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October 2, 2009 11:48 AM   Subscribe

Stargate Universe ("SGU") premieres this evening in the US and Canada, on 10/6 in the UK and Ireland and in Australia on 10/9. Billed as "military scifi," the series is reportedly less campy than its predecessors and uses thematic elements which will seem familiar to Battlestar Galactica fans. Preview trailer. For US viewers, Hulu will be streaming the show a day after it airs. Reviews are mixed. Wikipedia.
posted by zarq (100 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Caveat Emptor: There are some spoilers in the links of this post.

Also, the initial link uses Microsoft Silverlight to display content. I mention this because so many MeFites have voiced their distaste for it in the past.
posted by zarq at 11:51 AM on October 2, 2009


Stargate: Voyager
posted by blue_beetle at 11:54 AM on October 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


Errr... I meant to link to this post, not my irrelevant comment in the post.
posted by zarq at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2009


John Scalzi has posted about his experiences as the show's creative consultant here and here.
posted by maudlin at 11:55 AM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the "Reviews" link:

If the setup sounds familiar — a small group of humans stranded in space finding their way home — it’s because it’s similar to that of “Battlestar Galactica,”

I would not describe Battlestar like that. Sounds more like Voyager or Farscape to me.
posted by brundlefly at 12:01 PM on October 2, 2009


it’s because it’s similar to that of “Battlestar Galactica,”

So the plot holes and twists will be explained as "It's God's will" ? If so, I'm all stocked up on bullshit for the year.

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:07 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is there anything more annoying than 'not available from your location' after the ad beforehand being fully accessible?
posted by biffa at 12:10 PM on October 2, 2009 [7 favorites]


I, for one, will be glad to see a quality SF show which doesn't rely on torture and threats of death and dehumanization of the enemy as major plot points in nearly every episode. As long as Stargate: Universe isn't the paean to violence that BSG was, I'll be watching.
posted by hippybear at 12:15 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


BSG's success, it appears, will echo in the near future's TV schedules.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:21 PM on October 2, 2009


I love science fiction, so I'll watch. And you know what? I'll enjoy it even if it sucks (if you know what I mean...).
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:25 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Stargate: Voyager

Please state the nature of the chappa'ai emergency.

Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it?
posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


maudlin, thanks very much for those links to John Scalzi's posts. They're interesting reads. Especially liked this:
"To give you a very small example: bullets. The characters come into the ship with a certain number of bullets. It is very difficult for them to get any more of them. So I count the scenes where bullets are used and I send notes that say “now, you know you have that many fewer bullets now, right?” The point is not just to be OCD anal (although there is value in that in this case), but to remind everyone that realism is something we’re looking for, and the choices we make now will have an influence later. So what the producers and writers have to do is to decide whether they want to spend their bullets now, or find some other, non-bullet-related way to solve a particular problem. Sometimes you need a bullet, sometimes you don’t.

It's nice to see that he's making sure they don't create a Star Trek: Voyager shuttlecraft continuity problem.
posted by zarq at 12:37 PM on October 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


On the one hand, Stargate was a campy, fun movie. On the other hand, Stargate: Atlantis sucked huge amounts of donkey balls. In the middle, SG-1 was fun, but wound up over-complicated to the point of confusing and unenjoyable.

I was leaning towards ignoring it, but the preview looked very high-budget (if not high-concept), which makes me feel like they are going to put effort into it, so I'll give it a shot.

Thanks for the heads-up.
posted by paisley henosis at 12:39 PM on October 2, 2009


If the setup sounds familiar — a small group of humans stranded in space finding their way home — it’s because it’s similar to that of “Battlestar Galactica,”


Not really. It sounds more like a show I remember from childhood....
posted by bonehead at 12:40 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other words, is jscalzi this generation's Harlan Ellison?
posted by bonehead at 12:41 PM on October 2, 2009


Thanks for the heads-up.

You're quite welcome. :)
posted by zarq at 12:45 PM on October 2, 2009


bonehead:

In other words, is jscalzi this generation's Harlan Ellison?

*snerk*
posted by jscalzi at 12:47 PM on October 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


So... Stargate, but without a functioning stargate? Literally a doorway to the stars?

