Stargate Universe Ratings: The Story Unfolds

Published 5 years ago by , Updated November 29th, 2009 at 8:45 pm,

stargate universe stargate on destiny 02 Stargate Universe Ratings: The Story Unfolds

When Stargate Universe (SGU) premiered on October 2nd of 2009, it brought in 2.3 million viewers.  This included both parts 1 and 2 of the premiere.  Part 3 of the premiere episode titled “Air” hit the peak of the ratings ride with just over 2.4 million viewers.

After that, the numbers declined slowly but surely until they bottomed out on November 6th with the episode “Earth” at a paltry 1.6 million viewers.

I believe this decline is a result of the franchise fans slowly but surely giving up on the show because it wasn’t the light-humored and quipping series they were all expecting.

We’ve seen the scathing remarks in various articles here on Screen Rant, where everyone is getting a “hate on” for Stargate Universe. In some of your opinions the show reeks, it’s boring, there’s no action, too much story – there’s an interesting perspective of wanting to get rid of the stones and some of you hate some of the characters outright.

True, I hate Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) too, but I think that’s more a sign of the actor doing that good of a job to make you hate the character rather than being completely disinterested.

On the flip-side of perspectives, the one angle I agree wholeheartedly with is to get the crew to start exploring the ship, Destiny.  Come on folks, I’d be crawling all over that thing getting in trouble and figuring things out.  I’d be blowing airlocks and making things go hiss out of the pipes!

You Were Warned

You have to admit, they warned us that SGU was going take the franchise in a new direction, and from all the details they dispensed in promos and such, it would also be character driven.  That means learning all about the individuals on this rag tag crew of military, civilians and government oversight committee members – exactly like ABC’s Lost did with all their flashbacks, and what Syfy did with Battlestar Galactica, to just name a couple off the top of my head.

With that said, after the November 6th flat line, I think the folks that can appreciate character backgrounds will start to understand the character motivations. Those are the folks that are starting to come on board in the ratings.

The November 13th episode called “Time” drew in 1.8 million and the November 20th episode called “Life” brought in almost 1.9 million.

Before you roast me…  I want to say I get it.  I was expecting Stargate, the same 15-year franchise to continue in this new Stargate saga.  I was not a happy camper when it turned out otherwise.  But fortunately for me, I’ve got a bit of a devil’s advocate side to my personality and I came at this show after the series premiere with a different mindset and that worked for me.

stargate universe july poster 00 Stargate Universe Ratings: The Story Unfolds

It helped that I am a fan of Battlestar Galactica and can appreciate character motivation because in all honesty, if all you want is action and glory in your shows, then A:  Yes it can seem oh so slow, but more importantly, B:  You’re susceptible to the Nielsen mindset that destroys some of the quality content that hits the airwaves.  By that I’m referring to Jericho, Journeyman and the like. All good shows that missed their ratings niche because from what I can tell, the story got a bit too convoluted with details.

As it stands, I don’t think the Syfy Channel is offering a whole lot of quality programming and for once, they’ve added something new that actually falls into the category of well thought-out, unlike wrestling and other venues they introduce to us.

For now, it looks like Stargate Universe is plugging along and time will tell if the same demographic that made BSG as popular as it was will keep Stargate Universe afloat.

Source for ratings: By The Numbers

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  1. Why are we being punished for liking Stargate with this bad attempt to revive Battlestar Galactica. I understand that over the years styles have to progress, but sci-fi is sci-fi, its not dawson’s creek, I don’t like kids watching programs that have to use sex to keep people watching, it is not realism , its just bad writing, SG1 went for 10 seasons and movies, Atlantis 5 seasons (too short) Star trek TNG 7 seasons DS9 7 seasons Heck even Babylon 5 had 5 seasons and movies, but this new wave of (non)sci-fi dramas like Battlestar Galactica and SGU just don’t make the grade, and have no staying power. Battlestar Galactica had 3 and a bit seasons, only pushed forward because there was nothing else for sci-fi fans to watch, riding on the coat tales of the original, with none of its character. and again SGU, will follow a similar fate (and none to soon) a few seasons until the people putting in the money realize how bad the show really is. PS, I know I can write better, and most the sci-fi fans out there can too.

