Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

Published 6 years ago by , Updated October 4th, 2009 at 8:54 pm,

stargate universe stargate on destiny 02 Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

Upfront: Stargate Universe premiered to a lot of hype that wasn’t completely fulfilled.  The episode was dark, as expected, but lacking in the energy I needed to really get hyped about it.  The acting wasn’t stiff, but I think the background music kept things in a very mellow state.

My devotion to the franchise kept me riveted and though I don’t think tonight’s episode was a stellar hit as some would lead you to believe, it delivered an interesting situation that will have me coming back for more… if anything, just to see if things improve or as I get more involved with the characters than I did tonight.

I don’t give everything up, but there are spoilers included below.

A Bit Of A Recap

The Stargate Universe opening scene has viewers watching a ship (the Destiny) drift towards them. The scene has a rather epic looking feel to it and what I didn’t know at the time was that this might have been the best scene of the show.

We go inside the ship and watch it slowly powering up the hallways, eventually finding ourselves looking at a Stargate powering up itself up and the event horizon bursting forth from the ring. People start to come flying through it, piling in on each other in an obvious state of panic.

Meanwhile, Dr Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) is on a balcony, looking down on the scene, almost looking pleased.

We then experience a series of flashbacks interjected with the developing real-time plot (ala Lost) that help explain some back-story on some of the characters and the developing scenario.

We see boy genius Eli Wallace (David Blue) get recruited because he solved an online game that was designed by Dr. Rush from Stargate Command.  After Wallace solves the game, Lt. General Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) and Dr Rush show up at his door the next morning. Anyone ever see The Last Starfighter? I’m just saying.

When Wallace gets on board, he’s shown a series of videos to get caught up on the history of the Stargate program.  LOL – “Hi, I’m Dr. Jackson (Michael Shanks), and behind me is a Stargate.” I felt like I was watching the DNA video from Jurassic Park.

The rest of the Stargate Universe premiere shows us the attack that forced the impromptu evacuation, focusing on the people on board the Destiny as they try to comprehend their new situation situation – between each other and between them and the ship/environment they now find themselves in.

The Destiny is a ship built by the Ancients. Apparently, the Ancients sent these automated vessels out into the universe to plant Stargates, but then they ascended and kind of forgot about the ships. The Destiny is in mechanical disarray and it reminds me of my 1969 Mercury Cougar, where it will be needing a lot of duct tape.

universe backwall near completed Stargate Universe Premiere: Review & Discussion

The creative team behind Stargate Universe, Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, tries to pull the viewer into the dark and desperate atmosphere the survivors are in. Much like the desperate plight humanity found itself in on Battlestar Galactica.

It wasn’t very distracting to me, but if you remember, they were going to use a different filming technique that was inspired by how Joss Whedon filmed Firefly. They used a lot of hand-held camera angles and it complemented the desperate situation the people were in.  If they don’t get too carried away with this technique, it should be acceptable for viewers throughout.

Another difference I noticed only took place once in this 2-hour premiere; When we came back from a commercial break, we experienced a flashback, then we jumped into a different scene where there was a seriously steamy interaction between two people. If you were expecting a family friendly show like all the previous incarnations of Stargate, even if it was one scene, it was there.  And from what I’ve read in other sources, it won’t be the last time they throw a curve ball at the viewer in the sexuality department.

I don’t like Dr. Rush, and that’s a compliment to Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of the role. The scientific greed that Dr. Rush exhibits makes me dislike or distrust this guy.  It’s Rush’s fault they ended up on the Destiny.  During the unexplained attack on the base that forced the evacuation, Rush interrupted the emergency dialing of Earth to try a new idea he came up with about the 9th chevron. Guess it worked.

Click to continue reading about the Stargate Universe Premiere

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  1. I’m a huge fan of the Stargate franchise having watched all the SG-1 episodes multiple times and every SGA episode. I wanted to like SGU, but it tried too hard to be dark like BSG instead of focusing on story or characters. The 2-hour series premiere was completely unnecessary and could have been cut to an hour thirty or an hour.

  2. Underwhelming? Damn. I really looked forward to see it.

  3. I had to do caffeine to make it through the whole thing. In one word … boring (and I’ve been an SG-1 & SG-A fanatic). I really thought Dr Rush was poorly cast & poorly written; I desperately hope they kill him off ASAP. I hate the idea of the lead scientist being a “bad guy” but he just radiates evil …yuck. What can I say nice about it? not much, didn’t like the sets, didn’t like the music, didn’t like much at all … liked the idea of a lesbian as a leading character but if she can’t find another somewhere it’s going to be a damn long trip. I guess I’ll just stick to my favs from last year: Fringe, Eureka, Dollhouse, Heroes … and SG-1 reruns.

  4. LOL… caffeine… dang, why didn’t I think of that?

    See, the fact that you hate Dr Rush though, leads me to believe that Carlyle did his job well enough to drive you to that state… much the same as my own state!


  5. Bruce, GREAT review, bud.

    Personally, I hated the use of the handheld camera – I still don’t understand the logic behind it. A camera should give the viewer the feeling that they’re standing there watching what’s happening, and who the heck bobs and weaves while they’re looking at someone talking?!?

