I loved SGU from the moment it started. It was a welcome departure from the nose dive SG-1 and Atlantis had taken in their final seasons. I welcomed the shift from less action packed episodes that drove SG-1, to more character driven plots. I also felt the pace was more than sufficient to move the story forward.
As far as the characters, I didn't go in trying to identify with any of them or felt any of them were so messed up that it was beyond belief they would be hired for their respective fields. I ended up liking many of them, mostly Rush, Eli, Volker, Brody, Greer and TJ. I also liked the larger main cast and the ever present supporting cast of characters.
It's really a shame that so many Stargate fans were turned off the series, for whatever reason. I think it had the potential to be the DS9 of the Stargate franchise.