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NewsFlash: Stargate Universe Canceled

I am completely bummed to report that SyFy has canceled Stargate Universe. We're getting the spring ten episodes, and that's it.

Yes, the ratings haven't been great, but I have always enjoyed this show. Dramatically, I thought it stood head and shoulders above Atlantis. I look forward to it and it never sits unwatched on my DVR. (I finally deleted the last two episodes of The Event, unwatched.)

What do you think? Were you still watching? Did it deserve cancellation?


  1. I'm a few episodes behind, but I agree: in terms of drama, Universe knocks Atlantis into a cocked hat.


  2. As mentioned in my other post, bugger.

    Was the best proper Scifi show on this year. And now cannot claim that prize next year

  3. I was pretty sure this was coming, but I'm still really bummed. I, too, looked forward to SGU every week. Surprisingly, this fall, it became one of the shows I most looked forward to every week. Even if I hadn't been reviewing it, it wouldn't have been stacking up on the DVR.

    I'm starting to accept the reality that there isn't much of a market for the darker, heavily serialized, character-based shows I tend to like. Unless it is comedy or lighter, "pretty" procedurals, most of the shows I watch get terrible ratings. Even the niche shows on the cable networks that the critics and awards circuit adore tend to get terrible ratings. I think most people just want lighter fare with square-jawed heroes that doesn't make them think too hard. It makes me sad. (And nervous for Game of Thrones.)

    (On a lighter note, my word verification for this post was "shuckin" which made me laugh.)

  4. I guess I'm the odd one out. I am not at all surprised, nor will I miss SG-U all that much. It was depressing, discouraging, and seemed to show only the worst aspects of humanity. I much preferred Atlantis in terms of characters and plots. Maybe I'm just getting too old for all the dark depressing stuff anymore! Give me something halfway fun, please. Life is depressing and who needs their "entertainment" to put them further into the doldrums??

  5. Hey, Mom2mykids, you're not alone. I also preferred Atlantis (although RDA's SG1 was SO MUCH better), and thought SGU was abysmal with very few exceptions. I dropped it after the beginning of S2. The stupidity of the characters was just unbearable to me, Young in particular.

    Anyway, I think SyFy is dropping the ball here, big time. After 11-12 years of Stargate, ending the run on a cliffhanger shows a complete lack of respect for the fans.

    Not that it's the first time, Farscape's fate already told us how much trust we could put on Bonnie Hammer and her pals.

    I'm sorry for those who liked it (certainly a lot of people here), but I won't miss this at all. For me, Stargate has only two series, and BSG's 4.10 was the true series finale ;)

  6. I'm actually happy it has been cancelled. I'm one of those people that really loved Atlantis and was gutted when it was canned. I was initially thrilled to hear about SGU, but when it turned out to be this dark, dismal depressing soap drama in space with almost no ties to the previous shows, I hated it. And the producers said 'Well if you don't like it don't watch it'. So I didn't. And neither did a whole big bunch of fans who felt the same as I did. And their ratings plummeted. And the producers appealed to fans of the old shows to watch it to keep SGU alive. Well hard luck, you should have thought about that before you made a completely different grimdark Stargate show and then told all your old fans to bugger off. Serves you right.

    Seriously, we did not need a ship full of annoying angsty characters that (some of us) couldn't give a crap about. We didn't need BSG shaky camera work that gives me motion sickness. We didn't need the plot of Star Trek V to be rehashed on a TV teries. All I could do was hope the show would be cancelled and the writers/producers would see the error of their ways. Well, it has finally been cancelled, and I hope they realise what a big mistake they made.

    To those who liked the show - fine, but I have to say they could have dropped the Stargate tie-in and made this a brand new franchise, and I doubt it would have made much difference. At least it wouldn't have made a bunch of bitter SG1/SGA fans complain about how we lost our favourite Sci-fi shows for this grimdark space soap. If I want to be depressed I'll just pay better attention to real life. Give me some light and hope in my escapism please.

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  8. I completely understand why many fans of SG-1 and SGA didn't cotton to this series. They were very different animals, and it was a bit unreasonable for the producers to think that those that loved the more light-hearted touch of those series would go ga ga for what they were trying to do with SGU. Especially given they way they've often been outright hostile to the potential audience.

