Source: Mania [follow link for complete column]
MANIA - TV WASTELAND: The beginning of the end for SGU
Syfy begins the burn-off this week.
By Rob Vaux
March 06, 2011
Stargate Universe kicks off the final 10 episodes of its run this week, another casualty of a brutal season for genre shows. This particular example illustrates some of the potential causes. One could argue that SGU simply had too much baggage from the franchise to carry: it couldn’t break away from the old formula like it promised, or conversely, it did so at the cost of alienating longtime Stargate fans. The dilemma faces every new show that comes on: provide a reliable formula or go for broke with something truly original? Frankly, speaking, we need a lot more of the latter. When it works, it works big; witness Lost or (on a far more modest scale) Warehouse 13. On the other hand, one of the best shows of the last decade – Battlestar Galactica – was a remake, which suggests that quality is where you find it.
More pertinent than originality, or even just putting out a decent hour’s worth of entertainment, is television’s inability to let shows find their audience. With the sheer number of channels out there, and the need to fill so much air time so often, one might expect a little more leeway. Some of TV’s biggest hits – including Seinfeld and Family Guy, to name just two –took their time getting rolling, and the latter case benefited immeasurably from DVDs and other new sources of access. But despite those tools, the network execs appear to have the patience of a sugar-addled four-year-old: if it ain’t a hit out the gate, it gets yanked before the actors’ checks clear.
Nor is this a new phenomenon. The number of truly great shows pulled before their time stretches back into antiquity: Max Headroom, Sports Night, Police Squad! Crime Story, Firefly (not a personal favorite, but the fans would hunt me down if I neglected to mention it), Arrested Development, The Ben Stiller Show… and a little thing called Star Trek which no one at NBC really believed in. What could any of these have done with a little more breathing room from the front office? Take a look at where their creators and stars went afterwards, and you’ll see the talent that television let go to waste. SGU is heading down the tubes just as it hits its stride, another casualty in a long list. At least it will be in some very good company.
You can watch the final episodes beginning this Monday at 10:00 PM EST on Syfy.
Stargate Universe (Syfy, 10:00 PM EST)
SGU is back with Chloe (Elysa Levesque) still in the hands of the aliens, trying to help the Destiny from afar...