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GateWorld Podcast: SGU Cancellation Shout-Back!

Monday - January 24, 2011
Category: FEATURES | Tags: ,

Visit the GateWorld Podcast page for more about the show!

On a very special all-voicemail installment of the GateWorld Podcast, this week we open up the mic to let YOU have your say about the cancellation of Stargate Universe. After the news was announced in December we asked listeners to call into the Podcast Hotline during our holiday hiatus. We were overwhelmed with so many thoughtful and passionate responses that we’re dedicating an entire show to them.

We’ll hear from fans from all over the world and talk about things like ratings, Syfy Channel and its programming decisions, issues with SGU itself, and questions about (and hopes for) the future of the Stargate franchise. Will the Powers That Be find a way to deliver a third season? Or DVD movies? Or something else entirely?

Join our conversation! On our next show we’ll talk about the science elements of the new season of Stargate Universe. Call in now and record your thoughts and theories.

You can tune in to the GateWorld Podcast every week using iTunes or your favorite podcast catcher. Look for us at Podcast Alley, Mediafly,, or just plug in the RSS feed below wherever you listen to podcasts. You can also listen right here on the site while you browse!


DiscussionSGU Cancellation Shout-Back!

Leave us a voicemail on the GateWorld Podcast Hotline any time, day or night! Just dial:

(951) 262-1647

(Long distance rates apply)

Listeners outside the U.S. can use Skype to call for just 2 cents per minute. Or, record a brief message on your computer and e-mail the MP3 or WAV file to us.

You can also leave a comment below, or post on the Podcast Feedback thread at the forum.

Next Episode: The Science of SGU (Part 2). Real-world science expert Diane Turnshek returns to talk about cosmic background radiation, Destiny‘s mental projections, and more!

GateWorld has been bringing you Stargate news and features since 1999. (More)

COMMENTS (62):Rules | Report Comment | Trackback

  • Enjoyed the podcast again. I did notice that the more critical of the comments came from the female viewers, which was, perhaps, part of the problem with SGU and its ratings.

    Re saying that SG1 and SGA had more time for people to become invested in the characters, I think it is folly to have a show take 30 episodes and people are still waiting for this. They needed to hook viewers quick so they don’t bleed away like they did. There was MUCH more fanfic and posting on the character/relationship threads in the first 2 seasons of Atlantis (wasn’t around for SG1 but suspect it would have been similar) than SGU has inspired. This tells me that, sadly, the characters just weren’t as engaging to many people.

  • I think the difference between seeing a resolutions of the Goa’uld and Wraith is with the Goa’uld you could see significant victories. You can see movement, where big Goa’ulds were taken out. Like Cronus, Apophis, Hathor, etc… You could see that the odds of wining was insurmountable, but there was movement. In contrast to the Wraith, there was no real big baddy. It was an amalgam of random Wraith villain, and the war with them was essentially a war of attrition. Had the Wraith been given names, had they been organized in a different way, it would feel that there would be some progress.

    SyFy as a whole, handled all of this poorly. They alienated fans with the cancellation of SGA, when they could have at least ordered a half season or done a better job transitioning to SGU. SyFy’s approach with moving things to Tuesdays was also a poor choice. They should have done what other cable networks like AMC is doing, and stagger their shows. Air Sanctuary now, then replace Sanctuary’s time slot with SGU, followed by Caprica. They can reair the episodes on Tuesdays. If that didn’t work, they could have moved Ghost Hunters to Tuesdays, and have SGU and Caprica on Wednesdays. The network just handled things poorly from a strategic and PR perspective.

    In terms of Smackdown, it doesn’t make sense to have it on SyFy, because the audience just don’t match. However, it can bring in new male audience, so they should at least require Smackdown to have a resident Klingon on the show.

  • @Sylvia, I emphasize. In fact I think that *the* reason for SGU’s failure to keep viewers is that the characters were almost impossible to relate to.

    They were just *too* flawed, almost unrealistically flawed.

    This was, unfortunately, by design (i.e., the writers created it this way on purpose).

    I honestly fail to see how someone can relate to / identify with / admire and tune in to characters who whine, bicker, lie pathologically or are otherwise negative and annoying on a regular basis.

    To top this, SGU was a show that actually wanted to *focus* on characters, be a character driven show and so on.

    So when you actually focus on characters but create such unrelatable characters, good things don’t happen I guess.

  • @wingsabre, if I understand the way things happened, Syfy would have aired SGA and SGU together in that first season of SGU but MGM/TBTB did not offer that to them. They offered Syfy the promise of an SGA Movie instead. And Syfy agreed. They all thought this would work out and the movie would be a good continuation for SGA, but it just didn’t happen.

