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Series: Starg Ate Universe

Where will Destiny take you?

The installment of the Stargate franchise that began in 2009 and ended in 2011.

A team of soldiers and scientists on an off-world base have finally cracked the secrets surrounding the, until now, unused ninth chevron of the Stargates (seven chevrons are used for regular trips, eight are used to travel between galaxies). With it, they are able to connect a wormhole to an Ancient ship called the Destiny. This comes at a very bad time as remnants of Stargate SG-1 villains attack the outpost. In a desperation maneuver they travel to Destiny without a proper recon of the area and about 80 people are stuck on a very old ship that is falling apart.

Because the mission was not planned, many of the main characters are not the typical specialist team that has been in the previous shows of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Besides a handful of leaders, the rest are either young and inexperienced, or untrained civilian scientists, all of whom are caught up in a situation far outside what they expected.

The show was canceled midway through its second season. The cast and crew only learned of the cancellation via Twitter. There was some speculation that the reason for the show's failure, was a retaliatory campaign conducted by angry fans of Stargate Atlantis, due to the removal of the Heart character of that show, Dr. Carson Beckett. SGU had a couple of fairly big name actors, (Robert Carlyle, known for his role in the film Trainspotting, and Ming-Na Wen, a Chinese actress with numerous cinematic credits, who was probably best known for her role as Chun Li in the live action Street Fighter movie).

Also, check out the Character Sheet. And recap page.


This shows uses the following tropes:

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    A-G 
  • Aborted Arc: In universe, Destiny itself is an aborted arc. The Ancients built it as part of a project to investigate a signal seemingly built in to the universe itself that they abandoned once they achieved Ascension.
  • Accidental Pervert: There's an episode where Chloe is using the Ancient equivalent of a shower when the power goes out. She calls out for Eli, he comes running... and just happens to shine his flashlight on her, getting a split-second of full frontal before realization hits and he stutters an apology while looking away. Too bad the camera's positioned behind her.
  • Adorkable: Eli and Amanda Perry.
  • Adventures in Comaland: The eponymous Cloverdale is just a figment of Scott's imagination while he's lying unconscious.
  • Aesop Amnesia: During his crossover appearance in "Seizure", Rodney Mc Kay is arrogantly confident that using Langara to dial Destiny won't destroy the planet. One would think he would be less flippant considering he blew up 5/6 of a solar system back in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Trinity".
  • Alien Sky: Used twice so far, once by proxy via the Destiny's star map, and again at the end of "Justice" when Rush comes to, and realizes he's been marooned.
  • Aliens Speaking English:
    • Averted with the catfish aliens, who speak a Starfish Language and cannot speak English. They can apparently write it just fine, but that's because they had captured and Mind Probed Rush beforehand.
    • Played straight with the Lucian Alliance. This is part of canon, after all.
    • Averted again with the Ursini. Though they have a somewhat more comprehensible language than the catfish, the one the crew talks to resists even basic attempts at communication. They only learn to understand humans after Telford had been stuck with them for a month, complete with a direct neural link.
      • The trope is inverted and subverted by Rush in the same episode. Telford asks Rush for help in communicating with the alien they just found, since he's the only one among them to actually have contact with aliens. Rush dryly notes, "Different aliens."
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Inverted - while the straight cast has plenty of romantic drama, the sole gay couple (Wray and Sharon) are shown to be faithful to each other.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Where do we begin; Vanessa James and Scott, Eli and Chloe, Perry and Rush, Volker and Park, TJ doing this to more than one guy. This show loves to create ships and then sink them.
  • All There in the Manual: The Season 1 Kino webisodes cover some of the little details in each episode and give background information. Some are just there for a little humor/fanservice. Others help fill in the blanks, such as the accompanying webisode for "Time".
    • An in-universe "manual" occurs in the form of a series of video lectures hosted by SG-1's Daniel Jackson. They appear to cover basics like what the stargate is and how it works, as well as a number of other topics.
    • One point clarified in the webisodes is that the volunteers who trade bodies with Destiny's crewmembers sign consent forms allowing "personal" use of their bodies. Without this knowledge, there's been a fair bit of Fridge Logic Squick from fans who wonder about what these people would think.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen: The subject of "Air", specifically the CO2 poisoning variety.
  • Anachronic Order: Roughly the first hour of the two-hour pilot episode was not shown in order. It starts with the group arriving on Destiny and then jumps around concerning the events on Destiny and how the characters ended up in that situation to begin with.
  • And You Were There: "Cloverdale".
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Eli to an unconscious, near-dead Chloe in "Time".
  • Anti-Hero: With the exceptions of audience surrogates Eli and Chloe, everyone is an anti-hero in their own right. Mainly highlighted in "Divided".
  • Anyone Can Die: First season had unsympathetic sergeant Spencer and the Senator to die among non-redshirts. Second season caught audience completely off-guard by killing Riley and later killing recurring characters Ginn and Amanda Perry. Also played with as the character you think is expendable Telford in fact survives multiple near-death trope situations and gets added to the main cast. But then he dies anyway in a way you don't see coming. Good thing there's an extra at the time.
    • Ginn and Perry got better, sort of, then slightly worse. Their situation wasn't revisited; it was one of several story points left without closure thanks to the show's cancellation.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Eli is Genre Savvy enough to realize that he should put one together, since they could all die at any moment. His comrades think this is silly, but it saves all their asses in "Time" and proves Young innocent in "Justice". And in "Common Descent", his Kino logs end up as a sort of big book of how to's for a civilization founded by the Destiny's crew 2000 years ago.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The mind-switching communication stones carried over from the original series, now with a handy on / off switch and much easier to use. A significant amount of screentime is spent on Earth-bound relationship issues of the characters (see Dysfunction Junction below), conveniently made possible by putting a stone on an illuminated base.
  • Arc Welding: The Lucian Alliance subplot, which was left unresolved during the final season of Stargate Sg-1 is picked up here.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Volker was originally a one-off character. The producers liked the way the actor portrayed him so much that he was upgraded to a recurring character.
    • Lt. James is relatively minor in the first few episodes, but by the second half her role has expanded.
    • Dr. Brightman, a one-shot character in SG-1, is a semi-recurring character in this series.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Eli, definitely.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Maybe. Franklin, the idiot who sat in the chair in "Justice" and fried his brain, regains just enough mobility to try it again in "Sabotage". This time, he seems to freeze the entire room, and by the time they come back to check on him, the man is gone. We can't be sure if he ascended, though. The machine might just have vaporized him. It's probably relevant that every time someone ascends in the previous two series, they leave their clothes behind. Not the case with Franklin.
  • Attack Drone
  • Awesome McCoolname: Armando Elsinor von Spelker III. Not named on the show, but on Joseph Mallozzi's blog.
  • Ax-Crazy: Dannic. Strangling one of your only scientists for not being able to correct a problem on the spot, getting rid of a third of your remaining men just because the guy they were loyal to wasn't Ax-Crazy, utterly refusing to surrender in the face of horrible death? He hits the qualification line full speed, then kills it for getting in his way. His defeat exemplifies this. In most other similar situations, his defeat would come about as a result of a Heel Face Turn or at least a Noble Villain. Dannic? He gets defeated because his men (including above scientist) aren't as crazy as he is. That is, they don't like the protagonists, they don't want them to win, but they also aren't willing to fly as far off the deep end as Dannic.
  • Back for the Dead: The people who stayed on the "Eden" planet.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: End of first season. Or is it? It wasn't.
    • Simeon in a manner of speaking. While Rush executes him in cold-blood, it only comes after he'd already murdered Amanda Perry and Ginn, two military personnel during his escape and wounded numerous others whilst avoiding capture. Even worse, the planned Lucian Alliance attack on Earth he murdered Ginn for revealing, still ends up happening!
  • Bad Future: Subjective future, actually the past. The crew abandoned Destiny and their mission, settled on alien planet and never got home nor found "God". Turns out they had accidentally been sent 2,000 years back in time, and their present day duplicates (wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey) learn what happened to their alternate selves.
    • Subverted in the following episode, "Epilogue". Despite having lost Destiny and being forced to start over from scratch on a brand new world, the alternate Destiny crew are shown to have lived far richer, happier lives. What's more, their descendants went on to build a great Ancient-esque civilisation based the strong work ethic, curiosity and optimism of the characters. Except for that whole Cold War period they went through, but luckily extinction proved a bigger motivator than their petty differences.
      Old Camille: When we first arrived here, we thought we had failed. We didn't achieve the mission on Destiny. But now, looking at all your smiling faces, at this beautiful new school, I can't help but feel a great sense of pride. And success. Because as we discovered, our mission is — and always will be — the journey itself.
    • Too bad the entire civilisation was later destroyed by an errant black hole passing through their system, forcing them to leave the planet. Where they are most likely going to be eradicated by the Berserker Drones, as already happened to the "Pittsburgh" colony.
  • Bathos: When exploring the archives on Novus, the dead planet of the alternate crew's ancient descendants, there is a brief scene in an elevator with the crew appropriately baffled by the cheesy muzak.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: TJ, the medic, seems to have brought a hefty tub of styling gel and lipstick.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The characters find themselves dependent on Destiny's needs for their own survival (like material to get the air filters working), but Destiny conveniently brings them to planets where they can gather the necessary materials. Some characters early on decide to Screw Destiny and abandon ship, but most of the crew members view the ship's presence at a location as proof enough that it is worth exploring.
  • Berserk Button: Greer really isn't very happy about Telford attacking Young. He sprints into the room and takes him apart in under six seconds. Hurting TJ is also this for Young, as is the general suggestion that he cannot protect the people under his command.
    • When it comes to Rush, keep your hands off Amanda Perry. Simeon found out the hard way.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: This is shaping up to be Universe's hallmark. They've already had chestbursters/chestburrowers and a Giant Spider, and there's more on the way. Seems that without the Ancients around, the rest of the universe evolved some creepy shit.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Telford and the Ursini in "Resurgence".
    • Rush saving Lisa Park from Simeon's bomb in "Malice".
  • Big Damn Villains: The catfish aliens in "Deliverance". However, they were really more of a diversion than actual help.
  • Big Fun: Eli: Big (Nerdy) Fun.
  • Big Good: O'Neill, to the best that he is able, back on Earth.
  • Bluffing the Murderer: Young does this to Rush after he learns Rush made Sgt. Spencer's suicide look like a murder and tried to implicate Young as the perpetrator simply to get him out of the way.
  • Boarding Party: The Lucian Alliance.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: See No Ending below.
  • Boobs of Steel: Lt. James has an incredible rack and is the only female character to have engaged extensively in combat. She's good at it, including hand-to-hand — reference the brutal butt-stroke she deals out in "Divided" and when she "kills" Scott at the beginning of "Pain".
  • Bottomless Magazines: Realistically averted. Ammo restrictions are a constant concern for the crew of Destiny, to the point it's even mentioned in several episodes.
  • Brainwashed: Telford.
