SGU and Caprica were highly serialized while W13 and Eureka are episodic and therefore more viewer friendly; its easier for that type of show(episodic) to get casual viewers because they(the viewer) won't be totally lost if they just jump right in during the middle of a season or whatever. Serialized shows pretty much require a viewer to tune in every week or risk being lost wondering why certain characters are behaving in certain ways, ect. Putting a highly serialized show in a new timeslot against major network competition (NCIS:LA, which is very episodic and veiwer friendly, and DWTS which is the reality stuff that everyone and their mother watches) is a bad idea, as both Caprica and SGU proved. Their failure isn't really a matter of their quality(which is subjective), but a matter of the type of show (serialized, that it's space sci-fi doesn't help either) and the fact that they were put up against very viewer friendly and episodic major network competition (probably 2 of the highest rated shows on TV ).
I personally never liked the idea of a Tuesday move because I was already watching NCIS and NCIS: LA. I feel the move to Tues was a factor in SGU's demise and I don't think it can simply be discounted just because a different type of show did better in the same timeslot (during the summer, a season finale and a holiday special).
Maybe when SGU dipped below 1.5 Million back in the 2nd half of S1 was when they already made their decision, and gave it a do or die for Tuesday.
Clearly if SGU was not having issues to them, they would of kept it on Friday night instead of having Sanctuary on there.
Anyway, you posted a great article, but I think too much blame is put on the competition. SGU never even saw a decent uptick, like SGA used to. Atlantis back in S5 for episode 510 to 511 upticked by nearly 700,000 viewers. That to me is a sign of competition. SGU sank and never really recovered. They basically were down to their core audience, and I think that was the final nail in the coffin to SGU's fate.
I also think SGU ran at the wrong time, and that was also a factor, imo. People now seem to want action and adventure, and comic relief, rather than slower-paced drama, and melodrama.
The Stargate franchise as a whole has been suffering from a steady ratings erosion for years -- ever since the departure of RDA and the premiere of Season Nine of SG-1 and Season Two of SGA. (I am aware of the comparison of SGA S5 to S4, which shows it improving a little.) Remember, SG-1 was also canceled because it didn't live up to the network's ratings expectations at the time.
SGU was intended to halt and even reverse that erosion, and unfortunately it just didn't. IMHO, this was evident by about episode #111 or 112.
In all reality, SGA was really the only Stargate not canceled by Syfy. Look at all 3 press releases, and you can see SGU's is similar to SG-1's but totally different than SGA. I think the most bitterness that has come from the fandom was how there was a movie announced and the end of SGA was tagged on the bottom of the press release. We never saw "Syfy cancels SGA" because they did not, they wanted another season and MGM and them came with a mutual agreement to do a movie. Well, then MGM's financial crisis began which is another story. Since we are still waiting for a movie.
My bitterness has returned a little bit, because SGU was suppose to go longer than SGA could of gone and create a sense of longevity for the franchise. BW said in an interview it could of gone to a 6th or 7th season, and ending SGA now while it was popular was the best time to move it into the movie market. SGU has failed to preserve the franchise and may have just killed it. I think with SGA going to a 6th season, you would at least have that establish fan base, and plenty of syndication and reruns to create more revenue. I think SGU was greenlighted at the wrong time, and the ratings in the beginning showed that people did give the show a fair chance.
In hindsight I think that the timing was bad in ending Atlantis -- but, at the time, the timing looked very good. The two SG-1 movies had just come out on DVD and done quite well. Atlantis's viewership was strong, but all shows lose viewers the longer they run (in addition to becoming steadily more expensive).
I can tell you, from sitting in Brad's office and hearing him talk about the future of the franchise as a whole, he was thrilled with the prospect of having Stargate standing solidly on "four legs." SG-1 and SGA would continue with a regular series of DVD/TV movies, SGU could take up the mantle for television, and SG Worlds would hugely expand things in an on-going, canonical gaming universe. It comes out in the audio interview we did that spring, and after the recorder was shut off. He was stoked.
Then the direct-to-DVD market collapsed, and MGM wavered on sending the two movies into production.
Then MGM itself collapsed (in slow motion).
Then SG Worlds collapsed and the studios involved in its development are having a bloodbath in court right now, and have lost the license.
Then SGU's ratings slipped below where SGA left off, and was moved to Tuesday, and fared even worse.
Instead of four legs, we now have zero. Now I don't think that's going to be the case for very long. MGM will be out of bankruptcy in a matter of weeks, more than likely, and ready to get something with the Stargate name on it into production.
But my point is that it was bad timing on all fronts, but it wasn't anything anyone could have seen coming.
I really hope you are right and we still see these movies. I know you talk to Brad all the time, but do you think he would be done with Stargate or just take a break? I really would like to see a 4th series in a few years, but after we get some movies.
I know I said maybe new producers might be good for a change, but I've for the most part enjoyed Brad's work and the rest of the producers and it would be sad to see him leave the franchise.
Last edited by Briangate78; December 18th, 2010 at 10:02 PM.
I hope that Brad sticks around. (I have no insight as to what he's thinking about his future career right now.) As much good as the "house-cleaning" approach has done for Trek, I am 100% in Brad's corner as the guy who has the pulse of this franchise and the creativity to move it forward while remaining true to its heritage.
