elgrey: Artwork by Suzan Lovett (SamMcKay)
[personal profile] elgrey
If you're an Atlantis fan it definitely feels like sacrificing the vegetable of your choice to the Gods of TV Season Renewal might be a good idea right now. It sounds pretty touch-and-go at the moment if we get a S5 or not, but I'm feeling a bit more optimistic than I was a few days ago.

Joe Mallozzi's latest post on the subject is here: http://josephmallozzi.blogspot.com/

ETA: YAY!!!

http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117974591.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

Sci Fi renews 'Stargate Atlantis'
Networks orders 20 episodes for fifth season
By JOHN DEMPSEY
Sci Fi Channel has ordered 20 new episodes of 'Stargate Atlantis.'

The Sci Fi Channel has given a fifth-season renewal to "Stargate Atlantis," commissioning 20 fresh episodes.

I'm so pleased about this. I think this was a very deserved renewal. The first four episodes of S4 have all been excellent and the show has been really consistent from the beginning.



At least SciFi are wise to the fact that the world has moved on and people are not watching in the same way they used to, so I'm really hoping they make the right choice. The fact that SG-1 had a pretty consistent audience for ten years on two different channels and still has a large international fanbase of people eagerly awaiting the DVD movies, should surely be a clue that as long as they keep making Atlantis there is going to be an enthusiastic and committed audience for it. I still think they were nuts to cancel SG-1 and even more nuts to dismantle their whole 'SciFi Friday' schedule with Doctor Who, SG-1, Atlantis, and BSG, which seemed to deliver a really good rating for all shows concerned, but I'm hoping that they realize what a fabulous asset they have in both the Stargate franchise in general and Atlantis in particular and renew for S5. And, hey, if they want to renew for another five seasons after that and finance a new spin-off - all the better.

With the cancellation in the last few years of 'Miracles', 'Firefly', 'Angel', and 'Deadwood', I'm pretty much at the end of my tether with networks cancelling shows that are clearly intelligent, well-written, and well acted and that feel as if they have a lot more story to tell. Sometimes one wants to sit the network executives who makes these decisions down and say 'Will you just watch your own damned show! Look at it! It's fabulous! You should be going to work with a song in your heart every morning because you have contributed to making something so good!' I feel like that about Atlantis. It's a wonderful show with a great premise, sympathetic characters, great writing, directing, and acting, and takes place in a universe with a proven record of finding an audience. Honestly, what more do they want? I'm not fannish about it - don't read or write fic and only watch vids if someone recs them to me - because, shallowly, there is no one in it that I fancy, but I absolutely love it as a non-participating audience member.

I'm more sorry and less angry about SG-1's cancellation because it had had ten years in which to tell its characters' stories, but it seemed a pity that SciFi didn't go with the producers' instinct to call S9 onwards effectively a new show. I think it would have been more respectful to Jack (and RDA) and to the fact that although it was taking place in the same universe it had a whole new bad guy SG-1 were fighting with two new cast members now on the team as well. I still feel cheated of seeing the ongoing adventures of a Mitchell-led SG-1, and despite not liking the Ori or the Daniel/Vala thing, I was still enjoying every episode and would have kept buying the DVDs until SG-1 were pushing each other through the gate in wheelchairs. I feel the same way about Atlantis. Weir was probably my favourite character (along with McKay), because of her connection to the city (which, if I'm honest, is my really favourite character), and I loved Beckett, but I still feel just as excited by the prospect of S4 as I did by S3.

There is also the matter of basic justice. I really think, given the consistent quality of Atlantis from Day One, and the proven track record of the producers in delivering a show on budget and on time that finds an audience (for thirteen seasons over two different shows, FCOL! not exactly an everyday feat), that cancellation shouldn't even be an issue with Atlantis. I feel the same way about what the WB and Fox did to Joss Whedon with 'Firefly' and 'Angel'. I don't think networks can keep cutting off shows that its makers are invested in, breaking up close-knit groups of crew members, directers, writers, producers and actors, who have all developed a bond that means they are operating at an optimum efficiency that they perhaps wouldn't be able to reach so easily if their component parts were separated, cancelling their show and then airily demanding that people who have had characters they are invested in summarily executed to blithely come up with something new. Especially when there is no guarantee that those new characters aren't going to get the chop as well, before they've had a chance to finish (or sometimes even really start) telling their stories.

