this episode?), a character story next (how will we progress the MCs through the season), and a milieu story last.

The time required to fully develop Stargate's Wraith, or Firefly's Alliance, is not sufficient, and ultimately, not all that important: They're stereotypes that exist simply to spawn this episodes idea or event, and reflect the main character's conflict and development. The viewer is not supposed to think too hard about them :)

Which is why, I suppose, I don't watch so much Scifi any more :)

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I don't follow that show for much the same reasons that BenM states about science fiction on tv.

Of course, given what Natej11 said about the concept, it's relatively easy to come up with ideas to make it work. Humans could be the caviar for these aliens, or the humans were slaughtered (now we know what happened to the Neanderthal) in vast numbers, leading to another group within the aliens decrying the practice (see Greenpeace and whales), or...endless.

I mean, there's going to be some amount of conceit in the idea, but it could work with just the teeniest of effort. Having them hibernate doesn't sound all that great. That the effort wasn't made indicates the lowest common denominator won out. It was a neat idea so those raised ONLY on comic books and television figured that was enough to make the engine go.

I guess the producers figured they'd be sued if they used the Predator thing: hunting humans for trophies.

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