NUMBER 5: TAKE RISKS.
If the show's producers are willing to go outside the familiar and well-worn path of what Stargate looks and feels like, they'll have a winner on their hands. The new show ought to take risks -- and from what we have heard so far, it certainly looks like Wright and Cooper are planning on just this sort of shake-up. A darker tone. More focus on characters. More space-based adventures (hopefully, again, still making use of the Stargate). A somewhat younger cast and a younger vibe.
That's not to say that it shouldn't also feel familiar. The Stargate universe is a place we love to go each week, and certain elements are needed to remain true to the franchise. What those things are may be debatable, but we think they include a modern day setting, a team going through the gate on adventures, and humor. We hope the new show maintains these while taking a different approach to storytelling, writing stories that unfold in a more surprising and less predictable manner.
Stargate has to take risks, and this means thinking outside of the box with each and every episode. Surprise us. Shock us. Tell longer, fuller stories arced out over a full year or many years. Don't tell stories by-the-numbers, bend over backwards to avoid repeating stories from Stargate's past, and don't let us figure out what is coming next. That is the sort of storytelling that is driving this genre into the next decade.
One final note ... which ought to go without saying on a show with this title: Use the Stargate. As fun as spaceships are, the premise of this franchise is that we can travel to untold worlds in an instant by stepping through the Stargate. If the third series recovers what was lost in the later years of Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis, it will be awesome.
Fans all want our Stargate to be familiar -- that is, we want it to be faithful to and consistent with what has come before. But that doesn't mean it has to be the same. As much as we like the same, if that's all we ever got then the franchise would certainly run out of steam. A show that is set on a ship, with a younger vibe and a darker tone -- so long as it continues to rely on the Stargate -- can tell brand new kinds of stories.
Again, whatever you think of our suggestions, give the show a shot. Watch Stargate Universe when the show premieres in the summer of 2009, and judge it based on what it actually is (and not what you suspect it's going to be).
Now, it's time for your opinion: sound off in the comments below, at GateWorld Forum, or by calling our Podcast Hotline (616-712-1647).
All-in-all, we're very excited about the prospects that Stargate Universe brings. Roll on 2009!