Saturday, 21 November 2009

The Stargate Atlantis/ Universe Debate... Burning Issue!

Even though I'm suffering a terrible case of what I can only presume is a form of the flu (not man-flu I can assure you) I thought I'd pop on and see what new comments have been left recently... And guess what I found? Almost every comment has been left on the post for the proposed Stargate Atlantis movie "Extinction" which was originally due out this year. People are angry at Atlantis' cancellation and at SGU for stepping in and being crap... I've been playing Devil's advocate and having my own say as I love SGU, but it seems there are quite a few fans out there who really want to speak their mind on the subject, positive or negative, and I thank you all for that.

You can find the original post HERE if you're interested in reading the 50 or so comments that have been posted since July. I was actually going to post a reply again tonight and then the stupid blog advisor popped up and said I'd waffled on for too long and had to shorten my entry. "Sod that, I'll create a new post, just for this" I thought. So here it is below. My latest reply to the blog visitors who have commented on, what seems to be, the biggest debate we've ever had on this site.

Let's try and cover a few of the replies.

Number 1: Is there actually going to be a SGA DVD movie called "Extinction" in 2009/ 2010?

Answer. No, it doesn't look like it anymore. Unfortunately due to a number of factors this movie will not be made... at least anytime soon. As you may or may not know MGM has unfortunately run into some major money issues during the recent recession and will either go under or be bought out, meaning that proposed projects under their banner will be cancelled (or at least heavily delayed) in the future. Syfy are looking at newer stuff such as their record breaking Warehouse 13 series, which starts filming its second series in March 2010 and are more than happy with the current ratings for SGU. Pardon the pun but an Atlantis movie is now "dead in the water".

And here's the major kicker for all you SGA lovers/ SGU haters out there: EXTINCTION (or whatever they end up calling it) WOULD HAVE ONLY BEEN MADE BASED ON THE VIEWING NUMBERS FOR STARGATE: UNIVERSE! Well, technically the SGU statistics added to the SG-1 DVD sales figures in early 2009, but you get what I'm saying. If you boycotted SGU and didn't watch it you probably harmed your chances of getting an SGA movie. Not that this really matters now as I don't think there'll be a chance in hell of it getting made... ;(

Number 2: Will SGU be cancelled and SGA brought back for the fans?

Answer: Whether Stargate fans like it or not SGU is currently going really well and has a set fan base that secures its future on the air. Should that fall at all (like Fringe and Flash Forward have done recently) then there may be some serious reconsideration. Only time will tell. As a big fan of SGU I hope it does continue, it interests me more each week and as soon as we get out of the "origin" phase that we're still seeing I think it'll be essential sci-fi viewing. Remember, if you don't like the series don't watch it. No one is holding you down and forcing you to watch the show. I know you all simply wish the producers would listen to what the majority of the public want but unfortunately that's not how things work and they obviously believed SGA had run its full course when it was cancelled. Yes it is a damn shame it's gone (I've been watching it myself almost every night this week on Sky 2) but it is gone. And it looks like that's for good now. I only hope they have the ability to do the movie in the future and don't just give up.

Number 3: Why do we need a sci-fi show that is more like reality (or Battlestar Galactica) than an actual sci-fi fantasy show?

Answer: Well, we don't actually need anything. The world wouldn't stop turning if we didn't have sci-fi... Yeah it would be f-ing boring, as sci-fi is pretty much all I watch on t.v., but you get what you're given and have to like it or lump it, we don't get to choose. Anything that gets created and shown on t.v. is a gift, if you turn that gift down then that's your decision. Reading the comment left on the first post it's clear that SGU has left a bad taste in people's mouths. Battlestar was a multiple award winning t.v. series, I mean the Wiki page just showing the awards it received and was nominated for is huge, and it's obvious that people will find similarities between BSG and SGU because of their concept, content and style. I've said it before but that was probably their intention! Bottom line - BSG made money. If you didn't like Battlestar it stands to reason that you might not like SGU.

