Sunday, January 19, 2014

Brad Wright: Stargate Universe

"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 on the fate of Stargate Universe-

The time slot change is never a good thing of course.  There's more than a few shows that can attest to that.

But, does the barb toward fans sound like sour grapes?  Perhaps, but Wright does have a fair point.  And even then, it still wasn't entirely the fault of fans.  Were fans put on notice the Stargate franchise was about to make a massive tonal shift?  I'm not exactly sure. I don't peruse the Internet that religiously for information on any specific series or film. I tend not to read too much for fear of spoiling the experience. It may very well have been crystal clear to many that the change was coming.

Certainly many old fans were not happy with the end result that was Stargate Universe as a finished product and there was indeed plenty of vitriol spewed about it.

I know I was quietly disappointed upon my introduction to Stargate Universe, Air, Part 1 and essentially never went back to it. More on that later, but my preparation for it was indeed minimal.

This Stargate fan, in hindsight, realizes he made an error in judgment. SGU is surely unique within the cottage industry that is Stargate and based on the first several episodes clearly was shaping up to be the darkest, most satisfying journey of the human soul within the long-running series.  It's also special on the whole within the pantheon of science fiction series that now exist on DVD and Blu-Ray in the rear view mirror.

Today, I'm sorry to see things did not work out for SGU.  It deserved a better fate. And the talented Brad Wright is indeed correct here. SGU's failure was not the result of production quality. SGU is an exceptional effort and foray into science fiction production more in step with the likes of the cinematic expertise of Danny Boyle's Sunshine than the lighter, sci-fi adventure escapism of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis.

With that lesson learned, I'm going to make a concerted effort to give Defiance a little more patience. At the very least I should enjoy those science fiction-based landscapes.

Also notable, for those of you who enjoy a good viral outbreak as much as the next guy, you should be watching HelixHelix actually features a terrific cast including Billy Campbell and, funny enough, Sunshine's Hiroyuki Sanada (Lost). It's also worth noting that Steven Maeda is the show runner for the series.  Maeda was a writer on The X-Files (5 episodes), Harsh Realm (2 episodes) and Lost (4 episodes).  Apart from the occasional stupid human moments, I'm all about being inoculated for that one.  Two episodes so far and they have been mostly impressive.  Helix is in a terrible time slot.  I truly hope it survives.

So, thus, as if often the case, SGU will shine brighter with the passage of time along with others that received their due much later in history. I have no reason to believe otherwise based on the sheer quality of this series on every level.  Its legacy will endure with proper reappraisals.

This is the assessment of a true fan of the franchise as I sit enjoying my coffee.  But with SG-1 and SGA you knew the rules and formula going in and yet our critical faculties ignored all of it for the fresh exchanges between character that lit up the screen.  It was good, old-fashioned fun.  Without question SGU is a more cerebral and rewarding experience that feels positively cinematic.




El Vox said...

I was never a huge Stargate SG-1 fan, though I've been tempted to watch the first series. I have a friend that says the first season is how many SF shows should begin. Don't start out with a bunch of exposition, back story, and voice overs, rather get right to the action or the story. Go ahead an immerse the audience into your world, and then as the series unfolds, the watchers can be brought up to speed as it goes along.

I've watched the first two episodes to Helix, and I'll still try and give it a few more eps., but they're losing me rather quickly. The thing is, we've come to expect more from television. I've already jumped ship pretty much with The Agents of SHIELD, and pretty much with, Intelligence, which feels like a cross between Six Million Dollar Man and maybe Person of Interest. I might still watch an episode or two of it yet.

With programs like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, the BBC's Sherlock, Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Rome, Downton Abbey, X-Files, some of the earlier Dexter seasons, and others depending on one's taste, it's hard to sit around and watch something mediocre, imo, granted that's all subjective.

Plus add into the mix specialty networks like Me TV or Cozi TV, which show some of the older programming or Netflix, where you can go on a TV watching binge if so you desired, and there's no reason to settle on watching something average (though that can be pretty good for taking a nap). I guess, what I'm saying, they've upped the ante for TV watching, and it's going to be pretty tough competition in the future.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

A completely fair commentary my friend.

You are absolutely right.

Expectations are indeed very high nowadays which is why some good shows certainly don't get the chance they deserve.

Sorry to hear you weren't enjoying Helix. I think I like it. We'll see.

I love Josh Holloway from Lost but Intelligence just looks unintelligent. Again, not fair to say, I haven't seen it but I have no interest.

I love the programs you name so we have similar taste. Breaking Bad remains the high watermark for me.

SG-1 has some fine moments to be sure. Admittedly SGU is really a pleasure for me at the moment.

I have to declare here and now, I have no interest in the superhero movies. Ugh. Agents Of Shield is not for me. I see people getting so excited for the new Spider Man and Avengers and, again, no interest at all. So my tastes have definitely changed or something.

But like The Walking Dead for zombies I really like the approach on Helix (so far) for the old retrovirus.

But, like you said, it's gotta be tough breaking a new show, reaching an audience and get something rolling in this market in order to stay on the air. It has to be a torturous affair.