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:


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. LOL, old man!

  2. Hey Big D how ya doing? Have any further thoughts on SGU? I’m surfing around the dial now on Fridays when I’m home. Attempting to catch “Smallville” or something good on “National Geographic” that I haven’t seen already. Can’t wait till Doctor WHO starts back up.

  3. As far as I’m concerned, Doctor Who ends on the 1st of January!

  4. That’s too bad DrSam just not for another season?

  5. I.m not watching any of Matt Smith’s Doctor, I have seen footage and loads of photos, and heard the proposed storylines. Its just shockingly bad.

  6. Old man, I’ve been fascinated reading everything on here and the other SGU threads, but I’ve stayed out of them mainly because my POV is vaguely unique, in that I’d previously only ever seen a handful of SG1 episodes, none of SGA, and literally one episode of BSG.

    I’ve caught about nine episodes of SGU and actually enjoyed them; since then gone back and watched some of SG1 and SGA on YouTube, and I completely understand why long-time fans might not be happy with this incarnation. If I’d invested 15 years in the franchise and seen more of BSG I probably wouldn’t be too impressed either.

    I’m kind of in Bruce’s camp on this: I can totally see where both sides are coming from. For what it’s worth, Robert Carlyle comes across to me as far more than just a cut-out villain in this. Louis Ferreira as Colonel Young is the only other actor who’s even in the same ballpark thus far. I think it was Lord Garth who said something a while back about his sad eyes, and I’d agree with that: he’s the kind of guy who manages to communicate a lot without it necessarily being written on a page for him. The rest of the cast I’m fairly ambivalent about, though I find Eli eminently slappable with his glib filmic references and “comedy relief” quips.

    The occasional sex scenes don’t bother me for what they are, but again, if I’d been expecting a similar approach to the previous two series and/or been trying to watch the show with kids of a certain age then I can see a few problems there. A comparable example for me I suppose would be: Kirk doing a spot of writhing with a green Orion cadet, fine. If he drops the f-bomb in the sequel, however, I shall be…DISAPPOINTED, shall we say. Even though I swear like a drunken docker on stilts.

    Plenty of holes in how the stones and the spheres have been used to date, we should have had more exploration of the ship, and I reckon we’re long overdue the appearance of some kind of alien civilisation or at least intelligence. Doesn’t have to speak English, have a wrinkly nasal ridge or even be humanoid.

    DrSam, the great thing about the Doctor Who format is that even if Matt Smith really is terrible, we can just lie low for a couple of seasons and he’ll be gone! No matter what his stint’s like, I’m sure someone of his restless yoof won’t want to be typecast forever…

  7. The Big Dentist: So I’m not alone. Cool! (I’m sending the password to my ‘camp’ soon!)

  8. Just checked: “Soulful eyes,” Lord Garth said. Much better description along with his Gabriel Byrne comparison. Similar sort of depth and toughness. Sad was obviously a Freudian slip there. Young and Rush are definitely the standout characters for me, and if the rest of the cast were up to their level instead of simply (for now at least) mannequins on which to hang dramatic situations I’d be a lot happier with the series.

  9. Although we’re coming at it from opposite ends of the spectrum, Bruce: you’re a long-time fan willing to go with it, whereas I don’t know my Stargates from my Battlestars!

  10. Compassion: that’s the word I’m looking for to do with Young. They don’t even need the Earth subplot for him. I think the writers would be better off concentrating on how the characters deal with encountering the unknown out there and new ways of looking at their predicament. Or at least doing something more “proactive” with the Earthbound scenes.

  11. Hi

    Sorry to kind of jump in the middle of this discussion but does anyone know what the writers, producers, directors or even the actors are thinking? Have they gotten any feed back from the Stargate fans about SGU? Do they know how we are feeling? I mean are they happy with SGU? Or are they realizing that the fans are rebelling? Or are the numbers on their side?

  12. Am I the only one that digs Greer? He’s like the third best character behind Rush and Young.

    I’m sure the creators etc… are viewing the comments from the fans. But not much can be done with the show as a lot of the episodes have already been filmed. If an changes to the show were happen it probably wouldn’t be until season 2.