  • Brain Uploading: Well, consciousness uploading, the neural interface chair can do that and has done that with Franklin, Ginn and Amanda Perry
  • Break the Cutie: Ongoing for Chloe, what with being trapped on Destiny with everybody else, her father dying, having no useful skills to help out right off the bat, kidnapped by aliens, stranded offworld twice in a row, getting shot in the season one finale, and then being slowly transformed into an alien and being ostracized by all of her friends because of it. She also died horribly twice in the episode "Time" in timelines that were subsequently written over. TJ, too, starting from "Faith" onwards. Park gets a major dose when she's blinded. Even Wray has a few moments, though it's more of a Break the Haughty with her. Eli is starting to stack up emotional problems, too, especially after "Malice", what with his new girlfriend having been Stuffed into the Fridge. Finally, talking about Break the Haughty, Rush in the same episode.
  • Breather Episode: "Faith" and "Visitation", both dealing with the god-like aliens, are non-action episodes which focus more on the difference between science and faith/religion. They come after the action-packed episodes. "Cloverdale" consists of Scott, infected by an alien organism, hallucinating a normal life in an idyllic rural town. This one leads into an action episode.
  • Brick Joke: As well as one heck of a Tear Jerker. In "Air Part 1" we see Rush break down in private as he listens to a piece of classical music, we only later learn in "Human" this was his deceased wife's favourite piece to play on the violin.
    • Eli's t-shirt. In "Lost" they get stranded in an underground labyrinth, and Eli laments the race that built it didn't think of making a map with a big red dot marking your location, like they have at malls. He opens his jacket and points at his t-shirt, which has the same red dot and text;
    Eli: "You are here!" How hard is that?
    • Which itself becomes a Brick Joke in the very next episode, as Chloe realises that there's a repeating pattern on the wall at every junction and intersection, with minute changes each time. Turns out they really did put "You Are Here!" on the walls!
  • The Bridge: Destiny has one, and it follows the classic layout, but it doesn't show up until season 2. Season 1 averted the trope with the control room fulfilling the role of the bridge.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: According to the casting sheet that went out Eli is this, saying that he's brilliant at anything he puts his mind to, but that he's rarely excited enough to actually use this. Seen in a flashback where it is implied he put off going to an interview to sleep in.
    • He solved an Ancient maths proof, written in another language, that Rush couldn't crack in over 2 years, in his spare time, because he was curious, cause the SGC put it in a video game.
    • Later shown, even Rush has to admit that Eli being able to pilot Destiny through a Blue-Supergiant is something even he didn't think was possible to do.
  • Book Ends: The show begins with Destiny emerging from FTL as a speck in the distance and slowly coming to fill up screen before it's internal systems all power up. It ends with Destiny shutting down it's systems and slowly disappearing into FTL until it's just a speck in the distance. Almost a perfect reverse.
  • Broken Pedestal: After "Seizure" Eli seems to have stopped looking at Rush as a surrogate father-figure.
  • Butt Monkey: Volker was initially this, Adam Brody seems to have taken this role as of season 2.
  • Came Back Wrong: Everyone on the shuttle in "Visitation".
    • But not in any of the classic forms of this trope.
  • Catchphrase: Young: "Lotta work." — particularly in regards to Rush. Seems to have dropped it in later season one episodes. Came back with a vengeance in season two.
  • The Champion: Ronald Greer frequently acts as one towards the crew on Destiny, whether it be single-handedly holding off a horde of hostile alien plants in "Cloverdale" or immediately volunteering to undergo a risky transplant surgery to give Volker one his kidneys in "Hope".
  • Character Development:
    • As of "Space", Lt. James has made the jump from generally useless Kino magnet to semi-sympathetic third stringer, complete with Crowning Moment Of Awesome and basic character insight. In an episode that didn't even focus on her for more than 5 minutes.
    • Greer started off looking like he would be the short-tempered Loose Cannon. But thanks to character moments he has shown humor, loyalty, and insight as well.
    • Young has developed quite a bit from the somewhat overly cautious and by-the-book guy he started off as into someone quite a bit better equipped to handle the weight of command. As a sign of this, over the course of the show, his hair has gotten progressively longer from the standard crew cut. This is somewhat ironic, as later episodes will have him question his ability to command while he's been quite adamant in doing so up till now.
      • He's not the only one whose hair grows: The change is gradual, but looking back at the first episode after watching the last really shows it. Rush grows quite a beard, and all their clothes go from new to somewhat dilapidated. Which makes sense if they have a limited supply of clothes and razors...
  • Chekhov's Armory:
    • Chehkov's Vlog: Eli uses the Kino to document everything. It has come in handy many times.
    • Chekhov's Limpet: The strange, clearly un-Ancient ship that detaches and flies away from the Destiny at the end of "Air".
    • Chekhov's Celestial Object: Every planet/star they visit has a solution for a problem, because the ship is doing it on purpose. Since resources are dwindling and they have a time limit on their expeditions, exploration is understandably a low priority. When Rush gains secret control of the bridge and is messing around with its systems, resulting in apparently random drops out of FTL, the rest of the crew gets frustrated trying to figure out what item Chekhov is hiding for them.
    • Chekhov's Starship: Young maroons Rush on a deserted planet in walking distance of an ancient (but not Ancient) starship. The alien race the ship originally belonged to later turns up with Rush in tow, and they're not exactly happy to see everyone.
    • Chekhov's Hull Breach: The holes the aliens cut in Destiny in "Space" are brought up in "Divided" as a way for the military to get to the civilian side of the ship and again in "Incursion" to fix something on the hull.
    • Chekhov's Memory Sharing: The bleed-over from Telford to Scott becomes much more relevant in "Subversion".
    • Chehkov's Alien Spittle: The venom of the Squigglers has been useful in three different episodes: first being the cure for the water-based disease afflicting the characters, second as an anesthetic on Rush while removing the tracking device from his chest, and finally being used as an anesthetic on the alien ticks that attach themselves to the crew. Showed up and didn't help any in "Cloverdale" while dealing with an offworld infection.
    • Chekhov's Sled: Eli's hover sled, which he invented in "Water", comes back in "Cloverdale" as a way to carry supplies and an injured Scott. Also makes an appearance in "Deliverance" in order to carry a drone on board. Same episode also gives it an official name: kino sled. Eli apparently also made multiples.
    • Chekhov's Iguana: Openly focusing on the there-for-no-apparent-reason alien reptile halfway through "Malice". A herd of them are used by Rush to trample a wounded Simeon in the denouement.
    • Chekhov's Robot: Averted in "Air" when they need some way to push a button to close a door sealing the button pusher inside. Despite Kinos featuring prominently in the episode, and we're shown they have lots, nobody considers of using one to push the button turning the whole episode into an Idiot Plot.
  • Chewing the Scenery: THERE IS NO MORE POWER!!
    • Semi-justified that everyone realises that Rush is clearly suffering a nervous breakdown.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Rush schemes to have Young removed from power, and for his trouble is marooned on an alien planet. Rush gets back, they make a truce, and by the end of the same episode is scheming with Wray to do it again. Something of a subversion in the second case; he did it to protect himself from Young, since there was a tracking device in his chest and he was (perhaps rightfully) afraid that Young would get him killed trying to deal with it.
    • The Ursini started off on this foot, first attempting to drain Destiny's power in their first appearance (somewhat justified), then tricking them into going into battle while the ship is heavily-damaged, lest the crew change their minds. They redeemed themselves the tragic way with a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Clarke's Third Law: Directly referenced by Eli in "Visitation"
  • Cliff Hanger: Pretty much standard for every mid-season/end-season finale.
    • Mid-season 1 finale: how will Rush get back?
    • Season 1 finale. Do Scott and Greer make it to the airlock in time? Does Eli get there to open the door for them before the next pulsar burst? Is Chloe alright? Will Young and his men be executed? Is TJ alive? Is her baby?
    • Mid-season 2 finale: How is Destiny going to survive the drone armada? What did Chloe do to the ship at the end?
    • Season 2 finale: How will Eli survive the jump to the next galaxy? Will he fix the pod? Will he find another way? Are his calculations correct or are they screwed for good?
  • Cloning Gambit: An unintentional example with Telford who, through the power of the stargate and time travel, becomes a clone of himself, which becomes handy when the "real" Telford dies shortly thereafter.
  • Colonel Badass: For the first few episodes, Col. Young appeared as if his his character should've been named Col. Charlie Brown. But... after finally deciding "enough is Enough," he hauled off and kicked three kinds of ass. And he did it to the show's two resident Jerkasses, using some pretty neat cunning to pull it off, too. Yep, he's officially a Bad Ass.
  • Continuity Drift:
    • The Daedalus-class starship Hammond can make the Milky Way-Atlantis trip (2 million light years) in three weeks (the ZPM-powered Odyssey can do it in four days). Going 21 light-years from Earth to the Icarus planet, by that measure, should only take thirty seconds, although someone may have decided to take it slow to give the civilians new to the Stargate Program enough time to be given a Daniel Jackson video crash course in SG-101, and there's evidence of an efficiency factor to speed vs. distance.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Anyone who has seen the later seasons of the previous SG shows knows what's coming when O'Neill threatens to beam Eli up to his spaceship. More subtly, later in the scene Rush alludes to the memory-altering technology used in SG-1.
    • A few musical cues in the premiere homage the previous Stargate shows:
      • As the names of the SG-1 guest stars appear during the opening credits, a version of the SG-1 theme plays.
      • As Rush explains Ascension to Eli, the Atlantis motif plays in the background.
    • O'Neill's run-in with the Ancient database downloader has been brought up a few times in the wake of finding a similar device aboard the Destiny, as has the Asgard saving his life, or more specifically how they're not around to save anyone (figuratively and literally) should this chair prove fatal to humans too.
    • Alisen Down reprises her one-off character (Dr. Brightman) from an episode of SG-1 five years previously, now as the occasional guest character whenever they need an Earth doctor.
    • The events of "Divided" are brought up in "Subversion" as to why the normal military SOP can sometimes be a bad thing when you're permanently stuck on a ship and have to cooperate with a limited number of people.
      • Brought up again in "Trial And Error" when Scott asks why Wray or Rush don't assume command.
    • O'Neill's reaction to the Lucian Alliance base.
      O'Neill: Pyramid? That takes me back.
  • Convenient Miscarriage: And it happened for the same meta reasons as normal, of course.
  • Cool Chair: The captain's chair on the Destiny's bridge. Rush, Eli, and Young have monopolized it, likely because it is more like a pilot's chair rather than a command chair like in Star Trek.
    • Perhaps not unintentionally, all three of them tend to mimic Kirk's posture when using the chair's communication panel. Though regardless of whether it's intentional or not, it's justified as the communication panel with microphone is where they're leaning towards.
  • Cool Gate: The whole Stargate spins on this show. There's something to be said for rotary, after all.
  • Cool Starship: The Destiny, of course; it recharges its batteries by flying through stars, is absolutely covered in weapons from stem to stern, and looks to be nearly as large as Atlantis. And this is when it's a flying death trap and half its systems are barely working or broken.
    • The seed ships also count, to a lesser extent. They're about half the size of Destiny and the same basic shape. Inside, there's a massive gate factory that stretches as far as the eye can see (the implication being that the factory runs the entire length of the ship). Greer and Scott, who found it, are suitably impressed. Rush, not so much, and he kicks some dirt on their enthusiasm.
      • The seed ships really become impressive when you remember that gates are unbelievably powerful, durable and dangerous objects that humanity wouldn't be able to manufacture for centuries at least, and this ship can churn them out in a fully automated process, as well as find habitable planets in the galaxy and deploy the gates there. There have to be some robots aboard...
