STARGATE UNIVERSE 1.5 Blu-ray Review

     March 20, 2015

Stargate Universe image slice

Lost in space, low on supplies and morale, ready for in-fighting to do them all in at any moment, the reluctant crew of the Defiant searches for a way home and a means to survive the far reaches of space.  This is the overarching story of Stargate Universe.  A different direction for the Stargate franchise, it’s the characters (and thusly, the performances) that bring this series to life.  More after the jump:

Stargate Universe primer:

Stargate Universe cast postersA coalition of science and military forces must find a way to not only co-exist, but survive, when they find themselves transported to an aged spacecraft (the Destiny) on the outer edges of space.  This is what happens when you dial an extra chevron at a Stargate.  Because of the distance separating Destiny and Earth, the crew uses communication stones that shift a person’s consciousness across the vast reaches of space.  This gives our crew a chance to walk Earth, albeit in someone else’s skin.

When we last saw our adventurers,  (FIRST SEASON SPOILER ALERT)

Dr. Rush had tried to take over the ship by implicating Colonel Young in a murder.  Colonel Young’s response… leaving Rush to fend for himself alone on an alien world after a bit of fisticuffs.

What do we get this season?  Rush returns.  (Of course, he does, he’s played by Robert Carlyle for f’s sake.)  The power play continues between Rush and Young, with the contact person from Earth, Colonel Telford, and the civilian authority, Camile Wray, also elbowing in for their share.  A new alien race (in beautiful CG), a renewed rivalry between our crew and the Lucian Alliance, and the reason why Telford has been such an a-hole (and it’s a doozy) are just a few additional aspects to 1.5.  We also continue to learn more about the pre-Destiny lives of the crew.  The Lucian Alliance acts as the big bad for this season.  They are a group of warrior humans who try to take up where the Goa’uld left off, repurposing their tech to that end.  Their Season One attack on Icarus base set this whole series in motion.

Now that you know the game, please meet the players.  If it wasn’t obvious before, this is the Rush vs. Young show.  Egocentric genius Dr. Nicholas Rush and his shifting loyalties, is ably played by Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting, The Full Monty).  Colonel Everett Young and his belief in what is right comes to the screen via the capable performance of Louis Ferreira (1-800 Missing, Hidden Hills).  Young’s doubts add much heft to the portrayal.  Heading up team Rush, is Eli Wallace (David Blue – Ugly Betty, Moonlight), resident whiz kid.  Eli might be the Jiminy Cricket for Rush and I think the character of Eli would appreciate the pop culture reference.  Eli is young, smart and well-intended.  On the right hand side of Young comes Boy Scout Lieutenant Matthew Scott (Brian J Smith) and on his right arm the lovely civilian Chloe Armstrong (Elyse Levesque).  Team Young also has medic Tamara “TJ” Johansen (Alaina Huffman – Smallville, Painkiller Jane) and live wire Ronald Greer (Jamil Walker Smith – Hey Arnold!, Waynehead).  You’d think with all these people against him, Rush would be in for a quick loss of power, yet somehow he stays afloat – a testament to his powerful mind.  Relatively unaffiliated, at least without spoiling anything, are Colonel David Telford (Lou Diamond Philips – Wolf Lake, Young Guns) and International Oversight Advisory’s Camile Wray (Ming-Na – Vanished, ER), both seemingly out for themselves. Leading the season-ending big bad against our hometown team is beautiful Rhona Mitra (Nip/Tuck, Boston Legal) in the role of Kiva, commander of the Lucian Alliance.

Alaina Huffman Stargate UniverseIf you thought the cliffhanger off Season One couldn’t be beat, you were wrong.  The creators have cranked the jeopardy dial to eleven, actually to the point where I was angry when the credits rolled, knowing I’d have to wait for my answers.  My own catharsis will arrive with Season Two, airing September 28th, 2010.

AUDIO/VIDEO/EXTRAS

Audio English 5.1 DTS HD, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital with subtitles in English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, French and Spanish.

The packaging also contains a fold-out casing to neatly hold both Season One and 1.5.

Destiny SML entries are behind the scenes while the Kino Video Entries (webisodes) take place “in character”.  Both have play all functionality.

Disc 1:
Destiny SML (Star Map and Log):
David Blue: An Interview with the Creators of SG-U — Actor Blue interviews Robert Wright  and Robert C. Cooper.
Designing a New Race: ‘Space’ Aliens — Andy Mikita and Mark Savela talk about the creation of the aliens for “Space”.
Tanked! Elyse Levesque Goes for a Swim – Elyse goes through scuba training for her captivity scene in “Space”.
Chatting with the Cast: Peter Kelamis – A chat with the actor behind the character Adam Brody.

Kino Video Diaries — Four Kino entries by the crew of Destiny.

Commentaries:
Space – Director Andy Mikita, VFX Supervisor Mark Savela and Producer Joseph Mallozzi.
Divided – Actors Louis Ferreira, Elyse Levesque and Julia Benson.
Faith – Actors Brian J. Smith, Alaina Huffman and Patrick Gilmore.
Human – Executive Producer Robert C. Cooper and Director of Photography Michael Blundell.

Disc 2:
Destiny SML
Brian J. Smth: An interview with the Creators of SG-U — Actor Brian J. Smith interviews Robert Wright  and Robert C. Cooper.
The Destiny of General O’Neill — Richard Dean Anderson talks about the differences in SG-1 and SG-U in both the show and his character.
A Day in the Life of Louis Ferreira — Follows Ferreira through a day of shooting from 7am to 6pm.
Chatting with the Cast: Julia Benson –A chat with the actress behind the character Lt. Vanessa James.
Out for a Spacewalk with Jamil Walker Smith — A look at the green screen work as Smith’s character works on the exterior of the Destiny.
Finding Destiny: A Tour of the Destiny Set with Chris Beach — Art Director Chris Beach gives a guided tour of the Destiny, from concept to execution.

Kino Video Diaries — Three Kino entries by the crew of Destiny.

Commentaries:
Lost – Actors Brian J. Smith, Peter Kelamis, Patrick Gilmore and Jamil Walker Smith.
Sabotage – Actors Louis Ferreira, Elyse Levesque and Julia Benson.
Pain – Actors Brian J. Smith and Patrick Gilmore.

Disc 3:
Destiny SML
Alaina Huffman: An interview with the Creators of SG-U — Actress Alaina Huffman interviews Robert Wright  and Robert C. Cooper.
Chatting with the Cast: Jennifer Spence — A chat with the actress behind the character Lisa Park.
A Behind the Scenes Look at Incursion p 1 & 2– Cast and Crew speak about the first season’s cliffhanger.
Two-for-One: Behind the “Incursion” Double Ratchet Stunt — James Bamford talks about the stunt sending two men through the Gate at the same time.
Chatting with the Cast: Patrick Gilmore — A chat with the actor behind the character Dale Volker.

Kino Video Diaries — One Kino entry by the crew of Destiny.

SGU: Survival Instinct — A game where viewers try to make their way through a Stargate adventure, based on footage from Season 1’s Time.  (Your remote helps, but you can play with the triangle menu off your PS3 controller).

Commentaries:
Subversion – Actors Brian J. Smith, Alaina Huffman, Patrick Gilmore and Jamil Walker Smith.
Incursion – Part 1 — Actors Alaina Huffman and Elyse Levesque.
Incursion – Part 2 — Actors Alaina Huffman and Elyse Levesque.

FINAL WORD

Still reeling in the post Battlestar Gallactica blues?  Give Stargate Universe a spin, a gritty and worthy addition to the Stargate mythos.

Final Grade – A

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