Thanks to the void left by BATTLESTAR GALCATICA ending its run combined with our rejuvenated interest in all things space courtesy of JJ. Abrams successful STAR TREK re-boot, Sy Fy’s third incarnation of the STARGATE universe, appropriately titled just that, could not have arrived at a better time. Which is why last night, this TV Addict went where I have never gone before and subjected myself to an actual entire episode of STARGATE.
The two-hour pilot kicked off with a literal bang, when some space baddies (who this STARGATE virgin can only assume have a history of blowing stuff up) attacked a planet — forcing the mysterious Dr. Nicholas Rush (Played by ‘foreigner’ Robert Carlyle, so you know he’s both really smart and obviously ‘up to something’) to shepherd a ragtag group of military types (like Louis Ferreira’s Colonel Young and Brian J. Smith’s Lieutenant Scott), politicos (Elyse Levesque’s Senator’s daughter) and computer nerds (David Blue’s Eli Wallace, serving as a guide into the STARGATE universe for us neophytes), among others — haphazardly through a Stargate. Destination: Who-knows-where!
Of course, ‘who-knows-where’ turned out to be the Destiny, an ancient ship, which as luck would have it, came complete with a Stargate of its very own. Not to mention, enough problems to provide for a solid twenty-two episodes (or more!) of adventure. Giving the crew — when they’re not searching for ways in which to find home — ample opportunity to jump from planet-to-planet for spare parts.
An adventure we’d be a lot more excited for, had ‘spare parts’ not also served as an apt metaphor for one of our biggest problems with the show. From the ragtag fleet of painfully generic character archetypes (See: the ex-con, the strong female and Blue’s nerdy comic relief that treads dangerously close to Wesley Crusher levels of annoyance.) to the fact that try as they might, SGU’s pilot failed to introduce even one original story-line (Power struggle between the brilliant but morally ambiguous scientist and the political figure! Hmmm…. Where have I seen that before?), it’s hard to ignore the total lack of originality on the creative team’s part. Especially when the shaky camera docu-drama feel and the dark corridors devoid of light practically beg comparisons of the less-than-kind variety to that of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.
That said, as all good pilots must, there certainly were more than enough interesting plot threads and likeable personalities (Full disclosure: We have a soft spot for both David Blue and Ming-Na — assuming of course her character ever gets to do anything!) to entice me to jump on the STARGATE bandwagon and give this series a shot.
Will you be joining me for the ride?