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

Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


1 2 3 8

Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. I wanted to get in early, because I know there are a lot of haters out there. But I, am not one of them, I like SGU, Robert Carlyle is amazing in the show and I think it has real potential. If it had been exactly the same as SG1 and SG:A, people would have complained as well.

    There is no pleasing some people.

  2. I hated it at first, but now i kinda almost like it. Almost. Eli is saving the show.

  3. I agree that the show has potential. That being said, I can’t gloss over the downsides. There is too much melodrama, by half. It’s not nearly as bad as BSG, with its endless navel-gazing, its inability to have anyone do anything other than brood (or showing someone actually cracking a joke of whistling a tune; something normal that people do in even the darkest times) and repeated rehashing of the same exact plot points (yet…the show’s till too young to tell if that will be the case), but they’ve lingered for nine episodes on brooding, crying and yelling. I’d like to get to some more intrigue, mystery, adventure, wonder, fighting, and the like. In short, I want more story, not less. I just want less convolution.

    I don’t mind a character-driven drama, if the characters are doing things other than brooding and aren’t self-involved whiners. I see signs of hope.

  4. I think the self involved perspectives can’t be helped up front in this series. We need to see what they’re self involved about. I’m hoping that aspect of the characters diminish with time.

    Hey, I’d be brooding too without cell service and internet!!! 😛

  5. Since I’m not a fan of the franchise (nothing against it, just never got into it) I feel like I was able to get into SG:U without any expectations of what it *should* be.

    That being said, I think it’s been a little on the slow side at times, but I also think it really hit a great note with last week’s episode, Life.

    If you haven’t written it off already, just hold your breath and assume that everything is going to get better.

  6. I’m with David’s comment above. I’ve said it many times before: If you don’t care about the characters in a movie or TV series, then pretty much nothing else matters. However that doesn’t mean ALL you need is character development.

    If it’s trying to be Battlestar Galactica, it’s falling short. And the problem is that it IS trying to be BSG. Wrapping this series in the Stargate name was frankly an attempt to cash in on the existing fanbase. So when they deliver something the fans don’t like or expect, the producers shouldn’t complain when those same fans bail.

    I recently caught up on all the episodes to date via DVR and I can tell you that I for one, am done with the show. I’m removing it from my list of shows to be recorded.


  7. Not a stargate fan. Never saw a single episode of the TV series. Have been watching it out of boredome. Not good, not bad. Some interesting possibilities. Some really terrific actors not doing a whole lot like Robert Carlyle, the guy who plays the Commander, the hot doctor broad and some really god awful terrible actors like the fat emo kid and the Miley Cyrus looking kid and really the rest of the cast.

    1.The concept could be cool but cut off the dumb stones thing. It’s a cheat and makes the pain of being cut off from home half hearted. Lame.

    2.The Ship should be slowly brought up to speed as the Doctor discovers new abilities, weapons, capabilities. It’s enough that they are never getting home, the ship doesn’t have to be a non functioning derelict in every episode. These abilities should not be revealed at once but this thing flys through stars to suck energy. It should eventually be a seen as a beloved super ass kicker like the original Enterprise or Galactica

    3. Lose the stupid whiney youth appeal characters. They destroy any gravitas the show may have. The fat emo nebbish kid, Miley Cyrus, the gay underwear model wooden soldier kid. Trim away all th CW crap. If you have to bring in more characters how about the ship discovers a wrecked and lost Earth ship to refreshen the cast. You can have young and interesting, Galactica proved that as did the new Trek. 25-33 makes for far more compelling youth target demo than 19 and dopey. It’s a big ship anyway it should be filled out to make the situation seem more dire and less like a few stragglers on a life raft

    4. Real Star Trek (Shatner-Nimoy-Kelly and now Pine-Quinto-Pathfinder as well as Galactica both followed the winning formula of centering the show around a troica of three or four main characters supported by a number of complelling secondary characters. The Gabrial Byrne like Commander guy is good and has soulful eyes. Robert Carlyle is a great actor, the hot doctor broad is ok maybe she could be better. But they need a third and or forth compelling main cast member on the ship. I’d love to see them add Michael Hogan somehow as a crusty engineer they pick up.

    Again not a fan of the Stargate Mythos. Someone how loved Real Star Trek. Hate All the Next Gen stuff more than a full septic tank (loved DS9 though), Loved Lost until this last season, Loved B5 except the hippie commune telepath hash head stuff. I would like to see this show succeed. I need to fill my sci fi void and alot of good elements are there

  8. Loved the original stargate movie but haven’t seen anything since. I’m wondering if I should start watching the series.

