Spawned from director Roland Emmerich's somewhat forgettable film “Stargate,” “Stargate SG-1” turned out to be an unexpectedly entertaining series that not only exceeded the film in creativity and scope, but in fan following. “Stargate SG-1” managed to run 10 seasons from 1997 to 2007, with an incredibly loyal fan base. Due to its appeal, “Stargate Atlantis” was created, picking up on certain events that took place in “SG-1” and ran from 2004-2009. The most recent addition to the franchise was the shortest lived series, though despite it’s recent cancellation is still creating buzz around whether or not it could continue. I’m talking, of course, about “Stargate Universe” (or “SG-U”).
The back jacket of the complete final season DVD set reads, “The Destiny Continues its Journey…” and more truer words couldn’t have been written. Not because this final season is a mere continuation of the ship’s (aptly named Destiny) journey, but because “Stargate” was clearly destined to be more than a film. It was destined to be a collection of beloved sci-fi series and characters. Series’ that captured an audience through their creative storytelling, convincing performances, and just enough imagination to make the journey as enjoyable as it was.
“Stargate Universe” follows a group of researchers, doctors and civilians as they escape through a portal to an ancient ship (aptly named Destiny) during an attack. Though they manage to escape safely, the ship turns out to have been an alien ship that goes where it wants, and when it wants. The group ends up far from home with only each other to count on. Included in the cast of characters are, Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) who often takes on a leadership role, Dr. Nicholas Rush (Robert Carlyle) who is at constant odds with Colonel Young, the highly intelligent but unsure of himself Eli Wallace (David Blue), Master Sgt. Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith) Camile Wray (Ming-Na) who works to defend and support the civilians, and medic Lt. Tamara Johansen (Alaina Huffman) to name a few.
The basis for the series is a great one: a group of people, with big personalities stranded together in an alien ship. Thankfully the series doesn’t fall flat and delivers not only in ideas, but in execution. The first season of “Stargate Universe” followed the characters as they got to know each other better (for good and bad), worked to understand the ship as best they could, explored new planets, rebelled against each other, and more. Season two picks up where season one left off. While the resolution does come fairly quickly, it’s good to see the series not get caught up in drawn-out plotlines. This leaves room for “Stargate Universe” to move forward and explore new territories, as well as new character development. Such episodes that standout include: “Aftermath” where Dr. Rush discovers how to control the ship. In “Trial and Error” Colonel Young keeps having the same dream that Density is destroyed. In “Twin Destinies” Rush, from the future, comes to warn the crew about a choice their about to make concerning their journey to Earth. And in the season/series finale “Gauntlet,” nearly all the crew prepares for a three year sleep, as they are unsure of what awaits them.
Picking up the 5-disc DVD set of the complete final season of “Stargate Universe,” was a happy surprise, mainly because it managed to go beyond the familiar “Stargate SG-1” and “Stargate Atlantis.” “Stargate Universe” is a bit darker than its predecessors and offers a more energetic and engaging premise that leaves you wanting more. And unfortunately for fans, the season finale does end with a cliffhanger that was left unresolved. With memorable characters, fantastic performances, and engaging storylines “Stargate Universe“ is recommended for fans, and for those new to the “Stargate” franchise.
VIDEO: "Stargate: Universe" is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. Presentation quality was quite pleasing, with only minor edge enhancement seen on a couple of occasions. Colors looked accurate, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: The Dolby Digital 5.1 was nicely aggressive for a TV series, with reasonable use of surrounds for effects and other elements. Audio quality was pleasing, with full, crisp-sounding effects and solid low bass during some of the more intense moments.
Each disc includes a collection of brief features that could have benefited from a “Play All” option, but are otherwise excellent additions to the DVD. Fans should enjoy the plethora of extra features, as they not only cover different aspects of the “Stargate Universe” and what goes into making a series, but they also touch on behind-the-scenes moments.
The features on Disc One (all running under five minutes) include: “Robert Carlyle Directs,” “Andy Mikita Directs,” “Eli’s Mom Comes on Board,” “Brian J. Smith’s First Fight,” “Crashing a Shuttle,” “The Seed Ship with Joe Mallozzi,” “Saying Goodbye to Sgt. Riley,” and “Lou Diamond Phillips on Guest Stars.”
The features on Disc Two include: “LT. Scott Gets Hit by a Car,” “Inside Cloverdale with Brad Wright,” “How to Get Sucked into Space,” and the longer running feature (at around 20 minutes) is “SG-U Welcomes You to New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands.”
The features on Disc Three include the feature “Deconstructing Destiny” (this group does include the “Play All” option). The feature is divided into the categories: “Power,” “Weapons,” “Shields,” “FTL Drive,” “The Ancient Chair,” “Communication Stone,” and “The Bridge.” This is an upclose look at the ship, Destiny and what makes it so memorable, and what makes it work as well as it does from how it gets power, its shields, and more.
The features on Disc Four include: “A Day in the Life of Jamil Walker Smith,” “Transplant Day,” “Sitting Down with Mike Dopud,” “Bringing the Bridge to Life,” and “Louis Ferreria Vs. Colonel Young.”
The features on Disc Five include: At nearly twenty five minutes, “Pitches: A Journey of Friendship and Discovery,” and “Behind the Season 2 Finale-Gauntlet.”
There are commentaries included for all episodes of the Season Two set. Again, this set offers a fantastic amount of supplemental features, that fans should enjoy. The extra features offer a little something for everyone from lengthy interviews, footage from the series, behind-the-scenes footage, cast, crew and character information, as well as filming locations and special effects work. Recommended.
Final Thoughts: With an excellent selection of extra features, and memorable episodes this DVD set of the final season of “Stargate Universe” is recommended for fans of the series and those new to the “Stargate” franchise. Recommended.