Some Nice News To Wake Up To

Stargate: Universe has been renewed for a second season. This is not unexpected news, to be sure; the series has done well in the ratings department, here in the domestic market and internationally. But it’s always nice to have the deed done.

At the link above there’s also some discussion about what viewers can expect for the second half of the first season, which resumes in April. Hint: Charo! Okay, not Charo.

77 Comments on “Some Nice News To Wake Up To”

  1. I’ve stuck with it, although sometimes reluctantly. I liked the cliffhanger at the end of the mid-season finale, or whatever cable calls it. Almost everyone in the family who watches it (primarily me and my oldest son, occasionally my wife) thinks the traveling consciousness via the stones is a confusing, distracting pain in the ass (I’m just sayin’). My wife rather cynically notes that “first week, we need air; second week we need water; third week we need food; what’s next, razors to shave with, shampoo? They’re going to go in search of a planet with a Wal-mart next week.”

    I think an outside enemy might be useful, although half the time the ship seems like the enemy (or Rusch).

  2. I must admit, I was going to post something very similar to Mark’s comments above. However, he phrased it somewhat better than I could, so consider this a ‘me too’ type post.

    That said, whilst I am not overlly concerned about how the cliff hanger will be resolved, I am puzzled about the ‘most important discovery since the stargate’. Surely that would be Atlantis? Which had a fully functionally and (presumably) searchable database.

    Select * from database where value=’destiny unlock code’.

    Sorry – couldn’t resist.

    Final thought – I will be watching when it comes back next year.


  3. Very good news – I’m quite thrilled to read that. It’s a very good Stargate, but also a very good Sci-Fi show to watch, and I’m very eager to see new episodes when the show returns in April.

  4. Now it can be told. John has asked me to pen SG:U’s very first Very Special Episode.

    I can’t say much, but yes, Charo is involved.

    And Paulie Shore.

    And George Takei makes a cameo saying, “Oh, my!”

  5. Great news, John – congrats. SG:U is the first Stargate series that I’ve been able to really get into, and I’m glad that it’s got that second season.

    Not too sure about an alien addition, but I guess Rush has to get back to the Destiny somehow, eh?

  6. APRIL???? It was bad enough when I thought SGU wouldn’t resume until March. On the other hand, I’m really pumped that Robert, Brad & Co. can continue all of the intriguing stories that this series begs to be told.

  7. Count me in with Mark Terry and AlsoNotMe. I’ll give _SG:U_ another half-dozen episodes to do something that merits my time and attention, but so far I’m seriously underwhelmed.

    The “jerky handy-cam” episode from a couple of weeks back was *painfully* awful. Left the room and did other (more interesting) things, like washing my socks and trimming my nose-hair. The writers and producers can make all the noises they want about “different”, but there’s no excuse for badly written and executed (hint: lose the hand-held digital cameras, you nitwits!) SG episodes.

    Jerry H.

  8. I’m still trying to get into SG:U. I have not found a charcter that I can really care about. I would like to see the smart ass kid get killed off. He is a little to much like Wesley Crusher for my taste. I do like Sanctuary that comes on after it. I love Amanda Tapping!!

  9. As a huge Stargate fan I have watched every episode of SG1 and Atlantis, most more than once, but I have to say that SG:U is drivel. Obvious and simplistic plots full of holes and cliches, a cast that is far too big with characters that are unconvincing at best. The ‘communication stones’ are a massive cop-out and as has been mentioned before they just add confusion to an already jumbled storyline.

    When an actor of the stature of Robert Carlyle cannot raise the level of the series above ‘awful’ you know you have a lemon on your hands. The news that there will be a second series is just mystifying. I managed to force myself to watch the first 8 episodes before deciding that watching paint dry would be more interesting.

    The producers of this show seem to have taken all the good points from SG1 and Atlantis and thrown them away. A really, really depressing show.

  10. Hmm. Mixed feelings about the renewal. It’s great for you, John — yay, a job — but the show itself has serious flaws. A show like this depends on superb characterization, and it’s been falling down in that department most of all. I was pleased with the season finale because it got rid of one of the least-developed characters — who I cared about the least, so no loss. (Rush is no Baltar.) Also because it gave the guy who plays Col. Young some depths that I’d hoped to see; he’s the only reason I’m still watching, frankly. But I’m infuriated at the way Greer and Camille have been developed (or not), I keep waiting for Eli to show… something… personality-wise, and I outright hate Chloe and Scott. I DVR the show so I can fast-forward through their scenes; makes the whole experience better.

