Stargate Universe co-creator Brad Wright believes that the second half of Season One will silence critics and win back many fans who haven’t yet accepted the newest addition to the franchise. Wright spoke candidly about the show and the criticisms it has received so far in a new interview with Curt Wagner at Show Patrol.
He said that the slower set-up for the show’s first ten episodes, though irritating to some viewers, was part of a strategy to establish the characters before putting them into action scenarios. “Robert [Cooper, co-creator] and I strongly felt that for us to say we’re doing a character drama — at the very beginning especially — we have to engage with the characters and have them interact in a big, big way. And then once we know them very intimately — as we do now, I think — we can put them in an action-adventure, jeopardy situation.
“When you know them as intimately as we do now, it’s easier for you to care about the stakes, or the ramifications of what’s going to happen.”
The second half of the first season will answer many of fans’ criticisms of the show, Wright believes. New episodes start next Friday, with the long-awaited episode “Space.”
“I think the second half of Season One is strong, or stronger, and certainly answers some of the criticisms that have been thrown toward the show,” he said. “… I really think that the second half of Season One will win back a lot of folks just because there are people who are saying, ‘When are we going to see some aliens? When are we going to see some adventure that isn’t just about our characters?'”
Wright said that he doesn’t agree with many objections that have been leveled at the show, including the complaints of too much sex and the comparison to Battlestar Galactica. “Eli is not remotely Battlestar Galactica,” he said. “The guy does not fit in that world at all. And kinos and communication stones — these are all things that are unique to our show. The Stargate itself [is different].”
He also emphasized that the characters are supposed to be flawed and the tone different from Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis. But one criticism he acknowledges regards SGU‘s female characters.
“I think it was probably a fair criticism at the very beginning that our female characters weren’t as present,” Wright said. “And again, I would argue that it’s a function of a) not being able to service every character as much as we could, and b) there was so much in the first two hours, especially about Chloe and her father and her coming after Rush.”
As for the critics themselves — Wright told the site that he’s made some mistakes in responding to them publicly, including his Q&A on executive producer Joseph Mallozzi’s blog and a comment to the Chicago Tribune’s Maureen Ryan posted publicly (info).
“I thought she was basing her opinion on unfinished, out of order material and was behaving more like a disgruntled fan with an axe to grind than like a critic,” he said of the encounter — which prompted even more direct and detailed criticism of SGU from Ryan. “But I should’ve kept my mouth shut. … You never go up against a critic.”
“SGU is a different series than its predecessors, yes, and we’re proud of it,” he said. “But I’ve spent most of my career making SG-1 and Atlantis. I’m immensely proud of them, too. It’s what I’ll be known for. So when fans accuse me of abandoning or disrespecting or condescending to them … I’m the one who doesn’t get it.
“As I said, the second half of Season One delivers many of the elements that some of the fans of SG-1 and Atlantis felt were missing so far from SGU. Season Two is going to build on that even more. I can only hope they watch.”
Don’t miss the full interview now at Show Patrol. Stargate Universe returns next Friday, April 2, at 9 p.m. Eastern/Pacific on Syfy!
(Thanks to Madwelshboy and Tanith for the tip)
Well I’m definitely willing to be won back. Right now I’m on the fence and will stay there until the end of the season. From there I will pick a side depending on how much I like the back half of the season. From the beginning I was saying I’d give it a full season to find it’s footing.
I completely get where he’s coming from, that all of these projects are his babies and it’s probably hard to take the kind of criticisms he’s been taking on them. Could he have handled it differently, especially publicly? Sure, but I can still understand it. It must also be a little like watching your kids fight, watching SGA/SG1 fans clobber the new kid, SGU. ….I think that’s enough kid references, LOL!
I thought the first half was excellent – it may have seemed slow, but I think the mid-season finale was brilliantly played. My *only* criticism is that there has been such a big gap between the first and second half – I hope that doesn’t happen with Season 2.
It’s what Gateworld has been talking about all along. They are going for a character based show, and you can’t instantly get everyone to buy into the characters, that takes time. I’m glad Mr. Wright spoke up and he seems to be very humble in admitting how his passion got the best of him in the conversation with the critic. Good for him for sticking up to his babies. The spoilers, which I try to keep to a minimum, give the impression that it’s going to be kicking it hard in the second half of the season. Is it Friday… Read more »
BRING ON MORE SGU! Cannot wait for next Friday! Keep it rolling Mr.Wright.
