Interestingly, Syfy’s Craig Engler (proprietor of the channel’s twitter account) has not only taken time to respond to criticisms facing the channel from Stargate fans over twitter and even at GateWorld (in response spurred by Sanctuary’s falling ratings on Mondays written about in another GateWorld article). Oh, and he’s showed up on the Facebook page for “Save Stargate Universe.”
That’s what I’m thinking about. As is abundantly clear, a television show’s internet fanbase, unless luckily all have Nielson boxes, are really just a small fragment of the total viewing populace and likely will no real impact on the ratings. I find it interesting, then, that Syfy feels it needs to do damage control – because that seems to be what it’s trying to do. The show was cancelled in December, and only now are campaigns really starting… And so is Syfy’s explanation machine.
Syfy is a business, and businesses make decisions that favor themselves. Everyone understands that. So why are they out and about trying to defend themselves? It almost feels like an author responding to a negative Amazon review. While I welcome the openness, Mr. Engler hasn’t really offered anything “new” to explain the cancellation of SGU. The internet is a bright place, and it seems like everything he brings up has been discussed. I suppose the statement that Syfy was trying to help SGU by moving it to a new timeslot by calling it the channel’s most successful night (but neglecting to note the fall vs. summer comparisons) could be considered new, but I’m pretty sure the gist of that was in the press release when the officially made the move to begin with. All-in-all, this rings false and, honestly, unnecessary.
It either means the “Save SGU” campaigns are working, or something else is up. While I hope-hope-hope the former is true, I’m thinking it’s more of the latter. Likely, with the cancellation of Caprica, SGU, and the current “move-Sanctuary-for-no-reason” disaster, that the Stargate campaigns are drawing attention to something. Specifically, to Syfy’s “subtle” move away from science fiction – first through a name change, and then by seemingly throwing shows into a ratings black hole, one after another. I’ve seen the GateWorld article pop up on other websites, and I’m sure Syfy doesn’t like their tech-savvy fans reading that they’re anti-science fiction (though it’d probably hurt more if it was suggested they were anti-ghost or anti-wrestling).
Of course, maybe they’re just trying to offer a gesture of goodwill, with no nefarious benefit to themselves. But when was the last time a company did that?
(P.S. Seriously, though, we should really be doing what we can to Save SGU – and thus Stargate in general – whether it be contacting Syfy or MGM. Make sure to check out Save Stargate and Save SGU and see if you can help.)