When people compare Stargate: Universe to other sci-fi show’s they talk about Battlestar Galactica. Usually negatively. The comparison is an obvious one because stylistically the two shows are very similar. But there is another comparison that doesn’t get made nearly as often. Stargate: Universe has a lot in common with Star Trek Voyager.
Take a look at the basic concept of both shows:
Lost in a different galaxy so far from home that they will likely never see Earth again. The ship’s crew must overcome distrust and antagonisms to work together and survive.
That could describe either Stargate: Universe or Star Trek: Voyager wouldn’t you say?
I’ve had this comparison in the back of my mind ever since Stargate: Universe first aired, but what brought it back to the surface was the recent news that for Season 2 of Universe the writers plan to introduce a recurring villain. In itself that’s a good thing. One of the problems with Universe so far has been the lack of a clearly defined enemy.
However, I have to question the use of the Lucian Alliance. The alliance were originally introduced towards the end of SG-1’s run. The whole point of Universe was to move away from the familiar and explore new aliens, new societies and new enemies. This was of course the exact same premise for Voyager too, and they also ended up introducing some familiar faces.
There comes a point in any franchise where the uniqueness and originality has been mined out of the setting and desperate measure are taken to try and keep things going. I think most people would probably point to Star Trek: Voyager as the moment that the Star Trek franchise began to founder. It was such a significant cultural phenomenon that it kept going for years after that, but it gradually slid into obscurity.
Stargate, despite it’s longevity, has not had nearly the social impact that Star Trek did and I have to wonder how quickly the Stargate franchise could fade if they continue to make the same mistakes that Star Trek did.
Of course franchises can be resurrected. Look at the phenomenal success of the recent Star Trek movie. But in that case it took a full reboot to undo a decade’s worth of damage and I don’t think Stargate has that luxury.
What do you think? Will Stargate: Universe survive beyond the second season? Is there some way to rejuvenate the franchise with out a full reboot? How would you fix it?