SG-U: Stargate Universe

Discussion of Science Fiction motifs, symbols and allegory.
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LoneBear
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SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by LoneBear » Fri Oct 09, 2009 5:37 pm

I just saw the premiere of Stargate Universe... spoilers follow.


IMHO, a bit of a disappointment. One would think that with an entire Universe to draw upon, they could have done better than basically doing a Sliders ripoff...

The basic plot line goes like this: they found a 9-chevron address in the Atlantis database--only one--but could not generate enough power to open a wormhole, until they ran across a planet with a customized stargate that tapped its power from the core of the planet, and could only dial out (no incoming wormholes). But, even with the power, dialing the gate did nothing--same problem as the original Stargate film, so they had to recruit a Daniel Jackson type--this time, by the Air Force putting out the Ancient puzzle of the 9-chevron address as a challenge in a video game, and recruited the winner.

He gets hauled off to this other planet to make the gate work. While there, they get attacked and the place starts falling apart, but manage to get the 9-chevron address dialed and open--so they have to evacuate through it to this unknown place, which ends up being an Ancient ship, in hyperspace for 100,000 years, and several galaxies distant.

Basically, same situation as Stargate Atlantis--Ancient tech that is falling apart, not enough power to dial back home. The difference is rather than having a competent team, they have a bunch of misfits thrown together on this ship. How these misfits got selected for the Stargate program to begin with is a bit of a mystery... you'd expect that people selected to analyze sophisticated technology on another world would be intelligent and professional, but they fall in to totally non-professional mode, bitching and moaning about their situation, demanding the "Rodney" character fix everything and send them home.

That doesn't work, but then they discover that other Ancient ships had preceded them and left stargates on some of the planets they are passing, so every now and then, the ship drops out of hyperspace, and they have a 12-hour window to visit the planet and get stuff to make repairs, before the ship takes off again. The plot to Sliders was basically the same, except they were going to parallel Earth's, rather than just planets in sequence.

Anyway, I found the lack of symbols, motifs and archetypal characters to be quite disappointing. It appears the theme will be "we have to work together, to get home," as if that hasn't been done a thousand times in science fiction already.

It also appears that they hired the drunk cameraman from Battlestar Galactica, as the camera is all over the place, making it hard to even follow what is going on at times.

Just wondering what others thought of the show.

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by Obzistian » Wed Oct 14, 2009 7:56 am

Yeh, it basically reminded me of the latter BattleStar Galactica, which is 'all about the drama'.
There were a few characters who might have some promise, but if the writing continues to 'suck'
(as in suck you into even more drama) then they will never develop well.
And I stopped watching BattleStar before the first season had completed.
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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by LoneBear » Wed Oct 14, 2009 3:00 pm

Obzistian wrote:Yeh, it basically reminded me of the latter BattleStar Galactica, which is 'all about the drama'.
There were a few characters who might have some promise, but if the writing continues to 'suck'
(as in suck you into even more drama) then they will never develop well.
And I stopped watching BattleStar before the first season had completed.
Very true; I think I made it about half-way through the 2nd season of the new BG before I lost interest. The big difference I noticed between the old and new BG is that the old one showed mankind at its best... the new one, at its worst.

Given that television is basically "cultural programming" for the upcoming generations, I find that a bit disturbing.

But I think you are right... SG-U will go the same route as BG did. Well, at least there's Doctor Who, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures that are still GOOD sci-fi!

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by Obzistian » Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:39 pm

I think Warehouse 13 also has some interesting character inter-play.. the plots are so-so, but a couple of decent
ones in the first season. The two main characters actually take on 'opposite' roles from traditional types
with the masculine being the intuitive/feeling and the feminine being the intellectual/thinking.
We can always count on Dr. Who and company to keep us entertained and intrigued....
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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by LoneBear » Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:46 pm

Obzistian wrote:I think Warehouse 13 also has some interesting character inter-play.. the plots are so-so, but a couple of decent
ones in the first season. The two main characters actually take on 'opposite' roles from traditional types
with the masculine being the intuitive/feeling and the feminine being the intellectual/thinking.
We can always count on Dr. Who and company to keep us entertained and intrigued....
I've not seen that show yet. But that motif was tried with the pilot to the classic Star Trek, "The Cage," where "Number 1" (Majel Barrett) was the "computer on legs" and Mr. Spock was emotional. It did not fare well with the collective mindset of the earth 1960s, so we ended up with Spock being the computer.

Though a novelty today would be a man in a masculine role!

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by lvx08 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 3:17 am

LoneBear wrote:
Just wondering what others thought of the show.
I started to watch it and turned it off after 20 minutes, But then I gave it another look a few nights ago. I think it is an attempt to move away from the SG 1 and Atlantis formula, of having a swash-bucking hero like Shepherd or O'Neill. For that reason I liked the feel of it, (though I thought the cameo appearances of Carter and O'Neill a complete waste of time and film and wondered why they even bothered). I also thought the pilot episode(s) way too long at 90 minutes where nothing much happened. Still I'll have a look at another episode to see if it improves.

