SGU: when human drama trumps sci-fi

Spaceships? Keep ’em. We like people.

stargI’ve never quite engaged with the world of Stargate, but Stargate Universe strikes me as the most interesting entry in the franchise so far. Although I think the reputation of the show has incrementally improved since its return last month, thanks to a string of good-great episodes, it still strikes me as interesting that little lip service is paid to the show’s admirable focus on characterisation and backstory. While SGU is quite heavy-handed in this regard, I’d much rather they tried than not.

The episode ‘Lost’, for example, shed some much needed light on the character of Greer, previously portrayed as an untrustworthy, erratic part of the crew. You saw how Greer’s father broke him down psychologically, leaving him to fend for himself and, in effect, become the character you see in the present on the show.

Previous entries in the Stargate series were heavy on characterisation, as well, but I think the darker tone of SGU somehow makes the human side of the characters more appealing. Each episode tests the crew of the Destiny in difficult ways, providing increasingly interesting results from the writers.

While I think such an approach is responsible for many of the show’s teething problem, eventually they’ll get it just right.