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SGU: Stargate Universe--Season 1 [Blu-ray]
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A Group Of Soldiers, Scientists And Civilians, Fleeing An Attack, Is Stranded Billions Of Miles From Earth On An Ancient Ship Known As The Destiny. Locked On An Unknown Course, They Must Fight To Survive And Find A Way Home. The Danger, Adventure And Hope They Find On Board The Destiny Will Reveal The Heroes And Villains Among Them.
If it isn't already apparent that Stargate Universe (a.k.a. SGU) is not your big brother's Stargate, all doubt disappears when a Nick Drake sound-alike song called "Don't Forget to Breathe" makes its way onto the soundtrack near the end of "Air," the three-episode pilot that unveils this new series. The stargate itself--an artificially created "wormhole" through which one can instantly travel to different worlds light-years away--is still around, but much else has changed. Gone, for the most part, are the rough-and-tumble adventures that were the specialty of SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, SGU's popular predecessors. Gone, too, are insouciant but charismatic and intrepid leaders like SG-1's Col. Jack O'Neill (Richard Dean Anderson does make several cameo appearances in that role in the course of these 20 episodes, offered here on six discs) and Atlantis's Col. John Sheppard, along with such memorable and monstrous alien nemeses as the Goa'uld, the Wraith, and the Replicators. In their places, in addition to a new ongoing story line, is a rather less conventional approach, featuring a more minimalist vibe and an entirely fresh cast of earnest, intense, mostly youthful characters battling personal demons and complex interpersonal relationships (including some involving, gasp, gay couples), along with a myriad of technical issues more typical of sci-fi shows. Sprinkle in a few more sensitive tunes of the kind you'd encounter on a nighttime soap opera, and you've got what might be called the emo Stargate.
If this all sounds very serious, well, these folks have a lot to be serious about. Very early on, the "Icarus Base" is under alien attack, forcing military and civilian personnel alike to escape through the stargate. They end up aboard Destiny, a massive ship that's millions of years old and was once the property of the omniscient master race known as the Ancients. Not only do our characters barely know how to operate the ship, they also have no idea where they are, except that it's billions of light-years from Earth. It's the responsibility of the two main men, Col. Everett Young (Justin Louis) and scientist Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle), to figure out how to get everyone home safely, a task that dominates the series' overall arc. That dicey proposition is complicated considerably by ceaseless internecine conflict on the ship, much of it between soldiers and civilians (typified by Young and Rush, both of whom are self-righteous, utterly humorless, and not especially likable). Much of the action takes place on Destiny, but there are occasional excursions to various planets in search of water and other supplies; there are also trips to Earth made possible by magical "communication stones" that allow users to exchange bodies with folks on the other end. As is the case with many new programs, SGU takes a while to hit its stride, but when that happens about a third of the way into the season, the results are often quite exciting; SGU may not be as much fun as the earlier shows, but it's still well written and entertaining, with excellent production values, good special effects, and some two hours' worth of bonus material. --Sam Graham
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1) Similarities to other shows: There has been a great deal of speculation that the show is a 'ripoff' of Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, or even Lost. While I certainly don't disagree that it bears a striking similarity to Battlestar Galactica, I don't count that as a strike against it.
Prior shows are always going to have an impact on future shows. Film-making (whether it be TV or Feature) is an art that builds upon itself, and stands on the shoulders of those who came before it. The fact is the Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and Lost are all GOOD shows, regardless of your impression of it or whether or not it struck you the right way, they were the best of their genres at the time, and even bent their genres into something new.
That being said, to call this show a 'rip-off' or 'carbon copy' of any of those shows is grossly over simplifying things and intentionally misleading. Perhaps we should just create a new genre name, like 'Adult Sci-Fi', so we can get over all these intellectual property theft allegations.
2) Dissimilarities to other Stargate franchises: This review will probably take a lot of heat for this, but - past Stargate shows actually weren't very good. Don't get me wrong, I've watched every episode of SG1, and most of Atlantis (still working on that), and enjoy just about all of it, but even while enjoying it, I was fully recognizant of the fact that it wasn't actually good. It's campy. The acting is sub-par, even when there are good actors in the shows. The sets are generic and bland, reminiscent of the original series of Star Trek, the scripting is packed with fromage, and the plots, no matter how original, were all clearly predictable.Read more ›
SGU, however, is an entirely different beast than SG1 and although it borrows heavily from other space operas especially, given the parallels, from Battlestar Galactica and, to a lesser extent, from Star Trek Voyager, it has a very definite identity of its own. The central premise of an Ancient ship millions of light years from Earth over which the new arrivals have almost no control adds a unique dimension of unpredictability with a frisson of gloomy helplessness. The military leader on board is clearly out of his depth - he has no idea how to handle a random rag-tag band of civilians and cannot think beyond his totally ingrained militaristic viewpoint; the behaviour of the civilians perfectly counterpoints that of the military so there is always a subversive undercurrent of revolt. There is, of course, a stargate on board so that when the ship drops out of FTL there is a planet to explore (conveniently, there is an advance party of more Ancient ships seeding planets with stargates) so that we have nice traditional away-mission episodes to relieve the dark claustrophobia of the ship based ones.Read more ›
SGU takes place in the same universe as the other two aforementioned series and even has a few characters from those shows show up via guest appearances. IMO this show basically starts off as an emulation of Battlestar Galactica: lone ship trying to get to earth, mysterious scientist working with his own agenda (and even has hallucinations of people too), conflicts between the military and civilian population. Unfortunately this show also picks up one of the massive frustrations that BSG had (IMO) which is the conflict between the military and civilian groups when (again imo) the military should have had the right to lead without wasting precious time on meaningless political squabbles (eg Camille). One of the main frustrations for me was the Camille character: an HR head who continuously tries to usurp control from Col. Young. The fact that an HR person even thinks that they have the right to take over a ship is quite annoying. Another negative is the fact that the show refuses to take drastic changes despite major story line threads. Mutiny? No problem, they agree to get along. Strand a person? No problem, they agree to get along. Even when Young made one drastic decision against Rush which left my jaw dropped on the ground, they undid it by the next episode!!! Aside from Greer (and to a lesser degree Lt Scott), the military in this show are not all that bright.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Awesome series... just love it. So sad they cancelled it. I won't finish the series because I don't want it to end.Published 5 months ago by J.G.
The first half of this series rivals with great series of our time such as Breaking bad and Dexter. Definitely an underrated, fascinating show with strong character development and... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sledder