This posting requires a huge preface and will still end up causing all sorts of heckling of me by my friends, but yet I think I still need to post it. No. I do not like the move "Stargate". I think that the movie as it stands alone had the best potential to be an amazing sci-fi movie, and then turned into a lame desert movie. I have long said that there is a point in the movie where you can feel the actual turning point from "hey, this is cool" into "holy crap, this sucks!"
That said, if you take what the movie might have tried to do and combine it with the ten seasons of Stargate SG-1 that followed, then you have something. Perhaps the movie should not have been about the discovery of the gate or the things on the other side of the portal it opened, but somewhere in the middle. Regardless, Stargate SG-1 (and the Atlantis spinoff) have become one of the few things I look forward to on TV these days. And so, of course, they're cancelling it.
I've read a few of the opinions on the Slashdot thread that brought the news to my door, and I figured that I must give mine here, since I feel that my opinion is not really represented among the many I've read. I've always found Stargate SG-1 to be a low-quality show, especially in the early seasons. The sets are all basically the same. The "big enemy" remained the same through much of the show. The budget was obviously not as high as some shows (Battlestar Galactica), even though it seemed higher to me than others (Babylon 5). The recent few seasons have really improved and brought me in, though. My theory is that the show's producers decided to throw together the Atlantis spin-off as a whim. They figured that with the critical success of Galactica and the longevity of Stargate SG-1, they could create a new show with a bigger budget and see what happened. And to everyone's surprise, the new show worked! And so following the "more money equals better show" logic, they wisely increased the SG-1 budget and brought in good actors to replace Richard Dean Anderson's crappy character, while simultaneously pulling in the justifiably disgusted Farscape audience. They built a story around a big enemy who is scary, not just because of its on-screen effects but because it is topical. It makes me want to watch. Atlantis isn't a bad show. I think I may become tired of "the wraith vs. the ancients" idea too soon. I would rather explore the additional gate worlds and have new, complex stories about alliances with the people there. They could even entrench the wraith more deeply as the enemy and bump the show up a notch. What I worry about is the quality of the shows that will supplant Stargate SG-1. Look at Eureka, for example. I thought it would be a cool show, having seen all the neat promo shots. But the thing looks like it was filmed on a cheap backlot in Canada, and the writers seem to have taken no effort to compose their stories. The second episode was about ghosts, for pity's sake. In a town full of scientific geniuses, if you have the need to reach for the supernatural in your second episode for stories, then you've got serious writing problems. And this "section five" crap is not being done well, if it should be done at all. I don't know how to explain that Eureka simply feels bad, like The Chronicle, that crappy show about the tabloid reporters who learn that all that tabloid "fiction" is actually real. Even Battlestar Galactica these days has be worried. They've taken a serious departure from their original premise. (Hello? "Rag tag fleet"? You're on a planet now!) I was disappointed with the revelation that (sorry if I'm spoiling) Cylons really just want to have babies like humans do. I'm unimpressed that the best idea the writers could muster for the big finish was babymaking. Yes, it's basically a soap opera, but it's sci-fi, not daytime TV. They are picking up a few decent cancelled shows, though. I liked Jake 2.0. Call it a guilty pleasure. And Threshold never really got a chance to get off the ground. It would be neat to see new episodes of either of these, but I doubt that at this late stage they could pull it off. Enterprise, another cancelled sci-fi show, is also going to air on SciFi. Soon, sci-fi may be relegated to novels. Or poor TV adaptations of novels. Although this upcoming special, Dragonsword, doesn't look too aweful. Of course, that's not sci-fi, it's fantasy. Ugh. The Dresden Files also doesn't seem too bad, but once again - fantasy. Read any good sci-fi lately?