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GateWorld Podcast: SGU Deconstructed

Monday - September 26, 2011
Category: FEATURES | Tags: ,

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After more than two years of podcasting on Stargate Universe, we’re ready to put the series to bed with a final wrap-up discussion of SGU as a whole. Joining Darren and David for “SGU Deconstructed” is our friend Diana Botsford, author of the Stargate SG-1 novel Four Dragons (and its upcoming sequel, The Drift) and Assistant Professor at Missouri State University, where she teaches on screenwriting.

On this installment of the GateWorld Podcast we’ll talk about the visual beauty of the show, arc-based storytelling and the show’s slow start in Season One, and the likability of the characters. We’ll also compare SGU to its Stargate predecessors, talk about romance and sexuality on the show, cliffhangers and scheduling, and a whole lot more.

Call the Podcast Hotline! Our next show will be an Open Line Night, where Darren and David will talk about whatever is on your mind — be it related to Stargate‘s past, future, or something else in science fiction.

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DiscussionSGU Deconstructed

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COMMENTS (24):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • There was zero implication that Scott was a sex addict, unless you’re an immense prude and/or have a very sheltered life.

  • I’m the furthest thing from a prude, but I have to disagree with you — a sizeable portion of those watching got the impression early on that Scott has sex problems. If you google Stargate Universe and Scott, you’ll see that plenty of folks use “sex addict” as a descriptor for the character. Now, do I think that was the writers’ plan? No. But they went about setting up Scott’s characterization all the wrong way.

  • I can’t say I’m sorry SGU was cancelled because it wasn’t a show I enjoyed. But I do feel bad for the fans that did like it. I also think that while Brad Wright (and Cooper etc.) gave us some wonderful television over the years, he (and Cooper) was responsible for going in a direction that was not popular with the public, and thus, ending the francise on a sour note. Too bad, so sad.

  • I got an impression Scott had emotional,not sexual problems and that was writers approach all along.But then again I am aware that lots of people never forgave them for showing more than just a kiss in the pilot.As well as the fact that they’d forsaken the ol’ will they,won’t they game and hooked up two of the major characters in the first few eps.Abandoning the “romantic ideal” wherin they have to go through many,many adventures and stuff and be all lovesick and overcome many obstacles before sharing the first momentuous kiss.
    As examples of Falling Skies and couple of days ago Terranova have shown..that Spielbergian,old school,full of cliches and unoriginality formula still works much better.
    That’s one demo they were aiming at that got kinda disappointed.
    Then you have hard core sf fans who thought that there was all together too much drama and emotions and relationship-py stuff.
    I didn’t have a problem with neither of those things,but I would,honestly have to put myself in a third category and that’s people who simply thought the whole damn thing was just too slow and I’m not talking about the lack of action sequences,although that’s an issue as well,but about the pace of it all.
    Guess in the end no one was really fully satisfied with the series.Which is a damn shame,cause the idea was awesome and the universe full of great potential.

  • I only had a chance to listen to the first half of the podcast so far but it reminded me of all of the reasons why SGU failed. The comment about ‘As The Gate Turns’ really hit the mark.

    As for Scott being a sex addict, I didn’t really get that impression but I did find it unrealistic for him to suddenly go from hooking up in a closet while on duty to being in a committed relationship. Particularly when the woman he was hooking up with in the closet while on duty was still available. As well as other women. And I still think it was unrealistic that they never covered the topic of birth control at least not that I remember seeing.

  • I just find it amusing that every “complaint” that the supposed “haters” voiced is now being seen as reasons why SGU failed. Perhaps if SGU was not given the “protected status” it was given, there would not be the massive “fan devide” we see now?

  • I thought the podcast was very balanced with loads of viewpoints mentioned, even negative ones. Interesting to hear Diane talk about how a story is build up in sections. End music was beautiful … and great it was a bit longer than usual so as to make us ponder a bit. Well edited David. I will listen to it again for sure (I’m an addict you know :) (also I like the voice messages from fan but downside is the quality can sometimes be a bit bad – being over the phone as it is, it sort of stops my hearing flow [ha there’s a new concept for you :D])

    If you need more ideas – why not a very geeky quibble podcast with quibbles from all series. Or will that be too much nitpicking maybe…

  • sorry for typos (build, fans) when will you get editing possibilities here? Or should I just take care and type in Word first and really check :)

  • I think the podcast hit the nail on the head for what the show did well and what it did not. After the first season I thought the new direction of Stargate with SGU was too slow. But season 2 started and by the 2nd half really had fleshed out and became substantially more entertaining than season 1. It is lamentable that it took so long for SGU to get from where it was in season 1 to where it was at the end of season 2.

  • Matt couldn’t have been in a commited relationship with James(or the girl in the closet)because they were both service members,under the same command more to the point and he had a higher rank than her.That doesn’t mean he didn’t have sexual relations,I know it is a misconduct,but surprise!! happens.Don’t see why is that such a big problem.Although probably for the sake of the character it didn’t have to be shown like it was,maybe just implied,if that.Diane explained that well,it didn’t do his character a favour.
    And him getting into a commited relationship later on,well one way trip through a wormhole to a part of space millions of light years away will do that to ya’.
    I agree with the assessment that by the end of season 1,they should have been at the point they were by the end of season 2.As well as it being divided into acts like a play.Sure would’ve been great if we got to see the next part.

  • sex addiction is the wrong word, it was more about being irresponsible, and then it was about feeling guilty and that somehow was fixed by chloe… no it wasnt, whatever his character arch was ruined from the beginning i cant make heads or tails of all the characters. rush and young were the only ones done well throughout the first season, the second season was just sga without the humor.