  • Courtroom Episode: "Justice".
  • Crack Pairing / Ships That Pass In The Night / Pair the Spares: In-universe. Eli was shocked to find out that his alternate self married corporal Barnes.
    • Alternate James and Varro also got married; but they have at least some interaction. The two of them teaming up to destroy a Drone stands out.
  • Crapsack World: Note how many characters are listed as The Woobie on the character sheet. The entire world seems to be out to get these poor schlubs.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage: Less than 50 people arrive on a ship designed for many more - but it's a good thing they number so few, because the ship is falling apart after millions of years despite its Ragnarok-Proofing, and they are far less prepared than the expedition to Atlantis. Most of their time is spent trying to keep systems failures from killing them.
  • Crush Parade: Simeon gets run over by a stampede of two-legged, dinosaur-like creatures triggered by Rush. Doesn't kill him, but he could barely move after.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: It looks like war between Ursini and Drones was very one-sided and eventually Drones killed them all.
  • Curse Cut Short: Eli at the beginning of "Time".
    Eli: What. The. *Title Card*
    • Volker trails off mid curse in "Pain".
    Volker: Oh, for f...
  • Cut Short: The series was canceled in the middle of season 2, which means many of the main plot points are left unresolved, including the cliffhanger at the end of the season finale.
  • Darker and Edgier: The focus of the show is on bare means of survival more than exploration. There are multiple deaths throughout the show, including one suicide. Even the hovering Kino camera probes have a grit filter on them.
  • Daydream Surprise: Young and Eli have had these concerning TJ and Chloe, respectively.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Greer.
    • Volker too. "New friends. Yay."
      • Later Volker and Brody do a stereo "yay."
    • Eli. "Holy crap, we dialed Pittsburgh"
  • Dead Guy Junior: The alternate versions of Greer and Park named their first son "Dale" after Volker, who died from the kidney disease in their timeline.
  • Dead Man Walking: In "Alliances" Camile's and Greer's host bodies were exposed to lethal dose of radiation.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Scott to his priest father-figure in "Air", Greer to his father in "Lost" and again in "Pain", and Chloe to her father in "Pain". Justified in the latter episode, as they're under the influence of hallucinogenic ticks. The former might also be justified, assuming those dust bugs are telepathic. Then there's Rush's conversations with Franklin (who may or may not be dead, but definitely isn't actually there) and his late wife in season 2, which may or may not be the ship trying to communicate with him.
  • Deathbed Confession: From onlooker to sick person in this case, and lampshaded. In "Time", when Chloe is on her deathbed, Eli questions why people never confess their true feelings for someone they love until that someone is on their deathbed. Then he does it anyway.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Used as a jokes. "It wasn't funny the first three times".
  • Diabolus ex Machina: In "Gauntlet", there happens to be just enough stasis pods for the entire crew, except just one is too damaged to function properly, meaning that one of the crew has to stay out of stasis to try and fix it.
  • Die Hard on an X: The season 1 finale to season 2 premiere story-arc with the Lucian Alliance. It's a little more complicated than the basic version, since there's Scott and Greer climbing on the outside of the ship and running the classic McClane, Eli and Chloe are out of contact but in position to help, Telford working as a Reverse Mole, and Rush trying to gain leverage by taking control of the ship's systems. And Rush honestly doesn't give a shit about the hostages, so while Young surrenders quickly, he doesn't. And then there's several splintering factions of the Lucian Alliance. And then there's a pulsar that will fry everyone on the ship into a pile of ash.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Robert Carlyle directed the season 2 episode "Pathogen".
    • David Blue directed a number of planet scenes in the first season episode "Time".
  • The Dog Bites Back: Dannic, the crazed replacement leader of the Lucian Alliance after Kiva dies, tries to strangle Ginn for failing to correct a problem as fast as he wants. When he completely loses it, she shoots him in the back four times.
  • Double Standard: Apparently LGBT activists got angry that a scientist using Wray's body was going to have sex with Rush, causing it to be cut from the episode, yet it's ok for Wray to have sex with her girlfriend using a (presumably) straight woman's body.
    • Though see the All In The Manual entry above - the volunteers who switch with Destiny crewmembers apparently sign a consent form allowing this use of their bodies, and requiring that they don't do anything that could "negatively impact relations on the ship." These volunteers assume "personal" use of their bodies, but the Destiny crewmembers typically assume that won't happen with theirs (though it isn't explicitly disallowed).
    • Also, Rush is unwilling to sleep with Perry when she is in Wray's body (partly because she is in Wray and partly because he's still grieving over his wife); but has no problems sleeping with her when she's inhabiting Ginn. This doesn't go over well with Eli.
  • Driven to Suicide: Sgt. Spencer.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Bet you didn't expect Young to strand you on a desert planet in retaliation did you, Rush?
  • Did You Just Have Sex?: When Wray sees Eli's shirt on Ginn's bed.
    • Made funnier by the fact that Ginn's guard clearly knows that they were having sex, and tries to stop Wray from bothering them. He also has to fight off a snigger at her claim she was "resting."
  • Double Entendre: Rampant in the episode "Seizure" when discussing the applications of virtual interaction.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Spencer
  • Dynamic Entry
    • In the pilot, Chloe rushes into the control room, knocks Rush to the floor, then starts whaling on him because she blames him for her father sacrificing himself.
    • The cast's initial entrance onto the Destiny through the Stargate was also rather dynamic. Particularly Young, who does an impressive flight across the entire room. There's a good reason he's limping around up until "Water". Essentially repeated when the Lucian Alliance arrives.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Hoo boy, so far we have Scott's parental/religious issues, Young's troubled marriage, TJ's shattered hopes of going to medical school (and now her pregnancy), Young and TJ being stuck on the ship after trying to break off their affair, Greer's anger issues which had him imprisoned for striking Telford on-duty, Chloe watching her father die, and Dr. Rush's insufferable nature. It's almost funny how Eli was a misfit on Earth and yet here he's portrayed as the normal one along with the side and supporting cast.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom:
    • During an attack by the Lucian Alliance on the Icarus Project base, they finally get the ninth chevron working. Six minutes later, after a massive power drain, the entire planet goes boom very spectacularly. Justified in that the planet's core was already unstable. Plugging it into the gate and having the Lucian Alliance bombard the base didn't help.
    • Repeated in a role reversal in the finale when the Hammond attacks the Lucian Alliance base as they attempt to reach Destiny. They skipped out on the big boom, though, just showing surface eruptions.
  • Enemy Mine: Mild version several times between the civilians and military in the first season when despite open hostility they work together, but in the second season a full blown version occurs between the nine remaining Lucian Alliance boarders and the Tau'ri.
    • Also in Deliverance: Destiny with the catfish aliens versus the drones.
  • Ensemble Cast
  • Eternal English: The descendants of the crew sent back in time still speak perfect English (complete with modern slang) 2000 years later, but a couple episodes later we learn that spelling did change when we see abandoned storefronts and a newspaper. They apparently spelled "Attack" as "Atak" and "Market" as "Markit", among other things.
    • Justified though. They have original recordings of the original crew so while the spelling might change due to initial lack of written documentation, they would have a lifetime and more of video recording with spoken word. In other words, the language became more of a phonetic (spelt as it sounds) language since they only had verbal records and only later, written.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Well, not everybody, but Lisa Park has sex with whoever she feels like, and Scott and Chloe waste no time in having a sexual relationship as soon as they admit their attraction (despite there presumably being a very short supply of condoms and birth control pills).
    • Since the SGC had experience from the Atlantis mission, they could easily handwave it by saying a couple of the boxes they chucked through the gate were packed for this very purpose. Which could include some of the newer forms of long-term skin implanted contraceptives, meaning that every woman on the ship could be protected from pregnancy if they wanted and one of the big boxes could pack thousands of condoms in them.
    • Alternate Greer and Alternate Park had a lot of kids... and its implied even when they're older and have a bucket-load of grandkids, they're still very "active".
  • The Everyman: Eli, mostly. But part of the point of this show is that, with the exception of Dr. Rush, these characters are not prepared for this.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: The Stargates installed on the Destiny and on the planets seeded by the ships ahead of it all spin. That is to say the entire Stargate spins.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Everything. The Destiny is mind-bogglingly old and thus falling apart at the seams, virtually every planet they've been to has either vicious creatures or deadly parasites, and the first alien race they've encountered seems to view them as little more than an infestation. The second nearly drained Destiny's power, but that was arguably self-defense given the context.
  • Excessive Steam Syndrome: For some as of yet unexplained reason, there are steam CO2 vents on the floor of the gate room of the Destiny. They fire every time the wormhole closes.
    • It seems to be some kind of thermal venting system, as a Lucian Alliance soldier caught in one screams in pain like he's being cooked.
  • Explosive Decompression:
    • Averted. When the senator sacrifices himself to seal a hull breach in the shuttle, there's no implied "pop]." It's actually portrayed as kind of a peaceful death. They even mention that his body is still there, which they eventually get to. However, it was more like decompression on an airplane, since the shuttle's weakened shield should be able to hold back a small amount of atmosphere from escaping.
    • Also averted in "Space" when the aliens cut holes in Destiny. A nearby soldier had to hold on tight to avoid the strong wind, but other than that was fine. Destiny was able to seal the relatively small leak with a shield in short order anyway.
  • Expy: Jason and Ellie in "Common Descent" seem to be this to Eli and Chloe. Justifiable as they're descendants of the "Twin Destiny" crew.
  • Fail O'Suckyname: Alternate Brody named a nation "Futura". Yes, the font. The modern Brody is repeatedly mocked for it.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Getting back to Earth. Unlike other instances, though, it is at least somewhat justified (for the moment); it's not that they can't dial back to Earth, it's that they lack the power and infrastructure to do so in anything close to a safe and predictable way. In addition, due to the well-established mechanics of the show, having home find a suitable power source (another Icarus-type planet) doesn't help them in any; it may give them occasional supplies, but it can't bring them back. More to the point, they simply can't succeed at going home because it would mean abandoning a core premise of the show, which won't happen.
  • Failsafe Failure: Averted. In addition to having technology way ahead of its time, Destiny also has manual-power breakers in each section in case a nasty power surge turns it into an electrified deathtrap. In the S1 finale, there are also manual switches on the shield generators/projectors (which are on the outside of the hull) of all things. They really did think of everything.
  • Fake Guest Star: A good chunk of the cast. James, Volker, Brody and Park appeared in nearly every episode of the series as this.
  • Fake Shemp: Kiva appears in "Intervention" for a single shot, from the shoulders down.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Goes hand in hand with their use of Big Creepy-Crawlies. Victims of said things tend to die in really unpleasant ways. Then there's the guy in "Incursion" who gets burned into ashes by the gamma radiation of a binary pulsar.
  • Fanservice: Chloe in the shower and a pond, Greer in his quarters, and Lt. James in... anything. Someone attempted to use a Kino to spy on Lt. James in the shower, so now she's fan service for the Destiny crew, as well. Although she's developed into a stronger character lately, she also has appeared to have lost her uniform top and walks around in either a tan t-shirt or tank top. The ship also seems to be a little cold. Unlike a lot of fanservice characters though, James dresses appropriately as the situation dictates such as full combat apparel in the Season 1 finale.
