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.