When it premiered a year ago, Stargate Universe faced widespread fan skepticism, natural given that its predecessors combined for 15 seasons.
The show's producers promised a Stargate unlike anything before — one that focused on character relationships and less on evil aliens hell-bent on enslaving humanity.
Some worried that the producers would stage a show identical to Battlestar Galactica, focusing on drama to the detriment of action.
Complaints came often during Universe's first season — "there's not enough action," many fans wrote on message boards. "There aren't enough cameos by past characters," others shouted in text form, using their exclamation points and all caps.
Yes, Stargate Universe is different. But it's good.
It tells the tale of present-day Air Force personnel marooned on a spaceship built by the same ancient race that built the Stargates, devices that allow interstellar travel via wormholes. The ship is too far from Earth for the crew to return, but the producers have made use of "communication stones," introduced in Stargate SG-1 years earlier, to allow the crew to not lose all contact.
The first part of last season offered the back story on each member of the crew, weaving intricate tales. By mid-season, the action began ramping up, including alien encounters, and the season finale saw an Earth-based nemesis defy all odds and invade the ship in the same way the Air Force crew wound up there in the first place.
With that cliffhanger, the second- season premiere promises action of old, with character drama that previous Stargate shows always seemed to just lightly touch.
No, it's not Battlestar Galactica. I've watched every hour of Battlestar (even Galactica 1980) and each Stargate, and science fiction is a large enough genre that the two shows stand alone.
Despite its heavier overtones, Universe hasn't lost the sly humor that imbued Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. There's just less of it.
But sometimes less is more, and Universe is just that.