  9. I’ve tried and I just cannot watch SGu… The big thing is it just is not stargate. It’s nothing like stargate. I have all the seasons of SG1 & SGA on dvd and I threw in an episode the other day and remembered why I loved those shows so much. SGu doesn’t have the same or even close to the same feeling as those shows. It may be a good show, but I cannot get over it being called stargate, and not being a stargate show. It just isn’t anything like the shows that I love and what’s maybe worse is that they stopped making SGA a show that was really good and had the potential to get much better to produce this steaming pile of impostorhood called SGu

  10. I found the new BSG to be a terrible show. Hated it. It was trying to be all political and topical, and it forgot to be decent sci fi. Plus all the characters were about as emotive as a pencil.

    SGU is a little slow, but I like that. We shouldn’t need relentless action every week, SGU is going somewhere, and I’m staying on the Destiny.

    PS I love the way the show is filmed, it’s almost poetic.

  11. I haven’t seen a full episode of SG1, SG Atlantis, or BSG as of yet (don’t hate me lol) but I do enjoy SGU and agree with what William said. I am going to continue to watch this season but I do have to say that if it doesn’t improve where it needs to, I’m afraid this will be the first and last season that I will watch.

  12. @M-Cat – I liked the movie too and I never watched any of the shows. I caught an episode of SGA once and didn’t figure out what it was until the end. I caught a few more episodes and realized that I was totally lost. Then I rented SG1 season 1 and started into the series. The first season or two really were ok but I didn’t get way into them, but I knew that the later seasons were good and I needed to understand how they got there. As I kept watching the episodes got better and better. It’s a bit more light hearted than the movie but if you give it a chance it gets really, really good.

  13. @Lord Garth & M-Cat

    You should give SG-1 a shot. While it’s very different from the original film, I think you’ll like it. And Garth, I thought Stargate SG-1 (at least up until Richard Dean Anderson left the show) was the closest thing to classic Trek in terms of tone and character relationships.


  14. M-Cat

    How are you gonna catch up on 9 seasons of Smallville, and a combined 15 seasons of Stargate SG1/Atlantis???

  15. DrSam

    I was just thinking the same thing. How am I supposed to watch all these shows if I don’t even have time to catch up on ncis and the mentalist and others on my dvr? There just isn’t enough time for modern warfare 2, dating, family, watching movies, playing and watching sports, and watching all my shows. Oh yeah, I forgot about work and taking care of my house.

  16. Stargate Universe has departed from the challenging, depth of characters encounters noted during previous Star Gate series. During these episodes that had voyages filled with adventure and charm, it was fascinating to see how the writers went were no man went before to find meaning and purpose in making right and just decisions that were made with various alien races. Words like honor and duty elevated the audience.

    Now we see director and writers resorting tired old empty headed, shallow voyeurism filled with shameless actors and actresses devoid of any character with zero depth of meaning or purpose other than self gratification without honor or duty.

    Prediction: series will fail while heading crew and writers race to gain TX ratings to display “Desparate Housewiwes in Space”.

  17. So far I have to admit I’m not overly fond of BattleGate: Voyager, but I’ll give it to the end of a full season before I give it the final yay or nay.

    A lot of the characters annoy the hell out of me. Given a choice i’d feed pretty much everyone ‘cept Greer, Col. Young & Dr. Rush (I like him – sneaky, snarky & borderline malevolant – like a good mix of Dr. Smith from Lost in Space, Rodney NcKay & Baltar from the original BSG) to the Replicators.
    If I wanted brooding navel-gazing, I’d watch reruns of Angel or BSG. Where’s the fun, the snark, the *adventure?! “Oh woe is us, we’re stuck on this ship & we dunno where we’re going!” isn’t *adventure, it’s Gilligan’s Island in space minus the laughtrack & w/ more backstabbing. Plus could we have some *real villains please, other than the bunch of back-seat adventurers trying to run things from Earth?

  18. @Rich

    I’d like to respond to your comment. Robert Carlyle is one of the best actors working today. His portrayl of Dr Rush is one of the most out standing performances I have seen for years,

    “Now we see director and writers resorting tired old empty headed, shallow voyeurism filled with shameless actors and actresses devoid of any character with zero depth of meaning or purpose other than self gratification without honor or duty.”

    I think you have somewhat missed the point of an excellent character and a truly amazing actor.

  19. I agree that the show is moving slowly. And I’m fine with a lack of action, but as someone previously pointed out, much of the dark psychological element, and the character development elements, are just characters being pensive and brooding.

