With the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis and announcement of Stargate Universe following on its heels, some fans were understandably upset. As more news of Universe began coming out, it rapidly gained some nicknames, none of them affectionate: Stargate 90210, Stargate Voyager and Battlestargate to name a few.
The characters of Universe are purported to be younger, edgier, darker, more realistic. The show will focus heavily on characters and character relationships — which, in this case, includes prominent romantic entanglements, which has never been the focus on Stargate SG-1 or Atlantis in their combined 12 season run.
Most Atlantis fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouths, feeling as though their beloved show had been given up in favor of something new and shiny. I’m one of those fans. Before going into the panel I tweeted, saying “If I end up liking anything about Stargate 90210, imma be PISSED.”
Then I sat through the Universe panel at Comic Con.
I got excited. I love Atlantis wholeheartedly, but I love the Stargate universe itself as well. Despite the trailer having a few sex-related scenes, I found myself enjoying it, wanting to see more, wanting to get to know these characters. Some seemed cookie cutter, the young brilliant “normal” guy seemed too much like Rodney McKay, but the trailer was so well cut I wanted more. Richard Dean Anderson even appears at the very end of the trailer, which got an excited response from the crowd, including myself.
Most exciting, I think, was a glimpse at the newly redesigned gate. Speaking of which, there is now official confirmation that we’ll finally be getting an answer as to what the ninth chevron on the Stargates does. Color me eager.
Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, the show runners behind SG-1 and Atlantis, were on stage along with most of the main cast of Universe. Robert Carlyle was rocking it out with a pair of aviator glasses, Ming Na looked amazing, and the rest of the cast seemed genuinely excited to be there.
During the Q&A, Wright appeared to expect the Atlantis was cancelled prematurely question, which he and Cooper answered a bit dissatisfyingly. But that just might be my bitterness playing out.
Alaina Huffman, who will play first lieutenant Tamara Johansen, won me over. When an incredibly badly worded question seemed to imply none of the female actresses were strong or intelligent, Wright prompted the ladies to each describe their characters. Her first words? “She’s a strong and intelligent woman.” Ming Na and Elyse Levesque proceeded to each begin their descriptions the same way, with Na switching ‘woman’ out for ‘lesbian’.
Robert Carlyle is one of those actors who turn out amazing performances no matter what they’re doing, and I believe he’ll be the lynchpin on which the series will turn. When asked why he chose a TV series over film work when he seemed to favor the latter, he described his reaction to being chosen for the role as “why do you want me?” He did seem to genuinely love the material and enjoy working on and getting to know the Stargate universe and mythology.
Jamil Walker and Brian J. Smith, who play soldiers Ronald Greer and Matthew Scott respectively, didn’t impress me much, but they didn’t get a chance to talk about their characters. Hopefully with the show having such a focus on the characters, it won’t take four seasons to get any real indication of who they are and what truly makes them tick.
(Stargate Atlantis and John Sheppard, I’m looking at you.)
If I’m going to be truly honest, I’ll say David Blue, who’ll play the genius slacker Eli Wallace, was the final point for me. He confessed to being a hardcore Stargate fan himself, having watched every episode and doing most of the explaining of the show mythology to the rest of the cast, who were new to it themselves. It’s almost as though there’s the feeling that with someone so in love with the Stargate universe – someone just like me, let’s say – that it’ll be okay.
At this moment in time, I’m willing to put my disappointment and kneejerk judgement about Stargate Universe to the side and give it a chance when it premieres.
But I won’t stop calling it Stargate 90210.
Stargate Universe will premiere on October 2nd, 2009 on the SyFy channel. If you’re excited for Stargate Universe yourself, I’ll have a poster to give away soon! Follow PCR on Twitter and wait for your chance to win.