Stargate Universe is a promising show worth seeing

by Paul William Tenny

Stargate Universe: 1x03 - "Air", Part 3I'll have a lot more to say about Stargate Universe in the coming days now that I've seen the first three episodes, but before I spend a great deal of time putting everything into focus -- honestly I'd like to sit down and watch the entire thing again before I write my story -- I'd like to share a couple of immediate thoughts on what I remember, what my first impression was.

People who will not like this show are people who do not like this style of show. It almost doesn't matter what your personal relationship is to Stargate in general, it's not the Stargate factor that will put you off or suck you in forever, it's that this is not a family action show pretending to be science fiction like its predecessors were.

Stargate Atlantis tended to try to cram a lot of action into a small amount of time, and sometimes that breakneck pacing would hurt the show, making it feel very rushed. The series finale exemplified this problem, where a it felt like the writers crammed two hours worth of story into a single hour.
That is not happening with SGU. If anything, the first three episodes are a little too slow, but that's fine -- if you can enjoy a show that takes its time. Something to keep in mind is that the first three episodes are a single story, and will not be representative of the pacing of everything that comes after, not by a long shot. And that's not even addressing the comedy moments we've all come to love and expect from Stargate.

Forget it, they are gone. This is a real drama now, if you don't like real dramas, that's what's going to seal it for you.

And if one can imagine a formula where none exists, then SGU's formula is wildly distinct from SGA in other areas. There isn't a real big or immediate focus on existential problems like malfunctioning technology so much as is a focus on how people deal with problems under stress, in less than ideal circumstances, set in the Stargate Universe. Once you see the premier, you may disagree, but consider where the focus is the whole time. Is it on the ship, or is the ship just a catalyst for interactions amongst the people?

Do not expect repeated scenarios where the the military lead character leans on the cliched genius scientist while everyone else throws in words of encouragement until a brilliant solution is discovered to save the day at the last minute. Don't get me wrong, that worked great for a lot of years and lead to some really entertaining times, but there's a place and a time for that, and it ain't here.

Reality never works out that way and if episodes one through three are any indication, for the most part, neither will Stargate Universe. Believe me when I tell you that the trailer soundbites, "these are the wrong people, in the wrong place" were not a joke.

And just because those things are gone doesn't mean that this is less of a show. There are other ways of telling stories that bring other positives to forefront.

In the SGA/SG-1 world, you've got enjoyable but mostly unrealistic character relationships. Everybody is friends, nobody acts like an asshole, nobody cowers from something without finding undiscovered courage for a small amount of redemption at the last second, and you generally don't have people looking out only for themselves that are inside the main cast. It wasn't uncommon to see guest characters portrayed as less than savory people in SG-1, but that kind of realism -- everyone is flawed in some way -- has been brought closer to home in ways that make McKay's arrogance like downright positive by comparison.

That's fine, that's what you've come to expect from SG-1 and SGA and it makes for a remarkably upbeat environment.

Stargate Universe is a lot of things, but upbeat is not one of them.

Think of your typical medical drama, and then think of House. Characters with flaws is what real drama is all about, and this show is full of people with flaws.

In a way, it's very refreshing. And looking back, at least for this brief moment, whatever comparisons might be had between Ron Moore's BSG, and SGU, the only fair analogy is in visual styles. The CGI sequences have a familiar BSG feel (BSG did not invent that style, by the way), but otherwise SGU doesn't take drama to such an extreme that you're watching a soap opera in space, and it's certainly not 90210 in space, either.

There are shows like BSG and E.R. than went too far, that became so dark that you kind of wanted to blow your brains out at the end of every episode. SGU, thankfully, isn't that bad.

I'll be back at some point with more on this, but for now, I might suggest one thing if you don't read my site again before settling in for the SGU premier.

Don't sit down expecting a Stargate show like the ones that have come before. If you do, you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment -- and not because SGU isn't good, but because you'll be getting something other than what you thought you'd get, and there is no way this show can win in that scenario. That's not the direction Brad Wright and Rob Cooper and the crew have gone with this show. They wanted to do something different, and they have, and it's not fair to demand that this show be something other than what it is.

At least not until after you've actually seen it.

Try not to expect or anticipate anything, just watch the damn thing and see if it's something you think you might enjoy. And remember that even if it doesn't strike you as interesting or entertaining -- frankly I think interesting will come before entertaining with this series, at least at first, because this is so different from the others -- it may take some time to find its voice on top of all of this. Compare SG-1's first season to it's fifth and you'll understand my meaning.

Oh, and by the way, there's going to be music in this show. Real music. Not just scored stuff, but actual songs. It's a game changer when it comes to setting just the right tone at just the right moment. And the musical score is simply amazing.

More later.

(P.S.: If you're interested in SGU, you may also be interested in these scans I did of all the pages of the Stargate Universe press kit. Lots of nice cast photos in there.)

Update - My full Stargate Universe review is now online and available.
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Thanks, for the info it was interesting an its nice to see someone actually stating it, as it is opposed the spin an lies from the creators/MGM. It nice to actually see someone say that yea SGA or SG1 fans who were into that format might not like this, instead of the assumption that just because its got Stargate in the title we will watch.

As a SGA fan I was already not going to watch this rubbish because IMO thats what it is an I dont need to see the pilot to tell me that, seen enough of the bio's an trailers to work that one out, but yes all my fears an doubts have now been confirmed, an I thank for that.

Everything about SGA that made it a great show has been removed from SGU, EVERYSINGLE aspect including the wonderful score, sorry but real songs in any show just doesnt cut the mustard IMO.

They can keep the new required demographic an male dominated audience they so seem to desire, because my idea of Stargate dies with SGA. I still dont I understand why both types of shows couldnt be made as one size actually DOES NOT FIT ALL!! But the power's that be "thinks" they know best!

