Over the course of its ten-year run, Stargate SG-1 had plenty of achievements of which to be proud. Throughout the decade it was on the air (1997-2007), the show racked up seven Emmy nominations, two Hugo nominations, and between the awards received from the Leos, Saturns and Geminis it took home almost 20 trophies.
Its crowning achievement in the award category, however, may be the Guinness World Record it holds. In 2007, SG-1 overtook The X-Files under the category of Longest Consecutive Running Sci-Fi TV Show. (Of course, with the nearly 50-year-old Doctor Who in the mix, that title should be qualified with “continuously produced” or “in North America.”)
Unfortunately for SG-1, records are made to be broken. In just over one year, The CW network series Smallville will do just that. The young Superman series has been handed the greenlight for production of a tenth season.
In a confirmation report by Michael Ausiello on Entertainment Weekly‘s Web site, the long-running series was heavily favored to return for another year. While ratings for Smallville have dropped considerably (due to a shift in airing nights from Thursday to Friday — often considered a dead zone for TV ratings in general), they still have improved demographically upon what The CW was airing in that time slot the year previous by anywhere from 67 to 200 percent.
Another key to the series return: the performance of the recent Smallville TV movie event “Absolute Justice.” The double-length episode, which guest-starred SG-1 alums Michael Shanks (“Daniel Jackson”), Brent Stait (“Ferretti”), and Brittney Irvin (“Merrin”), scored close to three million viewers, giving The CW its best Friday night ratings in almost 18 months, and proved to the network that the series still had drawing power and could be “event television.”
Here at GateWorld, we posed this scenario almost a year ago. Television is an ever-changing landscape where nothing is guaranteed. Did Smallville (another Vancouver-produced series) have enough life in it for a tenth season? Would the series be able to survive a move to Friday nights? Would lead actor Tom Welling be willing to return?
The answers to all those questions are a resounding “Yes.”
How does tying SG-1 in the number of years in production unseat it from the world record? Stargate SG-1 produced 214 hours in its run. By the end of next season (assuming a full, 22-episode season), Smallville will have produced 218 episodes — four more than SG-1 and enough to overthrow SG-1 as the new Guinness World Record holder.
SG-1 produced 22 episodes per year for its first seven seasons, after which Syfy Channel reduced its annual order to 20 for the final three years. Smallville suffered one 20-episode season due to the writer’s guild strike, but otherwise has continued with 22 per year.
The series continues Friday nights at 8 p.m. (7 Central) on The CW.
(Thanks to Ron and Madwelshboy for the tip)