I personally think that the franchise is taking the Star Trek route. The original Star Trek series and movies can be considered to be the Roland Emmerich Stargate movie, solidifying the plot device and characters in the sci-fi community consciousness. The Next Generation is SG-1 with a basic "explore the universe via a not yet possible technological device" (The Enterprise and the Stargate itself) expanding the history, the characters and the humour with a fresh new look. Deep Space Nine is Atlantis with a solitary outpost space station teetering on the brink of imminent disaster each week with enemies and allies being forged each season. And finally Voyager is SGU. A group of people stranded immeasurable distances from home on a space ship (Voyager and Destiny) with no apparent way to get home and personal human emotions and stresses sometimes being at the heart of the episodes. With Enterprise (the series not the ship) you could possibly say that was Stargate Infinity, the doomed animated series that was utter kack and very unwanted by fans of the franchise. I liked Enterprise but many, many fans didn't!

And to answer the other part of that question, the "reality" bit, well we've had two Stargate shows with mind blowing crazy sci-fi outlandishness. They lasted a total of 15 years (adding them together end to end, not how long they ran, and not including the ongoing DVD movies) and we're still guaranteed yet another SG-1 movie in the next two years regardless, so it's not all dead yet. The creators of SGU have now broken the mold and gone more adult/ real, but it's still sci-fi. The original fans or SG-1 are now roughly 12 years or so older and by looking at the age range of those who sat around me at the 2007 and 2008 SG-1 talks in San Diego they were all in their 30's, 40's and even 50's! I didn't see any kids (although the event is more for teenagers and over I suppose). The SG demographic probably conveys an older audience and therefore they stepped up to the plate with a daring and risky attempt to give those fans something they'd now love and connect with on a more personal basis. It worked with me and I know for sure it worked on a load of my mates, and a load of you that visit this blog. Unfortunately it alienated the rest with a vengeance! But hey, everyone is entitled to their say and their opinion and I know that if I said a show was rubbish there would be an army of fans that would shoot me down in seconds! I mean I gave Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen 10/10 when others were panning it and calling it utter tripe. Sometimes I'm easily pleased, with SGU this could also be said!

Number 4: Why didn't they do this, why didn't they do that?

Answer: This question relates to those of you that have mentioned things like Wormhole drives to rescue the stranded crew of Destiny, why Atlantis wasn't fully explored, why the crew in SGU are all whining babies etc etc.

Good questions of course, I mean I sit there watching t.v. programmes every week with the missus and we both always say out loud "hold on a minute, why didn't that do this? Why didn't they just use that, it would have sorted out their situation?". And it's frustrating to those of us that mentally place ourselves in the same position as these people, knowing what devices we would have to hand, given to us in those t.v. show universe's, and seeing those potentially easy solutions getting overlooked. The answer of course would be that you wouldn't have a t.v. show to watch if the situation was sorted that easily! Have you heard of the word "McGuffin"? Or "throw away plot device"? This is what happens in the world of t.v. and movies.

Remember in SG-1 where the Zat (Zatnikatel) Goa'uld stun guns would stun with one shot, kill with two and then totally eliminate an object with the third shot? Well that was one such McGuffin that unfortunately had to be written out of the show because that third Zat shot would have sorted way too many problems SG-1 would face in the future seasons. It worked for what they needed it for and then got thrown out. That's only one such plot hole created and then disposed of for the movement of the series, there are dozens more, and not just in the Stargate franchise obviously.

With the Wormhole drive it was specifically mentioned by executive producer for Atlantis 'Paul Mullie' with the following comment:

"A wormhole drive is just that -- a drive that sends the ship through a wormhole, like a person stepping through an active gate. The advantage being that you don't 'travel' through hyperspace for hours on end. You get de-molecularized, or whatever you want to call it, and then spit out at the other end a few seconds later. It's basically instantaneous, which is why I needed it as a device in ['Enemy At the Gate']. Some people have complained that it was a bit of a deus ex-machina, to which I don't really have much of a defense.

