Contains only mild spoilers!
A long period of rewatching Stargate has come to an end! It is always a bit of a bitter taste because I love Stargate so much! I’m always wondering what my favorite Stargate show is and the last few years this is, and has been Stargate Atlantis. But with every rewatch I have to say Stargate Universe is gaining ground rapidly! Like my rewatch 4,5 years ago, this time SGU also consumed me, I can’t get enough of it and I almost feel like another rewatch right after I finished watching the finale.
Of course 4,5 years ago I also wrote a few words about my rewatch then. At that time I wrote while I had watched the first 26 episodes. At first I thought I would write a follow-up about the last 14 episodes but I decided to write it now about the complete series. So I probably will repeat myself at times in comparison to the earlier blog.
SGU has become one of my all-time favorite shows, it has everything I love to see, not only as a SCI-FI fan. A continuous journey in space, a story-arc based show which means almost no filler episodes and lots of character growth. The communication stones which provide cross-overs form SG-1 and SGA (I want to say something on these stones later on). I also love characters which are not perfect! Well SGU has plenty of them, in particular their Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira), he certainly makes more than a few decisions which are doubtful at best. Dr. Nicolas Rush (Robert Carlyle), certainly not a hero-like character, always his own agenda, and tries to make this happen by any means necessary. I think Rush is my favorite character. Eli Wallace (David Blue) is of course the other main character, a genius boy who is a bit smarter than Dr. Rush, but in the finale Eli says he was content to stay in Rush’s shadow these last two years.
It's a show with a huge cast, and it of course has lots of recurring characters and of course some characters I find less interesting but as a whole it’s such a great cast and although there is a lead cast of nine I believe, including Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Philips). Telford is only in 20 episodes but I would have loved to have him on board like the rest of the main cast. I have to say I am also a fan of the character Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith)! In the beginning I did not really cared for him but as the show continued I started to respect that guy immensely. But the same feeling I have about Adam Brody (Peter Kelamis) and Dr. Dale Volker (Patrick Gilmore) are just as important in this show, also bring a lot of the much needed humor. They weren’t official regulars I believe but to me they are. Camille Wray (Ming-Na Wen) is always a pleasure to watch whatever she is doing. Lt. Tamara Johansen (Alaina Huffman) speaks with her eyes! Amazing how she can bring her emotion over to the viewer! Also a quick mention the characters Dr. Lisa Park (Jennifer Spence) and Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson), which were there most of the episodes, whom enriched the show for me.
With the first few episodes SGU was considered (by a lot of Stargate fans) slow, not a lot of humor, dark and gritty, too dark for many. SGU did not have a Stargate feel, it was totally different from its predecessors. The characters were all doom and gloom, no aliens and you probably can go on for a while. Yes it was totally different than SG-1 or SGA, I am thankful for that, why do you need the same kind of thing a 3rd time? SGU started out a bit slow, but it never bothered me. Too dark? I love a bit darker shows. Like with Star Trek: Voyager, here the characters also started out a bit negative, because they simply didn’t choose to be on a ship on the other side of the galaxy without the possibility of just going home every once in a while. This changed over time especially when Rush found out the true mission of Destiny. With the no alien part I can agree though, I would have loved to have more aliens in general on SGU.
The Stargate feel, perhaps there is a point there, but change is necessary, especially after 13 years. I also don’t agree that it was a copy of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series from Ronald D. Moore. They have a few things in common like flawed characters and the darker tone but you can compare any crime or drama show like that. But because it’s in space, it’s a copy of another SCI-FI show!? Bullocks! SGU was and still is a GEM, it’s one of the best (SCI-FI) shows out there, with every rewatch this gets better and better.
I can only name two episodes which I found less interesting or mediocre! Two episodes out of forty! One in season one and one in season two. Episode 17 of season one “Pain” I thought was boring, where part of the crew has hallucinations from an away mission, some kind of tick has been found on the away mission crew. The song at end though is fantastic! You can listen it here, it is a song from Eels, called Agony
The second mediocre episode for me is in season 2, episode 5, “Cloverdale”. Lt. Scott has been infected with something of big living plant-like creatures. In his head he is marrying Chloe Armstrong. It was not an awful episode but it was certainly not very interesting.
The Best episodes…well this is really hard and there are so many, especially in season two. My favorite season one episodes: The 3-part Pilot “Air” – How it starts, cross-overs from Samantha Carter, Jack O’Neill and even Daniel Jackson. Episode 10 “Justice”, when a gun is found in Colonel Youngs quarters. Camille Wray becomes the leader. I wish this was continued for a couple more episodes, where Wray is the leader. Also of course the confrontation between Rush and Young which was very interesting. Episode 11 “Space” is also a favorite of mine, Young’s consciousness is transferred to an alien ship, in an alien body. There he finds a familiar face!
