Goodbye Old Friend

Stargate Universe comes to an end. Wrapping up the Stargate franchise 14 year run on television.

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By Robert Boyd / Online Editor

By Robert Boyd / Online Editor

Some saw their fate and resigned in acceptance. Others held hope for a new future; a future shaped by their ingenuity. They all fled automaton aliens bent on destroying any technology not their own. This was how Stargate Universe began their final episode, “Gauntlet”: television metaphor seen through science fiction.

“We’re screwed,” said Eli Wallace, SGU’s every-man character, portrayed by David Blue, plotting points where relentless enemies poised to eliminate Destiny and her crew from their Monday night time-slot.

This is the third time slot given to Stargate Universe during a two-year Syfy run. Some fans blame the time changes for Stargate’s death. According to Craig Engler, Syfy’s senior vice president and general manager of Syfy Digital, the network made the changes to attract new audiences. Engler said Syfy had done all they could to save the dying series.

Like the network, Lou Diamond Phillips character, Colonel David Telford had bad news for the Stargate Universe ship, the Destiny.

“Whatever the solution is, you’re gonna have to make it happen on your own,” said Telford.

They were on their own because new audiences never found the Destiny and her crew. Alone in space, Stargate Universe aired its last episode Monday, May 9, marking not only the end of a two-year series, but also the death of a 14-year Stargate franchise.

Stargate SG-1 was the wunderkind. An outer space action drama, light on the science, heavy on the campy fiction, based around the adventures of Colonel Jack O’Neil, played by Richard Dean Anderson, and his team of space travelers. Each episode followed the team through a giant stone soap bubble hoop (called a Stargate) that dialed distant planets like the ring on a combination lock. The Stargate turned up new worlds, new aliens and new adventures and fan’s followed the team through that gate’s wormhole for ten years.

In 2004 a new Stargate team uncovered the lost city of Atlantis, unearthing a whole new Stargate adventure. Stargate Atlantis was less about interstellar travel, and more about saving the universe from replicant yes-men and nasty pasty-white human-eaters while uncovering the mysteries of Atlantis.

The Stargate fan base warmly welcomed Stargate Atlantis into the Stargate family. The relationship lasted five years, until Stargate Universe replaced Atlantis.

Stargate Universe was a different Stargate. Stargate Universe was the serious brooding child. It asked viewers to consider what real people would do if they were trapped on a giant spaceship built by an alien race for an unknown purpose. Lacking the ability to control the ship, Destiny, the crew rode through two seasons of political struggle, unrequited love, treachery, and external influence.

One external influence weighed more heavily on Destiny than others. Donned the Battlestar Gallactica or Star Trek Voyager of the Stargate franchise, SGU didn’t win favor with many Stargate franchise fans.  Diehard franchise fans liked their Stargate world with more family fun tongue-and-cheek and less of the adult sex drama and intrigue that the Stargate Universe offered.

KV0921, a fan posting on gateworld.com, a Stargate fan site, posted, “For me Stargate died with Stargate Atlantis.”

Many fans agreed.

According to Engler, Stargate Universe opened with little more than half the opening viewership of Stargate Atlantis.

Stargate Universe was not the typical Stargate franchise fan’s program, and unfortunately for SGU, the edgy adult audience they hoped to court would not be drawn to a new Stargate program because of Stargate’s franchise history of being campy and light. Leaving the series, like it’s characters, adrift without support.

Monday, the final SGU episode floated through ether, a portrait of life’s unrealized potential.

“What’s the point of having potential if you’re not going to step up when you’re really needed,” Said Blue’s character Wallace, as if in agreement.

Destiny’s crew had grown during the two-year experience. Outmaneuvered by an unbeatable enemy, they found their answer. Low on power, the crew climbed into cryogenic chambers to sleep, hoping to wake in a new galaxy.  A new galaxy of the future, inhabited by people who could accept them for who they were, and not as an ill-fitted Stargate offshoot. All the while, knowing that they may never wake again.

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