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/



Sci Fi renews 'Stargate Atlantis'
Networks orders 20 episodes for fifth season
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.
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elgrey: Artwork by Suzan Lovett (Default)

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