Although I am a fan of campy sci-fi, the occasions that Stargate jumped headfirst into dark drama were my favorites. If that's where this ship is going, I'm totally on board. There are some familiar names in the crew, so I'm hopeful.

Tsk... I thought I'd shaken the Stargate bug. zarq, thanks for posting. I think.

And, premise aside, there's no comparing Stargate (2 parts sci-fi, 2 parts action adventure, 1 part comedy) to Star Trek Voyager (1 part sci-fi, 2 parts soap opera).
posted by zennie at 12:52 PM on October 2, 2009


I really want to see something like Farscape, Lexx, or Red Dwarf. Something surreal and comic rather than serious and ponderous.
posted by oonh at 12:55 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the setup sounds familiar — a small group of humans stranded in space finding their way home

Begbie: Did you bring the cards?
Sick Boy: What?
Begbie: The cards, the last thing I told you was to mind the cards!
Sick Boy: Well, I've not brought them.
Begbie: It's fucking boring after a while without the cards.
Sick Boy: I'm sorry.
Begbie: Bit fucking late, like.
Sick Boy: Why didn't *you* bring them?
Begbie: 'CAUSE I FUCKING TOLD YOU TO BRING THEM, YOU DOSS CUNT!

Sometimes you need a bullet, sometimes you don’t.

Begbie: You ken me, I'm not the type of cunt that goes looking for fuckin' bother, like, but at the end of the day I'm the cunt with a pool cue and he can get the fat end in his puss any time he fucking wanted like.
posted by biffa at 12:57 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


jscalzi, on behalf of every scifi fan who ever wanted to throw something at their television or film screens and scream "NO!! YOU IDIOTS! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!", thanks. :)
posted by zarq at 12:57 PM on October 2, 2009


If Begbie glasses someone in the first episode, I am so totally on board. Otherwise, not so much.
posted by juv3nal at 12:58 PM on October 2, 2009


Still haven't forgiven the Stargate franchise for being what SciFi bet on instead of Farscape and for cannibalizing Farscape's case. Still don't plan on it.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:05 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Farscape's CAST. damn it
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:05 PM on October 2, 2009


Zarq:

You're welcome. Be aware I don't catch every popcorn-flinging moment, but there was an effort to keep them to a minimum.

I will say that it's cool to have a job where someone calls you up, starts the conversation with "So, do we really have to move that planet?" and then you go from there.
posted by jscalzi at 1:06 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


the series is reportedly less campy than its predecessors

One thing I always enjoyed about the early seasons of original series (and even somewhat with Atlantis) was their efforts to maintain universe consistency. If something behaved a certain way, it almost always acted that way (one way wormholes, hard limits for how long one can be opened, etc) and when they needed to violate one of these rules for the purpose of the story, everyone reacted appropriately, like "WTF, this breaks everything we know about how this works, according to our information, this shouldn't even be possible!" rather than the standard sci-fi-handwavy-blinkenlights-deus-ex approach.

That kind of went away in later seasons, but it was good while it lasted.

I'll watch this new one, if for no other reason than the previous ones were entertainingly diverting.

I really want to see something like Farscape, Lexx, or Red Dwarf

Well, while very funny, I wouldn't necessarily categorize Farscape with the other two, it had some really dark and fairly serious moments that didn't really put it in the same surrealist camp as Lexx or comedy like Red Dwarf, but other than that, I don't disagree with your premise at all. More shows like those three would be fantastic. (obligatory, if you haven't seen Hyperdrive, you might want to give it a try.)

posted by quin at 1:07 PM on October 2, 2009


I might watch it just in the vain hope that Robert Carlyle will either brutally glass someone or just gnaw on their face because the ship's run out of meat. "I said no food. I didn't say there was nothing to eat."
posted by adipocere at 1:17 PM on October 2, 2009


Lou Diamond Phillips: "he was licking me... *wimpers*... HE WAS LICKING ME!.."
posted by quin at 1:22 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


For US viewers, Hulu will be streaming the show a day after it airs

.. while the rest of us download commercial-stripped HD copies from Sweden.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:25 PM on October 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Still haven't forgiven the Stargate franchise for being what SciFi bet on instead of Farscape

That was about the money.