  • @general grevious, like one of the podcast callers said, they’d follow Jack or Sheppard or Ronon or Teal’c into battle but would be afraid if they were with any of the SGU characters in a similar situation.

  • People keep bringing up the fact what happened to SyFy, and it seems that ever since Disney bought SciFi, it became SyFy….things changed…..hmmm… :)

  • @Hallnavy- Dude, get your facts straight. Disney never bought SyFy, its always been the property of NBC/Universal. You want a corporate baddie to blame, then blame them. Next time, try and do proper research before posting unfounded comments.

  • I cannot understand (as a non-US viewer of SGU), why a so called science fiction based channel would want to cancelled a show that has won a screenwriting award, been nominated for many awards including best scifi show of 2009 in the constellation awards and outstanding special effects for a series in the emmys. Also, a show that won numerous LEO awards as well. I know that SyFy changed it’s name to try and accomodate other shows, but wrestling? Come on! Is the population so unintelligent that all we are allowed to watch is someone throwing someone else through a cage. Give us a break please!!

  • The thing is Universe change massively in feel during its first season. It’s easy to forget that the first half of the first season was a sort of 90210 teen drama knock-off. Long, slow conversations about nothing even remotely sci-fi related and “poignant” (but actually just boring) 8 minute chats with Kinos, were the order of the day.

    This started changing rapidly during the 2nd half of season 1 and such scenes (thankfully) became an appropriately timed rarity in season 2.

    I guess the damage had already been done. I would love to know what could have been had they simply not included anything between about AIR and SPACE (with the exception of the simply excellent TIME episode). I’d bet if SGU season 1 had gone AIR(s), TIME, SPACE, then as normal, SGU would have a massively higher audience following.

  • I keep meaning to call the show but fortunately my opinion is always represented. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks SGU was the best of the franchise. Funny thing is I agree with the woman who never watched SGU out of anger at the SGA cancellation because now I’m in the same boat because I won’t be watching anything on Syfy because of the SGU cancellation. It helps that I’m not really into the more campy shows and that the BSG ending kind of killed my interest in future BSG titles.

  • @wingsabre: a) SyFy didn’t cancel SGA. They wanted SGA to continue in any way possible – see the Comic Con panel of 2008, out of the mouth of the VP of SyFy’s programing. They wanted both, SGA and SGU. TPTB said no, we won’t do two shows but we offer you a new show with much longer life span ahead AND an SGA movie – SyFy already OWNS the airing right for said movie that was never delivered to them, so NO, NOT SYFY’S FAULT.

    b) “they could have moved Ghost Hunters to Tuesdays, and have SGU and Caprica on Wednesdays”

    Why should they risk moving an established, cheaper show that actually delivers ratings to prop a failing, expensive one? They dropped Tues. wrestling, which opened a slot in their schedule for SGU AND allowed them to buy Smackdown. Sounded like a good plan, especially since Warehouse 13 does deliver ratings in that very time slot.

  • @janet99 Oh yes, I totally forgot those first episodes. Or maybe suppressed my memory of them is more accurate.

    However I did watch the entire show (all 1.5 seasons). The show did get somewhat better (most importantly, had a bit less of the petty negative tone) but still not enough to engage in my opinion.

    Personally, I think what happened with SGU is the natural course of what happens to a boring, non engaging show.

  • katikatnik: SGA was on it’s way out back in season 3. Most SG fans are so pissed that they haven’t given SGU the same chance they gave SGA when it started. Added to the fact that General Grevious is right about the character flaws done by the witers and you’ve go a recipe for disaster. EVERY side has had a finger in the pudding of sabotage and yet its only us fans who really end up suffering as the actors and writers find other jobs, and the studios and TPTB find other programming. It’s really a shame as if we went back to the original movie and compared SG1, SGA & SGU…I think the SGU premise had the most potential, but we’ll never know.

  • To me I think a lot of people IMO miss the point of SGU. 50% of the complaints I see about the characters (at least 50%) are how there’s no heroes we can love like Jack O’Neill or John Shepphard. If fans remember correctly, said characters did not start out the heroes we wound up loving. Both John and Jack had their own trials by fire to turn them into the heroes that we love – Jack in the original movie wanted to kill himself! So far I haven’t seen ANY SGU characters become suicidal – Young got pretty close but he still didn’t go that far.

