Since the show’s cancellation and redirection to TV movies was announced by MGM and the SCI FI Channel last month (story), viewers from all over the world have been signing online petitions, mailing letters and lemons to the network, and even organizing a September 12 protest rally outside The Bridge Studios, the Vancouver, B.C. studio where Atlantis is produced.
“We hope to have a lot of people with signs and a lot of people chanting,” rally organizer Gwen Groden told the Vancouver Sun. About a dozen fans turned out for the event, according to executive producer Joseph Mallozzi (blog).
Of course we have had no shortage of protests here at GateWorld, with Stargate fans using GateWorld Forum, the news comment threads, and the GateWorld Podcast to share their disappointment with the cancellation decision. Part of that is a frustration over what appears to be a decision to drop Atlantis in order to replace it with Stargate Universe, which will be aimed at a slightly younger demographic.
“I cannot believe that SCI FI is cancelling it,” a fan named Nicole said in a message on the podcast. “It’s the only show that I watch on SCI FI, and after this I won’t be turning on SCI FI ever again.”
“I think they are throwing away a show that has so much potential,” a fan named Noreen said. “SGA has great characters, amazing actors, and a great chemistry that carries over to the screen. I think SCI FI is crazy to let them go.”
To date, more than 16,000 fans around the world have signed a “Save Stargate Atlantis” petition. Fan campaign Web sites have sprung up at Save-TheLostCity.com and SOSGA.net.
Just what affect will all of this have on the network and studio?
The “Save Stargate Atlantis” campaign differs from that of most other cancelled shows, in that Atlantis was ended by mutual agreement from the production studio, the show’s creators, and the network — though the cast, crew, and writers wanted to continue.
“Team Atlantis — Paul [Mullie], Carl [Binder], Martin [Gero], Alan [McCullough], and myself — was hopeful that, when all was said and done, the show would get that elusive sixth year pick-up,” Mallozzi assured readers on his blog. “I can assure you that had we received the go-ahead, we would have been both thrilled and thankful to be producing a Season Six.
Atlantis fans may be down, but they’re not out yet. From “Doppelganger”
“Yes, we’re disappointed. And, yes, had the order come in for both shows, you can be damn sure we would have found a way to make it work. In the end, even though it didn‘t pan out, there is still plenty of Stargate to look forward to in the near future.”
Fans of most cancelled shows petition for months on the slim chance of convincing the studio to tie up loose threads with a movie or mini-series. The cancellation of Farscape led to fan demand for the 4-hour mini-series The Peacekeeper Wars. Fans of Firefly helped secure the feature film Serenity. Only rarely do fan campaigns actually result in additional episodes being produced — such as last year’s Jericho campaign, which resulted in a brief, 7-episode second season, and the fan campaign that started it all in 1968, for the third season of Star Trek.
But while the current campaign does demonstrate the passion of Stargate fans, their loyalty to Atlantis, and their desire for future stories set in the Pegasus Galaxy, it’s not likely to change any minds regarding a sixth season. And although Atlantis is being strategically pulled off the air while it is, arguably, still in its prime, the move to an ongoing series of movies does redefine what “cancellation” means today.
“We have been in discussions with MGM and SCI FI about ‘Where to next?’ and we decided basically to pull the trigger on movies sooner rather than later, while Atlantis was still doing well,” executive producer and Atlantis co-creator Brad Wright told GateWorld. “It was a mutual thing. I honestly have neither the desire nor the inclination to blame anybody, because this is a wonderful thing to be able to continue.”
“This is a way of preserving Atlantis going forward in a very strong way,” he said.
But that strategy isn’t convincing many fans of the show.
“If you judge only [by] the money, then the step to cancel Stargate Atlantis and go into movies might be a good one,” a fan named iolanda wrote at GateWorld Forum — “but why did they have to make this decision when Season Five was [already] written? Now there is no way to wrap all the storylines in a good way. It will be a cut off like [SG-1] was with ‘Unending,’ and that is something which Atlantis did not deserve.”
|Want to get involved? Start your mission at Save-TheLostCity.com for a list of some things to do.|