I’m with J-Whitt987. I’m giving the show the benefit of the doubt and won’t make a decision to continue with Season 2 until I’ve seen all of Season 1. I certainly hope the suits at SyFy have backed off the writers and producers to allow them free and exclusive creative control.
I’ve watched Stargate since the movie and I love SGU. All these anti-fans can fall by the wayside. Oh, and *yes* you do go up against a critic when they’re dead wrong and fabricating.
Darren seems to have read a different article than I did. Wright was eating a whole lot more humble pie than it infers here. And you can’t tell me that needlessly shaking and zooming a camera is nothing like BSG. I also seem to remember that triumph of demographics was many more 50-55 year old females. Oh well it’s his show not ours. That’s something he made clear.
We wouldn’t have a show to complain about if it wasn’t for Brad Wright. I don’t mean that to be a dig. I think he deserves credit for creating some excellent television. Hopefully, SGU season 1.5 will deliver big time. Looking forward to it!
Being a long time fan of SG1 and SGA I was dissapointed with the slow pacing of of SGU. I was always gonna watch the entire first season before making a decision on whether to continue watching because its ‘Stargate’ and I really want to like it. What Brad Wright has just said about the second half of Season 1 and the trailers I have seen give me hope about SGU. Its sounds (and looks) good and I am looking forward to seeing the second half of the season.
I loved sgu so far, however it’s always best to try a show twice. Once at the start, and if u dont like it, watch it at season two. By season two if it hasnt’t picked up, it wont…
I think it is very sad, that Brad Wright sees it as a positive sign, that his wife thinks that SGU is a drama, and not a science fiction show.
pfffft – day late and a dollar short for me.
But, whatever, hope people will get what they want out of the show in the second half.
No need to apologize, Brad. SGU is a great show, and it will only get better.
I cringed at some of the comments in the article. I still felt that as a long time fan, I’ve been de-valued. I appreciate that a female writer/producer has been hired and I very much want to like the show, but I have a huge problem that has not been addressed. To enjoy a show, I have to identify with one character. In SG-1, I identified with several for different reasons. In SGU, I don’t identify with or like any of the characters. Sadly, I don’t even respect them. Eli came close with his humor, but he lost me with… Read more »
I didn’t make it clear that I was referring to the full Chicago Now article. I feel that Darren smoothed over or didn’t mention some of the cringeworthy comments.
I think the slow pace has been worth it and the 2nd half of the season will deliver a big payoff. I’ve watched all 10 episodes multiple times and feel that this could be the best Stargate yet. It’s everything that Atlantis failed to be, even though Atlantis was well done. I’m looking forward to this Friday.
Sorry, seems like too little, too late. I for one already jumped off the SGU train, and it will take more than a few explosions and CG aliens to get me back on – I want characters I can like and understand, you know, like in SG-1. Also, this just sounds really badly balanced to me – the action, aliens, space battles etc should have been distributed more evenly throughout the season. A) these events can actually be used to show and build the characters and make them identifiable/likeable B) it would have made the series appeal more to ‘old’… Read more »
@Mentat Since when has shaky cam been BSG exclusive? Firefly did it with their special effects from the very start. So if you are going to say they copied at least say BSG AND SGU stole from Firefly. I mean if you are going to try and say they are copying, at least get the source right. (Oh and I am positive there were shows before firefly that had shaky cam. In fact I think they were copying Documentaries! dun dun dun!) Just like if you are going to say that they are copying the whole ship traveling through space… Read more »
@ canonfodder I use BSG as an example because the camera work there was why I could not watch that show and didn’t purchase the DVDs which is what will happen with SGU as well. The creators poisoned the well here in that respect. For the record I have written many times there is nothing wrong with monkey-cam if used appropriately. However shaking and further compounding the problem with zooming while filming someone sleeping at a conference table is a simply ridiculous premise. I suggest you (and quite a few others by the look of it) have a look at… Read more »
SGU seems too much like a soap opera to me. The characters are annoying cry babies. No aliens. No action. No humor. And no science techno babble like we got from Carter and McKay, that was one of my favorite parts of the shows. The first episode was like “Oh, yeah we found this address that goes to some ship.” Not really saying anything about the fact that the gate can dial 9 chevron addresses. Not to mentions the glaring inconsistencies: The communication stones do not allow for 2 way switching of bodies. The people who started the communication become… Read more »
I also forgot to mention that SGU has NO feeling of it being a team. As the article said “The episodes–“Space” and “Divided”–are action-packed yet keep the sinister, is-my-shipmate-my-enemy tone that the team established solidly in the first half of the season.” Everyone is enemies. In SG1/SGA it was a TEAM. There is no sense of that in SGU. I miss that.
