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    FAN REVIEWS: 'Air, Part 2'

    Visit the Episode Guide
    STARGATE UNIVERSE - SEASON ONE
    EPISODE NUMBER - 102

    Stranded on the Ancient vessel Destiny, the evacuees from Icarus Base discover that a worn-out life-support system and hull breaches will suffocate them in a matter of hours.

    VISIT THE EPISODE GUIDE >>


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    #2
    Stargate Universe: Pilot Episode- “Air” Review

    It has been a while since I’ve done on of these. I’m attempting to start these up again, with the new series and all . . .

    !!!!!!!!!!BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!

    While the credits are rolling we’re getting some very cool shots of the Ancient ship. It’s a good way to start the series. It’s establishing where the heck everything is. The Stargate just activated and people are being shot out of the ‘Gate like people used to in the beginning of SG-1. We’re tuning in right in the beginning of the evacuation.
    I gotta say it’s good to see the Stargate in all it’s beauty again.
    Now we’re flashing back here . . . And who’s dropping buy Eli’s place . . . Jack!!! Hey, I remember you! Is it me or has RDA gotten a little chubby? Anyways . . . Eli’s not talking to our man Jack, so he beams Eli up to one of USAF’s ships. Teehee!
    Daniel!!!! In a Gate History video for the newcomers. And Eli is getting bored out of his mind. Me on the other hand? I’d like the whole video on HD DVD please. ASAP would be nice.
    Back to the present: I so recognized the Atlantis set here. But the hyperspace is nice. I’d like the room with THAT balcony please! And we’ve got a problem with the life support system is failing. Naturally. And commercial!!!!
    And we’re back!! With another flashback! It’s Col. Everett’s. We’re taken back to the present and Everett is having seizures.
    Another flashback . . . The team is meeting for the first time.

    And this is when I get too wrapped up in the episode to care about a RT review. Once I’ve watched the episode I’ll type up a review that’s not in real time. But with the fact that it’s captured my attention is a good sign . . .

    Overall: This show is awesome!!!! My favorite character would have to be Eli, hands down. The VFX, are as usual breathtaking. The appearances’ of Richard Dean Anderson, Michael Shanks, and Amanda Tapping were too short for me, but glad they were there in the episode. It was also good to see Bill Dow and Gary Jones, even if it were only for a few short seconds.
    I am sad to see Lou Diamond Philips character die so soon. Wasn’t he a regular cast member? Perhaps we’ll only see him in more flashbacks? I hope that’s the case. Having LDP as a regular has helped promote the show. Plus, he’s just a plain good actor and brings an amount of coolness to any character he plays.

    And that’s it for the Pilot for SGU’s “Air”. I hope that was coherent enough of a review. Needless to say I’m a little rusty when it comes to writing reviews.

    Comment


      #3
      Well the 9 long months are up. Stargate universe has arrived. Like most pilots this one introduce all the characters to us, couple using controversial scenes to say the least but we will get back to those later.

      All the main characters were introduce to the audience during the pilot and they all seem to have complicated past lives, to Dr Rush and the women in the photo, to and his mysterious medical condition, Jamil and Everett Young relationship, to geer an his confinement to the brig, Wray who seem to be use to power and having controlled over people. All these characters unlike the previous SGA an SG1 characters seem to have complicated lives which goes far beyond just the Stargate program . They all seem to have depth and back stories planned out, an not tact on like they seem to be SGA an SG1.
      Now we get to the infamous sex scene which took place between Vanessa James and Everett Young .

      Many of my fellow fans will undoubtly disagree with me but I think this scene belong in the pilot. It shows that these characters have knowing each other long than five seconds and they have got to know each other may be even fallen in love over the time they knowing each other. An unlike the clean by the rules Jack and carters, which let be honest drag on way to long, they got straight into it like most humans do.

      The reason it’s controversial is because Stargate SG1 and Atlantis use to be a family show, but to me I thought it setting up complications and difficulties for the future, I am going to take a guest and say they were not using protection why they were doing it, which could set up some great moral arguments in the future of the series. Stargate has grown up and it better off for it, I hope the writers do not back away from it.

      Apart from the characters having actual depth and background from the opening, the biggest change to the series is that it far mature than previous Stargate will to tackle today issues and not the scientific one but social ones lack the problems with American health care system and it insurance companies not paying out, it was only briefly touch on but I hope they will in depth on the issues. We also sure for the first time in a long time that the SGC is actually being run like a secret organisation non afraid of kidnapping people, bribing and coercing them and even the odd threat to make people to do what they want. My personal hope is we see this side of the SGC and more often and it about time we shake of that clean and all good image we have for the last 13 years, it was wearing thin anyway.

      The actors themselves played the character well, Robert Carlyle was awesome throughout, but the stand out scene has got to be when he was in his quarters and= when he just cried his heart out about the women in the photo, his character has so much conflict inside of him and from the pilot it seem he alone without any close friends, this portray on screen well, I got the feeling he was be picking up a few awards for his performance over the series. My only concern is that he puts the other actors to shame, it going to be interest whether they are able to come up to his level of performances over the season.

      Elyse Levesque character plays Cloe Armstrong in the series and why did a okay job was not totally convince of her character. The scene where dad died was over acted and over dramatic and I was just not feeling it.

      She however was not as bad Aliana Huffman as TJ, the few lines she did get were pretty bad and she lack any on screen emotions or acting ability, she said the lines but there was no feelings or emotions there. She for me just does not make the grade, and if there one character I think should go it would be her, she did not even do he tear scene convincingly.

      David blue did alright as his character Eli Wallace, and why I am not completly convince that they would actually put top secret information into the game, it non the less a interesting way to introduce the character.

