Tag Archives: News

Syfy, Sci-Fi, and Fandom: The “Gauntlet” Has Been Thrown

Tamara Johansen wants her show back!

Click Here to Join the Save Stargate Universe Campaign on Facebook!

So let’s use a dirty word: geek. Now, in my mind, being a geek isn’t a bad thing. More than anything it means that we’re enthusiastic. Some of us are into comics, some of us are into games. Some get their kicks off of technology while others love math. But movies, television, and books are the most common targets of our obsessive collecting and fact-gathering, and science-fiction, with its combination of all of the above, attracts our eye more often than many other genres. Just think about it…when was the last time you met a romance geek? They exist…but they generally don’t have their own T.V. networks and collectible shops.

And all of those T.V. networks and collectible shops, those websites and game manufacturers, they get a lot out of us. We hyperventilate over the latest superhero movie, we stand in line for days in line for a game release. But most importantly, we buy everything related to our newest “favorite”, and between all those graphic novels, DVDs, and season passes, it adds up to a lot of cash.

That’s why there has always existed a special covenant between fandom and science-fiction. More than any other genre, science-fiction writers, actors, illustrators, and directors have come down among the masses and, with humility bordering on befuddlement, accepted our passionate praises. Conventions, signings, openings…they come among us because they are us; most media made for science-fictions is made by science-fiction fans. And we have lifted them up, made them our idols…and made them rich.

Which is what makes what the Syfy Network has been doing puzzling, troubling, and, yes, angering. They have broken the sacred covenant held between the curators of our art and us, the hungry audience. By choosing crass profits and heeding the siren call of wrestling, they have turned away from the very people who built them up. We, the fans, paid their bills and put their kids through school while they were still a fledgling network…and now they are sick of us.

Caprica was a blow. Reviews were mixed, and I understand that not everyone enjoyed the heavily layered and emotional storylines. Compared to Battlestar Galactica, full of robots with machine-gun arms and epic space battles, Caprica’s slow build of each level of intrigue may have seemed tedious. But the depth was there, the story was there, and if there was anything the second half told us, it was that Caprica had no problem providing both the robot-mayhem and the mind-bending metaphysics Battlestar Galactica made us fall in love with.

The recent cancellation of Stargate Universe, putting Stargate off the air for the first time in fourteen years, is yet more troubling, and Syfy’s justifications, remarkably similar to those used to justify Caprica, were put forth in an open letter to Stargate fans from Syfy, which was sent out via Gateworld, a dedicated Stargate fansite. Craig Engler(@syfy himself), Senior Vice President and General Manager of Syfy Digital, goes into details, but it all comes down to the same argument: the ratings weren’t there.

Even if we ignore my argument involving fallacious metrics for gauging a show’s popularity, or the scathing “Dear Syfy: Please Stop Lying” from the Caprica Times, it’s hard to ignore Joseph Mallozzi, writer and executive producer for all three Stargate series, as he addresses the open letter piece by piece:

“The show quickly moved forward and officially launched on October 2, 2009. The debut was watched by a good if not spectacular 2,779,000 viewers. To give that some perspective, Stargate Atlantis debuted with over 4 million viewers, soSGU was more than 25% below that.” – Engler

“File this one under baffling.  Comparing the SGA premiere to the SGU premiere overlooks is grossly unfair.  First – Atlantis premiered during the summer while Universe – originally slated for a fall premiere – premiered in the much more competitive fall.  Second the time between the two premiere has seen a significant increase in DVR usage and internet downloads, and a simultaneous erosion in live viewership.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but I don’t think so.  Simply put, back when Atlantis aired, fewer viewers were recording or downloading television and many more were watching television live.” – Mallozzi

“With untenably low numbers and no sign of growth on Fridays where it had now lost 1/3 of its initial audience, we decided to move SGU for its second season. We’d had tremendous success on Tuesday’s with our breakout hit Warehouse 13, so we paired SGU with Caprica and moved them to Tuesdays, hoping to introduce both shows to a new audience.” – Engler

