Written by Pirata HermosaAfter canceling the second series in the Stargate franchise just last year, the newly renamed Syfy channel replaced it with a newer and darker chapter in the saga. Fans are still mixed over the new series as it’s not as light-hearted as the last two and it has been accused of trying to imitate the popular Battlestar Galactica, which recently finished its run on the channel as well.
The three-DVD set that has just been released features the last ten episodes of the premiere season and starts off by addressing the mid-season cliffhanger that left Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) stranded on a deserted planet after Colonel Young (Louis Ferreria), who is fed up with the Doctor’s treachery, leaves him for dead on a barren planet. But in science fiction nobody stays dead for long and shortly afterwards Rush returns, along with a hostile group of aliens who want to take over the Destiny for their own purposes.But even as dysfunctional as this group of survivors are, they must somehow work together to fend off an alien attack, stop a mutiny, repair the ship after it’s been sabotaged, and finally negotiate a hostage situation when the Lucian Alliance finds a way to transport themselves on board.
The DVD contains commentary on all episodes and has two Special Feature sections on all three discs.“Destiny SML” is the title that covers all of the out-of-character features. These include the typical spending the day with certain cast members, how certain scenes are shot, and multiple interviews with the two executive producers/creators Robert C. Cooper and Brad Wright. The interviews are really odd because there are so many of them and each time it’s a different cast member asking the questions. The other odd feature in this section stars Louis Ferreria, not because there’s anything special about it, but because Louis is such a goofball that it’s almost impossible to imagine him as the hard-as-nails Colonel Young after viewing it.
The most intriguing features are the “Kino Video Diaries”. In these features you follow along and watch the crew through the eyes of the Kino. The interface using your remote control to click on the different diaries is rather difficult to use since they are represented by planets on a star map and some of them seem impossible to maneuver to, so I ended up using the Play-All button in order to view them. Most of the diaries are just a bunch of random feelings and emotions from the crew as they deal with being stranded on the "Destiny", but there are three exceptional ones that actually add something to the show.The first one is discussion between Chloe (Elise Levesque) and Eli (David Blue). But it’s Chloe after she has used the communication stones and somebody else is using her body. In this conversation Eli discusses what would entice someone to willingly switch bodies and what kind of rules exist between the swapping parties.
The next is a funny prank using purple dye that really gives some added character to some of the secondary characters while opening up and showing the crew beginning to bond with one another.And finally the best one of them all is what response Lt. Scott (Brian J. Smith) gets when he goes to apologize to Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) for leaving him behind on a planet after presuming he was dead.
This second set of 10 episodes is more serialized than the first ten, which may be the saving grace of the entire series. The first half of the season was filled with open-ended stories and the crew just fighting for basic survival as they tried to keep the life support system working and finding such basics as light, food, and water. In the second half you get to see the development of the characters, a few questions are answered and the season-ending two-part episode involves the cast of the original Stargate SG-1, an invading force, and the usual cliff-hanger ending. It leaves the audience primed and ready for the second season to come.Article first published as DVD Review: Stargate Universe 1.5 on Blogcritics.