      The rest did not really have the screen time to convince me of their character but apart from Aliana Huffman they can all act here roles well enough.
      The thing I must congratulate the SGU production team on is the SFX they were awesome throughout and certainly shows that they spend some of the extra cash on the CGI. Although they were beautifully done they could of been longer and more detail, especially the Icarus battle scenes. The destiny , fully revealed in the opening credits looks stunning an certainly gave me the impression of holding many secrets beneath it skin, they actually got back to the quality of the credits in the first seasons on SG1 which were always the best in my opinion. I personally hope the writers do not ignore her like they ignore Atlantis for five seasons and treat her like a character, after all they need there alien character why cannot it be the destiny.

      The editing and the use of flashbacks is a other controversial element of the pilot. My own opinion is that it was well done an it was easy to follow what was going on, it kept me engage an guesting what was going to happen next, an also certainly left a few questions to be answered in the future storylines. This trick was borrowed from Lost and while not done as well as Lost, I am not convince anyone will equal it one lost, it was done well enough to enjoy an I hope they keep it up for the rest of the series life.

      For the stargate know it all fans there are a few minor plot points, the poo they use was not earth origin, through that does depend on the date the project was launch, Earth was given a new stargate after all. The lack of Asgard energy beams of the USS Hammon.

      This by far the best pilot this fall I have, putting other with far higher profile shows to shame, including Flashforward and Forgotten, an why it was not perfect there is plenty of stuff for the audience to get their teeth stuck into. From what I am hearing, non stargate fans, especially ones who are fans of Lost and BSG have liking what they see.

      I will be editing this over the coming days and adding to it.

      Comment


        #4
        I had written an early review in another topic, and gave the pilot a 2.5 out of 5. However, I viewed the pilot at a launch party of sorts with a group of friends, so I probably missed some things. Here is the review after viewing the pilot for a second time on my own, updated from the original.

        Plot Analysis: Opening and Icarus Base
        Had a few too many holes and issues for veteran Stargate writers. The multiple flashbacks in the beginning really were not needed, only one would have served a more fluidic purpose in terms of story progression. Cameos from O'Neill and Jackson were awesome and O'Neill's dialogue was hilarious and typically witty. The attack by what I am assuming to be the Lucian Alliance on Icarus Base was a bit ridiculous: a top secret base that one can't even gate to is found by the equivalent of space pirates. Telford is gone after a few lines, and I hope he plays a role from Earth otherwise his character was pointless. The General Hammond should have been able to destroy three Ha'Tak vessels, but we can guess it was the Hammond's maiden voyage and the systems were not fully operational yet (ie asgard beam)?

        Plot Analysis: Events on Destiny
        I loved the entire "failing life support" storyline, it gave the show a sense of urgency. There were some interesting finds (ie Ancient "Kinos") but some parts seemed a bit drawn out. Dr. Rush seems to get hated on by nearly all of the crew (a bit early for this, as it could quickly expose ulterior motives), with Lt. Scott's trust for some reason being put entirely on that of Eli after only being assigned to him for a day. The "shuttle incident" was another weak story segment. At our launch party everyone guessed who was going to die and that Chloe would witness it. Interestingly enough, out of the 80 or so people on the Destiny, very few are military or scientists. Quite a few seem to be random civilians, like the guy in the white shirt going on the away team towards the episodes' end after his only qualified action was failing to close a broken door control. However, the show did end on a very positive note for me, with the gate travel to completely alien worlds exacerbated by the sense of urgency in time before the next jump getting me more interested in the show.

        Character Analysis:
        Overall, the characters had promise, but many were a bit flat in this episode. Look at SG1 or Atlantis' pilots: you had a good feel for the characters and thought they had good introductions/histories by what little you knew by the pilot's end. This is not the case for Universe. The show tried to use some elements of Battlestar (which was excellent in mood, realism, and character development) in character development and feel, and it didn't really succeed in that regard.

        Dr. Rush - At first, I didn't like Rush. After the second viewing, I feel that the writers wrote a very complex character that we as the viewers have only seen a brief segment of. He has lots of promise, although I question the amount of animosity suddenly placed on him in a span of a pilot episode. He has to redeem himself somehow or else his character will lose credibility in the crew's eyes.

        Col. Young - While he could have a strong leadership role, much of his screen time is in bed, typically defying doctor's orders to get back into the situation. At first I felt he was very flat in terms of characterization, but by the episode's end the second time through I feel as if he has promise.

        Lt. Scott - At points I liked Scott, at points I laughed at him in the seemingly ridiculous nature of his character. He had some really strong early moments of being in control, but the character quickly loses credibility. The show (at least on Icarus base) begins with him doing his "girlfriend?", who quickly is forgotten as soon as he begins to comfort Chloe. You can tell that in a few episodes he will be down Chloe's pants and his former partner will probably be completely forgotten.

        Tamara - Pretty good. I liked her for the most part, but her backstory (or what we saw of it) was very clipped and we were left with more questions then answers. For the most part she portrayed a person in her situation and level of expertise fairly well. Could end up being one of the better characters on the show.

        Eli - Easily the best character introduction, shows lots of promise, but are a few Daniel Jackson training videos enough to be a credible person in terms of Ancient tech?

        Chloe Armstrong - The WORST of the characters that actually had a major role in the story. Early on she is a bit annoying (during the speech), but I tolerated it. She freaks (but completely overacted) when her father sacrifices himself, but the entire consolation scene with Scott was over the top. She did little but prove she is a spoiled politician's daughter with forced lines and a whiny demeanor.

        Sergeant Greer- Puzzling character. Of course the show had to have a Teal'c / Ronon like character, but he is truly insane. One minute he is about to snap, and the next he just turns off, accepting orders. I am interested in seeing his backstory.

        Camille Wray - To be perfectly honest, the pilot barely featured her, but she plays a role in Tamara's backstory. Ming-Na is a great actress, so hopefully when given a more substantial role she will play a strong character.

