Stargate Universe: Universally Disappointing

First off, I am not a Stargate-hater – far, far from it. I have watched all the movies, all 10 seasons of SG-1, all 5 of Atlantis, and all at least 3 or 4 times through.
Does that make me a fan? Who knows, the franchise speaks to me.
Nor am I stuck on Stargate. I will watch almost any form of sci-fi, no mater how obscure (aka Farscape). As long as it is, in fact, sci-fi, I will enjoy it.

And then there was Stargate Universe.

When I first heard that Stargate had delivered us yet another spin off, I quietly celebrated by scouring the internet trying to find any bit of information. With Robert Carlyle leading the way, anticipation grew.

When the first episode aired, my thoughts were:

Ok not the best start, but really, not too far off from s01e01 of SG-1. Got promise, could stand to be funnier.

So I waited expectantly for the next instalment. As the weeks rolled by and the episodes continued, my heart started to sink. Not only had they removed the classic Stargate ideal, they had hacked the dynamic formula that had worked so well in the other spin offs to pieces. If you don’t think too much about where they are, you are watching Bold and the Beautiful with a hint of a space setting!

Which leads me to:

“Never underestimate your audience. They’re generally sensitive, intelligent people who respond positively to quality entertainment.”
Stargate SG-1, ‘200’

Where’s the fun?

I believe this statement rings true for Stargate SG-1 and for Atlantis. This quote is probably something that the creators of Stargate had been standing by for many years – ‘200’ gave them the opportunity to spell it out on the show, to get their idea of sci-fi and how it projects onto it’s audience, across to us.

Though not original to Stargate, this ideal is a key component of a real sci-fi show. But it is completely discordant in Universe. Hell, they’ve even installed the younger edgier cast that they joked about in ‘200’!

Why does it feel so wrong, I asked myself after every woful episode? And eventually, I came to terms with what was happening.

Stargate Universe is not a Sci-fi TV Show. Not by any measure that I can find that defines either science fiction, or Stargate.

Where’s the fun? And for the first time in my life a Stargate show slipped to the list of shows to record and watch later, if I’m bored.

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If you’re still wanting to give it a go, Stargate Universe – The Complete First Season can be purchased from Amazon.


7 Responses

  1. nate says:

    Sadly I have to agree with you there hoodfish. Changing the tried and tested formula may have marked the end of the Stargate franchise.

    I think my biggest issue with SGU is the time taken in developing the backstories of the characters. It took far too long and sucked the pace out of the storyline. From where we are at the moment in the series, the backstories really don’t matter that much – bit of a waste of time.

    I’ll continue to watch in hope of things improving. I so desperately want it to be a success, but has the damage already been done???

  2. Min says:

    I think what you said there Nate is the main thing that’s keeping it going, unfortunately – “I so desperately want it to be a success”.
    Same. And I’d wager the same goes for many a Stargate fan.

    I just don’t get how they could have gotten it all so wrong, and I’ve personally given up on it and classed it in the ‘if I ignore it, it never happened’ barrel.
    The characters – despite any backstory they may now have developed – did not interest me! That Elii, for one, just seemed like a complete rip off – a bad one! – of Topher Brink. Sorry, no. You do not rip off Dollhouse characters 😛

    Though, my Hoodfish is still watching it, so who knows. Maybe those who created it will come to their senses…

  3. hoodfish says:

    Nate I think you hit the nail on the head there.

    Why in the Stargate world, would the writers try to develop chracters’ backstory in the first ten episodes? At this stage in the game they should be eluding to the deeper details of their lives, not giving us full flash backs. Just comments said in passing during the other dialog.

    Why tell us pretty much everthing about them at the start? It didn’t work on me – I still feel nothing for them. It’s like a stranger randomly coming up and telling you their life story. I’m not attached these characters, the actors are still new to their roles. To me its like expendable characters – you know, the ones with no last names, cos they get killed five minutes into an away mission?
    Its like the writers/producers are trying to convince us that these expendable characters are the real deal.

    I just try to sit there and filter out the crap. I stick my fingers in my ears and go LA LA LA LA LA LA, until the drama is over and the plot continues. And then we move on. I’m left with a five minute eposode of Stargate, but hey!
    As you said, “I so desprataly want to be a success”.
    You have really got me thinking, about what makes a sci-fi show, I think it just might be another topic to blog about….

  4. nate says:

    Is it just me, or has SGU started improving as of Human & Lost? Yes we had a flashback to Rush’s & Greer’s past, but that was very relevant (finally!)!

  5. hoodfish says:

    Yes, Its gotten quiet, I think, that now they can’t get back to earth, by using the communication stones. The drama can only escalate to a certain point. by the way have you watched Stargate SG1 episode 200 ?

  6. nate says:

    @hoodfish. Yes, strangely 200 is one of my fav episodes. I loved the farscape parody.

  7. Min says:

    What I loved most about the Farscape parody in 200 was that Ben Browder didn’t play his own character XD

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