-Insert appropriate greeting for your time/space coordinates here-
I recently watched the mid-season openers for Stargate Universe, so it seems appropriate that I give an updated review and commentary.
Stargate Universe (SGU) has been accused of being just a Battlestar Galactica rip-off, though the criticism in this area has focused mostly on its pilot episode (which was very reminiscent of the recent BSG), it continues half a season later. In my humble opinion, I think those that level this accusation at the series are recognizing that SGU is done in the same gritty style as BSG was, though I think calling it a rip-off is going too far.
SGU uses many of the same tools that BSG did to build the universe in which the show takes place. Unlike its somewhat campy predecessor, SGU has forgone the planet-of-the-week style for the more continuous dramatic plot line flavored with imperfect characters working at cross purposes and frequently, with secret agendas. This approach is nearly the same as that taken by BSG at its inception. The struggle between Adama and Roslin, between the proletarian military and the elitist intelligentsia, is mirrored in the struggle between Colonel Young and Dr. Rush. The theme of a small group of humans lost in space and trying to find their way home is also the same (and I'll just add, this is the iconic Odysseus mythology used over and over again throughout storytelling), as is the use of darkness to create an environment of edgy foreboding. However, whereas BSG was told with an almost soap-opera meets David Lynch sense of the dramatic, SGU is being told from a more adventurer's perspective that ties it to its predecessor SG series.
One advantage I think SGU has over BSG is that whereas the Battlestar Universe was focused on the human-cylon and human-human struggles ultimately making it a series about family relations (the cylons are the created machine "offspring" of humanity), in SGU the human-cylon drama is replaced by human-environment one, making it a story of survival and exploration. I believe this is taking the series in an entirely different direction from BSG, and I'm very thankful for it.
(For the record, I HATED the last BSG episode. HATED IT!)
The human vs. environment theme running through the show has, as of the mid-season opening, culminated in the show ascending to the next level of human vs. intelligent environment with the introduction of a new alien species. (I want to just note here before continuing, that BSG had no aliens because a human vs. offspring/family story is about internal struggle. Aliens are by definition an outside force, and hence environmental.) The introduction of aliens in SGU holds with tradition of the previous SG series, though this one's appearance could, from a certain point of view, seem overly convenient.
The last episode before the hiatus introduced the idea of a new alien species with physical evidence thereof. I fully expected to see aliens show up during the second half of the season, but what I did not expect was their appearance in the opener. The episode as a whole seemed a bit rushed. Though the action was exciting, things occurred a bit too apropos a fashion for me to really be comfortable with them. During a conversation I had today it was suggested that this could be because it is part of an overall story arc going back all the way to the first episode. If that's the case, I applaud the writers, but if not, then I hope that the issues with this last episode do not continue into the future.
Whatever the case, I look forward to more SGU, easily my favorite Sci-fi show currently on the air!