    And I certainly understand why a lot of people want escapism in their entertainment. My husband is the same way. Give him Burn Notice over SGU any day of the week. He largely thinks I'm nuts for wanting to immerse myself in gritty realism and the dark complexities of the human condition. Don't get me wrong, I'm not immune to the power of lighter entertainment. I very much enjoyed SG-1 and SGA! I just tend to get more invested in the other style. I guess what I want most from my "entertainment" isn't escape, but something that challenges me and engages me and most importantly, makes me *feel.* I want to ball my eyes out when terrible things happen during the penultimate episode of a season of The Wire. Just like I want to sob uncontrollably when some characters manage to find and hang on to some small shred of hope in that urban wasteland. And I just wish more people felt that way, because then the networks wouldn't keep canceling the shows I really love!

    I agree that SGU can't hold a candle to shows like The Wire, Mad Men, Deadwood, or even BSG and Lost, but it still managed to engage me on a fairly regular basis. I think their biggest mistakes were not making more of their characters compelling from the start and not striking a good balance between the darkness and the light. They've been getting better with small shots of humor of late, and I think I've finally come to care about most of the characters, but it's too little and far too late for the larger audience.

    I've seen a lot of comments (not just here) complaining that they didn't like show because it was a "soap opera" not sci-fi. I object to the notion that any sci-fi show that dares to explore human emotions and the psychological impacts of events is somehow not real sci-fi. I'm not saying that SGU always did it well, but on occasion they did it very well, and I give the producers and writers credit for trying something different. Even though it clearly wasn't to everyone's liking.

    (Sorry for going on at length. I think I've read far too many "good riddance" comments since the news broke and I'm feeling sensitive.)

  9. I do understand why fans of the first two Stargates weren't crazy about this one. But I'm with Jess. And I think she said it better than I could have. I'm going to miss this show.

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  11. "I object to the notion that any sci-fi show that dares to explore human emotions and the psychological impacts of events is somehow not real sci-fi."
    And now you know how I feel about horror, Jess. =P

    I think the problem SG1 and SGA fans bring up is ultimately one of branding. Calling a mercilessly dark drama "StarGate" is akin to taking a can of mushroom soup and slapping on it a sticker that says, "Maple Syrup". I like both mushroom soup and maple syrup, but if I end up pouring soup on my Eggo waffles, I'm going to be mad.

    I'm not sure the frustrations felt by Mom2myKids and Alice are just about seeking escapist entertainment either. It's worth noting that dark and depressing isn't the only way to tackle the human condition in a pertinent manner. For example, I would contend Bob Clark's lighthearted A Christmas Story has a lot more to say about human nature than relentlessly dark and gritty fair like Gladiator or Watchmen (the movie, not the comic, which was brilliant).

    And I do feel sci-fi tends toward a rather adolescent approach to human depth in that a lot of writers do go for dark melodrama whenever they want to convey intelligence, and really sadness is just a small part of the human experience. As Jess astutely points out, light shows are the norm in television as a whole. However, in contemporary sci-fi, I think gut-wrenching super-mythology is really more the standard approach.

    In a genre populated wit the likes of BattleStar Galactica (remake series) and Space Above and Beyond, I think the fans of SG1 and SGA felt they had found some refuge from this rather singular approach to sci-fi storytelling, and I can understand their frustration over losing it over what might have felt like yet another BattleStar wannabe.

    I was trying to find a current sci-fi series that was complex, daring, and thoughtful, yet cheery and hopeful about the human condition. I couldn't think of any. Maybe that gap in the market is the real problem.

    Too bad about SGU though. I hope its fans find something to their liking to replace it.

  12. Oh, Dimitri, why did you have to go and bring up Space: Above and Beyond? I'm already envisioning that series finale as what lays in wait for us at the end of the SGU journey. Aargh!

    I like your point about branding. I think you and Zob are right that it wasn't necessarily something gritty that many Stargate fans objected to, it was *their* franchise becoming grim and dark.

    Zob, are you seriously trying to suggest that people who apparently had no problem with the writing on SG-1 and SGA were turned off by "bad writing" on SGU? Seriously? I'm perfectly comfortable blaming characters that were largely unlikable at the start, but too easily resolved cliffhangers? Really?

