‘Stargate Universe’ Series Finale Review & Discussion

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 12th, 2011 at 2:53 am,

stargate universe finale destiny Stargate Universe Series Finale Review & Discussion

Stargate Universe concludes its two-season run tonight, marking the end of a television franchise that’s spanned three series and almost 14 years. Is “Gauntlet” a satisfactory conclusion for the series or Stargate as a whole?

“Gauntlet” serves as a conclusion to the drones arc that Stargate Universe has been following for the last few episodes. As the crew of the Destiny tries to resupply, they discover that every gateable world with provisions is occupied by drone command ships.

After a victorious but costly encounter with one of the waiting drone ships, Rush, Eli and Colonel Young conclude that further attempts to resupply will only end in disaster. Eli concocts a solution: place the crew in stasis pods and make a massive subspace jump to the next galaxy on Destiny’s universal route.

This presents its own problems. First of all, they’d be going even farther away from Earth (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for all of Destiny’s inhabitants) and they still need some very specialized supplies to get all the pods operational. Naturally, someone’s going to have to stay behind and risk dying when the life support shuts down for the jump.

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Stargate Universe has felt like the black sheep of the Stargate family since its debut two years ago. Having more than a little in common with the likes of Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek Voyager, Universe has seemed less and less like a true Stargate show as it has continued. For example, the finale has only one short scene with the Stargate itself, the plot device that’s supposed to anchor the franchise.

That said, the departure from established norms isn’t entirely unwelcome. Stargate SG-1 definitely got long in the tooth in its later seasons and Stargate Atlantis felt in many ways like a remixed version of the original, swapping out the setting and characters but keeping an all too similar feel. Universe‘s gritty atmosphere and desperate characters gave us something new, even as it expanded on the Ancient lore established way back in the SG-1 pilot.

The central conflict of Stargate Universe isn’t so much the alien bad guys as the motivations of the crew itself: Dr. Rush wants to explore the universe (along with Eli, to some extent) while everyone else wants to go home, or failing that, at least stay alive. There’s very little of that conflict in this final episode: everyone seems resigned to their fate, which I couldn’t help but see as a bit of projection on the part of the writers.

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As the crew makes tearful goodbyes to their loved ones by way of the mind-swapping Ancient communication technology, Rush and Eli make the preparations for the pods and the jump. It doesn’t leave the rest of the cast much to do except contemplate, with some especially expositional dialogue letting the audience know where everyone is emotionally.

In short, the episode functions more as a goodbye to the characters and Destiny as whole, and not the conclusion to the series that fans may be hoping for. There’s a distinct lack of space action (just one short battle and a remote-controlled bluff) and a lot of explanation as to the ship’s chances – or lack thereof – if they follow the plan.

It leaves the series surprisingly open-ended. Literally anything could happen after the lights go down on Destiny: expect a metric ton of fanfiction to flood Stargate forums in the next few months. It’s not as if the series could have been properly completed; Syfy announced the cancellation during the mid-season gap. But it still feels like there’s very little accomplished by the crew in the time they’ve had away from Earth.

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The acting and production values are on par with the rest of the series, solid without being stellar. Stargate Universe has taken a lot of cinematography cues from Battlestar Galactica, a choice that clashes with SG-1 and Atlantis. I’m not opposed to shaky cameras and moody sets, but they feel as out of place in the finale as they did in the premiere.

Eli is the only character who gets some real resolution, a fact that he and the others point out with surprising bluntness. Everyone else (especially Young, Tamara and Dr. Park) is left to dangle in the semi-hopeless situation. It’s definitely a downer, especially considering the bigger victories and moments in the last few episodes.

Even if Syfy hadn’t moved Stargate Universe (along with the likewise doomed Caprica) to a new night in favor of professional wrestling, I doubt it could have survived more than another season. It’s a disappointing end to a long-running franchise; I’ll go so far as to say that with a little tweaking and some reshoots, the recent episode arc with the planet Novus would have served as a far better conclusion. As it stands, the series ends with a whisper, not a shout.

At least fans won’t have to wait long to complete their Stargate collections: Season 2 of Stargate Universe hits DVD and Blu-ray on May 31st.

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  1. For me, SGU had the best cast, characters and story. It felt real as opposed the light comedies SG-1 and SGA quickly became, as much as I enjoyed those as well.

    I still can’t believe Syfy isn’t continuing the franchise.

    • Did anyone see at after the last commercial break in the lower left corner it said Now: Stargate Universe SEASON finally?

