What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.
~T. S. Eliot
Hello again Stargate fans,
Since the announcement of Stargate Universe’s cancellation some months ago, emotions have been running high.
Well, maybe that is an understatement. In all honesty emotions have been pretty high since the cancellation of Stargate SG-1, then Stargate Atlantis, and even further with the birth of SGU (which some angry fans refused to ever even watch, out of protest).
While waiting in line, some told stories of favorite episodes; some complained of the cancellations; some simply looked forlorn with tears in their eyes. When the doors opened and fans were allowed into the liquidation, some even briskly ran into the FX stage, most heading toward the costumes and props first.
With the finality brought by this weekend’s liquidation, understandably many fans are left with a sense of sadness, emptiness, and lack of direction. What is the correct response? Should fans be mad, sad, or just move on? What fans do not want is to be without a path forward.
Many of you probably have heard of the protests as well as felt the encouragement to participate in boycotts in an attempt to force the networks and studios to either continue with the Stargate franchise or at least to give the fans the Stargate movies they desired. It is very understandable that fans wish to take action; no one wants to feel helpless in a situation such as this one. However being explosive and attacking the studios, actors, creators and or the networks will not produce effective results.
Fans want to be heard; they desire a voice and even more the continuation of the programming they enjoy; after all, they have put blood, sweat, and tears into supporting the entertainment they love. These shows have become an integral part of their lives through forging fandom friendships, attending conventions, following online fan communities, collecting memorabilia, and even writing and reading fan fiction. So yes, the events of late, especially with the liquidation, have caused great distress for many dedicated supporters of the franchise.
We all know that endings are rarely easy, but it is very important that none of us loses sight of the bigger picture as we choose our course of action now that the reality that Stargate has truly ended begins to set in. The sets are gone; the costumes are sold off; the Stargate offices at Bridge Studios are empty, with the stages now being used for other new shows. Our research confirms that all of those involved in the beloved franchise are moving on to other projects.
Recently I have spoken to quite a few involved in the show in various capacities, and they are sad, too; they feel very proud to have been involved in the Stargate franchise. However these actors, writers, and producers are also realistic and are looking to the future. They want and need to move on to other creative projects.
After all, there are many great stories out there yet to be told, some of which may also grow into fan favorites. If fans close themselves off to future shows because off their anger over the loss of the Stargate franchise, no one wins, not the actors, writers, studios, production companies, and certainly not the fans. Even the city of Vancouver suffers dramatically. So many people depend on such shows and facilities like Bridge Studios for their livelihood.
It was not until I was walking around Bridge Studios, seeing all of the busy workers go about their day, that I realized how many are affected by the end of a show. Sure, actors lose work, but workers at many levels suffer, including caterers, set design, accounting, construction, you name it, all lose out. Truly everyone loses when shows end when they could have continued with proper support.
It is important to remember there are still wonderful shows out there to support, and fans can save them from a similar fate as the Stargate shows. Among other shows such as Warehouse 13 and Eureka, fans still have Sanctuary, a show supported by a great number of Stargate fans and perhaps considered by many a close cousin to the Stargate franchise. Unfortunately, the tactics of some who are angry over recent cancellations could really harm Sanctuary and call the future of the show into question.
A boycott may seem like a good idea on the surface, but most often such activities have the opposite of the intended effect: boycotts exacerbate poor ratings rather than attract the attention of those in charge. Ratings are a big deal, like it or not, television and movie entertainment is a business. The Powers That Be, whoever they are at the time, must make fiscally responsible decisions based on the ratings. Yeah, I know—not what any of us wants to hear, but still this a fact of life.
On the brighter side, the way ratings are tallied is improving to more accurately reflect the viewing audience; now methods used by networks include “On Demand”, DVR recording and legal downloads, which are how many Sci Fi fans watch programming. With this in mind, it is very important for fans to watch the shows in ways that tally their viewership—not through illegal downloads; such illegal file sharing harms the future of shows we love and even the potential for future shows down the road.
So once we have said good bye, at least for now, to Stargate, where do we go from here? How can fans be heard by The Powers That Be regarding their displeasure with network choices, grief over loses of programming, suggestions and support for shows, as well as hopes for future programming?
There are ways to be heard without causing harm to the very shows fans love. It is much more productive to focus on forward motion rather than stagnating over past losses. Recently WormholeRiders News Agency published a guide with positive suggestions for a campaign to support Sanctuary and help keep it from the path that ultimately doomed Stargate. The campaign has been effective helping fans overcome their frustration ending the season up over 600,00 live viewers from series lows.
While this model is based on Sanctuary, these ideas can work with any show. Fans should have a voice. If the efforts are constructive the networks and production companies should and do listen. However there is a huge difference between providing constructive criticism versus reacting emotionally in negative ways that will not benefit anyone in the long run.
And beyond the sadness, disappointment, and ultimate ending (for now) of MGM Studios Stargate franchise, symbolized so fully by the whole entirety of nearly 15 years of production priced, stacked, and sold to the public this weekend at the liquidation, life and the entertainment industry goes on.
To that point, last weekend viewers were introduced to a new science fiction Falling Skies which a new team at WHR is covering at conventions and with great reviews. Falling Skies features many celebrities who have successfully learned to move on in their careers when things in life end and new beginnings are realized. Respectfully, fans need to internalize this as well.
It is true, beginnings and endings are different sides of the same coin; perhaps this new series will provide a new chance for fans to engage in and support a wonderful, new creative endeavor. Many of the actors we all know and love are part of this project. And with the support of the fans, there will be other exciting shows to take us forward. Let’s relish the memories, respectfully say goodbye, and move forward with open minds for what lies ahead.
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