Wow … more sex drama. Ooo … Scott got caught with the senator’s daughter by his former lover. Why exactly did he stop banging the first girl anyway?

“General Hospital” is on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. on ABC, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

I’ve been holding back so far in my “Stargate Universe” episode reviews. I’m a fan. I keep hoping they’re going to bust out with “the big one,” and everyone is going to be happy.

We noticed later on in the “Stargate SG-1” and “Atlantis” runnings that the powers that be would put together a fantastic opening plot, fraught with unimaginable danger and peril, only to hastily wrap it up when they ran out of time. We saw this when SG-1 “fought” Ares. How about “Red Alert?” That’s what’s happening so far in “Universe,” only it’s happening at the beginning of the series. And it’s happening on two fronts. The makers are building up this fantastical plot in every episode, complete with certain death. Only each episode spends 40 minutes building up a 5 minute plot. And each episode is building up to what we assume is going to be something, but we’re deeply into the season without any hint of the endgame.

In this episode, “Water,” Lt. Smith (Brian J. Young) nearly dies on an ice planet only to not die. This is maybe the third time this has happened to him.

Oh and an alien bug that may or may not be benevolent was flushed out of the ship via the Stargate. I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of that.

And that’s it. That’s all that happened on this week’s episode of “Stargate Universe.” It was 43 minutes of “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, what are we gonna do?” and no substance. We know little more about the characters, and, frankly, I am starting to care less and less about each one to the point where I’d like to see someone killed off just to make things interesting. Do the producers forget what happened when Daniel Jackson died/ascended to a higher plane of existence on “SG-1?” People went nuts. People created “Save Daniel” websites. People were truly in love with these characters. To a slightly smaller extent, the same applied to the now-abandoned characters on “Atlantis.”

“Universe?” No one gives a shit about these people. Even Ben Browder has a proper introduction to “SG-1” that made us care about him. And he’s a better actor than anyone on this new show. Even Robert Carlyle is beginning to let down (though, to his credit, it’s mostly the writing that’s making him look bad).

The producers are acting like they have a three-season order in place already from SyFy. All seven episodes have been garbage so far. They have done nothing to build a community feeling for the viewers. In the past two shows — and on any good sci-fi show — the audience is naturally brought in somehow. They feel included. In “Universe” we feel like the outsiders. We’re the nerdy kids watching the high school football game. There are aspects of a good sci-fi series that make people go apeshit and dress up in full-on cosplay costumes — that they make themselves, spending sometimes thousands of dollars on — to attend conventions.

What you never saw, was someone dressing up as their favorite Gilmore Girl. It’s a different fanbase, people.

Sadly, “Universe” fails both as a sci-fi show and a teenage melodrama, because the elements that attract sci-fi fans religiously aren’t there and the writing just sucks.

So we’ll see what happens next week.

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 [email protected]. Tweet @johnguilfoil.

24 Responses

  1. mu

    One silver lining: never before have I so badly wanted to return to the beginning of the franchise, starting with the film.

    • Michelle

      I agree with everything you and Guilfoil said, I have been re-watching SG1 and SGA, thank God for DVDs, they were worth every last dollar I paid for them!

      God Bless you O’Neill, Carter, Daniel, and Teal’c and all the rest of the best show ever, right up there with Star Trek, TOG, TNG, and even DSN, V, (Enterprise NO).

  2. Adam J

    “All seven episodes have been garbage so far”

    “the writing just sucks”

    You’re welcome to your opinion, but can’t you articulate your thoughts in a bit more of an adult way? It feels like I’m reading the rantings spotty teenager obsessing in his mothers basement.

    I’d like to pick up on the character criticisms though. This isn’t SG-1, these character’s aren’t going to be written as friendly superhero’s who are whiter than white, they’re supposed to be real and interesting. Your thoughts as to what makes a good character just goes to show how far scifi has fallen, I mean since when did it become acceptable for characters to be judged not by how intriguing they are, but by how likeable they are? Science fiction is about breaking barriers and shaking things up, being progressive, it’s not supposed to be a cosy night in with some characters you watch just because they’re ‘nice’. Don’t get me wrong, I liked SG-1 and Atlantis, but they were shallow and they were popcorn fun, and I find it sad that SGU is being criticised for trying to be something more. Plenty went on in Water, though without explosions and pew pew lasers I suppose some people don’t see it…

    • John M. Guilfoil

      I think I’ve done enough in my weekly episode review to explain “garbage” and “sucks” plenty.

