Sci-fi greenlights STARGATE: UNIVERSE

Discussion in 'Stargate' started by Ghostface1701, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. Tyre

    Tyre Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 2, 2003
    Somewhere Between Heaven and Hell
    While I think Season 4 is probably the best season of SG-1, there was a definite beginning to a shift in tone after Glassner left and Mallozzi and Mullie were brought in. Despite what I believe Wright and Cooper later said, SG-1 in the beginning was a not a comedy, but a Sci-fi adventure with comedic elements. One of the great things about the series was its ability to seamlessly shift between action/adventure, comedy, and even sometimes thoughtful science fiction in the same episode, though with a definite emphasis on the first. After Season 3, they almost gave up on the former. Like I said, I think Season 4 is my favorite season, but when I think of the best episodes of it (Window of Opportunity, Double Jeopardy, Exodus) they're either action/adventure or all-out comedy. When I think of my favorite episodes of Seasons 1-3, I think of Torment of Tantalus and The Fifth Race, which, while they had their share of comedic moments, they fit in with the serious plot.

    But, what worked in Season 4, and then 5 (though they actually got back to some more serious episodes in Season 5 with Between Two Fires and Meridian), began to unravel in Season 6. See, the mix of action/adventure and comedy only works when the action/adventure is fun and the comedy is funny. And, well, you can only put your main characters in so many impossible situations before it gets boring. So, basically, all your action/adventure plots either end up being the same or you've run out of good ideas and start using the bad ones (Nightwalkers, Sight Unseen).

    A real problem was that instead of having episodes that were a mix of action/adventure, comedy, and serious plots (with some episodes leaning towards each), you had either action/adventure episodes, comedy episodes, or serious episodes. There were some episodes that still managed to combine the three, and shockingly they were the best of the season (Abyss and Full Circle). It's also where it started to become apparent that the best episodes were going to be credited with either Cooper or Wright. Lost has the same problem, almost all of the big episodes from the last three seasons are credited with Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, or both. Now, since these guys are the showrunners they obviously tend the write the important episodes (see Behr, Ira Steven), but in Stargate’s case not only were these episodes more important than the others, they were also head and shoulders above the rest of them. For example, from Season 6 on, they wrote:

    Redemption (Parts I and II) (Cooper)
    Frozen (Cooper)
    Abyss (Wright)
    Unnatural Selection (Cooper & Wright)
    Paradise Lost (Cooper)
    Full Circle (Cooper)
    Fallen (Cooper)
    Lifeboat (Wright)
    Heroes (Parts I and II) (Cooper)
    Lost City (Parts I and II) (Cooper & Wright)
    New Order (Part II) (Cooper)
    Zero Hour (Cooper)
    Covenant (Cooper, co-story)
    Citizen Joe (Cooper, co-writer)
    Theads (Cooper)
    Moebius (Part I) (Cooper & Wright, Co-Story)
    Moebius (Part II) (Cooper & Wright, Co-Story, Cooper, Teleplay)
    Avalon (Parts I and II) (Cooper)
    Origin (Cooper)
    Beachhead (Wright)
    Ripple Effect (Wright, Co-Story)
    Ethon (Cooper, Co-Story)
    Crusade (Cooper)
    Flesh and Blood (Cooper)
    The Pegasus Project (Wright)
    200 (Everyone)
    The Shroud (Cooper & Wright, Co-Story, Cooper, Teleplay)
    Unending (Cooper)

    Now, there are some real clunkers credited in part with Cooper there, and there are some quality episodes not included (Reckoning, Camelot, ect.), but for the most part those are the highlights of the last four seasons. Now, writing is a collaborative process, so I’m not sure how many of those ideas came from the other writers. Also, since Wright and later Cooper were showrunners of the show, you’d have to say that they are also responsible for making sure everyone else’s episodes don’t suck, but according to Wright they stopped re-writing Mallozzi and Mullie’s stuff back in Season 6. Now, their record in Atlantis after the pilot isn’t nearly as impressive (Irresistible’s story credit. ‘Nuff Said.). But The Shrine, written by Wright, despite its flaws was leaps and bounds better than anything else Atlantis has done this season. And, while I think Atlantis certainly took a dip in quality in Season 3, it took a free-fall after Mallozzi and Mullie became showrunners in Season 4.