My understanding is that MGM covers the bulk of each Stargate show's production costs. On the other hand, Farscape was an original SciFi production. Even though 'Scape was the highest rated "Original SciFi Production" show at the time, it was more expensive for the network to make than Stargate SG-1.

Given the choice, Bonnie Hammer opted to save money rather than make fans happy. Not her brightest moment. "Tremors, the Series" was such a smashing ratings success, after all.
posted by zarq at 1:33 PM on October 2, 2009


Wait, so is MacGuyver in it or not?
posted by Burhanistan at 1:38 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


jscalzi: You're welcome. Be aware I don't catch every popcorn-flinging moment, but there was an effort to keep them to a minimum.

That's enough for me, and more of an effort than the writing staff of many series and films seem to make. I agree with you that one should expect to suspend a bit of belief when it comes to watching science fiction.

I will say that it's cool to have a job where someone calls you up, starts the conversation with "So, do we really have to move that planet?" and then you go from there.

That's pretty awesome. :)
posted by zarq at 1:50 PM on October 2, 2009


EH, I love every Stargate show and movie, but it is getting stale. What this universe needs is a show based on what happens after actually revealing the gate to the populace. It's getting a bit old at this point that they still keep it secret.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:56 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've seen the screener, and I won't say anything much for fear of spoilers, but..it's really good. Better than I was expecting. And in terms of mood and darkness and sophistication, for lack of a better word, it's way more towards the Battlestar end of the spectrum than SG1, although it does carry through with a lot of the feel of the later seasons of SG1. Call it Battlestargate. Sadly, it is not at all like Farscape, but at least I can hold out hope that Ben Browder will show up eventually, since it seems like he's contractually obligated to be on every Syfy show now except, thankfully, the ones involving giant reptiles.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:56 PM on October 2, 2009


Fandom's already reacted with GateFail. (spoiler warning for a future episode)
posted by wenat at 2:11 PM on October 2, 2009


Counting bullets, eh? I think the SG teams started carrying FN P90s the last few seasons. Not the best weapon choice if you need to ration bullets. The show would have been slightly more realistic if they adopted the energy weapons some of the alien races used.

Looking forward to the show.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:28 PM on October 2, 2009


So is there any way in which this is actually a Stargate show?
posted by fleacircus at 3:44 PM on October 2, 2009


The show would have been slightly more realistic if they adopted the energy weapons some of the alien races used.

They could frequently be seen carrying the Zat'nik'tel (Zat guns) as a sidearm in place of their Beretta M9s. I always figured this was a nod to the fact that they might get stuck in a place where ammo was scarce or they needed to only stun the target.

Wow, I kinda hate the fact that I was able to remember the proper name for that weapon without having to look it up.
posted by quin at 3:53 PM on October 2, 2009


I think the SG teams started carrying FN P90s the last few seasons.

I thought they weren't carrying P90s anymore because the blanks were very difficult to get due to the war? Maybe something changed. But I think the P90 is an ideal weapon for Stargate because it looks slick on film and can be used in closer quarters than other machine guns. And of course because the USAF uses it.
posted by zennie at 4:32 PM on October 2, 2009


"I love science fiction, so I'll watch." That makes about as much sense as tv in general, I guess.
posted by sneebler at 5:16 PM on October 2, 2009


The big question: Which pantheon will be revealed as aliens this time? My money is on either a mish-mash of East Asian deities, or the characters of Charles Dickens.
posted by No-sword at 5:22 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


I've been watching SG1 as they roll it out on Hulu (they're up to season 7, one a month plan). I didn't watch it when it first came out because I hated, hated, hated the original Stargate movie, and I was very pleasantly surprised when I decided to check out an episode or two of SG1 to see that they took the movie ball of crud and had run with it quite well. Hulu has unfortuantely only released 20 episodes of Atlantis so far and it seems good, but not up to the early SG1 standards. I have no high hopes for Universe but they are streaming it, so I will be watching.
posted by localroger at 6:27 PM on October 2, 2009


I loved the movie (anything ancient; even entirely fictional and even absurd.) I saw a few episodes of the first series... they were really good, but i guess didn't draw me in (and I suppose other things took up my time; I just didnèt find myself needing to know how they would fare.. since the other series all seems to be predicated on the first (catching up on 10 missed years of a series is DAUNTING).. i guess my question is, how integrated is this new series with the others?
any suggestions on a path to getting caught up (I do not watch series out of order, or without understanding why characters would be doing what they are doing).
posted by infinite intimation at 7:27 PM on October 2, 2009


Hulu has unfortuantely only released 20 episodes of Atlantis so far and it seems good, but not up to the early SG1 standards.

