Let’s kick things off with a little mystery clip from the set of Stargate: Universe…
So, what is everyone watching? Beside Stargate: Universe of course. My weekly viewing schedule is made up of –
The Walking Dead: I love the fact that Frank Darabont has taken the source material, the brilliant comic book series by Robert Kirkman, produced a series that has remained true to Kirkman’s original vision, yet built upon it to create a unique and thoroughly enthralling show. Great to hear it’s alright received a second season order.
House: In it’s seventh season, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Love the character interaction – although, I’m not a fan of the House/Cuddy romance. It’s like imagining your parents together. brrrrrh.
Survivor: I know, I know. As a writer, I should abhor reality television – and yet, I have to admit that this series has always been a guilty pleasure. Not as engaging as previous seasons, but the colorful (read: insane) characters make for entertaining viewing.
The Amazing Race: The show my buddy Carl calls “The fastest hour on television”. I’m not as invested as I was in previous seasons, but it’s always great to see the contestants hit Tokyo.
Top Chef: Apparently, we’re behind in Canada as the winner has already been crowned south of the border, but I’m enjoying Hail to the Chef, even though the product placement can get very tiresome. And I still want to know: DID Alex steal the pea puree?!!
F Word: My favorite of the Ramsay shows if only because he actually comes across as human in this one. This season, he’s pitting restaurants against each other in the quest to find England’s best. I was loving it up until the semi-finals in which one of three restaurants is eliminated before it even has a chance to compete.
Hell’s Kitchen: It’s the same every season but it always amazes me how many chefs are – 1) chain-smokers, 2) social awkward, 3) just out-and-out crazy.
My friends tell me I should be watching The League (and not only because I seem to be living it). With the first two issues of the comic book complete and my Tokyo restaurant list almost done, that’s next on my list of Things to Do.
So, what ARE you watching?
Today’s blog entry is dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, past and present.
Alexandria writes: “1 – Do you truly believe that angry SGA/SG1 fans are to blame for the low ratings for SGU? Or have impacted the ratings so significantly to go from over 2 million viewers live at the premiere of season 1 to 0.96 million viewers in the second season?”
Answer: Clearly, you have me confused with someone else. In my recent blog posts, I’ve made pretty clear the reasons I believe the ratings have been impacted (ie. the change to Tuesday nights with its increased competition, increasing use of alternate means of viewing the show, etc.). Angry former fans was not among them.
“2. Was it low ratings that caused the cancellation of SGA?”
Answer: I’m the wrong guy to ask. It wasn’t my decision. Ratings could certainly have been factor even though the show’s numbers were actually picking up in its fifth season. It’s easy to look back and say “Hey, the show was doing a 1.4!” it would never be cancelled today, but I’d argue that if it was airing today – on Tuesday nights with the increase in downloads and DVR use over the past couple of years since it last aired – it wouldn’t be doing a 1.4, and its numbers would most likely be around the same ballpark as SGU’s.
“3. If you believe that those angry fans had such pull to negatively affect SGU, then wouldn’t Atlantis still be on the air?”
Answer: See my response to question 1.
“4. What mostly does the network consider when deciding to renew or cancel a show?”
Answer: Mostly? Ratings. Specifically live+SD and live+3 numbers.
“5. Cost wise, is SGU more expensive to produce than shows like Sanctuary?”
Answer: I’m not sure what you mean by “like Sanctuary” but certainly given the size of the cast and our visual effects budget, it’s safe to say SGU is more expensive to produce than Sanctuary.
@iom666 writes: “I am a little bit upset at the Scifi channel as I believe putting #SGU on a Tuesday night was an attempt to sabotage the show ratings on purpose.”
Answer: I disagree. The move to Tuesday night was an attempt to increase viewership. Tuesday nights have been good nights for other SyFy shows – although, in retrospect, those were summer shows. Also, when the decision was made, I saw the logic in the move – given that more people are home watching t.v. on Tuesday nights, I was hoping that, even if our total audience numbers remained unchanged, we would benefit from less people recording the show for later viewing meaning we would see a bump in those live+SD numbers. Obviously, that wasn’t the case as the live +7 numbers suggest as many and more are recording the show on Tuesday nights.
Michael writes: “3) Who came up with the backseat driving scene with Dr. Perry, Volker, Eli, and Brody in the bridge? It was a rare hilarious scene.”
Answer: The writer of the episode, Carl Binder.
“4) After seeing that abandoned and battler worn Ursini ship, is it safe to assume they and the Blueberry aliens aren’t the best of friends?”
Answer: That remains to be seen. The Ursini may have bigger fish to fry.
Sean D. writes: “If, god forbid, the network doesn’t renew the show, might the producers try to get the show another season via another network?”