      As to the characters, I never said they have to be likable. Darth Vader and Stormtroopers are villains, and people obsess over them. This has nothing to do with SGU not being SG-1 or SGA. It has everything to do with a lack of draw in this series.

      I’m still left wanting to do what the “wanting to be more” you reference exactly is, because we haven’t seen anything more. We’ve seen plots literally ripped from the past two shows and forced conflict that even Michael Shanks (see my interview tomorrow!) called “petulant.”

      If I’m missing the super cerebral element that SGU is trying to convey, I can only assume that a lot of other viewers are missing it too, because they’re commenting on these reviews, too.

      • Edward

        It is garbage. It does suck. I hope this is a huge case of executive meddling, or it says something really bad about the producers. Frankly, the characters in this show are a bunch of spoiled whiny teenagers. I can’t buy them even getting into the Stargate program. They arn’t “more realistic” – they are just halfwit craven cowards. The commander, whose described in his official bio as “O’Neill of 10 years ago” couldn’t lead an army of stuffed animals, let alone any sort of military outfit, the Senator’s daughter is blatently on the show to undress, and aside from Rush, and perhaps the fat college students, virtually none of the characters are worth caring about. I don’t care if every last member of this team is slaughtered, because aside from those two they are all morons. As the reviewer stated, there is nothing cerebral about this show, and nothing happens other then scared teenagers shouting ohmygod.

      • mu

        “Couldn’t lead an army of stuffed animals, let alone any sort of military outfit.”

        That leads to an interesting consideration. Did production skip hiring a competent military technical advisor? SG1, and to an extent SGA, portrayed convincing interactions between soldiers (and civilian contractors). But SGU appears to be written for characters whose only motivations are personal and emotional, wearing uniforms simply as costumes.

        And come to think of it, those “lotta wounded” mentioned by Young in the first 30 seconds of every episode: what happened to them?

  3. Les Ferris

    This episode reminded me most of older Stargate, or at least SGA. And you know what? I thought it was the worst SGU episode yet. I did still enjoy it, but this show was going closer to harder, darker and more serious scifi, and this episode felt more like something I’d watch with SGA, with the cheesier dialogue and the less compelling character moments. I did like TJ and Greer in this, but as far as characters go that was about it. The show was doing so well, too, and people seemed to be appreciating it on the whole (as evidenced by the fact that the ratings are only down 14%, as opposed to 31% when SGA started). You say ‘no one gives a shit about these characters’. Speak for yourself, mate.

  4. Nurhayat

    I totally agree with you. SGU simply fails as a show. SG-1 has created a fan base through exceptional writing, clever plots, and great acting. The show was consistent, complex and plain entertaining. Hence, it lasted 10 years, and would have gone longer if SyFy didn’t end it.
    SGA was still an entertaining show, however, comprised mistakes and fell short compared to the complexity and multi-dimensional nature of SG-1. Simplicity of some plots, incredibly amateur mistakes and inconsistencies made me think the writers just didn’t care any more and trying to cut corners, they were simply slacking. Still, it was a good show and satisfied the fans.
    SGU… The only reason I am still pseudo-watching the show is the promise of guests appearances from the original crew. It is simply boring me to tears. I agree that the plots truly have no substance, the characters are just annoying, and despite some really strong actors, the acting is still weak. There is no humor, no logic, nothing to make this show even mediocre. Every episode is an hour of despair, darkness and simple boredom. I think the show should be re-named “impending doom” or “never-ending despair”

  5. Richard

    SG1 got me watching tv again. SGA kept me watching. SGU is uneventful and uninteresting. But tbh i expected as much before it started. The outline story is pants. Its a train ride, with the occasional sheep in a field.

  6. Liz

    Well lets see, if you want to be bored out of your mind, sit there with the blood just flowing normally watch SGU.
    I have to be totally honest and say what a total waste of time and money.
    Why on earth did they take SGA off for this crap.. oh sorry can I say crap?
    John I totally agree with every thing you say even if some think its chidlish.
    If they didn’t want to do SGA anymore fine, it was a shame it was a great show with lots of laughter but be honest about it don’t say we have a fantastic show that will be better. Also I have to ask, this is supposed to appeal to the younger audience? shouldn’t it have younger cast members, I don’t mean a few, from what I can see most are between the ages of 35 and 49 is that the new young cos if it is wow I am young again.