    I actually found the few times something somewhat action-y did occur (visiting the ice planet, the weird alien thing that was drinking the water), it was usually somewhat of a let down.

    And I’m tired of the recent tendency to replace legitimate character development with brooding. That guy found out he has a son? That girl’s father is dead? The colonel and that doctor/soldier used to have a thing? Brilliant, let’s actually deal with or discuss these issues somehow,rather than just having eli go “oh you have son! haha, awkward moment, and then i leave and you go back to brooding”.

    The episode with the time travel was in my opinion not so far from an old stargate episode.

    The episode life was in my opinion the first time the SGU really injected much “life” into the show, and was definitely a peak thus far.

    I agree that the communication stones seem to invalidate their isolation and desperation, but they also provide interesting plot points (do characters tell their family members, that guy finding out he had a son, the colonel’s wife etc).

    I think the idea of them finding a crashed earth ship (or just picking up more characters in that way) is pretty ludicrous. If they want to introduce extra characters, or swap characters, they’ve never officially declared the number on the ship, so there’s plenty more possibilities.

    I do agree with everyone though that they really need to start exploring the ship more.

    I also think that Eli’s “comic relief” role is getting very tired very fast. I have no problem with someone providing comic relief, but it would be nice if they developed him outside of “that nerdy guy, who the girl doesn’t like” and actually made him more of a person (of course, they should probably do that with all of the younger characters)

    As someone said above, I don’t want less character story in favour of action, I just want more character story.

  20. I’ve tried to like it, it’s simply becoming tedious. Drama for drama’s sake, character background that has little to do with the current situation and does little more than fill up running time, and any form of “Sci-Fi” simply used as a plot device to perpetuate a mediocre soap opera set in space as a “sci-fi show”. This show is to the Stargate franchise what Rick Berman was to the Star Trek franchise.

  21. While I used to like Eli more, yeah, his “aw, I’m the best buddy to the hot babe while she screws another guy” schtick is annoying. Plus I know they think they’re being cute, but I got tired of his endless movie reference jokes.

    Oh, and as to the awesome cinematography? I *hate* shakey cam as used on these TV shows. If there’s a scene where people are just talking, make the camera the POV of a person in the room, not the POV of a handheld video camera. When I’m talking to someone, my head isn’t bobbing and weaving, it’s still.


  22. Oh, and M-Cat, join Netflix. Best way ever to catch up on back-episodes. I came into SG-1 around season 6, loved it, so I just added all previous seasons to my Netflix queue in order. Worked great! 😀


  23. Not to let me geekness show to much, but the stones could prove useful in a very interesting plot twist.
    Since the ship is traveling faster than light, time becomes pliable.
    In SG-A one episode showed a crew aboard an ancient ship traveling FTL.Inside the ship only a couple of decades had passed, but outside the ship? centuries had dwindled away.

    What would happen if one day they went to call home on the stones and some futuristic stargate command center answered.

    The possibilities are there for all kinds of interesting episodes. But so far? its really boring.
    It is literally “Lost” in space, and lost was a big stinker of a show.

    Charector driven shows are OK, when you also have even the smallest hint at a plot. BSG was able to do this and it got better over time.Maybe this will too.

  24. The stones play a huge part later on in the series, they can easily be abused by someone who isn’t a member of the stargate program. Is everyone really who they claim to be?

    And what about the object that detached from the ship at the end of Air???

    And are they really alone on Destiny?

  25. I’ve watched some episodes out of curiosity and I think this show could have some potential.
    But on the other hand I am absolutely certain that this concept simply cannot hold up for several seasons. Perhaps this is the reason they added this stone-related plots in almost every episode – they need to buy time to milk the series. Imagine if they hadn’t the stones, then all episodes up to now would just be enough to fill four hours worth of plot. Instead of going this worst route of all (who cares about Earth?) the producers should have went with two seasons only from the start. Not four to fifteen seasons. That way the result would have been much more intense and interesting.

  26. Response to Dr. Sam Beckett,


    I agree wiht you about Dr. Rush, I think he is an excellant actor, and I enjoy his role. Why don’t we throw out the rest of the actors and bring in some real supporting cast.


  27. @ Rich

    I agree! Maybe keep the hot doctor though?

  28. I really enjoy this show and look forward to it weekly.

    A lot of the negative for this show sounds like it belongs to FlashForward, lol.

    Other than the kid, Eli, I dig the characters and find likable things about them all. I can’t say the same for FlashForward.


1 2 3 8