  13. I was a Stargate SG1 and Atlantis fan and had a feeling that even before Stargate Universe started (by watching the promos) that it might not be too good. I gave it a shot anyway and watched 7 or 8 episodes. Others probably mentioned it already, but the episodes just dragged on and that Dr. Rush makes me sick to my stomach. He’s kind of like Dr. Smith from the old Lost in Space tv show, except even Dr. Smith wasn’t as annoying. I have stopped watching now. The V remake on ABC is even better than this show. My prediction is that SU won’t even make it to a full second season before it gets cancelled.

  14. The Big Dentist says: “though I find Eli eminently slappable with his glib filmic references and “comedy relief” quips.”

    I love it. We need that “Moonstruck” moment between him and Chloe. Right after one of his obnoxious quips.

    No Mihovil your right he stands out. The writers are going so slow you can see them flesh the characters as if you were standing behind an artist doing a facial sketch. Maybe they should run a contest, this show isn’t going anywhere anyway? Have the fans flesh out the characters. See what fans get the most votes from other viewers.

    Equilibrium7 says: “Dr. Rush makes me sick to my stomach.”

    Yeah Equilibrium, something tells me this guy cheated to get that PHD. Though, I’m not 100% sure of that…

  15. I thought you might be interested in reading this web page:

    Talks about was it worth canceling SGA for SGU and it is on the syfy forum.

  16. They didnt cancel SGA to make SGU! They cancelled Atlantis because the ratings were ridiculously poor for the last season, so even the fans must have stopped watching.

    Moaning about SGU isnt going to change it, so either find something about it you can enjoy, like I have, or stop watching and quit moaning!

  17. They DID NOT cancel SGA because of ratings. And the lowest live ratings for SGU are LOWER than the lowest live ratings for SGA in it’s FIFTH season. You’re lucky these people (Syfy/MGM/SG PTB) don’t seem so concerned about ratings if you like SGU because for all of the money and promotion (it’s waaaay more expensive!!) they put in to it, it would surely be canceled if that were the case.

    Stop haggling people for being honest about the atrocity that is SGU and let other people have their say.

  18. And all indicators are pointing at the fact that they did cancel SGA for SGU.

    It’s a decision that they might (and should) be regretting these days.

  19. “Stop haggling people for being honest about the atrocity that is SGU and let other people have their say.”

    We’re all here voicing our opinions on the matter… and you have fantastic advice for all Morena.

    Let people have their say, because, in opinion, SGU is an atrocity… to some, not all Morena.


    And I’ve been dwelling on your take on an episode from having “read the transcript” rather than watching the episode.

    Yea, you got me thinking. I hate when I think. I get in more trouble that way.

    Here’s what I thought: If I would ever form an opinion from reading something versus watching the produced product, I would shame myself. Everyone brings their own voice to materials or books they read. Therefore, I’d think reading something would already be a biased perspective, and I’m thinking, FOR ME, a massive waste of time if a produced product is already out there, ready to influence with camera work, music, content (lines) delivery, etc..

    Despite the ratings, many who saw the last episode were pretty impressed with it, compared to the rest of the season, to date.

    OK, I’m hunkering down and getting ready for the onslaught. LOL.

  20. I don’t like SGU much but I am so glad they went away from the bubblegum approach of the preceding series. Yes I am a big fan of the original series and the spinoffs. But who are we kidding SGA was just SG cloned. As for SGU far too few shows have been good this season but the show has promise. For those who like their space adventures in the swashbuckling good guys always win vain there are plenty of DVDs and reruns. When I want a lift I play them, eat popcorn and float into a numbing rhythm of energy weapons being fired. I can even nod off and not lose my place in the story. With SGU you have to invest in the characters and especially in their flaws. That said please blow the fat mopping genius out an airlock with the senators daughter, oh yeah and make sure those darn stones go with em.

  21. No Bruce, no onslaught. LOL.

    It is also an opinion that reading something is “shameful” because, I would think, shouldn’t reading be fundemental?

    I’ve read transcripts for episodes for the other 2 shows before and/or after watching the episodes and guess what, a good show is a good show, meaning that the transcript didn’t cause me to think that a good episode was bad. Of course, as you say good and bad are opinions. And I’m glad that you have embraced my advice there.

    Shows are scripted before they are produced. And, I’m sure that when reading a script people (in the industry and outside of it) can usually tell whether it’s good or not, and that is not a shame to the person reading it. It’s actually a gift.

    I can’t think of how many times I’ve heard an actor or director say something like “You know, I read the script, and I just had to do this movie…” Maybe this is how the actors et al felt about doing SGU. If so, fine. We all have our opinions.

