Stargate Universe is the darker, more serious brother to the two other Stargate shows, SG-1 and Atlantis. That darkness also makes it a bit incomparable to the other two, for it is essentially doing a different thing. SGU is more in the realm of Caprica and BSG for it manages to get as much into the soul of the characters as those two shows.
Stargate franchise never did delve too deep into the characters — sure, they had their flaws and their good parts, but people essentially survived to laugh another day, and were mostly likeable. SGU has changed this essentially, and none of the main characters can actually create that same “good” vibe the previous shows had no trouble with. Instead, there is a more believable real life person instead of the ones we had before, and in many a way that is a preferable way of going about things.
To be thorough(er), I’ll say a few words on all of the main characters (or the characters whom I saw as having a rather important role in the show)… and to begin with, I’ll bring up the unenviable position of Col. Everett Young. There has not been an annoying a superior commander in the entirety of Stargate, and his main flaw is not his annoying attitude (which is, however, quite well captured in the manner of his speech and responses to any questions or inquiries), but more in the incapable way that he goes about making decisions — for he truly seems to rather enjoy things falling into place (or out of place) rather than make a decision. And that makes him very much the antagonist for me (go Rush!). Then again, I would guess that this is a position we can expect from a person who did not want to be posted away from home in any case…
Rush on the other hand has lost everything, and that has made him annoying in his way. I believe that he would be as belieavable if he tried to explain some things to his underlings — especially given he is aware that most of his underlings are rather incompetent in everything but a very very slight portion of what they have to go about doing. Rush also allows a fair amount of emotion to get into way of professional relations which I find a bit “wrong” but overall, I believe that he makes for a better leadership figure than Young (but most of this is simply due to Young being a tool). In any case, Rush can at least acknowledge when he is outclassed in science, and that increases his character quite a bit. Naturally though, he doesn’t do that too openly… And finally, with Rush, great scientific discoveries take the priority place over other things, which I do agree with. Explorer’s spirit!
Lt. Scott… Well… well… a Lieutenant should be able to follow orders without trying to second-guess everything, but Scott fails this quite successfully. For some reason, he reminded me of Lee Adama for a long time, but clearly, of the Stargate “leads” (O’Neill, Mitchell, Carter, Shepherd) Scott is the least inspiring, which makes sense from his character point of view. He is trying to find his very own place in the universe, after all. But, I do not think that should be in the military.
Eli. Well, Eli is cool. A thoroughly good character some might say, and no matter what the best of the SGU ones (on the good-evil scale). Some of his ideas seem to careful though, which again is somewhat understandable given his background.
There are others that I could bring up, but I would say that these four (plus then Camile Wray and Chloe Armstrong) make up the main cast — or that at least they do for me. I do not have much to say for Chloe except that her storyline did unfortunately seem a bit too forced for me, and that Camile as a character was quite amazing even though I am not the greatest of fans for IOA people.
Of the episodes I considered most noteworthy, I would have to say ‘Light’ for quite obvious reasons once anyone has seen it (and yes, I would like to go for the same trip) as well as Gauntlet. Incursion Part 3 was a nice one, and rather good, but nothing overly spectacular. In general, I would say that the second half of Season 2 was by far the better part of the series. ‘The Greater Good’ might also be considered one of the more appealing episodes.