  2. I’ve just started watching this series and after the first 6 episodes I am about ready to give up on it. I’ve been a massive Stargate fan for 15 years and I’m also a huge fan of BSG, so you’d think that this show would be right up my street… but the fact is, it stinks.

    There are only so many “oh no we have run out of air/food/water/power/milky bars/good actors/interesting things” episodes one person can take. The writing is so bad that even by episode 6 they’ve had to re-use the same crappy sand-storm alien twice… I mean seriously, after 15 years is that the best thing they can come up with?

    I hate the new teenie-bopper cast, they don’t even look old enough to pull me a pint let alone secure top secret jobs in the government and military. The sooner they kill off the weasal-looking Lieutenant, Senator’s daughter and fat nerd kid the better.

    I was gutted when they canned SG-1 and Atlantis, but unless things massively improve, this is one Stargate show I’d happily see the back of.

  3. I am very relieved to see so many people have the same opinion as I do about SGU. Like most people on this site I used to watch the SG Movie over and over, and was excited when SG1 came out. SGA was not as good but grew on me and when it ended I was sad and disappointed on all the missed opportunity of making it great. I know that SGU is a new direction which excited me, but a new direction does not mean they have to leave the core values of the SG franchise. Why does mortal danger and making bad choices have to be the highlight of every episode? When reading a book the first several chapters are always the hardest because you’re leaning the characters and setting up the storyline. Then the actions starts, I am hoping that is what is happening here and season 2 will get into the action. You know when they pulled in characters from SG1 into SGU why did they pick the evils ones, they could have picked some of the races we have only heard about in SG1 like, Furlings. They could find the race that that the Ancients built the Archive for (The Fifth Race). Maybe they could find a race of people that ascends but are not evil or have a rule of not interfering with the people. Explore some worlds where people explain more about the ship that put the Stargate on it and how shocked they were by it. A world that buried the Stargate because of their fear (of course they would have to go by shuttle). Search new worlds for new technology and new cultures. Be the “White Knights” of the galaxy. This is the core value of Stargate. Time will tell, I am just afraid that they are drawing the storyline out so far that it will be canceled before any real episodes play.

    Many of you have brought up DS9 as a comparison, but no one mentions that DS9 was the start of StarTrek decline. After that it never could recover and I am afraid that is what this is going to do for Stargate. Who would want to invest money on a declining fan base? Not me!

    Then to talk about their well thought out storylines, are you kidding me? Who in their right mind would think that a ship has been traveling for thousands of years just take fire from other ships and then into FDL is crazy? It has to have some type of defense to make it this far. Also, to think that an alien race would just use 3 ships to attack, when they have been trying to get into the ship for years? Come’ on, if you tried to get into a door for years would you not keep getting more and more people together until you broke it down? If they have been doing this for years, then I would think they would either have more ships or develop better weapons to bring down the shield faster. Each time they stop the FDL count down is never the same, why? And having that extra time in spots would not help the bad guys? We are talking about a ship that is supposed to be smart enough to take them to a planet where there is water, food, etc… whenever they want, but not smart enough to fight back in an attack? Also, you can’t tell me that even the “wrong people” can’t figure out old technology. They have all the knowledge from Alanta, you can’t tell me that older tech is harder to understand? Then they bring in this alliance group that seems to have a better understanding of the ship then we do, get real. Then they put large segments in of Camile spending a month with her “roommate”, why? How is that related to the big storyline? My point is that these storyline is not about the big picture of the show like it should be or like “Lost, BSG, etc.” but to show the character? Like others said, this is not a soap, or big brother, or a reality show, but an adventure of places we hope and dream of going.

