TV talk

SG Who?

My memories of the once beloved SGU are already beginning to blur. That’s right, mid-way through season two of Stargate Universe, SyFy is canceling the show. Strangely, I’m not as crushed as you might expect.

Despite some truly magnificent moments in this season (Young’s agonizing foray into mercy killing, Greer’s touching plea to Chloe, asking her to forgive him in advance for being the one who will have to kill her) the show had lost momentum and all of the elements that truly mattered to me. It took the brilliant first season of The Walking Dead to remind me what I’d loved about season one of SGU – the survival story. I was never enamored of the the expansive cast, liking only a few of them. And I was never bothered by the lack of a mission. It was always the dynamics of the mismatched castaways, the internal battles, and the struggle to survive that captivated me. I’d hoped the introduction of new cast members would invigorate season two and instead that opportunity was left to languish.

Ironically, I suspect it was attempts to pull in storylines that might appeal to the reluctant SG1 fans that actually killed the show for me.  Episodes like Cloverdale, where the crew spends time in one crew member’s delusional musings on an ideal life, might have been charming and funny in SG1 but seemed stupid and pointless in SGU. This series was never meant to replicate the charm of SG1, but to create something fresh and new in a much loved but aging world.

Despite my disappointment with where SGU had been going, it seems sad to see this fictional world go idle for the first time in fourteen years. So, the big questions is…will there be books? I know there have been a few books set around SG1 and SG-Atlantis, but nothing for SGU. Will this open the gates for further literary exploration? We can only hope.

Has anyone read any of the past Stargate books? Any recommendations? If you were going to read an SGU book, who would you most like to read about?

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13 thoughts on “SG Who?

  1. Hi, I thing SGU failed for several reasons:

    1 A complete lack of the SG franchise back story. The occasional appearance of Jack does not an homage make. The story lines didn’t even seem to jibe with what was going on in SG.

    2.Universe in its inception was to be free of any ability to call back to earth or anywhere else for help. Yet, there they were on the the phone, I mean the stones, every other day. And how in hell did Lou Diamond Phillips ever get there physically? And he could have brought in some food, right?

    3. Ming Na Didn’t like her in ER or anywhere else. She has one character and I don’t like it.
    SO with its inception being Independence and it’s reality being a deus ex machina that was just handily there to provide expertise, how was the show ever going to be what its creators wanted?

    3. The trucking in of the Lucian Alliance. I didn’t like them on SG Atlantis and I didn’t like them in SGU. Perhaps meant to bring in something familiar? Bring in Danial Jackson if familiar is what you need.

    4. The creepy science guy was just creepy and apparently didn’t own a comb. What was his agenda anyway.

    5. Months have gone by maybe years with that nasty gruel and Zach is still chubby. Did he have a case of Snickers somewhere?

    Anyway. forgive my rant. Like DS9, if you want to be part of a franchise you have to pay homage to the franchise. You can’t rewrite the rules in a constructed universe.
    The real rub is that reality shows, which are anything but real survive and SGU flounders.

    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    email: steph@fangswandsandfairydust.com
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

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    • LOL. No need to apologize for the rant. Discussion is ALWAYS encouraged here. Besides, I think most people feel the same. I didn’t mind the use of the stones but I did think the way they choose to implement them was a cop out. Trust your actors more! They could have pulled it off without jerking the viewers around playing ‘I’m me playing someone else being me.’ SG1 did several episodes where the characters switched bodies without resorting to that nonsense. The stones themselves allowed for some really good character stories. The creepy science guy without a comb seemed perfectly appropriate to me, but the medic (who was one of my favorite characters) somehow managed to pull off the most complicated hairdo on a daily basis—that was way more odd under the conditions. And I agree completely that the trend away from scripted shows and toward reality knock offs is a much worse issue. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  2. I don’t know what to say. I love everything SG and made myself love SGU because it was SG. And I don’t want to see it die. I think there were many problems however. One not related to the show was how they hid the episodes between things like WWE smackdown crap. What’s with SF doing this WWE crap anyway?

