Why Stargate Universe Was Cancelled

The primary reason Stargate Universe was cancelled is because its ratings were lowering. It really was a simple matter of mathematics in the end, the advertisements pay for the show and not enough people were being exposed to said advertisements to justify it.

Stargate Universe Ratings

Stargate Universe was steadily declining in viewers throughout the two seasons. Season one averaged 1.717 million viewers an episode, with season two averaging 1.018 million viwers. Furthermore, the second part of season two averaged less than a million per episode.¹

Why Stargate Universe’s Ratings Were Low

There are two primary reasons Stargate’s ratings were low:

The first reason that Stargate Universe had low ratings was because Stargate: SG1 and Stargate: Atlantis were both actually fantasy shows in the guise of Science Fiction. Examine the plots of Stargate: SG1 as well as the general settings. Usually some variety of village that is threatened, or Egyptian foes in the goa’uld. There was even an episode of SG1 that involved the King Arthur myth. Stargate: Atlantis had as its main focus, literally, Atlantis. The wraith are very much a fantasy enemy, with clear commonalities to the Drow of the Forgotten Realms.

In contrast to SG1 and Atlantis, Stargate Universe’s plots were very much Science Fiction. The idea that the ship was partially sentient and was studying the crew’s minds, the overall mission of destiny, the foes such as the blue aliens and Chloe slowly being transformed into a mix or full blue alien are all clearly proper Science Fiction. Another sign of Science Fiction is doubt in regards to ethical decisions. For example, Rush seems to lean towards a varient of utilitarianism whereas Young is duty based. Fans of the series were used to neat, happy fantasy endings rather than thought-provoking science fiction endings that left the morality of decisions made by the crew in doubt.

The second reason that Stargate Universe had low ratings was because its plot demanded that the viewer had seen more previous episodes in order to be understood properly, rather than the episodes of SG1 and Atlantis being more self-contained.

Conclusion

Stargate Universe was cancelled because it was receiving low ratings. The reason for this is because it alienated many viewers of the previous two series, who actually did not want a real Science Fiction series.

Reference:

1.Sumner, Darren 2011, Gateworld Stargate Universe Ratings Round-up.

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