The overarching plot of SGU is nothing new - a group finds itself far from home and must find its way back. If I'm not mistaken this idea is as old as the Odyssey, but was more recently told in Star Trek: Voyager, and the spin-off nature of SGU couldn't help but start comparisons with Voyager in my mind. Well, it turns out this was the wrong comparison.
Last night I got myself over to my best friend's house (I don't have cable) and we sat down to watch.I enjoyed it, but my concern is not entirely lifted. The plot was interesting, and definitely more about character and environment than previous shows, and it had nothing in common stylistically. Indeed, SGU is spot on Battlestar Galactica in style and tone. The color pallet, the cinematography, even the music were all taken straight out of the BSG book. More importantly than the look, SGU has that dark heavy feel, punctuated with moments of terror and chaos. They've even set up for the military/civilian tensions of early BSG (though on a smaller scale). Also, there's selfish scientist character with a British Isles accent who has definite shades of Baltar, but with more balls.
I'm not really the biggest fan of Battlestar Galactica, finding it far too dark and gritty. Certainly, the show was pretty and had a cool story, but the almost total lack of likable characters, the absence of any sort of nobility (outside of Helo) and the dearth of humor meant I found the show to be something of a headache. Watching BSG felt a bit like what I imagine being clinically depressed feels like. Also, as Will over at Secure Immaturity pointed on in his review of Caprica, BSG was really just as preachy as Star Trek, just with a darker hammer. Naturally then, the similarity gives me some concern, but I'm not too worried. I don't think SGU is going to sink to the depths of dispair that BSG did - we've already seen genuine compassion, nobility and humor in this show, and it certainly doesn't seem like it's going to be preachy. So, I'm going to stay tuned in to Stargate: Universe, and I think you should do the same.
P.S. One of the things I found refreshing about Stargate was the lack of gratuitous sex. SGU has already blown it on this account.