Thanks for you take on it, but NO not watching:

"Don't sit down expecting a Stargate show like the ones that have come before. If you do, you'll be setting yourself up for disappointment -- and not because SGU isn't good, but because you'll be getting something other than what you thought you'd get, and there is no way this show can win in that scenario. That's not the direction Brad Wright and Rob Cooper and the crew have gone with this show. They wanted to do something different, and they have, and it's not fair to demand that this show be something other than what it is.

At least not until after you've actually seen it."

The only reason I would sit down an watch is to expect the Stargate I liked in the past, eg the ones that came before SG1/SGA. There is no interest to watch what you have discribe as SGU AT ALL. This isnt the 1st time I heard this an I already miss the old Stargate, this just is so not good on so many levels an points. Oh well it time to look at other shows because this one isnt ever worth checking out.
of course we'll see it, we arent stupid, curiosity alone will compel us to see it if nothing else. but i dont know man, its just the show sounds refreshing but at some point it will wear out and get boring with all the drama. what i was looking for personnally, was a family action adventure show pretending to be a character driven show. like they manipulate the audience into thinking they are watching something different when all along they are basically watching SG-1/SGA.
FIRST of all the thing is I'm not a fan of the franchise never have been. I am soley a fan of a show an that show happened to be Atlantis.

I didn’t like BSG, nor did I like ER an I sure as hell don’t like House, I know you started those as reference points only but its fair to say these are not the types of shows I tune into at all, because frankly I find them uninteresting an so very boring.

I’m afraid I don’t buy into this “watch it first thing, you never know???” Because yes I do know, there are many shows over the last few years, where I read the scenario an though no an never watched, House is one those, BSG was the pilot only, Dollhouse didn’t even get that, my point is, that’s what marketing is for, that’s why the info is put out there so you can look at, digest an make you mind up.

You don’t just blindly follow because you liked the one of the original shows, "especially" when you are being told over an over again that its nothing like the original an it is so completely different from the previous outing.

Personally I don’t like character driven stories that much, Lost for example got on my nerves so much that I stopped watching. I don’t like shows where you miss one thing an that’s it. From what I've read about this show, its all those things an so much more.

With due respects you can tell what this is going to be like just from the trailers, which are unimpressive an not interesting, so yes you can judge a book by its covers.

Do you watch or read everything even if the trailer or synopsis screams no thanks” of course you don’t that’s what the trailers an book prefaces are there for. I don’t need to watch the pilot, I dont have any curiosity/desire to look at now, heres the thing I was more than happy with SGA, ITS level of darkness, its humour, action adventure, also its not taking it self that serious, in fact they are what made it really enjoyable. It is what you decide that you feel is entertaining, an entertaining story line

To me that’s NOT depressing story lines, not emphasise on flaws, not conflicts, not sex related stories, not whose sleeping with who. And also Stargate was the one of the last few shows that didn’t have to push sexual content in form because it didn’t need it as a prop. So yes I would rather check out any other new show, if IT grab my interested even as a unknown entity than watch this, because I know what I like to watch an what doesn’t interest me.

Reality an realism, OTT flaws, I can get from the news or non related sci fi dramas, but escapism/fun/ action adventure/ good guys beating the bad guys scenario an even to a certain degree family friendly I liked to get from my science fiction. Sorry but me anyway this is not my definition of a entertaining way to spend the evening, hope that answers your question and on a side note I don’t see this as having a closed mind, but as an informed decision based on whats be put out there .

Interesting read, thanks, but I have to say, there still isn’t anything about Universe that’s appealing in any shape size or form & that ranges from the characters to actors to story lines & arc driven stuff a big fat ZERO.

I'm old fashion Stargate fan, this new show leaves me so cold. But as I'm outside the UK it doesn’t matter my viewing habits have no baring on the ratings, so it doesn’t matter that I'm watching or not watching anyway they wanted a whole load of new viewers so it really doesn’t matter if some existing fans tune out, they just be replaced. I thought that was the whole idea anyway “ho hum” SGU not my cup of tea.

I hope those that are looking forward to it enjoy but for me I think Stargate does die with SGA/SG1, fingers crossed that we get the movies soon or at least some positive news, as that’s all I'm looking forward 2, mainly SGA as that’s my fav all time show, have to add though, I’m also not into the franchise either.

I can understand the comments from some of the above, as I share a lot of those feeling, each to his or her own. I just think its a shame that there isn’t a choice, Sci Fi is either all or nothing, eveytime you get a new show its usually because another had to be scarified for it.

One day they may take a leaf out the CSI, NCSI or even Torchwood/Dr Who type idea, that instead of replacing you can have both after all it worked for really well for SG1/SGA,there’s more than enough room, as was said above one size doesn’t necessary fit all.

Sorry meant to say outside the US not UK!
This does this not sound good,I like the idea I could sit down with my family thats a big selling point as is the feel good factor. This doesnt sound promising at all. I'll give it the pilot but thats it, so it better Wow from the get go,and it better feel like stargate shows of old if not I wont watch anymore.
Thanks for the review :)

The old format was getting stale. Taking something more dramatic and applying it to Stargate = perfect, IMO. They did the same thing for 15 years, Atlantis was supposed to be different but ended up SG1-lite. I enjoyed it, but looking back at it in it's entirety, it should have been more. Good on BW and RC for going in a new direction, it's easy to do the same thing all over again, but it takes real balls to move away from a tried and tested formula.
I don't know. I think if they really wanted to move on they should have just created a new scifi show. This trying to keep one foot in the past by keeping Stargate in the title is a mistake. Make a clean break and move on but having RDA make reoccurring appearances and Shanks etc is a bad idea. Too bad we couldn't have seen this type of dramatic development in SGA, which was also supposed to be 'break' with the past and a new direction for the franchise.
Whoa were to start, thanks for the frank comments. This to me sounds a bad idea, dramatic can work but it should have been in SGA, not abandon that show, move on, no continuity only SG1 actor crossovers ( what’s all that about)NO build up what’s so ever, just bang SGU!!!!