Answer: Hopefully such a scenario won’t even enter the equation and, two months from now, we’ll be collaborating with our friends at SyFy on bring you SGU’s third season.
Raynan writes: “Ah, Joe? You still (I told you a few days ago in comments) have your episode numbers wrong, if I’m not mistaken? “The Greater Good” should be #207, if you haven’t revamped the numbering system along the way .”
Answer: Yes, my bad. I’m getting ahead of myself. The Greater Good was, in fact, episode #207.
Andrew writes: “It would be nice if it were taken into account when deciding on an extension of that too, to exist here also still a market that settles back the money for a season – this product is selled world-wide, so look at the fans all over the world!”
Answer: Like dvd and download sales, the show’s performance in overseas markets has a huge impact on the studio’s decision re: the show’s future. Obviously, the more downloads, dvd, and foreign sales, the more the studio will be motivated to ensure the show continue on. So keep watching! Your support is important!
Simon writes: “1) First off, tell Carl on mybehalf that he has been forgiven! Joking, of course. Anyway on to my question, are you guys happy with the Live + 7 numbers more so than the same day?”
Answer: Sure, I suppose they’re informative.
“2) Great news on the movies! Any more developments on that end? Are the new management interested in keeping Stargate alive?”
Answer: Issues still being settled on the studio front. Hopefully more news on the movie front in the coming months.
Oreol writes: “Also, in the worst case scenario, having the ending of the show planned out, would it be possible to publish it on your blog?”
Answer: Definitely not. Sorry.
avabird writes: “Joe, how are the dogs and the fam?”
Answer: All good. Maximus (pictured in my banner) is recovering from eye surgery. Mom and sis will be spending Christmas with me in Vancouver.
dasNdanger writes: “Remember all that stuff I nagged about, stuff I wanted? The tension between characters? The conflict? The sacrifices? The questionable decisions? The bad guy coming through? The good guy going south? The consequences of one’s actions? And everything else? Well, the show has truly delivered!”
Answer: Only because you asked nicely.
Stryse writes: “What’s your take on this apparent shift in the way shows are getting made, moving into a more serialized format where viewers kind of do need to tune in week after week to follow along? How do you think the networks need to shift their paradigms to mitigate their risks with new shows of this format, so as to give them a proper chance, but not alienate whatever audience those shows manage to capture before they get cancelled?”
Answer: I prefer serialized shows like The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, and The Wire, but they seem to work better at a home like HBO where the emphasis is less on ratings and more on crafting a series that will, in time, build a loyal following, an audience willing to pay a premium for these shows (either via downloads, subscriptions, or DVD). Nowadays, if you’re not strong out of the gate or begin to lag a little in the first leg, there’s a good chance you won’t get to finish the race. While I agree our show is more serialized than either SG-1 or Atlantis, I think we’re striving – and, hopefully, succeeding – in producing a show that offers a little of both: developing story and character arcs along with standalone stories. As for what the networks need to do to mitigate the risks – I would strongly urge them to look into alternate means of gauging a show’s popularity that incorporate the increasing use of developing technologies by today’s tech-savvy consumers.
Connor P writes: “You said that it would be a shame to cancel SGU early because you have the storyline all mapped out. Does that mean that you have the entire plot sequence mapped out, e.g. if all goes well, SGU will be x seasons long, with the finale coming in y years. Or do you just have the end of the overarching plot line designed, and you can drop it in at the end of whatever season you want, and draw the seasons out as long as you want with subplots in the middle?”
Answer: There are a number of arcs and elements that will figure into the ultimate finale we have planned. Ideally, we’d get five years to tell the entire story in satisfactory fashion but, if it came down to it, we could pay it off over the course of a single season.
Montrealer writes: “Afraid not. IIRC part of contract with Skiffy (AKA SyFy) effectively give them a veto to new production of a show they aired on a new network.”
Answer: Hey, I wasn’t aware you worked in the network’s legal department.
Joan001 writes: “And Vala Mal Doran – as I said before, she is probably the only one who could show up on Destiny and be a solid fit.”
Answer: As much as I love the character (and I really, really do), I couldn’t disagree with you more. Totally different sensibility.
Randomness writes: “Just wanted to point something out as people here obviously are doing a renewal campaign. Letter writing does get the attention of studios/networks.”
Answer: Even more effective than a letter writing campaign is getting friends and family (and their friend and family) to tune in to the show Tuesday nights at 9:00 p.m. on SyFy. THAT DEFINITELY gets the network’s attention.
Elminster writes: “@Joe – What’s Canada’s ratings for SGU? I have a feeling that the number of viewers from Canada, England and Australia would out-perform the USA’s.”
Answer: SGU does very well on Canada’s Space channel averaging about 350 000 viewers per episode, which is all the more impressive when you consider the fact that Canada has roughly one tenth the population of the U.S.