    What I think needs to happen: there needs to be a culling of the main cast. Lose the communication stones; they’re weakening the sense of peril because the cast members are essentially going on vacation every week. Also, let there be a crisis in which we lose some people that have actually been developed. (Obviously Chloe and/or Scott would be first on my chopping block, but really, anybody.) Then I’ll believe they’re all in real jeopardy. And maybe then the writers can use the crisis to give some depth, dammit, to the few who remain, so that they become more than one-dimensional archetypes.

    ::grarr snarl rant:: Hmm. OK. Time for coffee, I think.

  11. I had to take a break after watching the first few. When it became obvious the story writers had no clue nor support of the military personnel. Stargate before SG:U was always about a “few good men and women” out to save the human species. In SG:U they managed to destroy that image with their own preconceptions and bias. Instead of the best and the brightest , they assume you shipped the B minus team at great expense(via ships not stargates) to a major research site. Much less you recruited/kept the screwups instead of sending them to the Beta sites to build huts and count the local flora and fauna.

  12. Wow, I am really surprised to see it return for season two. I am glad someone out there enjoys the show, however I realized somewhere around episode 6 that I just didn’t find the show entertaining. I didn’t look forward to watching it each week, and honestly it felt like a waste of time to keep following the show. So I stopped, and deleted it from my DVR, and honestly haven’t missed it.

  13. Some of us in foreign countries with appalling broadband have been forced to wait until tonight for the Free-To-Air debut of SG:U S1. Yes, remember television? I will watch it purely on the basis of your involvement John; feel free to tell the producers that. The comments above fill me with trepidation, however, so I’m a bit leery. Surprised, but leery. With trepidation.

  14. Re myself @ #12:

    Hmm. OK, in retrospect (and post-coffee), that wasn’t the most useful rant, or rather not put in the most useful place. I think I’ll copy-paste that bit and send that directly to the SyFy Channel, for whatever good it’ll do. Rebooted comment #12: congrats on the good news, John. Hopefully the show will get better so your employment will last even longer!

  15. John @ 16 –

    I enjoyed the good news. I think it’s a fun show.

    There. now you know you’ve made at least one person you have no connection with at all happy with your news spreading.

  16. I’m glad to hear that! I’ve been watching SG:U on Hulu and have greatly enjoyed it. It does one thing regularly that most television SF doesn’t do often enough: It surprises me. Maybe I have the attention span of a goldfish, but I appreciate that most episodes actually have me wondering how things are going to turn out.

    Anyway, I’m looking forward to the second half of season 1, and I’m sure I’ll be looking forward to the first half of season 2 after that.

  17. I certainly wasn’t attempting to irritate / upset / whatever yourself John. From your point of view it is good news (i.e. a paycheck) as I’m assuming that you will be involved with S2.

    However, whilst there are elements of the show which are interesting and some which are improving, would it pass the ‘if this was the first series of a non-sequel, would it be renewed’ test?

    PS – Like I said, I will continue to watch as it returns (partially in hope, partially in expectation)

  18. I probably should put this on the other thread but eh..

    As it was put on the official announcement, it was something along the lines of ‘we have 15 years of history…’

    That’s part of the problem. ‘Stargate’ as a franchise was one fairly specific thing for 15 years. SG:U may occur in the same universe, but its NOT Stargate as previously represented. That doesn’t make it bad television (actually I think it has a lot of potential and am happy to see season 2), but it does set a very high bar of expectations to be of a certain style.

    Despite claims to being futurists, in most cases SF fans are VERY resistant to change (see the furor over changing the station’s name – WHO CARES?) If the current incarnation of SG:U had been launched as a standalone show, people would be saying how ‘atmospheric’ it was or some other such things. Instead, it’s ‘You messed with my universe!!!!’

