Tuesday, August 22, 2006

SciFi not renewing Stargate-SG1

It was bound to happen. In fact, technically, it's happened once before. Stargate-SG1 will discontinue production at the end of the 10th season. Hard-core fans of the show are already mailing tissue boxes (you have to watch "Children of the Gods", the first made-for-television movie that launched the TV series) to SciFi executives in a bid to get them to change their minds.

MGM, which produces the show, says it will look for another distribution vehicle. That may mean another network or possibly direct-to-market syndication. Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda was the last marginally successful syndicated show outside the Star Trek franchise. Things don't look too hopeful in that area. One of the biggest problems with direct syndication is that the scheduling runs all over the map. Fans in one city get to see their favorite show at 6:00 PM on Saturday and in another city they may have to watch it at 3:00 AM Wednesday morning.

MGM could also consider going direct to fans over the Internet. Battlestar Galactica is selling previously-aired episodes over the Internet. Will the model support original production for a 10-year-old television franchise? Hard to day. In anoher 5 years, we'll almost certainly have high quality original productions made for the Internet and maybe released on DvD as an afterthought.

If SciFi feels comfortable letting the series end production with the 10th season, after having just barely squeaked into the Guiness Book of World Records for longest running SF television production (The X-Files previously held that distinction), they probably didn't have much faith left in the show anyway. And one can only hope that the Ori saga is at least reasonably resolved (with the usual toenail hanging out the window hint of a future rematch).

The Ori have actually proven to be a more interesting foe than the original Goa'uld. The show has remained faithful to its premise, that Earth is taking on every space alien in the universe masquerading as a god, but the Goa'uld were too mechanical about the process. The Ori, as ascended beings, at least have metaphysical advantages over humanity that makes our guys the underdogs. It's a bit more satisfying to see the SGC win one against the Ori than when they won encounters with the Goa'uld.

Well, all good things must come to an end. Stargate: Atlantis will continue in production, although I suspect it will only last another year without SG-1. The Wraith are not a very interesting enemy and the whole nanite-based replicator threat has also been dealt with in one way or another. If the best Atlantis can do is dip into the old SG-1 episodes for inspiration, it may just be time to put the entire franchise to bed.


Post a Comment

<< Home