Atlantis is sort of weird in that they introduce new characters and a bunch plot angles in the second or so season, a move typically reserved for shows in a last ditch desperate effort to change the minds of a disinterested audience.

And it totally works. They move some stupid character-type choices around and end up with a much more solid cast.

It never becomes a great show, but it gets significantly better a bit on from where you are now.
posted by quin at 7:36 PM on October 2, 2009


SGU wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.

It doesn't have anyone with solid acting chops to anchor the cast (you could have watched Omos and McDonnell stare at paint and it would have been interesting) and no interesting characters combined with typical story mark it as low hanging fruit. It beats a blank, but with the internet, dvd, cable, satellite and this call "outside", there's aren't many blanks when it comes entertainment.

Move along, nothing to see here.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:20 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't want it less camp :(
posted by fightoplankton at 8:21 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ugh. An airlock drama in the first episode. God, I hate that. Too easy.
posted by atchafalaya at 9:13 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't decide if I'm amused or irritated that they stole the videogame-as-a-hero-finder idea from The Last Starfighter without referencing it.

It looked nice and the acting was good, but it seemed to totally lack the humor and charm that made its way into even the darkest of the other SG shows.
posted by quin at 10:20 PM on October 2, 2009


Nice/inexplicable nod to Sliders at the end with that whole timer thing.
posted by lumensimus at 10:27 PM on October 2, 2009


The setup—as hastily explained by Baltar Dr. Whomever in the last 30 seconds of the pilot, after a tiring two hours of blundering OMG peril that looks to be the main dish—sort of reminds me of Gateway.

Why do they all emerge from the stargate at the beginning throwing bags first then jumping/diving through but later we see that they go into it walking normally bags in hand? SCALZI!?

List of shabby old freighter spaceships that look cooler and more fun to explore than this ultra-important ship of the ancients: all of them.
posted by fleacircus at 11:08 PM on October 2, 2009


Ehhh. It was rather bland and generic. There was absolutely nothing particularly noteworthy about the show. Now, it wasn't actively awful like some pilots so I'll give it a few more episodes to see if they up their game a bit. But the pilot was eminently vanilla, like they had a formula and just checked the boxes until the 2 hours was up.
posted by Justinian at 12:58 AM on October 3, 2009


The setup—as hastily explained by Baltar Dr. Whomever in the last 30 seconds of the pilot, after a tiring two hours of blundering OMG peril that looks to be the main dish

Yes, exactly. They have worldbuilding that allows them to tell virtually any story they want in any kind of setting they want and the best they can come up with is some dimly lit, anxious scrabbling around while people exposition at each other? Where's the sense of wonder? Where's the intelligent dialogue? Where's the bloody humor? I don't mean comedy, I mean humor. Farscape, despite the superficial appearance, was often a deeply nihilistic show but goddamn if Crichton didn't have the same sense of humor I would have in his situation. When life becomes that absurd and absurdly dangerous at the same time, humor is about all that keeps you sane.

Early 21st century video game geek gets beamed up into a spaceship and he doesn't retreat into Star Trek jokes as a way to defuse the situation? No Gateway references? Nothing?

I dunno, maybe this sounds nitpicky but it's emblematic of the one dimensional nature of much science fiction television. You don't have to be insanely campy or so grim that small children flee in horror at your grimmy visage of grim grimness. Life doesn't work that way.
posted by Justinian at 1:10 AM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Can somebody remake Blake's 7 already?
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:18 AM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Why do they all emerge from the stargate at the beginning throwing bags first then jumping/diving through but later we see that they go into it walking normally bags in hand?

I figure it was because they'd travelled billions of lightyears. But I'm not sure it entirely make sense considering how the gate is supposed to work.

