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post #1 of 12 Old 02-19-2010, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: MGM - 2009
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Feature running time: 436 minutes
Genre: Sci-Fi, TV/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French
Starring: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, David Blue, Justin Louis, Lou Diamond Phillips, Ming Na, Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque Jamil Walker Smith
Directed by: Various
Music by: Joel Goldsmith
Written by: Various
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 9, 2010

"The only mission is survival"

Film Synopsis:

Stargate Universe (SGU) is the story of a group of soldiers, scientists and civilians, fleeing an attack, finding themselves stranded billions of miles from Earth on an Ancient ship known as the Destiny. Locked on an unknown course, they must fight to survive and find a way home. The danger, adventure and hope they find on board the Destiny will reveal the heroes and villains among them.

My Take:

I am not someone that is well versed in the Stargate TV series franchise. I liked the original Stargate film and as a sci-fi fan in either the TV or film realm I looked forward to checking this series out. Stargate Universe follows the adventures of a present-day, multinational, exploration team unable to return to Earth after an evacuation through a stargate to the ancient spaceship Destiny, which is traveling in a distant corner of the universe. Destiny is an unmanned ship sent out eons ago by the Ancients. The ship was equipped with a stargate that would enable the Ancients quick access to a series of stargates littered throughout the far reaches of space for the purpose of galaxy exploration. Soon after the Ancients evolved, and learned to ascend beyond their physical forms and no longer required the use of the system for which Destiny was deployed. The survivors now aboard Destiny are comprised of military and civilian personnel. The civilians consist primarily of technical support people however there are a few political people and an MIT dropout as well. The military is led by Colonel Young, a competent leader who is respected by his subordinates. His second in command is Lt. Scott, a conscientious, empathetic and loyal soldier with an affinity for the ladies and a troubled past. Dr. Nicholas Rush is a civilian scientist working for the government on the Stargate project. He has been working on unlocking the information relative to the ninth chevron on the Stargate and is fascinated with potential inherent in Destiny. Eli Wallace is an unemployed MIT dropout recruited by Dr. Rush because he was able to solve a mathematical puzzle embedded in a video game where the solution specifically pertains to resolving the unlocking of the ninth chevron. The remainder of the survivors is made up of essential and non essential people that revolve around these primary characters.

This is most definitely a character driven show that focuses on the obstacles faced by the survivors aboard Destiny as they attempt to figure out how to get home. The ship uncontrollably moves in and out of a sort of light speed with Dr. Rush, Eli and company unable to determine where it is going and how to gain access to its controls. There are a variety of smaller subplots built around the pressures of trying to find ways to survive amidst chaos, romance, and an unending level of peril against heavy odds. The show's elements aren't original from a conceptual standpoint however the themes it borrows from work well in this setting. It is fairly engaging while providing a level of suspense that keeps interest going. The special effects are what you might expect from a sci-fi TV series working on a limited budget. I like the development of the characters and the show's use of flashback sequences and Ancient technology (that allows their consciousness to switch places with another person back home on earth) which enhances audience connection by allowing providing a bit of escapism from the limits of the Destiny. There is a wide variety of personalities and interpersonal relationships which serves as a solid foundation for building storylines. I found the primary characters along with the cast that portray them to be likeable. The weak link being Eli whose levity and off handed commentary I find annoying but perhaps that is attributed more to David Blue's delivery. The ten regular season episodes, including the extended version of the pilot, and bonus features are spread over two BD-50 dual layered discs. I must say that I enjoyed season one of Stargate Universe (SGU). It doesn't break new ground but it manages to press the right buttons while taking the Stargate TV franchise in a new direction.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for science fiction violence, sensuality, and thematic elements.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 82

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Video: 82

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Stargate Universe 1.0 comes to Blu-ray Disc from MGM/Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 mbps.

The high definition picture was rendered with good overall resolution that featured bold contrast, limited but natural colors, and lifelike complexions. Resolution was very good although fine detail wasn't always definitively resolvable which resulted in images appearing less delineated at times. On the contrary there were many instances where the picture had good sharpness and defining clarity. Whites were occasionally overcooked which impacted the perception of detail. Blacks were deep but mildly crushed which obscured subtle gradations making some dark scenes appear flat. Detail in the shadowy and dark confines of ship was apparent but depth was scene dependent.

