"Initially, it was important to create that scenario of the jeopardy of trying to survive in this situation. In the past, I think we've made things too easy on our characters, and I don't want to lose it entirely. I see it as a western - Gene Roddenberry initially described Star Trek as a western in space, and when I think back on pioneers crossing America, with nothing but the stuff they've got with them and having to make do, that incredible spirit is something that was important to have in Universe."
-Robert C. Cooper, SciFiNow #36, p.17-
Cooper makes a fine analogy here and he gets that spirit of discovering for new frontiers just right.
And Cooper is correct to say that the characters of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis were treated with kid gloves often times. Narrow escapes, good humor, guns a blazing - those teams had it pretty good.
The comic book styled trappings of those series adventures dictated that the characters had it pretty good. Things were clearly a little more light-hearted. The writers couldn't put the characters in more significant situations as Cooper would in Stargate Universe because the rules of the game previously were definitively very different from the rules of the game Cooper established tonally for SGU.
Thus SGU, in many respects, is a more cerebral, thoughtful, more serious approach to their science fiction franchise and one that I am completely on board with when it comes to the future of the Destiny and those aboard her. SGU is a mesmerizing journey.