Thought's on Stargate Universe's finale
Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 9:50PM
Matthew Kopelke in TV & DVDs

I really hate it when a show gets cancelled just as it is getting good. A lot of sci-fi shows seem to be like that - Enterprise is but one recent example that I can think of where a couple of lacklustre seasons led into some truly amazing stories and ideas. Stargate Universe was a bit like this, although I never felt that the first season of the show was bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I relished the slower pacing and the focus on each individual character, and with each week’s episode focussing on a single problem the crew have found with the Destiny. But I will concede that in terms of tone the first season certainly felt like a poor man’s Battlestar Galactica, right down to the style of visual effects shots employed. But then things improved dramatically in Season Two, which is when the axe came falling down on the show - which meant another frustrating finale without resolution.

OK, so there was definitely a nice sense of symmetry employed in the episode, and if you didn’t know better, you’d assume that this was always how the show was intended to end. Having it end the way it began, with an (almost) empty Destiny powering down the various decks and moving off into the dead of space was a poetic way to finish things. The notion that the crew from Icarus Base were potentially going to still be drifting out there in Deep Space for years to come was a chilling way to end things, even if it was only ever meant to be an end-of-series finale. But this does bring up one of my pet peeves with television network executives, and this is true the world over - they need to give production teams enough notice about a show being cancelled to allow for them to wrap things up, or if this isn’t possible at least offer them a TV movie slot post-final episode to do just that.

Having been a late convert to the Stargate universe, and only just now slowly starting to get on top of both Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, I am only now starting to understand some of the plot points present in Stargate Universe, all the stuff about the Lucian Alliance, Homeworld Security, and just how Earth managed to build such impressive spaceships. So while the end of SGU isn’t the end of my Stargate journey in general (I think at present count I have another 6 months worth of episodes to go before I run out of material, watching the shows at the rate of about 1 episode every 2-3 days), now that all of the pieces are falling into place, I can see where SGU fits into things, and it’s such a shame that Colonel Young and his team don’t have more adventures ahead of them. Even the planned TV movies seem to be ruled out now, which is a shame.

So it’s with great sadness and a pinge of wondering what might have been as we say farewell to the Destiny, and her ragtag crew of people from Icarus Base. While the show was far from perfect, it really deserved better treatment by a cable channel supposedly aiming for a sci-fi audience (sorry, SyFy audience). Seems that even when you’re a sci-fi show, and you are airing on a sci-fi network, that isn’t enough to keep you on the air. But then I guess it always does come down to ratings, and if the show isn’t performing then I guess on one level it deserves to go. But go ask any fan of Firefly about this attitude, and you’ll soon realise that sometimes a show’s success cannot really be measured in Nielson figures a day or two after broadcast. Will we ever see further adventures in the Stargate universe? Not sure, but I for one hope so. Stranger things have happened in the world.

Article originally appeared on The Sunday Talk (http://thesundaytalk.squarespace.com/).
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