How Stargate Universe Failed the Stargate Franchise
1. Universe did not maintain the tone of the earlier shows. Dark and gloomy, Universe included none of the brevity that SG-1 and Atlantis had. I understand they thought it was cool to reboot the franchise with the then-unemployed people from Battlestar Gallactica, but when you completely change the tone of the franchise, you have to win fans over again instead of having a guaranteed fan base. And to expect Gallactica fans to switch over was a stretch as well...I believe that series was also cancelled to due a lack of interest - duh!
2. Lack of science in science fiction. Universe is more of a character piece than a show that includes science. SG-1 and Atlantis had plots where the science was integral to the overall story - whether it was based in actual physics or a canon of scientific "laws" that applied throughout the show. Ancients behaved a certain way and the science and involvement of the Ancients' motives are almost completely absent in Universe. Even though they built Destiny.
3. Speaking of character, there is simply a lack of sympathetic characters. So making it about character is probably not the way to go. Perhaps they were trying to make it too much of an ensemble piece. Rush as a sympathetic character? NOT! Colonel Young? Nope. Even characters that I cared about early on - Eli, Chloe, Matt - have become stagnant and flat.
4. Lack of an understandable or constant enemy. Unmanned drones? Please! The aliens that kidnapped Rush and Chloe...still not sure what their motives are. The Lucian Alliance? Weak. In SG-1, when the Goa'uld were defeated, the Replicators then the Ori were brought in - and the Wraith in Atlantis - you need a good bad guy!
5. Plotlines that lacked purpose. Early in season one, they had plotlines with purpose...Destiny would stop places where they could get the supplies they needed. By mid-season, however, almost all purpose was lost. Even the stated mission to get everyone home became murky at best. No one likes to follow characters when they have no purpose.
So why do I keep watching? Partly it's to see it through...habit. There are only a few episodes left. It looks good in HD. So I'll watch til the end - the finale can't possibly be worse than the Atlantis finale...