Stargate Universe: Season 1.0
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Stargate Universe: Season 1.0



Ever since I was able to read my favorite format for fiction, especially science fiction is a story that is so large and involved that it has to span several meaty novels. Literary franchises like ‘The Dragon Riders of Pern’ or ‘The Lensmen’ saga were so rich in detail and complete in their back stories that a single novel is incapable of relating even a fraction of the entire tale. This preference has transferred over to my preference in films and television where the best ones seem to be part of ongoing franchises. Just look at the grandfather of Sci-Fi fan favorites; ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Star Trek’. Decades have come and gone since their inception, generations have passed the fandom torch from parent to child and still these stories continue to not only grow but flourish. One franchise that has earned its right to be listed in such illustrious company is ‘Stargate. It started as an imaginative film in 1974 and was eventually became the cornerstone of ‘Sci-Fridays’ on Showtime. When the series ‘Stargate SG-1’ was cancelled it was picked up by the then new Sci-Fi Channel. There it became one of the flagship shows anchoring the network’s original programming. That series lasted a decade successfully giving rise to several spin-offs to continue the now very well established mythos. The latest installment in this franchise is ‘Stargate Universe’. This new series not only furthers the chronicle it brings it to a whole new, darker level. This may take a bit of getting used to for long standing fans but such changes are necessary if a long running franchise like this is to retain it vitality. On the positive side these changes were completely successful not only revitalizing the story for existing fans but also proving the perfect opportunity for new comers to join in the still increasing fan base.

The primary creative force behind this franchise is Brad Wright. He has been with the story from the start and cut his literary teeth on such Sci-Fi staples as ‘Highlander’, ‘Forever Knight’ and a number of episodes for the newer incarnation of the ‘Outer Limits’. This is one aspect that help in a genre were miniscule details are endlessly debated. One controlling force behind the camera ensures the requisite continuity. ‘Stargate Universe’ pays homage to the original with the appearance of two Stargate stalwarts; Richard Dean Anderson as Major General Jack O'Neill and Michael Shanks reprising his role as Doctor Daniel Jackson. Although little more than small cameo appearance if the fans didn’t see SG-1 regulars in the pilot episode blessing the new series acceptance would be exceedingly difficult. O’Neil is shown going to the home of a young man, Eli Wallace (David Blue), a slacker who spends endless hours playing online games. The reason the general was paying him a visit is a millennium old math problem was embedded in the game and Eli was the only one able to solve it. This earned him a place on a huge spaceship armed to the hilt with alien technology. The ship, the Destiny, was built eons ago by a race called, appropriately called, the Ancients, and used to seed the universe with Stargates. The scientist in charge of the exploration is Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle); the only thing greater than his considerable genius is massive ego and ability to manipulate any person or situation. He is quick to seize the opportunity to take charge when their base on earth is attacked and destroyed trapping a small group on the ship.

The personnel left on the Destiny are a mixture of military, scientists and civilian administrators. Leading the military contingent is the strong willed and determined Colonel Everett Young (Justin Louis) who immediately finds himself battling Rush for command. Also vying for that slot is Camile Wray (Ming-Na). She feels she should be in charge by virtue of being the senior representative of the project’s civilian oversight committee. After all her main qualification was being head of human resources. Having the ship lost careening through the vast void of space is one of the oldest literary themes around. From the travels of Odysseus right up to the journey of the Federation Starship Voyager stories about travelers seeking the arduous path back home. The first season was split into two parts, something that is becoming increasingly popular. The classic plot devices associated with this theme are explored in a fresh fashion with the group having to secure such necessities as food and water even though they are on a ship with technology far beyond full human understanding. This juxtaposition between the ultra modern technology against the needs and desires common to all humans helps to set this portion of the saga apart from the rest yet at the same time helping it fit in perfectly with the overall impact of the saga.

Posted 08/01/2010

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