SGU Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season

SGU Stargate Universe: The Complete First Season
The premise behind this incarnation of the Stargate franchise, beyond its implicit examination of consciousness and rudimentary theology, is the accidental discovery of the ship "Destiny" ― made millions of years ago by the Ancients to seed Stargates throughout the universe ― after an attack on Icarus base forces everyone to flee. With the purpose of the Ninth Chevron revealed, this group of scientists, military officials and civilians learn they are billions of light years from Earth, unable to dial the Stargate in a conventional manner, instead having to follow a pre-assigned trajectory throughout the galaxies. On this ship, food and water supplies are minimal, with shields and life-support systems constantly floundering, leading to a series of struggles between Colonel Young's (Justin Louis) military ideology, Dr. Rush's (Robert Carlyle) scientific strategies and Camile Wray's (Ming-Na) humanist thinking. As they explore various planets seeking food, water and plants with medicinal properties, they encounter a series of problems, such as an alien race with murky motivations, perception-impairing ticks and reactive dust-mites that consume their supplies and multiply (an homage to the "tribbles" on Star Trek). Initially, the series has a hard time finding its footing, trying to fill the Battlestar Galactica void unsuccessfully with clichéd characters and unconvincing writing, but as the season progresses and complexities gradually reveal themselves, SGU proves to be compelling television entertainment. Each episode tackles challenging themes, like the impracticality of faith or freewill in relation to time travel, while injecting season-long character arcs, such as the personality conflict between Young and Rush, and the quiet romantic angst of wunderkind science nerd Eli Wallace (David Blue) and grieving daddy's girl Chloe (Elyse Levesque). What stands out most about the series is their self-aware usage of contrivance, bringing back overly pat early plot points and introducing a factor that explains the seeming deus-ex-machina with possible fatalistic implications. It's how we as the audience know that the writers are thinking ahead and have a destination in mind for a surprisingly entertaining ride. The six-disc DVD set includes an absurd amount of supplemental material, such as commentary tracks on all episodes and various interviews, set visits and visual effects featurettes that are accessible voa a galaxy map interface. Also included is an abundance of Kino video diaries that actually add something to the show, with quotidian annoyances being vented by characters and additional analysis of the stones that transfer consciousness between people on Earth and people on the ship. For example, if you can transfer human essence between bodies, is immortality then not possible? (MGM)