I'm a first time Stargater so I can't really compare Stargate Universe to any of the other series, but I really do enjoy SGU. I can't understand where all the haterade, justified or not, is coming from.
First off, I like how SGU isn't too funny. People have said that Stargate series are known for their humor, and while I do find SGU funny at times, I don't think it's forced humore. Also, it's not necessary to be constantly light-hearted: these dudes are stuck in motherfucking space, I'm surprised that a character can even crack jokes at a time like that.
That' why I like Eli. Yes, he's the character who everyone, at least first-timers, are supposed to relate to, but that doesn't mean his schtick (?) doesn't work. His comic timing is not forced and it matches his character of being just a guy who wants to be liked by everyone. Some may say he's socially awkward, but I think it's just that everyone on Destiny are too busy being scared or horny to relate to him. SGU needs a character like him and I don't think having everyone else crack jokes would make the show better. Sure, it would be great if some of the characters one in a while made a joke. Like when Col. Young made a joke about how Eli and that other dude both smelled. It was funny and didn't seem out of place. It was a bonding moment for the people who are stuck on such a hard place.
Also, I hate characters like Topher on Dollhouse who are so mean-spirited and is constantly being sarcastic. Thank God that SGU doesn't have a Topher or else I'd never gotten in to any Stargate.
Who else do I like on SGU? Well I'm hoping that they develop Rush and Young more. I can appreciate Young's steel-like demeanor and can tell that there's something simmering beneath. I want to know more through flashbacks or interactions with everyone else. Rush seems to have his emotions out all the time (He's constantly angry and yelling) and I like how he's a morally gray/black character. It's probably blasphemous for me to compare him to Baltar on Battlestar Galactica (also a favorite of mine), but I'm going to do it anyway. I'm hoping to see Rush more vulnerable down the line, but he's definitely hiding some evil plan.
I agree with critics that Ming-Na is being underused, maybe there's a plan for her later on and not just being a cold-hearted lesbian bitch. But that's okay if they maker her that way. She seems to only want to advance in her career and saver her ass. Let's hope they utilize her more.
In general, the women of SGU are not being used well, but I wouldn't go so far as to say the show is sexist. Sex sells, and I understand why a certain big-breasted soldier has been portrayed prominently in the early episodes. She hasn't popped out recently, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I hope to see more of her (literally and whateverily). Does that make me sexist? No, because I do want to also have her relationship with that jackass (I forget the name of the guy in the closet with her) to develop too. Not into some corny love triangle, but I'd enjoy it if it became a love quadrangle (plus Eli!).
The senator's daughter hasn't been used well either. I hate the fact that she's with that jackass and messing with Eli at the same time. Maybe this is just going to be a soap opera thing between them, but I'd really love for Eli to realize she's not worth it if she can't see how cool he is.
Finally, I love the fact that they can't really control Destiny. The planet of the week thing seems cool just as long as it isn't literally a planet every week. Of course, I can't wait for the mysteries of Destiny to be revealed.
Oh yeah, I can't forget, I also like Sgt Greer. Hope they do a better job of developing all these characters.