I can count the number of people I know that have watched Stargate Universe on one hand and I don’t even need to use my thumb. Just last night I finished re-watching the series with my wife and it reminded me how good that show was (she liked it too and she isn’t a huge sci-fi fan). It is easily one of the five best shows I’ve ever watched and even as I write this review I am thinking back on key moments in the series.
Most conversations about SGU are quick and go one of two ways: 1. “I’ve never heard of it. I don’t like sci-fi. No thanks.” 2. “It has Stargate in the title. That means a corny concept at least and a silly show most likely.” If this describes you, I urge you to give SGU a try. The entire tone of the show is very different from the movies and other TV series. If you have never seen the movie Stargate or need a refresher on its basic premise, watch this little video and you’ll enjoy SGU more.
I’m sure I’m going to get negative feedback for saying it but the original movie was more than a little goofy. It was well made and entertaining but it was hard to take seriously. That tone followed into the TV shows SG-1 and Atlantis from what I’ve observed. Admittedly, I’ve only seen an episode or two of each. I couldn’t stand them. Because of this I came to SGU late in the game. The series had almost finished up and I had to catch late night reruns on Tivo. As a matter of fact, I think it was Tivo that suggested that I give the show a try in the first place. Thanks Tivo.
Anyway, SGU seems more grounded in reality to me. Decisions have consequences and looming danger is effectively conveyed. It reminds me of Battlestar Galactica (the newer series) in these ways. Its focus is much more on the people and their relationships to one another and the act of surviving in a very desperate situation. If you like Robinson Crusoe, you owe it to yourself to give this show a try. Few and far between are the giant battles and crazy aliens that this franchise seems to be best known for.
I loved the overall story (which is always the most important thing to me). It is full of surprises and cleverness. Who is good and who is bad? What is the “good” or “bad” decision? Can this person be trusted? The dialog and character interactions are superb. I have a feeling as the episodes started filming, the writers saw this strength and began to use the characters to drive the story. The acting is wonderful and you really believe that these actors are the people they are portraying. The production values are high (which I imagine had to play heavily into the decision to cut the series). Even the soundtrack is great with songs from folks like Alexi Murdoch, Flogging Molly, and Mumford & Sons.
It only ran for two seasons on the then-named Sci Fi Network so it wouldn’t take you long to get through the entire series. Now that it is summer break for most TV shows, this is the perfect time to give it a try. I think if you watch the first two or three episodes you’ll be hooked.
You can find the most recent episodes on SyFy’s website but don’t watch them first. This is one continuous story that would be easy to ruin by watching the series out of order.