    As far as characters, I always give season 1 a pass or at least the first few episodes when you have an ensemble cast. Producers have a limited time available to introduce a cast, set up the show’s premise (harder in a lot of cases for SFF because you can’t just say -look they are in an emergency room) and establish the main plot lines. I’m not saying its a good thing, but the most common solution is to start with stereotypes and stock plots and flesh out later. Sometimes it works (think Worf), sometimes not so much (Wesley – there’s a hint there!)

    “Justice” was promising. New aliens are promising (if done properly). If the show can get its characters to a more ‘3-d’ state by the end of the season, then Season 2 will be on my watch list. If not, it will probably be DVRed and used as folding laundry filler (where this season of House has found itself so far)

  19. Well, I like it.

    To be blunt, I never really enjoyed the previous SG series, always a bit too gung ho for my tastes. Fun if you just want a bit of distracting, scifi action but hardly anything too… cerebal?

    Not that SGU is showing too many signs of being the scifi equivalent of *real* classic cerebal TV (I dunno.. “I, Claudius”? Sopranos? Six Feet Under?) but the slowburn character development has got me hooked. Maybe it’ll all come to nothing , personally, I’m enjoying the journey. But then, I’d rather watch Solaris than Starship Troopers…

    But yes, either dump the frac’ing stones or explore the implications of their use properly/intelligently. If a complete stranger turned up on my doorstep knowing secrets only my soulmate knew then I’d more likely be freaked out than want to jump into bed with them. I think most people would.

    Apart from that though, thumbs up from me. Second series, woo hoo!

  20. @John Scalzi: At least you can point to these comments the next time someone accuses your readership of worshipping at the “alter of John Scalzi.”

    Congratulations on the great news.

  21. I would like to apologize for raining on your good news, that was probably not the correct response. I don’t think that any of us intended to come here to personally ruin your day, or even direct our dislike of the show at you. I am sure that your influence has only helped the show, but at the end of the day I still feel like the show has failed. It would also appear that I am not the only one who had strong feelings about it. Perhaps some of our complaints will help you, help Syfy make the second season better than the first for those who are still watching.

  22. Excellent news, and congratulations John.

    I appreciate SyFy giving it a chance to fully establish the audience, and to get itself “set” creatively – they really do seem to get that sometimes not every show has to be run as an isolated profit center from day 1 (see BSG and Farscape prior) as compared to a channel such as Fox.

    Establishing a brand (and the Stargate franchise is part of that) has it’s own value.

  23. I am sorry John if my comments from @10 rained on your good news. It is good news that you will have a paycheck from the series. I also agree with what others have posted in that I hope you can use these comments with the producers to make the show better. But what do I know, I hated the first season of Star Trek:TNG,but it later grew on me!

  24. I like the original Stargate movie, but never cared for those TV series it spawned. In fact, the only reason I even tuned into SG:U is because John’s attached to it. And, man, I’m glad I did. I like it a lot. For me, SG:U seems like a series reboot in much the same way the new BSG was. It’s jettisoned a lot of what I found hokey and irritating in the other series and replaced it with intelligence, moral ambiguity and depth of character. It’s not perfect, but that’s okay: nothing is. I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next. Only wish I didn’t have to wait until April…I don’t do patience very well.

  25. John:

    Just seconding (or thirding or nth-ing) most of the comments above.

    First, congrats on the extension. The underlying science, and technical issues, are plausible (or at least comparatively so for mass media) and I’m sure you had a lot to do with that.

    The narrative on the ship and various planets keeps me interested; in particular the “Time” and “Justice” episodes. On the other hand, the whole communication stones thing is a distraction. I just don’t care about any of those people back on Earth. Somehow “Lost” pulled this off successfully (with flashbacks) while SG:U does not. Just my opinion.

    @12: Got rid of Rush? Yeah, he’s gone for good. Too bad there’s nothing else on that planet he’s stranded on that might be of any use to him.

  26. EthanH, you mean other people have alters to John Scalzi? But do they have a hydrogen fueled eternal flame? And is it hidden in the sub-basement and held within a magical grid?

  27. Wow. You guys are STILL bitter? I admit that the show has taken some getting used to after a decade plus of the “old” SG, but it is getting better every ep. Who remember season one of TNG? It was pretty lame and cheesy for most of season 1, but I was in grade school at the time so I didn’t really notice that until much later.

    Season one is all about introducing us to this new “world” and new people and explaining the rules we need to know. Patience is something that the networks and far too many fans just don’t have enough of.

