"Fan Rebellion Threatens 'Stargate'"

By Mary McNamara

By Salon Staff
Published February 21, 2002 8:00PM (EST)

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Thank you for your insightful article on the demise of "Stargate SG-1." As a longtime fan of the series, I was always drawn to the exploration of new worlds, the combination of history, myths, legends and science and originally the wonderful interaction of the four main characters. I have to say that while Daniel was not originally my favorite, I lament the abuse of the character into a cardboard cutout and the pale imitation "X Files" that "Stargate SG-1" has become.

I now look back at the original few series and realize that DJ was the "heart and soul" of the show as many have said. In fact as I watch these original shows, I understand that his character adds a depth and spontaneity to the show that the other military characters do not and more importantly can not.

I am afraid that the creators of "Stargate SG-1" and the networks have made an enormous error and relegated the show to a B grade sci-fi/conspiracy wannabe. There is no longer a dynamic or a depth to the show. Simply put, it is no longer enjoyable to watch.

-- J. Adams

I have to refute your article about "Stargate." Michael Shanks may have left the show for whatever reason, but the show goes on. The article appears to have taken the actions and words of a vocal minority of the fandom, the online fandom, which is a minority in itself.

There are many of us out there who love "Stargate SG-1," and although we will miss the character of Daniel we are not "up in arms" about him leaving. We are not wailing. We are not writing letters to the producers. We are not taking out ads in the press. We are watching a very good TV show that takes us out of our lives for 45 minutes each week. The dynamic of the show's characters will inevitably change, but that will be interesting to the vast majority of fans of the show.

Publishing an article based on only one perspective is irresponsible in my view. Publishing an article based on the perceptions of a small minority of obsessive fans is more than irresponsible: It is biased.

-- Pam King

I am a 20-something professional woman who is sick and tired of studios who sacrifice us for their 20-something male demographic. I am an avid sci-fi watcher who has been continually let down in mid-series by studios. Not only is "Stargate" not the first, but I suspect it won't be the last. For example: The "Star Trek: Voyager" had a strong female captain that female audiences identified with and yet they felt the need to "sex-up" the show. The ratings kept dropping for this show. The loyal female audience does not take kindly to being patronized and we are avid consumers. I hope that gives them food for thought.

-- G. Hung

I just would like to thank you for writing the article "Fan rebellion threatens 'Stargate.'" I would like to thank you for taking the time to check out the different general forums and Michael Shanks-dedicated sites. Although I have to admit I am scared for you, because I know from experience what parts of fandom can be like.

You witnessed yourself on the Starguide Forums how threatening people can be. And, I have to warn you that Joseph Mallozzi has posted a response to the article on several/various message boards in an attempt to anger everyone and start a new fandom war. He is supposed to be the show's Internet expert. However, he doesn't seem to want to accept how many people do adore this character and the actor. He doesn't seem to understand that this character/actor is loved so much that fans on the 'Net have even grown frustrated/developed hate groups over the attention/support/popularity he gets. Michael Shanks is a very gifted actor. I could list hundreds of reasons I adore this character/actor and then maybe the last one would actually state "because he is gorgeous".

We are sci-fi fans. We are more obsessed/dedicated to our beliefs, characters, and show then fans of regular shows. Please know that the majority does support what you saw and wrote in that article. And, that the people that might be angry about the article are the same people that suck up to Joseph Mallozzi every day of the week and have started hate groups against Michael Shanks/Daniel Jackson because they are frustrated with his overwhelming popularity. "Stargate" fandom has "always" been divided. There are so many divisions/subgroups in fandom it is truly unbelievable. We have always been fighting each other. And, we/they will continue to fight each other, like you saw. However, when it comes down to it, Daniel/Shanks is definitely the most popular and is very essential to the team, the show, and the success of the show. I don't understand why the powers that be don't see it that way. These new writers that took over in season four don't know how to write for the "team chemistry"

I wanted to thank you so much for your article. I also wanted to tell you that you "are" supported, but I am scared for you because fans of this show are very defensive and obsessive at times.

-- Brenda Hall

Many, many thanks to Mary McNamara for putting our case so eloquently.

I was a fan of "Stargate SG-1," and now that Daniel Jackson is gone I may watch -- I doubt I'll get past the first two episodes -- but it certainly won't be "SG-1" anymore. When I first saw the show I'd been a fan of the film and frankly I couldn't stand it. Through having to tape it for my husband, I gradually started to watch and I have to say it was the Jack and Daniel friendship and the character of Daniel Jackson that drew me in.

Obviously it doesn't hurt that Michael Shanks is extremely attractive, but you couldn't just replace him with any old bod. He made Daniel a real person, with flaws and foibles. I can't say I'd want to mother him exactly, but he does exhibit a certain vulnerability as well as strength that is very endearing.

We want Daniel back. The team needs Daniel back. He was the heart and soul, the moral center, the one who reminded them -- when it was necessary -- why they were doing what they did in the first place.

Every single member of that team has an important part to play. They are quarters of the whole and without one of them ... any one of them, the whole is shattered irrevocably.

I gather that Mr. Mallozzi has read your article and seems to have a dim view of both the article and you as a journalist. I'm very sorry for that, because his ignorance is going to ultimately destroy something which was unique in science fiction.

There are none so blind as those who choose not to see.

-- Yvette Moore

I'm really wishing you Internet sites would label pieces for what they really are. Yours is the second so-called article in the last year that should have been labeled for what it really is: an editorial. Those were all the author's assertions, beliefs and assumptions. Had she really gone onto the Internet and done research like she should have, she would have found that everything she wrote was at best a half truth, if even that.

