DVD Review: Stargate Universe: The Complete Final Season



 


Genre: Sci-Fi | Drama | Action | Adventure

Directors: Andy Mikita, William Waring, Peter DeLuise, Alex Chapple

Writers: Brad Wright, Robert C. Cooper, Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie

Cast: Robert Carlyle, Louis Ferreira, Brian J. Smith, Elyse Levesque, David Blue, Alaina Huffman, Jamil Walker-Smith, Ming-Na

MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Summary: The Destiny continues its journey through the universe while its crew suffers from a lack of supplies and no knowledge of its final destination. As the crew struggles to control the ship’s systems, tempers and personalities clash. Facing uncharted space and enemies who would take the ship by force, the Destiny crew perseveres in its struggle to stay alive and find a way home.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Stargate franchise, or if you’re unfamiliar with the first season of this particular Stargate series, you’ll still be fine watching this, as long as you know the following things: these people were transported through a stargate (the big round thing) to another stargate that was on a ship many many galaxies away from home. This was not their intent; they didn’t even know this ship existed, and now they’re stuck. The ship (the Destiny – nice, right?) is ancient, so they’re learning how it works as they go along. They sometimes are able to exchange consciousnesses with people back on earth by using “communication stones.” You also need to know that “FTL” stands for “Faster Than Light” and is the Stargate version of Star Trek‘s “warp speed.” Otherwise, as long as you’re a sci-fi fan and therefore intelligent, you’ll pick up the rest as you go.

You may also want to know that, although there are aliens (or are our crew the aliens?) with their alien ships and alien planets and alien battles with our crew, this is not a hale-and-hearty adventurama. This series is much closer in tone to Battlestar Galactica than it is to the other shows in the Stargate franchise. It’s dark, but it seems like every episode keeps getting better and better. In fact, the best episodes in my opinion were those broadcast after the network announced its cancellation. Don’t worry, though; you will not be left with some giant cliffhanger that never gets resolved. They leave it open, but not in an unsatisfactory way.

Stargate Universe is one of those series which is a much better and richer experience when watching the DVDs than it was when watching it during its initial broadcast. Almost every episode, especially towards the end of the season, leaves you wanting more, which you get when you have the DVDs without that pesky having-to-wait-a-week bother of commercial tv.

This five-disc set includes all twenty episodes of the second (and final) season, and bonus features on every disc totaling over 20 hours, PLUS a commentary on EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. There are the usual behind-the-scenes bonus features about locations and special effects which for any fan are wonderful. For those who have all sorts of questions about inconsistencies and science, the disc 3 “Deconstructing Destiny” is chock-full of great information. The disc 5 “Pitches” is what seems to now be a requisite fake documentary; in this case, it’s two of the cast writing and pitching an episode script, and it’s cute. The commentaries vary depending on who’s doing them and whether you prefer general chat and yucking-it-up or actual behind the scenes info. You’ll get both here.

Here’s the rundown:

Disc 1: “Intervention”; “Aftermath”; “Awakening”; “Pathogen”

  • Extras: “Robert Carlyle Directs”; “Andy Mikita Directs”; “Eli’s Mom Comes On Board”; “Brian J. Smith’s First Fight”; “Crashing a Shuttle”; “The Seed Ship with Joe Mallozzi”; “Saying Goodbye to Sgt. Riley”; “Lou Diamond Phillips on Guest Stars”
  • Commentaries: “Intervention” – Louis Ferreira, Alaina Huffman & David Blue; “Aftermath” – Brian J. Smith & Jennifer Spence; “Awakening” – Andy Mikita, Patrick Gilmore & Mark Savela; “Pathogen” – David Blue & Ming-Na

Disc 2: “Cloverdale”; “Trial and Error”; “The Greater Good”; “Malice”

  • Extras: “Lt. Scott Gets Hit by a Car”; “Inside Cloverdale with Brad Wright”; “How to Get Sucked Into Space”; “SG-U Welcomes You to New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands”
  • Commentaries: “Cloverdale” – Brian J. Smith & Elyse Levesque; “Trial and Error” – David Blue & Patrick Gilmore; “The Greater Good” – Louis Ferreira & Alaina Huffman; “Malice” – Jennifer Spence & Brian J. Smith

Disc 3: “Visitation”; “Resurgence”; “Deliverance”; “Twin Destinies”

  • Extras: “Deconstructing Destiny: Power, Weapons, Shields, FTL Drive, The Ancient Chair, Communication Stones, The Bridge”
  • Commentaries: “Visitation” – Louis Ferreira & Alaina Huffman; “Resurgence” – David Blue & Patrick Gilmore; “Deliverance” – Jennifer Spence & Patrick Gilmore; “Twin Destinies” – Jennifer Spence, Patrick Gilmore & Peter Kelamis

Disc 4: “Alliances”; “Hope”; “Seizure”; “The Hunt”

  • Extras: “A Day in the Life of Jamil Walker Smith”; “Transplant Day”; “Sitting Down with Mike Dopud”; “Bringing the Bridge to Life”; “Louis Ferreria vs. Colonel Young” (he’s a crack-up, who knew?)
  • Commentaries: “Alliances” – Ming-Na & Jamil Walker-Smith; “Hope” – Jennifer Spence, Patrick Gilmore & Peter Melamis; “Seizure” – Elyse Levesque & Brian J. Smith; “The Hunt” – Anky Mikita & Mark Savela

Disc 5: “Common Descent”; “Epilogue”; “Blockade”; “Gauntlet”

  • Extras: “Pitches: A Journey of Friendship and Discovery”; “Behind the Season 2 Finale – Gauntlet”
  • Commentaries: “Common Descent” – Jennifer Spence & Patrick Gilmore; “Epilogue” – Jennifer Spence, Patrick Gilmore & Mike Dopud; “Blockade” – Andy Mikita & John Lenic; “Gauntlet” – Andy Mikita, John Lenic & Lauren Bancroft-Wilson

If you watched and loved the series, you will of course love this DVD set. If you never watched the series during its broadcast run, or if you dropped out before the second half of the second season, get this collection. You’ll get excellent writing, acting, directing, score, effects, and a wonderfully steampunk-y set; just remember that you won’t get a constant barrage of rip-roaring action and enormous explosions.

I give Stargate Universe: The Complete Final Season on DVD Four out of Five Stars.

 

 





Erin Willard
Written by Erin Willard

Erin is the Editor In Chief and West Coast Correspondent for SciFiMafia.com