Via a tweet from SyFy’s Craig Engler, we learned on Thursday that Stargate Universe has been canceled. There are still ten more episodes to air, but there will be no more after those are broadcast. Show consultant John Scalzi confirmed the cancellation as well.
I have to admit that in the beginning I was not a fan of the show, but as I started covering the episodes for SF Signal I saw a definite improvement. I always enjoyed the other shows in the Stargate franchise and appreciated what Joseph Mallozzi and his team were trying to accomplish with Stargate Universe. I don’t have a problem with the dark and gritty approach and, despite the criticism surrounding this aspect of the show, I don’t think it was the source of its downfall. Instead, I think it really hurt the show that the long emotional arcs didn’t start paying off until the middle of season two.
The first season of any show is usually rocky and many viewers will cut a series a lot of slack for this reason — if they’re given a reason to hang on. I didn’t really connect with any of the characters in season one and started recapping the show to figure out exactly why that was. There’s nothing wrong with dark and gritty, but an audience needs to have at least one of the following: periodic cathartic release of tension, redeemable traits in unlikable characters even if it’s just a glimpse of something way down below the surface, and characters we love to hate (not just hate). By mid-season two, Stargate Universe accomplished all three of these, but not a lot of viewers were willing to stick it out through season one to see that culminate and the ratings showed that decline.
What do you think? Did you love the show and are sad to see it go? Or are you relieved there’s an open spot now for something else?
New shows in the lineup include the paranormal Being Human and the superhero drama Alphas. Another paranormal show, Haven, is scheduled to return as are Warehouse 13 and Eureka. While these latter two are definitely science fiction, only the Battlestar Galactica prequel pilot movie Blood & Chrome promises space opera. Without a show like Stargate Universe is there enough actual science fiction on SyFy to keep you watching?