  • A Father to His Men: Young, especially towards Greer, Scott, and Eli.
  • Five-Man Band: Though through characterization given to those outside the band, it's becoming less and less of a five man band. At this point, the list below includes practically everyone that's gotten a spoken line save for the ones that got killed off.
  • Flashback: LOST-style. Scott in "Air, Part 3" (though it overlaps somewhat with some sort of vision), Rush in "Human" as an Unusual User Interface, and Greer in "Lost", the only one of the three that plays the trope completely straight. Often goes with a Dead Person Conversation.
  • Flip Personality: In "Hope", when two more consciousnesses got uploaded into Chloe's mind.
  • For Science!: Dr. Rush, we understand you want to open the ninth chevron, but you don't cut off everyone's escape to Earth and strand 80 people in uber-deep space aboard a broken ship just to see where it goes. Not cool man, not cool. He tries to excuse it, but it's obvious he's just trying to justify his desperate move to dial the ninth chevron.
  • Foreshadowing: in the pilot "Wow, that is a big gun..."
    • In "Earth", Scott retaining some of Telford's memories appears to be an explainable glitch in the Earth-manufactured communications stones. Telford's fallen victim to Goa'uld brainwashing tech, which is interfering with the communications link.
  • Franchise Killer: On his February 11th 2011 blog, Joseph Mallozzi mentioned that SGU's cancellation puts a definite hiatus to plans for further Stargate Atlantis and Stargate SG-1 films.
    • Though they were also cancelled for the same reasons as Atlantis, that the network decided they didn't want to pay the cost of the series with the current recession, and generally didn't inform the producers of the status of the series at any point along the line.
      • The cast were informed of the cancellation by fans via Twitter, who actually had heard it before they did... which pretty much sums how Screwed by the Network Universe was.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the final episode, when Rush is busy scribbling on the walls with chalk, "Fuck the French" can be seen written on the wall at the left edge of the screen. Apparently a production oversight rather than an intentional bonus - when fans pointed out this shot, the producers were not amused and profusely apologized.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: Friday is actually Syfy's best night, so moving SGU to Tuesday was essentially the Syfy equivalent for the trope.
  • The Future Is Noir: Even though it's technically the past in-canon. In contrast to their uber-bright later designs, the Ancients apparently felt lighting wasn't terribly important when making a ship designed to traverse the universe. Semi-justified in that the Ancients were pragmatic, since it was sent out unmanned to be populated later, why waste the power on superfluous lightning?
  • Gambit Pileup: Rush, Telford, O'Neill, and the IOA are all working gambits to varying degrees.
    • Telford's was a double-blind gambit actually being run by the Lucian Alliance, and his "de-programming" at the end of the first season derailed that, but it was already too late.
  • Genre Savvy: Eli, being a sci-fi geek, often assumes some alien creature will kill them on an alien planet, especially if it looks nice. He was actually right in "Time", right down to the chest-bursting aliens reference.
  • Ghost in the Machine: Franklin turns into this after he sits in the interface chair for the second time. Rush and Eli do so deliberately to Ginn and Amanda Perry after it turns out that their minds have been floating around in the ether waiting for someone to connect to.
  • Giant Spider: There's one in "Human". Greer wastes very little time shooting it.
    Scott: There was... a spider.
    Young: (flatly) A spider.
    Scott: It was a sizable spider.
  • Going Critical: Icarus Base and the Lucian planet both suffer an Earth-Shattering Kaboom; Destiny is repeatedly destroyed in the Unwinnable Training Simulation mentioned below.
    • Langara refuses to let the SGC try to dial Destiny with their gate for this reason, as their Naquadriah core is already somewhat unstable and they're afraid that they'll suffer the fate of the two planets mentioned above.
  • Grand Theft Me: There is an ancient communication device that requires this to work. The stones are also a Grand Theft YOU device, as the users switch bodies while communicating with people at the other connection's location.
    • Played much straighter in "Seizure". To take control of the Langaran Stargate facility, Woolsey tricks the administrator into touching one of the stones, causing him to switch with Young. Young then plays the part to do a test-dial to Destiny.

    H-M 
  • Heal It With Fire: Simeon does this with a butane lighter and a combat knife.
  • Here There Be Dragons: The Ancients never came out this far before their ascension, nor seeded these galaxies with lifeforms made in their own image. As a result, the native wildlife and species tend to be weird.
  • Heroic BSOD: Future!Rush has one during "Twin Destinies". Rightly so though considering he saw almost the entire crew die. The experience seems to have greatly affected him considering the looks he gives to Present!Rush's smarmy comments.
    • Young through the first episodes of Season 2 following Riley's death, to the point that eventually the ship itself intervenes.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: For a ship with a limited crew, the number of Heroic Sacrifices in this show is rather startling:
    • First, Senator Armstrong, suffering from internal bleeding due to his heart medication being a blood thinner, enters a shuttle attached to the Destiny that is venting atmosphere, as the only way to close the door is from the inside. Also note that his sacrifice pre-empted Col. Young's sacrifice.
    • Hunter Riley almost does one trying to prevent a hull breach, but he pulls through.
    • Rush does one in "Time", or rather tries. He jumps through an unstable wormhole and is sent back in time. More time travel fixed it.
    • Lt. Scott: in "Time", when his entire squad is slaughtered by the very creatures needed to save the ship, he realizes that he does not have the manpower or time to save the ship, and thus decides that it's time for another go-round, knowing that it will cost him his life. Dude's hardcore.
    • Franklin in "Sabotage". We don't know where he went, but using that chair was a one-way trip as far as the crew knew. He later is revealed to have uploaded himself into the ship's database, though where his body went is anyone's guess?
    • The Ursini pull one off in "Deliverance", helping buy Destiny just enough time to complete repairs and escape.
    • The final fate of Eli Wallace, if you interpret his final interaction with Rush and Young to be an acknowledgement that he was lying to everyone about being able to fix the last stasis pod, because he wished all of his friends to survive. This certainly would cast light on the look of peaceful resignation he displays during his last scene, staring out of Destiny's viewing deck at the stars.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: The US Air Force hid an Ancient equation in a World Of War Craft-like MMORPG and monitored anyone who tried to solve it for the purposes of recruiting them for the Stargate Program. Lampshaded by Eli:
    Eli Wallace: So you guys really embedded a top-secret problem into a game, hoping someone like me would solve it?
    General O'Neill: Yep.
  • Hot Scientist: Most of the scientists onboard fall into this category.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Some of the promos for the show outright said it would be sexier than the other series. To prove the point, there's a sex scene in the first episode, and several more spaced out over the episodes aired thus far. Of course, everybody forgets that SG-1 kicked off with full frontal nudity in the first episode, though it should be noted that SG-1 started on Showtime. This aspect of the show was downplayed not long into the series, instead playing up the interpersonal conflicts.
  • Human Popsicle: Happens to Brody when he gets trapped in a stasis pod.
    • Done by the entire crew, minus Eli, in the finale.
  • Hyperspeed Ambush: The Nakai and the Berserker Drones are fond of this.
  • Hyperspeed Escape: Destiny has to heavily rely on this to get out of dangerous situations. Weaponised occasionally as well, since the FTL drive generates such a massive burst of energy when it jumps, any nearby enemy vessels tend to get vapourised.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Rush calls Young mentally unstable after he nearly choked a guy to death. Rush says this to a hallucination of his dead wife.
    • Of course, we later find out that it's a hallucination created by Destiny after scanning his mind in "Human", meaning Rush was essentially arguing with the ship in that scene. Which is only slightly less insane on the face of it.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Future!Rush needs Present!Rush to do this to him via the chair (so he can finally interface fully with the ship computer for at least a few moments, which he's been too afraid to do). Talk about awkward. Then again, Present!Rush admits that Future!Rush probably didn't do it just to die.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The entire first season uses one-word titles that describe the main problem or theme of the episode. The second season follows this tradition to a point, but several episodes do have two-word titles. They might have been in trouble if this show had ended up being a Long Runner, but hey, La Femme Nikita made it work for five seasons.
  • I Know You Know I Know: Eli and Chloe with the "thing". Which is that Eli is in love with her.
  • Idiot Ball: The most obvious example has to be the season finale. Already armed with a plan to stop a hostile force taking over the ship by removing the atmosphere from the gate room, the daring Colonel decides not to go ahead after The Mole walks through the gate. This despite the fact that a) this should have been expected, b) not 5 minutes previously the same guy (kinda) was locked in a room and killed/resuscitated from the exact same "no air" plan about to be put into effect, and c) one dead guy vs loss of entire ship to a bunch of criminal psychos who make the mafia look like a school yard menaces routine should be a no-brainer.
    • In his defense, he thought he could still vent the compartment after trying to negotiate a surrender from the Lucian Alliance (the doors were locked, and nobody knew the Alliance had keys). Dying twice in one day is rather bad for your health; venting the room when other options to save him are available seems a bit rash.
    • Morrison in "Blockade" freaks out that the Drones are on the planet they're on. Naturally, as they search and destroy any technology they come across, and can track an active Stargate, he attempts to dial. He is promptly punched out by James who quickly shuts it off.
    • They had the Ancient communicator stones from the very start, but nobody thought to swap places with Daniel Jackson or Sam Carter to get some more expertise on the ship to help fix its systems?
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Averted from the get-go; someone taught the actor soldiers pretty well. Specifically averted in "Time" when Greer is showing Eli how to fire their firearms. He is shown not having his finger on the trigger, lifts the weapon only waist high to demonstrate aiming and explicitly tells Eli the same as well as making sure Eli fires his practice burst in the complete opposite direction as the group to avoid ricocheting bullets. You can even see Eli lowering the weapon away from Greer when the soldier passes in front of him.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Eli is familiar with the Ancient language because of an SGC-made MMORPG. Which is actually Truth in Television, as the game they show him playing is in fact the actual Stargate MMO that was in production at the time.
  • Ill Girl: Amanda Perry, a recurring character from Earth, who has been a quadriplegic since an accident when she was 9.
    • Later taken further when her brain is uploaded into Destiny, making her part of the ship, but completely intangible.
  • In-Universe Camera: The kinos.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Averted with Rush, who fires almost an entire magazine at Simeon at fairly close range and doesn't even come close to hitting his target. His aim probably wasn't helped by the fact that he broke apart his glasses earlier in the episode to disarm a bomb. To be fair, it might have been deliberate, as he had other plans as to how to take him down...
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: According to Lt. Scott, himself, in regards to the shuttlecraft aboard the Destiny in the episode "Darkness". Pointed out by others to be highly unlikely. It clearly doesn't take that much skill because Scott does just fine one episode later — computer control was a factor.
  • Incredibly Obvious Tail: Sort of. Young asks Eli to watch the crew with the Kino to figure out who can be trusted. Naturally, a floating camera ball is not a very subtle way of performing such a task. It could have been subverted in that Eli's already made a habit of recording everything, so people are somewhat used to Kinos in every corridor, but one of the two people he is spying on instantly recognizes who's really behind the camera. Eli gets better about it later by having the Kinos spy through the vents.
  • In Name Only: One of the major reasons for the vast departure in tone and style from the original series was that the series concept started out as something entirely different, but the studio wasn't interested. They were, however, interested in a new Stargate series. So the creator tacked on the Stargate elements, despite apparently disliking' SG-1 and Atlantis''.