I was not very exciting when it first came to light, and that has just been deceasing more an more as time gone on. The more I read, the less I like. I will watch the pilot though but I am almost 100% sure that will be all. I want SG1/SGA if I can see that in it, I mean team friendly, heros, lots of action/exploration through the gate, getting the bad guys/ an aliens & that sort of things, that is what made SG1/SGA the great shows they were, oh an the techno babble. I’ll stick with it for a while an see what happens if not!!!!!

An I do hope this turns to out to be a family friendly show, that has me very worried as well.Because at the moment it really does not look very much like it is.
I'm going to give it a try, but the commercials do not scream "must watch." It's very similiar in style to Battlestar Galactica, a show I tried several times but just did not get into.

As for humor, even if the show is deadly serious, it is possible to have humor, that is, if the writers know how to write black humor.

I do think that a lot of fans will bail out on this series, while a bunch of new ones will follow it. It doesn't sound like a family show anymore.

What's so ironic is that for years, SG1/SGA fans asked for more character development, but for the writers, that meant inserting sex (aka Sam/Jack, or McKay/Keller). Oh well.
Thank you very much for this refreshingly honest appraisal of the premier episode(s). I particularly loved the reference to the now classic phrase "the wrong people, in the wrong place" not being a joke, heh heh...unfortunately, it also confirms that this entire debacle of botched PR is the saddest joke ever in the annals of television production. Yes indeed, there will be an entirely new fan base for the creators, how large a fan base I don't know. But a large number of loyal fans to the franchise have just as certainly been lost as well. I am not sure the trade off will be as rewarding as MGM, NBC and SyFy are hoping. We will see in about 25 days...

I will be watching on October 2, because I promised to report back to my group of determined "non-watchers". Frankly, I won't be watching with much enthusiasm however :) Thanks again for the honest accounting...
Mr Teny, I know that your reply was not directed at me but I find that comment in its self very annoying an very condescending, I‘m sure that was not your intention, but sadly its been used over an over again, you can not be a loyal Stargate fan if you do not watch. Rubbish is what I say, if you are a fan of a show, that’s the show you like, that’s the actors you like an that’s the characters you like. It has nothing to do with loyalty to a new show or the franchise or the even the creators. There is actually a interview based on what fans owe a show over on GW and its ludicrous, fans owe nothing to a show, its our own personal time and money, an we are quite capable of making our minds up based on the product information that has been provided.

Loyalty is where you watch the said chosen show an it has terrible episode but you keep with it because your loyal that show. A new untried an untested show that may not appeal and people know that they would not watch that type of show ANYWAY else whatever the genre or franchise per sa or writers etc.. does not deserve loyalty but it sure as hell does not make that person any less a Stargate fan. May I respectfully request you think hard an fast as to what constitutes a fan an not club us all together under the Stargate banner as a whole. I like Joss Weadon but I did not watch Firefly or Dollhouse, I like Star Trek but I do not like the idea of the latest movie so did not see it but that does not make me any less a fan of Joss Weadon writings or of Star Trek, just those aspects.

You can equate that to any and everything, films/Shows/books even food/clothes just because one part is of interest at a certain time does not mean you blindly follow out of some loyalty. If you think that product “an this is a product” is for you, you buy it or watch it. If you do not then you do not but maybe the product after that is of interest. The only way this can be equated to loyalty as such, is that maybe at some point further down the line, you may take interest in something else that presented i.e. because you know the product makers your more inclined to look an see, still does not mean its given that you will watch or purchase that still comes down to personal preferences, likes an diskes. You wouldn’t drink tea if you preferred coffee but the people that make your coffee an you have been buying that brand over 13 years or so have branched out into making tea, therefore out of loyalty for the preferred coffee makers you drink there new brand of tea instead, it’s a simplistic analogy I know but you would drink what you liked an preferred so you would continue to drink coffee an leave the tea alone.
Quite true Paul, and there we find the difference in definition and perception showing up. At first there were a relatively small number of fans that bailed out simply because of the perception that SGA was canceled to make way for SGU. Those few we may question the merits of loyalty with. But you know...while none of the people involved have flat out said that was the case, too many of the so called "official" comments have come close to the brink of admission. My own favorite and somewhat comedic reference was Coopers infamous coin toss, heh heh. Several other off handed comments in other interviews tend to support the perception that the decision was more of a choice between shows than was presented originally. But that is something of a moot point now, it is done with...

After many months "leaks", fanciful security and too many short and lack luster teasers, the majority of, shall we say, former fans have come to what I think is a reasonable conclusion. I'll use my own words here...the only element that resembles Star Gate is the use of a large flashy mineral ring that goes "whoosh flush" as the presumably only tool to get from ship to planet and back. Sorry for the innate sarcasm on that reference, but I believe it is the basis for most "loyal fan" displeasure now. As you pointed out so well in the article, why use the name Star Gate if it no longer relates to the shows focus?

Thanks, Michael
Your an idiot to be honest, the fact you haven't seen the show yet and have no intention of watching it, but you're still rubbishing it is ridiculous.

The comparisons to other television shows are getting tedious as well, so what it similar to something else? Just because its similar to something else it doesn't mean that the producers/writers have sat down and gone through taking every aspect of one show and put it into SGU. If they span out yet another show witht eh same dynamics and style to SG1/SGA it would be boring.
Thank you for a wonderful review. Although I was sad to see SGA cancelled, I am very much looking forward to seeing where a different creative direction will take the franchise. When SGA was first airing, we were told it was going to be much darker than SG-1. I actually liked that aspect. I loved BSG, like House very much, but haven't seen Dollhouse so cannot comment about that, so I am fairly certain this is a type of drama that will be appealing to me. We all have elements of good and evil inside ourselves. We are both hero and villan and sometimes the same action performed can be viewed in both ways depending upon who is judging the action. October 2nd will be a very exciting day in our household.
Mr Tenny

Again thanks for your reply, yes perhaps I am getting loyalty an allegiance mixed up, but the fact of the matter is there have been a lot of people actually having a go at other fans whether the description loyal or not has been used but lets just say as fans in general of a particular type show, i.e. in this instant SGA that have made there minds up based on the information that has been provided.

