THIS is how you do time travel

THIS is how you do time travel

I can’t believe this.

After all my negative reviews and all the trashing followed by a slow, steady improvement that showed that either the producers were actually listening to fans or they were leading up to something in the first place — it’s all going to be over soon.

To say that “Stargate Universe” started out slowly is an understatement. It started out horribly.

The actors took a long time to get their cadence built up, and the “we’re gonna die every episode” mentality got old really quickly.

So SyFy did what SyFy does — they cancelled the show without asking too many questions.

And here’s the kicker: Season 2 has been excellent, particularly at the end.

The episodes Common Descent and Epilogue stack up with anything else on SyFy and did the “time travel” angle better than “SG-1” and “Atlantis” ever did. The two-parter was moving, gripping and human, and the actors did a good job putting it all out there.

The episodes revolved around the Destiny accidentally going back in time 2,000 years before being destroyed, but not before most of the crew went to a nearby planet. Over the next 2,000 years, they spawned their own civilization.

In some weird loop of time, a copy of the Destiny arrived later and found “their people.” The resulting interaction was the best piece of television the “Stargate” franchise has ever put out.

And after the action-packed Blockade episode, that left one crew member blind in another emotional performance, there’s only one left before “Universe” goes away for good.

That, is a shame. Because I was wrong about “Stargate: Universe.” Dare I say, it’s good. It has a lot of the components that the other two shows lacked, and its serious tone is starting to sell the human drama element that is so critical in a science fiction show.

Maybe if the first two seasons were packed together into one. Maybe if the producers forced a little more team building before taping the show. Maybe it’s not too late. I don’t know what the exact solution is, but certainly even the suits at SyFy must have felt that “Universe” had a chance when it was discussed at Comic-Con in San Diego in 2009.

Unfortunately, it all happened too slowly, even for cable’s standards.

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.

11 Responses

  1. Murray

    I actually think that because the show spent so long on getting a really good foundation for the characters and their plight in the 1st season, it has paid off better by the 2nd season.

    SGU has been often accused as being too slow, but I argue it was all the better for it. Sadly, it was obviously too slow for cable audiences and the ratings died.

    As a comparison, I would also argue that ST DS9 was the best of all the Star Trek shows and yet it’s first season was also incredibly slow. Yet, it lasted 7 seasons and was all the better for it too. However, it was also not at the mercy of consistent bashing by so called ‘fans’ in the age of blogs, social media and web reviews. Sad but true. RIP SGU.

    • Kimmy

      I agree wholeheartedly with your statement Murray. I’ve stated this many times myself. After next Monday night, I’ll be voting SYFY out of my house because there won’t be anything on that interests me. Santuary isn’t my cup of tea, and while I like David Straithern the premise of Alphas is not something I care to watch. I think BBC’s version of Being Human is far superior to SyFy’s remake. And I’m not a reality show or ghost person. If Chrome makes it to air, I’ll give it a whirl by some other method. SyFY’s lost a long time viewer.

  2. Waddup

    Thanks for shitting on it for so long and helping to kill a great sci-fi show. It was good in season 1, too. But you wouldn’t know a good show if it jumped up and bit you in the ass, asshole.

    But with SyFy being the fag wrestling network now, good shows like SGU don’t stand a chance.

  3. Matthew

    HI. Just wanted to tell all of you, the last episodes of the show have been awesome, and it feels like the best of the best of both sg-1 elements, SGA elements, and Battelstar combined.

    It’s a shame that Syfy moved it to tuesday, which doomed the show. this show had it been left on friday, probably would have gone on for at least 2 more seasons.

    Why did they replace this great show with Wrestling?


    SYFY should be dismantled entirely and re-born with the viewers opinions determining the shows that stay not just the Ratings alone.

    That’s just my two cents.

  4. dennis

    SGU was good from the beginning. Its just a pitty there are always ppl wishing to kill/destroy/cancel whatever to make themselves feel better.
    Did anyone who moaned about the number of viewers actually stood still by the thought ‘how many ppl could be watching it back over the internet?’ as I would be one of them not living in the USA.

    SGU was actually one of 2 series that were worth following, the other being ‘The walking dead’. Keep your hands of the last one.

    SGU Deserves a lifetime broadcast time for being the best SF serie ever been on TV.

    There I’ve said my piece.

