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October 4, 2015

A newbie's look at Stargate Universe

by Jane Boursaw, posted Oct 4th 2009 9:00AM
Stargate Universe Series PremiereI'll preface this by saying that while I'm familiar with the Stargate franchise and recently watched the 1994 movie starring Kurt Russell and James Spader, I've only seen an episode here and there of the various TV shows. So this is my newbie look at Stargate Universe, which premiered Friday night. (And, uh, there really isn't that much on Friday night, and it happened to be on Charter's video on demand, so I checked it out after the premiere aired.)

I'll say right off the bat that it seems a little cheesy, so I'm wondering how it compares to the previous Stargate incarnations. The characters seem a little cliche:

  • the blowhard politician with health problems (and his caring daughter), which resulted in the episode's most heartbreaking moment
  • the nerdy guy with long hair and a sad past
  • the nerdy kid who ends up being transported to a spaceship and helping the crew with important stuff
  • the tough-guy military people with guns and crew cuts
  • the gorgeous female crew members

The dialogue could use a little help, too, but I don't know ... maybe the whole thing is supposed to be a little cheesy? I mean, it sort of adds to the show's appeal in a weird way.

Even so, the premise of being able to jump through portals and end up somewhere else is intriguing, especially an ancient ship in a distant part of space. I also liked seeing Richard Dean Anderson, because I know he has a long history with Stargate. Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Carlyle seem like a good fit, and I like David Blue as computer geek Eli Wallace.

What did you guys think of the premiere? I'd love to hear from some Stargate veterans as to how it compares to the previous shows.

For a more in-depth analysis, check out Mike's early look of the premiere. Watch the premiere episode and clips at SlashControl.

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Scott Hedrick

I like hot babes. Still, it would have been nice to include a woman who *wasn't* a babe, such as Kate Reid played in The Andromeda Strain movie. A character like that would give Rush nightmares. I really don't want to see Stargate: 90210. Not everyone needs to be conventionally pretty.

October 18 2009 at 8:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've never watched a stargate in my life. I just saw it on iTunes and decided to watch this ep. I skimmed through some of the boring stuff like the senator dying. But over all I liked it. It's a good BSG replacement.

October 11 2009 at 10:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward H. Evans

The peopl who wrote Battlestar galactica seem like the same folk who are writting Stargate Universe this show was just a complete let down..seem like the only objective was to figure out who were the cyclons. and the special effects were just losy, don't mention Mary Odonnel who in my opinion took her script from Independence Day to Battlestar Galacticia where she went from the President's wife to President dying of cancer. and the special effects weren't there being on that old looking ship that I could have made in my garage the scenes were just terrible what a waste on time,and money to produce that show..What I am trying to say is that is seems that the same director and writer or who ever is influential in producing Stargate Universe is the same person that had a hand on Battlestar Galactica. this is just my opinion a Science Fiction show main purpose is to entertain,show action,special effects,create interest for something new and not deal in abstract dialogue if it doesn't affect the entertainment element in the show..again the battle stargalactica show only had one objective and that was to figure out who were the cyclons to me that was just boring, and it lacked special effects again I am mentioning Battlestar Galctica because Stargate Universe seems to be one and same as Battlestar Galactica ! Did they take the script from Battlestar Galactica and named it Stargate Universe ! What a let down ! The whole cast seems to be a little stiff! They need to get up to snuff ! The special effects need a lot of work ! and taking a glass flash on the desert to titrate for calcium seems so unscientific when some type of hand held computer would have been more scienctific and futuristic and better for the show. I jsut cannot believe anyone putting their hard earned money into a show that is poorly written and mostly like won't last no more than a season. They should keep the writers that wrote for SG-1, and Stargate Atlantis those were some Good shows ! and the shows lasted over 5seasons or was it 10 for SG-1 !

October 11 2009 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward H. Evans

