A Syfy executive has penned an lengthy open letter to Stargate Universe fans defending cancelling the show, whose series finale aired last Friday.
“There is literally no one other than MGM who supported it more than we did,” writes Syfy senior vp Craig Engler. “We were the only network who gave the show a try and the only ones who committed to making and airing 40 episodes before a script had been written. We invested tens of millions of dollars and thousands of hours of work over many years making and supporting the show.”
Engler noted the ratings peaked around 3 million viewers (including DVR) shortly after its series premiere, then sagged to hover near 2 million viewers during season 2, when the show moved to Tuesday and then to Monday nights. Fans slammed the network for “erratic” scheduling and accused Syfy of not promoting the show and cancelling it to make room for wrestling.
“We moved the final 10 episodes of SGU to Monday nights where we’d just had success with a new show called Being Human, but the ratings remained flat,” he continued. “SGU did finish out its run with a nice spike for the finale, which is something else you also typically see with TV shows … We would have happily kept making SGU regardless of anything else on our schedule if the ratings were sustainable. We don’t discontinue successful shows to make room for other shows … no network does because no network has a full roster of successful series. SGU was judged solely on its own ratings.” (Full letter here).
A confession: I was a fan of SGU. It was the only Stargate show I ever watched. I found the series uneven, the scenes back on Earth bored me to tears and I wish Lou Diamond Phillips had never been cast. That said, I liked the show — the relationship between Rush, Eli and Young worked for me, as did the mood of the series and its often smarter-than-you’d-expect storylines.
A couple months back Syfy told EW that the finale would give fans “closure.” Those who watched last week’s episode know that, if anything, the ending more resembled a cliffhanger, with the entire crew put into cryogenic suspension, save Eli, who either has to fix the one last remaining cryo pod or he will perish in two weeks. That is so not closure. And yet, the last 15 minutes were beautifully done and the ending fully worked for me: there’s something quite romantic about the idea of them just coasting out there asleep toward an unknown fate.