I interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging drivel to bring you this discussion on the StarGate: Universe premier that aired this past Friday night.
It was, in a single word, awesome. I want to touch on the characters and my thoughts on what I liked, didn’t like, and general notes of interest. So, without further adieu:
SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!
Dr Nicholas Rush is going to be quite a handful. The guy is obviously brilliant, but he has absolutely no regard for authority: he has his own agenda, and that agenda is exploration at any cost. While I think he’s a total asshole, I’m simultaneously drawn to him because I empathize with the passion for discovery for its own sake, even at the cost of one’s life. Dr Rush is thrilled at the prospect of what discoveries he could make at the opposite side of the known universe, and truthfully is in no hurry to return home (just watch the grin on his face when he first arrives on board the Destiny). He an explorer in the purest and most extreme sense, and I suspect that passion will come into conflict with the more practical needs of everyone else over the course of their journey.
Eli Wallace complements Dr Rush very well, but whether because of a subtle lack of self-confidence simply by virtue of Dr Rush handling everything so far, I’m not convinced of his abilities yet. I like how well he relates to other people with his easygoing demeanor, but that will get him into trouble if he continues to allow Dr Rush to essentially run the show.
Colonel Young is an obviously capable leader, and a very by-the-book soldier. I’m interested to see what went on between him and Lt Johansen in the two weeks prior to Icarus Base falling under attack, and why he collapsed at his house while talking to his wife about redeployment. I suspect there isn’t much that will cloud his judgment; he’s a seasoned warrior who is ready to sacrifice himself for the sake of his comrades in a heartbeat. Good thing he seems to be recovering from his initial injuries.
Lieutenant Scott has the potential to be one hell of a leader, but his inexperience shows through at a few points, especially when he tries to open a sealed door for no particularly legitimate reason, and against the recommendations of a crewmate and Eli. He seems to have a tendency to get caught up in the moment and allow too much of his emotions to show – also a sign of being a bit wet behind the ears – but he still knows how to manage a crisis situation with other people involved. The fact that he had the cajones to tell a US Senator (and technically, his boss) to shut up speaks positively to his character.
Sergeant Greer is a rather opaque character with obvious anger issues, but ultimately respect for the chain of command. He and Camille almost get into a duking match early on, and he might very well have shot Dr Rush if not for Lt Scott’s intervention. There could be a hell of a soldier behind all the chaos and emotional outbursts; he’ll need to learn to control himself if he’s going to last even a few days on board the Destiny.
Chloe Armstrong has lived a privileged life beside her Senator father, and as such she hasn’t really seemed to figure out where she fits into this new and chaotic setting. She did seem to take to Eli, and she opened up to Lt Scott following her father’s death, but beyond that she has somewhat kept to herself. I’m interested to see what kind of woman she turns into.
Lieutenant Johansen has had her hands full since stepping through the gate and onto the Destiny as the lone person on board with anything resembling medical knowledge and expertise. She’s shouldered the responsibility admirably thus far, tending to the wounded and ensuring that everyone is as comfortable as possible. She has a remarkably subtle yet powerful empathetic aura, evidenced by her support of Chloe following her father’s death. There’s something going on between her and Colonel Young that doesn’t seem quite kosher; nobody – and I mean nobody – would turn down a StarGate assignment to go to medical school.
Camille Wray has thus far kept to herself except when asked directly or when she had a vehement opinion to voice, which is already a far cry from what we’re used to when the IOA gets involved. She obviously has her own opinions of what should be happening and who should be in charge, but has thus far gracefully allowed things to unfold on their own, a departure from the IOA’s typical micromanagement. She did, however, almost come to blows with Sgt Greer, and she’s certainly no friend of Dr Rush, and eventually her opinions on the leadership will come to light.
I didn’t like how the Senator was killed off; from watching Atlantis and SG-1, the seemingly simplistic dilemma of depressing a somewhat unreachable button is something that Rodney McKay could have devised an automated workaround for pretty easily, probably using the kenos Eli found. Even Sheppard probably would have simply tossed his P-90 at the button in a well-aimed throw.
I also didn’t like how little technical jargon there was. Sure, nobody likes listening to the unabridged version of quantum physics, but there was literally zero techno-speak, a somewhat jarring departure from the two previous StarGate shows. There wasn’t a single hint as to what the millennia-old mathematical problem that Eli solved was, or how it could be translated into a stargate dialing protocol.
I hate the Lucian Alliance. Those guys are just plain bad news.
I really liked the nuances of StarGate mythology that kept the show so intriguing to folks like myself who are very familiar with it. For instance, the fact that the Destiny employed some sort of superluminal drive that actually doesn’t use hyperspace, implying just how old the ship really is. Or the fact that, while it’s obvious the ship is of Ancient design, both its interior and exterior look nothing like the architecture of Atlantis or any of the Aurora-class battleships seen in the previous shows.
I love the focus on the characters. Yes, I’m a dork who loves the nerdulance of sci-fi, but truthfully it’s always been the chemistry of the actors and actresses in both previous StarGate series that has so captured my interest, and Universe proves to be no exception. It’s still early, so I can tell they haven’t fully gelled (which is also by design, given their current predicament), but it’s so much fun to watch how each of them contributes to the overall dynamic.
I loved the soundtrack. Tiny elements of well-known StarGate chords, spread thin by a newer, more ominous tune that, for some reason, really drives home just how utterly isolated and alone the crew is. I watched Star Trek: Voyager back when it was running, and it had a similar theme: a crew that has just been put together is suddenly thrown far, far away from home. But not only were they only in the Delta Quadrant (technically, just a few days of hyperspace travel away for any ship from the StarGate universe outfitted with the Asgard intergalactic hyperdrives) of our own Milky Way galaxy, they had an entire brand-new starship at their disposal, and the entire crew was trained at StarFleet Academy. Destiny‘s new crew is a motley bunch, ranging from cooks to colonels, on board a dying and half-broken ship that is hundreds of thousands of years old, and quite literally on the opposite side of the known universe. They are, in every sense of the word, alone.
I really, really liked the juxtaposition of well-known StarGate elements with so many new elements previously unknown to the franchise. It was certainly a culture shock – General Jack O’Neill, being serious? – but the veteran directors, producers, and writers pulled it off beautifully. It was something new and exciting, and simultaneously it was still StarGate. Absolutely amazing.
Still though, I miss these guys:
Oh! And if you have iTunes, the first two episodes (the premier) is available for FREE download! In HD quality!