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Stargate Universe - Franchise Fans vs. Show Fans

Stargate Universe isn't doing well in the ratings. Pleas from fans, actors, and producers alike have been sent out in hopes that there can be an upturn, else the fear is that a cancellation may be on the horizon. It seems tensions are running high, as evidenced by co-creator and executive producer Brad Wright's recent comment that puts the blame not on the product itself, but on the shoulders of former fans of the franchise.

"I don’t think if we for any reason go away, it is an issue necessarily of the quality of the product that we’ve been making. I think getting moved on the schedule has hurt us. And the fact that some of the fans that liked SG-1 and Atlantis were so angry that they have deliberately hurt us, which is unfortunate." ~ Brad Wright

This is perhaps a situation where franchise loyalty is expected to win out over show loyalty, but should that be the case? Just because you're a fan of one or two shows in a franchise does not mean that you'll necessarily be a fan of them all. It's all about individual taste rather than the name you place on the product. And if some fans have come to expect a certain level from the franchise name, yet the new entry doesn't fit with that, are they not allowed to voice their opinions?

From my own viewing habits, I was never a regular viewer of Stargate SG1. The Earth-bound nature of a space show wasn't something I rushed to see week to week. So, when a new series in the franchise was announced, it wasn't even on my radar. And I was not about to catch up on almost 10 years of show canon just to watch a spin-off. But then I caught a re-run of Stargate Atlantis and was instantly hooked. This wasn't the same Stargate as before. For one thing, they weren't Earth-bound. Plus, these characters were, quite frankly, the rejects of the SGC...and I loved them! I like seeing this type of character dynamic, mixed in with humor, in an unknown world that is far away from Earth. When Atlantis came to an end and the new Stargate Universe began, I gave it a chance. What I found was that it just didn't appeal to me. I found no commonality or likability with any of the characters and for me that's a key in my viewing. Plus, I like my sci-fi a bit lighter, while Universe was gearing towards darker themes reminiscent of Battlestar Galactica. So, the show hasn't been on my to-watch list and I've thought no more about it. Many shows have gone through the same selection process when I'm trying to determine my weekly viewing schedule. If a show catches my interest, I watch. If a show loses my interest, I don't watch. Just because it has the Stargate title doesn't mean I'm going to necessarily be a viewer.

To use another example, I'm a long-time Star Trek fan. The Original Series was way before my time, but the repeats made me fall in love with the characters when I was very young. I'd gladly spend a Saturday afternoon watching an episode or reading one of my many Star Trek novels. When The Next Generation came along, I watched it. Sure, it was different, but it was a new generation that fit with what I loved in the original series. It certainly didn't hurt that many of the original crew turned up as guest stars. Then there was Deep Space Nine. I tried it out, but it didn't hold my interest. It was a bit too stationary and a bit too dark. Did that mean DS9 was a horrible show? No, it just meant I wasn't their core audience. And it didn't mean I was giving up on the franchise either, since I enjoyed both Voyager and Enterprise. Each of these shows attracted an audience, but not necessarily the same one.

Instead of blaming fans of former shows in the franchise, perhaps Stargate producers should focus on the market they're trying to cater to. They can write the best show ever, in their opinion, but if nobody's watching it, then it's not going to make an impact. I wish the current Stargate series the best of luck with its core market. I'm just not a part of that.


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