An following that made a choice not to bother with the pilot, that have been called all sorts of not nice things like just a few mild examples are "not loyal not or a fan" or "stupid in cases" an the classic "you cant judge a book by its cover". I’ve even seen things like good riddance you not wanted anyway, or the franchise is better off with out you, even after people have explained there reasons some still insist they are still in the wrong an berated for it, its almost like they have to justify why they have come to that conclusion, every bodies right from there own point of view, so other fans shouldn’t bash SGA pro/ or anti people or SGU pro/ or anti an vice versa. I just find that disturbing, which is way it struck a cord I guess when I read the reply, so I apologise for overacting. To be fair I also cant for the life of me understand why this is perceived to make a person narrow minded or close minded, or not fair an reasonable either we shall have to agree to disagree on that one.

At the end of the day the trailers/interviews/spoilers etc… in my opinion are there to entice you in, people such as you self giving a view again all go towards what a person final decision is, if that information does not make the case for you to want to tune in, then it doesn’t but all I was trying to say is that you can still be a fan of a show, watching the pilot makes little or no difference to that. Perhaps if this wasn’t promoted to be so totally different to previous Stargates, it would make a difference I don’t know, if you knew at the outset this was not Stargate an just a new type of show, people may not have responded they have or been so negative,because it may just not besomething they usually watch, who knows for sure, but that is what is constantly be stated as a promotional point that its Stargate but not like the others, interviews by Copper & Wright themselves point out the difference between the show an what they perceived to be wrong on those shows, an have fixed them in SGU.

I just think why would you be interested if your being told all the time its nothing like the other shows so don’t expect it, why would you be an interest in watching, if you thought the other shows were fine an didn’t need fixing. I hope you see the point I’m trying making. At the end of the day each to there own, whether watching it or not, it is a personal choice, I just think it’s a little unfair to berate people or even called narrow minded for making that choice based on the information that is currently available.

Personally I liked your review because you pretty much stated all the factors that I tend not to like in a show, so it actually helped me fully form what I already suspected an feared.
While some interesting points have been raised in the item an comments.

This isn't Stargate or at least in my world, an yes it may only be 2 hours for the pilot if you like it thats grand good for you. Me nothing to like here, I have been looking for one thing to like just one would do well anything or something but god lord could anything be more off putting.
As first impression goes, I'll pass, SGA was family time, we sat down together an watched, this you wont be able to. Cheers for the review though, this doesnt float my boat.

How does SGU stack up with a show like the Shield. BSG seemed as much about society as the individual characters. The shield though was all about the characters, lots of drama and the grey line between right and wrong. Sounds like SGU is trying to go for that. How does it compare based off the first 3 episodes.
I like your review, it seems very candid and unbiased.
The entire reason that I read articles by critics/reviewers and watch trailer for shows is to see if I want to watch them.
I really don't need to spend time tuning into something that I discover contain elements that I do not enjoy.
I trust your description of SGU-Air. I trust my eyes when I saw that 5minute clip from the episode and I trust the descriptions of the show and characters that I see on the official sites.
Gathering this info tothether, I must conclude that SGU will not be a show I will want to watch.
I loved Atlantis (other than McKeller of course), and liked SG1. The good guy vs bad guy elements and good humored heroes aspect had me rooting for the characters. I dislike any show where I find the principals to be unlikeable people. A villain is cool, but I want to have faith that my guys and gals will have honorable motivations, even if they turn out badly.
I don't see anything in this new incarnation of Stargate to bring me in. I am not a fan of the franchise, rather a fan of a particular series. Therefore I do not feel unloyal at all. Simply an informed consumer.
ENOUGH with all of you!!! these writers showed us a good time before, and hell they WILL show us a good time again! they are the SAME people, why doubt them now? Im a hardcore SG-1/SGA fan and I say we watch then judge not the other way around.
"This show will have real music"?

Honestly? Are you really going to compare the work of Joel Goldsmith who took decades of study, research, practice, and expertise to write music with the work of people who wont be remembered in 30 years? You can't honestly think that "real music" as you call it is better than Joel's. Especially for a show like this. No matter how different it is, Stargate needs orchestral work (and oh, I haven't even mentioned the years of study and expertise displayed by the 70+ orchestra members). My gosh, people these days don't understand what music is.
On the bright side, I can make millions of dollars by strumming 3 chords and singing a sappy melody (aka, write "real music"), and so can you if you can google.
wow, "real music".... try not being ignorant.
You don't need an orchestra for an awesome scene. If you need an example, check out The Shield season 7 episode 1 and season 2 episode 3. The right song can set up a scene amazingly.
Thanks for the review Paul! It was interesting to get an outsider's perspective on SGU.
Looking forward to the combination of both classically styled music and more modern choices. I second what Max wrote about the underlying music on a show, it's not what style is played but whether the music suits the scene.
I'll be tuning in to check it out. If I don't like it, well, no harm done, if I do, then great!
Have fun and good luck...
I can´t believe the hostility in here. And those sg-1/atlantis fans who says you wont be watching are in denial. Of course you will watch, you won´t be able to stop the curiosity, trust me :P

After 10+5 seasons of similar storytelling device it´s time to try something new. Atlantis even had problems sometimes of coming up with something new (stealing the replicator idea)

If the creators had created something similar yet again the stories would suffer. And as I said after 15 seasons they also wanted to try something new.

To me stargate is about somewhat ordinary people dealing with extrodinaty circumstances and I don´t doubt that unviverse will deliver.