Writing/producing/directing isn't something you can do without creative input and creative input involves a huge emotional investment. It's not like balancing figures. You can't write about characters well unless you really care about them and if you really care about them, it's going to hurt - a lot - if a network cuts you off from being able to finish the story you've started. It feels as if networks have got so complacent and so cut off from the reality of what they're actually asking of people, when they demand that they conjure up magic, that they have no idea how lucky they are that they keep getting it. They are effectively saying to the showrunners 'conjure up characters/situations so powerful that they will invade the dreams of strangers; do it every week; and do it (usually) for half as much as it should realistically cost...oh yes, and do it with no guarantee that however invested you are in telling what you may think is the best story you've ever thought up that you will ever be able to finish telling it...' The real mystery seems to be to me that no disgrunted showrunner, driven mad by constant cancellations of projects he's invested in, hasn't run amok with a pickaxe. Of course, if Fox cancel another Tim Minear project, we may see that yet....

Oh well, rant over. I'm off to sacrifice a courgette while crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Date: 2007-10-04 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foliogal.livejournal.com
Good morning, darlin'. *g* Lovely rant, hon. You said everything I've had jumbled up in my mind but couldn't put properly into words. SGA was a show that I swore I'd never watch because I was so burned out on SG1 fandom that I just didn't want anything to do with that whole universe any more. But (and how often has this happened to us?) a songvid made me want to see more, and I was absolutely hooked from the first episode.

It's hard to get attached to TV shows in this day and age when they are so summarily executed, so I swore I'd never do that again either (after 'Angel' and 'Deadwood') but here I am again, on the edge of my seat, waiting for news as to whether Atlantis has been renewed for a fifth season. I've watched two episodes of S4 so far (one 'Doppleganger' which iTunes gave me in error), and I have to say, what I've seen so far has been excellent. Team = Family seems to be the core of the show, and that's very necessary for me to love, really love, a show. Granted, it's only been two episodes so far, but they have been, in my mind, outstanding episode with excellent character-driven moments. I watch lots of shows just for entertainment, but there has to be something 'special' in them for me to really connect, something emotional between the characters, and I see that in Atlantis.

I'm strangely okay with characters who disappear from the show, because my favorite character, as well, is the City itself. I think the show could run and run, even if the characters change and move on. It's a very disfferent reaction than I had to SG1, where I pretty much pinned everything to one character. I'm much happier this way, because I can enjoy all the scenes and all the episodes, no matter who they feature. But basically, it's very much a Team Show, and I'm here with my pom-poms cheering, "Go Team!" and sacrificing a zucchini (because they aren't at all the same as courgettes...)

Here's hoping really really hard for renewal.

Date: 2007-10-04 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ankh-lj.livejournal.com
I'll keep my fingers crossed. While I don't watch it, I know there are people who love it, people whose jobs depend on it, and for those reasons I'd want it renewed. On a personal level, it would feel wrong not to have an incarnation of Stargate out there.

Date: 2007-10-04 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elgrey.livejournal.com
That's a good point too. I know I felt as long as 'Angel' was on the air, the Buffy characters were also still out there doing what they do, whereas once 'Angel' ended, we lost the whole 'verse. The same with Stargate. I really want the franchise to stay alive and I love Atlantis as a continuation of SG-1's story as well as in its own right. I would love to see a big crossover movie with all of the cast from both shows.

Date: 2007-10-04 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elgrey.livejournal.com
I'm just feeling pissy at the moment because of so recently watching on DVD 'Deadwood' (cancelled), 'Magnificent Seven' (cancelled), 'Stargate SG-1' (cancelled) and 'Angel' (cancelled). I was thinking about renting S2 of 'Carnivàle' (cancelled) but what's the point when the story was supposed to take six seasons to tell and they could only film two? And let's not even start on 'Profit' (cancelled), 'Miracles' (cancelled), 'Firefly' (cancelled), 'Dark Angel' (cancelled), and 'American Gothic' (cancelled) which you and I also enjoyed.

