When SyFy decided to cancel Stargate: Universe in December, many Stargate fans were left wondering, “Is this it?” While there a wide range of science fiction franchises have had their share of longevity, but there comes a time when they have to learn how to “reinvent the wheel.” Even long standing franchises like Star Wars and Star Trek experienced their share of creative dry spells.
The Star Wars franchise remained relevant from the time of the trilogy primarily through novels and video games until the saga reinvigorated the surge and interest. Star Wars is continuing to be relevant through the Cartoon Network series, the Clone Wars.
Star Trek became a staple of American sci-fi culture for a good chunk of the 20th century. Following the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise, fans wondered if the franchise was on its last legs. As talk geared towards revisiting the original series characters as young cadets, many wondered if the formula would work especially since the pre-Kirk Captain Archer failed to win enough of an audience to keep the show alive to sustain the usual seven seasons its contemporaries had (TNG, DS9 and Voyager). When the J.J. Abrams reboot of Kirk and crew became reality in 2009, Star Trek became a resounding success. While fans were stuck again with the “heavy on action, lack of exploration” that ultimately doomed The Next Generation movie franchise, the execution, character depth and nostalgia overshadowed any problems the movie had. The next Star Trek movie is set to be released in 2012.
Even though the Clone Wars is Star Wars only episodic foray into TV and Star Trek has yet made its return to TV, the two franchises offer Stargate fans some hope. Hell, even Doctor Who fans went through a collective dry spell after the series went off the air in 1989 (after its debut in 1963) and only to see a minor presence in 1996 before coming back in full force starting in 2005.
Without delving into they why SGU was cancelled, one has to ask if there is any place for Stargate left on SyFy. Caprica, prequel to the modern version of Battlestar Galactica, was also canceled around the same time putting the future of that franchise in jeopardy. With recent programming decisions (*cough* wrestling *cough*) and the pressure for sustainability, maybe serious co-creator Brad Wright and executive producer Joseph Mallozzi might want to consider a new home for the franchise. Perhaps FX, Spike, G4 or even USA could be potential destinations. After all, Spike and G4 have aired TNG before.
SGU’s cancellation also puts the question of the status of the SG-1 and Atlantis movies in progress (tentatively titled Stargate: Revolution and Stargate: Extinction). Will they get completed? Will it get shelved? Does it depend on the progress of a fourth television series?