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Smith on SGU: ‘This is a transition for everybody’

Thursday - February 18, 2010
Category: ACTORS | Tags: ,

Brian J. Smith as Matthew Scott

Brian J. Smith as Matthew Scott

Rather than maintain silence, Stargate Universe co-star Brian J. Smith is responding head-on to criticism of the show.

In an interview conducted with RedEye’s Show Patrol, the actor — who plays Lt. Matthew Scott on the new series — made it known that he is aware of the negative critiques the show has received … even from its core fan base.

“This is a transition experience for everybody,” Smith said. “The tomatoes and lettuce and rotten vegetables were flying through the air before we even opened the curtain.  I think that what we’re trying to do is very difficult, which is acknowledge the fact that this does come from 15 years of built-up mythology and also 15 years of [a] very specific kind of tone that appealed in a very intense way to a number of people. And now that we’re trying to take what’s great about Stargate and make it accessible to new people.”

Smith feels that one of the best things about Stargate‘s fan community is also one of its most dangerous.

“I think the hard-core fans feel the same way that people felt about Star Trek,” Smith said. “[They think,] ‘How dare you commercialize what is so special to me! How dare you try and take something that I’ve supported and watched and bought the DVDs and gone to conventions and try and make it something that my next-door neighbor, who’s a jock and who I can’t stand, can get into as well!'”

“There’s a sense of ownership from a lot of fans that’s amazing and rare, but it’s also dangerous,” Smith continued.  “It’s a double-edge sword.”

Trapped on the Ancient ship Destiny, Matt and Chloe quickly found comfort in one another's arms.

Trapped on the Ancient ship Destiny, Matt and Chloe quickly found comfort in one another's arms.

Smith is also keenly aware of the criticism being lobbed at his own character.  Some viewers were angered by a scene in the SGU series premiere showing Lt. Scott having sex in a broom closet with a female soldier.  And additional episodes have revealed two other partners — past and present — with whom Scott has been intimate.

“If you ask me, he’s had sex with three people his whole life,” Smith said.  “We just happened to meet [all his partners] in the show. … It’s just assumed that he can’t keep it in his pants.  I think we’ve made it very clear that, with him and Chloe, there’s an emotional attachment.”

For more from Brian J. Smith on Stargate Universe — including his thoughts about finding his character’s footing, comparisons to Battlestar Galactica, and episodic breakdowns — check out the full video interview and transcript at Show Patrol.

The second half of SGU‘s freshman season premieres in the U.S. on April 2!




ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chad Colvin is a GateWorld editor and convention correspondent. He lives near Madison, Wisconsin. Follow him on Twitter @ChadColvin. (More)


COMMENTS (236):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • i hope i dont seem dangerous but here goes anyway. I dont think that the creators owe me anything, its just a shame to see something great go so wrong and for what.

  • I think everyone that’s involved in SGU is well aware of the negative reactions. And it’s hard to pretend websites like sgusucks.com and similar don’t exist. I don’t see it simply as a transition. I read a good comment where someone wrote that SGU, after removing everything that was good from SG/SGA coupled the leftovers with everything that was bad about BSG. That’s a pretty good assessment. So when Smith talks about using everything good from SG he is mistaken. In the several hours of SGU I’ve seen there were never any “wow” moments that I can still find in even Season One of Stargate SG-1. And that’s why 15 year old television disc sets still sell where SGU … well we’ll see. I believe in the industry his next door neighbor would be referred to as “bums in seats”.

  • There is no ‘wow’ factor for me in SG-1 episodes cause I watched all of them. It’s new to me. SGA had some great moments in the first season and, in my opinion, went downhill after that.

    As someone that watched Stargate since the movie and the first episode, I LOVE SGU.

    Sure some characters may do questionable things, but guess what? They are characters NOT ME. Sure I wouldn’t lock a marine in his quarters cause of personal issues. But he is not me.

    The show isn’t about discovering “what’s out there”, it’s about surviving, being away from family, and all of that.

    It’s a solid show that’s still growing. I gave SGA a chance in the first season even though we all saw the signs of what was to come. Ford wasn’t used much (for a character THEY created), Shepard/McKay show, rehashed SG1 plots, etc.

    But deserves a chance for a season and it’s not the same Stargate anymore. That’s fine. I don’t like rehashed plots, I don’t like predictable episodes, I like interesting characters and situations and SGU gives that.

    It’s not my favorite show on TV now (thanks Leverage, Burn Notice, Supernatural), but it’s one of my favorites.

