Opinionated Reviews: Stargate Universe

Comments welcome, as always.

Discussion and questions answered on the blog!

I usually get a better response than this, is SG: U just not very popular a show?

Problems with your review are manifold, and almost all come down to your own unwillingness to watch the intervening series'. Now, you can critique the "big issues" exactly as you did without issue, as the ones you mentioned are all related to the mechanics of the show, for the record we disagree about the characters. However, your "quibbles" section is full of things which are either down to your own inadequacy(really, you can't keep track of nine characters?) or your own lack of knowledge about the franchise, but I'm in a nice mood so I'll help you out.

1. You can't apply Newtonian physics to a damn wormhole. In normal circumstances, a person entering a Stargate will exit with the same direction and velocity. However, while within the wormhole itself, a person is simply energy and an encoded data stream, so in the event other factors influence the gate at either end, or the wormhole itself, they can be literally thrown out of the exit aperture as a safety measure. For the record, this has been observed in each of the ten seasons of SG1, as well as the 5 seasons of Atlantis, and the TV movies.

2. FTL is explained in the series as one of several standard sci-fi variations based on vague real science hypotheses. Hyperspace is the most common, in the case of the Destiny, it would be appear to be some variation on the Alcubierre drive.

3. Your argument about the ship's longevity is entirely dependent on knowledge of what materials were used in its construction, which we as viewers do not have. Considering the knowledge we have from earlier series'(which you couldn't be arsed to watch), Ancient technology is extremely advanced, one would assume their materials sciences would be as well.

4. Your complaint about the Ancients is, once again, down to your own lack of knowledge rather than a flaw in the program(seriously, you couldn't even waste ten minutes reading the Stargate entry on wikipedia?); Stargate uses the "humanity was seeded by aliens" trope, those aliens being the Ancients who built Destiny. The entire five-season run of the Atlantis series was based on this very premise.

5. Stores of food? Seriously? You missed the part of the show which explained the concept of Destiny entirely then, you know, where the Ancients would 'gate into the ship with all the necessary supplies to set themselves up. Including food.

6. I'm going in order along with the video, so this is really a repeat, but: Alcubierre drives circumvent special relativity.

7. While I agree with you that cutting the "stargate trip" CGI was a bad thing, the irony is this was done by the producers in order to please viewers such as yourself - non-fans who don't have the patience or inclination to understand the lore.

8. You're even going to get on top of the episodic cliffhangers? Really? I'm not trying to come off as offensive, but have you watched any sci-fi dramas before? It's pretty much an integral part of the format.

9. And the time travel. I had a suspicion you would have a crack at that episode after the first minute of your video. Again, watch the preceding series'.

I know I'm coming off as a dick, but SG:U gets a lot of crap, and I really rather enjoy it. Most the points people make I can agree to disagree, but fully half your review is predicated on problems which aren't really problems if you've watched the previous shows, or can muster the energy to type "Stargate" into Wikipedia.

Would you review Return of the King without having seen Fellowship and Two Towers? If you did, would you base that review in large part on quibbles which would be solved by seeing them?

Okay, yeah, you did come off as a bit of a dick, but I did ask for comments so I'll try to respond minus the irrational anger.

Nine characters introduced in the first episode was a bit of a problem, especially as they introduce them in groups without giving each one a chance to properly introduce themselves to the viewer. They quickly merged together and then as the season went on I was able to seperate them back out, but initially, no, I couldn't keep track of them.

And it's not that I'm unwilling to watch the intervening serieses, it's that Universe is the current one, and I do try to stay current. The fact that I haven't seen the mess of predecessors was the reason I stated so in the review in the first place: So that anything I complain about that was explained before can be ignored (or so that the hardcore fans can have the fun of calling me an ignorant bitch. Not you, but a couple of others).

As for the rest:

1. Thank you, that makes sense. If it's been explained before than it would have been redundant to explain it again, but I would have appreciated at least a line. After all, it is a -new- series and to expect every single viewer to watch, what, ten? seasons of the other for it to make sense is a tad unreasonable.

2. Again, the assumption that most viewers have seen the rest of the Stargates isn't really reasonable, but (again) if it's been explained before, I'll forgive it.