        Telford - Why is he on the character sheet? Probably saw less than five minutes of actual screen time with him in it. He did nothing more than introduce himself and jump into a F-302. What was the point of his character (even though what I saw was ok)? Hope the writers expand on him.

        Conclusion
        Overall the pilot had a some good concepts but was hit and miss in execution. Some of the characters were unimpressive if not downright annoying (Chloe), with a few (like Eli and Rush) offering true promise. The plot seemed jumbled and poorly edited in the beginning. It was not on the level of the other two Stargate pilots. If this was not Stargate, I probably would have given up on it after the first viewing. However, the second viewing proved to be much better when I could actually really focus on the characters and the plot. It still has lots of improvement to make, but the foundation is there for a good show.

        3.5 stars out of 5.
        WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY 2013

        Comment


          #5
          RUSH: I assure you, it'll be worth your while to sign it.
          WALLACE: And if I don't?
          O'NEILL: We'll beam you up to our spaceship.

          A moment later, Eli Wallace is beamed aboard a spaceship, and Stargate Universe takes off on a promising first voyage into a previously uncharted sector of the franchise's fifteen years -- dark, raw and edgy. And while the pilot isn't the greatest thing in the history of television, it might be the best new toy for sci-fi fans this season.

          Robert Carlyle's Nicholas Rush is a scene-stealer of a scientist who isn't afraid to break some rules to accomplish... well, whatever it is he's planning. There is a definite, intentional sense of mystery surrounding the man, and the fact that he's closer to 'lead' status on the show than pretty much anyone else is a rather innovative approach to the matter. Carlyle's acting prowess cannot be overstated; as a guy who went into the premiere having never (consciously, at least) seen something with him in it, I was blown away by how the hype I'd read about him actually paid off.

          David Blue plays the geeky Eli Wallace, who has all the makings of an eventual fan favorite. There's no masking his nerd cred, but it isn't overdone, either. He finds himself the resident newbie of the situation, surrounded by an ensemble of otherwise in-the-know characters, learning in a very short period of time that since 1996 the government has been hiding an enormous secret from the public. Thrust into the next chapter of that secret's massive history, he comes off as positively amazed as any normal person should be; he proves invaluable to the series' appeal.

          There are a lot more characters, but these two stood out for me. It's a big cast. That might be a problem, because if the pilot has anything to say about it, no one has had much time to really shine just yet. But the show is just beginning.

          So what the heck is this about, anyway?

          Well, it's Stargate. There are thousands of gateways upon thousands of planets built many thousands of years ago as interstellar portals for ease of travel across the vast cosmos, and it's an archeologist's wet dream to a military tactician's worst nightmare. The really nifty thing is that this is all going down in our time period, not some distant era. It's a conspiracy, a huge one, and because it's modern, its casts tend to be more down-to-earth and recognizable. Characters' in-jokes often involve pop culture as opposed to something less identifiable.

          But that's the franchise's premise, not Stargate Universe's. SGU challenges the SG-1 mold seen above, and goes a few steps further even than Stargate Atlantis' groundbreaking 'we're in another galaxy now, and we have no idea what to expect' idea, because this time the cast is flung to the distant edge of the, well, universe. It might not sound like much of a leap, but it is shaping up to be one, because the people here weren't supposed to be here to begin with. As the ad slogan goes, 'these are the wrong people, in the wrong place'. That's very much in-tune with what SGU aspires to demonstrate.

          What Worked

          First of all, it was great to see some quality SG-1 cameos. I chose the dialogue snippet at the beginning of this review to reflect that Jack O'Neill's razor-sharp wit is just as welcome as ever here. Daniel Jackson's brief stint as a training video tour guide is a nice touch, and Sam Carter as the commander of the Hammond are two nods at once.

          The special effects are amazing. It's not a stretch to say they're the Stargate brand's best yet. The Ha'tak, a frequently-used enemy spacecraft, whizzed about like a bat out of hell, as opposed to some less believable movements in the past. The ship the crew inevitably winds up on, the Destiny, clearly takes more of a cue from cult favorites such as the Serenity and Galactica than she does with the sleek models we've seen in Stargate's past. Dark and dreary, she embodies the unknown.

          Certain scenes are very memorable. The character of Chloe Armstrong, daughter of a U.S. Senator, impressed me and stood out in a good way. And Senator Armstrong himself delivers a surprisingly decent performance by show's end. Eli Wallace shares a scene with the young 1st Lieutenant Matthew Scott that is sure to treasured.

          And that's not getting into Nicholas Rush, who I zeroed in on earlier. His actor's delivery is exemplary, and he manages to captivate with ease. There are moments in which Rush seems truly sympathetic, but he turns around and proclaims his innocence so fast you're really left guessing what the hell the deal is. It's refreshing and exhilarating to see someone so potentially devious in more than just a passing role in Stargate, and it will be worth my time to see where it's headed.

          What Didn't Work

          The entire first hour was weaker than the second, and I blame that heavily on certain character-specific flashbacks we were given in the first hour. The problem with them is that they're so intentionally vague, you're really left wondering why many of them were there to begin with.

          The one major pitfall to this episode is a specific flashback in particular. Scott's introductory number was nothing more than a clearly irrelevant sex act, straight down to an immature 'satisfied' expression on the woman's face after he's inevitably called off to duty. The line itself -- 'what's your position?' -- pertaining to Scott's whereabouts during the act is especially cringe-worthy. This was a ratings-grab, and it was just poorly done and unnecessary.

          Ultimately...

          Stargate Universe has promise. If it can capitalize on the good, and not descend into soap opera drivel, I'm stoked. It has to be careful, though. Season previews show there's more 'sex sells' philosophy where that flashback came from. If the relationships evolve well, it's compelling. If they're forced and contrived, SGU could shoot itself in the foot.

