If an episode succeeds, they’ll say “Wow, that was great! They must have really listened to John Scalzi!”

The lesson Brad Wright has learned from Star Trek is that when you have a good sci-fi franchise going, you can keep it alive for decades, as long as you remember to spawn off new spin-off series at regular intervals.

Stargate SG-1 was launched in 1997 and lasted 10 seasons. It had good moments and bad moments. I enjoyed it for quite a while.

Stargate Atlantis, the first spin-off, had a ridiculous premise (vampires in space! super awesome science action heroes!), but also a great sense of fun, and was smart in its own stupid way.

With Stargate Universe, the newest spin-off, Stargate may be headed in a more plausible direction, at least when measured by the number of english-speaking aliens. There aren’t any – yet. In fact there’s been only one alien, and it was truly different. The first five episodes have focused on basic survival. A group of people are stranded on a spaceship, and they have too little air and power. That’s all that’s happened so far. I like it. It’s good, and believable in a way neither of the other series were.

Stargate: Universe feels like a show where the characters would be surprised(!) if they stumbled across english-speaking humanoids in a remote galaxy.

But is it possible to make plausible SF for television? I expect there’ll be aliens, and a babelfish along with them. But I’m not sure I’ll mind. When I want serious SF, I read books, (or rewatch Babylon 5).

Also, I love the music.