As Stargate Universe draws to a close this week, many viewers are still wondering just what happened. Why was a show that has reached its creative zenith, and holding its own (relatively speaking) on a very competitive night of programming, kicked to the curb?
After just two short seasons, The Vancouver Sun reports that "Stargate Universe," the newest series in the massively popular "Stargate" sci fi franchise, has received the proverbial axe, effectively cutting off the franchise completely for the first time since it began as "Stargate SG-1" in 1997.
The original Stargate SG-1 dawned in 1997. To give you an idea of how long ago that was, the most-watched shows on TV that year were Seinfeld, ER, Friends, Home Improvement and Touched by an Angel. In the end, Stargate SG-1 lasted 10 seasons -- a full decade -- and in 2004 spun off the companion series Stargate Atlantis, which itself lasted five seasons.
Multiple theories have been posited to explain away the choice to cancel two of SyFy’s original series’, SGU and Caprica. Most agree (even Scalzi), however, that poor network scheduling is the main culprit, particularly the choice to move these shows from Fridays to Tuesdays. They were shucked aside in favor of the guaranteed revenue brought by WWE SmackDown on Friday Nights, which SyFy acquired rights to in 2010.
TV is a business, so it’s no surprise that the network values SmackDown over SGU. New shows still have to prove their worth, while SmackDown came with a Friday night audience. It’s simply bad business to put your best bet on the back burner.
The future looks bleak for "Stargate," but maybe they'll be able to eke out another movie or two before it's lights out.