Since the announcement came that Stargate Universe was cancelled after 2 seasons, fans have been creating campaigns. At this point there seems to be about a dozen. All seem to have about the same strategy, but no single campaign seems to be leading the fight. Some campaign groups even seem to be competing with each other for followers instead of focusing on their task.
Because of this, fans are unorganized and our message isn’t as loud as it should be. As GreenEggsNSamm commented to me, speaking as someone outside the Stargate fandom, it appears as though most of us have said, “It’s over . . . Meh.”
Where is that one campaign that will lead us? Where are the volunteers to letterhead and mail letters from fans around the world? Where is that rallying call to bury SyFy in empty Kleenex boxes, lemons, or something else entirely? Where is the group of fans who insist on standing out in the rain outside MGM to show their support for Stargate? After watching campaigns come and go, successful or not, I still cannot answer these questions. What I can tell you is that we must not let past failures bring us down. I can also tell you that, after participating in several of the past campaigns, the current campaigns need to narrow and refine their strategies. Unity is key.
Writing MGM and Bridge Studios should NOT be the top priority. Yes we need to show them that we support the franchise, but they already know how important the franchise is. It was specifically mentioned in the documentation of their bankruptcy and restructuring plan. When Stargate SG-1 was cancelled, the franchise was MGM’s second most lucrative franchise, right behind James Bond. That’s HUGE, and you can rest assured that MGM isn’t going to forget that. The fact that Brad Wright is reportedly in talks with MGM right now, trying to find a way to continue the SGU story, is very good news considering that fans did not hear that kind of news from any source after SG-1 was cancelled. MGM didn’t have an option to take SG-1to another network. Their contract with then SciFi was exclusive. That is not the case with SGU, and that is a reason to rejoice!
Writing to the actors and production team isn’t going to help either. We can show them our love just as well online and through Twitter. Sending letters and Valentines is a nice gesture, but I must point out that there’s no one at the studios right now! Production of SGU wrapped months before the cancellation. The cast and crew went home or off to other jobs, and they won’t be going back to Bridge unless SGU is renewed or the proposedStargate movies go into production. So save your time and your postage stamp, and go tweet your support instead.
MGM is still saying “Show me the money”. They know that Stargate is worth something, but with fans waning in loyalty over SGU, it has likely become less clear just how much the franchise is still worth, and how much money it is safe for them to put back into it. To show them that the franchise will keep being profitable we need to watch SGU live when it comes back this spring, and we need to buy DVD’s. Other merchandise you find will help to. Do you need to complete – or start! – your action figure collection? Are you still dying to buy the SG-110 season mega set but you’ve been putting it off? Do you miss your show so much that even a book or an audio novel would help ease the craving for something more than re-runs and amateur fan fiction? There’s never been a better time! Either directly or indirectly, MGM will see that Stargate merchandise is still moving, and they need to keep it coming!
As much as we despise them, there is no point in bombarding SyFy. Over the years SyFy has been moving steadily further and further away from where scifi fans would prefer to see it go. Time and time again they have killed our favorite shows with no regard for fans whatsoever. Recent events have shown that SyFy really couldn’t care less about us. They’re more interested in that “male 18-34” demographic that has been shown to bring in lots of money. When they chose to pick up wrestling and put it on Friday nights instead ofStargate, they might as well have kicked us all in the nuts. Friday night has always been the night for Stargate, ever since SyFy picked up SG-1in season 5. Apparently, wrestling fans are also accustomed to getting their fix on Fridays. SyFy had three shows to schedule: SGU, Sanctuary, and Caprica. All would have suited Fridays very well. However, SyFy chose wrestling fans over scifi fans. Why? Money!
They decided that it was more important to keep wrestling on Fridays where fans could find it than it was to keep Stargate in it’s happy Friday night spotlight. Instead they took SGU and put it on Tuesday’s with the other darker and dramatic show, Caprica. We all know what happened next. Both shows suffered from low ratings because they had strong competition and few people want to watch heavily episodic shows late on a weeknight. Of the three shows, Sanctuary is the only one that has avoided the ax so far, but the long wait for renewal as fans biting their nails.
Now SyFy has gone even further. Not only have they picked up more wrestling, Friday Night SmackDown, but Marcel’s Quantum Kitchenwill be premiering on SyFy. That’s right. It’s a cooking show. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t eat anything that could possibly cause me to jump around in time.
The point is that even if we could convince SyFy to change their minds, we wouldn’t want them to. If they pick SGU up for a third season they will only cancel it again, and that will only make it harder for MGM to find a way to continue the franchise. SyFy is not going to move it back to it’s Friday night seat of power, not even for the rest of season 2.
They certainly aren’t going to move wrestling from Fridays because it is their money maker now, as excruciatingly sad as that is. What SGUneeds is a new channel with an identity sci-fi fans can relate to, not a channel that is telling their fans to take a hike.
So what Should fans be doing? Fans need to bombard other networks with their love of SGU. It would help a lot if we could get some idea of what networks to target, but The Powers That Be are being tight lipped as usual. Yet it is still the best course of action. Space Channel, HBO, Starz, BBC America, Showtime, FX and many more have all been mentioned by fans. USA has been mentioned as well but I would recommend taking it out of the running since it is a NBC/Universal owned channel, just like SyFy. Your mail needs to go to channels like Showtime. This is who you need to show your Stargate love to, and you need to be loud and proud about doing it, too! Tweet, blog, post on Facebook. Tell the world to lay the pressure on a new channel to give SGU a home.
In order to really have an impact, we need to UNITE. The most successful fan campaigns have been united as one group, all doing the same thing. Farscape fans sent in postcards with a caricature of Crichton on them. Jericho fans sent in 20 TONS of nuts! It was so many that even people who never watched Jericho, like me, heard about the campaign! Now that’s a message!
When networks are assaulted from every angle by a million different methods the only thing they will see is how disorganized the fans are. When they receive the same message over and over and over by hundreds of fans, that gets their attention.
The bottom line is that we need one campaign with the means, the dedication, and the leadership skills required to step forward and take the lead. All the existing campaigns need to pool their resources and work together, cutting out the afore mentioned unhelpful goals. They need to devise a standard letter that can be easily adapted and addressed to all of the networks that may have it in their power to save SGU. It needs to be posted it on every campaign site, and each and every one of us needs to do our part by printing those letters and mailing them, and then convincing our friends to do the same.
Unity is key. Disorganization will be our ruin. We need to work together and speak as one voice. We have a common purpose. Now we need to work to reach it in unison.