Normally I don't write about fictional television shows here. I rarely even watch fictional television shows. Currently, there's not any that I watch that are in season...but there's about to be. The series premier of Stargate Universe is Friday, October 2nd.
Stargate Universe is going to be the third series of the Stargate franchise of television shows. The first show, Stargate SG-1, picked up about a year after where the original Stargate movie left off. After 10 seasons, Stargate SG-1 is the longest running sci-fi television show ever (although if Smallville goes into a 10th season, it will surpass it in total number of episodes). It's also the longest running scripted cable television show ever.
I think the success of SG-1 is based on numerous factors. It has an interesting concept, is written well, and has a great cast and characters. One thing I really like about it is how they mix ancient mythologies and sci-fi. In the original movie, the team travels through the stargate (a device that opens wormholes to other planets) to the planet Abydos and meet Ra, the Egyptian sun god, who just so happens to be an alien. The stargate itself had been found buried in Eygpt....buried thousands of years ago and forgotten about. In the show, they continue to go on missions through the stargate in search of new technologies, allies, and to fight the bad guys that threaten earth.
The successor to Stargate SG-1 was Stargate Atlantis. Basically Atlantis followed a format similar to SG-1, but was a different team, based in a different galaxy, going on different missions. Atlantis lasted for five seasons.
But Stargate Universe is going to be following a different format, and I'm very excited about it. It's predecessors followed an action-adventure format, but this show is going to be a drama. From what I've read about it and seen in previews, it appears that the show is going to be following the writing and production style of Lost and Battlestar Galactica, but will be remaining true to the existing Stargate mythology. I think this was a good move too. I doubt they would have been able to maintain the level of success they have had so far if they just did another show similar to what they've already done.
One thing that made the two previous shows successful is how well written they were. Although they followed an action-adventure format, there was comedy and drama written into the series in all the right places. It gave it a realistic feel. In addition to that, Stargate takes place in the present day, so they also make references to current trends. I think this makes it very easy to relate to the characters and the show.
The new series is going to be about a group of people that get stranded on a spaceship billions of lightyears from home. The ship was set on a course millions of years ago by an ancient alien race and, sometime over the millions of years its been out there, was forgotten. The ship is on autopilot and just travels the universe planting stargates in different galaxies. The problem for the group of people that discover it is they don't know how to stop it. So they can't just turn it around and try to go home. They also don't know where they are in space, so they can't just use a stargate to open a wormhole and get back home. The group of people are stranded there unexpectedly, and they aren't prepared to be there. Some of them, such as an accountant and a politician's daughter, are completely out of their element there. That will no doubt make for some exciting drama.
Tommorow (Friday, September 24), SyFy is running a Stargate SG-1 marathon. If you've never seen it but you like sci-fi, I'd recommend you watch some of the episodes. Next week, Stargate Universe premiers!
Here's a trailer for Universe.