“Sigh.  Okay, look – while I understood (and supported) the move to Tuesday night and the pairing with Caprica, I nevertheless take exception to the assertion that the network had enjoyed “tremendous success on Tuesday’s with [their] breakout hit Warehouse 13″.  While Warehouse 13 certainly aired on Tuesdays, it did so in the summer (where, I’d like to reiterate, SGU was originally scheduled to air).” – Mallozi

“We moved the final 10 episodes of SGU to Monday nights where we’d just had success with a new show called Being Human, but the ratings remained flat.” -Engler

“Okay but, realistically, the series had already been canceled so I’m not sure how much reasonable audience growth could be expected at that point.” – Mallozzi

In any case, Engler’s response signals one thing: they have heard us, and now they are trying to play reputation control. But this is the internet, and reputation control is our playground.

Don’t forget to join the SaveSGU Campaign on Facebook, learn the Plan, and make your voice be heard!

(Thanks to Justin Zimmer for the awesome banner!

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Weekly Updates for May 21, 2011: #SyFail Campaign Gains Steam, #SaveSGU Fights the Power, and #Rapture Doesn’t Do Anything

SyFailTop of the evening, Faithful Readers! I know, I know, I’ve been bad about posting, but I assure you I have been very productive on other fronts. I have been getting setup to start self-publishing my work, I’ve been preparing for a new look, format, and vision for the Social Medial Philosophy Project, and (as ever) I have taken a job for the Lovecraft eZine consulting on web development, SEO, and SMM. I swear, every time I think I’m out, they pull me back in! But I guess it’s inevitable…code is in my blood, and as my readers can attest, the online world and coding edge their way into my work all the time.

But enough about me…

#SyFail Tops 1,100 Fans

As of the time of writing this, the Syfail community on Facebook has gained 1,148 followers. A search for #SyFail produces a page of results. Their general activity seems focused on the cancellations in general, rather than about any specific show. Their info panel doesn’t say much, but be sure I will be following them in the days to come (and following them on Twitter at @SyFail ). And to continue the theme…

#SaveSGU Fights the Power!

At time of writing, the Save Stargate Universe has 44,979 fans. Posts all over the net and twitter searches show that Stargate fans are upset and not willing to stand down. The fact that, for the first time in well over a decade, the Stargate franchise as a whole is over has also brought together fans trying to make sure the franchise stays alive at all: the Save Stargate currently has over a thousand fans and is gaining ground daily. @SaveSGU has over 2600 followers and is going strong. And the question remains: Will Syfy listen?

And finally…

#Rapture Doesn’t Do Anything

It’s not like those of us with half-a-brain in their head thought anything else would happen, but it’s still, apparently, news. Twitter has lit up with #Rapture all day, and people have been very busy announcing that they are, in fact, still here. It’s quite mystifying, in my opinion. Have we, as a generation and a world, become so starved for something to do (and so jaded by irony) that we spend a nice Saturday afternoon paying a whole lot of attention to something that isn’t happening and that almost no one thinks will happen?

And now, Hitler reacts to the cancellation of SGU:


What You Can Do To Save Stargate Universe

stargate universe logo

Image via Wikipedia

The time has come. Tonight is the night. “Gauntlet,” airs tonight (9PM ET), and that will be it for Stargate Universe. A franchise that began with Stargate: SG-1 fourteen years ago will end, and there is no indication that it will be continuing. The movies have been cancelled. SGU has been cancelled. It seems like all is lost. And yet…

There is a band of intrepid fans who are determined to Save Stargate Universe. They are determined to invoke the powers that saved Chuck, Futurama, and other shows saved by their fans, and they are pulling out all the stops to do so.

First, there is The Plan, which has multiple facets. Part One is a standard Post Flood.


On Monday, May 9th, every member of Save Stargate Universe leave a post on the SyFy facebook page, the SyFy Forums, and any other public forum/page related to NBCUniversal, SyFy, or MGM, demonstrating your anger for the cancellation, your desire for more Stargate, and your willingness to fight for it.  Please try to keep the language civil.  There are children who visit this site.  Keep posting all day long and during the last episode of Stargate Universe.  If your comment is deleted, post again.  If you are blocked, you know they saw it.  There are over 26,000 of us.  If we all do this, they will get the message.

