Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Fond Farewell to Stargate

Well last night was both the season and series finale of Stargate Universe, which has become one of my all time favourite shows, so I just wanted to talk about some of the reasons why I have enjoyed this series so much and then comment on the franchise as a whole as this was also (for now) the franchise finale.

Where to start, I think that I have to start with what I think is the heart and soul of the show and quite likely why I developed such a strong connection to this show in particular and that is the characters.  SGU was a very character driven show even from the very beginning taking time to introduce us to all the characters and then watching them as they dealt with the trials that come from being stuck on Destiny.  This was also one of the best examples of an ensemble cast every character was given a story and depth and their own problems to deal with and in so doing provided a chance for each character to be both heroic and tragic in their own ways, even the secondary (and in this case I use that term very loosely) are given stories and personalities so that you care about them all without regard to who is official 'main' cast and who is 'secondary'.

Another reason for the show success which is heavily tied to the characters and that just really made them so much more then just characters on a show were the actors and crew behind the scenes.  This was a cast & crew that you could tell they loved and respected what they did.  I think one of the things that really drew me into the show and made me connect to it on a deeper level then I do with most shows was listening to the actors commentaries on the DVDs of the first half of season 1, in listening to them you could hear the actors enthusiasm for what they were doing and for all their fellow cast mates and I think that translates into much better and more dynamic performances then if they were people just there to play a part, do their job and then go home.  You could tell that with these people they were putting their heart into what they were doing.

The last two things I wanted to mention in regard to why I loved SGU are the music and the visual effects.  In any scifi show visual effects are always going to play a big role in making sure things look good and look real, however one of the problems that can come with such a reliance on visual effects is you run the risk of having them take over the show and instead of supporting the story they distract you from it.  In SGU however, not only do the visual effects look absolutely incredible but they always seem to draw you further into the story which is a very tough thing to do consistently.  In many ways the music in SGU is similar to the visual effects in that it manages to be both amazing and breathtaking and yet use that to further your connection to the events of the story and provide a deeper connection.  If ever there was a show that needed and deserved a soundtrack CD it is definitely SGU.

All of these things I have mentioned can be seen very clearly in the season finale of SGU, it was such an absolutely incredible episode made all the more amazing by the fact that when they were filming it they didn't know whether it would be a season finale or the series finale but it works incredibly well as both.  Although it did end on what you could call a cliffhanger "I'd rather talk about what we have, maybe even what we've gained" to quote Col Young and so rather then look at it as a cliffhanger I'd rather look at it as a chance to allow our imaginations to run wild and come up with any and all outcomes we would like and I think that is a beautiful way to leave the series and such an absolutely genius bit of writing.

What makes the end of Stargate Universe all the more bittersweet is the fact that it marks the end of a 17 season and 14 year run of the Stargate franchise.  I remember watching the pilot episode of SG1 instead of finishing a paper or assignment I had due at the time and I've been watching Stargate ever since.  SG1 was an amazing show as it managed to combine aspects of action, drama and comedy in a very entertaining way which never took itself too seriously.  Stargate Atlantis in many ways continued in the same vein as SG1 but this time with some new characters and slightly different aspects and was itself a great show and did an amazing job of continuing the Stargate franchise.  Stargate Universe however was definitely a very different kind of show it replaced the idealistic view and tone of SG1 and SGA with a harder more realistic view, it definitely was darker and had more grit to it but still in small ways continued the humour of Stargate although often in more subtle understated ways, but it lead to much deeper characters and an amazing story and in its own way proudly carried the Stargate franchise in a new direction.  I am going to deeply miss having the franchise I have in many way grown up with not being around with new episodes.  I do not believe that this is the end for the franchise, I like to think of it more like the finale of SGU and it is merely going into stasis until it is ready for new adventures whether that be in 3 years or a 1000 years I do believe Stargate will continue on.