3. As correct as you may be, it's never explained -by the show-. And you'd think that since they're survival depends on how long this ship stays habitable, that the characters would want to know more about the contruction materials and the like for purposes of repairs. It comes up that they try to repair some things and it doesn't go very well very often. Even just the mention of the characters that are explicitly working on it would be nice. Instead we get a scene that exists to show us that Rush is right, not a scene that explains anything.

4. A fair complaint, but one that assumes that evolution either a) doesn't exist, or b) stopped once humans got to Earth.

5. Yeah, that was a petty little nitpick.

7. It's not that they cut it out in most places, it's that they didn't cut it out in -all- places. I agree with the intentions, but they weren't thorough about it.

8. Just because it's part of the format doesn't mean that it's good. And also, being part of the format doesn't inure it against change, nor should it. I'd like to think that the expectations for these shows can evolve and improve, rather than be trapped by the actions of the predecessors.

9. Which "time travel"? The flashback episode, or the wormhole episode? I cracked at both of them.

Over all, it could be the worst show ever made, and if you enjoy it then nothing I can possibly say should matter. My brother loves this show, too (in fact, he's the one who asked me to review it, and we've had many a debate about it). And I try not to read about the shows that I review because I don't want my opinions to be influenced from the outside.

And that's not even a valid analogy. Return of the King is the third part of one story, not a self-contained story in it's own right. TV serieses are different from books and from movies in several ways, and to expect me to treat them the same isn't at all logical.

On the other hand, would I review CSI: Miami without reviewing watching CSI first? No. But then CSI is still running and therefore still relevent.

I do appreciate your comment, and spelling out your problems like that is certainly better than just saying, "Your review sucks go watch the rest of the shows." Thank you for taking the time to write so much for me.

Cheers for the reply, and I do apologise for the tone, it would appear I get the "ignorant bitch" namecallers but from the other side when I discuss the show, heh. I'll keep the argument going on two points;

On number 4 - The timeline for the Ancient species is substantial, as far as I remember Destiny was constructed before the dinosaurs walked the earth, and they originate in a different galaxy. The Ancients themselves eventually died out as a result of a plague, however before doing so they used a device (which is later used as a superweapon in SG1, one of the less satisfying conclusions to a story arc I've seen)which seeded life through the Stargate system which they had built, based on their own world's genetic base. The evolution of humanity is actually referenced several times once the Ancients became a major part of the story, as their more advanced technology only functions if the user has a specific genetic sequence, which only a very few humans have inherited.

On 9 - The wormhole one. Timetravel using the 'gate network has shown up a few times, resulting in both(IMO) the best, and one of the worst episodes in the SG1 series. I suppose for that reason, it didn't really register as a thing for me. As for the pilot, I actually quite enjoyed the back and forth.

For the record, I do absolutely agree on the camera work and the music. Shaky-cam of any sort is a fucking plague on modern cinematography outside of very, very limited scenes, and watching a sci-fi show and suddenly hearing some hipster indie wank blaring out of the screen just yanks me clean out of the story. It's a shame as well, because I really enjoy the mix of electronica and classical the show's composer uses, there could be much more of it.

Out of interest, have you caught the first episode of the new season yet?

sosolidshoe:
Problems with your review are manifold, and almost all come down to your own unwillingness to watch the intervening series'. Now, you can critique the "big issues" exactly as you did without issue, as the ones you mentioned are all related to the mechanics of the show, for the record we disagree about the characters. However, your "quibbles" section is full of things which are either down to your own inadequacy(really, you can't keep track of nine characters?) or your own lack of knowledge about the franchise, but I'm in a nice mood so I'll help you out.

1. You can't apply Newtonian physics to a damn wormhole. In normal circumstances, a person entering a Stargate will exit with the same direction and velocity. However, while within the wormhole itself, a person is simply energy and an encoded data stream, so in the event other factors influence the gate at either end, or the wormhole itself, they can be literally thrown out of the exit aperture as a safety measure. For the record, this has been observed in each of the ten seasons of SG1, as well as the 5 seasons of Atlantis, and the TV movies.

2. FTL is explained in the series as one of several standard sci-fi variations based on vague real science hypotheses. Hyperspace is the most common, in the case of the Destiny, it would be appear to be some variation on the Alcubierre drive.