  7. Paul

    A brief synopsis:

    I was excited at the prospect of this series. Each episode has been one disappointment after another. Following the 10/30 “Water”, I have officially given up and hereby walk away. I was patient, I gave it a chance, but all it gave me was a load of excrement. Shame on all involved with the production of what could have been something truly great.

  8. Andy

    I completely agree with your reveiw. Every episode of SGU has been garbage so far. I am stunned as to how bad this show is. The characters are just plain annoying, irritating, boring and I couldnt care less if they were all killed off in the next episode.

  9. sponds

    Thank you for so succinctly summing up my own feelings. I wanted to like the show but the characters are so unlikeable, so unprofessional in their behaviour. Do the writers hate the US military? From the way they portray the military characters it appears they do – violent, loose cannons, dereliction of duty, chaotic response to new situations. The only think they do seem to be getting right is pulling Eli up for being a slob and a waster.

    I went back and rewatched SG1’s early episodes and remain impressed at the way the characters and universe were sketched in so quickly, and how quickly likeable the show was (and still is). Sadly the writers of SGU didn’t create that character magic, they piggybacked onto it after about 4 years – and then killed off a lot of popular side characters while dumbing it down. Trading off the glories of others got them two spin-offs but the laws of diminishing returns have made the flaws, retreads and repetitions of the production and writing team more obvious. Nothing in SGU feels fresh or original and it’s hard to see longevity in a show where the most likeable character thus far is the pessimist who dials the gate up.

  10. MM2 Dibo

    SGU has sucked so far. I could write better episodes than these. Why can’t they hack into the computer & command the ship, daa??? Why are all the planets lifeless??? Why is the girl with big boobs such a dog??? Amanda Tapping was totally hot, this girl has a pair of bolt ons & she’s still a dog. Talk about putting a bag over her head or maybe using my beer goggles:)

    But seriously, are there not going to be any bad guys, or any interesting scientific discoveries onboard. I do like the colonel, the professor, & TJ. But, how can the ship still be flying after several hundred thousand years, come on. Ten thousand years was somewhat believeable for atlantis, but several hundred thousand, no way. It might be possible for the ancients to design materials that would last that long, but why would they go thru all the trouble & expense, unless there were some automated repair robots that were obtaining raw materials from the planets & fabricating & replacing the components & materials onboard the ship as they were failing. See what I mean about how I could write the stories better, I missed my calling in life I guess.

  11. Manuel

    Shitty episode. I hope everyone dies except for the angry black military dude, Rush, Eli, Colonel Gimpy, and maybe the Destiny itself.

    Slow in way that’s boring. Shallow in a way that is transparent. Unimaginative, cardboard plots. Besides the utter lack of Pew-Pew-Pew, There’s too much ‘we need to fix this’; and yet nothing gets done. I’m still waiting for one or two more weeks, IF they do anything with Ming-Na’s lesbian character. (which will be it’s lame ratings catcher.)

  12. Alex

    Worst scifi show ever. Dumbed down to neanderthal. It is so slow. Acting is abysmal. writing abysmal. very amatuer in everyway. It is neither scifi or drama. Bad quality show. it is shcoking to see someone in syfy thought this show is good. if people continue to watch this nonsense then it shows how dumbed down america becomes. People should petition and cancel this dumb ass show immediately. People should reject bad quality.

  13. Caprice

    Your review perfectly sums up my own frustrations with this show. It’s very sad that a lot of the fears that Stargate fans anticipated before the show began are now becoming all too obvious: a good cast of actors let down by lame plotting and writing. The producers of SGU have such high regard of their own talent that they fail to see their limitations, in particular they fail to acknowledge that imitation is not innovation.

    I’m struck by the parallel between the rebooting of Stargate and the reboot of Star Trek. One production acknowledged everything that was great about the previous versions of the franchise, including the humour and unique characters and the devotion of its fan base. They took their show in a new direction while honouring what went before. SGU did none of that. They snubbed the fans, the mythology, the humour and uniqueness of the previous Stargate shows and decided that everyone would love their 90210 In Space the same way they decided – and publicly announced – that we would love the new hunk who was taking the (exact) place of that Daniel fellow.