I can see where 'the powers that be' were trying to go with this pilot. We see a bunch of people who are not well-rounded with highly developed technical or leadership skills, and they are stumbling around an isolated death trap of a space-ship. The only person who knows how anything works seems a little deranged and manipulative. OK, that's cool.

However, I felt the backwards unfolding of the story was more disconcerting than suspense-buidling, mainly because I had so many new characters and isolated scenes to remember and connect. I had no idea at all what was going on with the intimations and significant looks between the women, even with the backflash 'clue', and I had no reason to care. And the story B soldier-gone-bad confused me; I was wondering the whole time how such a manifest problem child got into a well-established, relatively elite, top-secret Air Force program.

I had no idea what to make of half the characters thrown at me, including the ranking IC who decided it was OK to send the unassuming newbie genius out into danger at the very first opportunity. I mean, really? Confusing the viewer... also not so good for suspense. Didn't help that I figured, at the outset, which character was marked for death, and wasn't at all surprised at the future turns of events bringing that about.

Apart from that, my impression is that I'll like this show if future episodes have more focus. Now sure why people are complaining about lack of references to other sci-fi series, considering the way sci-fi series have cannibalized each other over the decades.
posted by zennie at 4:12 AM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


After watching the pilot I'm already done with the show.

Didn't we just do this with BSG? Lifeboat where it's human vs human? And we're beaten over the head with moral dilemas so that we alternately like and hate everyone? And we end up loathing humanity because they fuck everything up in ways we see coming two episodes away? And in the end it's a complete trainwreck because they tie up all the loose ends in some hamfisted manner?

The Stargate series was fun to watch because we liked everyone. But I can already see this going in the BSG direction where we hate them all after a series of contrived political shinanigans and moral dilemas. Why take something fun to watch like Stargate and make it emotionally abusive like BSG?
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:25 AM on October 3, 2009


Well, that didn't work. Mixing elements of Stargate with the mood of BSG just didn't work for me, though that's probably due in part to my own baggage from the other shows. But it was just the pilot, so maybe they'll hit their stride after a few episodes. I'll give it another chance, but I'm not hopeful.
posted by homunculus at 12:02 PM on October 3, 2009


I agree with the previous poster. I enjoyed BSG a lot, but grew tired of it after a few seasons. I love Carlyle - final a non Hollywood face - and what a face he has. I enjoyed him in his previous movies and will most likely continue watching this one a bit longer to see where it goes. But only a because of him. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, since I do not watch TV I am not so in the loop about what is up and coming. Hulu.com rules!
posted by nostrada at 12:04 PM on October 3, 2009


I'll watch more, if only to see how they resolve some of the issues that they delayed in the pilot, like why they weren't using the communication stones to contact earth instantly and constantly (they started to, over Dr. Whomever's wishes, then someone's wound acted up and what, they forgot?), or why they can't just dial back to Earth, as they started to before the plot intervened.

I'll admit my interest waned at a few points during the show, so I missed the explanations of how dialing the ninth chevron was so difficult. I almost felt like there was nothing offered, we were just supposed to take the characters' word for it that it was Hard. But this is supposed to be the bread and butter of a sci-fi show; imagine if they showed CSI without any effects sequences, Grissom would just be sitting there at his desk frowning and kvetching then suddenly go "aha it's an anagram" and solve it with us viewers never being presented any detail of the problem. One of the good things about SG1 is that they would present some of a problem to you and you'd think to yourself, "That's dumb, why don't they just do X to solve the stupid problem?" and the next line, Daniel Jackson would say how they had tried X and it didn't work, or O'Neill asking why they didn't try X and everyone looking a little embarrassed, etc.

One of the taglines of the show is "Survival is their only mission" and it makes me wonder if they have painted themselves into a very boring corner right out of the gate (har). I'd like to see evidence that they are stepping beyond 1) ape BSG 2) ??? 3) Profit.

Also I missed the explanation behind the boy genius (for Christ's sake, what an awful character concept; Wikipedia says he was conceived as Matt Damon from GWH + Jack Black, but he's giving me more of a Jason Biggs as Wesley vibe)... the humorous reason behind his nickname for the floating wizard-eye ball thing. Can someone enlighten me?