Part Two is the Tissue Box Campaign, which Stargate: SG-1 fans will recognize from the very first episode:


During the week of May 9th, purchase three boxes of Kleenex (or three of any box of tissue you are able, does not matter if they are the cheap ones, but the bigger the better!) and write on it these three things:


‘Save Stargate Universe Tissue Box Campaign’ www.facebook.com/SaveSGU

(We WANT them to know who is doing this)


You can also include any message on these boxes that you like, but we want these things on there so that this campaign is uniform.  If they know we are organized, they know we are serious.  Remember; do not send any violent threats.  You can be arrested for sending threats through the mail.

Addresses for this part of the campaign and others will be listed at the end of this post. Remember to be safe and sane about what you send these people through the mail.

Part Three is the equally clever Communication Stone Campaign:


During the week of May 9th, find several stones (not too small but no boulders either!) and write on it these three things:


‘Save Stargate Universe Communication Stone Campaign’ www.facebook.com/SaveSGU

(we WANT them to know who is doing this)


You can also include any message on or with these stones that you like, but we want these things on there so that this campaign is uniform.  If they know we are organized, they know we are serious.  Remember; do not send any violent threats.  You can be arrested for sending threats through the mail.

Finally, there is the Bye Bye Syfy Campaign:


Anyone who is done with SyFy all together (meaning that there is not another show on that you want to watch, I know that many like Being Human and Merlin, no shame in that) delete the SyFy Facebook page from your account.  Now remember before you do this, to see any updates or post on the wall, you have to “like” the page.  So we leave that up to your discretion.  This is a personal choice and not mandatory.

I also want to encourage others to join the SyFail group on Facebook. As I have said elsewhere, in my opinion Syfy has been increasingly going astray and alienating its fanbase. A Save Sanctuary page has already been started because no matter how amazing the show is, we know which way the wind is blowing. Speak out, in every way you can, and maybe, just maybe, Syfy will listen.

And remember, another way to help make sure the Stargate franchise continues is to buy their DVDs and products:

Stargate SG-1

Stargate SG-1: The Complete Series Collection (2007)

Stargate: The Ark of Truth/Stargate: Continuum [Blu-ray]

Stargate Atlantis

Stargate Atlantis: All

Stargate Atlantis: Complete Series Gift Set [Blu-ray]

Stargate Atlantis DVD:

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete First Season

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Second Season

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Third Season

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Fourth Season

Stargate Atlantis – The Complete Fifth Season

Stargate Universe DVD:

SGU: Stargate Universe: Complete First Season [Blu-ray]

SGU: Stargate Universe – The Complete First Season [DVD]

And finally, with heavy heart, I must finish and prepare for the season finale. Let’s just hope it isn’t the series finale, instead.

Addresses for The Plan:


John Bryan

MGM Worldwide Television Distribution

2500 Broadway Street

Santa Monica, CA 90404-3065 USA




c/o NBC Universal

Dave Howe

30 Rockefeller Plaza

New York, NY 10112 USA



NBC/Universal Media Studios

c/o Barry Wallach

Domestic Television Distribution

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City CA 91608 USA


Superman Stops Fighting for the American Way

Superman making his debut in Action Comics #1 ...

Image via Wikipedia

Via Comics Alliance, we find that Superman, the icon of “truth, justice, and the American way” for eighty years will be renouncing his American citizenship. The surprising and polarizing act makes sense in the context of the storyline, where Superman’s attempts to protect and support the protesters in Iran is interpreted as an act of war by the USA. Superman, realizing that he was naive for thinking his actions would not be interpreted that way on the world stage, promptly goes to the UN and renounces his American citizenship, pledging to fight the good fight on a global scale.