I was pleased with the quality of this audio presentation which is something that I have been seeing with the majority of the TV series based available on Blu-ray. The DTS-HD MA soundtrack features crystal clear dialogue, potent dynamics and a subtle, yet enriching surround sound mix. I was impressed with its use of spatial dimension and directional cues to create a realistic and occasionally immersive sound field. This worked hand in hand with shows excellent music score, and action based sequences to build tension and drive its thematic elements. I thought it sounded great.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1:

  • Destiny SML - Interactive star map/ log feature which includes behind the scenes interviews/content

  • Kino video diaries - 6 segments

  • Kino 101 with Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper - 3 minutes

  • Audio commentary tracks for episodes: Air parts 1&2 broadcast version (filmmakers), Air extended version (cast), Darkness (cast), Light (cast)

  • Disc 2:

  • Destiny SML - Interactive star map/ log feature which includes behind the scenes interviews/content

  • Kino video diaries - 9 segments

  • Audio commentary tracks for episodes: Water (director/cast), Earth (cast), Time (producer/cast), Life (cast), Justice (director/cast)

Episode list:

  1. Air - parts 1 & 2
  2. Air - part 3
  3. Air - extended version
  4. Darkness
  5. Light
  6. Water
  7. Earth
  8. Time
  9. Life
  10. Justice

Final Thoughts:

Stargate Universe expounds upon the Stargate television franchise and takes it in a direction that has a familiar theme shared by successful sci-fi programs from the past. That shouldn't be viewed as a shortcoming as I found season one to be entertaining and look forward to seeing what lies in store for the survivors aboard Destiny when season two debuts this spring. The Blu-ray Disc presentation from MGM appears faithful to the show's elements and makes for a decent high definition audio/video experience. The supplemental package augments the series and includes Blu-ray disc exclusives that are worth the time to explore. All in all a solid offering for fans.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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post #2 of 12 Old 02-19-2010, 10:46 AM
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I definitely enjoy the show and may have to add this to my BR collection.

One thing about Eli though, I think he's supposed to be a bit of an audience stand in...his "You are here" shirt somewhat confirms this. David Blue is apparently a huge fan of all things Stargate:

Originally Posted by IMDb View Post

David Blue was not just a casual "Stargate" fan, but had watched every episode of 'SG-1' and 'Atlantis' before pre-production on this show even began. He says that being part of 'Universe' "brings pride in being a part of it but also immense responsibility in every scene'. Brad Wright joked to a audience at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con "With David we got not only an actor, but a technical advisera for our own show".

I imagine that the portrayal of Eli is exactly how I(or just about any Stargate fan) would act if they ended up finding out that everything is real.

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post #3 of 12 Old 02-19-2010, 05:55 PM
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I really like Robert Carlyle and have watched a lot of TV sci-fi but never had the chance to watch any of the Stargate series.

Can I watch SGU without having watched any of the other series, or much like Star Trek, would I get a much better appreciation for each series having watched them in order?


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post #4 of 12 Old 02-19-2010, 09:30 PM
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I haven't watched any of the previous two Stargate series and had no problem starting this one. It's pretty self-contained.

Unless I am mistaken, however, only the first ten episodes of season one have actually aired. It seems a bit odd that they would release only half of a season on blu-ray.
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post #5 of 12 Old 02-19-2010, 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Datacide View Post

I really like Robert Carlyle and have watched a lot of TV sci-fi but never had the chance to watch any of the Stargate series.

Can I watch SGU without having watched any of the other series, or much like Star Trek, would I get a much better appreciation for each series having watched them in order?


You'll pick up what you need without prior viewing. Really other than the gates and some understanding of the ancients, there isn't that much carry-over here.

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post #6 of 12 Old 02-20-2010, 03:38 AM
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I would put it the other way around. I think you would enjoy SG-1 & Atlantis more if you would see those first. Plus you can get the full season boxes and keep watching for quite a while.
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post #7 of 12 Old 02-20-2010, 06:58 AM
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I really enjoyed this show because it reminded me of the original series how it was primarily about exploring new planets and not just one enemy they focused on for seasons upon seasons.

