Stargate Universe Flies off into that Great Unknown Called Cancellation

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The SyFy Channel has made it official: “Stargate: Universe”, the latest iteration of the popular “Stargate” franchise, has gotten the ax after just a season and a half. The show still has 10 remaining episodes in the bag, and the cable network plans to air all 10 episodes early next year.

This marks the first time a “Stargate” show has been canceled so quickly. The first version, “Stargate: SG1″ ran for a record 10 seasons before getting mercifully axed. (By then, the team had essentially beaten every Intergalactic villain imaginable, and it was obviously treading water.) The follow-up series, “Stargate: Atlantis” lasted five seasons, which is still three seasons more than “Stargate: Universe”, probably the most hyped and most critically acclaimed series in the entire franchise, including the original movie with Kurt Russell.

Of course, I’m sure it didn’t help that “Universe” polarized fans almost instantly with its newer, younger, hipper, and more depressing cast and dark and gritty storylines. Most “Stargate” fans saw the show as a bad attempt at pandering to the “Battlestar Galactica” audience, and indeed, “Universe’s” seemingly new audience base and critical kudos seem to bear this initial reaction out. Unfortunately, the show quickly pissed off any goodwill it had with longtime “Stargate” fans, who turned out in droves to “hate” on it on various message boards at every opportunity. Sci-fi shows have always lived and died by cult fanbases, and when you have an entire fanbase devoted to hating you, it’s probably not such a good thing.

The cancellation of “Stargate: Universe” comes after SyFy canceled their other critically acclaimed and bleak original show “Caprica” (starting to see a pattern here?), and it was thought that, given the two shows’ similar situation, “SGU” wouldn’t be far behind. Turns out that was very true.

Tidbits: “SGU” boasted the franchise’s biggest cast to date, including movie actors Ming Na (who played a lesbian in space, natch) and Robert Carlyle, who played a Baltar-esque “good/bad guy”. The show also featured plenty of sex and heavy breathing throughout its darken ship corridors, and you would think sci-fi nerds would love that. Apparently, not so much.

Even lesbians in space couldn't save SGU. Go figure.

Author: Nix

Editor/Writer at BeyondHollywood.com. Likes: long walks on the beach and Kevin Costner post-apocalyptic movies. Dislikes: 3D, shaky cam, and shaky cam in 3D. Got a site issue? Wanna submit Movie/TV news? Or to email me in regards to anything on the site, you can do so at nix (at) beyondhollywood.com.
  • clarkspark

    ’10 seconds’ or 10 seasons….. >.>

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      Oops.

  • Brian

    I have voiced my support for SGU since I started watching it. It’s first season was some of the best television programming we’ve had in a lot of years. I’d go so far as to say THE best Sci-fi programming we’ve had in years. Sadly, the people who don’t like anything more than mindless Michael Bay explosions and random pointless gunfights and regurgitated story lines (ie. a lot of what was seen in SG-1 and Atlantis) made up a larger fan base than hoped. Thus they couldn’t process the fact that characters were developing and stopped watching in turn causing the show the get the axe.
    The second season even tried to cater towards those types of people, I haven’t enjoyed the second season as much as the first, not even close, but even that couldn’t bring back those stubborn people.

    It’s easy to imagine how well this show would have done if there were two differences. First being, even though it’s not 100% necessary to watch the show, there is a lot of important back story in 15 seasons of the other shows. If it wasn’t a continuation of that, but something on it’s own I think it would have done better in that sense. But you also have to look and say that would mean it wouldn’t be Stargate and might go the other way.
    Second is SyFy. I dislike them with a passion so great it’s ridiculous. They have ruined the entire Stargate franchise. That channel needs to stop broadcasting, plain and simple. They produce absolute garbage and when something good like SGU comes around, they can’t support it. MGM seriously needs to give SGU to another network. My biggest hope would be seeing it go to Showtime where Stargate originated, but don’t see that happening. Have to say, the best pre-SGU Stargate programming was on Showtime.
    Space channel up here in Canada would be great, but that’s doubtful to happen as well.

    Extremely frustrated and angry that the show was canceled. Even more so angry at the fact that a lot of the cast and crew found out on Twitter…David Blue notably. What is that Syfy, really?

    • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

      The reaction to this show is simply amazing, a real study in fandom. I think a main reason why the show’s hardcore fanbase so hated the show was a very natural, human reaction to what they perceive as snobby slights not only against them, but their tastes and everything they stood for. I compare it to an uninvited guest showing up and eating all your food and downing your drinks and then telling you he loved your party, but only because it isn’t the crapfest that were your past parties. Basically, a compliment accompanied by a condescending slap to the face. (“We love SGU, but only because it’s not the shitfest that was the other two shows!”) That really stung a lot of the fandom, and they reacted accordingly. Can’t say I blame them, really.

      About the cast and crew finding out on Twitter — that’s not hard to believe. The show’s season was already shot, they weren’t on set anymore, so it’s not really the network’s job to get them all together and explain the situation. It’s a business, after all. I also think the news leaked before SyFy wanted to make the announcement, and they were simply forced to confirm the news.

      • Brian

        I totally get what you’re saying. My issue stands with the people that didn’t give it a chance because honestly, it’s top notch programming (at least season 1) but people didn’t look at it that way. They just saw a show that wasn’t the mindless adventurous fun on a week night for an hour and thus shunned it immediately. It’s an interesting scenario that unfortunate winds up with quality programming being shut down.
        Personally, I ripped apart SG-1 and Atlantis as I watched them, just because I noticed so much regurgitation and cliches everywhere….nothing that really set it apart from other sci-fi. But I also watched everything Stargate in between SGU 1.0 and 1.5 so that might factor in to my feelings towards them. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy them, they were great fun and I consider them good shows…I just consider SGU a better show that’s all. For me it’s all about the reality of things, how you can connect to characters in both TV and film mediums. The more I’m able to connect and relate to a character, or really get in their skin the more real it feels and even though it’s sci-fi, SGU felt more real than a lot I’ve seen….for that reason especially. It was real people dealing with a situation, they didn’t have an answer for everything, and it wasn’t as…neat and tidy as the other shows which was nice. A lot of episodes of the others was just …huge impossible problem followed by everyone saying “we’re going to die” and then the last 3 or 4 minutes of the episode something worked, an impossibly huge problem was solved and everything was done. That’ irked me a bit because after 15 years worth of show you get sick of it haha.

        • http://www.beyondhollywood.com/ Nix

          Oh sure, I agree with you, I mostly just looked at SG1 and Atlantis as essentially comedies in space lol. Those ridiculous Jaffa and their huge staff guns, etc.

  • Dee

    I really can’t understand what people enjoyed about this show. I tried to get into it but found the writing second rate. I can understand making a drama in space but forcing it on the audience like they did was uninspired. I’m not glad it’s gone because there isn’t anything else in the way of space scifi to watch at the moment.

    All I remember about the show, was the chick with massive knockers standing in the hallway. That was about as inspired as this show got.

  • Zaara

    I didn’t like the show in the beginning but began to love it towards the end. This Stargate Universe was more slow paced and depressing less comedy and action. The Dialogues were well written and the story is outstanding. I loved it. I’d rather have a suckie Stargate series on TV than no Stargate. I love the Stargate series and am a big fan of Star Trek. O, how I miss the 90’s with Star Trek series shown on TV every week. Stargate replaced Star Trek but looks like they are killing everything that was and is Sci-Fi with whole lot of imagination and creativity. I will miss Stargate as I now miss Star Trek.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sad to hear SGU is dead. I didn’t think it very good, but it did have promise. I thought the first couple of episodes were excellent: interesting characters, interesting situation and plenty of possibility. Sadly it degenerated into cliche pretty quickly. Robert Carlyle is his usual interesting self, and David Blue’s character manages to do an excellent balancing act of treading that fine line between the depreciating nod to fandom and painful fanboy parody… but as for the rest…? It’s just another version of patriotic good-hearted Americans in space, determined to do the right thing in as clunky and square-jawed a way as possible. They’re not very interesting! It would be OK if they were a vehicle for trad. sci-fi storylines, but if you’re aim is to do dark, introspective, character-driven sci-fi – then the characters have to make it worth your viewing effort.

    It’s fairly obvious the set-up was heavily influenced by Battlestar Galactica – it’s going to be the benchmark against which all other science fiction is judged for quite a while – but I think the writers lost their nerve quite early on and started to write traditional Stargate storylines which just didn’t fit the characters at all. In fact it looked lame and lazy to have the old ‘infected by an alien virus’ or ‘accidentally timetravelled through a malfunctioning gate’ storyline. Once they started putting in the space-battles and rubber-suited aliens (OK, CGI aliens, but you know what I mean) then it wasn’t going to recover…