The show opened with chaos and questions.

Then there was a flashback, followed by an old 80s movie plot line where a young, ingenious nerd beats a video game that the government set up.

Then Jack O’Neill (Richard Dean Anderson) shows up to beam the nerd aboard a spaceship. Then there’s a appearance by Dr. Daniel Jackson (Michael Shanks). The first reaction was simple: I really miss Stargate. I miss the characters I’ve become familiar with and watched struggle through every imaginable enemy

That comes to an apex when our young teen (David Blue) is beamed to a space ship called the “George Hammond” named for the late commander of the Stargate program, General George Hammond, played by the late, great Don S. Davis, who gave his last media interview to Blast before his death in 2008.

Even Gary Jones, an SG-1 series regular, makes an appearance on the two-hour opener of “Stargate Universe.” It’s a reminder that Stargate is back, but not in the way fans have known for the past decade. This is a new Stargate. It’s younger, edgier. There’s even a sex scene, which we don’t think we’ve seen in either of the previous shows or the movies.

012Robert Carlyle plays a brilliant yet frustrated scientist trying to solve the mystery of the Stargate’s “ninth and final” chevron. A secret off-world military base has a special stargate on it that is tapped into the planet’s core for power. It’s purpose is to dial that ninth chevron. His character, Dr. Nicholas Rush, the scientist who has endeavored for years to solve the riddle of the last Ancient stargate secret. He’s got some work to do. I’m still seeing Renard from “The World is Not Enough” at times.

When the base comes under attack by an old enemy, the Lucian Alliance, the base is forced to evacuate through the ninth chevron address, which lands them on a massive ship built by The Ancients, the old and advanced race that built the Stargate System. The ship has been traveling faster than light for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s several billion light years from Earth.

Nerd moment: There’s a little plot hole that old Stargate fans will catch. When the base is attacked, its only real defense is The Hammond, a brand new Earth ship with all kinds of amazing gear and weapons. It’s attacked by three “motherships,” an antiquated enemy vessel that the Hammond could dispatch easily with a single blast from its Asgard weaponry. But that moment is not important to the rest of the show.

The ninth chevron leads to the ancient ship, which can travel faster than light without using hyperspace technology. The life support is failing and people are injured and dying.

That completes the first hour of this two-part episode.

In the second part, the team is floating along on the ship trying to get things in order, doing the usual sci-fi stuff.

015David Blue plays the math whiz, Eli Wallace, and he sells his part well like a television Jonah Hill.

The producers know that they have to do a lot to make us fall in love with these brand new characters, and halfway through the second part, they come as close as I would have thought possible. A gut-wrenching scene of self-sacrifice involving one of the main character’s fathers draws the viewer into the show.

There’s conflict. Much like the first few episodes of Stargate Atlantis, there are scientists and soldiers and even some politicians jockeying for position, trying to figure out who knows best. Meanwhile, the ship is dangerously high on carbon dioxide.

The show has all the elements to get us interested and leave us wanting more. There’s even a mini cliffhanger ending where we learn that the ship’s autopilot brings it to a planet every so often.

01But the 80 minutes of footage in the first two parts of the opening episode was either poorly edited or made to purposefully leave plot holes. At some point, Dr. Rush uses an ancient (and reusable) communications device to contact Earth, but no footage of his contact with Earth is shown, and the team inexplicably never uses the device again. I guess they have to be able to contact Earth sometimes, and that does leave open the possibility of cameos from old SG-1 and Atlantis characters, but it’s a bit gaping. We’re pretty sure this gets closed up in the third part of “Air” which airs next Friday.

The big issue is that one or two of the characters need to separate themselves. They need to stand out in the way Sheppard and McKay did on Atlantis. I didn’t quite get a feeling for who would take the lead here, though it’s possible that Blue will stand out, while Brian J. Smith, who plays the number two military guy, Lt. Scott, has potential. But Sheppard and McKay stuck out from the first few minutes of “Atlantis.” Not so in “Universe.”

Next week will be big in terms of the show’s success or failure. The season is tentatively scheduled for 20 episodes, and we’ll have to see what happens. Right now I’m left wanting more, but I’m not sure why.

About The Author

John Guilfoil is the editor-in-chief of Blast: Boston's Online Magazine and the Blast Magazine Network. He can be reached at guilfoil.j@blastmagazine.com. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

24 Responses

  1. Allen Charles

    This new Stargate series seems to me to be more like Defying Gravity than SG1 or Atlantis it seems to be a sure cure for insomnia because it put me to sleep two time last night. I DVRed it and started it over but have yet been able to stay awake long enough to watch the entire two boring hours. Syfy is really doing great with their dumbed down new programs. I will try again later but I guess my love affair with the Stargate series is likely over. I guess I can just buy a few new books to read to replace my time I usually spend watching Stargate. I do have many hours of SG1 and Atlantis to watch but it is sad the once great series has turned into what ever this is. What ever it is not for me, and to think for years I stayed home on Friday nights just to watch SG1 and later Atlantis.