    Michael Shanks said in an interview that when he was reading the script for the pilot of SGU that it felt like people were yelling at each other just because the script said they should instead of acting like adults in the situation. Funny, a lot of viewers of the premier echoed that same complaint. I felt the same way too.

    Now, should I be ready for an onslaught???

  22. Eli has gotten annoying; I liked him at first but not anymore. The stones can stay but they need to use them right, like bringing in scientists who know more about Ancient technology. And what would happen if an Ori (or a Go’uld) inhabited someone’s body and they used the stone? Would that ascended being inhabit someone on Destiny and what would happen to the individual on earth, or on Destiny?

  23. Sorry John “Kahless” Taylor

    Seems those stones are primarily for boinking and fighting.

  24. Morena,

    “shouldn’t reading be fundamental?”

    Only before I pick up the 6-pack. After that, it’s a bonus skill.

    As far as folks praising scripts:

    I think, … eh, I’ll stick to that phrase, I think most of what we see and read is just marketing to get folks excited. If it’s not marketing, it’s political leveraging, playing within the social realms with one’s career. (To be honest, have you ever heard any actor not speak highly of anyone they’ve worked with? Now, of all your co-workers throughout your life, have they all been stellar cool people? Just saying.)

    I know I may sound jaded there, but I’m not… Just what I’ve seen around.


  25. Bruce,

    Yes, most of it is marketing to lure in viewers/movie-goers. That’s why I haven’t critiqued anything that the SGU cast has said about the show. They are just doing their jobs. But, even if it is one’s job to praise the show, many of the words used are often in the speakers control.

    There are actors, and probably more so directors, that mean what they say when they have said that they agreed to do the movie because they liked the script. Especially the A-list actors and directors because they can afford to. And, usually they are sent the better quality scripts, so that helps.

    That said – No, you do not sound jaded. Just honest. I haven’t liked everyone I have ever worked with, but I’ve tried. Just like I tried with SGU. Honestly, I really did try.

    And I have heard of actors speaking poorly of some of the people that they worked with. It’s not professional, but it does happen. Some actors take it back once they’ve realized their mistake, and some don’t. Look at Megan Fox (Transformers 1 & 2).

    Julia Roberts wasn’t all that happy with Steven Speilberg while working on Hook, and from what I can remember that went vice versa. They haven’t worked together since. That was a long time ago, and I only remember it because I love both Julia and Steven and thought that it was a match made in heaven for them to work together. Apparently, not so much.

    Most actors learn/have basic avoidance skills for dealing with interviewers. So, most reports of conflicts that can’t be swept under the rug are casually laughed off in interviews where the actor is asked about them. It is a business, and selling the movie/show comes first.

    When I read the Michael Shanks Q & A, I could tell that even with some of the concerns he was expressing, he was doing his best to hold SGU up to a positive light.

  26. Hasnt stopped Shanks from picking up a packcheck for SGU though has it?

  27. Michael Shanks did his “job” in promoting the show, just like the rest of the actors have on SGU.

    I felt sorry for him.

    There he was, trying his best to he honest and at the same time still promote SGU. I contrast that to the creators/producers of the show having said things about the SG-1 and SGA casts that have been unkind, and in my opinion, untrue.

  28. Morena says: “Yes, most of it is marketing to lure in viewers/movie-goers.”

    Saturday’s main course becomes Monday’s mystery meat. The ugly truth [the picture sucks] is covered by the saucier’s skilled hand. [marketing's sweet, buttery sweet anglaise]
    All but guarantee’s you’ll be throwing up all day on Tuesday.
    It’s a formula for disaster in the long run.

    It should be about story, producer, budget, director, actors. I think in action though, by the time a producer is working on a project one should know details on marketing of the movie.

  29. I am getting a little tired of people saying that SGA was a clone of SG1 or ‘that we need something new so don’t expect SGU to be the same as SGA and SG1′ I expected SGU to be at least watchable and that didn’t happen. I mean we all wouldn’t be here if SGU was good. I will always compare SGU to SGA and SG1 because it is a part of the same franchise. Stargate was about explorers and adventures. I mean doesn’t anyone miss that aspect at all? What happened to the team of explorers? Now all they do is whine and complain then go and have sex. Give me SGA or SG1 any day! I don’t think SGA was a clone at all. I thought it was better than SG1 regardless. At least both those shows were watchable.