Farewell Stargate

9 05 2011

Be forewarned, this is a very long blog post.

On Monday at 9:01 p.m. central daylight time, original Stargate programming will end.  Stargate, with Kurt Russell and James Spader, aired on October 28, 1994. On July 27, 1997, Stargate SG-1 premiered on Showtime where it ran for 5 seasons before moving to Sci-Fi Channel where it continued until 2007, having completed 214 shows and earning the title of longest running North American science fiction series on television. With each passing season, fans just could not get enough of the main cast: Richard Dean Anderson as Jack O’Neil (with varying command titles along the way); Amanda Tapping as Samantha Carter; Michael Shanks as Daniel Jackson; Christopher Judge as Teal’c. Don S. Davis (rest his soul) was cast as George Hammond. Corin Nemec was cast as Jonas Quinn after Michael Shanks left the show for a short period of time. Later, when Richard Dean Anderson needed to take some time-out for his family, Ben Browder (as Cameron Mitchell) and Claudia Black (as Vala) were extraordinary choices to add to the team.

Families would sit down and watch the show together. They would attend conventions together. They felt like the cast and crew were like extended family. The cast became role models for children.

With the huge success of Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis was born in July 16, 2004, with SG-1, and SGA filling out a wonderful line-up that eventually added Battlestar Galactica for a power-packed Sci-Fi Friday line-up. It was ambitious to do two Stargate shows concurrently. Cast in season 1 were stars Joe Flanigan, David Hewlett, Rachel Luttrel, Rainbow Sun Francks, Torri Higginson, and Paul McGillion. As the show evolved we said goodbye to some cast members (Rainbow and Torri) and welcome others (Jason Momoa, Amanda Tapping, Jewel Staite and Robert Picardo).

The show had a slightly darker edge to it. Some fans loved it; others did not. In the background, ideas were being presented to make a third incarnation of the series. After 10 years of SG-1, fans did not understand the decision by the now Syfy Channel not to renew Stargate Atlantis after a mere 5 years. When the announcement about the third incarnation of Stargate, Stargate Universe (aka SGU) was greenlit for production, fandom split in a bitter divide. Some felt SGA was not renewed so that SGU could proceed even though the creators and writers and producers assured fandom this was not true.

I remember hearing about the loose premise of SGU on Gateworld. It was somewhere around 3 a.m. my time and I remember posting, “Oh great, Stargate Voyager.” Being an avid Stargate fan since the beginning, loving both the movie, SG-1 and SGA in different ways, my reservations were put at ease.

Through Joe Mallozzi’s blog, I discovered David Blue, who was to play Eli Wallace, was on Twitter. I had resisted Twitter (and Facebook) up until that time, but the idea that I may actually be able to follow along his journey as he went through the production process, and possibly even have a remote chance to ask a question or share my thoughts directly, was very appealing. In those early days, he did not have as many followers as he does now and I did get more responses from him back then. As he recruited more and more of the cast to join Twitter, my addiction to this show was sealed. Even some of the extras, Herb Sommerfeld, Bill Butt, and the actor known as J.C. Williams on Twitter were getting into the fun. Still lingering in my mind was: Oh God, what if I don’t like it.

I watched intently October 2, 2009 along with everyone else. It was a difficult first show to follow with all the cutting in and out, going back and forth between the present time on Destiny versus what transpired before Destiny. I worried about the shaky camera because I had a very difficult time watching Cloverfield. There was so much information being relayed in those first three episodes (Air I, II and III) that I had to go back and watch it several times. I could see right away I was going to enjoy Eli Wallace’s journey. I had never seen such a complex character as Robert Carlyle’s portrayal of Dr. Nicholas Rush in the Stargate franchise before and this excited me.

These first episodes were also not without controversy. Aside from the split in fandom about SGA and SGU, the sex scene in Air I between 2nd Lt. Vanessa James (Julia Benson) and Lt. Matthew Scott (Brian Jacob Smith) lit the internet on fire. Parents were upset that they did not get a prior warning that this was in there so as to be able to make an informed choice for their children about whether or not it would appropriate to watch; prior to this time, they argued that they never had to censor their children from the Stargate franchise. The scene was actually cut from the United Kingdom’s airing. There was a PG-14 stamp at the beginning with appropriate warnings of content, but like everyone else, I did not see this until I went back and watched a second time.

While SGA had turned a bit darker from the SG-1 universe, this was even darker. For some, they stopped watching because of it; for others, it was the shaky camera. But like every television series, first seasons are all about discovering the characters, establishing the story. People were feeling like SGU had gotten off to a slow start.

I loved the idea that this was a show more closely tied to reality. Everything was not delivered in a perfect package. We finally had imperfect heroes. It was a healthy reboot of the franchise.

This show also doubled its main cast. Joining Robert Carlyle, David Blue, Brian Jacob Smith, and Elyse Levesque were Louis Ferreira (as Colonel Everett Young), Alaina Huffman (as Lt. Tamara Johansen, aka TJ), Jamil Walker Smith (Master Sergeant Ronald Greer), Ming-Na (as Camile Wray). Many of the guest-stars did such an outstanding job that they were showcased regularly: Patrick Gilmore (Dr. Dale Volker), Peter Kelamis (as Dr. Adam Brody), Jennifer Spence (as Dr. Lisa Park), Julia Benson (2nd Lt. Vanessa James) and Lou Diamond Phillips as (Colonel David Telford). Later, Mike Dopud (as Varro) was added to the cast. The show had many notable guest stars who gave terrific performances.