  5. Nick

    I couldn’t agree with you more. The first season of SGU was, by and large, slow and boring. I also like the comparison to Deep Space 9, because that show also took a season or two to find itself.

    It wasn’t until 1/3 the way through season 2 that they finally seemed to stop trying to copy the worst parts of Battlestar Galactica and find their own show. Character driven episodes are a fine idea, but when the writers don’t have the skills or ideas to do it RIGHT, then they are the #1 best way to kill a show. The “time travel” episodes of the last few weeks were the first time they managed to get character development right.

    The saddest part isn’t just that SyFy is killing a blooming show — what would you expect from those boneheads? — it’s that fans of the show and the PRODUCERS are blaming viewers for killing it. Viewers do not kill shows, bad writing does. The unfortunate fact is that the SGU writers and producers were way too slow out of the gate getting this show rolling.

    I can rattle off item after item that helped kill the show off. Stupid music montages (a la House). Excessive shakey-cam documentaries (a la BSG). The BORING keeno “journals” they did for the first while (a desperate attempt at character exposition which *failed*). The “edgy” sex scenes in the beginning. The mind-numbing Earth episodes (the communication stones were a poisonous crutch for this show, they should not have even included them in the plot, or used them a LOT less). Lack of any real development of alien encounters (blue guys or little guys) was also disappointing, and the enemy created in the Drones is just boring. Mindless machines attacking over and over — sound familiar? Oh yeah, they’re called Replicators, and SG-1 gave them a face pretty quickly so that they became a proper antagonist (I presume they had similar plans for the Drones, but who knows). The list goes on.

    No show is perfect, but none of these things promote good TV, they just prove the writers can’t think of anything original. Don’t blame the viewers for bad choices on the part of the writers and producers.

  6. Nick

    Reading my comment, I feel I should add they I don’t think they got everything wrong, even in the first season.

    I love the character of Rush, and the play between him and Colonel Young in the beginning was fantastic. The “Lotta work” bit really did make me laugh out loud. I think they had some good potential in the overall backstory of the show, and wanted to know more about the Destiny mission. The Stargate seed-ships were cool.

    There are good aspects to Universe and I do think the show had potential. Unfortunately there were also a lot of bad parts, most importantly, perhaps, the fact that it aired on the SyFylis channel.

  7. Lauren

    I loved this show! Yes, season 1 was far less exciting than season 2 however they both entertained me just fine. EVERY character grew on me. Even Ronald Greer, i found myself just absolutely loving his character.
    The dark, gritty reality of this show is rare on tv these days. All these fluffy shows drive me bonkers. No emotional type music to draw you into the situation. The music on SGU was captivating. Like you felt lost on that ship with them. Ok, maybe not ALL of the music, but that dark feeling, brought you onto destiny with them. Shows like Sanctuary, do NOTHING for me. Too fluffy and silly. Too glamorous. No thanks.

  8. Linda Slater

    SGU was fabulous from day 1 onwards. A great premise of flawed people in the wrong place at the wrong time; people who had to learn to become heroes. The music was excellent – both the instrumental and the songs ( Mumford & Sons etc). I will deeply miss the show. Season 1 was slow – but it was slow dark and sexy. No need for guns and heroes. And then it just kept on developing. sure there were a few “filler” episodes, and like most sci-fi one had to put aside logic and just go along with the story line. I think the fundamental problem was that this show appealed to the people that had grown up with SG1,actually aged in the those years, and like me were happy to relate to older charatcters. Most of the bagging seemed to come from people who just wanted aliens and rat-a-tat-tat gun fights…..I think exposing their youth somewhat.

    Oh well – I will imbibe in a good glass of wine and enjoy this final episode. Hears to the crew of the Destiny – may you find what you were, ultimately, looking for…

  9. Bryan

    My wife and I followed SGU since the beginning and I thought it was a great show. It just got better as it went along. The final three episodes were fantastic and showed some real acting from some of the cast.

    I watched SG-1 as well, but did not enjoy it as much as I did SGU. Altlantis I kinda shrigged and never bothered. SyFy really bothed it – they have absolutely nothing left in their line up to appeal to anyone who liked the dark and serious nature of SGU.

    SyFy’s movies are a joke – same movie different “monster”… LOL! Sanctuary is just plain stupid. It seems everything I watch gets cancelled (Kings, SGU, Jerico…the list goes on)


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