I've read a number of reviews here on TV dot com and it's clear that people either loved the show or hated it.
First up, if you enjoy movies like Blade Runner, 1984, Soylent Green, Logans Run and perhaps THX1138, then I'm certain you will enjoy Stargate Universe. Some reviewers have compared it to the new Battlestar Galactica(if there referring to the first 2 seasons then I don't have a problem, the final 3 seasons of the new Battlestar Galactica however were utter trash).
My main issues with SG-1 and SG-Atlantis where watching them in the first place. Why? Well I really enjoyed the first movie but McGyver(Richard Dean Anderson) replacing Kurt Russell had me waiting a long time till I finally watched the show(which by the way is not bad and I was glad I watched it for the great tech ideas etc). Also no James Spader further removed my interest from the show for a long time. It's also fair to say that the show did end up being the Amanda Tapping and Richard Dean Anderson show for a long time, this even continued into Stargate-Atlantis which was a negative for me.
Stargate-Atlantis was superb in bringing more realistic characters to the show as opposed to jolly jaunters as Daniel Jackson would put it.
Then along came Stargate - Universe and I'm ever so glad I watched all the previous incantations of Stargate(the animated is not counted as it's complete garbage and not worthy of the Stargate name), for had I not made the decision to watch all of those fun episodes I would never have tried out Stargate Universe and Stargate Universe is simply stunning.
Something that a lot of people here need to know right now is that there are about 30 or so KENO diary entries that were made seperate to the series. To view them, fans and interested viewers had to go to the website and check them out as they were released. These are now available on the Bluray set for season one(that I now own and will be there for season 2 when it's finally available on bluray as well) and are a must if your even sightly interested in the show. The main reason is that they fill in the gaps which allow you to relate to the characters and where there coming from. It will give those who (just couldn't get into the characters because they were not instantly cool) something to provoke a touch more thought.
This series has hit nerves mainly because in terms of characters, it presents us with people as they really would be. Reality always hits nerves because people often seek SciFi to escape into an imaginary world. Real SciFi however shows us both the good and the bad aspects of future concepts, technology and ways of thought. Stargate Universe presented characters which to me, felt real. A crowd of people forced onto a Starship they didn't intend upon being on, all being forced to work together. Did you honestly believe that would equal a happy situation? No way, in fact just the opposite for many episodes and this series is to be commended for capturing that fact extremely well.
The 'Destiny'(The Starship for those who havn't seen it yet because your friends only wanted another formulaic series like SG-1 and SG-Atlantis but ignore them, this is the one to see if your prefer REAL drama in your SciFi. It's also a touch of SciFi drama. Exploring peoples emotions and feelings if they found themselves in this situation), is superb. I'm at a loss as to why people found some things unbelievable and aspects of the ship that didn't fit. I found it was explained incredibly well. The episode where there all searching to find some substance to replenish the oxygen system for example was breathtaking(excuse the pun), I honestly felt for those people and I'll admit opened a window when they got the air system working again.
My only negative is the stones from the Azguard that allow the crew to switch bodies, placing there consciousness in someone back on Earth, while that person get's there body on the starship, was more of a distractor than an aid, however it does allow for some relief with the crew and the ability to contact there loved ones which gives them some hope. It was also a great way to explore another area of drama and the human condiiton.
Overall this is mind blowing SciFi. Gone is the half hearted romps, replaced with serious well thought out science fiction, telling a life like story as opposed to a tongue in cheek everyone goes home happy tale. This is a series for the grown up and mature Stargate fan, or even anyone who prefers honest truth in drama from characters as opposed to BS that's for show on the screen to give a 'cool factor'.
Finally as for the 'they just push buttons and it all works out pheww' that one reviewer mentioned. Ignore it. Everything is very well explained(in particular the bit about having control of some systems but others which are locked out and only a handful of people on the starship can actually read 'Ancient' as most of the people are not even supposed to be on a starship so everything is very slow going) and the truth is(I hope this isn't giving too much away), a lot of the moments are not 'oh pheww' moments at all. Alas many people die in this show, in fact very easily just like they would in real life if exposed to the vacuum of space or other harsh environments for any lengthy period of time.
Terrific series, highly underrated and it really is a shame that previous fans of the other 2 series, simply failed to understand or get SG-Universe(they probably didn't even know about the KENO diaries which explain a lot of the sub plots and actions of the characters in the main series, well worth watching for those who havn't seen them yet but have seen the series and want some more SG-U, it's essentially over 30mins of new footage).
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for adults. Not a family/childrens show.
PS. The soundtrack to this series is SUPERB. Again fans of Blade Runner are going to love the theme. That reminds me, the series title section was brilliantly non-pretentious and not over the top like the other 2 series(why waste valuable viewing time on a fanfare with every episode), no Stargate Universe gives you about 3-5 seconds and that's that. Actors names etc just placed lightly while the epiosde actually begins as opposed to the fanfare style that wasted 30 - 40 seconds of viewing time on each and every episode in SG-1 and SG-Atlantis.