    Reply
  2. Jordan

    I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but I think the whole point with the communication stones scene(s) was that we weren’t supposed to see the conversation. Rush is clearly Machiavellian, so we’re supposed to constantly be wondering if he knows more than he lets on, is telling the truth or not, etc.

    So basically when they cut away from the scene, and later Rush just explained that he was in charge, I assumed that the whole point was for the viewer to question if Rush was lying or not. Clearly he used a stone. But for what purpose and why? That’s not poor editing to me. That’s setting up a new plot thread.

    In response to Allen, I’ve noticed similar sentiments from most Stargate fans. As someone who never was able to enjoy SG1 or Atlantis (I found them a little to classic sci-fi silly as opposed to the more serious and character driven shows like BSG), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed last night’s premiere. I’ve always liked the Stargate mythos, just not the shows themselves. This might change that for me.

    Reply
  3. CJ

    I loved both Stargate S.G.1 and Atlantis but just by looking at the photos I don’t think I will ever watch this new series. I loved Atlantis because their was always connections with S.G.1 and I loved the characters but for me I want more S.G.1 and Atlantis movies. I even remeber watching several episodes of a cartoon version of something similar to this but I think they should just continue with the other movies but make them more blockbusterish to give the fans their beloved characters the attention they deserve.

    Reply
  4. susan

    it’s not nearly as good as Stargate SG-1 was. I watched it for an hour and got so bored I turned it to HGTV.lol. I think Jack O’Neill makes SG1 what it was. I watched Atlantis some but that wasn’t as good as the original either.

    Reply
  5. Jim Kelly

    I was disgusted to see that they chose to use the episode to demonize CO2, apparently in support of the globalist’s CO2 and Climate Change money making agenda of the carbon tax, carbon credits trading, and the sale of carbon offsets.

    When the ship’s life-support system is failing, there’s no mention of oxygen depletion, or the buildup of nitrogen, methane, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, or any number of other poisonous gasses–it’s all about CO2 buildup, which wouldn’t even be a danger, the oxygen depletion killing everyone long before their exhalation of CO2 could get CO2 anywhere near a dangerous level.

    It’s the same when they check the atmosphere on the new planet–no mention of the oxygen level or any number of possible poisonous gasses, it’s all about “CO2 is at a low enough level.”

    They should be more concerned that there is ENOUGH CO2 to sustain plant life so they can grow the seeds they have with them.

    CO2 is a life-giving gas, not a life-taking gas.

    It would be funny if it weren’t so sad. If they continue with this propaganda, I won’t be able to enjoy the series.

    Reply
    • Irena

      You have to be kidding, dude, this is fiction. Note, it’s called “StarGate Universe”. I can’t believe someone would come here and complain that the writers don’t like CO2.
      Also, if I were to be on a ship, with CO2 level high enough to kill me in a day or two, I would totally be concerned about growing plants! GREAT idea!

      Anyway, treehugger’s comment aside, LOVE the show.

      Reply
  6. DM

    it’s not nearly as good as Stargate SG-1 was. I watched it for an hour and got so bored I turned it to HGTV.lol. I think Jack O’Neill makes SG1 what it was. I watched Atlantis some but that wasn’t as good as the original either.

    Reply
  7. CT

    it’s not nearly as good as Stargate SG-1 was. I watched it for an hour and got so bored I turned it to HGTV.lol. I think Jack O’Neill makes SG1 what it was. I watched Atlantis some but that wasn’t as good as the original either.

    Reply
  8. CC

    it’s not nearly as good as Stargate SG-1 was. I watched it for an hour and got so bored I turned it to HGTV.lol. I think Jack O’Neill makes SG1 what it was. I watched Atlantis some but that wasn’t as good as the original either.

    Reply
  9. DN

    I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but I think the whole point with the communication stones scene(s) was that we weren’t supposed to see the conversation. Rush is clearly Machiavellian, so we’re supposed to constantly be wondering if he knows more than he lets on, is telling the truth or not, etc.
    So basically when they cut away from the scene, and later Rush just explained that he was in charge, I assumed that the whole point was for the viewer to question if Rush was lying or not. Clearly he used a stone. But for what purpose and why? That’s not poor editing to me. That’s setting up a new plot thread.
    In response to Allen, I’ve noticed similar sentiments from most Stargate fans. As someone who never was able to enjoy SG1 or Atlantis (I found them a little to classic sci-fi silly as opposed to the more serious and character driven shows like BSG), I was surprised by how much I enjoyed last night’s premiere. I’ve always liked the Stargate mythos, just not the shows themselves. This might change that for me.

