This Monday, May 9th at 9PM on the Syfy Channel, Stargate: Universe airs it’s final episode. It’s also the day that the long running Stargate franchise seemingly comes to a close.
Stargate Universe premiered back in October 2, 2009 with the pilot episode in which an attack on a secret off-world base, Icarus by a rebel organization forced the remaining survivors to flee onto an Ancient built ship named Destiny. Destiny had been launched millions of years ago by the same race that built the Stargates. Hoping to find a way back home, Colonel Everett Young (Louis Ferreira) and Dr. Nicolas Rush (Robert Carlyle) formed an uneasy, tension filled alliance to find out the ship’s true purpose and to find a way back to earth.
Now, forty episodes later, the passengers and crew of the Ancient built ship Destiny face their final challenge in the episode titled Gauntlet. Relentlessly pursued by drone ships from an alien race bent on destroying everyone on board Destiny, the crew faces the very real possibility they may never live to see home again.
While Stargate: Universe doesn’t have the infamy of being the shortest lived version of a Stargate spawned series – that title belongs to the animated series, Stargate: Infinity– it certainly didn’t achieve the success that was expected of it by long time Stargate Executive Producer, Brad Wright. As a viewer, I have to admit I was surprised that this addition to the Stargate franchise didn’t make it very far.
Sam(Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) are outnumbered by demons, but are saved at the last minute by Rob (Michael Shanks) and his townspeople, who are aware of the Apocalypse, and have been training to fight and kill demons. The small town is very religious and Sam and Dean meet Pastor Gideon (Larry Poindexter), who introduces them to his daughter Leah (Kayla Mae Maloney), whom he claims is a prophet. Leah tells the townspeople they must obey her orders if they want a spot in Heaven but when she starts turning the townspeople against each other in the name of the Lord, the brothers realize they must kill her.
Actor Michael Shanks is best known for his role as Dr. Daniel Jackson on the hit Syfy Channel series Stargate SG1, which ended it’s successful ten year run back in 2006. Shanks also reprised this role in two made for DVD Stargate SG1 movies and in guest-starring appearances in the two spin off series, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe. Of course this talented and versatile actor has spent time in other roles as well since becoming a fan favorite on Stargate SG1 (so popular in fact that many loyal fans participated in a campaign to bring him back to SG1 after the actor departed the series at the end of season five). Shanks has appeared in guest starring roles on several top rated television series such as 24, CSI: Miami and a very popular recurring guest appearance on Burn Notice as the rogue agent, Victor.
Now Michael Shanks steps into the realm of the superhero as he dons winged armor to become The Hawkman in the upcoming Smallville telemovie, Absolute Justice.
Proceeds to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada
A second spin-off – “Stargate Universe” – due to hit the airwaves, with cameos and appearances by original cast members. A third DVD movie in the pipeline – and a DVD movie for the first spin-off, “Stargate: Atlantis” – also on the drawing board. A re-mastered re-release of its original series pilot. More novels from Fandemonium Books. More audio dramas from Big Finish Productions. What began back in 1996 as a spin-off from a feature film, a little series called “Stargate: SG-1” continues to make its mark on television history.
Stargate: Continuum is the first DTDVD stand-alone adventure of the SG-1 team and it’s a bit of a time traveling doozy! It begins with SG-1 and General Jack O‘Neill [Richard Dean Anderson] attending the extraction ceremony for the last Goa’uld still existing in a Goa’uld System Lord. The Goa’uld is Ba’al [Cliff Simon], or rather, the last clone of Ba’al, who warns them that they’ve made a terrible mistake. As the ceremony proceeds, Vala [Claudia Black] and Teal’c [Christopher Judge] vanish. When members of the Tok’ra begin to disappear, too, the remaining SG-1 members and O’Neill realise that Ba’al has gone into the past to prevent the Stargate from being used – leaving Earth open to complete domination by the Goa’uld.
One of the best things about Stargate time travel tales is that they are usually a lot of fun. Continuum takes that to a whole new level, with appearances by nearly every major character in SG-1 lore – even though many are surprising cameos [check out the appearance of the System Lords, for example]. Also, Continuum is a stand-alone movie, so it’s not wrapping up a cliffhanger – or leaving fans hanging on yet another one.
In the alternate timeline that’s created by Ba’al’s maneuver, we get to meet alternate versions of O’Neill, General Hammond [Don S. Davis], Major-General Landry [Beau Bridges] and even President Henry Hayes [William Devane] – and we learn that, in this timeline, Col. Samantha Carter [Amanda Tapping] was an astronaut who died saving her shuttle crew and Daniel Jackson [Michael Shanks] is a discredited crackpot. Not only that, but Lt.-Col. Cameron Mitchell [Ben Browder] is in a position to create a Grandfather Paradox [look it up] if he screws up.
Stargate: Continuum works on a couple of levels: it’s a solid SG-1 adventure replete with action, humor and wit, and it’s also a breathtaking visual achievement, with some brilliantly shot sequences in the Arctic – and the first ever time that a nuclear submarine has been used in a movie [the captain being played by the sub’s real commander]. The writing is a bit above the average for the series and the cast get to play some interesting variations on their characters – especially, Shanks, whose Daniel Jackson suffers more than usual [even for him]. The direction is, as with the series, pretty snappy. Even the expository scenes are rife with wit and fun. As for the effects, they’re terrific – though they can barely hold their own against the majesty of the Arctic.
Features include: Audio Commentary by Executive Producer/Writer Brad Wright and Director Martin Wood; The Making of Stargate: Continuum Featurette; Stargate Goes to the Arctic Featurette, and The Layman’s Guide to Time Travel.
Stargate: The Ark of Truth – which hits stores on Tuesday – is the direct-to-DVD wrap-up of a number of loose ends that were left unresolved in the series finale of Stargate SG-1. Although Stargate Command was pretty sure they had managed to destroy the actual Ori, there no resolution regarding the evil ascended beings’ religious hierarchy – the Doci and the Priors [and being pretty sure isn’t the same thing as knowing…] – not to mention Adria.