    I think we just have to agree to disagree. I know the writing wasn't perfect, and I definitely didn't like everything they tried (communication stones begone!), but I don't agree the series as a whole was lousy or poorly written. (Obviously, or I would have stopped doing the reviews long ago.) You and the multitudes who are delighting in the cancellation obviously feel otherwise.

    If there's anything I'm taking away from this, it's that I need to be more sensitive in labeling things awful, lousy, flat-out terrible, etc. Because while I may hate an episode or series with the fiery heat of a thousand suns, someone out there may love it passionately. And it feels pretty crappy when someone implies that you are a blind idiot for liking something that is clearly, to anyone with a brain, inferior drivel. My apologies to any readers I've made feel that way in the past. (Or possibly even today!) I'm probably not going to start feeling as passionate about lighter-weight procedural shows as I do about complex (though not necessarily grim) character dramas, but I acknowledge that what may not work for me may be exactly your cup of tea. Please don't interpret my dislike of a show or episode that you may love (or vice versa) as an indictment of your taste, intelligence, or worth as a human being! (Unless, you liked that 'Jeremiah Crichton' episode of Farscape --- I kid! I kid!)

    I still don't like zombie shows, Dimitri, but it's cool that you do. I won't let it affect my opinion of your intelligence. :)

  13. Wait. Did I unintentionally insinuate anything about anyone's intelligence? If anything I wrote came off that way, I profoundly apologize.

    Maple soup, mushroom syrup, it's all food to me, and I sure as heck am not going to criticize anyone's taste when my favourite Italian movie of all time has psychics, killer insects, a serial murderer, a witch, a mutant child, and a killer monkey in it. (Points to anyone who can identify it based on that description.)

    I loved Space Above and Beyond. James Wong and Glenn Morgan need to launch a new genre series soon. I really miss their stories. But have you noticed all their series end prematurely with a cliffhanger that just makes you go, "Huh? No!!!"

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  15. No, that's not what I meant, Dimitri! So sorry!

    As I noted in an earlier comment, I've been feeling very sensitive about the "good riddance to bad rubbish" reactions to SGU's cancellation. The tone of many comments I've read (around the interwebs) is "Thank god that stupid series finally got canceled because it was obvious dreck." I know the interwebs can be harsh and that I shouldn't take it personally, but it stings. I enjoy the show, don't find it to be obvious dreck, and don't appreciate the "you are an idiot if you can't see how bad it was" attitude towards the show's fans. (I have no idea why this didn't bother me when shows like Dollhouse and Terminator got canceled, because there was plenty of that attitude then, too.)

    I'm just trying to make sure I learn from the experience and don't make others feel the same way with my "critical" reactions to shows. Because it sucks.

    My closing zombie comment was just my attempt to be funny while tying my "lesson learned" back into your original point about zombie/horror fans. Clearly, I failed miserably. I wasn't trying to accuse you of anything! So no worries.

  16. There's no accounting for taste, Jess. I read someone's Yahoo profile not so long ago and they listed Dirty Dancing as their favourite movie ever. Better than Citizen Kane? The Godfather? One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest? Really?

    Yet some people love it. More than that, they get emotionally involved in it. I've seen people cry watching it (and not at the awfulness of the line "nobody puts baby in a corner," either).

    My friend's favourite episode of Doctor Who is "Fear Her" (A real crap receptacle of an episode). My point is, I can't explain why these people are so wrong. Truth be told, I like some stinkers myself. I can't explain why I'm an idiot either. My favourite films rarely get favourable write-ups on Amazon. Sometimes I read what people say and think "Wow, they're right. This film really does stink". Then I go watch it again and it's awesome.

    With regards STU I really liked that they tried something different. One thing that used to piss me off about Star Trek (the series) is that it all felt the same. By the time we got to Voyager it felt as though the show was treading water. Even Enterprise didn't feel particularly ground breaking. I kind of wish they'd done something new with that. Instead the franchise fell into a state of disrepair.

    Right, I'm off to watch Charlie Brown Christmas on my own. I don't care what Amazon says.

  17. One thing I say a lot is "your mileage may vary." Some people think Buffy is absolute dreck and it's my favorite show of all time. Agree to disagree, I guess. I'll miss the show and I'll miss Jess's reviews.