    Reply
  10. VA

    it’s not nearly as good as Stargate SG-1 was. I watched it for an hour and got so bored I turned it to HGTV.lol. I think Jack O’Neill makes SG1 what it was. I watched Atlantis some but that wasn’t as good as the original either.

    Reply
  11. ltriker

    I watched a few eps so far and it looks like I am watching Star Trek from the 60’s all over again…we are ona ship, we are stopping to investigate planets, we may be meeting alien lifeforms…sounds like TREK to me.
    so far so good…

    Reply
  12. Bob

    Can’t really like this after seeing the orginal Stargate. Even reruns of that show is better than this. Universe lacks, humor, chemistry and a chain of command. The people at SYFY must have money, but no brains. I don’t think this show is in trouble yet, the CG helps. I have bought the series so will watch it at least once. And what about the shuttle that flew off at the end of Air pt. 3. Was I dreaming or was that a bad edit or start of a story arc ?
    Still I have basic questions of why the people went on the ship and not to earth. If this is another attempt to be another Lost series, someone tell me. Lost the series lost me very early in its run.

    Reply
  13. DemonCatcher

    Ok, so far no one has pointed out any of the problems I’ve seen with the show and I’ve given “Sigh”Fy enough time (4 episodes) to explain themselves, they have not.

    1: A stargate can not open on a moving ship, how did “destiny” know a wormhole was on the way and manage to stop? Was the first attempt at Icarus base the “signal” needed to slow destiny for the second attempt?

    2: Where did Eli get his military uniform when they went to the first planet? I didnt think they brought spare uniforms along… nevermind the fact that he would need a size that most military men wouldnt fit into (XXL… no offense David Blue)…

    3: This ship can travel faster than hyperdrive. If the ancients had this type of … uh…”star drive” long before hyperdrive technology then why didnt they use such technology on all of their ships after…like ATLANTIS or their war ships.

    4: Why use ZMPs? Why would they go from being able to power their ships from the sun itself to little power packs? Clearly being able to dip into a sun is way more useful, dont you think? Thats like having nuclear power and then switching back to coal power.

    5: If all of this technology existed before atlantis, why didnt we see any of it before? Why not even one of those magic little “Keno” balls?

    I have more questions and plot holes that are big enough to fly Atlantis through. I have yet to see any answers to these problems.

    If all you stargate fans want to turn your head and ignore these issues then thats fine but I find it annoying that they will treat the fans this way after we have been so loyal to them for so long. YES, its a fake universe and yes, its fake technology but if you cant keep the story straight then you’re insulting the people who love the show.

    I for one am not happy with the battle star style of filming. Its too dark. If they had kept some of the levity from the old stargates I wouldnt be so upset with it.

    Sighfy, what have you done???!!!!????!!???

    Reply
  14. Pat

    Stargate Universe stinks! The cast sucks! I am already sick of the old coot how goes around having hissy fits. A real bomb!

    Reply
  15. Jenrose

    Sigh. I’m a stargate fan, enjoyed everything up to Continuum, which was less than thrilling, but this? This is crap. Unmitigated crap. Downright offensive. Clearly I’m not the target market demographic (woman, parent, in my 30’s, science fiction geek)… which makes me wonder who is?

    Reply
  16. Peter

    I’ve been a stargate fan from the beginning and it’s painful to watch how bad SGU has been! It’s clear that sy-fy don’t really listen to stargate fans because they continue to disappoint time and time again. SGU has that Sy-fy original movie feel to it, just awful. When the last episode of SGA was shown, I was actually little sad but when they announce about another spin-off, I thought “Great!”
    Then comes this load of crap! What a complete waste of a great franchise! I mean, where’s the bad aliens, where’s the shooting and the big explosions, where’s the exotic alien local, or for that matter the awesome technology like personal forcefield? Stargate fans like stargate for sense of “We are human and we can do anything” characters and clearly this show is lacking in everything the stargate franchise ever was!

    Reply
  17. Elliott

    Stargate Universe a load of slop from soap opera stories. The civilian characters are a bunch of miserable wimps crying they want to go home. There are armed guards in full battledress to keep the civilians under control, they fire guns inside a pressurized spaceship. “is that dangerouse I wonder?” The Commander thinks the Chief Scientist is crazy and the Chief Scientist thinks the Commander is an idiot. They are right but we are the idiots for watching this rubbish, its a new low not Sci-Fi for TV. Its time to nuke the writers or bomb the series.

    Reply
  18. Lynn

    This show is an insult to the Stargate name and to scifi as well. This is nothing more than a badly written soap opera and I will watch it no more. I loved the movies, SG1 and Atlantis. The writers should be ashamed for trying to pass it off as Stargate. It is the sign of weak minds looking only at the money!!

    Reply
  19. Nesmrten

    what have you done with stargate series!!!??? 🙁
    did the real story writer die???

    Reply

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