  28. That’s great news! I enjoy the series, and have been voicing my concerns/complaints/joys over in the official thread(s) that John made.

    I look forward to seeing who and what comes next. A thought – Could we get Shakira instead of Charo for this Sci-Fi Love Boat that I enjoy so much?

  29. Congrats!

    But I’m sorry, I’m having trouble picturing how Charo will fit in. She needs brighter lighting to show off those glitzy outfits!

  30. @El #34

    You’re right, actually. Charo is way too sparkly for SG:U. Maybe Cloris Leachman would be a better choice? I think she’d do well on the show.

  31. April?!?! Damn. What is it with APRIL?!?! Didn’t they used to break for Christmas, and then return in early February?

    ::I am getting old::

    For what it’s worth: I *love* SGU. I think it’s interesting and atmospheric and I love the interactions between the characters. But then, I like “broody” SF. Deep Space 9 was one of my favorite ST streams, because it was all political and filled with sleazy characters trying to one-up one another.

    Congratulations on another year of consulting work!

  32. If it makes you feel any better right now I limit my regular TV watching to SG:U, Dr Who, Pheneus & Ferb (or as my kids call it Dads favorite cartoon), and Castle.

  33. Congrads! I’m still not a big fan of the show in its current form so I hope that something happens next season to get me excited about Stargate again. Maybe less of the soap opera mess and self-indulgent use of the communication stones and more smart science fiction. I’m also hoping that the characters stay flawed but somehow become more interesting to me. It’s hard to get into the story when you don’t care about what happens to the characters.

    There aren’t that many science fiction shows on air right now and I’d prefer one that challenges me and makes me count down the days until the next episode.

  34. Thank the gods that SG:U lost my husband the moment they started lesbian prytechnic kissing scenes. He’s in the business (though in another end of it) and thinks that’s just for ratings and cheap story fill and adds nothing substantial to the show.

    At least it means I don’t have it playing on the TV!

    I’m glad for you that it’s renewed. It’s just too bad they don’t have you writing actual scripts for the show. I think that would MUCH improve it. I’ll stick with your books.

  35. I’ve been pretty meh about the show so far. It’s no SG-1, and it’s recycling the same premise as Atlantis, except that Atlantis was a far better how.

    I’d like to second the complaints against the quality of the people on this particular SG expedition: The SGC has always been the best of the best of the best. They’re an uber-top-secret project that’s hidden from the rest of humanity, after all. You have to have extensive Intel/SF experience in the military to even be considered for it. People like Greer or the bald guy that shot himself… should never have been able to get their foot in the door.

    Just saying, the Atlantis team was in basically the same situation as the Destiny team, for the entire first season, along with having life-sucking aliens after them… and they handled it with grace under pressure and quiet professionalism.

  36. #16
    Sorry about that John
    I am happy that you are getting a paycheck, that your skills are noticed, and more importantly that you interject real rational science to an existing media property ( would that is was the standard instead of the exception).

    /And I also would rather see Stross’ Atrocity Archives on SyFy instead of Warehouse 13.

  37. John, your good news felt like good news to me too, albeit of a much smaller scale. I enjoy the show and look forward to the rest of season 1 and season 2. Perhaps is says something about my taste for television shows, but many shows that I like are canceled too soon. I am genuinely pleased that this show will not be ripped away from me for at least another season.

  38. My comments about the show are in no way meant as a slur to you John. I have all of your novels and I am a fan – sorry if I rained on your parade and I hope this reduced it to a drizzle!

    Everybody’s opinion differs but mine is still that SG:U is at one end of the spectrum (terrible) but that your work is at the other end (really good).

  39. Well, okay. Congratulations, that’s good news. I’ll continue to watch it, until I stop (or don’t), in which case I’ll still wish you and the show great success. Hell, if they canceled every show I have/had problems with or that I stop watching regularly, Channels 2 through 74 (all I got) would be a blur of static.