  • “If you ask me, he’s had sex with three people his whole life,”

    Because that’s totally realistic. Not. First mr. mallozzi displays a complete 180 from canon with young and now this. Does anyone believe that scott and chloe are destined soul mates? They got it on because they thought they were going to die. Own your character’s horndoggedness, mr. smith.

  • I have watched every SG-1, SGA, SGU, and the movies. SGU is a lot like BSG, that is fine, but is not what I wanted to see here! I am and will always be a diehard Jack O’neill and John Shepard fan, they make great characters to get into and follow, and the way they acted toward Daniel Jackson/Rodney McKay are classic moments. I will continue to watch SGU and hope that it improves alot!

  • To be completely honest im tired of the endless criticisms. It has gone way past constructive criticism and became downright sad. For example on sgusucks.com there just posting pictures of monkeys and saying they would make better writers, The Queen saying she does not approve etc. To me they have made a mountain out of a molehill.

    I completely agree that SGU isn’t perfect, it has it issues but there nowhere near as bad as some critics have been saying.

    I just don’t see the point behind continued criticism: Bashing SGU is not going to bring Atlantis or SG-1 back. Its a deluded thought that if SGU is cancelled that they will ‘take note of there mistake’ and bring back Atlantis. I don’t mind those who just want some improvements here and there but we have went way beyond that.

    If you don’t like SGU that’s fine but there are those that do, its rather selfish to go ‘If I can’t have my Stargate then no one else can have theirs’.

    At the end of the day it is just a TV show, the way some of us have been acting it backs up the image of what some people believe fans of science fiction to be like (The kind that go to Star Trek Conventions dressed up in a starfleet uniform calling each other captain & stuff).

  • For all you SGU haters out there, OK, I get the picture. Enough already. Go watch your SG1 & SGA DVDs and leave SGU alone. Some of us really like the show. I’ve been a fan of Stargate since the original film and have seen every episode of SG1 & SGA. I loved those shows, but they are gone. SGU is a logical successor and a really interesting show in its own right. I’m glad it’s different and not just a clone of what came before. I look forward to the rest of season 1 and season 2. Dr. Rush is gonna be really pissed when he meets up with the Destiny again.

  • I’m liking the show. If it was too much of the same as SG1 and SGA, then we would end up with the CSI curse. Where CSI:Miami was pretty decent, but CSI:NY just got to be way too much. If you don’t change the format of a show, then it’s just the same things hashed over and over.

    SGU is allowing for the actors to be more than goofy comic relief. I can see some of them getting acting award nominations for this series.

  • I think it is good that someone is saying something. I got caught up with SG1 for a few years ago. An after that I have watched the show every day.

    And SGU is different, something I think is good. And the show will soon be sent on norwegian television. And I’m so looking for it!

    And they who claims that SGU is not a good show, or will not be a good show, it is different, yes and so what. The SG1 and SGA ideas is not the newest ones, and SGU is the refreshment the series might need.

  • Thank you Gateworld for posting this article. It is refreshing to see positive feedback on your site. I honestly believe the negative over the top commenters are a minority, but vocal. It is past time that we see the actor’s point of view. I am hopeful cooler heads will prevail over time. The cast of SGU is highly trained and very talented. It’s time those that recognize this spend a few moments to remind them they are appreciated for their hard work. Nobody really know’s what they go through, and it is heart wrenching to see their efforts blasted day after day on Gateworld.
    It is my hope the tide is turning and those that appreciate the show will take the time to voice their opinion, and those that don’t will take the time to watch something else.
    Thank you again, best wishes to you and yours.

  • Smith, you are missing the point.

    Fans are not angry about the fact that Stargate has CHANGED.

    They angry about WHAT IT CHANGED INTO.

    Which a less than cheap soap opera with reality show scripts yet characters with literally UNREALISTIC negativity, weakness, and general patheticness.

  • I agree with gigitravels: I don’t mind them wanting to do something new with Stargate, to change things up a bit. But what they have changed it into is just too much of an extreme.. They changed it into a soap opera!

    Just because half the show happens on a space ship doesn’t make it sci-fi or fun to watch (unless you like drama & soaps). All the love triangles, daddy issues, sex, suicide, crying, and other drama, those kinds of change are what’s gotten so much of the community riled up like we’ve never seen before over previous “controversial” Stargate characters/plots/events/etc.

  • @Kosh thats exactly my point those issues “love triangles, daddy issues, sex, suicide, crying” have been over blown by the critics.

    Take the sex for example, out of 10 episodes there has only been roughly 90-120 seconds of ‘sex scenes’ (A lot of which you can barely call sex). But if you believed some critics you would think that SGU is just a soft core porno where all they do is have sex all the time.

