UPDATE 8/22/23: The airing order for Stargate Atlantis on Prime Video has been corrected. Although many accompanying pictures don’t match the episodes, viewers can safely watch them in order. The original story follows.
Cheyenne Mountain, we have a problem …
Amazon is doing its best to make its Prime Video streaming service into the home of Stargate since the retail giant purchased MGM last year. Its own Amazon Studios is reportedly working with MGM to create a brand new Stargate project of some sort, after all, so it makes sense that every episode of the venerable science fiction franchise should be ready and available to stream on demand on Prime Video.
Unfortunately the streaming service seems to be having a hard time keeping the episodes in order for the serialized show.
At last check Season Three and Season Five of Stargate Atlantis have had their episodes scrambled. Newcomers and casual viewers are sure to be spoiled (and mightily confused) by character deaths that show up early, season finales that come less than halfway through the season, and two-parters where the cliffhanger and its resolution are separated by a dozen unrelated stories … and, in the case of one two-parter, listed in reverse order.
Episode titles and descriptions are also accompanied by erroneous images, taken from different episodes.
Presenting episodes to the audience in the wrong order happens when some episodes are numbered (correctly) by their season order but others are numbered by where they appear in the show’s entire, 100-episode run. So, for example, the third season jumps from “McKay and Mrs. Miller” (S3 E8) straight to “Sunday” (S3 E17), runs through the season finale, and then jumps back to “Phantoms” because the ninth episode of the season is numbered as “S3 E49.”
Viewers who watch through the show as the Prime Video app presents it will start out the fifth season with the second half of the mid-season double feature (“The Lost Tribe”), then watch through the last seven episodes of the show before jumping back to the season premiere.
As currently presented by Prime Video, the final episode is actually a clips show: “Inquisition.”
Season Four is currently in the right order after a recent fix, though the episodes are numbered not by their season order — “S4 E1” through “S4 E20” — but by their number in the complete series (“S4 E61”).
Viewers should consult an episode guide until Amazon resolves its error.
GateWorld reached out to Amazon in June to try and get the Atlantis listings corrected. Interactions with the company’s social media team directed us to open a customer support ticket. After our request was escalated the new technician made no response in the support chat, left us on hold for more than an hour, and took no apparent action.
It’s not the first time a streaming service has treated Stargate with what looks like embarrassingly low effort. When Stargate SG-1 returned to Netflix in 2020 that service flagged the entire show — all 214 episodes — with the mature rating of TV-MA. This was because the first episode had nudity (which the original broadcaster, Showtime, had insisted on back in 1997). But the producers wanted to make a family-friendly show and dropped the adult content starting with episode 2, and every subsequent episode in fact carried its own TV-PG or TV-14 rating for U.S. broadcast television.
While the constant on-screen nudity warnings may seem like a small thing for long-time fans and those without kids in the house, many potential viewers avoid TV-MA programming particularly for family viewing with children.
The Stargate franchise returned to Prime Video in 2022, only to surprisingly disappear from the service at the end of the year. Fortunately Amazon managed to restore all three shows a few days later … but with two big drawbacks for customers.
First, the shows returned under different listings, so that customers who had been in the middle of a season were met with a message telling them the show was no longer available on Prime Video — even though it actually was, if they specifically went and searched it out. (My own mother stopped watching the show at this point, and I had to remind her twice over the course of several months that it was in fact still available to her.)
Second, Amazon de-listed the widescreen copy that presented Stargate SG-1‘s earlier seasons with a higher resolution picture. The replacement that is available in 2023 (for episodes prior to Season Eight, when the production changed to HD digital cameras) is the 4:3 version without the upscaled visuals — a clearly inferior viewing experience.
Stargate Atlantis is still available to watch — in the correct order! — on Hulu in the United States. This copy is also not without its drawbacks: Hulu streams the broadcast television copy of the episodes that include hard fade-to-black act breaks.
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