      • I noticed that to. it might have just been an error or something. or it might be a pretext to a continuation of the series.
        i faithfully await the day that this happens.

  2. Soooooo disappointed, at least have a clip or something to establish that they reached some destiny( no pun intented.. ok maybe..)

  3. Agreed. Disappointing. Syfy wanted a darker show, well they got it and surprise, people didn’t like it, because that’s not Stargate.

    Rush wanted to fulfill Destiny’s mission and pretty much everyone else wanted to go home.

    It was a neat idea, but Syfy shot itself in the foot.

    • follow up, at least the writers didn’t have Young’s or Rush’s character knock out Eli’s character and toss him into the stasis pod, presumable, for his own good.

  4. It was an interesting final episode, leaves you wondering what might happen. Of course the thought I had for the last half of the episode was “Couldn’t two people fit into one status pod?” They did look decently sized.

  5. You’ve got to be kidding???! I was into the series more than the writers were. I was upset that the series was cut short. Now I see why! The writers sucked! It truly was the worse finale for me. I am even more disappointed that SyFy had it. I wonder if any other network had it if they would have seen why it was dropping and fired the writers and hired some that would have kept it alive. It had soooo much potential but nobody to back it up..

    • I agree they have made a mess out of Universe. It was almost like they went to a Jr. College and got some hacks to write the story lines because they didn’t want to pay for real writers. Massive let down, and the ending was as fitting as the storyline… pass the buck!

  6. It looks like SyFy is going to neglect it’s loyal fans who purchased Stargate SGU seasons 1.0 & 1.5 on blu-ray, by releasing last 10 episodes ( series Finale ) only own standard DVD. What a slap in the face for those of us that discarded our DVD’s and repurchased in Blu-Ray format. Thanks Much!

    • you can play DVDs on a Blue-Ray

  7. I have really liked all of the stargates and would have loved them to continue ALL of them for more seasons… I really liked Universe :(

  8. Those of us who purchase Stargate SUG in blu- Ray format are getting left by the wayside as it looks like final 10 Episodes are being released in standard DVD format only. So much for loyalty to your Fans SyFy! Thanks Much!

  9. I am dieing to see the rest if what the writers had planned. I never got into ANY of the other stargate series. SGU i am hooked. I am not impressed by syfy’s lack of judgment here. next to sanctuary, not to mention all the C list original movies SGU is stellar. Why is SYFY so bent on screwing themselves by dumping the first good series they have had in almost half a decade?

  10. i like the way they ended the series/season because they made it out like if they ever got renewed they could just start in the new galaxy.

    • Actually they opened a lot of doors from where they left off.. Eli can discover another race or the creators when destiney drops out of FTL. Eli could take control of destiney and travel in another direction. there are all kinds of possibilities if a writer would step up and take over and put our series back on track!!!!!!

  11. it’s too bad, a station called syfy has reduced itself to wrestling and cooking shows while regular TV gets the new scifi shows. In the meantime, sgu has finally got an excellent story line and they cancel it. There’s no reason for me to waste my money one the package that includes this channel on my cable anymore.

    • AMEN! To that jlschulz!!

    • Hey, they had to buy Stargate SG-1 from Showtime… it’s not like they are coming up with these series on their own! Maybe the next one will come from HBO??

  12. I personally loved the stargate movie, the series which Came afterwards?not so much. This was the only stargate series I actually got into. Very disappointed they ended it.

  13. If Syfy had any idea how to produce a show they would bring this series back and finish it. Properly!

  14. This has to be the worst ending of a series I have ever seen. SyFy made no effort to prepare a proper ending, no loyalty to its fan base.First ABC slaps its fan base in the face with its cancellation of V, now SyFy ill prepared ending of SGU. Do you really expect the fans of SGU to buy the series on DVD,when you just ruined the ending? They(SyFy)should consider a two hour episode to properly close out this series and save the DVD sales. Shame On You SyFy ……..

    • Ummmmm, V was renewed for another season. ;)

      • V sucks and SY=FY keeps handing out turd sandwiches to morons who cant tell good programs from crappy ones sorry SY-FY I dont eat turd sandwiches . you just lost viewer !

  15. I know there is a time to change, but there was a lot in the first two SG’s that SGU lost. And spending 10 minutes per show with catchups and previews was not that great.

    It was sad the writers could not come up with better story lines than what they got for most of the SGU series. I thought the finale was appropriate, like the sick relative that just kept hanging around and who always cursed at you when you went to visit. When it was gone, people were just indifferent.