Another thing I wanted to add.(Sorry things keep coming to mind after I post). Atlantis which is several Million years old has a hyperdrive but Destiny only has the FTL drive.
I still think people need to get out in the sun… maybe find a girlfriend… not be so friggen whiny. TV does not owe anyone anything. Please move on to another show if you don’t like the plot.
1. We get a re-imagined “grittier, edgier” Battlestar Galactica… :(
2. Stargate SG-1 gets cancelled…
3. WE get a re-imagined “Flash Gordon”… LOL..
4. Stargate Atlantis gets cancelled…
5. We get a “grittier, edgier” Stargate Universe…
NOT A COINCIDENCE…
You can throw in all the aliens and space battles that you want. The dramatic foundation let us get to know the characters but there in lies the main problem. Unless they replace the characters or magically make them likeable and interesting then I could not care less.
And yes Eli is not BSG he was lifted from The Last Starfighter.
I think everyone here whether they are pro or anti SGU “wants” to like the show, we all “want” to have more great Stargate! I wonder if he chose his words carefully by saying we now have gotten to know the characters “intimately”, as opposed to saying that by now we should “care” about some of them? We technically DO know intimate/personal details about them (waaaaay way way too much in fact) but I think we are ALL hard pressed to really identify with and/or care about any of them on any significant level. So far SGU is simply just… Read more »
Wright said that he doesn’t agree with many objections that have been leveled at the show, including the complaints of too much sex
Brad you dont agree? In the first episode of SGU is much more sex than in all sg1 and sga seasons ever created. I watch Stargate with my son and what to say sex scenes in SGU are really surprising for him…..
I’ll give it a chance but if I hear one more star wars or planet of the apes reference from Eli I will loose it
SG-1 and SGA did a great job developing the characters and an even better job developing the team relationship. I once had a conversation with a friend and fellow Stargate fan about which member of SG-1 would not be missed and the answer was none of them. SG-1 was more than a team. They were a family. That’s pretty damn good character development if you ask me and all that while staying true to the sci-fi genre.
SGA did a great job developing characters, that’s a laugh.
@ Jimv1983 That’s a good point, but sometimes even characters that are liked and popular end up on the sacrificial writers slab – Jonas, Frasier, Ford, Beckett, Weir, all disappeared, and a fair number of the audience were not happy about it. As I said in the recent podcast listener question, I will wait and see if things do change, but I don’t expect them to because this series has been created with a different narrative mindset. Good drama, very good performances from the cast, but its not optimistic Sci Fi and doesn’t want to be. – That’s the kind… Read more »
they should be airing season 2 soon. not the back half of 1. there is no excuse for this. and it better be damn good.
In Brian Smiths last interview he mentioned that BSG was talked about when he applied for the job and that was part of the reason he took it. So being like BSG was intentional by the writers. For Brad to say that he doesn’t agree with the BSG comparison is total baloney because Brian has let the cat out of the bag already. All the lies and false promises are being found out and once the cat is out of the bag there is no point in perpetuating the lie in an attempt to trick us into watching what will… Read more »
I know you need to develop characters in order for fans to bond with them, but most of the characters I find boring and lacking there are a few that have been done well, why is it that I keep seen its a drama wasn’t this meant to be a sci-fi show, and dam it all the sex is just like in BSG, still sitting on the fence about SGU and to the tptb the reason fans complaint, are critical and just plainly whinge is that we don’t want to see another sci-fi show get canceled cause of crappy ratings.
Yeah, because mediocrity always breeds this much debate. I’ve never gotten the BSG comparison either, they feel different. When I watch SGU, BSG doesn’t cross my mind. If I was purposely looking to find reasons to hate the show, maybe then.
Why make another show that is essentially last century.
I’ll keep watching, for sure, since it’s Stargate. But him saying we know the characters intimately – not true for me. Most of them I don’t even know their name… (and the are quite boring, to be blunt).