I hope he gets some of that new MGM money and focuses on SGU, SGA, and SG-1 movies in 2011-12, and by the time they are wrapped has an awesome idea for Series 4 percolating.
IMHO, the only other thing they could have done was counterprogrammed sanctuary and sgu.....10 san, 10 sgu, 10 san, 10 sgu, and keep that coveted friday night slot...and had they only made 12 caprica episodes, could have used that for the remaining 12 fridays and had year round solid friday night programming
For me, ignoring my issues with the show as a whole, the long hiatus between 110 and 111 gave me weeks to find something else to watch. then when it started in s2, i watch NCIS, even teh re-runs, on tuesday and the only time i turn off ncisla is when deadliest catch is on....DC is also - at times - the highest rated cable show on tuesday nights.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are juggernaught nights on tv. the networks all have strong shows on those nights.
on cable there are shows like Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, Ax Men, Swords, Ice Road Truckers, etc....and they all have niche viewers, and are heavily re-run, which i think is where a lot of the ratings come from...they get good enough ratings when they air first, and they also provide hours and hours of 'day long marathon' programming.
Read the article, and while those six things helped play into the low numbers SGU got in a minor way, imo, the show was mainly canceled because of the show...plain and simple. It wasn't something people wanted to watch.
I wanted to watch this show. Loved BSG. SGU in the vein of that show appealed to me IF the writers could pull it off. Found a number of things about S1 to be tedious even though it did get better in the second half of that season. I do think S2 is a step up from that, but it could still be better. I'm sad that it was canceled as I mostly enjoyed it and thought it was heading in the right direction, but obviously that doesn't matter. People just weren't drawn to the tone and pace of the show or the characters.
I'd love to blame it on the move to Tuesday night, but I just don't think that was the case as the numbers had already dipped when it was on Friday. I do think it might have been more beneficial to have run each season in one go like Lost and 24 did because of its highly serialized nature, but I doubt that would have done much to help. I wish they would have done Caprica that way. Not that it would have been renewed even if it could have held on to its numbers. I enjoyed Caprica, but it was axed after the first season because it wasn't something people wanted to watch. Too much of a departure from BSG, just like SGU was from SG-1 and SGA.
IMO always implied.
no means no, and so does pepper spraySig by The Carpenter
Great article, I wish the points weren't true...but they are. I feel a little deflated after seeing it all so concisely stated.
no place all the blame on nbc makeing there networks suck so that comcast chould buy them NBC sucked in the 2010 olympics and I hope they lose the NHL nextyear.
I think that a big part of the blame goes to the S1 writing. It was incredibly slow paced and too "artsy" for all but the die hard StarGate fan to continue following.
The problem is that the show has finally transformed into something watchable AND enjoyable. The last several episodes have been great SciFi and have had EXCELLENT writing. In many ways it is a whole different series. It can stand on it's own even with those viewers that opted out of watching S1.
I understand that these decisions are made in advance and it is often difficult to unring a bell, but SyFy should really find a way of giving SGU another shortened season as a trial. (It is a completely different show than S1 afterall!) Especially before all of the sets and props are sold off.
After investing so heavily in StarGate it would be stupid of SyFy not to give it a go. Non-science fiction fans are starting to watch (and enjoy). My wife watches SciFi stuff with me, but she has never really enjoyed it. But interestingly she was upset to learn that SGU was cancelled. "Now?!?! After it actually gets GOOD?!?!"
But I cant have high hopes from a group that changed their name from SciFi to SyFy...
Last edited by DeLaFe; May 8th, 2011 at 05:23 AM.
It was a great article you wrote Darren, showing how much you care about the series, as well as your obvious knowledge of the facts.
In my opinion, regardless of any mistakes that the SyFy Network may or may not have made, ultimately a show is only successful if people actually watch it, and the reality is that viewing figures were terrible.
I felt that the quality of episodes in Season 2 was a huge improvement over Season 1, and indeed feel that things could have been different if the show started how it ended.
I continued to watch for the 2 years due to my love of all things stargate, and im happy that season 2 was so good. I stand by my opinions on the majority of season 1 as illustrated by my posts on those episodes.
Ultimately season 1 was just not very good with the odd exceptional episode, or moment in an episode, it was dull, depressing, unstargatelike, too much reliance on the stones, and just too many poor episodes, and as such people stopped watching.
Long term Stargate fans were alienated, some like myself stuck with it to see the rewards of season 2, but not enough, and those that liked it from day 1 were too few.
Ultimately then, SGU was cancelled due to lack of quality and lack of viewers, and a late turnaround in quality but not, importantly, in viewing figures was never going to save it.
We can talk Wrestling, tuesday nights, SyFy executives as much as we like, but we as Stargate fans have noone else to blame than the writer/producer/directors team for alienating so many fans, and doing nothing to bring in new viewers to what is a great franchise.
Such a shame, because season 2 was great, and will stand as one of the best seasons of stargate, up there with seasons 3,4,and 5 of SG1.
Chief Galen Tyrol: But how do you know I'm human?
Brother Cavil: Oh, well, maybe because I'm a Cylon, and I've never seen you at any of the meetings.
four letters killed SG:U, NCIS. who was the genius that moved it from fridays agaist the #1 drama on TV
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