    After 15 years of dedication, I am not just going to quit watching because I don’t like it, but I am willing to stick it out and hope they will hear our words and go back to the core values of what made Stargate Great!!

  4. I think the show is great the way it is. Im a big fan of the old stargate’s and ive probly watched all the episodes by now. SGU dissapointed me in the begining, it started off cool with some action but then the drama came and it started to suck. But I gave it a chance and kept watching and now im completely drawn into the story and unlike the other stargates it always picks up where it left off. Give it a chance and it will grow on you

  5. I wanted to like the show, but I don’t know I feel strangely divorced from it. For some reason I continue to watch, a decision I question weekly.

    I believe my problem with the show is that the show doesn’t go anywhere. Every episode you get a problem of some sort, and you get a measure of a solution by the end but barely. Every week after watching an episode I ask myself what do I know that I didn’t know before, and sadly sometimes the answer is a big fat nothing. For a character based show I should learn something about some of these characters each week. I am astounded that I don’t know very mucg about quite a few of the characters. I can barely remember some of the people’s names.

    I see a lot of comparisons to BSG, but BSG had to go for a more character themed show because we always knew how it would end. It was all about the ride, but the ending was mostly predetermined. Stargate Universe has the potential to do both character development and some version of exploration. I do find it odd that they are not exploring their surroundings more.

    I just hope they start to fix the problems, or at least start to acknowledge them.

    • I completely agree. The show is simply too cerebral. It wants to be entertaining but does not deliver at all. It does not seem to be fixing the problems it was plagued with in the first season and I fear for its future. It’s problems are simply too obvious and unaddressed.

  6. Over the years, the science fiction genre has reflected the current mores, hairstyles and attitudes of the country. The prevailing political climate is often reflected in these shows. The fact that many of the current SGU cast members are a bunch of hateful, mistrustful, disconnected, and morally bankrupt backstabbers, should be no surprise. Also, the writers spend far too much time fleshing out the bad habits of the characters rather than taking the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore their new universe, or Destiny. This space-soap drama grates on the nerves of most SF fans. It’s equally easy to disparage most of SG1 and SGA as being too simplistic, with emphasis on action rather than relationships. It all depends on what the individual expects from the show or expects to take away from the show. To me, the original shows were about the heroes and characters that we had come to love. SG1 and SGA were like comfort food. Too often, SGU leaves the viewer with an uncomfortable aftertaste due to the relentless and needless bickering and backbiting. Also, many Americans are facing hard times. Americans are mistrustful of our institutions, politicians, and big business. What we desire is entertainment with heroes that we can respect and admire, not 45 minutes of hate and mistrust. What ever happened to working together as a team and trusting leadership? Like America at large, no one trusts anyone else and everyone thinks it best to fend for themselves. SGU is no exception. Everyone is secretive. No one trusts anyone. This show is much like a Big Brother or Survivor in space. Unfortunately, the characters on SGU are more fearful of being stabbed in the back than they are of what’s on the other side of the window.

  7. Personally, I really like the show! I do have to admit that the pilot episodes really lacked… well, they lacked SOMETHING, not really sure what, everyone here seems to have their opinion. It did strike me that they were trying to capture the essence of the character-driven storylines that BSG had, yet they just weren’t doing it. And I was a real big fan of SG-1 also (not so much SGA, just wasn’t feeling it for some reason).

    In my opinion, season 2 has really picked up. Yeah, it seems a little depressing maybe. But I think it does capture a reality that other sci-fi shows haven’t grabbed hold of.

    To all of you “haters” of the show, I do not judge you for it. But I think if more people put on their seatbelts, take it for a spin, and give the show a chance, I think you may like it a little more.

    (I am hating it that they killed Ginn… I mean, that was gonna be Eli’s nookie for the rest of the trip. Bummer for him! Lol!)

  8. You can still enjoy a very cerebral show and it not be the sort that all the characters do 90% of the time is stand around and,,, just talk. If I want that I’ll pick up my phone and call someone. Certainly there must be a creative enough writer out there who can bring us both balls and brains. I hope..