          'Air, Part I and II'
          8.0
          Last edited by Jeff O'Connor; October 4, 2009, 02:17 PM.
          If you've seen a Jeff O'Connor or a JeffZero or a Jeff Zero or a JeffZeroConnor elsewhere on the net, there's a considerable chance it's me.

          Comment


            #6
            Stargate Universe is a breath of fresh "Air" for the franchise.
            By: Daniel Shea (s09119)

            "Found anything?"
            "...
            Destiny."
            "As in ours?"

            -Eli Wallace and Dr. Nicholas Rush, "Air, Part 2"

            After 15 collective seasons of a franchise that combined action, adventure, and comedy in brilliant science-fiction form, Stargate Universe is a tremendous step in a new direction for both the writers and the grand world they have given us these past twelve years. It's both a departure from the norm and a return to the beginning, and in some ways, it exemplifies exactly what has made Stargate such an enduring name in an era of remakes and reboots. What is this quality that allows the characters and ideas we all love to go on for so long while other series fade into the past? One word: destiny.

            But first, the episodes in question. Universe, like Atlantis before it, continues to raise the bar of standards in a modern sci-fi series, right from the very first few seconds. "Air, Part 1" opens with a breathtaking shot of an Ancient vessel of completely original form bursting into sight, with a stirring and emotion-filled score from composer Joel Goldsmith leading the way. The effects are top-notch, far surpassing anything seen on Stargate for some time, and even the music sounds as if it's had its level on the Epic Scale pushed up a few notches. The very feel of this establishing shot easily sets it apart from its predecessors, with a clean, simple first look that carries with it its own profound sense of awe and wonder. And the journey, of course, has only just begun.

            Universe is a distinctly new brand on the old Stargate package, and the writing and production team have clearly taken a few cues from other successful series of the times such as Battlestar Galactica; the usually-bright and colorful lightning of the franchise as been swapped for a subdued, almost surreal look, and there is an ever-present look of distinct realism to these projections of the future. Gone are the pastel colors of the Goa'uld wardrobe or the plainly plastic-based makeup of the Wraith, and instead the harsh metals and jagged edges of the Destiny are brought in as the predominant theme. As they say, out with the old and in with the new, even if the "new" in this case look much older than the "old."

            On that note, the set design is, quite simply, fantastic. The Icarus Base harkens back to the utilitarian nature of the SGC while bringing aesthetic updates for the here and now, and the layout of the Ancient vessel our heroes find themselves trapped on is remarkably well-done. It seamlessly blends the alien exterior and more human-influenced interior in one beautiful craft that showcases Ancient technology in an entirely new way. After the towering spires of Atlantis and the Pegasus Galaxy, the subdued and even primitive-by-comparison appearance of the Destiny is jarring, but in a successful way, very obviously illustrating the great span of time between the two eras.

            The opening halves of "Air" are divided cleanly into two distinct, but connected, storylines, the first dealing primarily with the evacuation of the humans from their hidden base, and the second following their attempts to survive past the first hour in their new (and hopefully temporary) home in deep space. Interspersed with their struggles on the Ancient ship, though, are flashbacks to before and during the attack on Icarus, and it is here that we as an audience meet and begin to understand the wide array of characters in this drama and their motivations; from the enigmatic and questionable Dr. Nicholas Rush to the "ordinary" Eli Wallace to the unstable and worrisome Sgt. Ronald Greer, these people are almost polar opposites to the do-no-wrong heroes and heroines of SG-1 and Atlantis, but they come as a refreshing new look at what was becoming a stale formula.

            Likewise, the plot itself is something of a first for Stargate; it is paced around character interaction and small-scale dilemmas, not the galactic crises we have come to expect of the franchise. There are no vast alien fleets coming to destroy Earth or abandoned superweapons preparing to fire, only an old and unreliable life support system rapidly spiraling into inactivity, and the episodes benefit from this more-focused emergency. It is pure human survival instinct driving the actions of the characters, not a seeming endless need to "do the right thing" at every turn and protect every living thing in all of the cosmos, and as such, the audience is able to connect to the hearts and minds of these people much more easily. The only enemies are one another, with prominent figures lining up supporters to rally for authority of the lost survivors and hidden agendas already turning some against their most valuable members.

            For once, the greatest needs of our protagonists are not saving the citizens of a medieval village from their demons, but instead fighting for the basic elements their own sweet survival. Food, water, and air are just a few of the things we take so for granted that the Destiny crew finds themselves completely cut off from, and their plight is all the stronger for it. They have no friendly human worlds to turn to in a time of need, nor the safety of Earth to return to after every mission. They are, for all intents and purposes, striking ever-deeper into the unknown, where greater challenges than they can imagine await them.

            But of course, "Air" is not without its fair share of issues, most-notably a reliance on what the writers presume a younger audience hungers for; sex. The one scene of "adult" taste in the pilot does add a sense of unreadiness to the characters involved, and is perfectly within reason for soldiers stationed so far from home, but that same feel could have been added another way without a very un-Stargate shot in the dark. Some lines simply fall flat, as well, and the rather out-of-nowhere attack on the Icarus Base itself came off as more contrived than anything else, but these are small nitpicks in an otherwise amazing premiere. The second hour is undoubtedly the better of the two, but not by much, and this pilot opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the future.

            When this began, I mentioned that what set Stargate Universe apart from other shows was destiny, and no, I did not mean the namesake ship of the series. Instead, Universe gives its crowd a feel that our fates are what we make of them, tossing humans mercilessly into shark-infested waters and watching them fight to stay alive. This ramshackle crew is anything but perfect or prepared for the days ahead, but they steadfastly refuse to surrender hope, hanging on to themselves and one another in a concerted effort to beat the odds and return to Earth. These are not the people of Battlestar Galactica, who seemed so sure that all was lost from Day 1, nor the ridiculously-upbeat travelers of Star Trek: Voyager, but instead a group with a flair all its own, understanding the grave nature of their situation but refusing to give in until they have no cards left to play.