    • Well for goodness sakes, listen to the fans. We’ll keep them in storylines for decades.

  16. Bring back Stargate Universe!!! Don’t take it away!!! or at least don’t let it end this way!!!
    If anything, give us a movie that ties it all up!! How far is this to end the series permanently with a stupid cliff hanger?!?!!? :(

  17. I loved this show. Ill miss all the people The only thing I thought was bad was the touch stones.

  18. I liked this show a lot. And I was very interested to see where it was going to go. Stargate has provided a nice detachment from the world and stimulate the imagination.

    I HATE the syfy channel. They suck! From the stupid way they spell Sci-Fi to the amount of shows they’ve cancelled. Farscape and Firefly to name two. They cancel the shows before the story can be completed and it pisses me off to no end. Syfy can suck it.

    • SO True I wish they would stick with a new story as least as long as the staregate.Very frustated but Iam stuck to syfy.

    • Firefly was a Fox program, not a SyFy program.

  19. Farscape had resolution in The Peacekeeper Wars

    Firefly had resolution in Serenity

    Babylon 5: Crusade just ended, no real resolution, although we do know that they eventually succeeded because of the later B5 movies.

    Will SGU ever have resolution?

    • There were plans for something whether it was a mini-series or movies to act as a final swan song for all three series. But, that ended up not panning out. So this is the end of the franchise for now.

  20. SyFy is going to the dogs. This was a bad ending, but maybe it signals the end of Syfy. They have been going down hill with bad programs that were used to replace good ones. Now, one of the few good shows they have is being killed.

    • I love syfy shows to death. Yes you are so right this is killin me. Will they come up with something good if we all jump ship? I will miss Dr. Rush and crew.

  21. Horrible ending to a very entertaining series. Very disappointing.

  22. I could not be more disappointed. I have been a fan of the Star Gate franchise from episode 1 of SG1. SGU for me was the reason I have love them all so much. It seemed as if though they were going somewhere with the series in the first season. Then the second started getting better. I am deeply saddened to see it go away. I hope to God someone can pick it up from where it has left off. Worldwide the Star Gate series have millions upon millions of followers, million who dear to dream ad get lost in a show that seems to be created by the human mind while asleep.
    SyFy has let me and many others down, for the last time. It is better for them to invest in crappy low budget pointless movies and series than it is to invest in millions of fans who have grown up with Start Gate. I wish to those who contributed in the cancellation of this show the same sadness the rest of us feel. 

    Probably, the saddest Star Gate fan.

    • what they’re doing now is handing out turd sandwiches to people who are clueless that true high quality sci fi is all about.I’m done with the SY-FY channel.

  23. I really believe that SyFy is not even trying anymore to produce quality shows for the fans. The ending was so not an ending and they needed to have a better plan for SG Universe from the start. I would have watched it but it never seemed to go any where. SyFy channel has been going down on my list of channels to watch lately.

  24. My husband I myself have enjoyed all the Stargate series, but felt it was more difficult to get into Universe. It seems that they were doing better towards the end, but we hated the ending. It left everything totaly unresolved. It woudl be nice to have another series or atleast a movie that will end things.

  25. I will never start watching another series on SyFy again until it is 4 seasons deep. Any new series for that matter. I am tired of giving a series my time and loyalty just to see a bunch of morons cancel a show that is getting really good. TV really sucks right now. Man, do I miss BSG….

    • BSG was the best show they ever did, its been all down hill ever since they ended it.

      • Amen to that…

  26. Not a fan of the ending but I was a big fan of the series and it sucks it had to end this way now we’ll never Know what happens to destiny and the crew one wish I had was that they had a more humanoid intelligent enemy that they could communicate with however cant dwell in the past hopefully they’ll get there heads out if their asses and bring the series back from it’s shallow grave

  27. I am saddened by the cancellation of SGU… to me it is a very good show and now there is nothing else to watch on syfy that’s… well good syfy. I have never liked sancutary and the only thing syfy about wrestling is that it is fiction series with bad acting and writing just like sancutary.

  28. Oh come on. Now there could be a real story. We all want to know what happens to the crew. There is such posibilities now. You just need to start intereacting with other worlds. Not all worlds need to be bad guys. We want more!

  29. While I watched parts of SG-1 and SGA, SGU was by far my favorite series in the Stargate franchise. My congratulations to you Syfy for getting me to go without missing an episode only to kick the stool out from under me in the end and, pun intended, leave me hanging…

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