Friday night I was watching the second part of the Stargate Atlantis 4th season mid season episode and I finally realized what really irked me about the show. The source of most of my annoyance with the show (like the Atlantis/Hyperspace makes you stupid bit) comes from the show format.
With a episode like format with little if any continuity you get situation where writers are free to bring in enemies of whatever power level… as long as the team can deal with them within the confine of one episode there is no problem. It doesn’t really matter if the enemy requires the collapse of half of a galaxy to destroy; as long as it is not the Milky Way and that it is done in one episode (or at worse a two part episode). But that leads to some problems, for example it means that any technology acquired in the process of destroying the enemy must either be destroyed or rendered unusable in that show or in one very near to it in the schedule. I call that the Orion effect, for the Ancient Battleship the Atlantis expedition found and repaired at the end of the second season and that has being destroyed 2 episodes later in the 3rd season first episode. This is also the reason why Atlantis can’t seem to keep a fully charged ZPM working (come one the thing powered the shield for 10 000 years underwater it shouldn’t be depleted easily). And the explanation between the SGC inflatable battleship technology, i.e the technology that give Earth the power to have only 2 battleship in operation at once but to get another online the second one of the two is destroyed. The format require that you remove anything that would “change” the situation of the show significantly as to not make other writer’s idea impossible to air because of “continuity error”. It is probably the source of the stupidity problem I complained about in the past.
In short, the problem is that the Stargate series want the freedom of a continuity free format where you can do anything without consequences with the appeal of a strong continuity story-like format. This is the sources of the stupidity and the inconsistency in the characters and stories and in my humble opinion this lower the show interest a great deal. Personally I think that with a story-like format Stargate Atlantis could be the best show on TV.