    Atlantis started out much like SG-1, it was darker, more serious, and had a nice mix of action/adventure, comedy, and seriousness. Episodes like The Eye/The Storm leaned towards action/adventure, while episodes like Poisoning the Well leaned towards serious drama. But, Atlantis dropped the serious drama much faster than SG-1 did. It became the Shepperd and McKay show, which isn’t really surprising since those were far and away the best character the show had. Teyla (Female Teal’c) and Ronan (Tough guy, who oddly is right most of the time) were never really interesting, Ford had potential both as a team member and as an antagonistic ally (think Todd) before they killed him off, and they killed off the only other two characters people gave a shit about (Note: I’m not including Zelenka because he’s not a member of the main cast, but despite him having about a quarter of the screen time of Teyla and Ronan he’s much, much more… awesome).

    In the end, though, some of it isn’t about the tone of the episodes, but of the overall storylines. SG-1 had a few things going for it in the beginning, a definitive, powerful enemy with an idenitity, strong character arcs for it’s main cast (O’neill still sort of recovering from his son’s death, Daniel finding Sha’re, Carter and her father, Teal’c and his betrayal and his family), and a nice hook in the form of a foundation in ancient mythology. Now, when I mean character arcs, I certainly don’t want a BSG type thing where every character is whiny and annoying and unlikable, but a little motivation is nice. As the series went on, the enemies got weaker and were replaced by more powerful and less interesting enemies, the characters got over and drama in their lives (Which, of course, prompted the whole Carter/Jack shipping fiasco to add some kind of personal drama), and the mythology element became downplayed (Even the Ancient originally had backgrounds in both Buddhism with the ascension and Roman in their language). Also, they had Never Ending Subplot Syndrome with the NID, which just would not go away no matter how many times they destroyed it. One of the reasons I like Seasons 9 and 10 more than a lot of people here was that it gave back an enemy that was grounded in Earth tradition (this time, Christianity) and was genuinely powerful enemy (later getting an identity of their own in Adria), and characters with some kind of drama (Mitchell and trying to connect, Vala trying to prove she’s trustworthy). Despite the continuing tone and quality issues with individual episodes, I thought Seasons 9 and 10 were quite an improvement over 7 and 8.

    Which brings me back to Atlantis. While SG-1 was fixing structural issues with itself, Atlantis inherited all of its bad traits. Like I said previously, they only had about four main characters who mattered, then they killed half of them. The Wraith at least had some vague relation to mythology, but it was mostly ignored along with the whole regeneration thing they have. The Genii had serious potential as villains with Cowan and especially Koyla, but then they became “friends” and contracted Never Ending Subplot Syndrome with a million “rogue factions”. Then they pissed on their own franchise’s continuity by bringing in the human form replicators that were exactly like the other human form replicators despite being created under completely different circumstances. Oddly, despite the general decline in writing during Season 4, they actually did make a genuine effort to rectify the issues. Michael became a pretty good villain, Todd made a fantastic antagonist/friend, and they gave Teyla something to do. Unfortunately, they should have done that back in Seasons 1 and two with Koyla, Ford, and Teyla (giving somebody drama after 3 years of us not caring about them usually doesn’t work). Unfortunately, these good ideas couldn’t save the fact that the quality of most of the individual episodes in Season 4 was pretty awful compared to other seasons.

    So, whose fault is this, and will Universe work? Honestly, I don’t know, I haven’t been into the writer’s room to see who deserves credit for what and I haven’t read the pilot for Universe so I have no idea how it will be. I think that Cooper & Wright are getting blamed too much in this thread, since for the most part they’ve done a decent job with the stuff they’ve been directly involved in. When Wright left the day-to-day operations for Atlantis after Season 3 to work on Continuum/Universe, there was a definite dropoff in quality. Mallozzi and Mullie, on the other hand, while they are definitely capable of writing a good episode once in a while, and they have had some good ideas I haven’t been nearly as impressed with the stuff they’ve been directly involved in. I mean, I know that it isn’t as popular to rag on Mallozzi because he’s a nice guy and his blog is actually a really good look into the background process of the show, as compared to “We are very pleased at our valentine to the fans” B&B, but still. None of these guys are going to win Peabodys any time soon, but they are capable of making a pretty good sci-fi show if they just remember to stick with what worked in early SG-1.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2008
  2. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    May 19, 2001
    Columbus, Ohio
    I can't agree with this Cooper might've had some problems with the ninth season but I can't really agree that he's written a clunker since the second season of course having Martin Wood direct his eps. did help, they made for a great combination IMO.

