Sunday, October 3, 2010

Stargate: Universe

Once again there are some things from my notes that didn't make it into the video. I'm not going to run through all of them, but I said something that may require more explanation than I gave it.

Stargate: Universe should not be a scifi show. It just shouldn't. There are certain expectations that come with a scifi: Aliens, space battles, new frontiers and discovery. SG: U manages two of those without effort, but the aliens and space battles have to be sort of forced in. Further (and it feels truly strange to write this) it seems like SG: U is going for a more realistic approach to aliens. They encounter more small, non-sentient things than they do sentients, and one of those aliens is a microbe. Seems fine... until I remember that it's still nothing close to proportional. They shouldn't have encountered five non-sentients to one sentient. To even pass as believable (again, a bizarre thing to say about a science fiction program), I'd expect a ratio or more like ten to one. Or fifteen. True realism would require something like five thousand to one, but reality is unrealistic.

They try to justify it with some nonsense about how the sentient aliens they meet have been tracking the ancient alien ship that our heroes are on, but it's just that. Nonsense.

Now if you look at it as a survival drama, where these people have to make do with what they have and what they can scavenge, constantly threatened by the decrepit craft more than by natural predators, it's suddenly a much better show. Now imagine if the writers had gone that route and written less about the Earth military, and more about the opposing factions on the ship; if they'd really gotten into the psychology and the stress of survival. Definitely wouldn't be an action heavy show, but it would have the capacity to be a much greater experience.

Will never happen, of course. Television shows are empty entertainment with no capacity to teach us or move us.

But it could have been. And that fact is more frustrating than SG: U's blandness.

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