From Stargate fan Blake Linton's Facebook page
The Stargate franchise has to be one of the most beloved sci-fi properties ever and the fans refuse to let it die. Various campaigns on Facebook continue and one fan, Blake Linton, has gone out of his way in an attempt to revive the show, specifically the last, but least successful entry, Stargate SGU.
This is what Linton has to say about it all...
Can a $35 web show save an $80 million television series? Blake Linton believes it can.
by Blake Linton
The Cancellation Effect is a computer-animated science fiction comedy web show dedicated to the revival of the cancelled television series Stargate Universe. It is the first sci-fi series created to save another sci-fi series, in the same way that Popeye saved the ailing U.S. spinach industry in the 1930s. There have been nine episodes so far, with stories including parodic references to Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, Steve Jobs, and even Barack Obama.
Cable television network Syfy cancelled Stargate Universe (aka SGU) after just two seasons, leaving the story unfinished. The resulting firestorm of controversy prompted Syfy to issue an unprecedented "open letter" to fans, blaming the cancellation on low ratings. But growing evidence proves that the series was actually far more popular than its ratings suggested, with millions of uncounted geeky early product adopters watching by means other than traditional television. Indeed, TiVo has blogged about SGU's extraordinary popularity in late-night re-runs, a study by the Internet Commerce Security Laboratory ranked SGU's popularity the second most popular TV series among file-sharers, and--with over 300,000 votes cast--SGU leads science fiction website Giant Freakin' Robot's poll asking readers which series Netflix should revive.
Indeed, Netflix is often a target of The Cancellation Effect's efforts. In one episode, Captain Kurt and Speck travel through a wormhole to the "real world" to present the case for SGU's revival to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. Unfortunately, a time dilation effect causes their entire presentation to pass more quickly than a wink of Hastings' eye.
A repeated theme in The Cancellation Effect is SGU's abrupt end causing mankind's extinction in various ways. That's why it's called "The Cancellation Effect." The effect of SGU's cancellation is always seen as disastrous. We science fiction fans are unique in believing that our favorite genre is not only entertaining but also beneficial to mankind, even essential to our salvation. Stargate Universe puts soldiers and scientists from our world on a runaway spaceship halfway across the cosmos in the middle of its million-year mission to find the secret of creation. That's the kind of story that inspires us as a species to survive and reach for the stars, to seek answers to the big questions and witness the majesty of the universe.
The Cancellation Effect's total budget so far has been $35, spent on characters and scenes for use with free animation software by Xtranormal Inc. Xtranormal's software is most commonly used simply to present a couple of characters arguing, but I realized it has the power to do much more, to tell stories.
To meet the show's shoestring budget, I mine the public domain for such material as retro spaceship flybys and zombie attack clips from movies and television shows with expired copyrights, as well as uncopyrighted publicity stills and works created by the U.S. government. I also rely on the generosity of others. Lots of photographers and musicians make their work available for free under a Creative Commons Attribution license. That means you're allowed to use their photos and music as long as you give them credit, which I'm meticulous about doing. I'm incredibly grateful. The Cancellation Effect wouldn't exist without those people.
When I can't find free existing materials, I create them myself. I make sparkly teleportation effects using video I recorded of static from an old analog TV set. The accompanying sound effects are just me going 'sssshhhhhhh' into a microphone, heavily processed using a free audio-editing program.
Why the ultra-low budget? After working as a computer scientist at a government think tank for seven and a half years, I realized I'd rather die free than live as a wage slave. I retired with the intention of living the rest of my life very frugally on my savings and a modest inheritance.
How did I arrive at the idea for The Cancellation Effect? After SGU's last episode (so far) aired, I made some fan films to support the show. But with one actor--myself--and no budget for sets or props, I was very limited. And I was worried because MGM has a history of quashing fan productions with cease-and-desist letters and YouTube takedown orders. The solution was to make a show about SGU's cancellation rather than one set within its world. There's no infingement in talking about a TV series and opining that it should be revived. When that actually happens, The Cancellation Effect will have served its purpose and come to an end--which makes it the only series campaigning for its own cancellation.
Being a web show, The Cancellation Effect is released on a "when it's ready" basis, with no seasons or schedule. The first episode, titled simply "Pilot", was uploaded to YouTube on October 26, 2011, and the ninth, "Message from the Afterlife", on June 9, 2012. All episodes, along with several Netflix mockumercial spin-offs and a live-action "Hey Netflix! Save Stargate Universe!" video, are available for free on my YouTube channel here:
The Cancellaton Effect's page on Facebook is here:
Born and residing in Houston, Blake Linton is a lifelong fan of science fiction and an avid player of free MMOs.