Stargate Universe does resemble SG-1 although a gate is present to travels to other worlds..The show is more like Battle Star Galactia which I think was just a dull and boring show.In my opinion a science fiction show is to entertain and deal with abstract dialogue which Battle Star Galactia engaged in instead having interesting entertainment, and action.I stopped watching the show after the first season..it seemed as though the same people who are writing Stargate Universe or the same that wrote Battlestar Galactica to it was just boring,boring the special effects just weren't there ! The main object for the writer is to get the audience to figure out who were the cylons !That just was a one dimensional dead end ! The ship(the Galactia) looked like a worn out cargo ship from world war II and it was always being shown..The old Battlestar Galactia show was better than the more recent one only thing it lacked was the technology to create some interesting special effects..I guess I have drifted to talking about battlestar galactica is that Stargate Universe reminds me of it,boring,lacking special effects, dull and uninteresting abstract dialogue,meaningless crying and dramatics that takes away from the show only to indicate that the writer and the director has run out of ideas for the show just like battlestar galactica seems like they did not write the script it was just thought of as they went along...I guess alot of us won't be able to watch a good Sci-Fi(SY-FY) on friday nights we just may have to try something else maybe go to the video store and purchase some stargate(sg-1) reruns. I like Lou Diamond Phillips work but he seems to be getting a little age on him - he seems to be stiff on the show, I guess he watch too much of Battlestar Galactica with (OleMos),Adamma and Mary O'donnel who used almost the same script as she used in Independence Day .. Mary O'donnel was not the President's wife she moved to the President on Battlestar Galactia - dying of cancer and having some boring and uninteresting conversation with Adamma.Well, I am guessing the same folk who wrote Battlestar Galactica got their hands on Stargate Universe..If anyone has got some money invested in this show they better get the fellows who are writing and directing SG-1, and let the folks go who wrote and directed Battlestar Galactica..A science fiction show for it to be a success show have the following ingriedents : must Entertain, showing action, when action is not being into play the scenes should be setting up the actions,and just using abstract dialogue like a writter and a director is writing for a Broadway play or something. this is just my opinion I don't want to force my opinion on anyone- I could be dead wrong.I just think that when Stargate Priemered they had a lot of dialogue and crying that was just boring ! When this girl's father sacrificed his life to save the crew on the ship this scene carried over to some other scenes the guys wife found out that he was dead...and to me it was another event that did not in no way resemble the style of writing for SG-1..it resemble the writing and directing style of the people who directed and wrote for Battlestar Galactica ! The only thing interesting was the space ship they were on and it did not look that great ! Whoever is responsible for the show to me needs to get thing up to snuff..Talk to some of the people on SG-1 and get some good ideas from them...

October 11 2009 at 3:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well I think the thing we need to keep in mind is the fact that SG-1 and SG-A didn't ever hit the ratings numbers to keep them on the air. They were great shows, but more cult favorites than mainstream. BSG on the other hand, received much more of a mainstream audience and great critical reviews. So if they can combine the awesomeness that is Stargate with the ratings and critical appeal of BSG, you've got a vehicle that will keep Sci Fi on our tv sets.

Having stated all of that, I was very excited to watch SGU. I told my wife I was going to go watch it and she made fun of her geeky husband and his love of sci fi, but decided she'd watch it with me, mostly because I think she wanted to make fun of the show. Thirty minutes in she glanced over at me and stated, "this is pretty good". She never watched a SG episode in her life, but loved BSG.

Congrats SyFy, you've won over one household for sure.

October 07 2009 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I felt like I must of been having brain farts. You're right. I kept thinking the ship started generating oxygen when the gate dialed in.

October 07 2009 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Quantum Iguana

I liked, but didn't love, Atlantis. I was sorry to see it go. As I said, I'll give it a chance. But I prefer stories with people working together to overcome obstacles, rather than watching an hour each week of people self-destructing. I already watched BSG, I don't need to see an imitation of it.

October 06 2009 at 1:17 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Quantum Iguana

Stargate has never portrayed the military terribly accurately - one example is that they have officers doing many tasks that enlisted personnel would be doing. The people pushing buttons would be enlisted, the officers would be supervising and giving instructions.

And getting into screaming matches with high ranking civilian officials? They'll have you for lunch for that. This guy would never have made an elite squad.

October 06 2009 at 1:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Quantum Iguana's comment

"one example is that they have officers doing many tasks that enlisted personnel would be doing."
Which was actually one of the things SG-1 got right with Sargeant Walter Harriman as the person operating the gate most weeks. It was nice to see operations being done by NCOs.

October 11 2009 at 8:20 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think I have learned more about this show from reading all of the comments here than I did from actually trying to watch it. Especially since I kept falling asleep during the second hour.
However, I do have a few comments to make. I agree with Twisted that the military had no cohesion or discipline. To be invoved in the super secret Stargate program they would have to be highly trained and elite troops, but they behaved like panicky civilians with guns. Also, Eli seems like a fairly likeable character, but I would hate to see him become the SG equivalent to Wesley Crusher, the wunderkind who always saves the day while everyone else is grasping at straws for solutions. Finally, I hate the plot device of bouncing backwards and forwards along the time line of the story. It is confusing and distracting to me. Its hard enough to follow a story with the very long commercial interuptions that they have nowadays, but to add in having to get your bearings along a non-linear storyline, it just pulls me out of the story to much.
I plan to continue to watch SGU to see if it improves with time, but the beginning was not very encouraging.

October 06 2009 at 12:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Reading through all of these comments I'm reminded of the backlash Atlantis received when it first started out.

The show was great. It felt unfamiliar which I liked. I been watching Stargate since before middle school when it used to come on FOX @ 4 or 5pm after V.I.P LOL.

I think people are ignoring a possible plot twist from the beginning. How did the Lucian Alliance know where everyone was to launch a full scale attack on a planet as soon as they dropped out of hyperspace? I think they had a mole.

The characters were slightly refreshing. From a military standpoint I wonder how Eli will fit in. He will need to be trained from the start.

Also possible plot hole about how the ancestors left the gate for other civilizations to use. Where they already setup or did the ancients appear to come along during some point in each new world's history.

Can't wait to catch the next episode.

October 06 2009 at 10:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Anthony's comment
Quantum Iguana

I think the characters weren't refreshing, they were pretty stale and unbelievable. It's like they cut and pasted from BSG, Lost in Space and Sliders.

October 06 2009 at 1:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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