Anyway, I hope it gets better.
posted by fleacircus at 12:16 PM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Though, I did like the detail of the shuttlecraft losing air. But they didn't seem to try to solve that problem very hard before deciding someone had to die. Push the button and run? Slow the doors closing with a crate™? See if you can dismantle the panel/chair and move it close to the door? Finglonger? Come on, guys.

I still might have forgiven it if the Senator had said something like, "In the future, when you figure out how you could have closed the door remotely, I want you to ask Colonel so-and-so to kick you in the ass."
posted by fleacircus at 12:44 PM on October 3, 2009


I missed the explanations of how dialing the ninth chevron was so difficult

Blah blah power requirements blah planet's core blah blah blah.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:18 PM on October 3, 2009


It would have been cool if the head solider has shot the manipulative scientist. He's already being a dick that none of them trust and it's a life or death situation, so fuck it, shoot him and show that the series is going to have some guts.

Ok, ok, that's bit much, sure, you don't want to go that route. Well how about having someone take the damn communication stones from "Mr. Untrustworthy who wants to declare himself ruler"? No? We're gonna go with the noble sacrifice telegraphed from a mile off, we're really going to do that in the very first episode?

Fine, but then you don't get to compare yourself with BSG, which had at least had the guts to set up life or death situations and make the ugly decisions before it limped home to series finale.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:22 PM on October 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you listen carefully, the speech patterns on Eli sounds much like Rodney McKay
posted by MrLint at 2:24 PM on October 3, 2009


It wasn't perfect but there's no other space opera on TV so I'll probably watch it.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 PM on October 3, 2009


Yeah, despite my criticism I want the show to be good. Pilots are notoriously problematic given the many conflicting goals you have to achieve with them so I'm certainly going to watch a few of the regular episodes to see how it goes.
posted by Justinian at 9:11 PM on October 3, 2009


Can somebody remake Blake's 7 already?

Too dark, they'd have to soften it up.
posted by rodgerd at 2:07 AM on October 4, 2009


It wasn't perfect but there's no other space opera on TV so I'll probably watch it.

There's always 'Defying Gravity'. Oh, wait ---

The hubris! ABC broadcasting a genre show that's not 'Lost' and not Star Trek -- do you think it might take more than 9 weeks for people to catch on?

I don't recall seeing any advertising for the show anywhere...

posted by vhsiv at 2:14 AM on October 4, 2009


DG on Hulu.
posted by vhsiv at 2:22 AM on October 4, 2009


SO my question is, if this ship has been flying around unmanned for millennia, how come the stargate guys conveniently showed up two hours before the life support was about to run out? Is their timing really that good(bad)?
posted by donkeymon at 3:11 AM on October 4, 2009


And I liked Eli, but couldn't they have hired the real Seth Rogen?
posted by donkeymon at 3:12 AM on October 4, 2009


SO my question is, if this ship has been flying around unmanned for millennia, how come the stargate guys conveniently showed up two hours before the life support was about to run out? Is their timing really that good(bad)?

The life support system was probably in a relatively static state for millennia until several dozen people arrived and put a new strain on the system by sucking up all the oxygen and exhaling CO2 into the atmosphere. The exact plot point is that the air scrubbers are damaged. While the ship was empty and no one was exhaling toxins into the air, the scrubbers weren't being put to use.

I'm betting that in the absence of the mineral / element needed to run the scrubbers, the resident geniuses will opt to bring plant life aboard. Start an arboretum. Trees and bushes positioned throughout the ship would act as natural CO2 removal systems.

The Stargate series have often relied on magic technobabble solutions to their problems. "We need a ZPM! We need the Eye of Horus! We need Merlin's marvelous toy!" I'd be pleased if the solution in this case turned out to be simple, low-tech and logical. Might signal that this series is going to be forging its own path, story-wise.
posted by zarq at 5:12 AM on October 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


^ Might signal that this series is going to be forging its own path, story-wise.

But Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright are still the show-runners, without Malozzi or any of the other folks that helped make the 1995 incarnation of The Outer Limits sometimes interesting. Bonnie Hammer and the MGM leadership are a little like the Bush II Administration -- they fire (or cancel) the competant talent to make way for the expedient.