At the moment my favourite sci fi is Flashforward. Good intrigue factor

I saw Moon last night which was good sci fi of the old school pyschological variety. Interesting to see a film that was so introspectively focussed rather than action driven. Very rare these days - I did notice how I felt the need for the change of image every 15 seconds that drives film and tv these days, but once i noticed this, settled back to a slower pace

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by Arcelius » Wed Apr 07, 2010 3:57 pm

I just finished watching StarGate SG-1 (including movies) and StarGate Atlantis and followed it with StarGate Universe.
LoneBear wrote:But, even with the power, dialing the gate did nothing--same problem as the original Stargate film, so they had to recruit a Daniel Jackson type--this time, by the Air Force putting out the Ancient puzzle of the 9-chevron address as a challenge in a video game, and recruited the winner.
I still don't know why they recruited him in the first place. With the problem solved, he wasn't really needed anymore. They could have just given him a job to reward him (and keep an eye on him). Looking at his history, I wouldn't trust him to keep those kinds of secrets.
LoneBear wrote:He gets hauled off to this other planet to make the gate work.
But he isn't really needed to make the gate work. When he gets there, the scientists have already taken his solution and implemented it. OK, he does have the idea to use a different planet as the point of origin but I am sure that that would have occurred to someone else sooner or later.
LoneBear wrote:While there, they get attacked and the place starts falling apart, but manage to get the 9-chevron address dialed and open--so they have to evacuate through it to this unknown place, which ends up being an Ancient ship, in hyperspace for 100,000 years, and several galaxies distant.
Actually, they start dialing home to Earth. Instead, the "Rodney" character interrupts that for another try at the 9-chevon address. People are dying and stuff is blowing up and the lead scientist decides to risk everyone's life by experimentation? I find it difficult to believe that such a person would be chosen by StarGate Command much less be the lead scientist on the project. I certainly could not see Colonel Carter or Dr. McKay even remotely doing any such thing.
LoneBear wrote:Basically, same situation as Stargate Atlantis--Ancient tech that is falling apart, not enough power to dial back home. The difference is rather than having a competent team, they have a bunch of misfits thrown together on this ship. How these misfits got selected for the Stargate program to begin with is a bit of a mystery... you'd expect that people selected to analyze sophisticated technology on another world would be intelligent and professional, but they fall in to totally non-professional mode, bitching and moaning about their situation, demanding the "Rodney" character fix everything and send them home.
What surprises me as well is that the people there form the bulk of the Icarus team (i.e. the off-world semi-disconnected group of people on the base). How did that base function in the first place? I can't see how.
LoneBear wrote:That doesn't work, but then they discover that other Ancient ships had preceded them and left stargates on some of the planets they are passing, so every now and then, the ship drops out of hyperspace, and they have a 12-hour window to visit the planet and get stuff to make repairs, before the ship takes off again. The plot to Sliders was basically the same, except they were going to parallel Earth's, rather than just planets in sequence.
The time window varies based on how long the ship remains close enough to the stargate on the planet to open and maintain a wormhole. Still, there are professional scientists wandering off to places they know they shouldn't go and get left behind. Unfortunately, the planets are very boring. No inhabitants. Just some harsh environments. The only technology I have seen was a crashed alien spacecraft of some kind (not enough time to investigate it though).
LoneBear wrote:Just wondering what others thought of the show.
The SF Colonel is a step away from Shepherd and O'Neill. While those 2 have their issues with authority, they also have an inner moral compass that guides them. I didn't see that with this military officer. He and the "Rodney" character have a discussion at one point about end and means. The "Rodney" character displays the classic STS viewpoint on the issue. The Colonel seems to disagree but not with the philosophical point; only that the means and ends were unpleasant to him personally.

Much of the first season is centered around this documentary of people's last thoughts assuming they don't make it, then someone else might find it one the ship and know what happened to them. There was something similar on StarGate Atlantis and it worked in that case for some good character development (they were able to send a data-burst back to StarGate command). However, in SG-U, it went way, way, way too far. It's like every episode needed to have some minutes blown on this. Why?

The "Daniel Jackson" character was interesting to me because of all the symbology he would make use of. In SG-U, there is no such character although there is plenty of Ancient tech and documentation to go around (it is just not part of the storyline though it could have been). He is also interesting because of his ability to come up with some very creative ideas (even more so than some of the other characters from SG-1 and Atlantis who were also good at problem-solving). The closest thing in SG-U is the unemployed MIT dropout who was living with his mother. His creativity seems quite limited although with the right mentor and some work on his part, I think he might have potential. I don't see any good mentors on SG-U though (the Colonel is not a good mentor -- neither is Dr. Rush who didn't seem to spend anytime mentoring which surprised me).

I think the only reason anyone is alive on that ship is due to the engineering from the Ancients. If I might repeat myself, I don't see how they survived on the off-world base even. Maybe I'm not even sure that they could have run a regular military base on Earth. There is a season 2 with 20 episodes coming but I doubt I will bother. It even lacks the "Canadian" content of SG-1 and Atlantis.

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by LoneBear » Mon Apr 18, 2011 11:14 am

SG-U has been canceled. SyFy ("Siffy" as it is now pronounced, since it has less and less to do with SciFi) said that it cost too much per episode, and they can make a lot more money doing those dumb "reality" shows instead.

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Re: SG-U: Stargate Universe

Post by LoneBear » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:52 am

maeghan wrote:I just canceled my netflix membership, they took the Stargate Universe SGU series off. This was the first Stargate series I've ever watched. I'd like to finish watching it. Also, isn't another Stargate series better?
There were only 2 season of SG-U, up to where they all went into hibernation to cross between galaxies, where the series ended.

The original was Stargate SG-1 (10 seasons, 3 movies), followed by Stargate Atlantis (5 seasons, a couple of which overlap SG-1). I think both these series were far better than SG-U, which got off to a really slow start, came up with an interesting plot point with that mystery in the cosmic background radiation, then went downhill again with the constant fighting with those drone ships.

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