Yes, as with 'Angel' it was a songvid that got me to go out and order S1 of 'Atlantis' on DVD. Sometimes recruiter vids really do their stuff. I keep making resolutions not to get sucked in to live shows too, and now here I am at every renewal season worrying about 'Atlantis' 'WaT' 'SPN' not to mention the ones that seem likely to be okay (but may not) like 'House', 'Bones' and 'Heroes'.

I'm really pleased to hear that the season opener was good. I'll watch it when both parts have aired and I'm not going to have to grapple with a fiendish 'to be continued'.

I'm rather dreading the absence of Weir and Beckett, because I love them both, but there are still a lot of characters left that I'm very fond of and I do absolutely love the city itself. Of course, if they kill Zelenka, all bets are off.

I've had two different modes of watching SG-1. One in very much the POV of someone who loved the movie and Movie!Daniel and watched it endlessly and watched the show to see a continuation of that story and that character, and then more recently as someone who just has a big nostalgic love for SG-1 the series, and in that mode I can put up with a lot of things that really bugged me the first time around with a better grace. In that second mode, I really enjoyed S6, and can just about tolerate the huge amounts of Sam/Jack ship in S7 because I just *love* the show and all of the characters to pieces and want to find out what happens next to these people. I do rather miss the huge high I used to get from it in the past but I don't miss the accompanying huge lows when I felt disappointed.

I watch Atlantis in the same mode now, that I watch SG-1 - love the characters, love the show, and just really enjoy spending time in their company, but as long as the city was there, I would tune in. I think it's one of the most beautiful sets I've ever seen and the whole concept of Atlantis as a city left by the Ancients which hasn't been entirely explored yet thrills me completely.

Date: 2007-10-04 12:54 pm (UTC)
ext_2496: (Default)
From: [identity profile] aelfgyfu-mead.livejournal.com
Yes, Mallozzi seems more optimistic than I'd expected, and I'm very glad to see that. I'm disappointed about some of the cast changes (one in particular), and I wasn't as thrilled by "Adrift" as almost everyone else, but it's still my show, despite my determination that it wouldn't become my show. I still enjoyed SG-1 through the end (and can't wait to see the movies), but as that wound down, I became increasingly attached to SGA. Rodney and Carson are my favorites (yeah, there's some disappointment right there!), but I like all the characters. Of course, now I've been sucked into that fanfic world too....

Date: 2007-10-04 01:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] foliogal.livejournal.com
**Of course, now I've been sucked into that fanfic world too....**

Yeah, but what a way to go. :)

Date: 2007-10-05 12:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elgrey.livejournal.com
I'm glad you're writing SGA fic now as well as SG-1. I think there is something particularly exciting about writing fic for a show that's ongoing with new inspiration for fic ideas turning up with the new episodes. It's not a show I'm fannish about, but I also get the impression it has a huge and thriving fanfic community that is very supportive.

Darren did a very good round up on Gateworld.net on the state of play of the ratings and the information put out so far by SciFi and by Joseph Mallozzi, and it does look a lot more promising now than it did a few days ago, with SciFi stressing how well the show did in key demographics and Darren pointing out that Eureka, which had been getting much higher ratings, also got a lower rating once it was up against the new shows. That was a tough week for any show to get a good rating with all the new shows starting.

Like you, I like all the characters, and I still miss Grodin and Ford and I'm really going to miss Weir and Beckett, but that does still leave McKay, Teyla, Ronon, Zelenka, Sam, and Sheppard for me to care about and I really do care about all of them. I'm intending to watch 'Adrift' on the weekend, when the second ep has aired and I can watch them both together. Although this week I've finally got around to watching the second half of S7 of SG-1 and the beginning of S8 and I've really enjoyed those too. I was knocked out by 'Heroes' which I thought was fabulous, but I've enjoyed all the episodes I've watched and I'm loving S8 so far.

Date: 2007-10-05 12:35 am (UTC)
ext_2496: (Default)
From: [identity profile] aelfgyfu-mead.livejournal.com
Ah, but I always dread that something new will turn up in an episode to make one of my fics wrong or AU!

I'm probably always going to miss Carson (unless they bring him back full time! Go s5!), but yes, I love the other characters, all of them, and I'll keep watching.

