Name in Lights

So, a screen capture from the DVD I just finished watching:

Which is to say that yes, I have the series opener of Stargate: Universe in my grubby little hands at the moment. Which is making it very hard to type. Hold on, let me put it down. There we go.

And how is the series opener, you ask? Well, bearing in mind that per the screen credit above I am not exactly what you would call a disinterested observer, nevertheless I say to you that, yes, it is in fact pretty damn good. It’s smart, it’s tense, it has moments of humor, the actors are well-cast and perform admirably, and it looks really great. That’s all I’m going to say about it right now, because if I offered you plot spoilers, I’d be assassinated. And they would be right to do so. I will say that I can see the parts where my contribution is on the screen, but that you probably won’t, and that’s exactly how it should be, since my role is to help you get sucked in to what you’re watching. I think you will be.

In short, I’m happy to have my name on this, and I think that you’re going to want to clear out time on October 2nd to be near a television and watch it for yourself. I’m excited for you all to see it.

For those of you who want more on the season opener, the folks at io9 have gotten a look at it and have posted their observations as well. It’s also spoiler free.

40 Comments on “Name in Lights”

  1. Congrats, Scalzi!

    Out of curiosity, does one need to have seen the other Stargate series to watch Universe? I’ve been meaning to see both SG-1 and Atlantis, but I’ve an enormous backlog of series to get through right now.

  2. Don’t suppose you happen to know if it will be made available via Amazon-on-Demand do you?

    I scrapped my cable a few weeks ago in favor of a Roku box.

    Just asking…

  3. Great news! Hey, John…will you tell us where you touched it after it’s broadcast? I can imagine that you might not be allowed to do that, but I thought I’d ask.

    Asking mostly because I want to know what kind of thing a CC does on a TV show. I’m always better with concrete examples.

  4. not to sound too ignorant but what station will be broadcasting it? (I’m guessing sci fi but I’d rather know now and mark it down on my agenda than remember at the last minute and try to fit it in).

  5. Awesome. Must be cool to see that flash up on the screen.

    Now could you look at my screenplay and give me some critical feedback?

  6. This past weekend I was discussing with the sister-in-law all that’ll be going on in a few weeks. She was a bit nervous about meeting “writing stars” and if she would have anything in common to talk about. There was a moment of coming together when I explained you were a creative consultant to SG:U (she’s a big fan of all things Stargate). She’s torn between watching the premier live or going to bed earlier because of our flight time the next day (insane o’clock early).

  7. Ryan, Kevin R:

    Yes, I think it’s pretty accessible to the folks who haven’t been watching the other series.

    Kevin Blake:

    I know that iTunes will have a “Season Pass” for it — don’t know about Amazon.


    It’s on the Syfy network.

  8. I loved SG-1 seasons 1-5 (before it started its slow decline), they were *fun* in a way TNG et al never were. It’ll be interesting to see if SG-U can bring that back.

    Looking forward to seeing this when it hits British tellies in October!

  9. Any chance that we’ll be getting post viewing episode thoughts/reviews from you? Maybe pointing out what elements you influenced so we know whether to continue bowing at your feet or get the bushel of rotten tomatoes ready?

  10. I’m curious, and after reading the linked article, I’m wondering if the whole series will be as dark as the first three hours. One of the things I loved about SG-1 was the humor, but I can dig a dark show just as well.

  11. Logan:

    I’m like to post some observations after the series premieres, yes, although I won’t necessarily call attention to my own contributions.


    You’ll have to watch to find out, although I will say there are a fair number of humorous moments in any event.

  12. I will say that I can see the parts where my contribution is on the screen, but that you probably won’t, and that’s exactly how it should be

    It took me quite a while to figure out that Peter DeLuise was one of the reasons I liked SG1 so much — I barely noticed when he’d become a creative consultant, but I did notice the better continuity. (A SF show that remembers events that took place in earlier episodes? How shocking and unexpected!)

    I don’t think you’ll be able to have the kind of influence he seems to have had — he also wrote and directed, before and after the CC gig — but that doesn’t mean it will go unnoticed.

  13. John,
    I am a true sci-fi fan, but somehow missed the bus on the star Gate phenomenon. I saw the original movie, loved it, but didn’t pick up with the series. I tried to watch SG1 after the fact, to get caught up, on the sci-fi channel, but was thwarted by the random scheduling (I assume a monkey, sugar-and-caffeine-impregnated bananas, and a feces-splattered episode chart were involved.) of the episodes. I was befuddled and confused, then gave up. Is there a website that can catch me up? List of episodes? Some sort of map for the Star Gate impaired who desperately wish to be current? From that brief blurb on SGU, it sounds cool and much more lethally realistic. I’ll be sure to catch it…but want to understand the past so that I can enjoy the present!