  • The reason SGU gets so much criticism has nothing to do about it being different, its because its a slow boring soap drama with no resemblance to Stargate. If they wanted to take everything away that made the previous shows great, than don’t call it Stargate. Call it Destiny and turn it into whatever they want to. But SGA got cancelled for a show that doesnt have half the magic of its predecessors. If the producers had put half the effort into SGA ie, bigger budget, better locations and actually concentrated on more than one of their characters it would have surpassed SGU a thousand fold. That was what the fans wanted, a decent effort with more character based episodes for the characters they loved. That was the reason why SGA/SG1 were so popular – the characters. The shows didnt last 15 years because of the writing or the story telling, or the great locations, it lasted because the actors rose above the writing. This is someting that SGU lacks and it will be its downfall. The biggest issue from fans is that they have no interest in the SGU charcters and that is my main issue with the show. None of them grab me like the SGA/SG1 characters did. I couldnt care less if they were all killed off tomorrow. They are whining, lacklustre annoying and uninteresting and no matter what changes the ptb scramble to make, it won’t change the outcome because they cannot suddenly turn around and try and turn these characters into anything I would be interested in.

  • All this negativity reminds me of the Star Trek franchise, especially with Enterprise. Segments of the fandom would go out of their way to hate other shows because it wasn’t the Star Trek show they liked. I see this with Universe– some, if not many, of the SG1 or SGA fans do not like Universe. That is fine, but why do some have to go out of their way to complain about it? I have never understood that, but from past experience it is something that fans of Universe will just have to get use to (not that it is right, just reality).

    The sex in the show was presented badly I believe. 10 minutes into the pilot we get a sex scene that included thrusting, a very bad ‘position’ joke, and more flesh than previously seen on Stargate. The problem I had with that was that it was an unneeded scene. As far as I can tell it was thrown in there just to put it in here, like the producers were saying “See that? We told you this wasn’t your father’s Stargate!” (Star Trek did that to in the Enterprise pilot).

    Anyway, I am enjoying the show (love Eli), and looking forward to seeing the second half of season 1 (but please, no more episodes like Earth and Life! Those episodes were just essentially soap operas about who is sleeping with who.)

  • Hi there!

    I don’t think the SGU haters are a minority and I don’t think they are a minority. Seriousely, I’m happy that Brian is thinking about the reasons for the “hate”, but I think he’s wrong with the conclusion. SG fans are not dangerous, but yeah, probably a double-edged sword. I’m not happy with the situation at the moment, I don’t really blame that on SGU, and I did never attack the show, but the way it was created.

    If Stargatefans would be the problem alone, than why wasn’t there such a problem when SGA came out?? As far as I can remember we were all damn happy that whatever is happening, there’s a future for the fandom. The sense of ownership for the series comes because stargatefans, more than other fans, are more aware of the shows incoms, spendings and ratings and all they want is saving the show. I don’t know if I’m right with this, but couldn’t it be that the problem is that they feel cheated? It’s not the show, c’mon, after half a season we can’t judge SGU! What did you guys think about the frist half of season of SG1?

    Nevertheless I do partly agree with them. It’s not anger, but a feeling of betrayal. Not even because SG1 and SGA don’t get their movies, but because it’s all going south. WE ALL WANT TO KEEP THE GATE SPINNING, but there’s no “the show must go on” if the fandom, which made this show special, is dead. Stargate would never die because of Universe, it would die because of loosing what made it special.

    Fans have to be able to relate with the show. Stargatefans can’t do that if the fragmented core is fighting against itself.

    So my question to all the fans is: would we be able to find a way together?
    And to the producers: Would you be in to support this? Because honestly, the silence from the TPTB side is not going to settle the problem, they should be more active than ever and show that they too want this to go on.

    I never intended to insult anybody, I’m just a fan, thankful for what I got. I want others to get the same, I’m not trying to keep SG for myself. But what Stargate should pass on or other values that we’re transmitting at the moment…

    thank you

  • From what I see in SGU, I would say the core problem is that everyone but Eli is a majorly selfcentered jerk- the only character who this makes sense to me to have this trait is Rush.

    The show idea is an interesting one at the core but, in my opinion, the execution and development is lacking.

  • “If you ask me, he’s had sex with three people his whole life,” Smith said. “We just happened to meet [all his partners] in the show. … It’s just assumed that he can’t keep it in his pants. I think we’ve made it very clear that, with him and Chloe, there’s an emotional attachment.”