Thanks for your honest take on the styles of Stargate Universe. I've been keeping up with the progress of the show since SGA was cancelled and am starting to get more than a little frustrated by the fact that so many people have dubbed themselves experts on what SGU will be about without actually having seen it.

Now that the press screeners are out I'm looking forward to getting some real perspective on the matter. Thanks for writing what seems to be an honest and refreshingly objective take on the matter.

Will definitely be back to read your review of the pilot.
Thank you for a rather objective view of the pilot for SGU.

A few things worry me, a lack of humor is a very large one. That's what I love/d about SG-1, that even in dire, dangerous circumstances, there was still humor. Now, its all dark and depressing? No humor. Meh.

To a lesser extent I'm concerned with the music score, but I'm more willing to overlook that if the acting, editing and plot is good.

The most important thing I'm worried about, and I think you touched on it in one of your comments, are potentially offensive scenes.

I'm going to guess that means sex. IMO, Stargate has never needed sex to sell its show. SG-1 and SGA certainly never had much of it - much to the detriment of the believability of the characters, honestly. But it worked for those shows. Now, we've got a re-imagined show in SGU where sex will be the norm? Really? I dunno, I guess I'd rather prefer the subtle longing looks with eventual payoff to the unbelievable immediate hopping into bed that one can infer is going to be happening in SGU. It was over done in BSG, disbelievingly so.. I'm hoping that the previews we've seen are simply to catch their target demographic and won't actually be a huge focus of the show. Otherwise, I'll be watching for the SG-1 cameos and that's it.
"The Internet is a communication tool used the world over where people can come together to bitch about movies and share pornography with one another." - Holden, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back.

Thanks for your pre-review, I really look forward to the full review. The internet is just full of people who love complaining about things they haven't experienced yet. I'm looking forward to the show now, especially since you've made a comparison to House.

My only worry is the funny going away because I think humor is just as big a part of the human experience as sex, doubt, jealousy, etc. Who hasn't cracked a joke at a funeral to lighten the mood?

That said, I'm excited for new sci-fi and this seems to be a nice change of pace because no one is mentioning how very 1990s the formula for SG-1 and SGA was, which lead to SGA getting stale in the 4th and 5th seasons.

Thanks for enduring the Internet complaining--everyone who swears they're not watching will watch the premiere anyway, if anything to complain about it in detail--to give us a morsel of the actual content because let's face it, SGU is one of the most highly anticipated series this fall.
I've been a huge SG1/SGA fan for as long as I can remember. I can honestly say that my excitement for the SGU premiere isn't as high as it was for the SGA premiere. This is mostly due to the fact that I knew the old formula was going to get changed up, and rightfully so, and that I just didn't know what to expect. Given what I've read here and seen in the trailers & commercials, I'm really looking forward to the premiere in October. I'm very glad that it is airing the same night in Canada as it is in the US as opposed to us being a season behind as usual. Just to be clear, I was going to watch the show either way and at the very least give it a try, but I suspect this show will easily find it's way into my weekly schedule.

Now I have to direct a comment to all of the naysayers and glass half-empty people who are piping in about a show they clearly know nothing about. Yes, SGA got canceled, yes that news sucked, but I'm glad they went out the way they did. As much as I loved the show, the formula was getting old. I'm glad it didn't get to the point that it was a chore to watch. Did SGA get canceled to make way for SGU? No. Would it have been good to run the two shows concurrently for a season? Maybe, but the ratings SGA pulled in didn't justify it. Here is the reality of the situation - if SGU flops because too many "loyal" fans wrote it off for no logical reason, don't expect to get any more SG1 movies, or an SGA movie, or another SG series for that matter. Early cancellation of a spin-off is a pretty massive blow to the franchise. Don't cut off your nose to spite your face.

Anyway, I watch a lot of different genres of TV and am looking forward to a more dramatic version of the shown I've grown to love over the last 10+ years. I trust that the writers and producers want to make a quality show. Believe it or not, they aren't there just to piss of "loyal" fans.

Give the show a chance - at the very least, watch the pilot. Watch the first season even. Don't decide the show sucks without ever having seen it. If you give it a chance and still don't like the show, that's fine, tune out, but don't ruin it for the rest of us before the show even has a chance to hit it's stride.
"Here is the reality of the situation - if SGU flops because too many "loyal" fans wrote it off for no logical reason, don't expect to get any more SG1 movies, or an SGA movie, or another SG series for that matter."

Oh, are you playing the hostage card? Watch SGU or you'll never see any of the shows you really like again? Hah! Sorry to break it to you, but there will not be an SGA movie. Producers are stating that a movie is in the works just to placate the fans. MGM isn't going to pony up the funds when it's putting so much money into SGU, the new darling. Fans who are using this tactic to desperately get people to watch SGU are being duped.
"This is a real drama now, if you don't like real dramas, that's what's going to seal it for you."

Come on now. I like "real dramas", from BSG to Lost to the latest offering on HBO. The problem with Universe is that this group of writers and producers have written heavy drama exceptionally poorly in the past. Characters were shallow, writing was lazy, heavy topics like rape and genocide were played off as no big deal, and racism and sexism abounded throughout the franchise. You may think they can suddenly change into Ron Moore-lite because they have a new show. Seeing their reaction to the latest controversy with body swapping rape indicates otherwise.

There have been many pleas from producers, writers, and actors involved with Universe to give the show a chance. Yours is the latest and undoubtedly not the last. It speaks volumes that the people in charge are more nervous about the show than confident in it.
To Mel, Vivi and the like:

We get it. You're bitter because SGA got cancelled. You're being vocal about your lack of interest in SGU because you think it'll scare TPTB into thinking cancelling SGA was a mistake and nobody's going to tune in for SGU. I'm sorry to burst your bubble here, but it won't, and nobody cares whether you're going to watch SGU or not. SGA is not coming back, and SGU won't flop because a couple of rabid SGA fans have turned their backs on the franchise.