    I am not a fan of the quasi-explicit sex scene they put in there nor what the previews showed. For the first time this will be a Stargate series that I can’t watch with my daughter, and frankly that sucks.

    I do like some of the characters, but frankly this looks like one big rip off of Battlestar Galactica. I don’t know what the deal is with show-runners Brad Wright and Robert Cooper, who’ve always done a fantastic job with the franchise, but I don’t like the direction they’ve taken here. Don’t know if it was pressure from the network or what, but to me it’s a bummer.


  6. I was both disappointed and pleased with the premier episode. In the disappointment part, it was a flashback episode which I feel should stretch out during the season for the first time watcher to the Stargate franchise. Another thing was their was no intro to a new enemy with that first episode as with SG-1 or SGA (The Gould return in SG-1 or the Wraith intro in SGA) unless you count the internal conflict with each other may make up for that since the majority of the crew want to return to earth. The dark intro did appeal to me not know who had good intensions or personal gain from it. I was also interested in seeing an uncertain future for the SGU crew since some of them are not even qualified or for the most part equipped for that kind of mission.

  7. First of all, i want to say that SGU will be the best SG ever! If u dont like it, dont watch it! Just to say, that SGU is way better then BSG, and it’s more reallistic than anything before. Just keep it going. If the all SGU are good like the pilot, it’s wortht watching

  8. Excellent premiere that was very much reminiscent of the SG Atlantis premiere. I’m not sure what show you whiners were watching. There was pretty much nothing different about it but some camera angles and the cast. Everything else was spot on, trademark SG humor, dramatic tension, Stargates and space ships.

  9. Thanks Vic.

    Yea, this was like LOST BATTELSTAR STARFIGHTER, but then again, sometimes it’s hard to do something that already hasn’t been done… though I’m suspicious of the fact that so many different and successful methodologies were all rolled up into one package. I think I’m smelling something, just not sure what yet.

    This direction they’re going, might have been the only direction they might have been allowed to take, if they wanted to get another series off the ground…


    You put a thought in my head, that makes me think that this thought would be a great idea for a twist plot in the show: If one of the characters might already have a Goa’uld snake in them. Wouldn’t that be a nice, yet familiar idea?

    Hey! Wright, Cooper? You can use my idea. Feel free!

    Well, now we wait and see. I’ve got a test audience coming over to watch the premiere… I’ll see what they say!


  10. @MAtt

    Two things:

    1. Whiners? Really? Because you disagree with us?

    2. Nothing different from other SG shows except camera angles and the cast? What show were YOU watching? Because it obviously wasn’t the premiere of SGU.


  11. Reminiscent of Space 1999

  12. I have mixed feelings about the premiere. I really didn’t care for the dark tone of it- a’la Battlestar Gallactica, but I generally liked the story and enjoyed the show, but I hope that they bring in a little more SG-1 and Atlantis to it and phase out the BSG. They can have serious subjects without doing everything in a dark manner. How many times did SG-1 save the world from destruction, yet retained a lighter tone? I really want SGU to work because I am a big fan of the franchise, but I want it to be STARGATE and NOT Battlestar.

    I will continue to watch this show, simply because of 2 characters thus far: Eli and Dr. Rush. I’m hoping that the other characters will draw me in more, but I’m thinking there might be TOO many characters. SG-1 revolved basically around 4 main characters, as did Atlantis. Too many characters and the show will start breaking down.

  13. Sad.

    Rush is a clone of Baltar. “lost in space”/”battlestar”.

    Kill him off quickly, and let the colonel run the gig.

  14. I’ve never seen the other SG’s but I thought I would give this one a try and I liked it, I’ve never been a fan of Sci Fi/SyFy(whatever) shows, I’ve always thought they were cheesy, but I was surprised at this show, I added it to my DVR, I’m on board.


  16. So, I am disappointed. I didnt have high hopes in the first place because Lou Diamond Phillips was in it, and lets face it.. he is the kiss of death for a movie.

    I didnt like Battlestar; and SGU is far too much like it. Too many characters to get to know, to many personal story lines that I know will take over the show, instead of focusing on the explorations like SG1 and SGA did; which is why I loved them.

    The dark aspect and handheld camera shots are already old. The sex scenes add nothing to the show, except that now the kids cannot watch it on a first run. And based on this first show – I dont know that I want to sit through it again so that the kids can watch it.

    And like someone else mentioned the Dr, an evil guy as the main character does nothing to draw me into the show.

    Now in fairness, I didnt like SGA’s first episode either, and I grew to love the show. So maybe the second episode will kill off half the crew and leave it to a managable few; and they will lay off the sex. =D

  17. hy. i like the new stargate. is not like the sg1 but for the first show is ok.
    anyway is one of my favorite show on tv.

  18. I was disappointed. I was five minutes late in tuning in and was a little lost at first. Also, it looked way too much like Galactica. If it continues down that path of personal destruction and utter dispair, I won’t be watching it.
    Finally, why in the world does SGU need a sex scene in the first hour of the premier?

    I’ll give it two more weeks to catch my interest.