    ’cause, y’know, tonight I’ll watch… uh, going to a high school band concert. But tomorrow… uh, karate. Wednesday … I don’t think there’s anything on Wednesday nights, so I’ll read. And, hmmm, Thursday… Bones!. And Friday… hey, is SG:U on? What? Not until April??? Oh hell, what about Saturday…

  40. This is great news. I haven’t ever posted here before, but I have been reading the SG:U thread after each episode. I’ve been loving the show and it has filled my post BSG Sci-fi fix. There isn’t really much else on TV like it right now. Everything is either super-heroes (i.e. heroes, smallville, etc.) or supernatural/Monsters (like, well Supernatural, or Sanctuary, Fringe, that Area 51 show, etc.). I really miss a good pure sci-fi show.

    The things I like best, and why I never really watched the earlier SG shows, is that the production values and acting in SG:U is very high. Sure, I see why some people are put off by certain things (the stones do suck), and I’m sure there are issues with stargate mythology, but it is still neat just seeing how things are turning out. I remember watching Robert Carlyle when he was on Hamish MacBeth, which I think aired on TVO in Canada, so it is neat to see him in such a different role here.

    Anyway, congratulations John, you have a fan here in the show so just keep it up. The problems with the show a lot of people seem to harp on seem pretty minor to me!

  41. Java Monster@40
    OK I Googled “prytechnic” and aside from several misspellings of “Pyrotechnic”, which makes no sense in your context, so I have to ask “HUH?”.

    And just for the record I saw nothing wrong with those scenes. It was no different than any of the other characters visits with family. I didn’t see anything to make me think it was for ratings.

    PS – I don’t want to spoil John’s “Congrats” thread with a geek flame war so feel free to post on this or any other debate subject in the permanent SGU thread.

  42. John:

    Unmitigated good news for you, and congratulations on the renewal! SG:U is the first of the Stargate products I have watched, so it’s all new to me.

    In the spirit of constructive feedback to help you help the show be even better, I will admit that I too think the communications stones just do not fit.

    You have written in the past about the need for a fictional universe to be just plausible enough to allow the audience to suspend disbelief long enough to get into the story. For me, I can suspend my disbelief enough to enjoy the concept of a Stargate and a spaceship built by an ancient people of advanced technology, etc… but these doggone pebbles bring my suspended disbelief crashing to the floor.

    But that’s just one semi-geek’s opinion. Keep up the great work on the show and I do look forward to the new episodes when they air.

  43. Well, Episode 1 of SGU aired on Australian TV last night, and it struck me as a really solid pilot. And at this rate, it’ll be April before they finish screening the eps you chaps have already seen, so that’s even better.

    Congrats, John, both on the show and on the renewal.

  44. @ John – 16

    I disagree with the pissers. I love the show. Congrats on being part of a great brand!

    And seriously, they need to have Charo somehow appear on the ship, and the entire episode needs to be about how to get rid of her. More important than Air, Water, Light, etc. Season 2, Episode 3 – GET CHARO OFF THE DAMN SHIP.

  45. My husband and I really enjoy watching the show, and are extremely happy to see it’s been picked up for another season. Congratulations!

    (Boo, hiss about it not coming back until April.)

  46. I haven’t commented on SG:U before, but I really am SO glad to have watched it from the start, courtesy of your link to Hulu. Not having had cable for the past 15 years (or a lot of time until this disasterous year of unemployment) to watch much sci-fi (or any) tv, I can’t comment much on the other SG shows. I have seen bits and pieces, here and there, in rebroadcasts on UHF stations, but never got interested, even though I wanted to, being a big fan of Richard Dean Anderson. However, this show caught my attention right from the start, and I LOVE Rush. Smart, misunderstood, and just my idea of interestingly good-looking – I don’t understand the dislike/hate for his character at all. Do you really think anyone else on that ship, other than Eli, has a chance in hell of helping these people get anywhere, even if it’s not Earth?

    I like the character development – I don’t need to have huge background stories and motivations for the future presented to me in neat little packages before I’ll sit back to see what happens. I do think that there might be a few extra characters who could die in service of the storyline – redshirts, if you will – because there should be a source of conflict from outside (not the ‘Earthers’) to get them pulling together more, but I don’t want it to be any of the ‘main’ characters. I don’t have any ideas about how to do that, but it would certainly make the water/air/food issue different if there were only, say, 20 people on Destiny. I know that main character death could pull things together too, but even though I don’t like Greer, or Wray very much, they make excellent fulcrum points for story development. The conflict between the military and the scientists should be stressed more, and I want the scientists, especially Rush and Eli, to ‘win’ more. (But then I always liked the blue shirts more than the gold ones.)

