SGU: Stargate Universe - The Complete Final Season

Actors: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue
Writers: Brad Wright, Robert C. Cooper
Format: AC-3, Box set, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
Number of discs: 5
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
DVD Release Date: May 31, 2011
Run Time: 880 minutes




When one thinks about it, it should come as no surprise that a bona fide science fiction writer such as John Scalzi of Old Man’s War fame worked as creative consultant on the StarGate: Universe (or SGU as its fans call it) Syfy TV series. After all, the show explored several hard sci-fi tropes such as the quest for vast unknowable alien intelligences, the unimaginable distances between stars and galaxies, and so on – the sort of stuff usually confined to written science fiction.

Sadly this wasn’t enough to save SGU: the show’s cancellation was announced before its second season was even broadcast. There was talk of a full-length made-for-DVD movie to wind up the various plot loose ends left behind by its bittersweet season finale, but nothing came of it. It also seems unlikely that other TV stations will pick up the series.

SGU’s demise not marks the end the end of a franchise that has been around in some form or another since the Emmerich big screen movie back in 1994, but it is also the first time that there isn’t a TV show around which doesn’t feature a starship captain of some sort.

Some fans accuse SGU, which admittedly took some liberties with the StarGate “recipe” to nudge it into darker and “heavier” territories, for the franchise’s demise. Many fans detested the strife between SGU’s various characters and missed the easy camaraderie of StarGate: SG1 and StarGate: Atlantis. This was StarGate for people who didn’t like StarGate and was closer in tone to the Battlestar Galactica reimagining than previous incarnations of the show. A more likely culprit for SGU’s early death is probably the economic recession, the same recession that made them film a Pirates of the Caribbean flick in Hawaii instead of the Caribbean itself and has even thus far prevented another James Bond movie from being made.

Science fiction shows nowadays are more Earthbound. No whizzing around the galaxy in a faster-than-light spaceship. That costs just too much money. Sure, sci-fi isn’t dead. There are still a few SF TV shows out there. But sci-fi is now limited to law-enforcement officials of some sort investigating the paranormal (Fringe is the best example of this). Much easier on the budget. In the ultimate analysis The X-Files is the template for today’s TV shows instead of Star Trek.

THE DISCS: The DVD collection holds five discs – very neatly contained in a standard size case. Each disc contains four episodes, plus an array of special features. The features are solid, though fairly typical: interviews with the lively cast, several behind-the-scenes docs, creator’s commentaries on each episode, and a look at the series finale. SGU fans should enjoy them, and they lend a nice sense of completion to the set.

WORTH IT? That said StarGate Universe was a flawed show. It was hampered in particular by slow pacing problems. Initially the show was also in danger of becoming a relentless grim battle for survival – not much fun in that especially when one is involved in one’s own relentless grim battle for survival in this damned economic recession. It is however ironic that just as the show’s characters were coalescing into a working team – that camaraderie which die-hard fans missed – that SGU should be cancelled.

RECOMMENDATION: Is it worth investing all this time in a show that doesn’t end properly? We think so, yes, especially if you are the type who reads the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ben Bova and other hard SF authors. It isn’t a perfect show, but by investing some time in complex characters and interesting SF ideas SGU is a damn sight better than most of the shows still running on Syfy!



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