I watched the Stargate film back in 1994 when it came to theatres, and then when Stargate: SG-1 came around, I didn’t bother watching it. I watched a season-and-a-half or so of Stargate:Atlantis, and was usually amused. But I have many friends who swear by various parts of the Stargate-verse, loving SG-1 and trashing on Atlantis, loving-but-criticizing-Atlantis and not caring about SG-1, etc.
So when I saw that there was a new, supposedly stand-alone Stargate series, I took notice. The casting of Robert Carlyle in the lead went a long way towards getting my attention, as did the concept.
For those not already in the know, here’s the breakdown: Stargate Universe is about a group of people who get trapped on an ancient spaceship made by a predecessor species only known as the Ancients. The ship was designed to tour the universe, and from time to time opens up a dimensional portal (the Stargates, natch) to a habitable planet in the surrounding galaxy. The Stargate remains open for a finite amount of time, and the ship is on auto-pilot, preventing the heroes from taking control of its route. Using the gate to get back to Earth or to get from Earth to the ship (called the Destiny) is tremendously-plot-says-don’t-do-it difficult. The tone seems to be substantially darker than previous Stargate series, prompting people to dub it Stargate Galactica or BattleStargate, likening it to the critically-acclaimed 2004-09 Battlestar Galactica.
The overall formula seems to be (Stargate + LOST) x (Sliders + Battlestar Galacatica) = Stargate Universe — which is certainly not a bad mixture of inspirations.
A more detailed and spoilery review follows: