Sulu nails it.
George Takei is boldly going where no one has gone before. Well, where no one has gone before and come out not torn to shreds by the legions of Twi-hards.
You see, not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away, a war broke out between two different but equally geeky enthusiastic factions, and the great Star Wars vs. Star Trek debate was born.
Refusing to let a good feud die, both William Shatner and Carrie Fisher have recently stoked the flames of that fire, and now the erstwhile Sulu has stepped up to put an end, once and for all, to the unending dispute.
By urging both sides to unite in their disdain for the Twilight series.
Read more at www.eonline.com
“Fellow Star folks, cool it down and shut your big wormholes,” implores Takei in a video uploaded to YouTube. “Each is wonderful in its own special way. What’s needed today now more than ever is star peace, for there is an ominous, mutual threat to all science fiction. It’s called Twilight and it is really, really bad.”
“Gone is any sense of heroism, camaraderie or epic battles. In its place, we have vampires that sparkle, moan and go to high school. Now, I’m not above mixing in a little sex appeal to spice up the fantasy, but sci-fi fans be warned, there are no great stories, characters or profound life lessons to be found in Twilight. Nooo…In Twilight, the only message that rings through loud and clear is: ‘Does my boyfriend like me?’
“Let us band together to combat this mutual threat.”
Uh, something tells us he may not be living so long or prosperously after Twilight fans catch wind of this.
I answered a few questions over on Forbes. Please Linkedin, SU and Digg the Article for me.
A couple of months back Trendrr — a new service that measures TV shows’ popularity via social media mentions — listed Stargate Universe as the most talked-about cable television show of the week. In December, the SyFy channel had announced its cancellation and a fanbase was building to save it — from chartrooms, fanpages, Twitter, Digg and they were arriving in the public square of Facebook.
Recently the “Save Stargate Universe” page on Facebook crossed the 50,000 mark, a remarkable effort to save a show. But what’s most striking in reading through their strategies and comments, is the group’s passion. It comes out in their rumor-milling, in the expressions of genuine loss, and every now and then in a little humor:
has anyone thought of maybe suing syfy for false advertising. Wrestling and cooking are not science fiction!”
It is pages like Save SGU that illustrate the shifting relationship between television executives and viewers. It’s not always pretty, but ultimately better for both parties. The question for television execs is how to turn that passion and energy into something positive for their shows and their brand in general. To make that happen, they have to understand how groups such as Save SGU come to be.
The man behind the SGU movement calls himself TheDudeDean and we chatted via email over the weekend about why Stargate Universe sparks such fervent defenders, Save SGU’s goals now that SyFy is out of the picture and why Facebook has been their chosen gathering place.
There are a lot shows being cancelled this season, what makes this show worth saving?
By canceling Stargate Universe, MGM, NBC, and SyFy have alienated the very people who make their companies millions of dollars. They no longer want the “geeks” who, without, science fiction would not exist.
It is more than just a television show. It is a way of life for those of us who love the franchise. Getting to know the characters, fighting with them to rise above adversary, watching how the myths of today are blended to create a plausible explanation of our past, allowing our imaginations to run rampant, and sharing with others the possibilities of the worlds around us is something that cannot be replaced by reality shows. It means that much to us.
By canceling this franchise, these companies have not only lost money, they have lost their reputation and their credibility. When once fans would RALLY together for the newest shows SyFy, NBC, and MGM were putting out, now we rally together to show our disappointment, our anger, and our determination to show them that this WILL NOT STAND.
This is not just for Stargate Universe. It is for Science Fiction in general. We are fighting for its survival. If we don’t stand up now, Syfy will be total crap like MTV in a few years, if not sooner. BTW Who watches those 12 hour marathons of Jersey Shore they do on Sundays? If you like Cooking shows, Reality TV and Wrestling, don’t do anything.
Tell me how you started to build a following for this movement.
I founded this page one month before the show was canceled. When I heard they were moving Caprica and Stargate Universe from Friday night and replacing them with “Smackdown,” I knew that Syfy was planning on canceling these shows. I just set up the http://www.facebook.com/SaveSGU page and got my 25 fans so I could get my URL to match my twitter handle. One month later the show was cancelled.
On Day 1 +1000 fans, Day 2 +1000 fans, Day 3 + 500 fans, and by the end of December we had 5000 fans. I really didn’t expect Syfy to cancel Stargate Universe mid-season.
From the Start, I had Miguel Lopez and Cynthia Yildirim, from the ranks of fans, I found my assistant administrators for the page. Fans spread the word on other website discussions after the news was released about the cancellation and people started coming en masse to Save Stargate Universe.
Word of mouth is a powerful weapon. Last month we added 31,000 to our numbers. I’ve created YouTube, Twittter, Amplify and Tumblr social media pages to gather people together and get the word out. What you see today is a result of that.
Added November 16, 2010 (this is the original group avatar.)