It's not joke, from episode 12 on, through episode 18, minus episode 17 “Pain”, gets an 8 out of 10 from me. However the 2-part season finale : “Incursion” Parts 1 & 2 both are a 9 out of 10 so I would like to mention this one also as one of my season 1 favorites. Episode 18, “Subversion”, could well be considered the first part of a 3-part story which ends the first season which deals with the Lucian Alliance. Also a big plus for episode 18 is that two SG-1 characters join in: Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson. Samantha Carter also joins in episode 19, as also Jack O’Neill and Daniel Jackson. SGU at its best these episodes.
And indeed SGU ended on a cliff-hanger, Season 2’s season-opener “Intervention” where the Lucian Alliance story is (mostly) been solved. I added ‘mostly’ because there are Lucian Alliance members on the Destiny who remain there. Characters like Ginn (Julie McNiven), Varro (Mike Dopod) and Simeon (Robert Knepper). Other season 2 favorites are “The Greater Good” where Young and Rush are stranded on an alien ship, the following episode 8 “Malice”, where Simeon has killed someone on board of Destiny and is on the run on a desert like planet. Episode 10 “Resurgence” with Drone ships, a graveyard of ships and some great battles! The follow-up episode 11, “Deliverance” is also a favorite. “Twin Destinies”, episode 12, one of the best episodes I think where Eli maybe has found a way home. Episode 15 “Seizure” is also a fun and spectacular episode, where Richard Woolsey (Robert Picardo) and Dr. Rodney McKay (David Hewlett) turn up to try and bring the crew of Destiny home. The last 4 episodes are all favorites of mine, episodes 17 & 18 “Common Descent” and “Epilogue” follow-up the “Twin Destinies” story-line. Episode 19 “Blockade” where Destiny can no longer run from the drones, they (the drones) have figured out Destiny’s flight plan. The season finale, what of course also became the series finale “Gauntlet” is a fairly quiet story but full of impact.
At the time, back in 2011, I was under the impression that the series finale was produced after it became clear that SGU would not be renewed for a 3rd season. And that therefore the show ended the way it did. I didn’t like it, but I could live with it. Years later, with my last rewatch back in 2016, I found out they already filmed the season finale, and they purposely ended the season this way with the assumption they would be back next season. Really gave a different spin for me knowing the creators really envisioned this ending with the thought they would be back next season! Brad Wright is trying to bring back Stargate back on TV or a streaming service and he voiced interest, within this new series, to at least properly end Stargate Universe and probably Stargate Atlantis as well. That would be a wonderful thing of course to see closure for these two show after so many years!
The Communication Stones:
The communication stones where a great addition, the stones were already established in SG-1, it gave us a chance to see characters from the earlier shows SG-1 and SGA. But only with my last rewatch I started wondering, they do all sorts of things with those bodies they only borrow from colleagues! With all sorts of things I mean sex of course! I know it is mentioned there are guidelines what you can and cannot do, but I don’t think sex is one of the things you are allowed to do! Does not show a lot of respect to the person you borrow the body from! I know! It is just a TV show. 😊
Stargate Universe the Complete series on Blu-Ray:
This year season two finally came to Blu-ray! Although not as a separate release but as a complete series from the company VEI (Visual Entertainment Incorporated). I wrote a blog about this in February of this year. At that point I hadn’t received the set yet but it was on its way to me which took six weeks! Let me tell you, it’s a decent release, it perhaps looks a bit less in PQ than the original release of season one, but not by much. The SQ is less than the original, it’s only Dolby Digital 5.1 but I have a soundbar so for me this wasn’t a big issue either. Not all but most special features have been transferred to the complete series set. Here you can see which special features are on it. I recommend that you buy it but keep your original season one release. That way you have all special features and you still can watch the first season in the highest quality available. I’ve switched every few episodes while watching the first season from the original release to the complete series set. To be honest, I did not see much difference! Could be my eyes, or my television.
As I said before, Stargate Universe is among my all-time favorite TV shows, it’s a shame it only lasted two seasons, even worse, it’s a crime! If you see what garbage is out there and a piece of quality like this is cancelled so soon. I read nowadays that SGU is appreciated much more now than 10 years ago and although it is sad this wasn’t so much the case in 2010-2011, still I am glad it now finally gets the recognition it deserves. I so hope Brad Wright is able get this new Stargate show of the ground and hopefully he is able to finally give SGU (and SGA) a closure both shows deserve. Rewatch recommended! Hell yes!
Screencaps taken from GateWorld