3. Your argument about the ship's longevity is entirely dependent on knowledge of what materials were used in its construction, which we as viewers do not have. Considering the knowledge we have from earlier series'(which you couldn't be arsed to watch), Ancient technology is extremely advanced, one would assume their materials sciences would be as well.

4. Your complaint about the Ancients is, once again, down to your own lack of knowledge rather than a flaw in the program(seriously, you couldn't even waste ten minutes reading the Stargate entry on wikipedia?); Stargate uses the "humanity was seeded by aliens" trope, those aliens being the Ancients who built Destiny. The entire five-season run of the Atlantis series was based on this very premise.

5. Stores of food? Seriously? You missed the part of the show which explained the concept of Destiny entirely then, you know, where the Ancients would 'gate into the ship with all the necessary supplies to set themselves up. Including food.

6. I'm going in order along with the video, so this is really a repeat, but: Alcubierre drives circumvent special relativity.

7. While I agree with you that cutting the "stargate trip" CGI was a bad thing, the irony is this was done by the producers in order to please viewers such as yourself - non-fans who don't have the patience or inclination to understand the lore.

8. You're even going to get on top of the episodic cliffhangers? Really? I'm not trying to come off as offensive, but have you watched any sci-fi dramas before? It's pretty much an integral part of the format.

9. And the time travel. I had a suspicion you would have a crack at that episode after the first minute of your video. Again, watch the preceding series'.

I know I'm coming off as a dick, but SG:U gets a lot of crap, and I really rather enjoy it. Most the points people make I can agree to disagree, but fully half your review is predicated on problems which aren't really problems if you've watched the previous shows, or can muster the energy to type "Stargate" into Wikipedia.

Would you review Return of the King without having seen Fellowship and Two Towers? If you did, would you base that review in large part on quibbles which would be solved by seeing them?

Thanks now I don't have to say anything.

Attention-getting quote

Yeah, I called some names for what I do, but "ignorant" I take some serious offense at. I do work hard to make these and to be called out because I chose not to sink another 18 hrs per season into it pretty frustrating.

4. That does explain a lot. I shall be sure not to mention it again if I do get around to reviewing the dead serieses, as some considerable work has clearly gone into the timeline.

9. The episode was fantastic. It was intense and well constructed, my problem was that it wasn't ever resolved. Make that episode a two-parter and show both the wormhole problems, and how they resolved the initial plot with the contaminated water. 'Cause later they have the venom they needed, but they were never shown to be anything but squishy against the alien predators, so I don't know how they managed to -get- it. Very frustrating to see such a good episode so mistreated.

I haven't seen the season opener, though my brother tells me it's good. I'm going to do a recap review of the shows that I've already done when the fall seasons wrap up to go over how they've evolved.

I thought it was a good review, nice one.

I haven't seen the show yet but since I am a big fan of the original Stargate series and Antlantis, SG:U still looks interesting enough to me to give it a look. And besides, i'm a big fan of Robert Carlyle. :)

A good review with some good points. I run the Escapist Stargate Fan group, and so I know a fair bit about the show and the lore. It's been said, but the technical issues are explained in the other series; they still should be mentioned, but I guess they don't want to go over old ground.

I agree with most of your points on the cinematography. It boils down to, and this goes for the whole series, be more like Battlestar Galactica. SG-1 and Atlantis are completely different shows focused on a small team and some supporting characters that pop up. They are all best buddies and risk their lives to save each other. SGU focuses FAR more on character drama than the action-adventure of the previous series, and everyone has a troubled backstory and emotional turmoil outlined by episode 5. The parallels to BSG are apparent in the style and the characters made starker by the contrast to the other series.

I also agree that Chloe is absolutely useless. In one episode, Space the mid season opener, the writers need her captured so they have her walk right into the hole the aliens cut in the ship for no reason. Lazy writing and stupid character. It looks like she'll be doing more in this next season though.

Overall I like the series. There are pieces I hate, and pieces I love and I'm giving it a chance.

Oh FYI the Season 2 opener is not very good.

If you want to see Stargate watch SG-1.

P.S. We don't talk about Stargate Infinity. It never existed.

Very good review. I agree with everything you have said. SG1 is much better and the only thing is you seem very rushed but I blame you tube for that.

StANDY1338:
...the only thing is you seem very rushed but I blame you tube for that.

