I have been… critical of Stargate: Universe during it’s first season. At one point I compared it to Star Trek: Voyager (and in my world that’s no compliment). Now that the season is complete, it makes sense to look back and see whether Universe lived up to the early promise of the show.
I’m a little surprised to find that I think it actually has lived up to at least some of that promise. I don’t retract any of my criticism, but I think looking at the season as a whole there is a flow that is missing from most shows. Little details in one episode become significant several weeks later. That sort of attention to continuity is nice to see.
It took a long time, but we do now have a cast with some depth and distinctiveness. No longer is Robert Carlyle’s Doctor Nicholas Rush holding the show together single handedly. Admittedly our romantic leads remain largely bland but everyone else seems to have a personality.
There’s still an annoying tendency to ape Battlestar Galactica in style, but the show is no longer completely in BSG’s shadow.
All of which is good, but it’s hardly a ringing endorsement. And some problems remain. We’ve seen only one alien race so far, and that very briefly. They rely far too heavily on the communication stones and I thought it was far too early in the series to prop it up with so many SG-1 cameos. Clearly the writers over-played their hand with the crew tension early on as well. And at some fundamental level this is not Stargate. If it wasn’t obvious to you before, the scenes with Richard Dean Anderson made it very clear that SGU does not fit comfortably in the Stargate franchise.
But in many ways those final two episodes redeemed the show. Certainly it was the first time that I’ve actually been disappointed that the episode was over and the season cliffhanger actually had me eager to see exactly how they resolve it (don’t blow this Stargate!) That was all it took. two hours of tense, drama capitalizing on all that’s come before and putting characters in situations where we actually care what happens.
So was Stargate: Universe a success? Not entirely. But it wasn’t a failure either. I’m going to be back for the next season.
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