As one who has taught astronomy at the university level, I have found SGU thought provoking. The program represents the culmination of all lost-in-the-stars TV creations; Lost in Space, Star Trek Voyager, etc.
The drive of the series is the episode-by-episode tensions between Dr Rush (played by Robert Carlyle) and Colonel Young (Louis Ferreira), a sort of intellect versus brawn, egg head versus military regimen that we've seen before. But one finds these two protagonists so flawed by their own demons, and both so necessary to the survival of the hundred, or so, strandees, that the viewer ends up admiring and rooting for both characters.
The glue that holds the show together, and the character with which we most identify, is the early twenties something math genius, Eli, who unlocks most of Destiny's secrets and provides much of the humor. Though he is initially shanghaied into the Stargate world, he quickly stays gladly, excited by the opportunity. On Destiny, he becomes the voice of reason and morality.
The vessel upon which they're stranded, is the marvelous uncredited character, which makes the series so fascinating. The pinnical creation of a long lost ancient race, like the Krell of Forbidden Planet (1952), the ship, named Destiny, seems to have a mind of its own. It stops at various planets, and moves through galaxies on the other side of the universe, which can be problematic because the crew is forced to visit these planets for supplies like food and water.
The technologies are often alien and amazing. They struggle with enemies, human and alien, hostile environments, both on planets and their own ship, and exploration is a constant, both in space and on the huge vessel, which always unfolds a new surprise.
Star Gate Universe holds so much promise for the sci-do officianado, and breaks new ground. Two years was not enough for the series, but we'll take what we can get.