  14. Dang, and me with no job and no cable at the moment. Hrmph.

    Congratulations John.

    SEF @ 16: Babylon 5 was another that always looked back to earlier episodes. First time I realized it, I was blown away. Now that I own the series, and have watched it multiple times, I can see how sometimes it was so subtle you didn’t catch on for a couple episodes.

  15. I’m so excited to watch it! I just started getting into stargate when syfy posted SG1 on Hulu. I’ve been watching it nonstop for days. I can’t wait to see more.

  16. B5 was unusual in that there were actual planned arcs written long before the show went into production. The result was a powerful and significant continuity.

    I wish SG had written out more arcs ahead of time. We might have been spared some of the more common problems with Atlantis

    Mr. Scalzi, do you know if the writing staff for Universe have any arcs mapped out? I don’t want to know what they are (if they are at all), I’d just like to know whether there’s been any attempt to plan the plot structure of the show.

  17. Melendwyr:

    That’s part of my job, actually.

    Daryl Swinson:

    Wikipedia actually has quite a lot on the previous series, including stuff about individual characters and episodes. That said, it’s not hugely required that you know everything about the SG universe to get into this series.

  18. After reading some of the previews and reviews, I’m definitely intrigued by the darker and more serious direction that’s being hinted at. I always enjoyed both SG-1 and Atlantis, but I really loved the movie and the tone it set. Sounds like they might have moved a bit back towards the tone of the movie here.

    Definitely plan to watch (or at least DVR, handy thing, that little button) it on 10/2.

  19. Guys, read through the comments before asking questions — we’re getting question repeats. Also, Nathan: I have no idea. I assume so, since Hulu is co-owned by NBC Universal (which owns Syfy), but that’s one of those Not My Department things.

  20. “That’s part of my job, actually.”


    Now hopefully we won’t have screw-ups like introducing the Orion and destroying it pointlessly in the next episode to reduce the complexity of plot development. (I’m looking at _you_, Atlantis writers. You know what you did.)

  21. Nice. I’m quite excited to see this new version of Stargate, beacuse the old formula and planet of the day thing was getting old.

  22. Cool…just like Harlan Ellison on Babylon 5! I can’t wait to see it. If it is anything like your novels, it can’t help but be great! Congrats, John, you deserve it!

  23. Looking forward to it, John.

    New question: If it gets renewed for S2, are they going to take full advantage of your writing talents & throw an episode your way? Is that something you’re interested in?

  24. And people thought The Syphilis Channel only aired wrestling. So are you now able to say (write, type, etc.) “Syfy” without cringing in shame? I’m sure those enormous consulting fees help, but still…

  25. I swear, John, seriously, while I want to watch what I think of as “John’s Stargate” I can’t bring myself to watch that channel since the name change.

    Its disrespectful of the whole genre…. I just cant do it. maybe if there is a way to do it without handing the channel viewership I will watch… maybe that alien brainsucking hulu online thing

  26. I am such a nerd because I am SO excited about this. A new sci-fi series to suck me in… YAY. I’ve been lost without Battlestar Galactica.

  27. @18:

    One of the great things about SG1, especially seasons 1-5, was that you could watch them in any order and they would still make sense. Each episode was a complete, self-contained story, and any of them could be the first one you saw. But at the same time, there were continuity references that gave more depth for the people who weren’t viewing that particular episode as their first one. It was brilliant, and it was one of the big things that made the show so awesome.

    They didn’t start having to do the “previously…” teasers until season 7 or 8. 8 is the season I’d stop after.

  28. I’ve watched this series for a long time… I liked it, but couldn’t say that Stargate’s been that great ’till today… you know, the scenary is pretty good (quite the sci-fi referent) but the story in each chapter and in the whole has been pretty much boring… I mean, when you konw beforehand that none of the main characters is going to die, lose an arm, be a son of a bitch just for the sake of loving been one or someting it gets somewhat monotone… and seriously The acting at SG1 and Atlantatis wasn’t that great. I hope Universe will be more in the Gantz line, begging you, Scalzi, to help on that.

  29. Ok, now is it accessible to people who thought SG-1 was schlocky crap and thus didn’t watch the spinoff? I mean, hey – how many times can you watch MacGyver tool around in the BC woods chased by bumpy foreheaded aliens?

    Anyway – not to be too negative, I’ll give it a watch. I hope you’ve managed to give it a good dose of non-suckitude.

  30. In your opinion, will SGU be like Battlestar Galactica and take the questions and struggles of humanity?

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