Stargate Universe: The Death of A Franchise?

It’s sad to think that a well-loved franchise is coming to an end, but that is exactly what is happening to Stargate. It all started with the original Stargate movie in 1994, and has seen four television series since then, the most popular being Stargate SG-1 which aired three years after the original movie and boasted the acting style of Richard Dean Anderson (known for his role as Macgyver). When franchises end, they leave in their wake unanswered questions, unresolved conflicts, and heartbroken fans. So what was it that ended this franchise? Who slayed this mighty dragon? Surprisingly it was the fans themselves.

People don’t like change, and when you change something that people love, they are bound to be outspoken about it. Science Fiction fans also known as “Nerds” or “Geeks” are absolutely no exception. They might not physically get in your face about it, but when they hide behind the Internet, they can verbally throw you off a cliff.

Fan loyalty can get out of hand; just look at any hardcore Star Trek fan, in fact any scifi show or movie series with the word “Star” in the title has some pretty hardcore fans (Star Wars, Star Trek, Battle Star Galactica, Stargate, etc). Just think of the most radical religious group you’ve heard of, now dress them in a fake alien mask, give them a bottle of mountain dew, and watch the insanity. I’m not completely wrong in comparing franchise-loyalty to religious-devotion, nearly the same intensity applies. They get equally as pissed when you criticize the events in their favorite story, and heaven forbid anyone tries to change anything (even if it’s better or makes more sense).

You’re probably thinking “this is all fine and dandy, but how did these fans kill the one thing they truly loved?” Well, unfortunately the creators tried to change the show *GASP*

Yes, the creators who had so laboriously given these fans two previous television series (not including the short-lived animated series which was made by different creators and frankly no one liked), and three movies, tried to make some changes to the format of the show. Needless to say, the fans were not having this one bit. The newest show “Stargate Universe” was pitched as a high budget Stargate show, and it would have been very successful had the fans accepted the changes, but instead many die-hard fans boycotted the show and told others to do the same. Ratings fell, and it was bumped to a horrible time-slot of monday nights at 11pm, which has seriously got to be the worst time for a big budget show to air. It was able to make it’s way through the first season, but half way through season two, Syfy channel (which recently forgot how to spell “Sci-fi”) announced that it would not be picking ups the series for a third season.

This wouldn’t bother me so much, and I wouldn’t be so pissed at these radical geeks if it weren’t for the fact that the changes made by the creators were actually GOOD, not to mention the creators announced that if this show didn’t work out, they were not making another Stargate show. I admit Stargate Universe was ridiculously slow paced in relation to the other Stargate shows, but the changes in plot, character development, and overall logic were well overdue. I was tired of seeing people with corny rubber masks pretend to be aliens, yet speak English for some reason. I was tired of having to pretend that there were awesome space battles and giant armies happening off screen which I was only allowed to see a small glimpse of. Stargate Universe may have been slow paced, but it had amazing visuals, logical character responses, and a deeper overall plot than the other shows. Fans have complained that the show felt like Battle Star Galactica had a love-child with Star Trek, and then the child was raised by Stargate as it’s surrogate mother, is that supposed to be a bad thing? This hybrid sounds awesome to me.

I realize that I shouldn’t be referring to Stargate Universe as if it were already dead. The first episode of the last half of the season aired on the 8th of this month. The writers are attempting wrap up the show in a mere ten episodes, and being that this will be the end of the franchise; who knows what we’ll see at the end of these final episodes.

Looking back now, all I can say is that it’s a shame these fans would be so horrible towards a franchise that had brought them so much joy. There’s this thing called loyalty, we stick by the things we love and we don’t bail at the first sign of trouble. I just think it’s amazing that die-hard fans actually think that the creators of these shows OWE the fans something. They made these shows for you! Sometimes you just have to support them even when they aren’t doing exactly what you want, there is always time for a show to develop and change as it goes, but it can’t do that if it gets such negative ratings that it gets bumped to a horrible time-slot and then is eventually cancelled.

At this point, there is always hope that another network will pick up the show and revive the franchise, but for now I stay bitter towards the fans who are afraid of change and to the network that bumps a high budget scifi show to Mondays and airs WRESTLING on Friday nights. There’s realistic loyalty to a franchise, and then there’s over-loyalty to an ideal image of a franchise. I’m a realistic guy.

4 comments on “Stargate Universe: The Death of A Franchise?
  1. Nah, if failed because nobody watched it. Why did nobody watch it? Cuz it was HORRIBLE. Syfy is a business, they want to make money, so it doesn’t make sense that’d want a show to fail. Esp not a show off it’s flagship series Stargate. It had all the promotion in the world, much more then most of their other shows ever. The airdates were pretty solid, not much of the constant moving it to different nights and the “it’s on, it’s not on, it’s on, it’s not on” game that many show’s suffer, they aired the eps in order unlike how Firefly and some other scifi shows got shafted on other networks. They did everything by the book right for SGU but NOBODY WATCHED IT. It failed in every market on every network in every country it aired in.

    That’s great that you like it, I’m glad somebody did but the overwhelming majority did not. You can’t even blame loud fans because if was good, peeps would have still watched it, it would have gotten new viewers who hadn’t seen a SG show before. But it did not, it failed. FAILED. FAILED. SGU will always go down as the show that killed the Stargate franchise.

  2. LOL…nah It didn’t fail because Stragate fans were throwing a hissy fit it failed because it was a god-AWFUL show; it was bleak, depressing, gloomy and thought just because it had sex and shaky cam it was an “adult” show. The characters were flat, unlikable and underdeveloped which was unfortunate in a “character-driven” show because there was no plot so to speak of and even less momentum.
    I loved the stargate series and grew up watching it and admit I wasn’t pleased with the crappy ending that Atlantis got but I didn’t fly into a rage and childishly decide to boycott the syfy channel, I gave Universe a chance and found it genuinely painful to watch.

    This was a show that desperately wanted the Peabody-winning prestige of BSG but simply did not have the talent to back it up…put quite simply the writers and creators of the stargate franchise were hacks which was all well and good when they were paddling in the shallow end, the Stargate series is a pretty low bar; it’s a formulaic, adventure of the week, black and white morality, unimaginative, flamboyant space-opera with silly, unrealistic characters and simplistic contrived plots but its fun and easy to watch, like a western or a buddy-cop show in space popcorn for the brain, much like StarTrek but less sacerine…

    Also I have to admit the way the creators treated their loyal fans of over fifteen years (I’m too young to fall into this category but Atlantis came out when I was in my early teens and I have watched all of SG1) is nothing short of shameful.
    No the creators don’t owe individual fans anything, true, but collectively they DO. TV is a business, the Stargate franchise is a product, most businesses’ do not attempt to sell their product by belittling their “customer base” so to speak. Cooper and Wright pretty much came out and said that they wanted to attract a, for want of a another term “better” audience, and were “moving in a different direction, away from stargate fans” and essentially that disgruntled Atlantis fans should basically suck it up and stop whining because they “didn’t matter” and then as soon as this abysmal show tanked (please don’t think that I’m passing judgment on you for enjoying the show! I’m NOT!)they turn around and childishly point the finger at the decade-plus fans who apparently didn’t matter to begin with

  3. As a loyal SG1 and SGA fan, I was literally put off by Universe fans who put down the previous series as poor science fiction, and only seemed to like Universe. After struggling to like the slow pace and far too many unlikable characters, the rancor of “Universe only” fans pushed me away from that series for good.

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