  • I realise I’m late to this discussion. I’ve been reading this site for many years, perhaps about the time atlantis started, but the cancellation on SGU has prompted me to register and comment for the first time.

    IMO Atlantis started with the least charismatic characters of SG1 and took a while to really draw me in. What kept it going was action.

    SGU started slowly, but I was intrigued, and more interested than I had been with Atlantis.

    I liked the flawed character of Young, and the divisions within the group. I thought they added to the depth of the show.

    Finally I really think they producers have invested a lot of money building a base for a series that could have soared financially and perhaps critically. If they had given it another season or two I think they might have made something enduring. Unfortunately we see everywhere, in music, in movies a reluctance to invest and be patient. The very best stuff takes time to evolve. I think this is a missed opportunity.


  • @Duneknight
    So, if you don’t get a job during the first 5-10 tries, you should give up right away?

    Things need time.

  • @OmarEVG,

    The characters were done badly, and they are heart of every story, I cant see how the writers could overcome that and pretend it never happened short of killing them all off. But since they did the complete opposite by turning them into their own ancestors, well the problem doesnt go away. And you cant have one big nice family sprout off what we came to know as a dysfunctional group of people. If they wanted to do this big family theme then they shouldve started with that and introduced the cracks in the relationships later. This was a character based drama, different from the previous, it shouldn’t take a lot of episodes to get you to relate to these characters.

  • @Duneknight I think your last sentence summarizes the heart of the problem.

  • @OmarEVG getting a job and a T.V series are two completely different things. Lets go by you logic tho you can get a job after 100 tries having a degree in engineering and be flipping burgers. So with your logic the show still sucked…. and if things take too long than the harder it gets to obtain them… for example: Trying to find a job and you don’t get hired because you suck. the same as a show sure give it time but its still going to suck.

  • I know it isn’t sci-fi genre,but I would just like to mention it here anyway;”Homeland” premiere is a perfect example imo as to how a pilot should be done/executed.To those who haven’t seen it,I strongly recommend they give it a shot.

  • Hard podcast to listen to because I loved 1.0 and the episode “Life” and I thouth “Time” was actually one of the weaker episodes in 1.0 because it fell back on a tired trope. Also from early on, I saw where they were going with the show and trusted the writers.

    One misconception this podcast stated was that there was no story on the ship in “Life.” Rush found the signal from the seeder ships and he lied and told everyone there was an Icarus type planet a year away. But the best part about the episode was people out of immediate danger starting to accept the idea that they were going to be living in space. Between “Life” and “Earth,” “Earth” was the only episode that came close to a soap opera. “Life was pure character and story development.

    Also is difficult to hear that “nothing” happened in 1.0. There was plenty of things happening as they learned about the ship and explored space.

    Still I love the podcast. Funny thing is, in the podcast you guys weren’t has hard on 1.0 the first time around. I was hooked by “Darkness” and though the first big misstep was bringing in the Lucian Alliance. It was always full sense of wonder Science Fiction from the start.

  • Oh, and the show had plenty of humor. It was just a more natural wry sort.

  • Sorry, not “wry” I mean cynical. Probably why I found it funnier than the other shows.

  • I disagree completely @DuneKnight saying “And you cant have one big nice family sprout off what we came to know as a dysfunctional group of people.” If you had been watching the show you would see that the family vibe was what they fought for. The show was about hope and people coming together in spite of all of humanities flaws. Also I think the characters were superbly written which is why I cared about them more than any other crew in science fiction, trek included.

  • I agree with Skiznot, haven’t listened to podcast yet but reading through the comments, I think firstly on Scott being a sex addict doesen’t add up, I think the issue was that he was afraid of attachment with relationships because his parents and than father figure priest ended up dying. He and Chloe would have come together early initially because they have something in common in terms of lost parents. As far as storyline goes, I think it is good to see how a relationship is affected (on this ship) due to the situation we are in (explored through season 2 storyline concerning her genetic changing) as well as with people off the ship which we see with Young and Wray. The “will they won’t they” ideal is explored through Young/Varro and Johanssen.

    I think the writers did very well, people may consider season 1 slow but it is very much an exploration of the “human” (as in emotional and psychological) side of people who find themselves in that situation. The strains people come under individually as reflected in their relationship, and the strains their “society” come under as reflected in the “civilian coup” given they are no longer merely brought together in a professional context and are far from home is great sociologically and is something other shows tend not to touch. They do start to come together after the rough ride in season 1, but in a totally new way. I also found it interesting to see how they come together with erstwhile enemies in terms of some Lucian Alliance characters.

    Overall, I liked SG1 and SGA but I absolutely loved SGU far more than the others precisely for the reasons some people loathe it and look for any excuse to slag it off. It was highly engaging and multi-dimensional, not just focusing on exploring the space around them as is the case with SG1 or new technology as is the case with SGA. These for me tend to be cartoonish, one-dimensional and a tad simplistic – which is why some people loved them which is perfectly fine.

    I do get irked at some people talking about the writers somehow “betraying” the SG franchise. They only would have “betrayed” it if they changed the nature of SG1 or SGA midway through, they naturally wanted to explore the SG world from a different perspective, and doing so via a new franchise is the appropriate way to do that.

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing, ideally what they should have done is ended SG1 at season 8, and brought forward SGU (if they had thought of it mind) two years, so we would be at the equivalent of season 4 now, this way we would have had SGA and SGU running alongside, fans of traditional format can get their fix via SGA and not whinge or feel bitter (who I have noticed will find any way to find a cynical point of view and undermine the show) and fans of the new format would be happily free to explore the new approach, before we got to the point where changing entertainment consumption habits had a critical effect on KPI’s and the new management of MGM and SyFy with their different perspectives came in

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