Unfortunately science fiction in TV seems to be dying out with the likes of Caprica - Season 1, Volume 1 [DVD
], V - Season 1-2 [Blu-ray][Region Free
] and of course Stargate universe being cut down before been given the chance to get going.
Universe sees a collection of civilians and military personnel transported to the ancient ship destiny, cut off from command and a long way from earth, the crew must learn to get along or at least tolerate one another as they repair the damaged ship for the many threats that await them in the form of hostile aliens, the Lucian alliance and A.I drones as they attempt to complete the Destiny's mission.
Universe had a rough ride from some Stargate fans, very unduly, while I like SG-1 and Atlantis they were very formulaic for the most part, that get into a situation, have a gun fight, make a quip, and then be right as rain again at the end of the episode. Universe didn't rely on action sequences or dazzling special effects (though dazzling they are) in the way it's predecessors did and the stakes are high, characters die and regardless of short reprieves stay dead unlike the above mentioned, giving an invested emotional stake.
Universe put character development to the forefront, be it the slowly boiling animosity between Rush and Young, or the budding relationship between Chloe and Matt, it's more true to life that when you have a large group of people working together some aren't going to get on and personalities are going to clash. While it's true some episodes particularly the earlier ones, would be fairly slow paced, the focus on the characters was always enough to keep me interested, a credit to the script and actors, particularly Robert Carlyle and Louis Ferreira who are fantastic. The development would be an ongoing process building up over time. SPOILER- Young's mercy killing of a wounded officer and his eventual break down due to his guilt and stress is expertly handled and a shining example of SG-U's quality- END SPOILER
Honestly it's seems more akin to the quality of an HBO show, character based, intelligent and grown up as opposed to the flashy pulp of many other sci-fi shows which assume you dont have a very long attention span, than that of the Sf-Fy channel(which has precious little sci-fi now)and had it been on the likes of HBO or AMC I feel it would have been treated much better. The docu-drama camera fits as well with Universe, though for the some it being used on Battlestar first was a bad thing, the movement is freeing compared to the relatively static SG shows of the past, with some truly wonderful lighting and inventive shots.
The first season is rather good, though at the start is does take a fair few episodes to get the ship up and running. The second season is the sharper of the two with stories flowing seamlessly with character development and by the end of the season Stargate Universe had a winning formula nailed. Tragically universe was cancelled and is left on an unresolved cliff-hanger, originally a TV movie was planned to wrap it up it seems that will no longer be the case.
A great show, massively underrated that I will sincerely miss, even if sci-fi isn't your usual cup of tea give it a go, get passed the occasional techno bable and you may be pleasantly surprised, and for the sci-fi fans who appreciate the genre, when it's grown up and mature, this is most definitely for you.