    The one thing that does bother me some, is the stones. I just don’t ‘grok’ them, even though they allow Lou Diamond Phillips (who I really like, even when he’s playing a semi-sinister guy, as here) a reason to be on the show. I almost wish that, in a final use of the stones, one of the other military dudes with way less to do, would switch with him and then the whole system fails, leaving Telford stuck on the ship. The conflict from that would really ratchet up a lot of action and character development!

  47. Congratulations. I’m seriously enjoying the show: the performances, the tone and the gradual character arcs.

    Like several (most?) of the other commenters that really enjoy SG:U, the other Stargate shows left me cold. Probably why I don’t give a flying fig that OMG ITS DIFRNT FROM ATLANTIS.

    And no, I have no “suggestions” or “constructive criticism”. Digging it. Looking forward to what’s next.

  48. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this show rocks. I wouldn’t even have watched it if John wasn’t a part of it, and I have been really pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed it after expecting nothing from it. I was never a STARGATE fan, but I’m really having a ball with this series, and feel the renewal was definitely earned. Thanks!

  49. Good to hear.

    I’ve been amused by all the SG1 and SG:A fans pissing all over SG:U on multiple websites – smacks completely of “You didn’t make something just like my favorite show for the last decade and it violates my norms so I don’t like it” syndrome.

    That’s EXACTLY why I like it.

    I always found SG1 and Atlantis to be excessively episodic and and grotesquely cliche. (Also very cheap production values ala movie of the week budgets on SciFi). SG:U has it’s issues – it could be in danger of being “Dawson’s Spaceship” – but it is gorgeously, if darkly produced and hasn’t strayed into the stupefyingly blatant commentary that BSG devolved into.

    I think they could stand to off a few more cast members, but I’m not sure who. I actually enjoy that I don’t “like” any of them. Some of the internal conflict may be artificial, but at least it’s not so clear who is good/bad and what their agendas are. Fun stuff.

  50. #48 GL2418
    It was a typo. A simple typo. Perhaps the word I should have used instead is a variation of “disgust” or the phrase “trolling for ratings”, at least in the way my husband reacted to it. No, I won’t join you on the SGU thread; I’m not into TV fandom much anymore, so I rarely discuss shows I watch (or don’t) except with my husband.

    John, WILL they let you write a script for that show at some point? Do you have an interest in writing scripts? (I don’t recall at the moment) I would make an exception to an episode you penned, and watch it.

  51. Congratulations! I have been enjoying the show immensely so far. Yeah, it’s dramatically different from SG1 (and Atlantis from what I hear, but I’ve only Netflix’ed up to Season 8 of SG1), but I’m fine with that. Sure, fight the bad guys, have a clever joke from O’Neill, and “Indeed” form Teal’c, and fade out is fun. But we already have enough of that to watch and re-watch. I’m glad SGU isn’t taking the easy road and is really digging into it’s concept.

    It really feels like the show is finding it’s legs well. It eased up on the “we need X in order to survive another day!” right about the time I hoped it would. Self contained stories like “Time” remind me why I like science fiction and felt like a a great short story rather than just another chapter in a long novel as some ongoing TV series can get to feeling. And then with “Justice” we get some serious bombshells.

    So, really the only thing I’m annoyed about it waiting so long for new episodes! (Including that shuttle or whatever that left the ship early on!)

    With stuff like ABC’s scifi shows feeling some ratings pressure to generally acceptance among critics that Heroes is in it’s final season, I’m glad SGU has a nice home and has been renewed so early in the season! Great work and just to complete the butt-kissing, I hope you do get comfortable enough with the universe to write an episode or two in Season 2 as you previously mentioned.

  52. Congrats. I am enjoying the show, probably more than I otherwise would on account of your consultanty-type stuff.

  53. PLEASE John; use all your clout on this show to prevent any attempt at making Robert Carlyle stand in the nude and spin some Atlantean gadget without using his hands. Really man. We trust you. Don’t let us down on this one.

