I recently finished watching the whole two-year, 40-episode run of Stargate Universe (SGU), which aired on TV from 2009-2010. I confess I am having a strange relationship with this setting and story arc. It is haunting me. That is the only word for it.
There is a peculiar flavor to this show, one I don’t think has been captured by any other science fiction I have ever viewed. It manages to engage with its realism and drama regardless of the arguably fantastic setting. (Once you agree to the premise of ancient alien technology, all else follows from that, and that premise is well established both in SGU and in the larger Stargate franchise). It challenges one to actually contemplate the size of the universe, humanity’s inconsequential position in it, and the nature of faith, science, technology and reality. The show dances on the edge of the un/explainable, even venturing now and then into the mystical, in the sense that an event a character cannot explain remains opaque to viewers as well. Yet this is managed in a way that comes off as luminal rather than simply mystifying. The result is not so much a sense of frustration as a realization that there are some things that are beyond our understanding and just can’t be explained. We the viewers must reconcile ourselves to that reality just as the crew must. And yet such grand questions are explored in an intensely personal manner. SGU is a close-focused microcosm of the ship-voyage crucible, successfully blending wonder, science and the nearly mystical unknown in sincerely moving drama.