SyFy’s Craig Engler made a fairly compelling argument for canceling SGU. I’m wondering if that open letter a few weeks back slowed your momentum.
No, not at all. If anything I think it has galvanized it. To us, his argument was not in any way compelling. What he stated was a generic answer given for every show that is cancelled. He did go a step further and practically blamed the fans for the cancellation, something you do not do in the Science Fiction world. We were blamed solely for the ratings drop when everyone knows that the show changed times and days repeatedly without correct advertisement. The change in the time of year it was aired also greatly damaged its viewer base.
These shows have cult followings. And when someone tries to back their way out of a hole the way he did, it provides us with all the more reason to rally together to save the show.
It received such negative feedback that even (SGU executive producer) Joseph Mallozzi had to write a rebuttal. Neither he nor the fans believed what Craig was saying and still do not to this day. While it seems that he tried to assuage our anger with SyFy and with himself, repeating what we had already heard was probably not the best way to go about it. We look forward to hearing from him again.
Have you heard from anyone at SyFy? Same question for the show — anyone helping you on from show’s producers?
Yes, we have heard from a few people. Syfy’s Craig Engler recently reached out to me on Twitter. After a few Twitter messages back and forth, I had a nice 25 minute phone call late one afternoon. He called me at 4:36 PM and had a public relations supervisor (@SyfyPR) on the line with him.
After a few moments of chit chat, he basically read me the “Open Letter” he wrote. I reminded him that NBC (NBCUniversal is Syfy’s parent company) canceled Star Trek. I asked him if he thought they made the right decision on that one. Craig Engler then reminded me that Star Trek didn’t do well when it was brought back. I reminded him that, as they had Stargate Universe, they moved it to Friday Night, which at that time was regarded as the kiss of death for the show.
I also asked him if he saw Joseph Mallozzi’s post where he addressed the Open Letter to fans. I pointed out to Craig Engler that you can’t compare Summer time TV Numbers to Fall Numbers. The demographics and time of year drastically affect the ratings.
Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis were both Summer time shows, they did well there. It is my belief that Syfy deliberately scheduled the shows in the fall in order to cut them off.
We are still not sure as to the reason for the call, but we like to think that it is because our voices were getting too loud to ignore. A reputation is a hard thing to gain back when you betray the trust of the fans.
I’ve tried reaching out to David Blue and the cast, but only MingNa would follow us back on Twitter. Patrick Gilmore, Dr. Volker on the show, contacted one of my administrators, Suzy Phillips, by email. Also Brian Jacob Smith Tweeted about us:
“Big fan of SGU? Sad that it’s gone? Check out this site – I was amazed to see how organized/passionate they are. http://bit.ly/fnfphA”
We understand that going against these major networks can be disastrous for the actors and crew that are seeking work in the entertainment field. Several have stated that. But we know that they appreciate our efforts and keep up the hope that one day they will be able to speak out and help us.
Is the goal now to find the show another channel?
Yes. If any network (preferably not in the NBCU/Comcast Empire) would pick it up that would be great. We’ve also noticed that Netflix is getting into producing its own content. There are also several networks in the UK that SGU would be perfect for. We just want the show and the franchise to continue!
We have fans who are writing the third season on their own. Others want to donate money to pay for another season. The fans of Stargate Universe are serious about getting it back on the air and continuing the franchise. We are also working to generate interest in the Stargate movies that were shelved with the cancellation of SGU.
It’s interesting to see that a major part of your strategy is DVD sales. Have you been able to track how that’s going?
Yes, we got that idea from one of Joseph Mallozzi blog posts. He stated that one way to prove that Stargate Universe and the entire Stargate franchise, for that matter, was profitable, the fans needed to purchase DVD’s. It would show the popularity of the show as well and profit for the companies.
Both MGM and SyFy promote the sale of the DVD’s on their Facebook pages using Amazon like we do. Although we do not want to fund them, we understand that money plays a huge part in the entertainment industry and without it, the show has no hope of coming back. We consider it a part of our campaign.
We are able to track the purchases of DVD’s from our Amazon account if they are purchased through our store. Any other numbers are based on the information we can find about the sales.
Other parts of our campaign are sending letters, emails, tissue boxes, and “communication” stones. Any Stargate fan knows the significance of this.
We have also asked fans to send in pictures and videos showing their love for the show and have received an enormous response. This part of the campaign has taken on a life of its own and has become a great source of humor and emotion for the cause.
Why Facebook instead of your own webpage or a forum?
If it worked for Team Coco, why not Save SGU? It is a very integral part of media today. We can reach more people faster through Facebook by updating our status, adding pictures and notes, and creating events. And people share what they learn here faster than they would from another site. We plan to move forward with this by adding actual webpages and forums, but Facebook is our lifeline to the fans.
This allows us to organize everyone within hours. Judging by the increase in our numbers, it is an invaluable tool. Also, the fans are able to share their displeasure on the pages of SyFy, MGM, and NBCUniversal. Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re active on Digg, YouTube, Twittter, Amplify and Tumblr.