            Like those shows that came before, only time will tell what lies beyond this new gateway to the universe, but if "Air" is any indication, the ninth chevron has unlocked a whole new reality of wonder, one that appears to be well-worth the wait.

            "Air, Part 1": ***1/2
            "Air, Part 2": ****
            Last edited by s09119; October 16, 2009, 10:17 PM.
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            Comment


              #7
              The newest offering from the Stargate fanchise, Stargate Universe, takes the viewer where no StarGate fan has been before. And while there are potentially both good and bad things about this, one thing is certain, this is definitely a darker, grittier version of Stargate.

              The premise for the new series is interesting and builds upon Stargate history. However the story itself was not overly compelling and was a bit slow in spots. The producers used the technique of flashback to tell much of the story for the first hour. Unfortunately it was overused and diminished a lot of dramatic tension and disrupted a sense of story continuity making it difficult to follow at times. The second hour had less flashbacks and this helped to tighten the story up and allow it to flow better and more coherently.

              What didn’t help this episode were the intrusive commercial breaks. The break to commercial came very abruptly and lasted too long. As the episode wore on, some of the breaks were about as long as the last few scenes of the show. It made watching the show feel disjointed as it broke any build-up of tension, emotion or connection with the story at that moment.

              Production values and CGI in this episode were very impressive. Obviously there was a lot of money and effort put into the conceptual output of the episode. It was almost too much though. The shooting style - with the shaky camera and abrupt cuts - quickly grew distracting and the lighting was either too harsh or too dark. These types of cinematography elements can be good, and if used effectively can enhance or set the mood for a particular scene. When used continuously they just distract from the story; in SGU it seemed these production elements literally overshadowed and upstaged the characters and story instead of enhancing it.

              While a lot of attention was obviously given to the production values, the same can not be said for the characters. While the characters are interesting, for the most part they are unappealing - it was not easy to connect to them, if at all. There were a lot of character moments – but not necessarily quality moments. Because it was hard to become emotionally invested in these characters, the character moments that were present felt forced and overly dramatic.

              The premiere seemed to center around the characters of Dr. Rush, Lt Scott and Eli.

              Dr. Rush seems to be the most interesting character so far – quite an enigma. It could be interesting to see how the writers flesh his character out but it will be a delicate balance to keep his character edgy and off balance without him becoming a totally detestable character.

              Lt Scott’s character seems to be a contradiction - one minute he is having sex on duty with a fellow officer, which is a dereliction of duty, and the next he is competently taking charge – not quite sure what to make of him at this point.

              Eli, though well played by David Blue, was a bit disappointing. His main purpose seemed to be as a plot device used to explain Stargate history, the token comic relief or as the person to blame. For someone who was kidnapped, had his mother threatened if he didn’t cooperate and then found himself on a dying ancient spaceship lost in space he was a bit too laid back about the whole situation. Was there no anger, no frustration of how he was treated? Almost everyone else was freaking out and other than an occasional joke, we saw little emotion from him.

              The only female characters that got substantial airtime were TJ and Chloe, and unfortunately both had fairly predictable lines in accordance with their, at least so far, predictable characters.

              Chloe’s grief over her father’s death was heartfelt, and her reaction was understandable and well played; however it was unremarkable and lacked true depth – girl loses father, girl gets angry, girl slaps face of man she blames, girl is comforted in the arms of handsome guy. It was so predictable, so cliché’ and so frustratingly banal. Couldn’t they have tried something different, something truly edgy instead of sticking with the standard drama sequence?

              TJ’s character seemed stiff and cold. Other than a flashback scene showing her arguing with Wray; her lines seemed limited to “don’t move” or “you’ll be okay.” Her character contributed so little it was easily forgettable. However if the producers were going for tall, blonde and beautiful, that was achieved. These episodes are yet another disappointing example of Stargate’s history of under portraying its female characters

              The traditional Stargate humor was all but gone from this episode. The one scene that was actually a bit humorous and had a glimmer of how Stargate used to feel was when Eli was watching the training tapes that Dr. Jackson had made. His reactions were well done and the training tape idea was fun but even still it felt a bit forced as it was obviously only present for the purpose of bringing new viewers up to speed with Stargate history.

              SGU was not a totally horrible premiere, but it was lackluster and disappointing. There were new and edgy production values with a dynamic visual style which unfortunately were overused and only became distracting. There was a good foundation for a story; however it was somewhat plodding and difficult to follow.

              The characters, instead of being truly dramatic, deep and compelling came off as clichéd, predictable. While the character moments were plentiful, they felt somewhat superficial and forced making it difficult to connect to any of them. To succeed, the writers need to come up with truly compelling yet likable characters that the viewer can become emotionally invested in. They also need to avoid the trap of having the series become overly melodramatic, which based on the characters and survivor storyline presented so far this can easily happen. Perhaps these issues will work themselves out in the ensuing episodes.

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                #8
                If Air Part One had the enormous task of engaging me in a new Stargate adventure, Air Part Two had the equally enormous task of keeping me interested. The middle episode of a trilogy is always tricky but this one delivers drama as the story focuses on survival and introduces tension through the theme of power plays. It delivers more information about the ship and its mission but just as in the first part, there is a huge attempt to 'keep it real' despite the alien setting.

                Much of the feeling of reality comes from the realistic condition of the Ancient ship both internal and external. While I may wish for more light, both the special effects and set design are incredible; everything looks grimy, dark, musty and unused - no shiny Atlantis perfection here. The excellent broken down scrubber which is just a lump of black sludge adds to this feeling as does the broken shuttle with its leaky window. It's nicely seamless.