  18. Ah, I see, Jess. I thought that's what you meant, but I wanted to make sure in case I might have been offensive by accident. Please, no need to apologize. I was just being thorough. =P

    I suspect the reason you didn't feel the same way about Dollhouse and Terminator is because these shows sucked and any idiot can see why. No, I'm kidding. I looooooooooooved Terminator and have a nice piece of fan fiction in my back pocket in case Time Warner ever asks how they could consolidate the franchise's two timelines and different actors in a fifth movie.

    Paul, Amazon rated A Charlie Brown Christmas negatively?! I think Amazon needs a hug.

  19. Disappointed by this news but not too surprised considering how bad the ratings have been this season. Since SyFy don’t own the series there’s always the slim possibility it could be shopped to another network (much like SG-1).

    It’s a shame that SGU has failed to catch on because I honestly think it revived, creatively at least, a franchise that had been going stale for a while now. The problem I always had with SGA was that it was just SG-1 all over again even down to the team dynamics. With SGU they tried something very different and although it could be infuriating at times I am sad to see it go.

  20. People keep telling me Stargate was getting stale and it was just the 'same old same old'. So? Isn't every episode of every procedural the same old story? Someone gets murdered, team investigate, twist involved, crime solved, witty banter, the end. I still enjoyed every season of NCIS, and the Mentalist is one of my favourite TV shows at the minute. Heck, the BBC's Merlin basically boils down to the same three plotlines reused again and again, but I still enjoy watching it.

    That's the key thing - if I enjoy it I don't care if it is 'stale' or 'repetitive'. I watch TV for entertainment not for a literary brilliance. Obviously fresh original stories are nice, but I'd chose a stale yet fun episode to watch over an original yet depressingly grim one.

    Sure, Star Trek really did overdo it, but to be fair it had five TV series and a plethora of movies. Stargate had two TV shows that were both cancelled and a pair of DTV movies that were nothing more than a desperate attempt to tie up loose ends. I could certainly stand to see more of the Pegasus/Wraith war. I wanted to see what happened next with the Evil Asgard tribe. I wanted to find out about those alternate universe cyber-zombies. The Ori storyline certainly could have done with another season rather than a crappy rushed direct to DVD movie.

    Sometimes more of the same is a bad thing, but if someone offers to either keep feeding me chocolate or let me try a cheese sandwich, I'll choose the chocolate thanks very much (I hate cheese!). SGU might have strayed from the SG formula but I liked the SG formula. To those who don't, why don't I get to say the same thing to you that every SGU fan said to me? Don't like don't watch.

    I don't think SGU fans are stupid for liking the show anymore than I think BSG fans are stupid for liking that show. Everyone has different tastes. SGU and BSG are not to my liking but I respect that other people do like them. What bothers me is that I don't have the option of watching more SG1 and SGA because they got cancelled and the SGU series I didn't like got made instead, and that was the only SG series being made. So if I wanted my Stargate fix I had no choice but to watch that. But then it never satisfied my Stargate fix because it never felt like the Stargate I knew and loved. So I was left with nothing but reruns of two unfinished TV shows to watch instead. Ergo - not a happy camper. If they had continued making SGA at the same time as SGU (and they did have SG1 and SGA running concurrently), then I wouldn't be complaining so much.

    Also, it didn't help that the producers were so hostile to the fans of the previous two shows. There was a lot of anger from fans when SGU turned out to be nothing like Stargate as we knew it, and the producers responded by swearing at us on their blog and telling us to get stuffed if we didn't like the direction it was going, because it was damn well going to continue in that direction whether we liked it or not. So you'll have to excuse me a little if I dance over the failure of SGU a little, because to me it seems like poetic justice after the way the producers gave us loyal fans the finger back at the start of the show.

  21. Alice, as I said before, I do understand why you didn't like SGU and I know that the producers treated the SG-1 and SGA fans very poorly. And, given that, I understand why you'd be happy about SGU's demise. I've felt that same glee when other shows have been cancelled, so trust me, I get it. It's really just the "it was obviously bad and you are stupid for thinking otherwise" attitude that grates me. As I'm sure it grates you when people say the same thing about SG-1 and SGA. I didn't mean to imply that you were pushing that attitude, I've just been seeing it a lot and something in my brain finally snapped. My apologies for making you feel attacked.