This is a move that is obviously going to attract very strong emotions. The comments on the article speak volumes:

“SUPERMAN ALWAYS HAS BEEN A GLOBAL IMAGE AND “AMERICAN ICON!” I still believe in truth, justice and the AMERICAN WAY!” The creators of Superman saw him as the ultimate imigrant! why is it that American is now associated with not fair yet the whole world calls on us to save them! I am a life long Superman fan..and if the story has him renounce his US citizenship, then it will be an insult to the patriotic image they created…..” – Iceman

“Key point: Superman didn’t renounce anything. He’s only a cartoon character. Action Comics has renounced their citizenship. Or at least signaled a change of values. Expect to see A LOT of shilling for leftist causes now. I wonder what they gain by selling out to propagandize for the Democrats, like the main stream media did. Maybe they’ll get a bailout from the taxpayers. Or when it comes time for opting out of Obamacare for their employees down in the printing room.

Yep. And once the comic book world has completely cashed in on the side of “global transformation”, I’m sure they’ll get some well-deserved extra rations and larger apartments in the workers paradise. Thanks for enlisting in the corporate propaganda army, Action Comics. Now lets get busy! Can Superman make it to Palestine next week? We hear the Israeli Army is picking on the Gaza Strip again and we need him to help Hamas leverage power!!!” – Jon

“Interesting concept, but terrible timing…..With the tragic comedy of our politicians and an absence of visible American heroes ( this does not include our valiant troops ), DC basically outsources Supe ! Is nothing sacred ?” – onc8

It’s interesting that almost all of the commenters take this in a completely real-world political context. I am not naive enough to not see the political drive going on in the writer’s minds, but at the same time, from the point of view of someone who actually reads these comics, and watches the cartoons, and Smallville, and the movies…wow, I’m a nerd. But regardless, the actions of Superman, and indeed, the entire ensemble of the Justice League, stopped being limited to America or the agendas of American exceptionalism and nationalism a really, really long time ago. The villains stopped being foreign armies, and many of them became members of our own governments. The Project Cadmus storylines…hell, the greatest villain of Superman history, Lex Luthor, was elected president of the US!

In addition to this, the affairs of these heroes reach far beyond our planet. The affairs of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Infinite Crisis, and Final Crisis (among many others) reach beyond our dimension to all possible realms of existence.

On the political side, it’s not exactly news-worthy to suggest that perhaps, just perhaps, America is not the moral leaders that they once were (or at least that the history books written by Americans say they were) and that if a superhero is truly to be “good” an objective, non-political sense, Superman can’t exactly align himself with the US anymore. We torture. We kidnap people and make them disappear. We lock people away with no evidence, no trial, and no means of review. In light of all of that, is it any surprise that the universal symbol of good, honor, and justice can no longer wrap himself in the US flag?

Maybe when we clean up our act he’ll come back. Thoughts?

Welcome to the all-new version of NealJansons.com!

Neal JansonsHiya, cats and kittens! We are looking into the face of a new spring, and I can tell you one thing…I refuse to blink! While I have had many setbacks over the last few months, I am slowly getting a handle on my health problems (yay, massive amounts of painkillers!) and am determined to get my career back on track.

To that end, the new look of my personal site. This site will serve as the clearinghouse of all things Neal Jansons, from informative blog posts more along the lines of my old sites, WriteNewMedia and thePuckWrites, to news on upcoming publications and work on new projects (plus a few personal rants about the state of the universe as we know it to liven up the mix). I hope the new site meets with your approval.

And speaking of WriteNewMedia/thePuckWrites, all the old archives of those sites are here as well, easily accessible via the top navigation bar. If worst comes to worst and you can’t find an old post, use the search bar on your upper right.

I have also started a fan page on Facebook, so if you get a chance give me a like and post a little something on the wall.

As always, thank you to all my readers and future readers out there. It’s been a bumpy road, but I see better things on the horizon.

Associated Press Declares War on New Media. Isn’t That Just Adorable?

Well, it’s happening again. A long while back I wrote on this issue and then heard very little about it. I was hoping the AP would submit to the inevitable with more grace, but it seems that is not the case. The AP, with all of its venerable power, has decided that the best way to deal with its own looming obsolesence is to go the route of the RIAA and the MPAA: they are going to sue people that threaten their monopoly. Let’s break this down a bit.