  54. I must be misunderstanding the phrase “done well in the ratings”… According to Ain’t It Cool News, the SGU winter finale was dead last in the ratings. I know SyFy’s standards are low (heck, with wrestling and ghosts and crap, everyone knows that), but apparently ANY viewers at all must mean a show is doing well in the ratings to them. Sure wish the folks in charge of other network’s SciFi shows felt the same.

    Here’s the Ain’t It Cool link:

  55. Congratulations on your success! I’m glad there are others who appreciate that this show is not just an effort in regurgitating a successful franchise & is being given time to flesh out its own characters & storylines.

    It does appear that for much of the fanbase, Communication Stones are looked upon with “Scrappy Doo-like” contempt.

    I got no problem with ’em…

  56. Hi –

    John, I guess this is what happens when you don’t pander to the fanboy base. More power to ya: renewal is always vastly better than the alternative.

    For those pissing on John’s parade: get a life. This isn’t about you.


    I like the show for all its warts and problems: no more “Give it to Carter, she’ll pull a solution out of that cute butt of hers”; no more Deus ex machina from the Ancients; no more “Give it to Daniel, he’ll pull a solution out of that cute butt of his”; no more “hmm, Rodney, can you figure this one out in the 12 minutes we have left before the end of the episode”; no more pseudo-tribal lore that all of a sudden hath a meaning.

    It’s an interesting reboot, and one that opens up huge new opportunities for the SG universe. This time we’re dealing with people who are effectively trapped and have to adapt. The only plot reason for the stones is to let Earth know that those on Destiny are alive, they’re there to deny those on the ship the complete and total separation and isolation that would make it extremely difficult for anyone to remain sane.

    The only real problem?

    There aren’t enough folks on board for a genetically viable population. You need more women (the base is around 60 or so, with twice as many men), so unless you want to have massive problems with genetic defects and mutations around 5-6 generations hence, they’ve got to pick up some more babes.

    Just saying, you know…

  57. “I’ve been amused by all the SG1 and SG:A fans pissing all over SG:U on multiple websites – smacks completely of “You didn’t make something just like my favorite show for the last decade and it violates my norms so I don’t like it” syndrome.”

    On the contrary, I’ve seen plenty of fans who thought SG-1 and Atlantis were getting stale, hoped Universe would be different and better, and were quite disappointed when they found Universe to have dull characters and lazy writing. I would know, I’m one of those fans. I know a lot of Universe fans are trying to wave away dislike of the show by blaming one group or mindset but it’s really more complex than that.

  58. nurbles:

    “I must be misunderstanding the phrase ‘done well in the ratings’…”

    You are, actually. SG:U’s viewership is determined not just by its first showing but also by later viewings and also DVR viewings, i.e., not just who’s watching on Friday night, but who is watching a particular episode over the course of a week. Using those determinants, SG:U is averaging 2.6 million US viewers a week, which is perfectly healthy for a Syfy show.

    So your snark-fu is weak with this one, I have to say.

  59. @ John Scalzi #66 – It’s too bad they can’t count downloads of the show too, as SG:U is widely downloaded as well.

  60. Wait, that was a cliffhanger? Does anyone seriously expect that character to just sit there and die?

  61. @ryber, they wouldn’t count illegal downloads anyway because the ads are generally removed and all the advertising folk care about is eyeballs watching their ads. Hulu has ads but I’m guessing that only a small percentage of viewers watch that way. Even fewer next year, when Hulu is rumored to go to a pay-only format.

  62. nurbles @62

    As I understand it, the SGU half-season finale was opposite the series finale of Monk, which garnered the highest rating ever for that show.

    So I wouldn’t count that particular episode’s ratings as indicative of the series as a whole.

  63. addendum:

    …the series finale of Monk, *in which Monk discovers who murdered his wife,* which has been vitally important subtext throughout the series.

    A freshman SF series half-season finale didn’t have a prayer against that.

  64. Excellent! I’m glad to hear that SG:U is being renewed; I enjoy watching it. If you just happen to skim some concrit from this thread to pass back to the writers, et al, here’s a few comments:

    Works for me:

    Eli – My favorite character. I like the smart, nice geek kid. He’s smart, he doesn’t give up no matter how bad it looks, and he hasn’t let expediency override his fundamental decency. He’s the kind of person I personally would like, and he’s got the attitude of a survivor. He’s not physically tough or highly trained, but he simply Does Not Give Up. (I find angst-filled, despairing characters boring and a dime-a-dozen, can’t you tell?)

