Being a lover of TV can be a painful experience. There has been many a cancellation over the years that has stung and left me with that horrible feeling of having a story I’m invested in left unresolved. The degree of the upset that it causes can vary. With something like Firefly, the show had already been cancelled by the time I started watching it. With something like Terra Nova, I only had 13 episodes to get invested in the story and the characters. But with Stargate, I’d spent 17 seasons across all 3 shows falling in love with the universe and the intriguing mythology that had been set up and expanded upon as the years went by. But more importantly than that, I had a large range of characters that I would look forward to seeing week after week. Jack O’Neill (two L’s) Daniel Jackson, Rodney McKay, Samantha Carter, Teal’c, Eli Wallace, Nicholas Rush, Ronan Dex, Aidan Ford- these are just a few of many characters that I would happily spend time with.
For those unfamiliar with the franchise, it began with a movie in 1994 by Independence Day helmers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin. The premise was that the stargate itself was found in ancient Egypt and it was discovered that it had the ability to transport people to a faraway planet. 3 years later came a spin-off series with a mostly replaced cast called Stargate SG-1. It continued the story from the movie (with a few minor changes to it) but opened the mythology up so that the gate could be used to travel to many different planets- not just the one seen in the film. The Stargate program was created and many different units were assigned planets to travel to so they could learn new cultures and hopefully gain new technology to fight the evil Goa’uld, who wanted to rule every new planet they came across. The show continued along nicely for several years but when it reached its eighth year- the franchise expanded again.
Stargate Atlantis came along and had the action set in the Pegasus galaxy. A whole new cast went along for the journey and that show forged its own identity with its own villains to deal with (the Wraith). One year after it began, SG-1 had something of a reboot. Gone was leading man Richard Dean Anderson, and in came Farscape vets Ben Browder and Claudia Black. The Goa’uld (and the Replicators who appeared in both shows) also stopped being primary villains and were replaced by the Ori. From what I’ve seen, fan reaction to the later seasons of SG-1 has been mixed but for me, it was a breath of fresh air that was needed by that point. There was a real feeling that the show had been revitalised and some of my favourite episodes come from those last two seasons. Those final few minutes of the 9th season finale are still some of the best TV I’ve seen. But, it was just a final two seasons as Stargate SG-1 came to an end after season 10 and 2 direct to DVD movies.
Atlantis kept going though and made it to its fifth year. The cast changes were higher on this show but the quality never really dropped. In fact, in the final season, we had what I think is a contender for one of the best episodes of the entire franchise with “The Shrine”. It was an episode that was light on action but worked because it was a character study of McKay, someone who had by this point become a fan favourite.
When Atlantis came to a close, problems for Stargate began to show. Stargate Universe was a not a show that had the support of all those who had followed Stargate thus far. Some Atlantis fans blamed Universe for their show coming to a close and it wasn’t helped by the promised direct to DVD movie of that show never coming to fruition. This was nobody’s fault. The DVD market had taken a hit around this time and it wasn’t deemed viable, yet the bitter taste that some had as a result of it wouldn’t shift. Certain fans took issue with the younger demographic it seemed to aim for in the marketing, and some thought the dark and gloomy tone felt at odds with the generally optimistic and upbeat shows that had come before it. As for me? I loved Stargate Universe. It took some time to find its feet but as the second season got underway, I started to feel as though I was watching something quite special. It was a very different beast to SG-1 and Atlantis certainly, but it was an example of how to evolve a long-running property like Stargate in new and interesting ways. I suspect that had Atlantis continued alongside it, the reaction to it would have been much more positive on the whole. And the music in that show? Some of the best I’ve heard on TV to this day. Joel Goldsmith is, and always will be, missed.