"At one point, Brad was thinking about using this as a set-up for a similar drive in Stargate Universe, but he's since changed his mind. But since it IS set up now, Joe and I do intend to use it as part of the story for the Atlantis movie."

With issues like these you just have to bite the bullet and go with what you're seeing and know that you'll always find problems like this, purposefully or not. Lost for instance is littered with incongruities and "but hold on" moments and it doesn't reduce my love of that show.

With the exploration of Atlantis (and now the Destiny) you have to imagine that the creators had to presume they'd have maybe 10 seasons to play with (based on SG-1's run and popularity) so exploring their home base was always going to left for filler episodes where they couldn't think of anything more exciting outside the base to make up a good story. Little did they know that they'd only get 5 seasons with no prior warning of getting shut down. A little mystery will always be held back on any show and with Atlantis it was the city itself. The same thing is now happening on SGU with the massive size of Destiny holding many, many secrets. Some of the best episodes from SGA mind you were gained from such discoveries based solely on a new room found the first few minutes. "The Tao of Rodney" springs to mind. The one where they find a room with an Ancient device that zaps Rodney and gives him superpowers... Frickin excellent episode, one of my all time favourites. Technically SGU have just found a room with a device that has some mystery potential, but if you haven't seen that episode yet I won't say any more. I'm sure the exploration of Atlantis was planned for the later seasons and it's most definitely one of the major plot devices for SGU going forward, so we'll see.

As to why they're all whining and not getting on with it: The point of SGU so far is to show that these specific people that are doing most of the whining or having psychological breakdowns in one way or another are the people that weren't supposed to be in this situation and just aren't suited for it in any way. I mean it's not even really a 'mission' that they could have prepared for as they never knew what was on the other end of the Icarus Stargate when they were forced to go through it at the last minute. Most of those people probably thought they'd be home for tea when they went to work that morning, not traversing the stars uncontrollably on the brink of death for the foreseeable future! Yes there are scientists, soldiers and strong willed bureaucrats on board but most people turn to useless piles of crap when their world's are turned upside down, their control and their comforts are lost and they're separated from their loved ones.

Have you never been p'd off when your bus was late? When you've been stranded in an airport when your plane was delayed? When you've been sat at a family get together with certain people you can't stand? Imagine that tenfold with the fear of death, the hatred of certain people that you can't get away from, over-active libidos, the loss of friends, fear of the unknown etc etc, the list goes on. Even the hardest soldier who's seen the worst in people and life would have a hard time coping in the situation the Destiny crew are facing in the series. Personally I feel like I connect more with the SGU characters than most on other shows. Some of the stuff we're seeing actually happens to some of us and it strikes a chord, sci-fi show or not, and it's great for me and certain others to experience. The cast is more-than-capable rather than being outstanding and the special effects are so far born of a recessional period in our history, but things like that should change and evolve if the show is given time to do so. And I don't care about that at the moment as I love it for what it currently is.

If you hate SGU so be it. No one will be able to change your mind, you know what you like and what you like is what you know. You might like certain meals all the time and not try different things when they're offered. Sometimes if you do try something new you'll think it's not to your liking, but then it grows on you and you want to have it again. Sometimes you'll simply spit it out and think it's the worst thing you've ever tasted and never go back to it. It's all down to personal preference and we are all built differently. SGU is sci-fi Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. I hate Marmite, but love SGU!

If you feel strongly about this particular subject feel free to guest blog by e-mailing and I'll post it up. If I get numerous e-mails I'll amalgamate them into one post for you. Just keep it clean, comprehensive and interesting and it'll go up. Make sure you give me your handle/ chosen fake name etc so we know who you are.


Anonymous said...

I was surfing looking for information on the Stargate Atlantis Movie. You have just ruined my day.

Dave Coster said...

I'm depressed now! I have enjoyed SGU, to a degree, but it lacks the fun value of SG1 & SGA (or the Rodney Mackay show, as I like to call it) SGU also has a lack of likeable characters, making it harder to empathize with them. This all boils down to making a fuss, when farscape got canned, it was pure fan power that drove the final special, can something similar be achieved with the SGA film? Well I hope so, but then I'm still holding bout for a Halo movie!