  • Inscrutable Aliens: The crew aboard the Destiny is chased by a Starfish Alien species (dubbed the Nakai by executive producer Joseph Mallozi) that only transmitted the word "surrender" as a constant enemy, and the crew ends up finding little (if any) information about them during the course of the series.
  • Instant Death Bullet: "Malice" uses the "instant incapacitation" variant and subverts it in the same episode. At the start, four people are shot center mass and drop instantly. These are soldiers, it must be said. One died from an apparent lung wound, but the others lived. Later in the same episode, two of the primary characters are each shot once, albeit in extremities, and stay awake throughout.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dr. Rush.
    • Lampshaded with McKay in "Seizure":
      Telford: What is it with genius and social skills?
  • Internet Backdraft: There have been some complaints about the perceived oversexualization of Lieutenant James. This may have, itself, have been due in part to a recent Internet Backdraft that is almost entirely unrelated, over whether science fiction has become too feminine and soapy (with Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica presented as examples). Some unfortunate comments were made along with some noting that SGU looked like it was about to get science fiction TV "back on track." Naturally, the offended other side jumped at the opportunity to attack SGU. Part of the problem is that the franchise is sending mixed signals, as Universe is using elements of Teen Drama, which is the very thing that Stargate SG-1 parodied in "200" with their "Young SG-1" scene. This is exemplified in the characters of Lt. Scott, who is The Pornomancer when off-duty, and Chloe, who apparently leaves Love Triangles wherever she goes. One wonders why people are complaining about her being sexy and a secondary character, despite Scott being on the main cast and having more actual sex than her. Brought up in-universe as James is still holding a candle for Scott even though he jumped ship on her, and jumped right back with Chloe. And she specifically says that she doesn't really get around, throwing the audience's perception for a loop.
  • Irony:
    • In "Time", Rush finds his own skull.
    • There's also the greater irony of Earth, having been engaged in a guerrilla war with numerous galactic powers, now finds itself on the receiving end of one from the Lucian Alliance.
      • To boot in "Seizure", the SGC attempts a subtle short term takeover of an allied planet by using the communication stones to hijack people much like displaced go'uld.
  • Is This Thing On?: Three examples so far, two in the webisodes. The regular episode one happened when Lt. James sees Dr. Caine through Kino vision. Despite Eli's attempts to dissuade her, she goes into a detailed explanation about how hot she thinks he is, and that being a widower means he's got proven reliabilty to commit, but is single through no fault of his own. Problem is, Eli just established two-way com with that particular Kino, and Caine heard the whole bit. Oops.
  • It Has Been an Honor: Young does this as he toasts the crew in "Gauntlet", shortly before they go into stasis.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: An alternate timeline Camile makes a speech to this effect after she and the rest of the crew have been stranded on an alien planet and forced to make a new civilization. The trope also applies to Destiny itself, somewhat more literally: it's not about getting to the end of the universe, but picking up the pieces of the puzzle along the way.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique:
    • Aplenty in "Subversion". And not just by the Lucian Alliance. O'Neill himself says yes to it at the end of the episode.
    • Twist in the next episode makes it a subversion. It's not like they actually intended to gain some information this way. And it's not like this is the first time he's approved, reluctant or not. See "Threshold" in SG-1.
  • Jitter Cam: While Battlestar Galactica probably was an influence, the producers have mentioned shows like Firefly and even The Shield when discussing this element. They even had The Shield's director of photography working on the pilot to help them establish it. There's one bit where Eli manages to find a remote-controlled hovering camera, and he looks into the lens in much the same way Jim does. The later episodes seem to tone down the use of the jitter save for instances where they're trying to establish a certain feel such as when the crew does EVAs on the hull of the Destiny.
  • Jerk Ass: Telford is a definite one of these. His unreasonable nature notwithstanding, he earned the spot when he started driving a wedge between Young and his ex-wife right after Young reconciled with her. Telling her that Young is still sleeping with TJ, along with who knows what else? Not cool. Handwaved later when it's revealed he was brainwashed; he's a lot more reasonable after that.
    • Then we get "Twin Destinies" and he seems to have reverted to being a jerkass. Ends up getting almost the entire crew killed, himself and Rush sent back in time and gets his past self killed as a result. Telford is just as bad as his future self and is partly at fault for his own death.
      • As revealed in "Common Descent", the crew was not killed, but rather sent 2000 years into the past.
    • Matthew Scott can often veer into this territory. Part of the reason why fans disliked his relationship with Chloe was that a mere two days before he hooked up with Chloe, he was already shown to be in a relationship with Lt James, which he broke off without telling her, deliberately avoided her afterwards, and then had the nerve to seem confused why James was naturally pissed off with him?
  • Jerk Ass Woobie: Rush and Greer, each in their own way.
    • The Ursini count as well. Sure, last of your kind as a result of a hostile automated war machine... but then drag strange aliens in a ship you know is heavily damaged into a fire fight? Not cool.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: Rush does this to himself as part of a process to access Destiny's database and learn the master code to the ship.
  • Just Friends: Poor Eli regarding Chloe.
    • And poor Volker.
    • And Varro with TJ for a while in Epilogue.
  • Justin Time: Subverted. In "Lost", Eli, Chloe, and Scott just manage to get the gate in time to get to Destiny, but are cut off because Rush's team dials in even Justier In Time. Whoops.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Literally in the first episode from Greer to Rush after some insensitive remarks by Rush about Scott. Happens again in "Justice", though not literally, when Colonel Young beats the living hell out of Rush for attempting to frame him and being totally unapologetic about it.
    • Seeing Simeon getting stampeded in "Malice" after he killed Ginn and Amanda Perry. Since he was the one who caused it, this counts as Rush's Crowning Moment Of Awesome so far.
  • Kid from the Future: "Common Descent" features the descendants of the ship's crew from the alternate timeline in "Twin Destinies".
  • Kill It with Fire: Greer's proposed solution to water-stealing alien bugs on the ship. The fact that he had to construct a functioning flamethrower in the first place should speak to his belief in the trope. Seen again in the season two episode where Greer is more than a little excited while wielding a flamethrower against fungus tree tentacles.
  • Kill the Cutie: Ginn and Amanda Perry, in the same act no less.
  • Kink Meme: We have one.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the episode "Cloverdale", Scott hallucinates that he and Chloe go to the movies. The logo seen on screen as they enter the theater is that of MGM.
  • Left for Dead: Dr. Rush, and later Greer. Both get saved, but only the latter intentionally.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: O'Neill seems to have cast off most of the Flanderization he acquired in the last few seasons of Stargate SG-1, generally limiting his silliness to a one-liner or two per appearance, but otherwise getting down to business.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Zigzagged. The crew, generally speaking, never change their clothes, since they only have the clothes they came on-board with. However, when a scientist body-swaps with Eli, the guy manages to find a fitting shirt by some means after expressing his distaste for Eli's regular attire. Mind you, Eli wears much bigger clothing than everyone else, though he is slimming down somewhat. They also have fitting gym clothing for what appears to be at least a quarter of the crew, including Eli, though this might be justified as being part of the expedition supplies. Likewise with the extra military apparel, which Telford specifically asks for in one episode. Chloe also manages to find an exact duplicate of her regular outfit after losing the first (the aliens who kidnapped her in "Space" put her into a diving suit for her stay in the water tanks), despite the fact that, obviously, there shouldn't be any. Rush, though part of the same scene, can be excused because he was last seen wearing a desert uniform, so his regular clothes would still be on board. Also at the end of "Space", Young has started sewing holes in his socks.
    • Actually, when Chloe is kidnapped in Space, she's wearing a gray tank top and jeans. Afterwards she begins wear the more recognizable lavender shirt and yoga pants.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Camile and her girlfriend.
  • The Load: Chloe, in the sense that she has arguably the least-useful skill set out of the entire crew given the situation. She tried to address the problem in "Human" and "Lost" by trying to take up the role of archeologist, but it didn't really pan out since they don't find enough places like that for it to matter. While she was mutating into an alien, she gained the ability to do complex equations but became even more of a load since they had to guard her and confine her to quarters. After getting fixed up she seems to have shaken off most of the "Load" status, since she managed to keep a good bit of the knowledge gained from the experience and can help run the ship.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: Congratulations, Lt. Scott, it's an eight-year-old boy! Also, congratulations, Colonel Young, you knocked up TJ!
  • Lost Colony: With Time Travel for your confusion.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: They do. However, due to a much larger number of main characters it almost look like an aversion in comparison with previous series. It's also much more justified this time; there's hardly anyone else qualified to do the work. It's averted heavily in the second seasons; while the primary characters tend to be the leaders, the other characters play prominent supporting roles and often get rather significant amounts of dialogue and screen time, often as much as with the primary characters as with each other.
  • Make Room For The New Plot: The issue of the stranded team in "Human" and "Lost" is resolved ten minutes into "Sabotage", by coincidence no less, so they can get on with the plot.
  • Male Gaze: Especially in "Darkness". Justified since it's from the Kino's POV, and Eli's controlling the Kino.
  • Manipulative Bastard: A lot of people see Telford as one of these.
    • As of "Trial and Error", a case can be made for Destiny itself being this.
    • Also, Rush is commonly seen as one of these, and most the crew are usually Genre Savvy enough to always assume that fact. In the finale when someone has to stay out of the remaining pods, Rush volunteers to do so and fix the pod. Young tells Eli he can't trust Rush to stay out, suspecting that he if he can't fix the pod he won't sacrifice himself; so he will stay out and sacrifice himself. Eli later suspects that Rush volunteered for this very reason.
  • Mandatory Line: Seems this way in "Subversion", but it actually serves to show why Wray gets upset in the episode. Whereas Rush and Young have taken their antagonistic relationship to Serious Business levels, everyone else is just happy not to get killed every week by impossible odds and their respective leaders' plots.
  • Married In The Future: One episode features an alternate universe video log where multiple characters find out who they marry and have kids with.
  • The Matchmaker: Greer plays this for Eli and Ginn.
  • Mercy Kill: Young suffocates Riley on request, since he's got both legs pinned, can't be moved without dying of blood loss, and is in terrible pain.
  • Mind Screw: Was TJ's dream in the season 2 premiere just a dream or did it really happen? There are arguments that could support it or deny it. There's no telling, really, at least for now. Unfortunately for her, it looks like it probably wasn't real.
    • Word of God is that the ship's AI created a plausible scenario to help TJ get over her child's death faster, I guess even the ship didn't expect the crew Put on a Bus to return half a season later.
    • Dear god, this series just went full Mind Screw. Destiny has the ability to actively affect the dreams of anyone on the ship, apparently at will. If it can do that, there's just no telling what it is capable of.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: When using the communication stones, both sides keep a mirror or camera nearby so the host knows their actual physical appearance. As with both series before it, the viewer always sees the person occupying the body, not the body being occupied. Reflective surfaces and monitors, however, do show the body that is being physically inhabited.
  • The Mole: Telford for the Lucian Alliance.
    • Reverse Mole: After his mental conditioning was broken by Young.
  • The Monster Faint: Inverted. When one of the aliens in "Awakening" runs into a human, it's the alien that faints. To make it even funnier, the alien faints in front of Volker, probably the least combative character on the show.
