Why do they keep changing the listing for Stargate Universe on Pick? I don’t have Sky – all I have is this free Pick channel, which is a kind of shop-window for Sky. Pick is generally loathsome (endless programmes about monkeys, lorry-drivers, the Australian Air Ambulance Service and people failing to smuggle pickled ostrich-meat into Canada). The only good – indeed, excellent – thing about Pick – making up for all its other deficiencies – is the sci-fi: on Pick I am gradually catching up on all those splendid series I missed out on for five whole years whilst working the twilight shift at the call centre.
It’s not so much to ask, is it? The highlight of my day – Pick permitting – is 8 p.m. when the classic sci-fi repeats come on. I settle down – or did settle down, before Pick spoiled my evening ritual – on my ancient, community store sofa with a cup of instant coffee, a bowl of cereal and a whole lot of snugglesome cats and am transported to other universes… universii…
Some sci-fi is excellent, some is bearable and some is… frankly, beyond the pale. They aired three-quarters of series 1 of Stargate Universe starring – amazingly – how did they land a catch like him? – Scottish actor Robert Carlyle and then… and then it’s vanished and in its place is some idiot futuristic cartoon starring a girl with a ponytail and one giant eye, plus a little pink chap with tentacles. Not my cup of tea at all. Whole evening spoiled.
Frantic rummaging on the internet reveals that SGU has now been moved to 11 o’clock in the morning. Also, if you have access to Pick + 1 – 12 midnight. I do not have access to Pick + 1 because I don’t have Sky, because I can’t afford it. Also, I would object to paying a whole subscription in order to watch exactly the same programmes about monkeys, lorry-drivers, the Australian Air Ambulance Service and people failing to smuggle pickled ostrich-meat into Canada an hour later than I would have done on Pick proper.
Quite possibly next week I will discover that they have moved SGU back to 8pm and the girl with the uni-eye plus the pink person with the tentacles will have been relegated to some other time. Until then, it’s 11 a.m. or nothing.
But Robert Carlyle is not the same unshaven hero/villain with the birds twittering outside, sunlight streaming in through the kitchen and endless delivery lorries reversing up our unmade road, as Robert Carlyle when the curtains are closed, it’s pitch black outside and you’re covered in snugglesome cats. The whole point about SGU is that it’s dark, and sinister and clunky and… mechanical. They’re trapped in this alien spaceship hurtling through space and getting on each other’s nerves something chronic, plotting against one another, falling into mineshafts on abandoned planets, getting infested by brain-scrambling space-ticks and… and it isn’t the same at elevenses, with the post falling onto the mat and a heap of ironing to be done, and the cats full of (daytime) beans, zooming around destroying the house, and all that washing up…
Neither is it the same watching a blurry, too quiet YouTube version of Robert Carlyle in s.1 ep.18 of Stargate Universe on a desktop computer, even at 8 p.m. It’s just not.
Really, it’s not.