Atlantis flew and failed. My expectations for Universe are no higher.
posted by vhsiv at 6:51 AM on October 4, 2009


There's always 'Defying Gravity'. Oh, wait ---

I've never heard of that series. And it was on ABC? Did they promote it at all? I've been hearing about this Stargate series for months now and it's only on SyFy.
posted by octothorpe at 8:22 AM on October 4, 2009


And it was on ABC? Did they promote it at all?

It was completely unpromoted. It was sort of like the Virtuality pilot but more soap-opera-ey.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:14 AM on October 4, 2009


So, it's like "LOST" in space (but not "Lost in Space")?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on October 4, 2009


^octothorpe: I like it -- sort of 'Solaris:The Series', a bit high-concept for commercial network television (ABC), but the production values are high-end HBO, but on a science-fiction series. The show's American-Canadian-German producers somehow sold the show as 'Grey's Anatomy' in Space, which it relievedly is not.

It's real strengths are the Macro and the micro, in terms of capturing the interplay of characters with a longish shared history (5 years) and the bigger picture of eight astronauts on a big, splashy international mission with a trillion dollar price tag and commercial interests that must be appeased.

Too bad it's been 'canceled' by the American network partner. I'm hoping that the show develops a strong enough following among the Europeans who co-produced to get a second season out of the thing.
posted by vhsiv at 2:05 PM on October 4, 2009


Agreeing that it sounds like Pohl's Gateway books -- I just read a spoiler-free review of the first couple episodes over on AV Club, and that was my first thought on learning of the premise, too. For me, I've been spoiled by good TV lately -- just got done watching two seasons of Breaking Bad, am checking out new episodes of Mad Men and Dexter, etc. -- and even Begbie and Ming Na don't really make this show sound like it can compete with that. I loved BSG (for its significant flaws), and am looking forward to the Caprica series, but I mean, I've seen BSG, and I'd rather not see it all over again. The cast and some of the creative elements show definite promise, though, and if word comes down the grapevine it's worth watching (after enough episodes have aired to make that judgment), I'll give it a look in some blissfully commercial-free, timeshifted environment that lets me see the whole season without having to wait a week between installments (like I said: spoiled).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:08 PM on October 4, 2009


I've never heard of that series. And it was on ABC? Did they promote it at all?

Nope. And they stuck it on at 10:00pm on Sunday. It had absolutely no chance. I am exactly the demographic they need for a show like that and I only stumbled on it by accident while I was flipping the channels during the 2nd episode.
posted by Justinian at 2:44 PM on October 4, 2009


It was a refreshing stylistic change from SG-1 and Atlantis. It owes a lot to BSG in terms to an ailing ship, limited supply, and conflicting personalities, but I hope it will gain more of its own identity as it progresses. It appears it still retains the gate aspect of the series, which was something I was afraid it was going to lose from the brief synopsis I'd read previously. At times, I thought the writing was a little weak, but its what I would overall consider a "good" Stargate episode. I enjoyed the brief attempt at levity, in an otherwise dark script, with Eli and his desire to document their end.

So far, I think it's off to a good start. I liked it. I look forward to next week.
posted by Atreides at 9:09 PM on October 4, 2009


Super Dimensional Fortress Stargate
posted by Tenuki at 11:44 PM on October 4, 2009


^ OMG, kfb -- I read Gateway about 30 years ago, and by gosh, you know the Amazon reviews I read of it sound pretty close to DG.

That's pretty uncanny.

I remember very little of the actual novels, but suddenly, I want to read them all over again.
posted by vhsiv at 6:06 PM on October 5, 2009


So, it's like "LOST" in space (but not "Lost in Space")?

It was more Grey's Anatomy in space.

After the first episode I announced to the room "they won't make it as far as Venus." I'm not sure whether I'm happy I was right or not.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 1:40 PM on October 6, 2009


Immediately after making that comment I went to wikipedia and the entry for DG says "The series was pitched to networks as "Grey's Anatomy in space"."