    Around here it's fairly common to rag on Mallozzi, sadly enough. And I agree Wright and Cooper did a good job with Atlantis and I hope they're put in charge of Universe as well.
  3. Broccoli

    Broccoli Vice Admiral Admiral

    May 3, 2001
    On one of the DVD sets, they were joking that SG-1 had been a comedy for the past few years. They were not serious nor did they say this was the case since the beginning.
  4. archeryguy1701

    archeryguy1701 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 1, 2007
    Cheyenne, WY
    Well, it doesn't sound like a bad premise, but I'm not leaping out of my seat for joy either... coincidence that this was announced mere days after the axing of Atlantis?
  5. Michael_One

    Michael_One Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Sep 9, 2007
    Southern California
    It doesn't have to be Stargate on a ship... it could be Wormhole X-Treme on a ship. I mean, even though W X-T was canceled after three episodes, it did quite well on DVD.

    In all seriousness...

    If the premise doesn't work out, look for a sudden re-imagining. ( Look! If we push this button we can call Stargate Command! And if we put the transmission in 'park' we can hit the turn signals and spin the steering wheel! )

    Think abut the paths Voyager didn't take: they never really dealt with the isolation, with not being able to communicate with Starfleet. VOY felt just like Next Gen except no pesky admirals phoning in orders.

    In terms of shows with similar premeses Space 1999 got the isolation right but failed pretty much everywhere else ( ahh, can't forget the visual effects! Loved the Eagles! ) And, you can see why Martin Landau was considered for Spock in Classic Trek with his bottled up emotions.

    See what happens...
  6. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2007
    Yes we kind of came to the conclusion that Atlantis needed to be cancelled to make room for Universe. TPTB needed the resources to start Universe and they didn't want two shows running at the same time.
  7. Hyperspace05

    Hyperspace05 Commodore Commodore

    Jul 18, 2005
    (I skipped your other great points, but I just wanted to comment on this...)

    I actually think the Genii were the best villains that Atlantis ever had... The idea of a "similar" human society competing for power in the Pegasus galaxy had great potential.
  8. Serial thread killer

    Serial thread killer Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    I am keeping an open mind it sounds like a good idea i mean voyager was a good idea but at the end of the day it will come down to writing.
  9. Kpnuts

    Kpnuts Commodore Commodore

    Nov 25, 1999
    Awesome post TNK, agree with pretty much everything you said.
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001
    "Atlantis," clearly, did that.

    "Voyager" wasn't the beginning of the end for Trek on TV, BTW - DS9 was. After a couple of weeks on the air, the show fell below TNG's numbers and trended steadily downward for seven years. So did "Voyager," and so, of course, did "Enterprise."
  11. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2007
    There's no doubt this series is going to get a canceled thread and annoucement its just a matter of when it will be that Stargate:Alpha can start
  12. Caretaker

    Caretaker Commodore Premium Member

    Oct 5, 1999
    Silver Spring, MD, USA
    I kind of like the logo they have up on MGM's official Stargate website. Of course, that's probably going to change by the time the show premieres:
  13. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

    Feb 24, 2005
    They must hate that the subtitle doesn't have an A they can use to turn into that symbol. :lol:
  14. the_wildcard

    the_wildcard Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Jul 17, 2004
    Bay Area, CA
    Yeah well it's pros and cons. Starting fresh, with minimal influence from the other shows would be a radical change in direction which would be a PRO.

    However, the CON would be that's what ENT tried, and well, that didn't work out so well in the beginning (though it got good at the later season).

    Any word on cast?
  15. James Bond

    James Bond Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Apr 8, 2004
    James Bond
    Maybe that symbol is the PoO for the Destiny?

    Oh and by the way, the_wildcard, NEVER change your avatar. :drool:
  16. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 27, 2007
    The V in Universe can be the final chevron
  17. Jack Bauer

    Jack Bauer Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jul 12, 1999
    Jack Bauer
    Am I the only one who thinks that the name Stargate:Universe is kind of lame? I don't know what else to call it but Universe sounds a bit generic.
  18. Bob The Skutter

    Bob The Skutter Complete Arse Cleft Premium Member

    Jul 12, 2001
    This island Earth
    And how will we know if we're talking about The Stargate Universe, or Stargate Universe... conversations could get awfully confusing... :lol:
  19. Serial thread killer

    Serial thread killer Vice Admiral Premium Member

    Apr 20, 2003
    Good point we need a code :lol:
  20. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    So, are we talking an entire expedition that gets stranded aboard this ship, or a four-person SGA/SGC-team that happens to dial in to that address at random or by accident? A four person team might be interesting, especially if they're forced to live and interact with others already living aboard the ship.

    As for the planets/cultures they're going to contact, I too dread the possibility of it being another galaxy populated by English speaking humans who either live in forests that bear a striking resemblance to those in BC, or who make their homes in giant abandoned rock quarries.

    One hopes they'd use sufficient FX to introduce some interesting non-humanoid alien cultures and non-terrestrial environments.