    About the books– would like to see books on anything SG. But could there be a new tv series idea on the board for us SG fans? One can hope.

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    • I loved BSG in the early days of the new show, but by season two it made me want to open a vein every time I tried to watch. I love dark as long as there is light at the end of the tunnel, but I wasn’t seeing the light.

      Are you watching 5-O? All the former BSG fans seems to be following Boomer to that show? I haven’t caught it yet.

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  3. it’s uh, chloe, not zoe….
    i was a bit iffy with SGU for the first season but they ramped it up so well for season two that i am devistated it’s cancelled. at least we have the last 10 episodes, and mckay makes an appearance at last so that’ll be nice.
    i wanted to see destiny reach its destiny

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    • LOL – where we’re you when I wanted someone to love this show with me? But more seriously, I’m sorry for your loss. I don’t hold out too much hope that they will wrap anything up in the last ten episodes. Stargate has a history of saving that for a movie.

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  4. Heavy sigh.

    I can’t say I’m surprised that it was cancelled, but it is sad news all the same. I was never terribly enamored of the show, and indeed feel that it was poorly structured, but I did watch it regularly.

    The real problem, I feel, was that it leapt too quickly into the interpersonal aspects of the stories. I love shows that have long character based story arcs, but in SGU (as well as Caprica), these elements were introduced right from the start. Had they begun with more action and then slowly built into more indepth character stories, I feel it would have succeeded.

    This is not just because it builds an audience who cares, but because some of the elements of drama introduced into the show from the outset broke my ability to suspend disbelief.

    The intense struggle between military and science, for example, happened WAY too quickly. After all, these people had all been working together for sometime (except Chloe (yes I got her and Zoe from Caprica confused as well) and Zach), and to have such a complete breakdown of interactions within minutes of arriving on the Destiny made no sense. Had it developed more slowly over the first season, however, I feel it would have been great.

    Another aspect I disliked was Chloe. Until the last one or two episodes, I couldn’t help but think of her as wet and useless. Indeed, when they were considering who to send on really dangerous, probably fatal missions, I repeatedly turned to my wife and suggested Chloe. After all, most everyone else on the ship had a purpose and/or useful skill. She had none (unless you consider sitting around and pouting to be useful in some say). Of course, in the last couple of episodes, the actress took off the gloves and started to act (particularly in the scene mentioned above with Greere… that, the CO killing off Ryan, and Ross’ reaction to the death of the woman in the wheelchair were the best bits of the season).

    Still, other elements outside the show were also central to its death. The first was the STUPID way SciFi… oh Sorry… ScyFy (don’t get me started on that or the WWE crap) spaced seasons (or half seasons or whatever they call them) out.

    Also key was that their only other sci fi drama series running during this period was Craprica… sorry, Caprica. That show was very similar to SG-U. Both were primarily character studies and both claimed to have series arcs that would run across the seasons. Neither, however, actually saw any clear development of those arcs during the periods of their run.

    It was, in a sense, as if they kept groping about for the central structure of the tale. Ask any series writer and they can tell you that the most important element of it is to outline the structure and then hang extra-development stories on it. Instead, it seemed that both series were making it up as they went along. Fine for an episodic tale (e.g. Star Trek, SG1, etc.), death for an arc based tale.

    Of course, in my view, SG-U managed to pull me along far better than Caprica did, but I suggest that the similarities in the nature of the two series, and the lack of any action based sci-fi series running concurrently, pulled them both down in a tangled spiral.

    It is sad, for again, while I complain about SGU, I did enjoy it and would like to see the story line resolved. I particularly liked the fact that they made the CO (whose name I can’t remember) actually be a bad commander, and then said as much, but kept him extremely sympathetic. Very good change up for a MilFic story.

    As for which characters I would like to see stories about? Probably Greere, Ross and the woman LT.

    Oooh… long rant. Sorry.

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