Tuesday, November 10, 2009

To Infinity and Beyond

Many of you reading this will have seen the new Stargate series Universe. Some of you will like, or even love, it. Other may have a different opinion. I'm afraid I fall into the second category. I WANT to love Universe but, so far, I just can't.

Maybe I should start at the beginning. I am an armchair Egyptologist so back in 1994 I went to see Stargate. I really just wanted to see the Egyptian stuff. I didn't like the movie. Except for an Egyptology in-joke that isn't in the new DVD version of the film. I think I didn't like the film mostly because I don't like Kurt Russell or James Spader. I don't know why I don't but I don't. I also felt a bit sorry for Jaye Davidson. Let's face it the part sucked. I couldn't help thinking he was cast to add "strangeness" to the part. SIGH.


I didn't start watching SG-1 until they were filming the seventh season. I was flipping channels one night and came across this show that had this guy who was snarky. I like snarky in the right amounts and Jack O'Neill had just the right amount of snarky. I've only just recently completed watching all ten seasons and the two DVD movies. I really didn't like the last three seasons all that much.

My favorite episodes of SG-1 (in no particular order) are: Urgo; Window of Opportunity; 1969; The Other Guys and Wormhole X-treme.

That list might tell you something about what I like. It also might tell you why, so far, Universe is not my cup of tea.

I hate spin-offs so I didn't start watching Atlantis until after it was canceled. I still haven't seen season five. I have to wait for the reruns on SPACE. I'm enjoying the series and will admit that I was wrong for not watching from the beginning.

So far, my favorite Atlantis episodes are: Duet; Tao of Rodney; McKay and Mrs. Miller; Miller's Crossing and Thirty Eight Minutes. Looking at this list you might think that Rodney McKay is my favorite character but you'd be wrong. My favorite character is actually Radek Zelenka. So there.

So that brings us to Universe. Early reports, before the show aired, were calling the show Stargate:90210 because of the young cast. Then there were comparisons to Battlestar Galactica. I'll admit that this news really turned me off. Still, I decided to give it a try. I even started following many of the actors on Twitter. They seem like nice, likable people. My opinion of the show won't change that in any way. Which is a good thing.

I really do want to like Universe but so far it hasn't touched me. There are just some niggling little things. Like how if the Destiny is hundreds of thousands of years old that makes it older than the stargate system and even older than Atlantis. What bugs me about that is that Dr. Rush can read (with a little difficulty) the writing on Destiny's panels. Language changes quickly. Just look at English in the past 400 years or so. I don't think a language not spoken for hundreds of thousands of years would be readable to anyone today. No matter what kind of a genius they were.

Before you all go spastic, I know that Dr. Daniel Jackson did the same thing.  He was only working with a few thousand years. There are people on this planet that read Sanskrit and Coptic and hieroglyphs. If people stop learning and using the old languages in a they will die out completely in a thousand years or less. Some times much less.

After Alexander the Great conquered Egypt people slowly stopped speaking and writing the Egyptian language. By the time of the last Cleopatra the was no one left who had any idea what the inscriptions on their monuments said. In that particular case there was a concerted effort by the new rulers to wipe out much of the defeated culture. The Greeks adopted some aspects of Egyptian culture, mostly the part of the religion that deifies pharaohs, but they didn't think preserving the language was important.

Okay. We got way off track there. It's my blog and I'll ramble if I want to.*

Back to Universe. I love the character of Dr. Nicholas Rush. He's so ambiguous. He could be riding the fence between good and evil. It's fun to watch him. I like Eli Wallace. He's a geek and I have a weakness for fellow geeks. The rest of the characters I could do without. But that wouldn't make for much of a show.

The character I hate most is Chloe. I don't even remember her last name. She, so far, is useless. I hope she has some useful skill that will come out later. Otherwise she's just a passenger on the ship. Somebody hand her a red shirt. Please.

I want to make one thing clear. If I don't like the show or some character it does not mean that I hate the actor playing the character. I think all the people who have worked on the show have done a great job. It is no fault of theirs that the show hasn't touched me yet. Anyone who bad mouths the people involved with Universe are idiots and should be ignored.

I like having discussions about things like Universe. I think that art is best when it creates discussion and debate. Art that effects people differently is much more valuable than art that has a universal appeal. IF there is such a thing. Discussion and debate do not include name calling, disparaging personal attacks or threats.

There has been one pleasant surprise for me. The I'd seen the actor who plays Everett Young, Justin Louis, in another series called Missing. I hated his character on that show. When I heard that he was cast as Young I feared that I would see the other character. I guess it says something about his acting that I don't. Robert Carlyle is another actor I'd seen before. I don't see any of his other characters when I look at Rush either.

I won't give up on Universe just yet. It might grow on me. Stranger things have happen this week.

*there were other things I had problems with but this post is too long winded as it is.

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