Sunday, June 5, 2011

'Stargate Universe' Season Two (2010)

Starring Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira and Brian J. Smith
Created by Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper

SGU: Stargate Universe - The Complete Final SeasonTelevision shows have to walk a certain razor's edge - A show with serialized storytelling and longrunning storylines runs the risk of getting canceled before it has the chance to tell the entire story.  'Stargate Universe' joins the sad pantheon of shows that won't get a proper resolution.

After the events of Season One, the crew of the Destiny finds their vessel hijacked by members of the Lucian Alliance.  Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira) and the rest of the Destiny crew are abandoned on a hostile planet, except for a few that managed to hide aboard Destiny.  After they manage to retake the ship, they find that they've landed smack dab in the middle of a new problem: The new galaxy Destiny has entered is populated by a fleet of alien drone ships programmed to seek out and destroy any technology not their own.  It seems that, ages ago, an alien race constructed these drones in a war against a vicious enemy.  When the war was over, the drones turned on their creators and have lain dormant ever since.

Now, with their ancient vessel slowly falling apart and supplies dwindling, the crew of Destiny must figure out a way to get past the legions of automated drones that stand between them and safe haven on the other side of the galaxy.  But at each turn, the drones prove a difficult and increasingly dangerous enemy, cutting off the Destiny from the supplies it most desperately needs.

The second season of 'Stargate Universe' suffers from a lot of the same problems as the first, but on the whole, I found this to be a better, more well-rounded and consistent season of television.  It also moved at a bit of a quicker pace.  The individual episodes move at a quicker pace, and there's a higher action quotient for the season overall. 

The first half of the season concerns itself mostly with cleaning up the Lucian Alliance storyline that began in Season One.  It turns out that the Alliance has been planning some kind of an attack on Earth, and that some of the members now trapped aboard Destiny may have intelligence on the operation.  Part of the problem here is that the Lucian Alliance has never really been a particularly compelling aspect of the 'Stargate' mythology.  They weren't all that interesting in the latter seasons of 'Stargate SG-1' and they're still not all that interesting here, either.  The storyline feels like a bit of a waste of time, when the show should be focusing on the other big revelations: that Rush (Robert Carlyle) has found out how to control the ship and discovered Destiny's true mission. 

A couple of the storylines are extended over a number of episodes, but don't really go anywhere.  Chloe (Elyse Levesque) has a lengthy storyline involving some kind of alien infection that begins to make her smarter, but also may be allowing the aliens from Season One to track the ship.  This storyline just kind of peters out after a couple of episodes, and Chloe spends the rest of the season not doing much of anything. 

Still, once 'Stargate Universe' gets its footing, it is quite entertaining.  The second half of the season features a number of compelling episodes, including the "Twin Destinies" and the two-part followup "Common Descent" and "Epilogue."  The continuous run-ins with the drones are also quite cool, especially once things start escalating.  There's not a bad episode in the bunch, making it all the more sad that 'Universe' comes to a close on a cliffhanger, with no hope of getting any kind of resolution. 

'SGU' might not have been the greatest TV show to hit the airwaves, but I did enjoy it.  I'm sad that it won't get a chance to explore its supposed five-year storyline. 

See Also
Season One