Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stargate's End

I'm sure those who read this have already seen some other posts regarding the upcoming cancellation of SyFy's Stargate Universe (SG-U).  I've seen some of them and agree with some things while disagreeing with others.  Let me make a comparison with the prior shows, Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis (SGA). 

SG-1 and SGA had so many similarities that the shows really didn't have a lot of things that differentiated them.  Both had balanced ensemble casts who seemed very familiar.  The immediate leaders Col O'Neil (replaced by Col Mitchell) for SG-1 and Col Sheppard for SGA were competent military commanders/pilots who basically came off as likable goofballs.  Each show had their scientific genius (Carter/McKay).  The addition of Ronan on SGA was their answer for Teal'c.  In some ways Daniel Jackson and Teyla filled the same roles.  While they were very different people, they both seemed to play the role of the team's conscience/wisdom.  SG-U didn't have the chemistry those characters developed.  And fans noticed.

Overall plot similarities.  When it came right down to it, both shows were about protecting Earth against malevolent entities.  For SG-1 it was the Goa'uld and then the Ori.  Both similar concepts - highly advanced races that consider themselves gods and plan to enslave humanity.  For SGA it was the Wraith.  While not having delusions of being deities, the Wraith were obviously a threat.  They wanted us to eat, which does indicate a level of superiority even if it's not god-like.  Face it, we think we're better and more deserving than our dinners.

The producers of SG-U wisely wanted to come up with something different so it didn't look like another spinoff/new names and same types of character.  Good idea in concept, but unfortunately they took it too far from a formula that worked.  I never really got that into the characters.  I looked up a couple of things to refresh my memory (since the show couldn't keep my interest enough to make me care to follow the broader plot).  IIRC, early in the show, Destiny seemed to be following seed-ships that were dropping Stargates on planets.  However, I thought I saw more recently a big reveal that Destiny's true mission had to do with finding the origins of the universe?  If Destiny's the ship that's looking for this great truth/solve this great mystery, why is it following the seed ships?  Shouldn't it be leading? 

Lastly, regarding the overall plot.  SG-1 and SGA had threats to humanity and the fans liked having a constant threat/villain to boo (or even cheer), while SG-U was looking for the source of the universe or something (literally) more cosmic.  The broad plot for SG-1 and SGA, while possibly more cliche, were at least exciting.  For SG-U, I give it's reveal a big "WHO CARES!" 

Better luck next time SyFy.

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