Stargate Universe (or SGU) is the latest original offering from Syfy. It takes place in the same universe as Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, two shows I enjoy and complain about. (Not unlike the Star Trek franchise.) For me, SGU's predecessors suffered from a lack of gritty realism, where a team of only four soldiers could defeat an army of aliens who had superior technology. The Stargate series did have plenty of interesting characters and lots of action–two qualities sorely lacking in Star Trek–but the stories felt a bit shallow to me. Still, I'm always hungry for more scifi, so I knew I was going to give Stargate Universe a shot as soon as I had heard about it. My expectations were low … until I heard that this series would be driven by the characters instead of plot. Intrigued, I set my DVR to record the first episode as soon as it appeared on my program guide.
Was it worth the seconds I spent hitting buttons on my remote, or was I shaking an angry fist at Syfy for wasting precious moments of my life?
If the new Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek: Voyager had a child, it would look a lot like Stargate Universe. Or maybe it's Galactica and Lost. I can't seem to make up my mind. Anyway, that child would have the best properties of both. It's not quite season 1 of Galactica good, but it's close to season 2.
That's not to say that SGU has no flaws. Take Eli Wallace for instance. (You'll know him as the fat guy who lives with his Mom.) Colonel O'Neill shows up at Eli's one fine day after Eli managed to solve a puzzle in a video game. Seems the puzzle was a real problem the Stargate program was trying to solve. Next thing ya know, they've got Eli on another planet staring at a an actual stargate. Yes, believe it or not, the U.S. government will trust you with it's greatest secrets if you can solve a friggin' video game. Even more unlikely, hot chicks will actually talk to him. But we geeks must make allowances for such things.
Now, on to the good stuff. Did I mention hot chicks? Look out for Lt. Vanessa James (played by Julia Benson or Julia Anderson depending on who you ask). Mostly because I think she's hot. Wasn't she naked in something a while back? Or is that just my wishful thinking? There's also Tamarra (called TJ) and Chloe (I call her sweet lips). Even in their fantasies, my fellow geeks will be trying to work up the courage just to talk to them. Don't bother. You don't stand a chance. Damn shame, though.
Note to Dr Rush:
There are plenty of old smart dudes running around, too. If you thought Rodney McKay was too "cute" and silly to be a true arrogant ass, then give Nicholas Rush a try. He thinks that being on the million year old Ancient ship–called "Destiny"–is his destiny. Rush is the show's super-genius who knows almost everything (standard issue) so the crew needs him. But no one really gets Rush's motives. He and Eli spend hours together trying to communicate with the ship's A.I. because no one else understands the language of the Ancients, but even Eli doesn't trust Rush. Note that being vital to the crew's survival still isn't enough to get Eli laid. Just sayin'.
Destiny is very old and barely functional. So far, the crew has been focused on the hard necessities of survival. They haven't run into any cool aliens yet (though they're supposed to be on their way) unless you count a swarm of dust. The crew has only just gotten the lights and life support working. There are massive holes throughout the ship's hull. Basically, Destiny is a real fixer-upper and the unwilling crew has little to repair her with. Them's the breaks.
Try not to stare at
the rack. If you can.
Remember the Stargate: SG-1 episodes where they discovered those devices that could swap minds into other bodies over vast distances? Well, the crew of Destiny has one. So they can still communicate with Stargate Command and even talk to their families back on Earth. Somehow, men never end up in women's bodies or vice versa. Probably for the best. ('nuff said.)
For those MacGyver fans out there (like my wife) you should know that O'Neill is barely in the first episode, let alone the rest of the series. Grandpa Mac doesn't love you like that any more. Sorry.
So go watch Stargate Universe. Don't worry about the episodes you've missed. Syfy is still the Sci-Fi Channel. There'll surely be 40 reruns of them next month.