I’ve been a big fan of the original Stargate: SG-1 SciFi series that ran for 10 seasons and had two direct-to-DVD movies. Just like with any successful TV show, producers created a spinoff series titled, Stargate: Atlantis which I also watched on and off when I had spare time. I thought Atlantis was an ok show, but after 6 seasons it seemed to duplicate a lot of the storylines from the SG-1 series. Now, MGM has created a new series called Stargate: Universe which I watched the pilot episode last night. After watching this first episode, I really question whether this series is “new”.
Universe has a lot of similarities to the previous Atlantis series, which I’ve sumarized below:
- Universe is set on a newly discovered Ancient spaceship — Atlantis is set on a newly discovered Ancient city (actually, a spaceship also)
- The Universe crew sets out to explore their new surroundings — the Altantis crew sets out to explore their new surroundings
- The Universe crew are in dire straits with a dying ship and must figure out how to fix the life support — the same for the Altantis crew
- The Universe crew are really, really far away from Earth and can’t go back home — same for the Atlantis crew (at least for the first few seasons)
- The Rodney McKay (brilliant scientist) character on Atlantis has been replaced by Dr. Rush and a college-aged young man who figure out an Ancient problem by playing a video game
- Major Sheppard on Atlantis is equivalent to Lt. Scott on Universe
A lot of similarities… maybe too many. The filming of Universe is a direct copy of Battlestar Galactica, where they use a lot of hand-held cameras (ala, the show 24). They even showed a steamy sex scene which seemed to be another direct copy of Battlestar Galactica. It was obvious the producers were trying to piggyback off the success of BSG— maybe too obvious.
So will Universe be a hit? I really don’t think so. I think the concept of the Stargate series has suffered “franchise fatigue”, a term quoted and used for the last Star Trek series, Enterprise. I’ll predict that Universe will recycle old stories from the past Stargate series, as well as from Star Trek and BSG. Whatever the case, I’ll probably watch the next few episodes and see if the writers and producers can really come up with a fresh new show, or just show the same old stuff.