If you really have no interest in SGU, then that's fine. We know it sucks when your favourite show gets cancelled, but that's how things work. You've made yourselves clear. Now please move on, and never let us hear from you again.
"If you really have no interest in SGU, then that's fine. We know it sucks when your favourite show gets cancelled, but that's how things work. You've made yourselves clear. Now please move on, and never let us hear from you again."

Welcome to the internet, where people don't have to shut up and leave just because you say so. The sooner you realize that you can't control people here the better. Maybe you'll grow to be less bitter and patronizing yourself. If complaints bother you that much then you should stick to Mallozzi's blog and other fanboy sites that censor those mean people for saying those mean things.
This is playing out exactly like when the new BSG series was announced. Everyone involved with the show was saying how different this new series was from the original, how it was deep and dark and serious while the original was light and funny and shallow. Now the same tactic is being played here with everyone going out of their way to distance SGU from SGA and SG1. "It's going to be a REAL DRAMA that's CHARACTER DRIVEN and it's going to be DARK and MATURE."

I liked the new BSG series more than the old, but that was because RDM had the creative talent to pull it off. The Stargate writers? Not so much. SGU is already being compared to BSG in the MSM reviews. Too bad it's going to come up short.
I hope you realize that outside of internet forums and blogs, news of the movie isn't really "out" there. Besides the very small portion of the SG viewership that is online (less than 1% I'm sure) and reading these articles, no one knows about the movie. Are you trying to tell me that MGM paid Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie to write a script just to try and appease a fan online fans? Give me a break. The movie is in the works, but until SGU starts generating some cash, nothing is going to happen.

And sure, maybe I am playing the hostage card - doesn't mean I'm wrong though. If SGU flops, it doesn't generate cash. With no cash, there is no movie, no new series, nothing. TV is a business - it doesn't exist just to entertain you out of the goodness of it's heart. If SGU ends up failing and the investment in the show is lost with little to no return, do you think that MGM (which is in rough shape), or SyFy is going to jump at the opportunity to throw more money at a new show or movie? Not likely.
"Are you trying to tell me that MGM paid Joe Mallozzi and Paul Mullie to write a script just to try and appease a fan online fans?"

You're assuming that MGM actually paid them to write a script and that a script is actually written. The only informant you have is TPTB, specifically Joe Mallozzi, and lord knows that man spins more than a politician. He manipulates the truth and selects the bits he wants fans to hear and conveniently drops the parts he doesn't. You can feel free to blindly take what he says as truth but I'll confidently play the skeptic based on his past behavior.
You're right. It was foolish of me to think that bitter SGA fans will stop posting "I AM DEFINITELY NOT GOING TO WATCH SGU!!!!11" whenever they see something SGU-related.

Complaints don't bother me. If the show sucks, I'll be the first to admit it. What bothers me are SGA fans that feel the need to pollute every SGU thread with their childish, pathetic and unreasonable comments. Here are three popular examples:

"SGU killed SGA" - No, sorry - poor ratings killed SGA.
"Brad Wright killed SGA" - Again, no.
"They're not really going to make the SGA and SG-1 movies" - Right, it's all been a big lie! Ha ha!

If you're not interested in SGU, that's fine. But if you're going to be a baby about it and complain about its direction all the time, people are bound to get pissed off, and rightfully so.
you gotta be kidding me. SGU did kill SGA, they dropped one show for the other. they couldnt do both and we all know if they did most of the fanbase would watch Atlantis and completely ignore SGU. They convinced MGM that they will produce a hit if they give them the chance, and to their delight MGM agreed.

i know Tenny only seen three episodes and we cant judge a show by its first episodes but im really curious to see if SGU would be as half as entertaining as SGA was in the long run. even though im skeptic, ive done my part to help non-fans understand what will make stargate universe great.
Actually no, Universe did directly kill SGA as has been confirmed now by several of the actors from the show. The producers were given the choice of one more year of SGA plus a one season order for SGU or a two year order for SGU, they chose the latter. I think that pretty much qualifies as series-cide.

I do find your review rather curious, I have to say. How can you possibly make such sweeping statements about what Universe's formula is or isn't when you have seen one episode? A pilot episode at that. Frankly, it's these writers' complete inability to sustain original ideas for any length of time that has always been their weakness. I found the SGA pilot very engaging and different from its parent show and yet within a very short time the show had devolved into a same old, same old, planet of the week routine which while successful for SG1 for some time had become pretty tired on either show by that stage. I honestly have very little confidence that this one will be any different. Had they injected a little new blood into their rather middle aged, exclusively masculine and out of touch writing team I might have a little more faith but the Stargate Franchise Boys Club seems to be continuing on as closed and forbidding to new members as it has been since about year 4 of SG1. I'll probably tune in out of curiosity for an episode or two just to see what the hell an actor like Robert Carlisle was thinking signing on for a B grade Vancouver cable sci fi but if I'm still around by mid season I'll be pretty surprised.
Paul, I posted a comment on another forum that offended you. I wish to apologize for that comment. I thought I knew what your motivations were in writing this article, but after reading the comments and your other articles, I have to say I am no longer sure what your motivations are. So, I apologize for my original, incorrect, assessment. But, since you did invite me here, I do have a few questions to ask.
How do you know what people will or will not like? You didn't speculate that people may or may not like the show based on their like of drama or comedy, you plain out said that people will or will not like the show. You said if people like drama they will like this show, but I quite enjoy drama and there are a lot of drama shows I do not like. Netflix is usually wrong when they recommend movies based on my previous rental schedule, too. So, how can you actually know who will like or not like this show?

Another question, if personal insults are not allowed then why is there a comment far above mine that starts off with "You're an idiot" in reply to another comment? Is that not a personal insult? If I am incorrect with that assessment, I apologize for it too.

