Hi Stargate Universe Fans!
Well Stargate fans we have all seen the first episode of Stargate Universe. It was fantastic was it not? I know! It is really two episodes. Here is our ongoing reviews about Stargate Universe. Our focus is episode three. When SyFy premieres episode three of Stargate Universe, everyone in North America will see the conclusion of the ‘Air’ pilot. This review will not spoil for fans in the United Kingdom, Europe, and Australia. Instead this review focuses on the talent in the episode; specifically a deeper look at what the creators, the actors, and the crews have accomplished.
At the conclusion of the two part season opener we witnessed Dr. Rush turn heading into the gate for a planet Destiny indicated contains the mineral needed to fix the air purification system. Seeing the gate at the end was a very nice way to end the first two episodes! Of note is that Mark Sevala’s special effects team seems to have given the gate a new shimmer we have not seen previously. A little less blue and a touch more of silver gives the SGU gate a new look. Way to go Mark!
As we begin the third episode of Stargate Universe we observe the first ‘Off World’ team from Destiny on a new world in a galaxy far, far away. To call it an ‘off world’ team may seem odd, but Destiny is the “world” as they know it. A “world” where something is so pervasive, so subliminal the viewer may even miss it! What the dickens am I talking about?
The music in Stargate Universe! Of course I am referring to the musical score by craft master Joel Goldsmith. The music that sets the tone, the mood of the work for any excellent series or movie. If the music does not work, it can ruin the finest efforts by a cast and or production teams. In Stargate Universe the score by Goldsmith is absolutely enchanting. Joel’s genius is in making the acting we observe ‘work’. Goldsmith does so perfectly.
The creators have included something new to the Stargate franchise, music! Not just the outstanding work of Joel Goldsmith, but a real song with music! For years the fans have poured their hearts out in music video tributes and beseeched the creators of Stargate for MUSIC! First heard in Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Universe includes a cool new song that many will enjoy.
In the third episode the creators have artfully melded the music score into the cinematography. Goldsmith’s music actually soars in several scenes that utilize spectacular aerial viewing angles of the Destiny away team on their desperate search for the mineral vital to the 80 survivors of the Lucian Alliance’s sneak attack on the secret ninth chevron research base Nice to see the three Lucian Alliance ships get toasted – more great stuff Mark Savela!
Even if you do not like Stargate Universe, everyone should recognize these sequences and musical scores as equal to any work, even against much higher budget epics on the big screen. The visual sequences in the desert reminded me of the Academy Award winner, Lawrence of Arabia. If you have the ability to DVR and replay those sections of the third episode, take a good second look and listen, you will not be disappointed.
Next, let’s examine the direction by Andy Mikita and the screenplay by Brad Wright and Robert Cooper. These three geniuses have worked together for many years. Once again this trio has excelled in their efforts; Much like reading a book we cannot put down, The smoothness of the storyline transition is outstanding. Cooper and Wright make the SGU story very much like the ‘Stargate’ that the fans have enjoyed over the past 15 episodic years of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, with a plot transition that goes from being trapped on Destiny, to the familiar environs of an off world expedition.
As the episode continues we see the Destiny away team in a stark dessert environment under an intense time limit to find what they need to fix Destiny, or face exile on some uncharted planet in lord knows what galaxy. During the course of their quest, the new ‘Kino’ SG gizmo is featured prominently in several sequences. This cool flying camera UAV device offers scenic perspectives that excellently compliment the human perspectives used by the camera crews in Stargate Universe. Naturally it is “Math Boy” David Blue who finds and figures out how to use this neat little gadget much to the delight of the viewing audience.
In the two episode premiere season opener, the story faithfully follows the ongoing activities of Stargate Command. The adventure includes the voyage of the USS George Hammond to the secret off world ninth chevron research base. Naturally the epic includes a fantastic battle sequence equal to any past Stargate greatness Seeing some of our old Stargate friends like Amanda Tapping, Michael Shanks, Gary Jones and Richard Dean Anderson was sweet. Fans will enjoy that in episode three too. The Cooper and Wright’ cameos a much beloved SG-1 character we will all see again in Stargate Universe! Nice touch MGM!
In episode three we see more of the realism that has been incorporated into the story and characters. We observe each character morph into something that reflects this realism. That is not to say that Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis did not have character development, they did and that is why these two series will stand as the vanguards of Stargate in the fandom. What Stargate Universe does is blend what came before with this technique, adding a new freshness to the Stargate franchise.
Realism is used to good effect in episode three where we observe the Destiny away team members deal with the harsh circumstances of their new reality. As in real life, we witness differing life like reactions to the pending crisis that range from the ever excitable Eli Wallace, to the explosive Sgt Greer, and a Dr. Rush driven to the point of acceptance of their potential defeat. The portrayal by Brian J. Smith in which he, at the point of death, is brilliant during a hallucination sequence. It is an unlikely hero who comes to his rescue that raises our hopes about the ability of a misguided person to become more than the dubious actions in his past. We also see something not unlikely; soldiers facing near death, and a possible mutiny! How this plot twist plays out remains to be seen, but it is possible this may be used later in the series.
In episode three, really a cliffhanger within a cliffhanger, we also find out a little more about how the crew will communicate with the SGC, and critically a new threat to expose Stargate Command to the world! This plant in the storyline should harvest some interesting results as Stargate Universe unfolds!
Lastly, in many comments on Twitter and elsewhere, Stargate fans have commented on two items more than others. Some have commented that the show was too much like BattleStar Galactica. Well, there are some elements of that theme in the first three episodes (the Celtic music for instance), but Stargate Universe is no BSG. Others have speculated that there were no alien influences like the Goa’uld, the Replicators, or the Ori. Watch very carefully or you could miss the clues about something that will become an important part of the story arch as the SGU adventure continues. It is only on the screen for a few seconds, however it will leave Stargate fans eagerly waiting for more episodes coming in the future!
The Stargate Universe adventure continues tonight for North American viewers on SyFy and the SpaceChannel.
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Kenn of #TeamWHR