For those who might say that this is a lost cause, we say this. We will continue to fight for Stargate Universe, the Stargate franchise, and Science Fiction until things change. There is always hope. There is always a way.
By sticking together and sounding as one voice, we have power. And we will continue to increase that power. The movement has begun and it will not be stopped. We encourage all Stargate fans and science fiction fans to hang in there with us. There is nothing we cannot do if we stand together.
Evolve or Die Syfy.
Read more at gigaom.com
The Federal Communications Commission released a mammoth “state of the media” report on Thursday, looking at the upheaval in the media industry across all sectors including newspapers, magazines and television. Although there were fears when the report was first announced that the regulator might recommend subsidies and other changes that would distort the market in favor of existing media entities, the final version actually goes some distance in the other direction. It effectively tells media companies that the government can’t do much to help them, and the companies had better start adapting.
Much of the 475-page report, entitled “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a BroadBand Age” (the full PDF version is located here and the text is also embedded at the end of this post) is an exhaustive catalogue of the decline of traditional media over the past decade: the fall in circulation, the disappearance of newspapers and local TV stations and other sources of news and journalism, the ongoing decline in advertising revenue, and so on.
The loss of “accountability journalism”
One of the biggest trends that the FCC flags as important in the report is the loss of what it calls “accountability” journalism, in which news outlets on a local and/or national level cover the government and thereby act as a check on power. As more than one person has noted, this conclusion isn’t exactly a news flash that required government funding and two years of research to unearth, but is arguably still worth highlighting, since it’s a gap that has yet to be filled.
And what does the FCC think can be done to fill it? Not much. As the report notes, it’s not clear how that kind of journalism — which doesn’t tend to attract much advertising interest — is supposed to pay for itself on an ongoing basis. As Hamilton Nolan at Gawker noted, this is one area that doesn’t attract high-profile or sexy alternative sources.
Some alternative models
The report does note that some alternative models have emerged, such as Politico and ProPublica and regional non-profits like the Texas Tribune model (PDF link), which rely on donations. But at the same time, it acknowledges that these efforts can’t fill the gap that has been created — and arguably continues to widen — as existing media entities cut back, lay off reporters and editors and scale back their coverage in a number of areas such as political reporting.
Within hours of the report’s release, AOL released a statement arguing that its ongoing Patch hyperlocal effort is helping to fill that gap, with Patch editor/reporters in more than 800 towns across the U.S. and some high-profile “investigative” stories to its credit. But the success of Patch as a business is still a large question mark, despite the more than $100 million that AOL has poured into it over the last year and a half.
When the FCC media report was first being discussed, it looked as though some media outlets and lobbying groups were going to try to convince the agency to propose tax breaks and other subsidies that would help newspapers or traditional media entities stay afloat – including a proposal to allow newspapers to claim tax-free status. But the FCC’s report does not advocate any of these things.
Recommendations for government
Instead, the report says media companies need to adapt to the new shape of the industry, and try to learn from alternative models and businesses. Probably the biggest move it recommends is that the government shift some of the $1 billion or so it spends on advertising its own services to smaller and/or alternative news sources, as a way of helping media outlets on the revenue side.
It also recommends governments become more transparent and reveal more information about their activities to help fill the gap in “accountability journalism.” And there are some recommendations involving regulatory easing for broadcasters, and some proposed changes that would make it easier for non-profit entities to raise money.
The report produced two major reactions from media-industry watchers. Some said that it was a disappointment because they hoped the FCC would advocate more sweeping changes to the media regulatory system that would help the industry evolve (Dan Gillmor called it a “voluminous disappointment” because it didn’t address increasing access to broadband). Others, however, said they were just happy the agency didn’t mess around with subsidies or other market-distorting mechanisms and chose to take the “do no harm” approach.
In the end, after describing the ongoing disruption in the industry, the report more or less leaves media companies on their own to evolve and adapt without any help from the broadcast regulator. Not necessarily a happy message, but arguably a worthwhile one.
‘Stargate Universe’ is over. (Sadness.)
Syfy aired the show’s final episode on Monday (read my recap for AOL TV), and its pretty clear that the franchise won’t be bouncing back for at least a few years. It’s a shame, since ‘SGU’ was only starting to find its legs as a compelling, ambitious, arc-driven sci-fi drama, and ‘Stargate’ was one of the most consistently entertaining sci-fi brands of the last decade. Here’s hoping it’ll return some day in some form, and when it does, I hope I’ll be here to write about it again.
I interviewed ‘Stargate Universe’ co-creator Brad Wright and star David Blue about the series finale for a recent AOL TV feature. Below you’ll find text from a follow-up email interview I conducted with Wright about the show. The interview features Wright’s answers to specific questions about the finale that I didn’t use for the AOL feature in order to avoid giving away spoilers. Enjoy, ‘Stargate’ nerds: