April 5, 2010

Review: Stargate Universe

So with this show finally returning to the air after a long hiatus, a review is warranted. Overall, if you are a science fiction fan, you should watch this series. That is the gist of this review.

The basic plot of Stargate Universe follows from that of Stargate Atlantis and more generally Stargate SG-1.  Central to the plot are ring shaped devices called Stargates, which allow instantaneous travel across planets and even galaxies. The plot focuses on the efforts of the United States Air Force to explore these gates. However, unlike the previous two series which take place at a base set on a planet, SGU takes place on a ship. Oh and the ship is traveling across galaxies hundreds of light years away from Earth, with no way for them to go back home. Yes, the SyFy channel basically made BattleStargate Galactica. It is, needless to say, an odd combination.

The buildup for the first few episodes obviously could contain a lot of excitement, but I personally felt like the show overplayed the sudden possibility of death. While it might be understandable in the first two episodes that the crew faces a serious chance of death, doing this for 5 episodes straight kind of undermines the premise. The later plots, focusing on intrigue and political wrangling, have all the excitement of stale fish.

The problem is that the plots don't focus on what made the Stargate series great, which was the aspect of exploration and the somewhat campy adventures had by the teams. Instead, it has thrown all that away in an attempt to repaint BSG in Stargate colors. The show needed to get off of this track and fast.

Fortunately, the very last episode before the hiatus did exactly that. As a result, I can happily say that the show warrants a first or second viewing, despite any previous problems. If you are a science fiction fan, don't miss this series. If not, give it a shot.

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