Here’s the reality, that JUNEBUG and others don’t get; we the fans, are where we want to be, loving what we want to love, otherwise, we’d do the things that regular guys do, like meet new people, and have actual sex, and no longer be virgins. But for the moment, we’re fans and we love our StarGate, and a great many of us absolutely loved SGA, even when it was being silly and listless, it was our baby and they took it away from us, with a promise, that SGU would be better, or at least different. We don’t hate… Read more »
@Stunner its not mediocrity that breeds debate its the fact that this show is mediore.trying to twist a point by not understanding the complexity of the english language does not make your point valid. the similarities with BSG are as plain as the nose on your face and are to be truthful – blatant. It has been said by the actors that they were going for the BSG feel, do you think that they were telling fibs? I don’t need to purposely find reasons to hate the show as the reasons that many of us do are common knowledge, it… Read more »
Obviuosly we don’t read the same interview than GW. I’m glad BW finally admit he did big mistakes cancelling SGA having rude comment and reactions toward the “old” fans. I wonder how he can say the rates are so high when they are only similar to SGA 5th season. I wonder how he can tell the reach to their demgraphic goal when the average age was 45 for SGA and 44 for sgu. I wonder how I can trust him once again when he said exactly what we want to hear from TPTB. In first sgu must be a stand… Read more »
The reason the final half of SGU’s first season looks amazing is because, based off of the trailer, it looks like actual Stargate. The Stargate itself was barely used in the first half and there was no emphasis on exploration, something I missed with Stargate SG1 and Atlantis. Also, I was hoping for some more action. That’s why Time was one of my favorite episodes. With that said, parts of the first season were good. Robert Carlyle was outstanding. Seeing him flip out and collapse from overall stress and lack of caffeine was a great scene and something you never… Read more »
Well, I have liked SGU from the beginning. I agree it is different, but in essence it is still stargate and the new approach to character development is very intelligent. While it makes the series slow to begin, I am used to that in Heroes and such, so it didn’t bother me.
I have high hopes for SGU, and it is a given that I am going to watch it as it continues.
We all tend to forget that some seasons of Stargates past didn’t always advance forward at blistering paces. Take SG-1 Season 8, for instance. It started very strong with two great opening episodes, then found itself in the doldrums until the last five episodes. That’s 13 episodes that, for some more than others, lacked (fill in the blank).
Think about it.
People need to understand what SG’s core base is. We want action adventure when some jokes and a stargate. If we wanted a prime time drama show we would watch something else like Battlestar. We want to come home and watch an action adventure show. If they waited till the econd half of SG-1 to show us the Quald I would be a fan today. If they kill of one of the likeable charecters and the end of the show then I am done. If every p. has to do with some winey politics then I am done. If I… Read more »
The characters on SGU are flawed to the point of sleaziness. Colonel Young is such a poor leader that he maroons an unbalanced, but useful scientist rather than put him in the brig. A married man, he has an affair with a subordinate,slept with his wife while borrowing someone else’s body and worse, has no organization skills. Do you remember that song, “I Need a Hero”? Pretty please, just one.
Mr Wright seems to be ignoring the biggest criticism of the show and that is its characters. The unappealing and unlikeable characters are why many fans don’t like SGU. If the characters don’t appeal Mr Wright, everything else is meaningless. This is not about flawed characters. Stargate has always had flawed characters and once again I find his attitude to the previous show extremely condesending. I wonder if Mr Wright has even bothered to watch many of the SGA season 4 and 5 episodes, if he still refers to SGA as comic relief. What was so comical about The Shrine,… Read more »
I always knew a first season of a show will “suck” in some way, and i never stopped watching SGU, because i knew it will improve, just like Sg-1 and Atlantis did.First seasons are always most likely boring and just a introduction to the new series.
The bottom line: SGU does not have engaging characters and character interactions that formed the foundation of the previous SG shows.
No matter how much action you throw at it, SGU is too different to be appealing to the majority of the original fanbase.
I will just wait for the Atlantis movie…and keep waiting…and keep waiting some more…
I read this interview with interest. Nothing Mr Wright does can make me like SGU, I fear. Why? I simply don’t like the characters. They’re unappealing, unlikable and they don’t engage me at all. I really don’t care if they get sucked out into space because I’m not invested in them. That’s why I’ve now given up with SGU. Adding spaceships won’t change anything, I’m afraid. I’ve never considered SG1 or SGA to be ‘comic book style’ scifi. At times I found myself feeling very emotional watching those shows. I have enjoyed the self-deprecating sense of humor, yes. Have I… Read more »
Let me get this straight, in a nutshell the first half of season 1 was to get me to “intimately” know and care about the characters, well mission failed my friend. The characters are intimately irritatiing and even more intimately anoying…unless you can kill and replace the whole crew then throwing in Aliens and Space battles wont matter, you seem to be underestimating your audiance Mr Wright.