I wish to address the loyalty issue. How can you claim that someone is disloyal to the franchise for not watching this show. There are a number of loyal fans of the original two shows, or one or the other of them. They are not disloyal for not watching SGU. The loyalty of these people, and I am not saying all fans, is for shows based on specific writing styles. How can they be expected to be loyal to a show that TPTB are bragging has a different writing style? Different types of characters? Now, I am sure there are a lot of fans who are upset that TPTB got rid of SGA to make room for SGU to "get it right this time", but that doesn't make fans disloyal to Stargate. And, why are fans expected to be "loyal" when TPTB are clearly not being loyal to them? TPTB clearly stated that they are shooting for a new, younger, demographic. This loyal fanbase carried them for 15 collective years and two shows. I view it more like these fans are actually being loyal to the original SG franchise and see SGU as a betrayal by TPTB to them and the franchise. Maybe it is TPTB that are being disloyal by trying to write off the original fans for younger viewers. It is wrong to judge these people as being disloyal.

Just to let you know. SGA was not really cancelled for Ratings or at least we do not know if that was the reason. It was never said. It was also not said that SGU did not replace or replace SGA. We never got a straight answer, that is why a lot of SGA fans have been upset. Also some facts for ya, the final season of SGA pulled in a 1.6 HH rating with 2.1 Million viewers, the highest since Season 2. Yes, some of the age demos could of been a little better but some were good.

Also, I read your post about the SyFy forums. They are really great over there. GW is 100 times worse because the mods there are biased. One mod even scolded people and totally insulted another person in the open. That never happens on SyFy. If you PM a mod I am sure they could monitor the situation better on SyFy.
I'm maybe not the very good person to judge SGU coz I'm huge fan of SG1 and SGA. So I followed the Franchise since 15 years and I feel betrayed by them. Why? because I don't understand the reasons given by BW and co,then their silence who made the room for all the rumors.
When you understand even Actors have not really any idea why their show was cancelled. I tried to follow since August 2008 all the comments given by the ones we called TPTB and tried to watch SGU teasers and trailers( giving their chance) and I've not appealled by this " new fresh amazing outstanding ""stand-alone"" show". When I watched SGA or SG1 it was to follow team, watch action, listen their sens of humor, see heroes on screen and evade me from my RL so it's not to find again characters with their own flaws. You said the SGA characters were not enough realistic but so many viewers found them and recognized themselves in them. I'm not looked for love scene despite of the fact I was really enjoyed to see Sheppard to have some relations but the heroe is alaways stereotype alone.
First why keeping Stargate in the title when the stargate become useless except trying to keep their audience.
2nd I didn't find any originality in these teasers or trailers except the fact they got more means than SGA did not get. SGA cost a lot to produce when according to BW and RC declared they obtained 1m$ beyond per ep than SGA.
Low rated someone said that. They obtained the better rates on SCI-FI channel. So bad show it was elected by viewers receiving people choice award 2008???? Plus you can't compare with House or CSI coz they are not broadcast on cable. Have you seen the sales of the 5th seasons DVD? It would seem they beat all the sales of the Franchise( included SG1).
Some said stargate became used and writers forgot to developp the character in depth. and They are the same who write SGU. And why did not they "give" this chance to SGA characters?
SGA had and has its audience. I'm not sure SGU will obtain the same result and to be honest I'm so disappointed and tired by producers by now I'm not sure I've the desire to give them this chance they've claimed or beg us.( coin comment was stupid). and why did they announce 6th season at comic con 2008? I'm the feeling they didn't respect us enough so why do they expect I respect and trust them. I think it's D. Howe who declared in August it was so hard to earn and keep an audience so why they behaved like this. They lost many and it will be hard to regain them when the trust was lost.
So I can't blame SGA fans and their bitterness.
For SGA movie, According to JM script was made and set is still up. According to the same person the SGA fate doesn't depend on SGU's one. But we told us making the room for SGU and you'd have maybe a chance to get the movie, our bone. Just my opinion They put all money on SGU they don't have enough to produce SGA movie. Where is the movie promised and this big format and great opportunity for SGA? When they knew they will not get budget or this budget will go to SGU and DVD market could turn down (despite SGA DVD sales!)
We know each show disappears one day but for good reasons not like here and there are still so many lifes in it.
Can I add something?
Who decided or said SGA and stargate concept was used when rates, audience, sales and awards have desmontrated the opposite? There are audience out there.
I quote you
"Stargate Atlantis tended to try to cram a lot of action into a small amount of time, and sometimes that breakneck pacing would hurt the show, making it feel very rushed. The series finale exemplified this problem, where a it felt like the writers crammed two hours worth of story into a single hour."
I agree but who is responsible of this and your example is bad? Only the ones who decided to cancel the show when 6th season was expected. So writers had to botch up their works and put end to some plots so quickly. We all know the season finale is used to introduce the following season. So I agree they botched up the finale but not for the reasons that you gave and you generalized to demonstrate so-called SGA weakness.
Totally wrong.
SGA had the better rates Than others sci-fi show, won awards and DVD sales are better than other SG1 or SGA seasons.
SGU obtained 1M$ per ep beyond Than SGA so cost more to produce.
So we must wait for another year to get a chance to have SGA movie. But after this year they would like to produce another year of SGU so we'll not get anything.
This only proves production doesn't have the intention to produce it. SADLY.
They only wanted to keep us till SGU will be on air.
And if SGU fails we don't get anything. So watch it and you get it. It sounds blackmail to me.

When According to Joe Mallozzi the SGA movie's fate doesn't depend on SGU.
I add something to my previous reply.
I know MGM goes through financial issues near of bankruptcy so why investing in a new unproven show that is not sure to have success especially with their bad start they got.
So Just my opinion, the SGA's opportunity would be SGU fails and it's hard to say this coz I followed the franchise since the beginning.
But If SGU fails MGM don't have any goog show in its catalog and would like to keep stargate in it. What was the show that was their prior successful one's? So they could bring it back.
Except the fact the main cast would move to another gig.
Waiting for so long they jeopardize SGA movie project or more.
What waste.
I did not read this yet but I will be back to read it because I am trying to stay away from spoilers. What episode it the image from?

