State of the Franchise

PlayItGrand December 30, 2010 5 Comments »

The last few weeks have been a virtual rollercoaster for Stargate fans. It’s been so crazy it’s hard to keep track of everything. In an attempt to get to the bottom of what it all might mean for the future of the Stargate franchise, let’s try to break it down.

Since the cancellation of Stargate Universe by the SyFy Channel (*shakes fist*), several statements have come out from sources that Stargate fans trust, Gateworld.net and Joe Mallozzi’s blog in particular. At first we had a deluge of what I saw as good news.

First I listened to GateWorld’s podcast discussion of why SGU was cancelled. This was the first time I had ever listened to their podcast, though I’ve been following GateWorld for years. Ironic, huh? Still, I was very glad I did. While the podcast hit on many of the points that Darren Sumner made in his post, “Six Reasons SGU Was Cancelled”, I found great hope in it, and I highly recommend that everyone listen to it. Remember how I mentioned that in discussing SGU with some GateWorld team members at a convention, I was struck by David Read telling us if SGU failed as a series the franchise would be finished? Well I was pleasantly surprised to hear David confidently say that, while it may take a couple years for it to bounce back, the franchise is very strong and will recover eventually. This made me very very happy. My fellow fans should be pleased that even though our attempts to save our shows after SyFy has murdered them may have failed, we have succeeded in helping build a franchise that will withstand the end of what might be its last series.

A week after the cancellation, Brad Wright (co-creator of SGU, prolific writer, and executive producer) wrote to Curt Wagner, a.k.a. Show Patrol. As soon as I saw the article I pounced on it, knowing that Mr. Wright would know best what the plan for the future is. I was pleased to see that he isn’t taking the cancellation sitting down. “We haven’t given up on finishing the story we started,” he said, explaining that discussions are going on with MGM as they explore their options.

Yet as Show Patrol is quick to make clear, this doesn’t mean that SGU is saved. There’s a lot of work to be done. The good news for us to take to heart is that we have Brad Wright fighting to keep the show alive, and that he feels our love of the show. “It’s heartening to see so many people upset about Syfy’s cancellation of the show,” he wrote to Show Patrol, “but it’s important to remember that their license fee represented only a portion of our total budget.” In other words, while SyFy footed most of SGU‘s bills, they weren’t the only ones. If they can be replaced, the show can potentially go on to it’s third season.

Christmas Eve arrives, and with fans praying for a Christmas miracle, it’s starting to look like we’re building up to one. GateWorld reports that a press release has been given by MGM. They have been freed of their bankruptcy under the management of Spyglass Entertainment, and with $500 MILLION from JP Morgan to work with they are once again open for business and ready to go back into production. “MGM is emerging from one of the most challenging periods of its storied history,” Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, new Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of MGM, said in the press release.

“We are honored and inspired at the opportunity of leading one of Hollywood’s most iconic studios into its next generation of unforgettable filmmaking, global television production and distribution, and aggressively pursuing, developing and exploiting new digital entertainment platforms.

“Beginning today, MGM is a stronger, more competitive company, with a solid financial foundation and a bright future. We look forward to working with MGM’s dedicated employees to build upon this company’s legacy.”

Stargate fans should also know that, within the bankruptcy documentation, the Stargate franchise was specifically mentioned as one of MGM’s valued assets. They know the franchise is important, and that should give fans hope that MGM will continue to look after the franchise properly. PLEASE

Perhaps most hearting is that after some staff changes, our dear fellow Stargate fan, Charles Cohen, has retained his seat as MGM’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer! He has been invaluable to the franchise’s success, and so long as he remains, Mr. Cohen could make all the difference in the future of the franchise.

Things were looking up, but then on the 26th, the happy bubble broke. The news breaks from Joe Mallozzi’s blog that the Atlantis movie is getting shelved “indefinitely”. Mr. Mallozzi wrote, “I’m sorry to say but the cancellation puts the brakes on whatever progress the SGA movie had made in the past month, shelving it indefinitely.” Some stalwart SGA fans may have thought that the end of SGU meant that money could be put back into making Stargate: Extinction happen, but, as Mallozzi puts it, “Contrary to what some may think, the cancellation of SGU is very bad news for those looking forward to an Atlantis movie.”

Mik’ta!

So where does that leave us? We have a whole bunch of good news, lifting spirits and raising hope in time for the holidays. The news regarding the Atlantis movie is a huge downer though, and it leaves us to question if the SG-1 movie is being affected the same way. Actually, it’s a question that has been asked, and Mallozzi has declined to answer it, so far. However, in both that post and in subsequent posts, Joe Mallozzi has continually said that everyone involved is working hard to find an avenue for the franchise, and some more big – and hopefully positive – news could break any day!

Meanwhile, we have two new people to target in our campaigns. Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum, the founders of Spyglass Entertainment, are the new Co-Chairmen and Chief Executive Officers of MGM. As the new guys, they have yet to experience the love, dedication, and loyalty of Stargate fans. I propose that we give them a healthy dose! After all, as the new faces of MGM, they are in the best position to decide what happens to the Stargate franchise. It’s time for us all to step up to that mailbox with a fistful of letters! Tell them you want more Stargate! Tell them you want to buy the SG-1 and SGA movies! Tell them you want to see Stargate games both online and off! A great example would be a board game in the style of Trivial Pursuit. Tell them you want to see SGU get a third season on ANY network but SyFy! Write them right now, right here!

Gary Barber
Roger Birnbaum
MGM
10250 Constellation Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90067

In addition, we need to buy DVDs, watch SGU on Hulu, buy it on iTunes, and watch SGU live when it returns in the spring! If they don’t pay attention to the writing, the numbers will get their attention, but the numbers have to be good!

Fans need to keep turning up the heat. While it’s important that we try to be patient with MGM while they figure things out, we also need to keep telling them what we expect from them. We can’t let our campaigns die out like a fire that has burned through its fuel too fast. We need to keep stoking it, keeping it strong and hot until the season changes and we don’t need it any longer. We have to write and write again. We have to keep talking about it, tweeting about it, and posting about it.

So, what are you waiting for?! Go!

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5 Comments

  1. Françoise Macke (Fran)No Gravatar January 12, 2011 at 3:51 am - Reply

    Hello SpaceGypsies ! I am still waiting for the return to televison SGU in France! But diffusion is not on the agenda yet. we always see more than 6 months lag … I am impatient to see him!

  2. GreenEggsNSammNo Gravatar January 4, 2011 at 10:12 am - Reply

    xforce11 That’s a fantastic idea!!! SGU would be great on BBCA! How fitting would it be for BBCA to take on SGU when SyFy stole Being Human? I LOVE IT! Besides, I think they would get a larger audience on BBCA.

  3. xforce11No Gravatar January 2, 2011 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Thanks PlayItGrand. I just hope it is on a network that is visible (that I can watch) to the public and supported by the network. I’d love to see it as part of BBCAmerica’s Sci-fi Saturdays!

  4. xforce11No Gravatar January 2, 2011 at 6:53 pm - Reply

    Hey #SGU @BBCAmerica now has a sci-fi block (Doctor Who, X-Files, Torchwood) and shows STNG. Can we get SGU Season 3 on there?

    • PlayItGrandNo Gravatar January 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm - Reply

      Hi xforce11! Thanks for commenting! I noticed the @BBCAmerica block and I’m very excited! The PTB have only hinted that they are working with MGM to find options for SGU, but if there’s any particular network in mind, they aren’t saying yet. BBCAmerica would be a good fit though. Once upon a time Stargate was bigger in the UK than in the US, and that might still be the case to some extent.

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