                Equally seamless is the information 'drops' about the technology. Rush takes the brunt of the exposition about the Destiny with Eli providing a similar role on the discovery of the kino. Some of it clearly is exposition and does come across as a touch awkward particularly when Rush relays the information about the ship's name and its unmanned history. The introduction of the kino is done better with a nice back and forth between Eli and Scott, and the introduction of the communication stones is also done well as Rush seemingly communicates with Earth.

                The communication with Earth deftly raises the question of leadership which creates tension between the characters. Rush is clearly not trusted to lead; Scott assumes command in the absence of Young. But this question of leadership, hinted at in the barbed interplay between Young and Rush in Part One and continued in Part Two, is clearly going to be an underlying theme for the show with Camile Wray also hinted to be the de facto civilian leader as Young and Scott use her to disseminate information to the others.

                One early contender for the role of leader is Senator Armstrong but the character is removed from the story by virtue of the main plot point in this second part of Air: the need for someone to die for the rest to live. It's a very old philosophical question: imagine sitting in a leaking boat with a number of other people; one has to die so the others live - who do you choose? How do you choose?

                Here, time is spent on debating the question which is fabulous. I loved the scene between Young, Scott and TJ where Young tries to offer himself but is refused help. This triumvirate of military officers have a really nice chemistry in this scene with a genuine respect and an open exchange of ideas between the three of them that hints at a cohesive, functioning unit. Kudos to all three actors in making that scene work so well.

                If Young, ultimately, is refused the option of sacrificing himself: Armstrong is not. The Senator's sacrifice and death are fantastically done. The whole piece is done with great sensitivity, the impact of his action shown clearly in everyone's reactions: Greer and Franklin look guilty at allowing the Senator to enter the shuttle, Rush and Eli are left helpless to do anything in the control room. His sacrifice is given time and its impact is not quickly swept under the carpet. Instead, Elyse Levesque absolutely shines as Chloe, who is given time in the story to show both her anger and her grief at the loss of her father. While the scene talking about her father later appears more contrived, the immediate scene post her father's sacrifice where she sobs in the airlock really pulls at the emotions and is helped by the underscore of music.

                The death of the Senator again drives home the reality of the situation: not everyone is going to survive. And survival is the key mission directive here. The questions of what to do to survive are at the heart of the plot whether in relation to the Senator's sacrifice, to how to fix the scrubber, to whether to use what power they have to dial Earth. The survivors are seen looking through the supplies and assessing what they have. Realistically, one person is shown beginning to hoard food; people aren't perfect.

                It is this portrayal of people as complete individuals that once again makes the show shine. They all don't like each other. The scene between Wray and Greer is fabulous but so too is the frisson between Young and Rush. I can only hope that this tension between characters will continue and won't be quickly forgotten as in Trek's Voyager.

                Two little niggles that detract: one, the characters all seem so clean at the end of Air Part Two - did they all find the bathroom to wash up?? And second, the passage of time isn't very clear and seems contradictory: Young has enough time to recover from serious injury to be up on his feet and taking charge by the end versus the absence of proper food and water mentioned in one scene.

                However, niggles aside, as the ship arrives at a planet and with the hope they can find what they need to survive, (a nice way of refocusing on the Stargate), the questions of will they find what they need and what happens next definitely leave me interested in tuning in for the answers.

                Air Part Two is true to the first part. It too focuses on an overriding vision of real people having to think their way out of life threatening and alien situations. So far, the show has delivered interesting characters, an intelligent and compelling plot, excellent tension and some good drama. It's a quality addition to the Stargate franchise and I can't wait to see if this high level of quality can continue in Air Part Three and the rest of the season.
                Last edited by Rachel500; June 7, 2010, 12:41 PM.
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                Women of the Gate LJ Community.
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                  #9
                  On August 22, 2008, shortly after announcing the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis, the Sci Fi (SyFy) Channel gave the official greenlight for MGM’s newest addition to the Stargate saga – Stargate Universe. Fandom exploded. Rumours and gossip regarding the reasons for the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis ran amok, campaigns were started (and generally ended just as quickly), and tempers flared as new factions began to form among the ranks of die-hard Stargate fans. Touted as "a completely separate, third entity" by the show’s creators back in 2007, this seemingly innocuous statement served to fan the flames of discontent, discord, and debate, threatening to overwhelm any positive publicity for the third installment of the long running Stargate franchise. As more information was made public by various sources (often writer Joseph Mallozzi’s personal blog), fandom remained stubbornly divided into two major camps; those convinced that any change meant the ruination of what made Stargate Stargate and those who welcomed the change as the much needed revitalisation of a stagnant franchise. It was a unique phenomenon, to be sure; rarely are there occasion where such intense scrutiny is applied to a show still in its early production stages. In response, producers, writers, cast and crew were coming forward with momentous praise of the as yet unaired Stargate Universe presumably to counter the ever lengthening strings of gossip and the rapidly churning rumour mill.

                  Was it enough? Yet more importantly, was it true?

                  Stargate Universe starts off in chaos; people spilling haphazardly out of a brightly lit gate, bags and containers flying through, landing upon a growing mass of injured people. It’s soon established that these people are just as clueless about the event unfolding as the audience surely is. Lost and dazed, these wholly unfamiliar characters seem flung into a situation not of their own making, victims of someone else's whim and the audience is immediately forced to wonder whose and why….before being flung mercilessly back in time to watch supposedly explanatory events. And so “Air - Part I” and “Air – Part II” continue in a series of rapid fire sequences alternating from what we’ll come to recognise as the “present” to what is most assuredly the past; the first half of the pilot episode turning out to be as chaotic as it’s very first scene.