It seemed that each episode was a new personal best not only for the actors/actresses, but for the writers and the production crew and the visual effects team. After the first 10 episodes of Season 2 aired and Season 2 had finished production in December of 2010, the Syfy Channel announced that it would not pick up this show for any more seasons. Fans had hoped perhaps we could get closure from a movie, but alas that was not to be. Fans are still holding out hope that a season 3 will take some other form, like in a comic or a book, or that one fan will win enough at Lotto to fund another full season.

I would like to thank everyone who ever touched Stargate to bring us magic over these last 17 years . You brought wonderful action and adventures, held my heartstrings in your hands, brought in enough comedy when things seemed too dark, made me gasp in awe of the special effects and set designs. The Stargate wormhole was the glue that held many people together, both on-set and off. The fans who have been here will still be here to follow your careers as you set off to blaze more trails wherever you go. The friendships we have created are because of you and will continue because of the love we have for these shows. Maybe somewhere down the road, someone will pick up Stargate the original movie and do a remake of it; I can already hear the crack in fandom. The cycle begins again.  For now, I will need to leave what happens to the Destiny’s crew up to my imagination. 

T H A N K   Y O U  F O R  T H E  M A G I C !!!!!!!!!!!!


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11 responses

9 05 2011
woody woodward

I too am saddened by the ending of a wonderful franchise. Knowing it’s over, I would almost think that “Epilogue” would have be better to be the finale as Camille’s speech at the very end was a perfect finish. Now, it seems that tonight’s episode is a season cliff hanger and series finale. Which is gonna leave us with questions but never any answers. I am thankful for the friends I have made here too.
Hugs

9 05 2011
PBMom

Woody: I’m still hopeful for either a book or even a comic to close out the story in some fashion. If not, then they will give the Fan Fiction world something to write copiously about.

9 05 2011
PBMom

Woody: Epilogue made me cry. It was a wonderful episode, the best Carl Binder has ever done. Yes, I totally agree that would have been a good place to end if it had to end. I treasure our friendship, too. Stargate brought us together, didn’t it?

9 05 2011
yessikg

I absolutely loved SGU from the start but I didn’t like SGA so there was no conflict for me. I have enjoyed this show so much and I’m so happy that we got as much as we got.

I am not pleased with SyFy and I refuse to watch any of their new shows. Eventually, when all the shows that I’m currently watching get cancelled (seems like it’ll be pretty soon) I will stop watching SyFy completely.

It wouldn’t feel canon to me if we got a conclusion in a book or some other form that does not involve TV. I wouldn’t mind it but it just won’t be enough.

If they don’t want to bring it back with the original people I say leave it alone. Most remakes are an insult to the original.

9 05 2011
PBMom

With the Jericho series, the same writers who produced the show did the comic. It really did need a season 3 to tell a more complete story. I’m hoping that if a comic or book does evolve, that it will be from the original writers.

Some remakes can be good. I was very leery of Battlestar Galactica when I heard it was rebooting. I was not a fan at ALL. Then I watched the miniseries and could not get enough of it. I went back and watched the original Battlestar and it almost felt like a comedy to me. But when I was watching it, it was the best sci-fi show on television. I liked the reboot of Bionic Woman, although it didn’t get good ratings. I love the new JJ Abrams Star Trek movies, although a lot of people who are Star Trek purists did not. I like the new Mission Impossible movies versus the old Mission Impossible series. I actually even liked the Lost In Space movie better than original series (again, back in the day it was cutting edge, but now I watch it and can’t believe I considered it good television. Another good reboot is the V Series.

But there some that are disasters, I agree. You know it took several years, but Farscape eventually got a miniseries to help bring storylines to a conclusion. I hated the way that show ended (I won’t share in case you haven’t watched it and plan to watch it), and the original actors came back. I know they say “no” now, but maybe in 3-4 years, someone will think wrapping up the storyline might be a good thing. Stranger things have happened.

9 05 2011
yessikg

I don’t know maybe I’m picky but even if it is from the original I can’t take it as canon. I have really tried with the Buffy comics but they just don’t feel the same to me.

Oh, I almost certainly love the older version better. I can forgo the fancy effects easily as long as there is a great story. I didn’t even like the new Star Trek movie and I’m not much of a trekkie. Yet again, this is probably me being picky since I didn’t even like the last 2 Batman movies. I will be happy for other fans if they enjoy a remake so I guess I’m ok with it 🙂

I haven’t watched Farscape yet (it’s on my list) but the fact that it good ending is a great bonus for me. Fingers crossed for a wrap up of the storyline.

9 05 2011
wandahose

The first season of SGU had me troubled. I actually got borred at times. but this second season was so much more. this was true Stargate. I too hope for a book or a comic to wrap up the loose ends.
I hope for something in the line of the comics before the star trek (2009) movie.
I dont believe that there will be a series or a movie.
This is a sad day i stargate scifi history

9 05 2011
Madison

I gave up on SGU around the time that Young left Rush to die on that planet. It wasn’t my SGC. I didn’t watch Stargate for reality. 🙂

I’m still sad that it got cancelled. I know a few people who worked on the crews of all three shows. It’s sad that they’re out of a job. I’m really sad that Joe Mallozzi’s cute dogs had to move to Toronto.

9 05 2011
PBMom

I think we all can find common ground that we all loved Stargate in some shape or form. Some just loved SG-1, some just loved Atlantis, some just loved SGU, and some loved a combination of two or three.

9 05 2011
PBMom

BTW, do plan to expand sometime this week on this some more. The blog was getting too long.

9 05 2011
Lisa R

I am saddened as you are by the end of this wonderful show and franchise. My husband and I were reminiscing about when we began watching it in 2002, and the incredible journey it has taken us on. We enjoyed all three shows, and I am still hopeful that we will see a conclusion in some form, but, if not, there is always fanfiction.

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