I liked the piece on Gateworld.net too.

Date: 2007-10-08 11:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kaleecat.livejournal.com
Great on-point rant. The continued slavish devotion to the almighty overnight ratings is ruining network television when it comes to genre or less easily described programming in my opinion. It confuses me no end as to why Fox Network has jumped on the bandwagon with the other networks and no longer gives those programs a chance to grow. I could add a whole lot more shows to your list of canceled-to-soon shows but it all comes down to alienation. The networks are alienating talented craftspeople, potential viewers and generating a lot of resentment.

As for the SciFi channel, I think that the network's inclusion in the NBC-Universal landscape and Hammer's helming of that network concurrent with USA network has worked to the detriment of the SciFi channel. Programs that would have worked wonderfully on SciFi are on USA; as are movies. The network didn't pursue, ostensibly because of money, the opportunity to pick up Angel, Tru Calling or any of the other programs canceled by the other networks in the last few years. And the shows they do have, the net doesn't treat well unless its one they have a stake in & they are as bad as the regular nets about not sticking with the right things; for example, The Dresden Files versus the stupid 'reality' shows. In fact, until this past weekend, the only current SciFi channel program that I had ever seen advertised on a different network was BSG. Imagine my surprise over the weekend to see an ad for the current season of SGA on MTV.

I fought the lure of SGA out of solidarity for SG1 (despite the fact that I have not been happy with most of SG1 for years) but the city & certain characters such as McKay, Beckett & Zelenka drew me in. I didn't even read the fic until one day I was introduced to a long McKay/Beckett series that is fabulous. I still don't read much in the fandom and what I do read centers on the three men that drew me in. I've never been that interested in Sheppard, Ford annoyed me, Weir is sort of okay, I rather like Ronan & Teyla has her moments. I liked Grodin.

I think I've lost my point somewhere. In any case, I'm watching the new season of SGA even though I am so not happy at the inclusion of Carter & I don't trust "the boys" at all after what they did to SG1. But I'm watching, and I hope that they renew the show because the universe is so rich with possibility. Plus, as long as they are there in the Pegasus galaxy then I imagine SG1 is running around the universe as well with the chance that they'll drop in to see how they're doing.

Oh--speaking of Whedon-verse. I loved Firefly, and felt the film was a wonderful continuation of that universe. Its a shame that the Buffy/Angel-verse won't have a chance for that same continuation since it's looking like we won't even get the long-rumored Spike movie. (I'm not sure what the latest on 'Ripper' is). Despite the fact that Whedon says the current BtVS comics (angel is forthcoming) are the continuation of the story, I don't really accept that because it was the live characters and the actors that portrayed them that made the show & the universe for me.

Date: 2007-10-24 10:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] elgrey.livejournal.com
Sorry! I only just saw this. Thank you for answering. I agree completely about the devotion to ratings stifling creativity. I can't even think about the shows that have been lost over the years because there weren't enough people watching them at the time.

Have you seen that SGA has been renewed? I'm so relieved we're getting a fifth season.

I feel the same way as you about the Buffy/Angel comics. For me the shows were a collaboration between not just the writers and show runners, but the actors, lighting people, editing people, the music used; all of it. There were episodes where the writing was not the strongest element in making a story work. The comics just don't interest me at all. If I want to read what happened next to the characters without the actors being involved I'd actually rather read fanfic, simply because it isn't canon and so doesn't interfere with what I like to think happened next.

There was a link to the latest on Ripper on Whedonesque today.

http://www.comicbookresources.com/news/newsitem.cgi?id=12177

At Comic-Con International this year, “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon told fans the long-rumored Giles project, named “Ripper” after the watcher's one-time nickname, may finally come to fruition. Head confirmed that Whedon was in talks with the BBC. “It would be a one-off, and it would probably be a two hour movie, or a 90 minute movie for TV,” Head explained. “We're looking at maybe something in the summer, just kind of depends on the availability of rights and things.”

So, it sounds as if it may be going ahead. And just as you say about SG-1 feelings as if it's still happening as long as SGA is on air, I feel that if Ripper is happening that Buffy and the others are still doing what they do.

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