Why The End Of <i>Stargate Universe</i> Means Bad Things For Syfy

A moment of silence, please, for Syfy's SGU: Stargate Universe, which finishes its run with Monday's episode, "Gauntlet." Not only am I personally sad about the show's cancellation, I also think that it's bad news for Syfy overall. After all: Where are the network's science fiction shows now?

Sure, I like Being Human, Warehouse 13 and Haven as much as the next man - Well, unless the "next man" happens to be my wife, who really loves Haven - but I'm not sure how much claim to being science fiction either show has, with all three shows (Being Human and Haven especially, Warehouse 13 slightly less so) being more supernatural than science fiction. With the cancellations this year of both SGU and, earlier, Caprica, the network formerly known as SciFi finds itself leaning on Eureka and Sanctuary as its sole science fiction dramas. How did that happen?

(And don't get me started on the prevalence of the network's "reality" shows like Ghost Hunters, Destination Truth or Marcel's Quantum Kitchen. For all the flack that the network gets for its wrestling coverage - and, admittedly, I'm not sure that it gets enough - I feel as if the increasing amount of reality shows goes relatively unchecked. When obvious rip-offs of existing, non-genre-related shows - Hollywood Treasure or Face-Off, say - make it on the network, I feel like something's gone wrong with the commissioning process.)

It's all about ratings, of course; SGU gets less bang for its buck than Sanctuary (It doesn't help that it's a more costly show to produce), and so the network has to go where the money is. But losing SGU - a show that I'll admit didn't really find its footing until the second season, even though I think there's a lot to like in the first - feels like a mistake that could have been avoided had the network tried to wait out another year, despite ratings. It's not just the "The show was getting better!" thing (Although it was, he whines, hopelessly), but also... Syfy doesn't have a space opera show anymore. Is it just me that that feels... wrong to, somehow? Shouldn't a science fiction network make a point of having a show set in space, just because?

I know, I know, I'm old fashioned: Science fiction doesn't just mean space, and there's more to Syfy than sci-fi, anyway (Hence the name change, after all). But even as I look forward to the new shows that Syfy has coming up - particularly Alphas, which I'm hoping will end up being Heroes done right - I feel as if something is missing without that essential outer space element, and Blood and Chrome is still some distance away. Maybe someone can shoot Myka and Pete into orbit in the next season of Warehouse 13 for an episode, just to stave off my hunger for orbital action.

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