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Stargate Universe

[info - personal] kaaatie made a post yesterday asking people what they thought of SGU. While I've been watching SGU I haven't really been talking about it here. However in my response to her, I basically laid out all my feelings on the show so thought it was worth reposting here.

Obviously, there will be spoilers for the aired episodes, although I tried not to get into specifics too much.

My essay on SGU, let me show you it.

I've been watching SGU and actually just got all caught up this weekend. I wanted to give it a try (especially since there were so many people that were OMG against it because it killed SGA!) and have really really mixed feelings about it.

As I watch it I seem to flip back and forth between thinking "this isn't bad" and "OMG WHY DO I MAKE MYSELF SUFFER THROUGH THIS!!!" I'm pretty sure if they don't do something amazing soon I'm going to drop it because not only are some of the episodes bad, they've started to actively squick me.

I didn't watch Battlestar Galactica, personally, but I've heard that a lot of the feel they're going for in this series is what BSG had. They're trying to be dark and edgy and are throwing in a lot of interpersonal relationships and character background. They are setting up characters in a certain way, giving them issues but not actually explaining those issues until episodes later. Which, personally, I find really annoying, you're getting this unbalanced view of a character which makes the character seem off balance and then when they finally reveal why they've been acting as they do it feels really anti-climactic. It's not like the revelation is a big surprise or anything ground breaking, mostly it just makes me wonder why they didn't tell us sooner.

They've also been touching on a lot of moral topics and have been going into some really skeevy areas. And the thing is, I don't trust the Stargate writers to handle these story lines. Their strengths are in humour and writing Big Damn Heroes, etc. not in handling skeevy issues. All I can think of is how they handled date rape in the Lucius episodes of SGA as LOL so funny. Or in the SG-1 episodes where they discovered the communication crystals all they said was "oops, I think we just killed the people whose bodies we switched with." "Oh don't worry about it, the people whose bodies you're now wearing knew there was some risk in using the stones" *handwave*.

Now they're throwing a ton of consent and rape situations into the show and I just don't trust them to address them properly. They've already shown and implied some super skeevy things and no one is taking any sort of responsibility when it comes to the stones. People are just switching bodies and doing whatever the hell they want with no rules. The people in charge aren't controlling what people do, and the big wigs that are switching up bodies are the ones doing the most skeevy things.

There also isn't any indication that they're going to properly address these issues. So far all we've had is one quick scene where they did nothing more than hang a hat on one situation and one skeevy situation addressed by implying an even more skeevy revenge type situation.

Beyond the skeeviness of the show, I'm also finding a lot of their storylines uncompelling. When you watch this kind of show, you know that they're going to survive in the end, but a good show is able to keep you in suspense regardless. I'm not finding that with SGU. It seems like half of the episodes have been using a Dues Ex Machina approach where the characters run around freaking out, then the ship saves them with no actual input from the characters. I think this might be changing soon but so far that's how it's felt to me. They've started doing things that affect or will affect them later on but it was a slow start.

Finally, I don't actually like most of the characters. In fact I want to punch most of them in the face.
-Rush is mostly annoying and not in a loveable Rodney-like way. He keeps everything to himself and spends most of the time pissed off with people for wanting answers or manipulating them into doing what he wants. He's also the reason why they're all stuck on this ship instead of at home right now, yet he spends most of his time acting the martyr instead.
-Young lost any respect I might have for him after the skeevy things he's been doing.
-Telford is kind of like how Caldwell was in the beginning of SGA but way worse. He's the foil who comes in and messes things up and they just keep making him more and more skeevy and villian-like.
-Johansen, the medic, has nice moments but I can't help but find her a bit whiny at times (she keeps going on and on about how she's not supposed to be there).
-Greer just comes off as kind of crazy most of the time and his personality isn't one I can like, I can see how others might find him interesting but I don't. Also, he's a perfect example of them implying things like crazy but holding off explaining things. Like he was in jail for some reason. One of my friends said he was caught steeling things? But I so don't remember seeing that, also the animosity that Telford has for him isn't proportional to that crime. So he has this big dark past that has people not trusting him at all but they won't tell us what his past is.
-Chloe is just so... She's kind of everything I hate in female characters actually. Everyone keeps telling her that she's amazing! And the guys are fighting over her affection! And she gets all this respect from people, yet she does nothing but angst and provide romantic tension. Eli and Scott are both after her affections and totally baby her and comfort her all the time but she hasn't done anything!
-Scott is uninteresting for me. In SGA, the only reason why I cared about John at all was because he's the one everyone shipped Rodney with, and while I came to appreciate fanon John and I never really cared for canon John (although Jack was my favourite SG-1 character). So the self-sacrificing military guy just isn't my type. Throw into that his troubled past is something that is a very personal squick for me (when I say personal, I mean most people out there wouldn't even realize it's a squick, so my not liking Scott is something that is definitely less likely to be the popular opinion) and now I've moved into actively not liking him (as opposed to John that I just didn't care about).
-Which leaves Eli as the only main character that I actually like. Although there are things about how his character is handled that I don't like as much. He's fun though and enthusiastic and not belly aching as much about being there as everyone else is.
-Really, I know that it would suck to be thrown into this kind of situation with no real warning and that things can be a little desperate however the amount of time people spend complaining about being in it drives me a little crazy and gets really boring for me. That's why Riley is my other favourite character, although he's just reoccurring instead of a main character (he's kind of a merging of Chuck and Zelenka from SGA and he's awesome). I just can't believe that the SGC hires all these people that can't handle themselves in a tough situation. Wouldn't that be one of the requirements for even going off planet? Riley really is exactly what I picture as they type of person the SGC hires. I just wish more characters could be like him.
-I'm also enjoying Lt. James, another reoccurring character.

