(disclaimer: I sort of shift gears here, from the SG franchise to Syfy the station)
I remember that being the case with SG1. But Atlantis just always kinda felt like a trainwreck.
I feel like the big issue with Scifi, as a channel and producer of programming, is they’re really gunshy on committing to series. I think they got burned with Farscape, which, ugh, if that had come out even like…two years later, it would have been right in their wheelhouse as NBC-Universal came to dominate the programming structure. But they burned so much cash for a show where they had no idea how to really capitalize on the fandom. And the fandom (still is) was pretty significant.
With SG, I think they just kinda copped out. I mean, they had a series where like…what was it, five seasons had already been paid for and produced. They just had to commit to a further series and either rock with it or not.
And by the time Universe came around, I think they severely under sold themselves on that one. They could have really brought the franchise back to life if they committed to it and let it be the darker, single-arc narrative that it started with (all the scheming you mentioned).
But Syfy the network has an issue of commitment, overall. One of the things I miss about the earliest years of the channel is their willingness to really just do any ol’ crackpot show. I mean, shitfire! did you ever watch that weirdass short film showcase series with Jamie King as a host?
Or when they used to have all the anime series super early on Saturdays and late at night most nights? Granted the buyout by (or is it technically a partnership with) NBC-Universal has given them some latitude to make higher budget series, but it’s really hobbled their
diversity of programming. Like, there may be a few more brown actors on the station these days, but all their series are kinda streamlining into one mold, and that’s where they haven’t been outright replaced by these largely questionable reality series.
syfy had galactica, a ratings and critical success, and they only gave it four seasons bc it was so expensive to produce. stargate was perennially under the gun because the ratings were good but the show cost a lot. at some point they realized they could get decent ratings with something like bigfoot hunters, so why pay for something like atlantis?
i have no idea how much defiance costs versus stargate or farscape and i’m kind of surprised they’re starting that dominion thing. lost girl and continuum are cheap bc canada already did all the work, syfy just has to air it. in fact if bbc america didn’t exist they might have been bidding on orphan black and who and the zombie one and, likely, top gear.
and i mean, farscape was on scifi friday with stuff like the invisible man, which had to have had a much sweeter cost/ratings ratio to space opera. i think they got new management that decided why bother letting the cheap show subsidize the expensive one? if universe had been given another season it would probably still be on, paired up with continuum or more alphas or somesuch.
that network peaked with galactica and now they seem to be struggling to stay on the air. with all the marvel shows on netflix and all the good scifi on bbc america, all they have is monster movies and canadian imports and defiance. the odds of another exposure are super low at this point, that kind of commitment to the genre went out the door with the name change.
the irony is i just caught the galactica blood and chrome pilot again the other night, and i watched that serially when it premiered //on youtube//. how that didn’t get picked up i have no idea. as mainstream as scifi has become, the only thing anyone will commit to is something like supernatural. i have no idea how sleepy hollow got renewed and almost human didn’t.