                  It’s a fitting theme for a show about “the wrong people” stranded on a practically derelict ship “seventeen billion light years from home.” And in this sense Stargate Universe makes its first departure from its predecessors. What SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis had in common was their optimistic, humorous, and often irreverent take on science fiction. Stargate Universe wastes no time in disillusioning viewers of the notion that it’ll be anything like that. From extortion to lies to sex to the stark realism of life stranded in space on a ship with barely any supplies on hand and virtually no clue with how it works or what it does, Stargate Universe lays its cards bare from the outset. From the characters to the sets, present time moral dilemmas to flashback revelations, Stargate Universe wastes no time in boldly separating itself from the pack. Unfortunately, while aiming for “darker”, “edgier”, and “grittier”, the pilot episode falls victim to its own hype. As much as a pilot episode is supposed to be a viewer’s first introduction to a new setting and new characters, Stargate Universe simply tries to do too much too soon.

                  Flashbacks are generally an acceptable story telling device for bringing relevant past events into the present. If every person’s character is an accumulation of their past experiences, then allowing viewers to witness some of that past unfold is a great opportunity for insight into the characters, becoming very common practice on television. In the pilot episode of Stargate Universe all it really does is clutter what would have otherwise been a solid episode. These explanatory sequences, used to establish why these people are stranded on this ship lost in space, mostly serve to deprive the episode of any tension whatsoever; they’re badly cut and wholly unnecessary. The pilot would have been better served with a straight forward narrative given that there’s simply too much being established – setting, characters, motivation, rivalries, etc. – in a manner that distracts from the action at hand.

                  “Air” spends a lot of time (too much time?) unequivocally establishing that these are the “wrong people” for this situation, a fact that it seems the writers do not want the viewers to forget. The established belief seems to be that the “wrong people” in dire circumstances, circumstances that equal life or death situations more often than not, makes for more compelling television, darker television, even grittier television. But this begs the question, are there ever the right people for such situations? The pilot episode wastes so much time attempting to establish the wrongness of its characters, the direness of the situation these characters have fallen into, that one starts to wonder exactly why anyone would ever have any hope for survival. There’s a darkness to Stargate Universe that rings false not because it shouldn’t be there, but because it’s so forced. While a straightforward narrative would have allowed for a traditional narrative, a smooth introduction the world of Stargate Universe, utilising flashbacks to establish past events is evidence the writers picked and chose only what were considered the scenes with the most punch; debatably the most important scenes before being forced onto the Destiny, but also ones too obviously used for dramatic purposes.

                  Stargate Universe’s pilot isn’t bad and it’s better than good, but it would be better off if the producers and the writers forgot all about the hype. In their many attempts to get the fans to forget the drama amongst fandom in the months leading up to the premiere of “Air”, the producers and writers can’t seem to let go of it themselves. Instead of emulating the past, they’re trying too hard to run away from it and it’s already too obvious. The characters are interesting, the story has much potential, the actors are definitely capable of handling the material, and as much as people love to make comparisons to other shows, Stargate Universe definitely has the potential to stand on its own. There were glimmers of greatness in the pilot and with some work and a little wake up call, the writers should be able to grasp it with both hands and more forward towards something greater.

                  On a more personal note, I’m hoping Ming-Na gets more to do than be the requisite IOA harpy. Please, PTB of Stargate Universe, I know I’m saying to quit being so obvious about your desire to pull away from SG-1 and SGA, but in this case you need to pull far, far away. Try something new with Camille Wray. Try actually making her a likeable human being. See where that takes you.
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                    #10
                    As The Destiny Turns

                    On the DVD, Part 1 & 2 are combined, and also with Part 3 in the "Air - Extended Version", which I would recommend because the small amount of additional footage helps smooth the pacing of key character introductions. To see the middle part in a proper context, it's easiest to just watch the whole thing over again. In Part 2, most of what happens is still on the ship and fairly character intensive. It's hard to avoid some overlap in recalling what was learned where, so I will try to separate out the non-time-dependent character information absorbed from watching SGU so far, mostly from Part 2, while not revealing time-crucial action events that don't unfold sequentially until Part 3.

                    After watching again, I have to admit that there was plenty of neat sci-fi stuff in Part 1 after all: spaceships, an exploding planet, the Stargate, psychic conciousness-swapping communication stones and flying camera mini-malps nicknamed Kinos, but, it was a little hard to appreciate, first time around, under the barrage of all-new characters.

                    I initially tended to latch onto the enigmatic Dr. Rush as an anchor character but now am trying get a handle on some of the others. It helps to turn on subtitles and jot down a few notes. Is this entertainment or what.

                    Eli is a geek-genius, a good kid who is starting to show some mettle beyond his demonstrated superior mental abilities. Rush is barely tolerant of the other people around him but seems to have taken a shine to young Eli. To draw a broad parallel with "Lost in Space" , Eli seems to be becoming to Will Robinson what Dr. Rush is to Dr. Smith. No robot yet though. I always liked that robot.

                    Anyway...

                    Col. Young has some kind of epilepsy, and suffered serious injuries after being violently ejected from Destiny's gate, but is slowly getting better under the care of T.J., a beautiful blond medic. She has a demur niceness about her like SG's Carter or, dare I say, Mary Anne of "Gilligan's Island". Young also has marital problems in part due to some sort of past affair with the aforementioned T.J. Back before the Icarus attack, T.J. intended to quit, presumably to cover up the affair from Camile. Camile is the rather severe IOA personnel officer who is probably a lesbian. Camile suspects T.J. and grills her with accusations of not being forthcoming in her stated reason for resignation, but Camile also has some shady dealings going on with an IOA bigwig. Together with the hard-nosed Col. Telford, Young's nemesis, they appear to be out to get Young so they can take over Destiny for their own, likely sinister, purposes. Camile doesn't like Greer, who is a good soldier but a bit of a hothead, in trouble for decking Telford, but who is now out of lockup on parole by Young, who needs Greer's skills, and who, like Greer, also doesn't like Telford. Telford is decidedly unlikeable.

