Continued from the last post.
Storywise, you’ve sort of seen it before. Yep; it’s mix of Lost and Star Trek Voyager. Visually, thematically, and stylistically though, it draws its cues from recent dramas like Battlestar Galactica. The show is very dark and edgy. No more cute and fuzzy benign aliens, nor even alien of the week. Every episode is almost depressing as the Destiny’s crew struggles each week against the challenges of traveling onboard a vessel that is technologically far ahead of what they can readily comprehend. And the challenges run the gamut of finding power, oxygen, water, food, then facing off radiation, unfriendly aliens, collisions with stars, marooned crew that are left to die, alien viruses that are accidentally brought onboard, military-civilian tussles for power etc.
The main cast from Stargate Universe
Some of these interstellar travel challenges aren’t new; we’ve seen them before in the first season of Battlestar Galactica, but SGU ramps it up a couple of notches. The series kills characters with alarming frequency, and there are only so many crew members that are onboard Destiny to begin with. Many of the challenges are also – apparently – scientifically grounded (the show’s producers note that NASA scientists watch the show), and while I don’t claim to understand all that science and astronomical mumbo jumbo for a second, it does at least sound as though the series knows what it’s talking about when a character says something about the dangers of how a white dwarf is stripping material from a neutron star in a binary pulsar and creating an accretion disc that is producing gamma radiation. I kid you not. That’s exactly one of the danger scenarios that the Destiny’s crew faces in one episode.
The cast is pretty good too, though aside from one of the two leads are all unknowns to me. I immediately recognized Robert Carlyle, who stars as Dr. Nicholas Rush, Destiny’s super brilliant but also extremely arrogant and also mentally unsound scientist. With him are Louis Ferreira as Colonel Everett Young, his military opposite who’s constantly bumping heads with Rush, Brian J. Smith as the loyal but conscientious Lt. Matthew Scott, Jamil Walker Smith as Master SGT Ronald Greer, the crew’s hot-tempered bulldog, and David Blue as Eli Wallace, a civilian who starts off as slacker but also a genius, and grows to be a real asset to the crew.
The civilian-military antagonism isn’t too different from the Adama-Roslin tug of war in the early seasons of Battlestar Galactica, and as good as Ferreira is as an actor, he’s not in Edward James Olmos’ class. Carlyle’s Rush is a different story though. You love-hate his character. You hate his ruthlessness and single-mindedness in pursuing his scientific goals, but it’s hard to fault his cold-minded logic. Exactly the characterizations that make for great series viewing.
CG's all good. Wished there was more of it though.
What’s unquestionably impressive is the Computer Generated graphics work. Unlike Battlestar Galactica’s numerous and very large-scale space battles, the CG work for SGU is mostly in Destiny, the worlds they explore – some of them look truly alien – and also a couple of space battles. It’s somewhat sparing, but when you do see it, it’s all pretty good.
All in; not too bad. I’ll put this series at below Battlestar Galactica. but since that series has completed its run and until the prequel series, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, is released, SGU will do.=)