    Rush – 2nd or 3rd favorite character. He’s a sneaky bastard, he’s brilliant, he’s fallen in love with the Ancient ship. He believes in the ship; possibly he read too many Andre Norton novels as a kid. I don’t believe for a minute that such an interesting character who is the source of most of the conflict in the show is permanently gone. Yes, the most brilliant guy around regarding alien technology is marooned on a planet…with a working Stargate… next to an alien spacecraft.

    Col. Young – Is actually a commanding officer and acts like one. He’s human, he has marital issues, he has other issues, but he doesn’t let them keep him from doing the job. He is, in short, an adult. Adults are good.

    The Destiny – this battered old ship is just beautiful, especially the scenes of it in FTL, with the ether shockwaves or whatever just flowing around it. The ship has character. I hope we get to know it better over the next season and a half. Do not lose or destroy this ship.

    There’s good, consistent characterization of most of the major characters–good and consistent enough that once I got to know them, I could predict their actions. This includes Destiny, by the way–I was screaming at the TV screen that it was going to scoop the star shortly after they mentioned that it changed course to dive into the star. (It probably helped that I used to play Traveller and just recently watched the Dr. Who episode “42”–but it was logical that the ship had some method of refuleling and hadn’t just then run out of power for the first time in a jillion years.) Fortunately, it doesn’t spoil plot twists when I guess them ahead of time based on what I know of the characters–it just gives me a deep satisfaction of saying “Yes! I knew it!”

    Things/People that don’t work for me:

    The communication stones – Please lose them. Having people back on Earth trying to micromanage the situation on the Destiny every 2 out of 3 episodes is just annoying, because it takes away the sense of isolation that gives SG:U some of its dramatic tension. Yes, I know that the people on Earth can’t send material aid to the Destiny, but having our guys on the Ancient ship one day and walking around Base Housing back home the next day really, really takes away from the appearance of isolation and desperation, as seen by the viewer.

    If they need to keep the gimmick for communicating some important plot point or other back on Earth, keep it rare and perhaps dangerous. Maybe using the things too much messes up your mind (Who am I this week?), or the increasing distance reduces them to simple telepathic communicators, with static.

    Excessive gratuitous sex scenes – I’m tuning in for the sci-fi, not porn. Does anyone remember how to do high sexual tension scenes WITHOUT people getting nekkid and doing the horizontal mambo on-screen? Hint: go watch Casablanca again. Also, does every female have. to fall into bed with someone? Seriously.

    I have been wondering when we’d run into some aliens; it’s Stargate, we expect aliens through those gates. Though our crew’s track record with one of the two alien intelligences they ran into wasn’t exactly stellar. (Destiny is almost certainly an AI, being an Ancient ship, but she hasn’t bothered to talk to Rush and Eli yet, unless Rush isn’t telling us something…)

  65. OK I’ve lost the will to live reading all the haters, but I have to say I really enjoy SG:U.

    I was a big fan of SG:1 and SG:A – though lost the will a bit with the Ori thing (oh looks, another god like alien race that have worshippers and even MORE advanced tech).

    So to try and brighted the parade – John – I love the show. I really enjoy the different direction, the serial nature of the story lines and the characterisations.

    I also love all of the little bits of SCIENCE-Fiction, which is what I have assumed you have some say in too (I literally screamed “RAM SCOOPS Mother F****r” in the episode “Light” – my friends were confused).

    So John – I’m just another faceless fan of thy work – but overall I and all four of my housemates love SG:U, and the mid-season hiatus for us Brits is just too damn long.

  66. I was a little skeptical at the start, but the show has been growing on me. The last couple episodes in particular, were really enjoyable.

    I think that’s in large part due to minimal use of the communication stones (they’re just way too gimmicky and the earthside stuff detracts from the rest of the show), and more time spent on the ship and planetside, being a sci fi show.

    I like more of the characters than I dislike, and it feels like there’s some potential here. Here’s hoping that second half of season one takes this and does something cool with it.

    (disclosure: I’ve only ever seen a couple SG1 episodes and have never seen any of SG:A)