  • Morally Ambiguous Doctorate: Dr. Rush.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Second Lieutenant James' role has been mostly limited to secondary character one-liners, and being large breasted. Though that's been countered a few times, such as her long standing deal with Scott and Chloe, her saving people from electrified corridors by running straight through them, and a subplot dealing with some inadequacy issues around Colonel Young and her own abilities in the back half of the season.
  • The Mutiny: In the aptly named "Divided", orchestrated by Rush and Camille, who want power away from the military. Suffice it to say it doesn't go so well. TJ even points out the stupidity of a bunch of civilians going up against US Air Force Colonel.
  • My Eyes Are Up Here: James says this to McKay. In a previous episode, she implies it's not the first time.
  • My Future Self and Me: Rush and Rush in "Twin Destinies". It doesn't last. Likewise, though unseen on screen, Telford and Telford. It also doesn't last.

    N-S 
  • Naming Your Colony World: Of the symbolic kind: Caine and his friends called their new home Eden. By contrast, the alternate Destiny crew from "Twin Destinies" named their new home "Novus", a shortened form of "Novus Mundus" ("New World" in Ancient).
  • Neglectful Precursors: The race that build the Drones left them with one instruction. Destroy all alien technology. Various races keep getting destroyed because they accidentally activated the Drones.
  • Nerf: The Destiny Stargates. Semi-justified in that they're millions of years old and were the first prototypes, so they lack both the range and many of the failsafes the later Stargates posessed.
    • A single Drone Ship is able to blow a hole through one of the Gates that snaps part of it like a twig... compared to the later Gates that could withstand naquadah-enhanced nuclear weapons, proximity to blackholes, direct meteor-impacts, and being thrown into Stars. The Destiny Stargates seem to be remarkably fragile, though this could be justified as well. Destiny Stargates are designed for portability and ease of assembly & placement, rather than durability under extreme circumstances - essentially the difference between a prefabricated shed and a sturdy frame house with a solid foundation.
    • Likewise, it's implied they were merely "placeholders" set up by the Seeding Ships, allowing the Ancients to arrive on seeded worlds and construct a proper Stargate at a later date. Given that Destiny visited Pegasus after leaving the Milky Way, it's vaguely implied that Pegasus may have originally used Destiny era gates until the Ancients arrived.
  • Never Found the Body: A non-villainous example with Franklin.
    • Another version of the expedition traveled through the gate and vanished. it later turns out that they didn't die, but traveled back in time and exited at another gate.
    • And way back in "Air" with Palmer and Curtis, who gated to another nearby planet but failed to respond to radio attempts. Given the local wildlife of several other planets later encountered, one can hazard a pretty clear guess what happened to them and why circumventing the lock on that Gate address was not a good idea.
  • Never Suicide: Inverted. Spencer killed himself, but it was made to look like murder.
  • New Eden: What a few of the crew thought the planet in "Faith" was, complete with awkward Star Trek reference to the Genesis planet. Apparently even the biologists forgot about sustainable population sizes. A few people were expecting the aliens to come back, under the assumption that aliens capable of creating an entire solar system would probably be able to get them back home.
    • Novus. For a couple thousand years at least.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Seizure", Earth tries to use Langara as a staging point to send supplies to Destiny, but the Langaran ambassadors feared that the dialing attempt would result in an Earth-Shattering Kaboom like the last two times. When Earth suspects the Lucian Alliance is making a deal with Langara, though, they concoct a plan to take over the facility and dial Destiny to show that the plan is safe. Turns out the Lucian Alliance had tried to make a deal... which Langara rejected out of hand every time to preserve their alliance with Earth. Oops. They're forced to abandon the attempt and ended up using their original bargaining chips for the use of the Langaran facility just to return home safely.
    • In "Space", Young's decision to leave Rush behind in "Justice", as well as order Eli to go over Rush's work with a fine tooth-comb come back to bite him in the ass. Eli, who's been left exhausted and irritable, is now forced to figure out a way around Rush's lockouts to try and bring the weapon's back online, during their first space-battle.
    Young: I need this ship working now!
    Eli: Maybe you should have thought about that before you got rid of Rush!
  • No Ending / Bolivian Army Ending: "Time" ends on a technical cliffhanger, not showing the events after the last Kino recording, leaving it unclear if they actually solved the problem. A Kino webisode covers what happened after the end, revealing that they found both time-looped Kinos and are working on a cure. See All There in the Manual above. Though, interestingly, even the Kino webisode does not go all the way to asserting that a cure was actually found, perhaps to leave open the possibility of additional time loops. Eventually dealt with in "Divided", when they use the same venom as an anesthetic and explain to the surgeon how it saved the lives on everyone on the ship.
    • Can be applied to the second finale, due to the whole series ending on the Destiny crew going into stasis for anywhere from 3 years to eternity, no guarantee that they'll ever complete Destiny's mission, and Eli left to fix the last remaining stasis pod or die when the life support shuts down. And then the series got canceled.
  • Not So Different: Rush and Young.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: This show took the ineffectual Lucian Alliance and made them legitimately badass. This is established in the first episode, where they managed to kick ten shades of stuffing out of the Hammond in a dog-fight, despite Earth having inherited the entire wealth of knowledge belonging to the Asgard at this point. Word of God is that since the Ori left, the rest of the galaxy have been very busy catching up.
    • The Ursini, the race that controls the Seed Ship, are essentially a race the size of small children and are equally as fragile-looking. The Destiny crew underestimating them manages to screw them over in some pretty big ways.
  • Novelization: Of the pilot, "Air", by veteran Stargate author James Swallow.
  • Offscreen Inertia: It's stated in "Gauntlet" that the crew would remain in stasis for 3 years, 1000 years, or forever. Then the show was canceled.
  • Oh Crap: Young's expression when he see's that the Blueberry Aliens have Rush in "Space".
  • Old-School Dogfight: Averted in the one space battle so far. The catfish alien fighters and the Destiny shuttle do almost no maneuvering, but then it's fairly clear the aliens weren't actually trying to fight back. Ship to ship, no one even bothers to try maneuvering, though this is justified for Destiny since they can't move the ship.
    • Also averted in the Unwinnable Training Simulation in "Trial and Error": the aliens just surrounded Destiny and started shooting it
    • Mostly averted in "Resurgence": Destiny doesn't really maneuver around (it's kind of pointless since they are a huge target and the drones are fast and have pretty fast projectiles) and the drones are only flying circles around it (and get shot frequently, but there are lots of them).
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted. Injuries are usually portrayed realistically. Franklin was shot in the shoulder at the end of third episode, and was suffering from the consequences episodes later. Wray somewhat plays the trope straight, in that while she was stabbed in the shoulder by a screwdriver and had her arm in a sling, she's fine by the next episode. Of course, it's unclear how much time passed. In the season finale, Chloe gets shot in the leg and the bullet goes straight through. For the rest of the finale, Eli has/wants to carry her. She's also bleeding to death. Young was limping for a decent chunk of the first season. Greer spends a few episodes with an arm sling after getting shot.
  • Only Sane Man: Eli and Greer, who seem to be the only people trying to keep everyone alive on the ship, instead of attempting to seize power.
  • Open Heart Dentistry: A milder, alternate discipline version as TJ is assigned the task of giving psych evaluations to the crew despite being a medic and only doing undergraduate level psychology during college, something lampshaded by her as she mentions how it hardly makes her qualified to carry them out. A straighter example happens when TJ is asked to perform surgery on Rush. She isn't qualified, so a surgeon from Earth is called in using the stones. They fail, so TJ has to finish the job.
  • Opening Narration: "Destiny. The design is clearly Ancient."
  • Other Me Annoys Me
  • Pants Positive Safety: Telford does this throughout "Incursion". While it's justified in that he doesn't have a holster to put it in and there's no real alternative, it stands out since he's the only one doing it and he's a military officer.
  • Pet the Dog: Rush to Eli, "For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble."
    • Telford gets one of these every once in a while - he's not exactly a pleasant person, but it's still clear that he cares about the Destiny's crew every bit as much as Young does, just in a different way.
    • Young to Wray in Blockade after she jokingly asked for a new dress earlier in the episode.
    "Hopefully this is your new outfit. I couldn't find you a gunstore or a grocery store, but I did find a dry-cleaner".
    • In Seizure, after experiencing the Destiny simulation, which allows for true-to-life physical interaction, Rush notes that maybe he should let Eli use the program so he can physically interact with Ginn, who like Amanda Perry, is likewise trapped inside the computer.
  • P.O.V. Cam: The Kinos.
  • Power Perversion Potential: In "Darkness", Eli and Riley Hunter try to use the Kino to spy on Second Lieutenant James. They almost make it. All they and the audience get to see is James in a tank top and boyshorts, which is plenty. The communication stones count, since people can and have used the bodies they inhabit for a little "recreational activity" before switching back; according to a webisode, the people on Earth sign waivers permitting those who switch with them to do such things with the on-loan bodies so long as it doesn't negatively impact their lives.
  • Precursors: Destiny was made by the Ancients, and "The Greater Good" established that the ship's primary mission is to study evidence left behind by even earlier, more advanced precursors.
  • Previously On: Every episode until sometime in season 2 does this since the show has a short opening, recapping any events that are even relevant to the plot of the current episode (except for how it charges its power cells by diving into stars; they do that every time after it happens).
  • Product Placement: Good thing Dr. Rush's iPod dock was one of the necessities he brought with him, otherwise he'd have to use headphones to listen to his music. Too bad Chloe didn't have the same idea, but then she didn't live at the base.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Eli's actor, David Blue, was a fan of Stargate even before joining Universe's cast. One of the creators even referred to him as an actor and technical adviser in one package, which is ironic given Eli's status as The Watson.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Telford gets this in the back end of season 2 thanks to being a Big Damn Hero and thus getting stuck on Destiny with the rest.
  • Prophetic Names: All right, who's the bureaucratic wit who decided to call an off-Earth base researching Stargate tech "Icarus"? What's really inexcusable is the Icarus patches depict the legend about as much as a still picture can. Which means they made the reference on purpose. In "Human", it looks like Rush was the one who came up with it, but then he reveals that he's just reliving memories in a dream and wanted to skip past a conversation.
    • Icarus is doubly-ironic considering how Destiny is revealed to recharge itself by plunging into stars.
    • Eli. Especially when you consider that he was able to figure out the Ninth Chevron to get to Destiny, his alternate self was practically the father of civilisation on Novus, writing thousands of textbooks on various subjects and taught all of their descendants, and the mission of Destiny is to find evidence of God.
    • Furthermore, one of the suggestions for how Eli might have gotten out of the situation at the end of "Gauntlet" was to upload himself into the ship, essentially making him a new avatar for Destiny. We already saw Amanda Perry was smart enough to figure out some of the ship's controls and effect the ship whilst she was in the main database, meaning that someone like Eli could eventually become the ship itself!
  • Punch Clock Villain: Varro, Ginn, and some of the other Lucian Alliance people.
  • Pair the Spares: Eli in Epilogue.
  • Noodle Implements: Some awful tasting fruit that the crew came across apparently found a use, but we don't learn it beofre the ship comes under attack.
  • Put on a Bus: Telford, left on a bus full of aliens.