Unknown said...

I m about to buy sgu just to support the franchise and kill some time waiting for the sg-1 , sga movies the real shows. Plus I must master the answers for the ultimate stargate quiz I'm creating

tb in canada said...

Atlantis was the best. great action humour and awesome characters. fun for the whole family.SGU doesnt hold anyones attention and is boring.Bring back atlantis, thats the last box sets ive purchased.why something great always gets squashed with something boring. between Mackay shep Ronin and sexy tela....the brutality of the wraith. if i win the lottery..ill make a atlantis movie and triple back my cash...ATLANTIS-BRING IT BACK...lose Universe!

Anonymous said...

Yes it is a shame that SGA will probably never come back, but think on the bright side we at least have a show to watch. I did not like it at first, but gave it a chance and it may not be anything like Atlantis o SG-1 but it kind-of resembles BSG cause it is the story about the people more then about the technology.
Let's face it it is a good show, and we still have no clue to what it will be since all good shows usually need to run a season or two until they get the fame they deserve.

How many of you watched SG-1 first episode live on tv when it premiered, same woth BSG or Farscape or Heroes?? You always got in after a few episodes and sometimes a season or two.

I would just love to see Atlantis get back to Pegasus and kill the wraith, but then what would they do? Help the people there rebuild, teach them stuff? That is boring.
This way you at least have a chance to wonder.
I personally have come up with a lot of scenarios for how to kill the wraith.

1. Rebuild the Ottero device, but first use The avenger 2.0 virus to disable all the gates. Then go with the travelers fleet and pick them out one by one.

2. Go visit the Ori friends that have been left with a bunch of ships from the crusades and ask them 2-3 on a loan since we saved them. With those ships that wore built with the knowledge of ascended beings. They could beat the wraith once and for all.

2.a On this line they could also use, the Ori gate the have that is capable of dialing other galaxies (not the super-gate the one in the Ori city they used to send the first priors), to send people aboard destiny and with Carter or M'Key and a bunch of ZPM's from the Ori buddies they could dial the Destiny back to earth. Or just get the ZPM's and take Atlantis to Destiny via wormhole-drive.

Back to atlantis.
3. M'Kay could discover how to build ZPM's and go with Atlantis and kill them off. Or better build a bunch of EMP shields like on the kids planet and place them on all the worlds.
With the Asgard code aboard Deadelus they could make everything out of thin air useing the beaming technology altered like Carter altered it in the SG-1 final episode.

So you see people letting your imagination wonder might be better then being pissed of that the movies ended and you did not like how it ended caue there's nothing interesting in Pegasus any more.


Anonymous said...

Atlantis was a great show and I think the movie should definitely be made. It would reconcile all the haters of SGU, plus bring in even more money for MGM. Surely they could go out and a get a sufficent loan.

syd kennedy said...

I am so disgusted in the fact that there is likely not going to be any SGA films as promised. The makers should not have canceled the show and made those promises to create 2 or 3 films as they did with SG1 if they were not going to follow thru with actually filming them. The SG1 & especially the SGA films & A town called Eureka were the only things I had to look forward to on television and now that's a washout. All but Eureka are lost. I couldn't be more depressed and disgusted with this as a fan. Very, very, very disgusted, frustrated & depressed. Well there's only Eureka now, which will probably be ending after this season as well. What has happened to sci-fi tv?

Anonymous said...

I honestly feel that SGU should fall and would pray that it does I don't like how it is filmed its like battle star gallactica with the cameraman chasing them around lame. SGA had more personality and funny moments it was a great series and could have lasted longer I mean look at SG-1 10 years SGA should be brought back and it should pick up where they left off at in the series finale and go from there. I would bet if they were to bring back col. Shepard and the team the ratins will jump back up higher the SGU cause look at Warehouse 13 the one episode that Joe (Shepard) played in was the highest rated episode and that series is still holding it's own. Bring back SGA.