  19. I have watched the Star gate serious for years and love them. This show is defiantly going to make a huge twist in the way they usual way they presented SG-1 and SG-A. I believe that they are looking for a larger character pool to pull from so they can have a “Star trek”, “Lost” kind of feel and not have the same four people save the world.
    I also like the fact they have Dr Rush a villain unlike Daniel Jackson and Rodney McKay, in SG-1 and SG-A respectfully, who were both comical relief in the episodes past. I think they want that comical character to come from Eli Wallace who I have high hopes for.
    Also feel the reason they did not introduce a villain into pilot was because SG-1 had fought off the ultimate evil (The Ori). So what can top them? They want to make the show not about one evil but about people wanting to go home. Yes this does sound like battle-star but I think it will be a great change IF done correctly.
    The only down fall was the inoproreate and not needed sex scene. They could have gotten the same point across if they just showed him pulling up his pants and she buttoning her shirt with out having show this highly grafic and not needed sex scene!
    I will watch this show to see episode 2 and hope that it gets better and explains what is going to happen but if sex scenes prosiest I will stop watching to my disappointment.

  20. The build-up to Stargate: Universe led me to believe that this was not going to be like the other Stargates that came before it and that intrigued me.

    But…after watching last nights premiere, I am left with one thought – “They canceled Stargate: Atlantis for this?!”

    I’m not one to mince words – I didn’t like it. I’ve had a night to mull over the show and I think that this is one giant misfire.

    The opening pan through the ship which ended up at the Stargate was interesting, but it’s hard to make dark corridors suspenseful no matter how much atmospheric music is played in the background.

    I was impressed by the way in which people spilled through the Stargate, but then experienced whiplash when the narrative took a leap back in time to show Eli’s path up to this point in the story. And while I like that type of story telling (LOST uses it it exceptionally well), I didn’t think it worked in this particular instance. At least LOST gives the audience an auditory cue that there will be a jump in narrative. Here, I thought there was an error in how the show was going out and THAT took me out of the story.

    And speaking of Eli, he is the ONLY character I liked in the entire pilot! Bravo David Blue! Seriously, he was a breath of fresh air in this dank, dark, muddled mess of a show!

    I felt more time was was spent on developing the show’s style and “atmosphere” and not enough time was devoted to the story and its characters. And while I appreciate wonderful visuals, I would rather watch compelling characters who, even though may not be well defined, pull me into stories that leave me wanting to know what happens to them next. After last night’s premiere, I don’t care so much about what happens to them next.

    All-in-all, the show’s dim lighting couldn’t hide the fact that this Stargate is already falling apart at its chevrons. It was slow, plodding and was a mash-up of too many different narratives.

    NOT a great start…not by a long shot.

  21. Having not seen a single Stargate since the film, I thought this was pretty good. The only things I did not like were the sex scene, which personally was not obscene, but unnesscessary, but shows you where that guy’s head was at in a crisis and the flashbacks which were sloppy and got me confused, they needed a visual or audio cue for those. I liked Dr. Rush because he reminds me of another TV character, Dr. House, willing to do whatever it takes, evenif it takes people’s lives, to get the answer. But, I think there is a reason for this, when he looked at the picture of the woman he cried which makes me think that he did something out of love for her and it backfired, which is probably why he was a little cold when the Senator died. The only character I did not like was Eli, I sort of like him but he was a little annoying to me because in the beginning he was sort of a stereotype of videogamers, and I hate stereotypes of anyone, especially gamers. It will take some time, but eventually I will like his character. Overall, good for a newbie. Can not wait for next week, it seems that now they have their baring, so it should get better from here on in.

  22. I didn’t think the show was that bad, but I don’t see it making it. The posts here are proof enough the the SG fanbase doesn’t want a grittier series they want simple fantasy, although, many first opinions of SGA mirror these here now.

    The bright side for me is if the series fails, that opens the door for the final 2 movies with the original movie cast. Spader and Russell have expressed an interest in retunring and the only hold up was MGM would no give the go ahead with an active series running.

  23. I think SGU was good but is it good enough. they should of finished atlantis first.

  24. SGU was slow and boring. With all thoses scientist on board couldn’t come up with anything-sad-sad-Want to used the Star Gate to get home was just stupid. The actors had no charisma I know it was the first episode but it’s got a long way to go. Hope they find somebody that has a brain.

  25. I will watch more episodes to see how the characters develope. My initial feeling is one of disappointment.
    So far my iclination is to sum up the plot as “Lost in Space” meets “Lost” meets “Star Trek Voyager”.

    Dr. Smith (Dr. Rush) messes up and gets a plane load of people stranded on a moving island in space as they try to find their way back home. I sincerely hope it developes into more than that.

    The sex scene was totally unnecesary. I have Cinamax for those type of movies. I swear, if they slip in a gay lovers scene I will drop them like Torchwood.

  26. I was a bit disappointed. It was more like a spin-off of Battlestar Galactica than of Stargate. That Dr. Rush has Baltar written all over him. None of the characters were likable or competent – which was probably the point – and I didn’t enjoy the group dynamic. I’m sure the characters will evolve, but I hope it evolves to be more like the other Stargate shows and not like BSG.