October 13, 2009
Stargate Universe First Impressions
I have never been a huge fan of the Stargate franchise.
The film was mildly entertaining with that whole Pyramid Egyptian alien thing.
SG-1 I watched if I just happened to be in front of the TV and it was on. It was a bit cheesey, and did the whole Sliders / Otherworld trope in a less interesting manner (and usually in a forest in Vancouver). Somehow it kept going and eventually I lost track of the adhoc organic Mythos. I now have no idea what’s going on if I see an episode.
Atlantis I watched one episode of and thought it was awful so never watched another. Bad acting, bad story.
Stargate Universe however, I have some hope for, mainly due to the inclusion of Robert Carlyle but it’s also nice to see that they have a consultant SF writer on the team (John Scalzi).
The first two episodes set up the story, and it’s not terribly bad. Here’s the good and bad:
- Eli. The young slacker who plays computer games and then gets beamed up to a starship. Like The Last Starfighter, but not as good. He’s clearly the show’s comic character. But why? Why does it need a comic character. I found him intensely annoying.
- The derivative styling of the SF trappings: the spaceship, the FTL travel effect, the corridors, panels… All the scenery basically. Nothing is new or even has a slight twist.
- The handheld shaky camera shots feel gratuitous.
- The plot. It’s not going to be too radical is it? Aboard a spaceship, far from home, visiting alien planets. Hmmm.
- Robert Carlyle is great. His character Dr. Rush is clearly looking after his own interests, but manages to do it in a way that’s not clichéd evil scientist. He’s trying to win people onto his side, whilst doing exactly what he wants. I’m also holding out hope that Carlyle is after more than a regular pay check and has seen something good in the upcoming story.
- The style shows promise. They’ve clearly tried to create a modern feeling show, hopefully the grittiness will stay.
In the end the story must create a good programme. If the plot can somehow transcend the standard exploration trope, somehow give us characters we care about and somehow add a little bit more than you’d expect from Stargate, then maybe it will be good.