    • The Bus Came Back: "Resurgence"
    • The finale: With grim prospects for Destiny's survival in the current galaxy, the crew plan a continuous, three-year, FTL jump into the adjacent one Destiny had intended to visit next. With only a month's worth of supplies, and rather than waiting out the journey, the crew instead man the ship's stasis pods, effectively putting the whole show on a bus.
  • Quit Your Whining: When Young locks himself in his quarters after the ship tortures him with visions of Destiny's destruction, combined with the Trauma Conga Line he had already gone through, Scott invokes this to snap Young out of his funk.
    • After Simeon kills Amanda and Ginn, Eli begins suiting up in fatigues to hunt Simeon down in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Colonel Young catches Eli and points out that Simeon has killed three people so far and used booby traps to injure two of the trained military personnel sent to capture him. Young also explains to Eli that killing someone profoundly changes you-no matter who you are. After considering Colonel Young's words, Eli returns to his station.
  • Race Against the Clock: Happens in virtually every episode. Whenever Destiny stops, it brings up a countdown clock with a random amount of hours for the crew to do whatever it is they need to do. Once the countdown ends, the ship jumps back to FTL, regardless of whether or not the crew has made it back to the ship. When there's not a Race Against The Clock scenario, that usually means something is wrong.
  • Ragnarok-Proofing: For a ship that's been actively traveling the universe for over a million years apparently without maintenance, the Destiny is actually in amazingly good condition. Well... sorta. It's more that it's simply amazing that it works at all, and systems are going to be crapping out every episode for most of the first season. Still, that's amazingly good condition for a million plus year old ship that's totally unmaintained.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The whole idea behind the series is that, unlike the carefully selected "best of the best" team sent to Atlantis, the group on Destiny is there by accident (WMG about Dr. Rush notwithstanding). The crew simply consists of everyone who happened to escape Icarus Base through the Stargate.
  • Ramming Always Works: When Destiny adapts its shields to the drones' weapons, they just start doing suicide runs. Even this isn't enough to put Destiny down, though. The crew turns this back on the drones by ramming a shuttle set to overload into one of the command ships, utterly destroying it.
  • Ratings Stunt: A mild case. Usually invoked whenever Jack, Sam, or Daniel put in a guest appearance. Jack was established in the canon as head of Homeworld Command before SGU was even a concept, so he's justified, but Daniel's first appearance is hyped per the trope.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Alaina Huffman was pregnant during filming, so it was worked into the plot.
    • More depressingly, MGM financial woes were one of the main factors that contributed to being SGU cancelled. Likewise, due to the immense momentum behind WWE's Friday Night Smackdown (which SyFy acquired the rights to broadcast), SyFy had to pick only one show to keep on Fridays. They picked Sanctuary which did strongly enough to gain additional seasons while SGU was moved to Tuesday with no other original programming to support it and going up against the likes of Dancing with the Stars and NCIS.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • The civilian personnel try to take over the ship and coerce the military into surrendering. It works about as well as one would expect.
    • A small group of people were left behind on a planet with an approaching winter, as they felt the aliens that created the planet would provide for them. They all died horribly of hypothermia because they didn't have the skills to survive. Except Val, who got a tree dropped on her.
  • Really Gets Around: Park has slept with most of the Marines to deal with the stress of being stuck across the universe.
    • Averted by Lt. James, who despite being Ms. Fanservice, openly states that she doesn't get around.
  • Recycled Set: Icarus base in the series premiere "Air" is a redressed Stargate Command set from Stargate SG-1.
  • Refusal of the Call: Eli is completely unconvinced when O'Neill and Dr. Rush show up on his doorstep, informing him that he is their Chosen One. Unlike most examples, however, this doesn't end all that badly for him. Well, other than the whole stranded on the other side of the universe thing, but that has nothing to do with him refusing the Call.
  • Remember the New Guy: Dr. Caine never appears before "Justice". Averted in the case of Ginn (Julie Mc Niven) and Simeon (Robert Knepper). You can see them in various shots and sequences throughout "Incursion"; however, the show averts Narrowed It Down to the Guy I Recognize by not focusing on them at all.
  • Retool: With respect to the rest of the Stargate franchise. Apart from the whole Darker and Edgier aspect to SGU, choosing a setting that's billions of light-years away from Earth and all of its advanced alien tech helped to curb the Plot Leveling that had set in over the years.
  • Retroactive Precognition: Inverted in Common Descent when TJ discovers that she has Motor Neurone Disease from a recording of an alternate version of herself who had been sent into the past and died from it
  • Revenge Before Reason: Rush in "Malice".
  • Revival Loophole: Used to break Telford's brainwashing.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Rush in "Malice".
  • Robot War: Ursini fought one and lost. Now it's human's turn.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Rush has an entire corridor of crazy.
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: We will never find out anything about the race that once lived near the gate from "Human", what happened to them, and why they felt that building an underground labyrinth was a good idea..
  • Running Gag: Destiny continually conspires to keep David Telford off of Destiny one way or another.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Senator Armstrong.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Averted. This plays against the crew — coasting at slightly less than the speed of light also means that the window of opportunity to get off the doomed ship before it coasts into the sun is awfully small and they know it. The situation is inverted in a later episode, where coasting at sublight speed between galaxies means that while the ship will eventually make it, they'll be long dead before it ever does.
    • Averted with the drones in the S2 mid-season finale. Destiny flies through a star in order to buy time for repairs since they'll have to circumnavigate the star.
      • Averted again with the drone ships later. The ships start position themselves at stars which destiny needs to refuel and planets, which the crew need for supplies. When Telford states that the drones can't possibly be at every star/planet, it's pointed out they only have to be at the next one.
    • Averted in "Epilogue". Since the crew of the last Novus ship had no FTL drives, they would take a few hundred years to reach their destination. This trope applies because Eli has to point out that due to the distance, even though they know where they're going and how, they can't reasonably meet up since the other ship would basically be a pin prick in space. Which means that the cure for ALS that TJ needs is out of reach.
    • Lampshaded and averted by Eli at one point. He says there certainly are not Stargates on every planet in the galaxy, as galaxies are far bigger than most people realize.
  • Serkis Folk: The blue catfish aliens and the brown Ursini.
  • Sergeant Rock: Master Sergeant Ronald Greer. Should Greer die, the crew's chances of getting home will drop by 64.6%.
  • Serial Escalation: How do you top plugging a Stargate into a planet's naquadria core? By plugging one directly into a star. Admittedly, SG-1 / Atlantis already used black holes to power the Supergates, and also used a black hole Gate to nova a star.
    • When they found they could no longer go to a regular "safe" star to refuel, they instead flew through a Blue Hypergiant!
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: "Time".
    • Also, "Twin Destinies".
  • Ship Sinking: If Eli being symbolically shown as Chloe's 'brother' in Cloverdale didn't do enough to convince viewers that pairing was sunk, Epilogue torpedoed it then dropped some depth charges on the wreck just to be sure.
  • Ship Tease: The Novus versions of Young and TJ get married and have two kids.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Standard sci-fi example with Greer in "Pain". Semi-justified since it's been established that one does need to push the button for the doors to work, but doesn't explain why the other side was disabled along with it.
  • Shout-Out: Eli, being the resident geek, is fond of these.
    • There was the Planet of the Apes reference in "Air", then again in "Darkness". He has to explain this one, if only because no one seems to find it funny.
    • "Water" contains one for The Empire Strikes Back when Eli mentions that they've "entered the Hoth system," in which he also takes a jab at the prequel films by refusing to call it "Episode V".
    • In "Earth", Eli, having taken over the body of a scientist back home, goes to his mother's house and (not expecting her to understand the mind-swap thing) tells her his name is Philip Fry.
    • Dr. Rush, surprisingly, does one in "Time" with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, saying Butch's famous last line as he dives through an unstable wormhole, then again when it is revealed they're all going to die soon. Young recognizes the quote and explains that the film is a favorite of his, too. The quote itself is also sheer Fridge Brilliance, since it foreshadows the Bolivian Army Ending to the episode. In keeping with the role reversal, Eli does not get the reference.
    • Getting to the point where this might need its own page. Eli has another in "Life", referencing Ghostbusters when he describes the catastrophic effects attempting to dial home as "dogs and cats living together."
    • In "Faith", Eli yells out "the Genesis device" when a planet is suggested to have been built by aliens. He's rather annoyed that no one in the room gets it.
    • In "Human", when Rush realizes that the number 46 has some significance, Daniel Jackson comments that it's not the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything - that would be 42. Which he then ruins by explaining the reference.
    • When Eli is carrying a wounded Chloe through the unexplored parts of Destiny, he says he once "climbed the Redridge Mountains with a full pack on his way to Stonard." Chloe doesn't recognize the names, so Eli has to confess that they're areas in World of Warcraft.
    • Eli again (surprise) jokingly refers to an energy signature in "Resurgence" as a black monolith.
      • In the same episode, when Young orders Eli to send a signal out to what appear to be attacking aliens, Eli asks whether it should be in Ancient. Young responds, "Ancient, English, Bat-Signal, and whatever else you've got."
    • Rush's backstory, which involves his terminally-ill spouse, who's death causes him to let his work become an obsession, ending with him on a starship travelling to a distant region of space, where he is comforted by visions of his dead wife? Perhaps merely a coincidence, but the strong parallels to the plot of The Fountain are definitely there.
  • Shower of Angst: Camile has one in "Life".
  • Shown Their Work: The student's answer to Rush's question in "Human". They might as well have used some technobabble, but instead it was a completely accurate description of Shor's algorithm pulled straight from The Other Wiki.
  • Sleazy Politician: Subverted with Senator Armstrong, who looks like he's being set up as this sort of character (and is played by a guy who is already typecast to this role), but turns out to be a genuinely selfless family man. Played straight with Camille's boss.
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity: Level 5 (Full Lockout). The series was heavily arc-based, which had the misfortune to occur at the same time Syfy changed its scheduling strategy to where it would air part of a season, then replace it with another show, then bring the first show back, and so on. The SGU showrunners partly blame the series' cancellation on the resulting confusion driving away viewers.
  • Someone Has to Die: Senator Armstrong in "Air" to seal off an atmosphere leak.
    • The possibility is invoked in the series finale when the final stasis pod fails, leaving the odd one out with two weeks to try to repair it or die when the life support gives out. Eli volunteers to take the risk.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: In "Hope", just before dangerous surgery. Mixed with Left the Background Music On.
  • Space Friction: Averted. Every time Destiny drops out of FTL, it maintains its forward momentum. The shuttle is shown adjusting its attitude and velocity in a realistic manner with maneuvering thrusters, though this may be less a case of showing their work than adopting the style of the 2000s BSG, in which ships maneuvered in a similarly realistic fashion.
    • Not averted in "Common Descent" however, where when Destiny cuts power to the sublight engines while they're trying to keep their distance from a threat, the ship is stated to have "slowed down"
    • In "The Greater Good" Rush states that the ship he and Young are stranded on has "gone ballistic" after the engines fire for a brief period. In fact, that's the premise of the episode - what happens when you have space friction and your engines crap out!
  • Spaceship Slingshot Stunt: One of Destiny's shuttle attempts the maneuver around a planet to catch up to Destiny itself.