    They didn’t learn their lesson with Jonas, they haven’t learned their lesson now. I feel sorry for the actors on Universe. They are trapped in a motionless, pointless show and with every episode that airs more and more people are switching off.

    40 minute build up of a 5 minute plot is a perfect summation. This show is doomed as long as the producers continue to hire themselves as writers. There is a reason such a large volume of fanfic exists for SG1 and SGA: the characters were what captured our love and the plots so often let them down, enabling us to fill in all those gaps.


  14. Vonni

    I agree. I loved SGA and really liked SG-1. I did have an open mind and gave SGU a try, but sorry, it is incredibly booooring!! And give me a break, dark and edgy my a.. That would be good, but saving on the lighting on the set doesn’t make a show dark and edgy. Just bad for the eyes trying to focus. Maybe it would have been better to keep SGA running concurrently, so there is more time to build up the stories and characters, but oh well. I guess I am sticking to watching Numb3rs on Fridays and finish the evening with a good book.

  15. tetrion

    I can’t agree with you more. The shows producers were desperate to cash in on BSG, so they created a poor clone with the appeal of limp lettuce and the feel of a severely depressed emo kid. Their much touted ‘character development’ is nothing more than relentless whining from a bunch of petulant nobodies. Yes, their not supposed to be there, but for goodness sake, I don’t want to hear never ending whining. Seriously this is like a ship full of whiny Rodneys without his intelligence nor resourcefulness. When their not roaming the halls whining, they just sit there being panicky lemmings whining about the next deadly situation that crops up, threatening to destroy them all, but is resolved in the last 5 minutes. Let’s see this is the formula for each episode so far: Whining, impending doom, sex scene, gratuitous ‘sexy’ scene, doom averted, more whining.

    Yet even the JM says that there is more of this garbage in store. Sorry, but there’s nothing mature or interesting about this garbage show, apart its ‘Stargate’ title (which is hardly used).

  16. stclare

    WOW. I hope you ready yourself in case certain producers take you to task for not liking this incarnation.

    Then again ive see an increase in the sign ups to the SGA petition we have running. hopefully those who like SGA will get that promised movie after all if they can throw this much money to keep the lights dim and watch people fight and knock boots there must be some money left over for an SGA movie!

  17. Barbara

    I agrre SGU is crap. Sexy? All I see is crude, Dark and drab. Not to mention cheap. The characters are in need of Makeover’s

  18. Cat

    Oh my everloving fing god. Could this show be any worse. When they cancelled SG-1 I thought ok, well lets give SGA a try and the show was truly watchable (though not as good as SG-1.) Then SGA was cancelled but rumors were on the rise of new Gate show. I waited and waited watching all the teasers that SyFy had running for months in advanced, basically crowing to my girlfriend that this show was gonna rock. But then it came on…I swear to god I almost started crying it was so bad! How could they get this wrong??? They had two shows that rocked and this is what they throw at us? Did they think that they could just throw the name Stargate in front of any schlock and we’d eat it up? C’mon either make it watchable or don’t bother at all…as my mother used to say to me, “If you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all.” I’m gonna give this show a few more episodes to make things right mostly because I had some of the same feelings for SGA at the beginning and that show grew on me…so here’s hoping that they fix this junk and we can have our franchise back!

  19. Tristan

    I had posted this elsewhere sorry … Let me explain myself …

    It’s funny that SGU has caused such grief amongst old fans of the series (including me), that we actually care to write about it.

    I stopped watching SGU 4 episodes in due to , of course, that soapy nonsense and the utter lack of sci-fi .. just like other old fans did.

    What irks me (and other old fans) to no-end is the following question: Why did they have to brand this ‘show’ as a Stargate series?

    Couldn’t they have easily called it something else instead???

    They would have had the same ratings because the show would have been marketed as : “From the makers of Stargate SG1 and Atlantis …”

    That big ancient ship could have been any ol ship. They don’t need a stargate because if the ship jumps out of hyper-space , then a shuttle could be used to explore nearby planets.

    See what I mean?? It’s a soap in space, it’s not Stargate.

    That’s why so many ‘old’ fans are bothered by SGU .. because it’s NOT STARGATE.

    That’s also why the same ticked off fans will continue to rant about it until the show goes off the air, or changes direction to include more action and sci-fi.

    Keep a bit of drama, FINE, but give us an enemy to shoot at and some technology to explore.



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