On Tuesday 6th October Sky 1 starts screening the new Stargate series, Stargate Universe (SGU), the second spin-off from Stargate SG1, itself a TV spinoff from the original 1994 Stargate film and which is the longest running science fiction TV show ever. This follows the recent cancellation of Stargate Atlantis, which lasted five seasons in contrast to Stargate SG1’s ten.
This time the series is based around a Stargate Command (SGC) team that ends up stranded on an ancient starship, the “Destiny”, in a distant galaxy with no way of returning home through the Stargate system. Obvious parallels can be drawn between this and Star Trek Voyager, in which a vessel and its crew becomes stranded in another galaxy. This is no bad thing since the concept worked successfully with Voyager.
I have high hopes for this series. The trailer is very exciting and its clear that it has high production values. Certainly, the producers need to do something to revive the franchise a little, since Stargate Atlantis became really quite ropey during season 4 and season 5 and it came as no surprise to me that it was cancelled. SG1 was cancelled a couple of years previously, but after 10 years of quality sci-fi it was reasonable to do so. I was a little doubtful over some of the ways in which they tied up some of the loose ends but they had to draw the line somewhere.
Robert Carlyle, of Full Monty and Hamish Macbeth fame, plays the lead character, picking up the gauntlet from Joe Flannigan and Richard Dean Anderson from Atlantis and SG1 respectively. It’s a relatively surprising choice since the lead character is traditionally an all-American military man, whilst Carlyle’s character Nicholas Rush is a scientist, but that may indicate that the producers intend to try some new ideas with this series so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The producers also intend to include occasional appearances from characters from the other Stargate series, which is always nice.
The producers of the show do not see it as a “spin-off” in the traditional sense as it has been designed to be able to be enjoyed by both seasoned Stargate fans (known as “Gaters”) and newcomers to Stargate. This is a very positive step as it’s important to get new people into Stargate, especially considering its overall age (15 years). Original fans are getting older and will eventually become fewer, so it is important that the new series is able to be understood and enjoyed without prior knowledge of previous Stargate stories told in SG1 and Atlantis. However, it is also important that they do not violate precedents already set in these earlier series, because existing fans won’t like that.
So yes, I’m very much looking forward to it. More detailed information on the series can be found over at Wikipedia.