    It’s great that he’s thinking about the backstory for his character, but where on earth in the script would it support the idea that he’s some blushing sexual novice who is only know suddenly being waylaid by women into storage cupboards – did he suddenly swap his deodarant to Lynx?

    But it’s good to note that Ancient Silk Sheets is tv code for being soulmates with someone that you’ve just met.

    Is it just me or would it be more interesting if these ‘flawed and realistic’ characters really went for it with none of this soft backpeddling. Hell, make Lt Scott a complete horndog, they can put him into a sex addiction counselling group and Tiger Woods and David Duchoveney can guest star for sweeps.

  • The fandom of Stargate has become a lot like Left wing vs. Right Wing politics with the left fruitlessly trying to sway the most stout republicans on universal healthcare. its just not going to happen. And it only seems to have elevated for the people against the show because it does seem that no one in production agrees it was better the other way and it irritates the people in love with this show because they frankly don’t agree with people who continually bash it. Regrettably I don’t think either side will get what they want because the failure of SGU could be the final nail in the coffin. I dont see this show going much longer in any case because it actually is like something else in stargate history. If you give it some thought it is a lot like the original movie from Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich. That movie just did not hold water financially and was not reviewed very well by critics.

    But on the flip side if the original film did not flop there more likely than not have been a stargate trilogy and no television franchise. I think what is most irritating is that in this franchise could have ended with on a high note without SGU having ever been developed but now the only end I see for this series is to go down in flames. Everyone has to face that at some point Stargate fans on the fence with show will pull off unless there are some changes in season 2. And from the sounds of it thats just not going to happen.

    And the only kind of DVD record I can find to see how SGU DVD sales are doing is Amazon.com’s science fiction DVD bestseller list. SGU is #97 on the list after 20 days and was as high as #34. Which admittedly it probably was a mistake to release SGU half season but that is the worst any recent season of stargate anything has done on amazon.com. Where at least the last few seasons of SG1 and SGA as well as the SG1 movies got within the top five of the entire inventory of DVD bestsellers on Amazon.com. And currently SGA season 5 is number 63 and has been on the list 281 days the same list SGU is about to fall off of after 20 days.

  • Wow, only read the first part but already feel to comment. He sounds a bit arrogant to be and “blaming” fans. Also using Star Trek fans as a really bad example… Hmmm I like this guy (not!). I’ll come back with more comment later. :)

  • I agree with blackhawlk. The problem isn’t that they made the show different the problem is that in an attempt to be different they went too far taking out everything that made Stargate great and filled in the gaps with a mash up of ideas from other shows.
    What we’ve been left with is a slow moving soap with annoying camera work and a group of characters that I find thoroughly unlikeable and uninteresting.
    TPTB told us these characters would be more easily relatable but we just ended up with a bunch of people I wouldn’t want to invite into my home in real life much less into my tv screen.

  • “I think the hard-core fans feel the same way that people felt about Star Trek,” Smith said. “[They think,] ‘How dare you commercialize what is so special to me! How dare you try and take something that I’ve supported and watched and bought the DVDs and gone to conventions and try and make it something that my next-door neighbor, who’s a jock and who I can’t stand, can get into as well!’”

    Well, at least now I COMPLETELY understand why GW discourages us from trying to presume we know what other fans think.

    Nice poke at geeks and jocks (and geeky jocks) with that last line, though.

  • I personally don’t like the show. I tried watching the first season but there was nothing of interest to me. So I rewatch my old SG-1 dvd’s because still there is a great deal of wonder and awe even after all these years which is what is missing for me with SGU. However I don’t see the point in bashing a show. If you don’t like it don’t watch it!!!!

  • @vss – I did find that comment to be a bit odd as well.

    Apparently fans are unhappy because of SGU being ‘commercialized’ unlike SG-1 and SGA (what?!), and are a bunch of convention goers who hate people who like sports, which is the new audience for SGU.

    Again: what?!?

  • @tablelamp LOL
    @Yes it was the Star Trek ref that got me a bit annoyed..
    Btw, this talk about a “character based” show, always gets to me. It’s probably more fun and rewarding for the actors, but in my opinion you cannot really have a show *without a story*. The story has to be core and then of course the characters need to be interesting too! If we just want to watch characters we could go for any old soap. Why not Top Model (good looking people, interesting characters ;-) and no particular story…) Combine good story (that gives a sense of wonder – that’s why I like scifi) with great/interesting characters… and you get Star Trek the original series (and SG1, sometimes even SGA but they should have developed those characters more).


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