Thank you so much for an indepth analysis of the show. I really appreciate you sitting down and writing all this. :-). Though, its not what I expected was hoping that they actually, heavily rooted towards the original franchise but, I guess, it can't be helped. Not to say, I won't watch it. I am still a fan of series and I love the franchise.

People need to understand that this is the first season. It [b]WILL[/b] change as the series progresses. Its great to see the passion of the show then the other garbage that I have seen. All Syfy seems to show is low budget crap that, is not even worth watching.

[quote]Even without SGU, the chances that SGA could have gone another year were slim, and another year beyond that would have been impossible without a significant boost in ratings, allowing SyFy to charge advertisers more.

And it doesn't help that MGM, which owns and produces Stargate, is in severe financial distress. They were talking about bankruptcy earlier this summer and frankly thetir situation hasn't gotten a whole lot better lately. It's probably the main reason the SG-1 and SGA movies haven't been greenlit yet.

What I have wondered all my time when SG-1 was cancelled, why in the world has MGM held the rights to the stargate franchise? If the company cannot financially sustain itself or support possibly its most successful franchise, then, why doesn't it go to other studios to do work there? I am sure if they go to other studios maybe the franchise can be brought back to life. I have always wondered why they couldn't go to another network. I mean yes there would be a delay but its a delay worth waiting.

I will give SGU a run even if its the first season and its boring I will continue to watch it. I know the first season of SG-1 was kinda boring;slow,and dull IMO. I am sure BW and RCP have somethhing tasty coming up. Who knows, they might make it a little more sci-fi in season 1 or 2...Only time will tell.

I just watched episode 1 and 2... I loved it. It's definitely not typical SG which I think simply turned into formula with some twists. You can find that on any other low-budget fantasy/sci-fi fare these days.

This is definitely a breath of fresh air, and I'm happy it's taken a turn in this direction. In some ways, it even reminds me of the original SG movie with more realism set in.

Very disapointed with the new direction the writers are going. I have followed Stargate since the first season, and loved Stargate Atlantis, but Univers is.... Crap! Not bad actors, it could be good. Whatever, this comment probably wont be posted.
As I have only just finished watching the 3rd episode I can only agree with the original review. I love everything about the SGA/SG1 seasons. And to be honest I missed them, but the new SGU is top notch, up to date, into the naughties kinda stuff. The cast are good, i am sure they will grow on people, but Brad Wright and Co. have produced a whole new monster of a show.

Its moved on from the old and I welcome the new, I get the feeling this will be a show to ALL the other SG's.

Either that or I will eat my words.
I am so angry at the cancellation of SGA. Every episode was great.
MGM promised that they will make Movies-Direct to DVD to continue the Story, but as John Sheppard said 'Its been a year now, and nothing has happened'.

After i learnt of Season 5 ending, i realised buying the DVD's helped in no way. I heard that if you buy DVDs it will help the show, GUESS NOT!.

I am loyal to SGA, and pissed off they cancelled it.


In season 1, they should have started slower. Maybe season 1 finale, they found the lost city of the ancients, and it surfaced.

I also noticed the enemies. The Wraith were awesome. Very awesome, and the new twist on the asgard.
The Replicators were interesting, but if one of those replicators from SGA were standing in front of me.
I would be more scared of the SG1 spider replicator.

Also, that WHOLE michael hybrid, and the powerful child of teylas. WTF. I understand the Gene Therapy was a big story, but EVERY michael episode.....was boring. Thankgod they ended his character.

I wish the wraith story went on and on.


I didnt like it from the beginning, but i forced myself to watch the 2 parter, and my god. It was stupid.
I continued to watch the others....but....its weird. I know its got drama and all.....but its weird.
They talk way too much, Rush started off as a dik, but now i think he has gotten comfortable with the others.

The show has a shot, BUT if people keep saying how crap it is....

A) More and more people will listen to people, and lose faith in the show, and another cancellation will take place. What next?


B)Those loyal to SGA, MUST NOT be watching SGU as it will only prove the producers point.
"the people will cry and protest, but in the end they will love SGU".


NOTE for the Producers: Stop Copying other shows.......Stargate was creative, unique and fun.......You have just used the stargate and lost the magick of the show.


Nice to see some different aliens in SGU. Time was kinda weird.....but cool i guess.



In Atlantis, season 5 finale. The Massive hive ship took our Area 51, and destroyed the chair, ALONG with everything SG1 had collected over the year, INCLUDING the Ark of Truth. Isnt it?

Those stones that are used in SGU, to swap lives with another person were first from SG1. I remember they were taken to Area 51.

I just saw the first couple episodes yesterday, I know it's a but late but man was I disappointed. I mean I heard people talking about how this show sucks, but I still hoped something better than this. I started watching SG-1 around the Ori saga and I am a big Atlantis fan. I think SGA's success is not possible without a character like Rodney Mckay, same with SG-1 and Daniel Jackson and Jack O'Neil. The point is they are strong characters, they have the uniqueness and interesting characterization to be able to draw my interest. So far I found no such character from SGU, all the characters looks boring, from the young blond military guy to the old scientist. I like Eli well enough (That's the game winner's name right?), he has some interesting traits, but still very everyday like and he is just not strong enough to pull the entire show full of dull people. Everyone is angry. I compare this with the beginning of Atlantis first episode when the city's power is almost out and they are all in danger, the same situation (Life support etc) I think SGA did a much better job. SGU gave the the teen drama feel. Don't get me wrong, I watch O.C and enjoy it, but I want my steak with wine and burger with soda, and SGU is steak with Soda, and that's just wrong for me.

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