Created By: Brad Wright, Robert C. Cooper
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker Smith, Ming-Na
Studio: Syfy, MGM Television
Review By: Thomas Braaksma
There are not many writers that would expect to be writing a review for a series that is a distant relative of a Kurt Russell film named Stargate. This is even more unbelievable considering the fact that he saw it back in 1994, in a seedy Madison, Wisconsin theater. That theater has long been shut down, yet the Stargate name has survived through television series, animation, and straight to DVD movies, all the way up to 2010 with the final season of Stargate Universe.
This final season was only the second in the SG-U series. Due to low ratings Syfy did not pick up the show for a third season. This is a shame, since the production value and the dramatic, realistic direction SG-U took is unlike any other under the Stargate name. Those familiar with Stargate Atlantis and SG-1 — the other two live action series — know that those takes were more focused on action and adventure. SG-Universe takes the Stargate world to a grittier, realistic viewpoint and to storylines and characters that the viewers can actually relate to and get immersed in while still staying in line with the mythology that Atlantis and SG-1 were thick with. SG-U was more focused on the characters and their emotional development rather just what alien they are shooting a gun at this week.
The second series once again finds the crew on the ship Destiny that is still flying through the universe, stopping at what seems to be random locations that have nearby Stargates. The crew is led through many challenges as they struggle with the Lucian Alliance Soldiers and teeter on some intertwining friendships with these recent foes. They also come across many surprises as newly found control over the once seemingly uncharted flight path comes into light. Along with many everyday human flaws mixing with extraterrestrial problems, the story is solid. The ending of the story is for the viewer to decide whether it is fitting or a lack of imagination, or budget.
These twenty episodes lay out an environment filled with rich character development and a cast extremely talented in acting. The latter only being said since sometimes the production is skimping on the talent of actors in science fiction television, and that SG-U was released on the same network that put out Dinocroc vs. Supergator. The sets are also beautifully constructed and when needed, the CGI isn’t laughable or unbelievable.
It is a shame the show has been laid to waste and a good guess might be because the money and time put into a great show like Stargate Universe combined with the lack of viewers left if without funding. It’s a shame, because the 40 episodes (between the 20 from the first season and the 20 in this collection) give SG-U a fitting place among other underappreciated works put down early by studio know-it-alls. For the Stargate diehard or even the newer viewer this series is a great find. Maybe it will become a DVD classic and help respawn the possibility of a movie adaptation.
DVD was the only format Stargate Universe: The Final Season has been released on, showing the lack of faith and total desertion the studio pulled on the series. They didn’t even spend the money to give it a proper Blu-Ray release. Stargate fans shouldn’t be dissuaded by the DVD-only release since there are still a bundle of extras found within the package. The five-disc set holds all twenty episodes with commentary by cast and producers on all episodes. There are also about twenty features and interviews with cast members. Some of the features range from set location, deconstructing the ship Destiny, and even a behind the scenes featurette of the Season 2 finale. There will be plenty of value found on the DVDs until someone gets the sense to at least finish the series in movie format or at least a proper Blu-Ray release.
For more info, stargate.mgm.com
PadandPanels.com received a copy of the DVD from the studio for review purposes.