Also the feel(tone) of the show is a lot different than the other two Star Gates which is a good thing. A combination of Battlestar Galactica/FireFly. I just hope the show doesn't get stuck fighting one enemy...

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post #8 of 12 Old 02-20-2010, 04:06 PM
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I enjoyed the show too, but feel like the franchise has lost it's sense of adventure. The last seasons of the first two series have become all too bogged down with singular plotlines focusing on enemies that lost their intrigue after the first couple of seasons, respectively. This new series (based on the first season anyway) is too claustrophobic, hardly venturing off the ship. I suspect that'll change, but at present it feels like they plan to drag it out like the new V. I just hope they don't fall back to recent habits.

The BD's video was far too uneven for me though. Everything on the ship looked great, but the earth visits were blownout to the point of distraction. I suppose it was purposeful, I just didn't care for it. The BD is a bit pricey for a 10 episode season, but retailer discounting appears to be falling faster than most.

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post #9 of 12 Old 02-20-2010, 09:01 PM
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I'm glad some other people like the show.

Personally, being HUGE Stargate fans from the beginning my wife and I were very disappointed with Universe and have given up watching it.

Boring as heck.
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-22-2010, 05:16 AM
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i have to agree with the previous poster, as far as SGU being 'boring as heck'.

i was a huge SG-1 fan. longest running sci-fi TV show, and an ensemble cast that actually made you care about the characters. i liked SG-Atlantis, again, because the cast they put together meshed really well. they were likable, they were understandable, and again made it easy to not only empathize with them, but REMEMBER them.

i watched the entire SGU season on the SyFy channel, and it was brutal. the first episode was interesting, but i could see potential trouble ahead. things did not get better. by the end of the season, after having watched every episode, i still had trouble remembering the names of the main cast (my friends and i, when discussing the show, could only refer to them as, 'crazy scientist guy', 'military dude', 'nerdy math guy', etc). i literally had to force myself to watch the last few episodes that aired, because i kept hoping that SOMETHING in there would redeem the series in my eyes.

despite many attempts to develop the characters, they come across as either unlikable (really, Lou Diamond Philips? THAT was the best they could find?), or else you're so apathetic about them, you don't really care what happens to them, what they have to say. and Eli wasn't the only annoying one. the senator from the pilot was HIGHLY annoying, and his daughter (although easy on the eyes) was hardly any better, with her on again off again puppy love for 'military dude', while Eli pines for her. that whole would-be love triangle really doesn't serve the series well.

i mean, they're on an ancient ship, in an unknown universe, doing these amazing things, but only rarely do you get any sense of awe or wonder. i realize most of the episodes dealt with establishing a means of survival, and Eli occasionally lends that air of 'gee whiz' about new technology they discover, but it's so hard to care about just gets lost in the shuffle.

what made SG-1 and SG-Atlantis viable and enjoyable was that any romantic entanglements among primary (or even secondary) cast members was understated, only implied or hinted at. there was great chemistry and tension between sam carter and jack o'neill that, over the course of the SG-1 epic, helped to define their friendship and closeness, and make it believable. i think SGU tried too hard to get that 'sexy' edge, and it just didn't work for me.

i realize it's a lot to expect 'believability' from a sci-fi show, but the fact remains that any show lives or dies, regardless of theme, setting, or genre, on the strength of the interactions of its main characters, and their ability to convince a viewer that they're watching a real person...and not an actor playing a role.

SGU disappointed me on many levels. i found it NOT to be a worthy successor to the stargate brand, and it made me go back and watch my old boxed DVD's of the original SG-1 to wash the disappointment out of my mind.

the only good thing i can say about SGU is that it's better than Caprica. i gave up on that one after the pilot.


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post #11 of 12 Old 02-23-2010, 09:37 AM
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well said and amen.
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post #12 of 12 Old 02-24-2010, 07:55 PM
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I really tried to like this. Just doesn't compare to the original. And I was so excited.

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