Stargate Universe The Complete First Season (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-07-2010, 12:18 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=121037369

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=121037369

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year:20th Century Fox – 2009/2010
MPAA Rating: TV-14
Feature running time: 871 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, Alaina Huffman
Directed by: Various
Music by: Joel Goldsmith
Written by: Various
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 5, 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 who seems to have a hidden agenda. He is fascinated with potential inherent in Destiny and familiarizes himself with its various systems. 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 that specifically pertained unlocking a mechanism on the Stargate. The remainder of the survivors is made up of essential and non essential people that revolve around these primary characters.

This is a character driven series built around a Sci-Fi theme that focuses on the obstacles faced by the survivors aboard Destiny as they struggle to cohabitate while figuring 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 exactly where it is going. 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 crew aboard Destiny finds themselves divided between the civilians and military with Dr. Rush and Colonel Young constantly at odds. In more of a traditional genre spin the crew must deal with a common enemy that comes in the form of a race of aliens that pursue and attack them in a quest to obtain Destiny’s secrets.

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 the 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 and secondary characters along with the cast that portray them to be equally likeable which adds to the show‘s appeal.

Season One was previously released on Blu-ray in two separate installments titled SGU 1.0 (2009) and SGU 1.5 (2010). This offering combines the two into a single package containing the same content. The twenty season one episodes, and bonus features are spread over five BD-50 dual layered Blu-ray discs. I must say that I enjoyed season one of Stargate Universe (SGU). Its character driven plot may not 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: 86

  • 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=109947&d=1210373699

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

Video: 84

(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=109946&d=1210373692

Stargate Universe The complete first season comes to Blu-ray Disc from MGM/Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 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)

  • Disc 3:

  • (HD) Destiny SML – Interactive star map/ log feature, behind the scenes interviews/content (4 segments totaling 16 minutes):

    1. David Blu: An interview with the Creators of SGU
    2. Designing a new race: Space aliens
    3. Tanked! Elyse Levesque goes for a swim
    4. Chatting with the cast: Peter Kelamis

  • (HD) Kino video diaries – 4 segments

  • Audio commentary tracks for episodes: “Space”, “Divided” , “Faith” , “Human”

  • Disc 4:

  • (HD) Destiny SML – Interactive star map/ log feature, behind the scenes interviews/content (6 segments totaling 29 minutes):

    1. Brian J. Smith: An interview with the creators of SGU
    2. The Destiny of General O‘Neill
    3. A day in the life of Louis Ferrier
    4. Chatting with the cast: Julie Benson
    5. Our for a space walk with Jamil Walker Smith
    6. Finding Destiny: A tour of the Destiny set with Chris Beach

  • (HD) Kino video diaries – 3 segments

  • Audio commentary tracks for episodes: “Lost”, “Sabotage” , “Pain”

Disc 5:

  • (HD) Destiny SML – Interactive star map/ log feature, behind the scenes interviews/content (5 segments totaling 22 minutes):

  1. Alaina Huffman: An interview with the creators of SGU
  2. Chatting with the cast: Jennifer Spence
  3. A behind the scenes look at “Incursion“
  4. Two-for-one: Behind the “Incursion: double ratchet stunt
  5. Chatting with the cast: Patrick Gilmore

  • (HD) Kino video diary – All the stages

  • Audio commentary tracks for episodes: “Incursion”, “Subversion parts 1 & 2”

  • SGU: Survival instinct game - Interactive Blu-ray Disc exclusive feature

Episode listing:

  1. Air (parts 1,2, and 3)
  2. Air (extended version)
  3. Darkness
  4. Light
  5. Water
  6. Earth
  7. Time
  8. Life
  9. Justice
  10. Space
  11. Divided
  12. Faith
  13. Human
  14. Lost
  15. Sabotage
  16. Pain
  17. Subversion
  18. Incursion (parts 1 &2

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’s in store for the survivors aboard Destiny in season two. 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

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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post #2 of 6 Old 10-07-2010, 01:36 PM
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This is how the show should have been released in the first place! I'm still more than a little perturbed at the pricing of the first half-season, which was $10 higher than this release of both seasons combined. They dropped the price by $30 for the second half of the season and added a disc, but that still puts both half seasons at $110, versus $60 for both in combined in the same packaging. Fox should be cutting every person who bought season 1.0 some kind of rebate or store credit for overcharging us - not that they're the first or only studio to do so; I'm still scratching my head how 2 BD50's plus a dvd and/or digital copy, where the studio reportedly spent an addition 100k on bonus content, can cost the same as a nearly bare-boned BD25, from the same studio no less. It often feels like we're paying luxury model prices for a base model auto without a/c, or automatic door locks and windows.

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-07-2010, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

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.


I liked the movie as well, but SGU feels like a soap opera in space. The original series, SG-1, was much more action oriented and thought provoking.

Anyone that enjoyed the movie, but finds SGU's pace or characters lacking should checkout SG-1 which originally aired on Showtime and ran for 10 years.



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post #4 of 6 Old 10-08-2010, 12:33 AM
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agreed, Stargate SG-1 was the gold standard (longest running sci-fi show in history, i believe), and its follow-up, Atlantis, was almost-but-not-quite as good, but benefited from familiar faces and cameos.

Stargate SGU has an entirely new cast, and only the merest wisp of cameo appearances to boost it, and i admit to giving up on the series early in the first half of season 1. it took me a long time to even get familiar with the names of the main cast.

i'm glad i gave it another chance.

the 2nd half of the season really kicked things up a notch as far as action and intrigue. the new season is (thankfully) continuing along that path, and it's turned out to be one of my favorite shows to follow.


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post #5 of 6 Old 10-08-2010, 01:28 PM
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I'm a huge Stargate franchise fan, and SGU kicks so much ass.

Back off man, I'm a scientist.
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post #6 of 6 Old 11-17-2010, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by chimpuat View Post

agreed, Stargate SG-1 was the gold standard (longest running sci-fi show in history, i believe)

Um, did you forget Doctor Who?

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