01/07/2012. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
DVD region 2: pub: 20th Century Fox B003OBZ5QQ. 5 DVDs 860 minutes 20 * 43 minute episodes with extras. Price: about £15.00 (UK) if you know where to look)cast: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, Brian J. Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Ming-Na and Lou Diamond Phillips.
check out websiteS: www.mgm.com/dvd and www.stargate.mgm.com
Things are moved along quite quickly with the second season of 'Stargate: Universe' with Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) getting some control of the Ancients Destiny starship and discovering what their real mission was, to seek out the origin of the universe. An attempt to get back to Earth creates a divergent reality in the past, which they later discover reveals things about their own future in a nicely realised time travel consequences story. Things then get worse when they find themselves the target of robotic drones that are determined to stop the Destiny from gathering supplies and fuel. I did ponder on why these drones began targeting the Destiny and although many solutions are offered by the crew, there is one thing they did neglect. If the realised outpost of mankind in that galaxy expanded across the worlds in the two thousand years that they've been there courtesy of the stargates, then it would have been their presence that would have alerted the drones to their upcoming presence and a determination to stop them expanding across their galaxy or invading the territory of the species that created the drones and probably exasperated by humans existing in the past and colonising other planets. As automata, they wouldn't have known when they were cast into the past, only to stop them.
These stories play heavily on dramatic content balanced with its Science Fiction element. It might just be me being too familiar with the story elements in that I don't think they stretched things far enough and on some occasions, were rather too pact or obvious with their solutions from showing earlier smoking guns to tidy things up. It could also become annoying when some plot elements, like dropping off some passengers, was done between stories, and completely ignored with no reference to the details, even as a reference as to what they had done. Whether this was a fault of scripts being written out of order or the way filming the episodes was conducted is hard to say. The audio commentaries make a strong point that a lot of scenes, let alone stories, were filmed out of order, which must have made it something of a madhouse.
With this season, some of the names started to sink in but not for the secondary characters, which is a shame cos, for example, the two other scientists had some good scenes. Little was done with the other hundred crew, other than to show up when they had to evacuate the Destiny or gather supplies. In some ways, this parallels the Starfleet shows in having nobodies that lacked any skills that could be exploited in running the ship. Considering that they were all selected to work on the Icarius Base, you would have thought they would have had something to offer. I also wonder what happens on laundry days for the civilians because surely there can't be that many military fatigues to share around while they wait for things to dry.
Lou Diamond Phillips' character, David Telford, has fast become the 'South Park' Dead Kenny' character of the series. Surviving a pact with aliens to getting back to Earth and a bomb blast, he has the luck of old Nick.
The extras were in abundance. Every episode had an audio commentary and the cast were frequent to mention that this was the first time that they had seen the final product because they had been kept so busy. The other features showed things behind the scenes and about the characters, although the kino features from the first season DVD boxset were missing this time.
As to why the series was cancelled? I suspect the hardcore 'Stargate' fans kept up but it didn't extend its fan base to the conventional viewer and I suspect the American viewer tends to have set ideas as to what they perceive as SF and heavy drama rarely enters that equation. I do think if you haven't looked into a 'Stargate' series before or curious as to what happened here, you'll find this series interesting. Although they were cut short by Hollywood executives cutting the series short, it does end on a note that could leave it open for further adventures one day.
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