  9. You say that some of the negative opinions were that “it’s boring, there’s no action” and “too much story”. I have to say that among all my friends, co-workers and forum friends who have been fans of the Stargate universe (little U), none of us have ever complained about any of those things.

    Frankly I’d be an idiot to complain about anything having too much story. There’s an adequate amount of action and the ideas and concepts are certainly not boring.

    What absolutely infuriates myself and the fans that I know is the arrogance and pretentiousness of the shows creators to take a beloved mythology and introduce elements that have never been part of the show while simultaneously lobotomizing things that are.

    Just because you call this “Stargate” doesn’t make it so. It’s Voyager-Galactica dressed up in Stargate uniforms and Stargate phrases and Stargate props but it’s as far from Stargate as M. Night Shyamalan’s Last Airbender is from the brilliant animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    This is nothing more than the latest trend in soul-crushing sci-fi that is permeating the sci-fi genre like a plague.

    The reason SG-1 and SGA were so popular for so long is that we liked what it gave us. Hope. Fun. Adventure.

    SGU’s characters and stories only offer depression, hopelessness, anger, hate, petty politics and dark, uninteresting and unappetizing people and places.

    It deserves to die of it’s self-inflicted wounds and the sooner the better. The quicker the way is cleared for a series that’s true to the franchise can inherit the crown that this poser stole.

  10. GB said:
    “What absolutely infuriates myself and the fans that I know is the arrogance and pretentiousness of the shows creators … Just because you call this “Stargate” doesn’t make it so.”

    Absolutely greed, and in the end this is exactly what it comes down to. The title of the show “Stargate Universe” could not possibly be more ironic. There is not a sci-fi show set in space that engenders a culture, a feel, an objective, a cast, an interpersonal dynamic, and a set of character-types that is more OPPOSITE than those found in SG1 or SGA.

    Not to mention … WHERE’S THE Stargates!? The entire ability to go wherever YOU WANT in a flash, across the univers is precisely what laid the foundation for a sense of empowerment that underscored the whole franchise.

    Because I believe in live and let live, I say to MGM: keep this show if the viewership justifies the expense but have the dignity if not the fiscal sense to call it something else … like “Stupid Depressing Broken Ship in a Universe where Stargates are useless and there’s no comraderie” (SDBSIAUWSAUATNC).

    And then give us back the real Stargate universe, and watch the advertising dollars roll in when the Nielsen Ratings blow “SDBSIAUWSAUATNC” out of the water. And while you’re at it, yeah can you fix a few things … like at least provide a sensible tech like a babelfish that was missing from the original series. “Saving money” shouldn’t mean “no writing creativity”.

    I don’t even care if an entirely different (cheaper) cast is used, and done somewhere cheaper than Canada … just bring back something true to the real SG universe, not something diametrically opposed to it with “Stargate” in it’s title.

    • Oops, I meant Corbin, not GB.

      And again, he’s right, all the angst over SGU boils down to: “Just because you call this ‘Stargate’ doesn’t make it so.”

      At least we can fill the void with Fringe, Warehouse 13, & Eureka but I will miss seeing those same kinds of interpersonal dynamics in the off-world space-faring setting, like the original Stargate Franchise had.

      You know, there are plenty of great shows done much more cheaply than can be done in Canada given the exchange rate. Maybe they ought to think about that instead of frankensteining their lineup to fit what this particular studio can do for the budget on hand.

    • “Just because you call this “Stargate” doesn’t make it so.” i’ll have to go the other way on that. stargate is what the creators say it is. we don’t have a say on what is cannon stargate and what isn’t, the creators do that for us. in my view i think SGU is brilliant, i love SG1 and SGA but i was getting over watching the same battle over and over while waiting for carter, rodney and to a lesser extent daniel to think of a way out. sgu moves away from that cliche and i think its for the better.