For a very long time, the market for intellectual content was dominated by the machinery of production and distribution. Record companies were the only ones who could afford to record and distibute music, studios did the same with movies and television, and the publishing companies did it with books, comics, and magazines. The Associated Press is an organization like the MPAA and the RIAA. It is a collection of news companies that was very used to having absolute control over their medium and market. They do not exist for some altruistic purpose of keeping people informed…they exist as a quasi-legal cartel, able to operate only because their activities do not interfere with competition (amongst themselves).

This organization, like its siblings in the other markets, got broadsided by the new technologies of the internet. Their entire means of controlling their markets, which was the control of production and distribution, is gone. Kaput. Obsolete. They no longer control anything at all. We can do it ALL ourselves. We can make the media, distribute it, promote it, and profit on it, all without their vast machinery created over a century of profiteering. They are, in a word, irrelevant. They could realize and embrace this, creating a new business model for a new era, and realize that the thing they used to sell is now available for free so they need to sell something else. But instead they want to try to hang on, to enforce their traditional market domination by an act of law rather than real competition.

So this is what I am going to do, and I advise all other bloggers and new media people to do the same: show the AP the truth of its current position. Ignore them. Don’t link to them, don’t spread any story that links to them, and in general show them that their little club of middle-men is irrelevant. They want to declare war (have you ever noticed there is a certain demographic in the USA that is always declaring war on things?) on new media, as if such a thing was possible. This is like primitive neanderthals declaring war on modern homo sapiens…what are they going to do, print stories about how nasty bloggers are in their newspapers no one reads? Maybe they will take out an ad in a magazine no one buys? In the end, however, they are irrelevant. We can do quite well without them. The only reason any of these industries existed was because of a limitation on production and distribution that no longer exists.

So boycott the AP. Link to nothing, spread nothing, post nothing. Let them die without any of our lives being destroyed by meaningless lawsuits meant to be object lessons. Show them just how useless and irrelevant they are.

End of rant. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

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The Value of Networking: The Aftermath of the ProBlogger Love-In

Business PartyYesterday I blogged on Darren Rowse’s “Social Media Love-In” over at Problogger. In the aftermath of a few hours of clicking, I have a massive number of new social media connections in every field remotely related to mine.

Now, I thought about this because I remember the business culture of the 1970s and 1980s. I remember the notion of “networking parties” where a whole bunch of people in a given field would get together, attempt to drink and have fun, and furiously exchange business cards. Then they would go back to their offices the next day and give the stacks of cards to their secretaries, who would then file them. These parties would have about 50 people and be of a single field.

Let’s compare that to yesterday, where we had hundreds of people (if not thousands at this point, I haven’t gone back…my clicking finger is numb!) from related, but not the same fields, able to interact through social media systems that keep them sorted and searchable with no secretary or overhead. I made connections with people who span every part of what I do. I met people to get hired by, hire, start new projects with, make friends with, and learn from, all in the space of a few hours. All for the price of an internet connection and some clicking. We just have to do this again!

This is the power of social media. When it comes to building your writing career in new media, an opportunity like this can’t be passed up. Head over to Problogger and get in on the social media love, and you won’t regret it.

Who else made great connections from the love-in? Share some of your social media love stories for us!

Social Media Love-In at ProBlogger.net

ProBlogger Social Media Love-In

Darren over at ProBlogger has a great event going on. Just go comment and put in your social media information. Then go through and add other bloggers, writers, and social media people! This is a must for any writers in new media out there wanting to establish their social presence (hint hint!). Get on over and get connected!

P.S. They are having problems with the spam filter. Please remember to put the phrase”social media” in your comment.

The Associated Press does not understand the new media.

Newshoggers.com: Fair Use And The Associated Press

This seems just strange to me. The internet is based on links…people linking to your content is a good thing. And yet this giant can’t seem to grasp this, or grasp the new media at all. You would think they could see the writing on the wall, considering that is their job.

Print media is dying, their control is dying, and news and media is becoming distributed. These things are facts, and suing people is not going to stop it, its just going to make people hate you more in the short term while the same problem looms. The AP could quickly become the kings of content, if they would just let go of it and let it do what it does…spread around.