I am disturbed.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 1:43 PM on October 6, 2009


I gotta say I really enjoyed tonight's episode. I'm loving the new style of shooting the show, I'm appreciating the characters and actors more, and the scoring has been pretty good. I hope the future episodes keep it up.
posted by Atreides at 8:55 PM on October 9, 2009


That was pretty good, IMO. Of course, just having the plot unfold chronologically forward was a vast improvement, but I am now officially intrigued.
posted by zennie at 8:14 AM on October 10, 2009


I'm enjoying it. I don't like the soap opera bits with the senator's daughter (and his wife, who appears to be about ten years older than their daughter), but I like the basic setup. Whee! Problem solved! Onwards!
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:21 AM on October 11, 2009


I too liked the second episode better. I want to find out what happened to the people who were stranded. I guess I'm warming a bit to the setting; I hated the movie for setting up wonderful and epic things and then delivering something pretty mundane and micro. SGU's setup, for now, still has some mystery in it.

The other SG shows got pretty blase about alien technology, but they earned it. It will be nice if they steer SGU to more inscrutible and mysterious stuff.
posted by fleacircus at 9:29 PM on October 11, 2009


Well, that set some kind of record for starting out looking sort of interesting and then becoming rapidly dull as fuck.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on October 12, 2009




I'd have to agree with one of the comments, we're only three episodes in. Let's wait a bit more before throwing out labels. Though, if it continues as is, I'd agree.
posted by Atreides at 5:33 AM on October 21, 2009


Artw: "Well, that set some kind of record for starting out looking sort of interesting and then becoming rapidly dull as fuck."

I watched the second episode last night and had a hard time paying attention to it. Suspenseful, it ain't.
posted by octothorpe at 7:10 AM on October 21, 2009


Thanks for that link, homunculus. I like the "anyone else catch that moment?" line about the one character's boobs, a shot that had me shouting "WHAT?" when I saw it.

I didn't know that there was a lesbian character. How I was I supposed to know she was a lesbian?

I'm still enjoying the show, flawed as it is.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:26 AM on October 21, 2009


On the plus side it had some effects shots that were mildly impressive for TV.
posted by Artw at 8:22 AM on October 21, 2009


I didn't know that there was a lesbian character. How I was I supposed to know she was a lesbian?

By following news developments on the show via sites like Gateworld.net.

If I recall, the fact that she's a lesbian will be revealed in a flashback at some point this season.
posted by Atreides at 10:29 AM on October 21, 2009


In the DVD extras you can select a viewing option where people have their personality characteristics appear in bubbles on the screen next to them, Pop-Up Video style.

TBH The characters I can identify so far are "Guy played by Robert Carlyle" and "Everyone else". Robert Carlyle guy is moderately more interetsing than the everyone else guys, but that's by sheer wait of acting rather than script, which on it's own would basically make him a shit Baltar or a less camp Zachary Smith.
posted by Artw at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2009




It's agile! They're using an iterative process to destroy the human race.
posted by Artw at 6:12 PM on October 24, 2009


On one level, I can't believe I'm still watching this show. I blame you, metafilter.

But really I'm glad I gave it a chance. I was waiting for the Peter DeLuise episodes-- he tends to bring faster-paced action, humor, and humanity to drama. And he has a really great grasp of the bigger picture (dude's like a Stargate encyclopedia).

So now two PDL-influenced episodes have aired, I'm starting to warm to this whole SGU thing. (I still blame you, metafilter.)
posted by zennie at 12:44 PM on October 25, 2009


That sucking sound you hear, zennie, is YOUR SOUL.

I had to laugh that PDL went ahead with the usual mantra, despite the new show, and put himself in an episode. It's an interesting signature to have as a director.

Friday's episode wasn't bad, and again, I'd say on the level of Stargate shows, a pretty good one.
posted by Atreides at 4:52 PM on October 25, 2009


Stargate Universe Writer To Fans: Stop Being Idiots

Are they still doing resource crisis two-parters where the dull-as-fuck characters whine a lot and generally act pretty useless until whatever deus-ex-machina saves them?
posted by Artw at 7:22 AM on November 2, 2009


Are they still doing resource crisis two-parters where the dull-as-fuck characters whine a lot and generally act pretty useless until whatever deus-ex-machina saves them?

I've only seen the pilot and latest episode (probably won't bother with it anymore), but that's a pretty good synopsis. At least they haven't pissed on the Egyptian cosmological heritage yet.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:30 AM on November 2, 2009


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