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Cherry Pop

'Stargate Universe SG-U: 1.5'
(Robert Carlyle, Justin Louis, Brian J. Smith, Jamil Walker Smith, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / 20th Century Fox)

Overview: The electrifying series starring Robert Carlyle returns, presenting a whole new set of challenges for the civilians and military personnel stranded in deep space aboard an aging spaceship. As Dr. Rush (Carlyle) races against time to locate a tracking devise hidden somewhere on the Destiny, he also begins to suspect that a mole for the Alliance has infiltrated the group. Confronting the constant demands of their ship, the crew must also face their personal demons time and again in this powerful adventure that also features Lou Diamond Phillips, Michael Shanks, Richard Dean Anderson and Julia Benson.<

DVD Verdict: People, PLEASE don't criticize the show merely because it isn't like the other two Stargate series. If the Stargate franchise folks wanted to take it in a new direction, then it should be judged on its own merits, not on its similarity to what came before.

With SG-U they decided to go for more serious, less camp. That's not a bad thing. There's a great deal more conflict between the ensemble cast members, too. Again, not a bad thing, necessarily. The premise of being stranded on a runaway starship - or at least a ship the passengers do not control - is something different. It has potential.

I have found the series watchable, but barely enough to keep me tuning in. Frankly, there aren't many characters I find likable, let alone heroic. And most shows are too much like the Bickersons in space. Crew arguing with other crew members, plotting against other crew members, manipulating other crew members, sometimes even getting violent with other crew members.

Indeed, as you might have guessed already by now, this is not a happy ship! The captain is often arbitrary, capricious. The stones are interesting - where one's mind can reach across the galaxy and inhabit another body. But then they do icky things while in another person's body. This is not exactly a family show. Also, does the lesbian angle really need to be pushed? Does that add anything to the show? It seems forced.

Really, the more I think about these characters, the less I like them. The geeky computer guy is hard to dislike. But I wish he wasn't such a doormat for the gal he's got a crush on.

The plots of the episodes can be interesting, though the ship being threatened with destruction every other week gets a little monotonous. I wish a little more thought was put into the writing. The actors are mostly great, doing their best with difficult material. [EJA] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.