Sneak Peek: Stargate Universe “Twin Destinies”

I’m sad.

For the first time in a long time, there will be no Stargate-inspired series on TV. Stargate Universe (or SGU) has nine more episodes and then it goes off the air. It didn’t attract enough of an audience to stay alive.

Stargate Universe Logo

I’ve been a fan of the series since the beginning. SGU set the entire SG television franchise on its head by focusing on a gritty, dark approach to science fiction instead of the sarcasm-laden scripts of SG-1 and SG: Atlantis. Don’t get me wrong. I loved those shows and miss Richard Dean Anderson on TV (he’s got a guest role on Fairly Legal if anybody watches that on USA). But SGU painted a very different picture of the SG universe (if you’ll pardon the pun) than we’ve seen before.

Now the countdown has begun and we’ll not see how the journey ends for these characters. Some have changed dramatically since the beginning and others are just there for comic relief or as fillers. But I wanted to see where the Destiny would lead them.

Oh well. Guess we may never know. Or maybe they’ll have some surprises in store for us by the end of the season…

The next episode pits Eli vs. Rush in a desperate attempt to get home…

In the next all-new episode of Stargate Universe, Dr. Rush sees the shipmates have assembled without him knowing to discuss what Eli is doing with the communication stones. Rush assures them that Eli is not an astrophysicist and that the mathematics are beyond
comprehension when incorporating the pressures involved within a star. Camile is clearly trying to defend Eli’s abilities while Colonel Telford is proclaiming Rush is just nuts. Rush requests the opportunity to brief the ship on why he says he has no option by to stay aboard while the rest all say they have no option but to leave. Colonel Young gives him the chance and appears to be standing alongside Rush to both Camile’s and Telford’s surprise. Watch the clip and tune in Monday at 10/9c on Syfy to hear how Rush will break down the logistics to the crew.

–Fitz

Enhanced by Zemanta

DVD Review: Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season

Hi there…

Before I can talk about Stargate Universe, I have to explain a bit of how we got here…

In 1994, a movie titled Stargate opened a whole new universe to movie-goers. Conceived by Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin, the film took the Chariots of the Gods premise from Erich von Daniken that ancient civilizations were given advanced technologies by aliens welcomed as gods, dusted it off, and made it a huge science fiction success to the tune of nearly $200 million at the box office.

In the film, the idea is that ancient Egypt was enslaved by an alien calling himself the god Ra. This alien and his alien friends (other “gods”) flew in pyramid-shaped spacecraft and were able to traverse intergalactic distances through devices known as “Stargates” which used stable, temporary wormholes to instantaneously transport goods and people wherever they needed them. Eventually the natives on Earth grew restless and overthrew their alien masters, burying the gate deep in the sand with a stone inscribed with a warning to future generations not to open it again.

Of course, that’s just the beginning of the story. When it’s uncovered in 1928 by an archaeologist, it takes another nearly 70 years to find someone who can decipher its mysteries. Dr. Daniel Jackson (James Spader), Egyptologist, figures it out and goes on the adventure of a lifetime with a U.S. Air Force team led by Colonel Jack O’Neil (Kurt Russell). They find themselves on an alien world fighting a battle against an alien race with evil intentions and advanced technology. But never fear, the good guys win in the end!

Three years later, Brad Wright and Jonathan Glassner created a TV series based on the film that picks up where it left off. Stargate: SG1 (or just SG1 for short) aired for nearly 10 years and 214 episodes, becoming a huge phenomenon with Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Shanks taking over the roles of Russell and Spader. Together, they explore the universe jumping from gate to gate, finding new friends and fighting new enemies every step of the way.

In 2004, Wright and Robert C. Cooper spun off Stargate: Atlantis, opening up a whole new universe for a new team to explore. It aired for nearly five years and 100 episodes and was also quite successful.

Then in October 2009, a new Stargate series began airing on Syfy. Though in the same setting as the previous Stargate series Stargate: SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe (SGU) took a different path than its predecessors. Where SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis took more of a Buck Rogers or Firefly approach, mixing high adventure with humor, SGU decided to go more for the Battlestar Galactica reboot feel with a dark, gritty, and more intimate approach.

After 15 years of adventure and humor, I think SGU felt a bit “off” for many people in its first season. One review I read said that it’s like “BSG, except without any appealing characters” and that it seemed to focus on the crew’s very many flaws as human beings.

Fortunately for me, I was in love with the show from the first episode. Though I loved SG-1 and Stargate: Atlantis, they sometimes got a pit campy at times. SGU, though a tad morose and depressing occasionally, was much more of a reality check – something that could happen vs. something that there was no way in heck would happen. Well, it’s “reality” as far as a bunch of human beings joyriding on an ancient spaceship traveling to who knows where is “realistic.”

At the start of SGU, we are introduced to a distant planet with a strange Stargate on it. Unlike all the other gates encountered so far which required eight chevrons (symbols) to dial out (similar to a phone call), this one required a mysterious ninth chevron that nobody had been able to decipher yet. So they created a video game and farmed it out to online gamers to solve. One of the gamers, Eli Wallace (David Blue), solves the mathematical equation and is whisked away on a spaceship. Eli is my hero – a geek in the wrong place at the wrong time doing everything he can to help.

Eli arrives on this distant planet along with a group of delegates including Senator Armstrong (Christopher McDonald), his daughter and aide Chloe (Elyse Levesque), and IOC representative Camile Wray (Ming-Na). Already present are Colonel Young (Justin Louis), Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle), Lt. Scott (Brian J. Smith), and others. While celebrating the impending success of the mission beyond the mysterious Stargate, the planet is attacked and all heck breaks loose.