  • Spinoff: Universe is a bit further removed from its parent show than Stargate Atlantis ended up being, and not just in the literal sense. The entire main cast was created for the show, while previous cast members are limited to guest appearances. General O'Neill is a semi-recurring character, but he has an office at the Pentagon rather than bringing back the SGC. Rodney McKay and Richard Woolsey show up late in the second season, as well.
  • Spinoff Sendoff
  • Spoiler Opening: "and Lou Diamond Phillips" in "Resurgence".
  • Standard Establishing Spaceship Shot: Used at the very beginning to introduce the Destiny.
  • Stuffed In The Fridge: As of "Malice", Ginn and Amanda Perry.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Aliens: The aliens who supposedly built an entire star and an orbiting planet, apparently for no other reason than to give a nice home to whoever stayed. They even beamed TJ to the planet from Destiny across two galaxies, saved her baby, created a nebula out of nowhere for scenery during her stay, then sent her back while making it look like she never left, with only the same nebula (beamed in front of the ship) as proof it ever happened.
  • Superhuman Transfusion

    T-Z 
  • Temporal Paradox: Like its predecessors, Stargate Universe uses this. First, there's the Kino(s) in "Time". "Twin Destinies" takes this Up to Eleven: the crew salvages everything they can from a temporal duplicate of Destiny, and even get its duplicate shuttle. Destiny is literally being repaired with itself. "Choke on that, causality!"
    • It becomes even more zanier in the following episode "Alliances" where Future!Telford is now back on Earth, having gated back from the Future!Destiny. Did I forget to mention that Present!Telford is dead?
      • Then even zanier in "Common Descent": the crew of the other destiny didn't die, they reappeared about 2000 years in the past and started a prospering civilization.
  • Temporary Blindness: Park in "Blockade". At least, Rush sure hopes it will be temporary.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Half of the episode "Pain", when the P.O.V. switches to a person bitten by the alien bugs. Sometimes it's obvious, sometimes not.
  • Too Dumb to Live: A group of particularly religious civilians decides to stay behind on a habitable planet despite the fact that there is an oncoming winter and they lack the necessary survival skills and equipment to weather it. Even the shuttle Young leaves behind for them doesn't help much.
    • That they didn't even consider building shelter around the shuttle, creating a basic roundhouse with a fire pit to redistribute warmth is incredibly ridiculous, when you consider that these people were mostly scientists.
    • The two scientists from "Air Part 3" who create a work-around so they can dial a Stargate that Destiny intentionally locked out. Later attempts to contact them only produce static.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Sadly for our heroes, it seems the Lucian Alliance, last seen in SG-1 has gone from being a loose alliance of criminals, to have become an equivalent of the IRA and are quite willing and capable of kicking Earth's ass.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: SGU is bad about this. The three trailers for season two not only defuse most of the suspense from the season 1 finale, but give away several of the big plot twists later on.
    • The promo for "Malice" is incredibly awful with this.
    • The trailer for "Twin Destinies" seems to avoid this.
  • Tricked Out Time: Pretty much the plot of "Time": with each iteration the crew get things a little more right with the help of the information left behind by the crew in the previous iteration, and eventually they avert the crisis all together.
  • Trickster Mentor: Rush is this to Eli.
  • Twist Ending: "Time". See 100% Completion. Bet you didn't see it coming.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Used to explain the life support situation to the injured Colonel and the Senator in "Air".
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Telford nearly every time he's on the ship in Season 1, especially in "Earth". Far less so in season 2 especially once he comes back with the ursini. In fact, at this point, he defers to Young as the ship's commanding officer, acting as an advisor.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Chloe is shot in the leg in the first season finale and losing blood. She miraculously recovers in the premiere, turns out she's been Touched by Vorlons, and the change is slowly taking her over...
  • The Unfettered: Rush. Almost the whole point of his character.
  • Unusual User Interface: The communicator back to Earth involves "Freaky Friday" Flip as it's primary operating principle.
  • Unwinnable Training Simulation: The ship does this to Young in "Trial and Error", taking over his dreams and presenting a nightmare scenario in which the ship is either destroyed or invaded by aliens no matter what he does. It's suggested that the ship was trying to test his effectiveness as a leader, but we'll never know since Rush ended the program before its purpose could be completed.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Averted with the computers on Destiny - screens are small and mostly show text unless the holographic screen is used for presentation. Played straight with the catfish aliens, who have holographic screens for their computers.
    • Also simultaneously played straight and subverted by the countdown clocks. Large wall-mounted displays visible in every room/corridor/shuttle aboard Destiny counting down to the next FTL jump. They're large and obvious enough that they're clearly there for the viewers to see but all the characters are in Ancient. So unless you can read Ancient (or take the time to learn the pretty basic symbols for the numbers 0-9) they're effectively unreadable.
      • Granted Ancient numbers are made of a groups of underlined dots, with the number of dots equaling the number it represent, with the exception of zero which actually resembles the symbol for zero we use. Effectively making it freakishly easy to memorize and potentially superior to our real numbers for computer based communication (though highly difficult to actually write).
  • The Virus: Chloe finds out the aliens infected her with something early in season 2.
  • The Watson: Eli.
  • We Come in Peace Shoot to Kill: Type 2. When the opening word is "Surrender.", sent in English no less, you know talks aren't going any further.
    • You also know that when they tell you "No Escape", having traversed into another Galaxy to chase Destiny, they definitely mean it.
  • Wham Episode: SG:U seems to be particularily fond of these. Best example though might be 2x07 "The Greater Good". We learn Destiny's true mission, the rest of the crew finds the bridge, and Rush and Young appear to have hashed things out... and the ending? Lucian Alliance baddie Simeon has slipped his guard and looks about to kill two birds with one stone. He does. And then, right after that one, we have "Malice"...
  • What Could Have Been: This article spells out a lot of the possible plot lines they might have gone with in season 3 or in a made-for-TV movie/miniseries. What a shame...
  • What Is This Thing You Call Love??: A debatable example occurs in "Seizure". Amanda Perry builds a simulation in Destiny's computer so she and Rush can actually touch each other. Rush ends up trapped in the simulation because one of the base parameters was the condition that he loves Perry as she loves him. Rush insists that the program is simply wrong about his feelings, which is where the debatable part comes in. The first possibility is that Rush really doesn't love her, and thus the trope is averted because Destiny not only knows what love is but can measure it. The second possibility is that Rush does love her, and thus the computer is inherently incapable of judging this on a case by case basis. The most likely explanation in this case is that it used Perry's feelings as a baseline, and couldn't get the same reaction from Rush.
  • What Have I Done: Future!Rush has one in "Twin Destinies" when Present!Telford accuses him of being the person responsible for the disaster that wiped out the entire crew of the Alternate!Destiny.
    Future!Rush: Take your hands off me!
    *Pushes Telford against the wall*
    Future!Rush: YOU are the coward! YOU are the one who didn't believe in the mission! YOU are the one that killed them!
    *Rush suddenly notices that Telford has landed on the conduit he'd earlier warned that had 1000 volts passing through it.*
    Future!Rush: *Utterly horrified* Oh no...
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Rush's own subconscious pulls this on him through the form of his wife during his Journey to the Center of the Mind.
    • In "Subversion", Telford pulls this on O'Neill and Young in regards to Earth's "protect ourselves first" policy, arguing that toppling the System Lords without concern for the fate of their slaves led to the creation of the Lucian Alliance. While he's arguably right on a base level, YMMV on whether or not he has a valid point.
    • Rush gets these from all sides in "The Greater Good". Perry calls him on hiding the bridge from the crew, Young calls him on getting Riley killed, and Eli actually says "What the hell?" when he discovers Rush knew about the bridge.
    • Its heavily implied that Vanessa James thinks this about Scott. Given her shock when she discovers Scott casually slept with Chloe, its implied Scott never bothered to tell her that they were finished, or told Chloe that he was seeing someone else. Further reinforced by the fact that the period of time between James and Scott hooking up in a supply closet in "Air Part 1" and Scott sleeping with Chloe in "Light" was just four days.
  • When Trees Attack: "Cloverdale" features an attack by alien trees which spring from the ground with almost no warning and can infect anything they touch with a fast-growing fungus.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: "Pain" is your standard "worst nightmares made manifest" episode, including one guy who's fear is actually snakes. Under his skin. Which, to add to the Nightmare Fuel, is probably inspired by some real life creatures that do just that, though they're not as large as snakes.
  • Wild Card: Rush.
  • Worst Aid: When Varro falls from a ladder to a solid floor at least a story or two down, Young brings him back up by tying a rope to him and having him dragged up. Justified since the place they were in was falling apart and they didn't have time to rig up a stretcher.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Dr. Rush on an episode-by-episode basis.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Poor Eli... he finally gets the girl, but she gets brutally murdered two episodes later. But then we discover Ginn and Perry apparently were stuck in the stones and get downloaded into Destiny. Then the very next episode Eli is forced to lock Ginn and Perry out, to rescue Rush, who got trapped in a virtual scenario accidentally by Perry. He is furious about this.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: And unlike Stargate Atlantis, they're sticking to that premise. Hasn't stopped some elements of home from tracking them down, but not in the good way.
    • It's not so much they can't go home, as it is the fact that the only way they have of getting enough available power to dial the Stargate all that distance is horrendously complicated, and even one tiny hitch can screw you over entirely. See "Twin Destinies" for exactly how badly it can screw up.
  • You Had Us Worried There: In "Aftermath", a shuttle is about to enter the atmosphere of a planet with possibly shuttle-destroying turbulence. Rush informs them and they decide to give it a go. After a tense few seconds, the shuttle calls back to tell Rush they're ok... then drops out of the sky like a stone.
  • You Have Failed Me: Kiva is fond of this, being Lucian Alliance, but she's at least pragmatic about it. Dannic will do it to his scientists on the spot if they can't get the job done instantly.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Kiva again. Of course in some cases for her, usefulness includes 'dead'. Poor Airman Rivers.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Bill Y.W. Butt (Balding Asian Guy) played a medic on Atlantis.
    • Mike Dopud (Varro) has played three other roles in Stargate: the Russian Colonel in "Full Alert", the bounty hunter Odai Ventrell in SG-1, and the Runner who captured Dr. Keller in Stargate Atlantis.
    • Anna Galvin (Patricia Armstrong) played a hot scientist who was horribly murdered after sleeping with Mitchell in SG-1, then another hot scientist created by an AI to communicate with Woolsey in Atlantis.
    • Ona Grauer (Emily Young) played the Human Popsicle Ancient in "Frozen" and again in "Rising".
    • Julia Benson (Lt. Vanessa James), previously appeared as one of Lucius Lavin's wives in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Irresistible".
    • Patrick Gilmore (Dale Volker) has the unfortunate distinction of playing characters who have a habit of dying. He played a Genii soldier who was shot by Sheppard in Atlantis, and an SG medic who died of an aneurysm in SG-1. At least he has better luck this time around.
      • That said, Time!Volkner died of the alien parasite. Twice. Novus!Volker later died of kidney failure.
    • Peter Kelamis (Adam Brody) played an Area 51 scientist who stole holographic mimic devices in SG-1, and the Half-Human Hybrid race commentator in "Space Race".
  • Zerg Rush: The standard combat strategy of the Berzerker drones.


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