                    We've lost one character, the blustery but dying Senator who sacrificed himself to extend Destiny's air supply for another day. Chloe, the pretty daughter of the Senator, got a bit out of sorts, to say the least, due to the death of her father. Via the psychic stones, she eventually gets to visit her mother who appears to be struggling with a drinking problem.

                    Also via the stones, Telford swaps bodies with Young, who visits his wife. The wife apparently knows about the affair and that TJ is on Destiny, but, Young intends to keep things professional from here on out and informs his wife that he wants her to wait for him through the separation, even though he is a billion light years away, and it would take a million years to fly back. Sure, that's reasonable. Meanwhile, Telford starts damaging Young's body while flinging ill-advised orders about like a jerk, so TJ knocks him out with a sedative.

                    Scott, a strapping young Lt. , has been more-or-less discretely enjoying the company of comely colleague-in-arms 2nd Lt. Vanessa James, which is to say, um, really enjoying her company, but, now, Scott is getting interested in Chloe.

                    And, oh look, some people are going to go through the stargate to an alien planet.
                    Last edited by apostrophe; June 9, 2010, 03:37 PM. Reason: standardize title format
                    "Thank God it hit the Reading Library, or somebody might have been seriously hurt!"

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                      #11
                      Air, Part 2

                      In the second part of the episode, we get more action on the ship then we did before and we even learn about various parts of the ship they're inhabiting. Of course, even though they've moved past the chaos towards exploring the ship and establishing some of the stuff that we'll probably see in later episodes; it still manages to have that unevenness and unsettling Lost-like atmosphere that the first episode had.

                      In our first shots of the ship, we see how run down the ship is; from it's rustic walls to it's seemingly dank looks to it's neglected areas, it's apparent that this ship has gone through some wear & tear and it's certainly interesting the first time we see these scenes as we're like the characters on the show, exploring something we have never seen before and well, it's certainly interesting. However, I do have to comment that certain areas look more like a video game then a run-down spaceship and that can affect what the writers were going for due to some things looking awkward and out-of-place.

                      However, as much as their first steps onboard the ship may seem; the show has some sort of quota to fulfill when it comes to the situation to the ship and well, it fulfills it but at the cost of any sense of uncertainty when it comes to the real world. I can understand why they feel the need to contact the real world but it doesn't help the series when it comes the mood the series wants to establish and it certainly contradicts some stuff said later in the episode that helps set that mood. I mean if the most important person in the SGC knows if the 80-plus people are alive and that the 8th chevron worked then what's the point of even worrying whether or not people know if you're dead or alive; they know you're on the Destiny and they're going to try to do everything to help you, so what's the point of worrying?

                      Of course, the stakes are raised when it's discovered that there's something wrong on the ship that affects everybody's well being. It certainly helps to increase the tension of the already tense ship and it did lead to some good moments; however, it also raises up one problem about the show that's already consistent. This show is supposed to mainly be a character study/drama and as such it's giving focus to most of it's characters but the entire focus can be lost sometimes, especially in scenes where the people argue for something that isn't even feasibly possible and for something that is more important then living. While this may be what they may do, it doesn't make much logical sense to lash out at the supposed leader against stuff like this and what he or he cannot do despite his logical arguments; it makes the people look like careless/selfish people instead of people who care about surviving. (which is what they should be doing in a unfamiliar situation like this.)

                      Aside from that, they do attempt to use the survival situation to explore our characters a bit through dialog. The result, while we learned a bit more about the two characters Chloe and Desmond; (Dr. Rush) with him in particular slowly establishing himself as a character; I still don't care about the majority of the characters and what happens to them. Having viewers care about characters usually involves three things, having something interesting about the character, having something attractive about the character and making sure that the character is well treated; if you don't have those elements in those characters then people will not care, even if they act in relation to what's happening around them. Take for instance the Jack character; I'm sure probably has a deep backstory that people will like but there is nothing he's doing that's making me focus on him, he just seems like the rest of the people on the ship; except for a forceful tone that identifies him as the leader.

                      I will say that the actor behind Chloe is the best of the bunch; even though the situation she's in is generic, she does it with such brevity and emotion that you can't help but to feel attached to her. Seriously, her chops as an actor are shown in the second part of the episode and it seems like that she's truly sad for what happened as if it actually happened. Good acting is when actors manage to break past the barrier and give it their heart and soul, what she did was good acting.

                      Anyways, there is some technical stuff that gives the series some technical weight and it does give the appearance that these guys know what they're doing and makes the Destiny feel a bit more real. Referencing Stargate history is a bit much and it more then it's introducing the stuff viewers have never heard of before to them, but since newer people are likely to be unaware of Stargate (except for the hardcore fans) I'll let it slide. However, that technical stuff doesn't contribute much to their characters and it just there to make it feel like a Stargate series, apparent during the way the characters act whenever technological information is mentioned.

                      Some positive things, the name of the ship is revealed ("Destiny") and at least the show is laying out the mystery that'll support the series as a whole.

                      So, is there anything else to mention? Probably not. The second part focuses on the ship a little bit more and while that leads to some good things and a bit of exploration into the Destiny, the action is as unfocused as ever and most of the characters have not found their voice. Don't get me wrong, the characters are growing and the actor behind Chloe gives her best performance in the entire show by far. However, the character growth is slow and the casual viewer may not be as patient when it comes to getting something out of a show. Let's see if this changes in the final part where they trek through a planet in an attempt to save their ship.

                      5.0/10
                      Last edited by ZRFTS; April 5, 2012, 04:02 PM.
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