I remember watching the midseason finale of season 2 and trying desperately to find some hints online as to what was coming next. And then, just a couple of weeks before Christmas in 2010, word came that the axe had fallen and killed not just the show, but the whole franchise. I was gutted. All these seasons of watching Stargate grow would end on a cliff-hanger. For something that had gone on for so long, that seemed to be the biggest kick in the teeth to all those that had stood by it.
The world of Stargate lay dormant ever since. Now though could be the time that the fans can get behind it and get new life breathed into it again. MGM are apparently interested in bringing it back (and they sort of already have- more on that in a moment) and if the fans and those involved in it band together then we could make it happen. But, what many of us feel is the most important thing is bringing it back in the right way. That means a continuation of the story that Brad Wright and Robert Cooper shepherded for all those years. It needs to be something that builds on what they started and not a reboot.
There’s a web series that’s currently mid-way through its run called Stargate: Origins. It tells the story of a young Catherine Langford who discovered the gate and an adventure she goes on. But here’s the thing. I am a huge Stargate fan, yet I’ve no real interest in watching this. I imagine I will check it out at some point once it’s done, but I’m in no rush. I just don’t see anything to get excited about with a show set years before the characters I’ve grown to love were even alive. I don’t want to look back, I want to look forward. I want to see new adventures and I want to see this world continue to grow. I haven’t seen much love for Origins or much hype about it, so I can assume that most Stargate fans feel the same way. It’s not the fault of those working on this web series, it just seems to me that the people behind it have misjudged the fanbase; as if they think we’ll all rush to watch it based on the Stargate name alone. Stargate is more than its name. It’s the deep history and the love of all the stories we’ve seen that we want to get back to. It’s like when Emmerich announced that he was going to reboot the movie and bring us a new trilogy that was separate from the shows. The overall reaction wasn’t one of excitement, it was a collective groan from the fandom that indicated we weren’t interested. It’s telling that those movie plans were quietly dropped.
But here we are now with a chance to finally get Stargate back on screens the right way. Joe Mallozzi, who wrote for the franchise and served as showrunner for the last two Atlantis seasons, has been very vocal about how we can all make that happen. His blog is a great place to go to get information on what we can do and how we can make this movement one that has a great chance of succeeding. I’ve actually had the chance to interview Joe before when Dark Matter was about to premiere for a website I was then working on. He’s a man who is great at uniting fans and more importantly he cares about them and the stories that he tells. With him helping to lead the charge, there really is a strong chance we’ll all pull this off. Over on Twitter, StargateNow are really rallying the troops and doing all they can to get as many people on board as possible. Cast and crew are now starting to follow and get involved, and a planned tweeting session is due to take place to get Stargate trending and to get MGM to really take notice. In North America it will be Friday, March 9th at 6:00 p.m. PST/9:00 p.m. EST. Internationally it will be Saturday, March 10th at 7:00 p.m. GMT. It’s worth noting that anyone can join in on either of these; it’s actually encouraged. I urge everyone to join in, whether you’re a diehard fan, casual fan, or even just a lover of science fiction.
Stargate is something that I love and it’s inspired me. I doubt I would have even started writing were it not for that show. Now I have a book out and another 5 at varying stages of completion. It’s inspired others too and it’s really a franchise that has a fandom that would do anything for it. Stargate fans are great. They help each other, they usually debate in civilised ways and they can be a powerful bunch. Now’s the time for every single one of them to come together.
On a final note, I suppose I should say what I would like to happen were it to come back. I personally wouldn’t want a direct continuation of one of the shows we’ve already had. As much as I desperately wanted, say Stargate Universe Season 3, I think that time has passed. The way forward in my eyes is a whole new show with a couple of characters from any of the former shows among the main cast. New stories, new adventures, but built on the ground of the 17 seasons that have come before it. Other cast members can make appearances from time to time, but it needs to be something new that can appeal to fans both old and new; at least in my mind. What do you want from a new show? If you’ve stumbled upon this post, then do let me know. But should the show come back? If it’s done right, is there a market for it? That can be answered in one word; indeed.