The Wormhole wrote:
My main beef is that the people who were supposed to be in charge--Wray and Young--were simply not cut out for the task. How they kept things running at Icarus Base is beyond me. Young was a passive-aggressive fool and Wray was an unremarkable bureaucrat. Guess they let just anyone work for the SGC nowadays.
Sigh. This old argument again.
In America we can see that our top people in every profession are afflicted with the same negative traits. We complain about the crew of SGU bickering instead of working together because we see that is being absurd and immature. Well, what about the folks voted on by the people to serve in the highest offices of government who can't get along. Even when the country was on the verge of an economic collapse or still on the verge in some people's views) we had politicians, educated grownups for God's sake, who were more interested in party victories, personal triumphs, obstruction to make the other guys look bad, petty grievances, backstabbing, etc. We have politicians who go around cheating on spouses, taking bribes from special interest groups and big companies, lying under oath, distorting facts, being totally ignorant of historical events, letting their pride, stubbornness and ideology get in the way of doing what was best for the community. These are the people who are supposed to represent us and yet they all have their flaws, some appallingly more than others. How did they get those jobs? How and why did people vote for them, huh?
What about business leaders. They put on facades themselves and are held up as what is great about America. But behind the scenes so many of them are nothing more than petty, dismissive, selfish, greedy individuals who won't think twice about sticking it to the common/working man as long as it is good for their bottom line. Cutting back on the health care of workers even while giving CEOs large bonuses, shipping jobs overseas in for much cheaper labor costs that ultimately amount to slave labor, dumping toxic chemicals in the rivers or water of small rural towns or impoverished urban areas and so on. How did such wonderful human beings ever become leaders of the private sector, but, hey that is what they did. Character had nothing to do with it in many cases.
The same goes for the military. We Americans love to portray all military personnel as heroes. And while many are many are also dysfunctional, thuggish, ignorant, bigoted, sexist, intolerant assholes who believe their way of thinking is the only true one to go by. In fact some of the very best people on the battlefield fit those descriptions. They look all wholesome and clean-cut in their attire during ceremonies but beneath the surface lies all sorts of demons. These are people who go home and may abuse their children, their wives even before going off to war. They may be totally dysfunctional dealing with personal issues and conflicts and are only comfortable with giving orders or following orders. They can rise high in the ranks before someone realizes that, hey, they aren't that good at their job (hopefully it happens before they get themselves or someone else killed while in battle). When they return home from duty they may become suicidal. Again, how did such folks make it through their career despite all their negative qualities? Was it the incompetence of those above them?
The answer may be as simple as that human beings by nature are flawed. And if the only people getting important positions were those folks without any disagreeable attributes, we would have a much more limited and smaller workforce. This is true of all professions. Teachers. Social workers. Doctors. Law officers. Entertainment. Science. Construction. Religious leaders. Even a place like NASA had within its ranks a wacko like Lisa Nowak. Nowak was a highly decorated military officer and a top NASA specialist who also was besieged by so much jealousy and rage that she attempted to kidnap a woman whom she saw as a rival for a particular man's affections.
With these daily reminders of the failures of all of us, even the supposed best of us, we still have folks griping that the fictional crew of SGU were too unprofessional, too incompetent and too hostile? People are still arguing that such characteristics don't make sense despite evidence of such behaviour in our real world? Give me a break.
I have a sneaky suspicion that the character traits of the folks on SGU are more true to life than anything we got from all of the other SG shows. In fact I would go as far to say that one episode of SGU provided far more examples of real-life humanity (warts and all) than the entire runs of SG1 and SGA combined. Of course when anyone tries to argue this point the response form the old guard of Stargate fandom goes something like "Jack and John had personal issues to deal with as well they didn't allow that to get in the way of the job, blah, blah, blah". Okay. But maybe because those guys and their crew members were more like heroic cardboard cutouts of the Saturday morning matinee era. They are ideal presentations but not necessarily realistic ones. What I love about Young was how flawed he was and how he sometimes got it wrong, but nonetheless still try to do best by his crew. He was thrown into a tougher situation than other Stargate leaders had been tossed in and had to work with people who often did not see eye-to-eye with him. He had to make it work. He had to grow into being a better leader. No, he didn't have the answer for everything, he didn't have the quick, witty tongue. He didn't look the part of a leading man. And that made him recognizably human. The same went for the rest of the SGU cast with perhaps an exception here and there.
On the previous SG shows the personal setbacks of the main characters would be wrapped within a blanket of fantastical obstacles: a mate, parent, child, people, world was lost to some evil galactic empire of some sort. On SGU the personal problems were typically more...grounded. An affair that almost wrecked (did wreck) a marriage. The role of parenthood being thrust upon a young man that was not yet mature enough to handle the responsibility. The lost of a spouse to cancer.
Not exactly the typical exciting stuff we expect from science fiction shows which was probably part of the problem for viewers. Folks felt that personal stuff (or that "soap opera garbage" as they liked to say) was boring. I'll admit it wasn't always executed as well as it could have been. However for me at least it made those characters more recognizable as fellow flesh and blood creatures. So I reject the idea that characters like Wray, Young, Scott, Greer, etc were somehow the type of individuals who would never be good enough to serve in something like SGC. In my opinion only fans who have their view of "military" behavior shaped by fun fluff like the previous Stargate series and all non-DS9 Trek shows would have such a distorted notion of who would realistically qualify as acceptable and effective personnel of a highly secretive military and space program. Pressure can do all sorts of things to people; even the best of us can snap.
Look, if people don't like SGU because they found it boring, thought it was too much like a soap opera, thought it didn't have enough English-speaking/human-looking/oxygen-breathing alien, or thought the characters were unlikable b, I won't argue about that even if I disagree on all fronts. But the excuse that the characters weren't worthy of the positions they occupied doesn't wash with me. Flawed individuals make fill relative similar positions all the time. Some even overcome their flaws. The best part of SGU to me was seeing these guys over time overcome their flaws and start to pull together for the common good, to see them come to an understanding. Many viewers wanted that to happen overnight. I argue that not only is that not true to life, but that such a quick turnaround ended up being the fatal flaw of Star Trek:Voyager.