Thursday, October 8, 2009

SGU The First Episodes | Thoughts and Highlights and Low Points

Our introduction to the new Stargate crew consists of three episodes that make up the pilot, all entitled Air. Air part one takes place on the Icarus base and earth. Part two takes place mainly on the ancient ship Destiny and part three is where the meat of the story is laid bare. In the show Civilians and Military people are collected for an important mission on another planet. On it there is a power source that can engage the ninth chevron on the Stargate, which takes a Stargate traveler to a location never before discovered. The story unfolds in a fractured manner for the first two parts with the scenes switching between past and present, possibly to hide the fact that what is going on is rather dull. After the Icarus base is populated with its characters it is not long until they have to rush through the Stargate and onto the ancient ship Destiny. About 80 people make it through the Stargate onto the ship, and from then on the show turns into one about survival. The rest of part two is taken up by the pressing matter of air abroad the ship or lack there of, (this issue persists through the third episode as well). All of the ancient systems have been taxed beyond their designed life span and have begun to break down. Most importantly the air filters are poisoning the atmosphere due to corrosion. With time running out, the new crew of the Destiny has to make some tough choices costing them a crew member. In a lackluster moment where a California politician makes the ultimate sacrifice, locking himself into an area of the ship which is the main cause of air lose on the ship. Maybe they had Arnold in mind when they wrote that scene.
What separates this show from the former Stargate shows, SG1 and SGA is that there was almost no action in the pilot episode. In both of these former shows the pilot sort of set the tone for what highlights are to come. However, in SGU’s pilot the action is trivial and consists of a battle between the Icarus base and a Stargate Command ship in orbit fighting off some sort of random enemy attacking above the base. Later, in the third part of the pilot, members of the crew travel to a desert world where they need to find material to fix their Air problem. This is where the show starts to get interesting. During this mission to the desert planet which looked amazing, the ‘away team’ fights about almost every decision that is made and there is even a bit of a mutiny ending in someone being shot in the arm while trying to go through the Stargate. Meanwhile on board the ship, two crew members trade places with other people back on Earth by using these crazy little ancient stones; that allow you to do such a thing. Then a revelation, it seems that by having this technology to trade places the writers of the show have created a story telling device that will allow for characters who should not be able to interact with the Destiny crew to take over another persons body and engaged with the crew. This is a great idea, this way there can be a number of people who can come to this lost ship and visit with the crew simply by using one of these little magic stones.

There are few highlights in these two episodes. The character that plays the gamer turned
ancient technical consultant was the least boring followed closely by Rush, the crazy scientist. The rest of the characters that populate the show are quite transparent but have some Lost like connections that are sure to be revealed over the season. But who cares? What this show is trying to do is combine Battlestar Galactica with Stargate. What made Battlestar Galactic so good though was that the actors were engaging and the story was fascinating; the end of the human race and all of the drama that comes with it. That is what BSG was all about. SGU reminds me of Star Trek Voyager, there is little urgency and the drama seems to fall flat when it is supposed to be at its height. In the end, only time will tell if this new addition to the syfy universe will amount to anything more than a run of the mill space ship show.


§ Here is a fun fact. Something that separates this show from the other ones is a sex scene to make it more gritty and mature and like Battlestar Galactica.

§ One member of the team is recruited for being able to crack an ancient code that was planted in an online game similar to World of Warcraft. Is anyone else thinking Starfighter right now?

§ Lou Diamond Philips ends up not being dead and will make periodic returns to the Destiny in someone else’s body.

§ The incorporation of a floating camera that is used both as a way to check what is on the other side of an unknown Stargate Address and as a new way to shoot the show itself, through floating camera ball angles.

§ Fun Fact: For the two hour premier we learn that the Destiny is an ancient ship that began its journey in the Milky Way only to progress unmanned trough an unknown amount of others. This ship followed another unmanned ship that creates Stargates and plants them onto recently located planets. Other features of this ship are: it has many areas that are partly exposed to space and it stops at the previously mentioned newly located plants for twelve hours stints.

The Low Points:

The shows pace is slower than that of the older SG shows. Making it hard to get too excited about watching the next installment.

The attempts at tension leaves the viewer simply board.

It comes off as a poor man’s version of Battlestar Galactica.

Did not get to see Lou Diamond Philips die, because he is still alive in the show .

Before seeing the pilot we here at Keep Up TV Tome had a few unfounded and a few rightfully assumed plot points that we thought we ascertained from the clips offered in the middle of the summer as a sort of tease.
1) We were under the impression that the Icarus base was powered by the sun. Wrong. It was powered by an unstable planetary core and that is why the bases’ team has to flee to Destiny because the planet is going to explode.
2) We thought that Lou Diamond Philips was going to die tragically saving either the Destiny or fighting for the Icarus base. Didn’t happen, he just kind of disappeared after the firefight with the hostile ships.
3) It was not the testing of the ninth chevron that made the planet explode it just kind of blew up.

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