    I see SGU as being the journey that these people go on to BECOME the type of heroes that we know and love in SG-1 and SGA and the various Star Treks, etc. This is how they develop into those heroes and yes, it will be bumpy, but I have a feeling that’s the direction the writers were going with and I think a lot of people missed this point in comparing it to SG-1 and Atlantis.

  • @The Admiral

    NBC-Universal has only owned Syfy since 2004. Now things are coming into focus, aren’t they?

    NBC taking over Syfy worked just like a Goa’uld symbiote taking over a human host, but for real. Suddenly the host body begins doing all manner of bizarre things the original person would never have imagined, and would never do even if they had imagined them.

    NBC’s corporate culture has never known how to handle sci-fi programming. This goes all the way back to the original Star Trek series in the 1960s. Acquiring an entire sci-fi network did not cure this disability. Instead the incapacity will destroy the sci-fi dimension of the “Syfy” network.

    There’s no point blaming junior executives with fancy titles on cheap plastic plaques on broom closet doors. They can’t decide to spend the kind of money needed to buy all the wrestling events without reference to corporate higher-ups. Let alone decide to do this and try to rent ad space.

    With SGU they tried – and failed – to make a sci-fi reality show. “Survivor & Bachelorette In Space” were the driving themes.

  • @katikatnik. 1. ok, not SyFy’s fault for SGA, but you can’t say there was no blame for the SGA backlash that did damage SGU. It created bad blood, that is in many ways similar to the bad blood that was created between star trek fans, and the producers of enterprise.

    2. It’s done all the time on network television. They move all their schedules around based on what they think will maximize viewers. The problem with having both Caprica and SGU on Tuesdays is it’s not one of those shows that’s made for Tuesdays. Not so much a family show, and it’s very much something people want to watch and think about for a while. Moving them to Wednesdays may help because it’s counter programming. But like I said, it would have been a better idea to not move the series at all, but instead just air a full season on Fridays after Smackdown. Alternate the different series that airs after Smackdown, so after SGU finishes it’s season run, Caprica continues, and then Sanctuary. It’s essentially what other networks do. Like AMC with Breaking Bad, followed by Mad Men, followed by the Walking Dead. They don’t really air concurrently.

  • @wingsabre: What created the most bad blood was the way the cancellation was handled, especially by BW and Co. If they expected loyalty from viewers whom they explicitly told they weren’t their target group, then they were nuts. Discontent SGA fans were told that there wasn’t enough of them to hurt SGU, by BW personally – a year later, SGU’s drop is blamed (among other things) on discontent SGA fans. BW canNOT have it both ways. Either he underestimated the rift they caused in the fandom or he’s making excuses.

    And I think that neither Caprica, nor SGU were made for a Smackdown lead-out. I very much doubt that the Smackdown crowd would follow a heavily serialized character drama. That’s like pairing up fruitloops with champagne.

    @AlbertaJay: The 1.6 mil. viewers that SGA had in its 5th season would disagree with you, I think. In its 5th season, SGA’s ratings equalled SGU’s in its 1st season. As Briangate/squall said many times: SGU was living on borrowed time once it dropped below SGA’s average numbers, not to mention when it dropped to FRANCHISE low. Why should SyFy keep the most expensive SG show yet that’s delivering the lowest ratings yet?

  • Jauh0

    @The Tenth Doctor: But seriously, we are amateurs. Are you somesort of “professional fan”? What do you mean with your comment anyway?

  • @katikatnik. In all honesty, SGA was starting to be rather bipolar. There was quick fix, they did very little introduction of something like the wormhole drive only to quicken plots. From a critical perspective, it looked like SGA was simply running out of ideas. They didn’t say that, but I think the lack of imagination for that series led to it not being perused for another series. Plus, we all knew that they were working on SGU before SGA was canceled. They were talking about SGU after SG-1 was canceled.

    Plus, it doesn’t matter if the audience for Smackdown is different from the audience of SGU or Caprica. Is the audience for House the same as American Idol? What about the audience of ER being the same as Fraiser? Smackdown has a male audience, and there’s enough guns and sex on both series to get some lead in. It may not retain a lot of the audience, but it will introduce SyFy to people who don’t normally do it.

  • @wingsabre: I agree that these writers have the imagination of a gnat – but don’t forget it’s the same writers who work on SGU now! – but it didn’t really matter because the show was still delivering ratings. You can have as imaginative show as you want, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be popular with the viewers. Something in SGA obvously clicked for people, ratings wise SGA S5 = SGU S1 (the difference was like 50k people on average). And it’s really bad when a show in its 1st year can’t beat the ratings of a show in its 5th.

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