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GateWorld’s Take on the Cancellation of Stargate Universe

05/05/2011
Don't piss off Rodney McKay

Don't piss off Rodney McKay

I blogged previously on RIP Stargate Franchise. Still angry. Still “bitter”. Discovering last week that Hulu won’t even be showing the rest of Stargate Universe’s final season until all the episodes air on SyFy is just the latest twist of the knife (the first twist of that particular knife was Hulu, obviously at SyFy’s behest, delaying all episodes for a month post-air date).

Then I read this today. Joseph Mallozzi, one of the writers and producers on Stargate, mentioned it as being “interesting”, so I had to read it. And you know what? It makes scary, scarily accurate sense.

Gateworld’s editorial on How Wrestling is Killing Science Fiction Excerpts:

Thank you for the many years of outstanding entertainment you have given to me and my friends. While I haven’t agreed with every creative or scheduling decision, every killed-off character or series cancellation, I do recognize that because of Syfy Channel I have laughed, cried, and cheered over the likes of Farscape, Stargate, Sanctuary, Battlestar Galactica, and so many others…

…By changing your name from “SCI FI” to “Syfy” it became clear that you don’t want to program for the niche of science fiction fans any more — you want broader appeal. You want to be popular. If NCIS repeats became available and you could afford them, you’d snap them up and tell viewers to “imagine greater.”

If you had renewed Stargate and demonstrated that your expectations for Tuesdays in the fall are proportionately lower (about 40 percent lower, apparently), we wouldn’t be having this conversation. For the show’s creative growth, ultimately I don’t care how many people are watching it. But to cancel one series and renew another, when the only ratings difference between the two was the night of the week you aired them, was incredibly short-sighted.

But wrestling doesn’t belong on Fridays. Your own ratings data shows that the scripted dramas you put there will thrive for years, and those that don’t get the coveted Friday hour — well, they get killed. Not because of the show. Because none but the most loyalist follower want to watch an intense, thought-provoking science fiction drama at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday.

Syfy, move WWE Smackdown off of Friday nights. It does great there, and it will do great elsewhere. It will make your Tuesdays or your Thursdays amazing. But, more importantly, it will free up the Friday schedule to allow you to support scripted drama again. Then all of your shows will thrive, and your ratings averages and your bottom line will shine even brighter. As the schedule stands, wrestling isn’t complimenting your scripted science fiction — it is destroying it.

I said it on Twitter, and I’ll say it again here: The cancellation of Stargate Universe was proof that the network was killing a franchise. It wasn’t the result of poor viewership, writing, acting, or any of those red herrings. It was solely, solely, because the network wanted to kill franchise. Yes, MGM shares some of the blame here, but MGM, since they are ultimately most responsible for pulling the trigger, wouldn’t have done so if SyFy had nurtured and cared about the show properly. SyFy failed us. Nothing else did.

I realize the rantings and declarations of one person matter little to the Friday night wrestling crowd. I get that. But I’m done supporting SyFy. I will only watch their shows on dvd or in syndication or online. Legally. But I will not watch them on the air. I’m done playing couch surfer with your crappy programming.

Consider this my declaration. I’m done with TV. TV is dead. Long live TV.

Everything is NOT fine here.

Everything is NOT fine here.

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