Instead of dialing Earth, Dr. Rush dials the ninth chevron and opens a wormhole to the unknown – and the only safe way off the planet before they are all killed by their attackers or by the planet itself, which seems to be on the verge of exploding. As the group of civilians and soldiers dive through the gate, they have no idea what may be on the other side…

Immediately you have a group of strangers thrust into a situation far beyond their control where every minute may be their last… And it’s that sense of danger and drama that really drew me into SGU. Yes, you still have the offworld exploration as the ship – called Destiny – stops briefly between galaxies. But for the most part, you have a microcosm of scientists, civilians, and military personnel in a confined space with no idea when or even how they might get home again.

Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season pulls together all twenty episodes of the first season on a set of six DVDs. Each episode is included in its entirety plus a few cool extras…

  • An extended version of the pilot – “Air”
  • Commentaries on each episode by the actors
  • The “kino” diary entries made by crew members after they came on board as “messages in a bottle” should they ever be discovered
  • A “SML” – Star Map and Log – featuring interviews with each actor

For me, the chance to see all of the SGU episodes – especially the first five, which are still my favorites – is awesome. The quality of the transfer is great and to have the extras such as commentaries and cast interviews provides some depth that you don’t get from the show by itself. Each episode reveals a new piece of the puzzle and I’m still watching even as season two has started on Syfy!

If you’re a fan of the show, I’d encourage you to check out Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season on DVD and Blu-ray at your favorite rental or retail counter!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up the SGU DVD or Blu-ray and other great Stargate DVDs below!

Enhanced by Zemanta

What do we know about the Stargate Universe?

Hey all…

There’s a fair amount of buzz surrounding the new Stargate Universe SCI FI series from the creators of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. And because all I’ve seen so far has been a few scattered articles around the ‘net, I thought I’d pull some information together in one post to try and summarize what we’ve heard so far.

First, Stargate Universe will be airing its premiere, 2-hour episode on SCI FI in October 2009. It’s been created by Stargate Atlantis co-creators Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper and the initial episode will be directed by Andy Mikita (Stargate Atlantis, Stargate SG-1) and lensed by Rohn Schmidt (The Shield, The Mist). Evidently the series idea was pitched before the writer’s strike in 2007 and was on hold for a while before they could start working on it. 

Second, the premise behind the show essentially boils down to a Stargate team lost in space. When a group of soldiers, scientists, and civilians are forced through a Stargate to escape an attack, they appear on an Ancient ship. The ship itself is a mystery, as it is locked on an unknown course and can’t return to Earth. And, like all people lost at sea (or in the vastness of space in this case), they have to fend for themselves and find food, water, and air and figure out what’s going on on the ship. 

Now, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I think this sounds suspiciously like Star Trek Voyager crossed with Stargate SG-1. But I’m hopeful that it goes beyond that. The creators say this show will be more “dark and edgy” than the other Stargate series, but we won’t know what that means until we see the series. I know that the success of Battlestar Galactica will most likely have an impact, as it had a dark, sometimes oppressive, always urgent feel to it. The brief teasers we’ve seen so far have given very little away (which is the whole point of a teaser), but I’m hoping we’ll learn more as we get closer.

Third, we know who will be starring in the series. The cast includes Robert Carlyle, Justin Louis, David Blue, Jamil Walker Smith, Brian J. Smith, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ming-Na, Elyse Levesque and Alaina Huffman.

  • Carlyle stars as Dr. David Rush, the leader of the expedition. 
  • Louis portrays Colonel Everett Young, an experienced SG team leader. 
  • Blue sounds like he’ll be sort of a younger, lazy Dr. McKay (David Hewlett). 
  • Jamil Walker Smith will be Sr. Sgt. Ronald Greer, a Marine with a temper. 
  • Brian J. Smith will be Lt. Matthew Scott, a green team member still wet behind the ears. 
  • Phillips will be Col. Telford, the military leader of the expedition. 
  • Ming-Na will be Camile Wray from the IOA – the committe that provides oversight for the Stargate programs. 
  • Levesque will play Chloe Armstrong, daughter and aide of a U.S. Senator. 
  • And Huffman will be the doctor of the expedition as MSgt. Tamara Johansen. 

This is a large cast in my opinion for a SG series. It will be interesting to see which characters the show focuses on, as there’s no way every episode can feature all nine actors. 

And lastly, we know there will be quite a number of guest stars, including some from previous SG series. 

  • Richard Dean Anderson as General O’Neil. O’Neil is the former leader of the elite military team SG-1.
  • Christopher McDonald as a U.S. Senator and head of the International Oversight Committee that governs the Stargate program. He is the father to Chloe Armstrong.
  • Janelle Mone (Bad Boy/Atlantic Records) plays herself in an upcoming episode. Janelle and her band will perform “Many Moons” and “Sincerely,” two songs featured from her latest album titled “Metropolis.”
  • Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter, an astrophysicist and United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel.
  • Michael Shanks as Dr. Daniel Jackson, Stargate’s archeologist and linguist.
  • Gary Jones as Chief Mst Sgt. Walter Harriman, commander technician of the team.
  • And Carlo Rota as Carl Strom, head of the International Oversight Advisory (IOA), the civilian oversight committee that heads up the Atlantis Expedition and all funding.

My sources for this information come from a few places:

I have a few concerns about this series, but am sure I’ll be watching. I’ve been a fan of Stargate ever since the movie came out way back in 1994. The original SG-1 series got off to a rocky start for me, but I was eventually hooked after season 3 or 4. And I have to admit I’ve enjoyed Stargate Atlantis as a guilty pleasure as well. I’m sure it will be entertaining, but I hope it has something new to offer diehard fans and those new to the franchise as well.

Hope this helps a bit to summarize at a high level what’s coming up in October 2009! It helped me!

–Fitz

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]