  11. I think it went down is when they changed days. I love it and it is the best. They had it Friday 10 pm now they put on Monday at 10 pm

  12. I’ve been losing interest the last few years. But it had one heck of a ride however.

  13. show needs more action s2e13 and s2e14 where realy boring if you compare to SG1 and atlantis i have bought bolt series because they are really good but i don’t think ill buy SGU the way its going now

  14. If you dont like it dont watch it, however now after all you so called sf fans moaning all day long the only true sf program on tv is gone now its just vampire crap and eureka, cheers

  15. Well, I know, that without N. Rush, psychopathic marine R. Greer, and atmosphere of million years old Ancient ship destiny, it is almost crap. But on the imaginary balance pan, these things outweighing the rest, so I want to stay and watch next episode. And I think, that especially Rush could withstand without (although virtual) sexuality. Do what you want Syfy, but although I hate Eli – this WOW idiot, I want to see Destiny Again.

  16. I realize I’m a bit late to this discussion, and just had to comment after reading some of the others. This was a great show, and, yes, I am that fan which came on board b/c of Battlestar Galactica. Both were awesome! It’s obvious those shows that require longer attention spans, are thought provoking and need a bit of recollection are cancelled pretty quick. It’s a sad sign of our society.

    I think that if you’re going to allow a show to have 2+ seasons, then you at least owe the viewers closure…make a movie, or a 2 part season finale or something. This show left a lot of us hanging, and now I don’t want to start watching new shows until I see renewals offered. Thanks to Netflix, I can catch up.

  17. It’s a strawman to say if you wanted a light, humor filled, action packed Stargate then you are a problem with great shows being cancelled. It’s outright condescending. For one, I really love Falling Skies. I never watched Jericho, but from what I understand I would have liked it.

    But that’s just it… those shows are THOSE shows. Stargate is Stargate. SGU–while it began to grow in me towards the end–was just too dark, too dreary, relied way too much on religion, sex (close-ups of kissing? ugh), and the stones. I’m not a prude, either. I loved Battlestar Galactica. It was a sexy show. But BSG was BSG. Lost was Lost. And Stargate is STARGATE.

    Why not Zat guns?

    And I didn’t hate Dr. Rush because the actor was that good. That’s condescending, too. Actually, I LIKED Dr. Rush. It was the overt Hollywood-ness of the show that reeked. All the women were beautiful, men were allowed to be ugly along with the hot and dialog was poorly chosen. For instance, real people don’t call intros to their videos “slates”. Real people don’t say, “We’ll fix that in editing” when speaking of their personal videos. Everyone is not that beautiful. No older people. No regular people besides the fat male scientists. I mean… if this was supposed to be REAL, then be REAL. If you want to be nice looking, then go back to being Stargate.

    And another thing about religion: It’s as if they are trying to make up for the fact that they slammed religion with the Ori. Give me a break. If I want to hear praying, I’d go to church not watch STARGATE.

    They didn’t take this show in a new direction. The whole thing is derivative right down to the “Oh, I’m so introspective” montage songs playing in the background as we are treated to peaking in to the private moments of brooding characters. This isn’t the L-Word. I loved the L-Word. But introspective songs on Stargate? Puke.

    • One more point:

      True, you cannot please everyone. But keeping Stargate as Stargate would have kept the most people pleased.

      They should have had
      – zat guns,
      – excited scientists
      e.g.,”Let’s route power from the shuttlecraft!” instead of “We’re doomed :(”
      – less whining
      – more Stargate music and less “popular” music
      – less religion and brooding
      – a regular/older woman (A Catherine type?) to balance out all the fat guys
      – Less Lou Diamond Philips in the beginning
      – holographic interaction with the ship
      – more information on the ancients and ship creators

  18. Oh… just one more point (really). I was a supporter of the program while it was on, ensuring not to complain about it so as not to be party to the trigger of an early cancellation. I was disappointed it was canceled because there was finally an interesting story occurring. But now that it’s gone a post mortem is fair.