That would be because I was very rushed. Most of my scripts run about sixteen hundred words, but this one quickly got up to nineteen hundred and I had to cut it short.

Actually, SirBrygtsite, they did get around to introducing some aliens...eventually. They were glowing blue skinny guys with catfish for heads. Two episodes after they were introduced, the heroes flew far, far away from them and we likely won't be seeing them again.

Yipee. :-(

Anyway, it was interesting to hear the perspective of someone who wasn't a Stargate fan. Glad to know that SG:U genuinely sucks on its own and not just in comparison to SG-1 (which I can't help but do.)

Moonmover:
Two episodes after they were introduced, the heroes flew far, far away from them and we likely won't be seeing them again.

Actually, as they were set up as the recurring bad guy, the plot will make sure that you see them again at some point. Given the pace of the show though, I predict season two, midseason ender. Episode twelve or thirteen.

On the Time Travel episode in SGU Season 1: It was resolved (mostly, sorta) in the webisodes. Really, all it shows is Eli and the others watching the final recording from the retrieved Keeno.

As to the blue aliens.. Check out the full Season 2 trailer. They did something to Chloe (no longer so useless, eh? =P ), and it's already started to take effect as of 2x01. While they're unlikely to return for a while, it's definitely not the last we've seen of them. (EDIT: Also, the next episode, 2x03, is airing on the 12, and is titled "Awakening", so hopefully this plot will kick in even sooner than we're all expecting)

loved the review, i don't care nor did i know of this shows existence but reviews like these are a grate way to get an overview of what TV is up to.
These revives share a few points with Zero Punctuation and works as well even thou the visuals could defiantly be experimented with a bit.
all in all i give this review 2 thumbs up =)

I like the show, it's a different setting, might be similar to many other shows, but I havn't watched them. The plot and script might be stock but for 40 minutes a week I get to watch people in a worse scenario that I am so feel pretty good.

That is my major gripe with the show, nothing good ever happens, they should have called it Stargate: The Emo Generation. I know survival stuff is meant to be gritty and hard going, but one sdtand out nice thing, I'm begging for it at the end of every episode.

Eli(?) and Dr Rush are my favourite characters and boy did I dislike the girl for not going with Eli, damned testosterone pumped jock sleeping around and getting the girl, although one of the Lucien Alliance seems to be liking him, and she seems nice but their characters haven't had enough screen time to even get names mostly.

Ok the series is inconsistant, plot points get solved off screne for one reason or another, and standing on it's own merits requires crutches, standing on the shoulders of SG-1 and Atlantis it requires puppet master strings, but still, I watch every week, in the hope that either Eli wins the girl over or something nice happens.

Good review, you came accross knowegeable of an industry enough that your points are educated and have weight and enough so that I don't think you're being a full of yourself (like so many that review via video do), you got the MovieBob ratio.

The only thing I'm not sure is good or bad is not knowing SG-1 or Atlantis. The episodes there explain a lot of the "science!" in this series, or at least make attempts at it, but they're also a lot better structured. Watching them raises hopes for this series which it doesn't deliver. So it's a catch 22.

Anyway, good review, I liked it, I'll probably keep an eye out for more by you. (ST:U is my guilty pleasure, it's why I make no sense when I talk about it)

Honestly? I loved both SG-1 and Atlantis, but Universe lost me. From a basic perspective, it's a very different show than the previous two Stargate shows.

I'm just pissed that Hulu has a 30 day wait for episodes now...
I love the show. The music goes far to set the mood, which varies between somber and joyous
(Frigging Flogging Molly dude!)
The new season is turning out pretty well..especially with that brutal cliffhanger season finale. More aliens, Eli get's some...

I must say that im a fan of SGU, after watching SG1 and Atlantis practically back to back i was looking forward to the next SG spin off and so far i havent been disapointed.

while the pacing is crap compared to the older series, the atmosphere and story is much stronger. in SG1 and Atlantis most problems were solved by O'Neill/Sheppard shooting whatever was in the way whereas SGU usually relies on a more academic solution which i find much more interesting.

the questions left hanging through the series - whats happening to chloe, whats with that strange atrificial planet (it pops up again in S2) and WTF is Rush up to? - are one of the main reasons i will constantly go back to the show, i have to know whats happening and that to me is the best bit of the show

 

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