All that said, I'm still giving the show a try and will likely watch the whole season. It's gotta do something, however, to get me to watch next season (if there is one). And it's doubtful I'd ever get fannish over it (although, just watch that statement come back to bite me in the ass :P).

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
maekala
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:19 pm (UTC)
I haven't watched every episode (but I have been reading a friend's reviews and getting the general picture) and I can't say that I feel like I'm really missing anything. This show was supposed to have some awesome in it for me because there was a canon lesbian main character (Ming Na, the IOA rep) and then she was dumped to the sidelines and is now only recurring.

I'm pretty much with you: I hate or just don't like everybody. Scott gets me because he's supposed to be this repentant Catholic or whatever and yet he's the Kirk of the whole damn ship!

Ugh. I just...yeah. I think I'm going to continue to watch the occasional episode and read reviews otherwise. Anything more and I may have to stab every one of them.
paraka
Nov. 17th, 2009 05:31 pm (UTC)
This show was supposed to have some awesome in it for me because there was a canon lesbian main character (Ming Na, the IOA rep) and then she was dumped to the sidelines and is now only recurring.
Yeah, notice I didn't even list her in my descriptions of the characters? She's done practically nothing in the series. Although what she has done has been some of the most realistic reactions of any of the characters.

Although if we're talking femslash, I almost went out searching for Chloe/Vanessa (Lt. James) femslash this weekend. But I wasn't all caught up at the time and watched the next episodes which had me not wanting anything more to do with the show.

Scott gets me because he's supposed to be this repentant Catholic or whatever and yet he's the Kirk of the whole damn ship!
And the scene that we have of his past is him crying in a church confessing that he got some girl pregnant. Good to know he's learned from his mistakes and is no longer promiscuous and having sex without condoms (because honestly, how many could he have had on him, he's having regular sex with Chloe, even if he had a few to begin with, he's got to be out by now).

I think your step-back plan is a good one. This show is very very head-desky.
mercury973
Nov. 17th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
Interesting.
I've only seen a few minutes of it- when they were digging through sand and I said "F this" and turned the channel. But still not gonna watch it. I am still pissed about how SGA ended and how the actors were treated. I am also not a scifi fan, and I didn't enjoy the new BSG. I liked the old skool one, but I was a child when it came out and it was cool back then.
As for the characters, I don't know if they sound interesting. From what I've read about the Chloe one, I'd want to punch her in the face, too. Then you top this off with the rape and consent issues plus sex in a Stargate episode and it leads to a gigantic bucket of FAIL. I don't have a problem with "flawed" characters. I adore McKay. But (Personal opinion here) that no one but David Hewlett could play him. McKay was a jerk, but in a cute, cuddly way. You could tell he was all bluster to cover up his squishy, sensitive inner self. Watching McKay bark and run around was cute (I'm picturing Miko's flashback of him in LFP.) With John, I too, don't like the square-jaw manly lead males, but Joe played him with humor and made him human. I don't know if he intentionally played John kinda gay, but that's how it came across for me. So I felt like John had some depth, even before I became a slasher. And watching John and Rodney's relationship grow over the years really made the show worthwhile, even when it started to suck in Season 4.
Things that I liked about SG1 and loved about SGA was they were fun. Even when it was dark, it still was fun (Except most of season 5, but that is because the writers gave up) and made me want to watch more. I looked forward to Friday nights and would postpone going out until Saturday.
I might be going up to Vancouver this Friday with the SG group if the weather is ok. If so, I will be watching my first full episode. But I can tell you that I am not looking forward to it and if it's pouring and I'm stuck in Seattle, I will not be watching.
paraka
Nov. 17th, 2009 11:33 pm (UTC)
I wasn't really a sci fi fan before Stargate but I'd consider myself one now.

I don't have a problem with "flawed" characters.
I don't either, that's one of the reasons why I enjoyed SGA's characters more than SG-1's (SG-1 was a lot of Big Damn Heroes, where as SGA made more mistakes and I liked them for it).

However, I still want the characters to be functioning. Because if I just wanted to watch people angst all over the screen and sex each other on the side, I'd watch some other show, probably set in a high school or hospital, instead of one set in space.

Things that I liked about SG1 and loved about SGA was they were fun. Even when it was dark, it still was fun
Exactly! Stargate is a fun series. And SG-1 and SGA both had some really dark themes, but it was always fun. Now they're mostly throwing that out the window (Eli is the only fun character really) and going with dark and angsty which is totally not what the writers are good at.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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