    I will say that much as I loved some of the SGA characters, I did not think Season 5 was strong. I really only liked two or three episodes that season (and at least one actively angered me). And it wasn't the formula that bothered me, so much as the lack of character growth. Rodney is really the only one that seemed to experience much change over the course of the series, and even that was much more limited than it should have been considering the types of experiences he often faced. I guess I just want the events of a show to have a lasting impact on the characters. It's one of the things I really like about SGU. Events and actions usually had emotional and psychological consequences. If they had started doing that kind of thing on SGA (and figured out how to give Teyla and Ronan actual story arcs), I'd have been happy to watch SGA for another couple years!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts *and* your frustrations with us. I guess we all needed to do a little venting!

  22. I wasn't feeling attacked, I was actually worried that I had given the impression of thinking people who watched SGU were stupid. I certainly don't think that at all. And I definitely agree with you about the lack of character development for SGA. I found both Ronon and Teyla to be very dull characters. No arguments there. It's just that I found it easier to overlook the shows weaknesses because it was an enjoyable sci-fi adventure series that was fun (for me) to watch.

    I couldn't say the same with SGU though. Sure it had more character development and consequences, but that's no good if I seriously dislike the characters, and SGU had only one or two characters I could even stand to watch. And from what I read of later episodes the grate of certain characters only got worse. I've also heard that after actually introducing likeable new characters, the writers only go and kill them off within a scant few episodes, leaving us with the irritating useless cast members we would much rather be rid of. On top of that the abuse of the communication stones drove me up the wall, both for removing the isolation that is the central premise of the show, and the squick of having someone walking around in someone elses body and using it to go out boozing and having sex, and no-one calling foul on that (maybe they did eventually but not at the point I watched to).

    I can see how upsetting it can be to have people jeering at SGU fans for watching what they insist is a stupid worthless show, but I'm definitely not one of those people. I didn't outright hate SGU, it just left a sour taste in my mouth and when combined with the producers attitudes and the loss of the shows I did like, I do tend to come off as someone who is shooting off fireworks at the shows demise. Maybe if SGU had struck more of a balance between what it did and what the previous shows did, I might be lamenting the loss of it as well. What I do regret is that this has probably killed off the franchise as a whole and I don't think we're likely to see another Stargate series again, which is a real big shame.

    Sorry for the extra long rants, I've just heard a lot of people complaining about how fed up with SG1 and SGA they were, and I can understand the reasons why, but it's the same deal as with SGU - different tastes for different people. Some of us liked SGA and some of us liked SGU. Now they're both cancelled and we all lose out.

  23. Wow, lots of comments since I wrote the other day! I just have to put in, I loved the BSG remake. LOVED IT! So "dark" doesn't necessarily mean I won't like it. I also love The Walking Dead. Now that's DARK! I just didn't care all that much for SGU, overall. I did feel like this second season was beginning to pick up a bit. I was actually watching the next day instead of deleting it off the DVR and catching a rerun.

    I also have to say that the points about SG-1 (LOVE it, still watch it) and Atlantis include a lot of what I was thinking but didn't say in my comment. Stargate was supposed to be hopeful, upbeat, uplifting, encouraging. (At least that's how I felt about it.) SGU just didn't fit the bill that way. I can understand the creators wanting to do something different, and I applaud that, but it wasn't Stargate, not really. *Shrug.*

  24. I for one will miss SGU dearly. It was the only show I can actually say that I HAD to watch every week! And chatted with friends about, eagerly awaiting each new ep! This cancellation, on top of losing Caprica and Legend of the Seeker leaves me with nothing left to watch!! Fringe is OK, but I often fall asleep watching it. And don't even get me started on The Event. I guess there's still Psych and Eureka, but neither of them have me so engrossed as SGU.

    P.S. Just wanted to say too that I loved SGU much more than the previous Stargate series, which I also tended to fall asleep watching.

  25. Interesting ... am I the only one who loved SG1, SGA, and SGU? Loved them all, but for very different reasons. SGU was different, but I thought the characters were interesting ... not clear cut villians and hereos, all people which sometimes made bad decisions, but it didn't make them evil, like it would in many tv episodes. And Young, honestly, many people in charge have serious flaws - I have had bosses in my life that were much worse than he was. And these characters have grown on me over time - I will miss them ... very sad. I liked the balance of tv shows out, with Eureka (light fair) and SGU (dark)... this is just more scify that I will miss.


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