I am a 30-year-old female who could care less about Daniel Jackson or Michael Shanks. I don't love the character and find the writer's whole assertion -- that if you're a female viewer of "Stargate SG-1" then you must be creaming your shorts in lust -- degrading. That's a load of baloney: The only person I may even approach the level of lusting after would be Richard Dean Anderson.

My favorite character since the beginning has been Samantha Carter. It's rare to have a strong female character on a show who isn't a bitch and who doesn't sleep with everything in pants. Yet no one writes an article on her or her fans. She doesn't deserve mentioning apparently.

Also if this so-called author of yours had checked her facts, she would have seen the Nielsen ratings: "Stargate" has been the highest-rated syndicated show for the last month. It's the only show I make a point to turn on, no matter what I'm doing. And I'll continue to do so in the sixth season, long after what's his name -- that archeologist geek portrayed by that nameless actor with an ego too big to fit in Vancouver.

Stop catering to a minute portion of fandom. We want at least a rebuttal, though we deserve a new article outlining the fandom as a whole. I have just spent the last two days emptying my inbox of hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails from fans who have been pissed off and insulted by this editorial.

As a someone with a degree in journalism, I'd expect better from something associated with Salon A&E. It looks like I have a new place to boycott until we see a better resolution to the problem you created by publishing this drivel.

-- Sam Petersen

I am just writing in response to the above article. I am a member of the male audience of the show, and I am just as unhappy about the departure of Daniel as the female contingent. I think the truth is this issue is not divided by gender, but by love of an excellent show. I use the term excellent despite the reduction in quality over the few years. I believe the potential is -- or before Daniel's departure -- was still there.

The kind of show that captures my imagination must have characters you can empathize with and stories that use those characters to entertain and even, sometimes, make you think about things in a different way. For three great years "Stargate SG-1" did this in a wonderful way. In season four and five, despite problems, there were episodes that were absolute gems.

I have, over the time, come to know the characters and value them all. The departure of Daniel leaves a hole that I don't think can be filled by anyone (well-known hunk or acrobatic trapeze artist).

-- Stephen Boyd

Many thanks for the recent article on "Stargate SG1." It was refreshing to see a piece that did not dismiss media fans as no-life "freaks." I would agree with the facts as presented by Mary McNamara. The show has taken a downward slide in quality over the past two seasons, and for myself, a more-than-casual viewer, the downgrading of the character Daniel Jackson and departure of the actor playing him, Michael Shanks, was the last straw. Others feel the same and are making their voices heard, though whether this will have any effect remains to be seen. It is unfortunate that television executives can be so unaware of why people tuned into the show in the first place, and what held them, when the show's ratings were at their peak.

Incidentally, this article has made me aware of your site and I look forward to trawling through the archives for further pieces.

-- C. Crawford

I just wanted to thank Mary McNamara for her excellent article about the "rebellion" over "Stargate SG-1."

It was wonderfully thought out and concise and brought attention to the campaign while refraining from calling us the "vocal minority" or a bunch of "fan-girl lunatics."

We didn't start the campaign to make anybody mad or to put anyone down; we just want to express our extreme displeasure at the way the show is systematically being destroyed by people who don't want to listen. It's like "The X-Files" and numerous other shows all over again, and it really needs to stop. How does anyone expect to keep a show alive if they a) don't listen to their demographic and b) change a working formula. The old axiom is right: "If it's not broke, don't fix it!"

It's nice to know that someone out there is paying attention to us without judging us or trying to spin what we're doing in a way to benefit them. It's a nice change to be listened to, let me tell you.

I really appreciate the thoughtfulness of the article and the care that went into it. Thank you Mary, your article gave us a great "shot in the arm," and we all appreciate it!

-- S. Burkovich, aka Chance

I'll start off by saying that this should rightfully have been referred to as an opinion piece -- not as an article. It takes the views of one specific group of fans and applies them with a broad brush to the entire fandom -- rather poor writing if Ms. McNamara is a professional journalist as some people have reported. She should have learned the use of qualifying language in school.

She qualified nothing in the article. She presented it as if her statements were absolutes and could be applied to every female in "SG-1" fandom. And she was wrong. The entire fandom isn't in mourning because Michael Shanks is leaving. Some fans are. He is not the most beloved character to every female fan -- only to a -certain portion of fandom. Some fans think his storyline was the center of the show -- not all of us.

Personally, I'm quite disappointed that Michael Shanks chose to leave -- I rather liked the character of Daniel Jackson, though I never saw him as the show's central character. He was one of an ensemble. But it was Mr. Shanks' decision. Yes, the show will change, but I'm more than prepared to continue watching.

I found the article incredibly insulting -- it makes fans seem immature, and it perpetuates the stereotypes of fans as get-a-lifes who have no grasp of reality beyond what they see on the TV screen. Fans have been fighting that image for years, and along comes an article that not only reinforces it, but advances it to a new level. And I resent that she chose to speak for me, when she had no such right. Judging from the firestorm I've seen on the various mailing lists I belong to, I'm not alone in this feeling.

Should Salon publish a rebuttal piece? Most definitely -- or at the very least an acknowledgement that the original piece was a opinion piece, not an objective article. I imagine you've been inundated with indignant letters from readers who were insulted by the article, which gives a skewed image of fandom to the non-fan.

-- Kathryn Agel

I want thank Salon.com and Mary McNamara for this incredible article. So many letters sent, e-mails posted, phone calls made -- we've been involved in this for months. To read someone putting so eloquently into words the exact feelings I and others have right now, to put our case forward and point out how and why this is happening, moved me to tears.

Daniel was indeed the heart and soul of the series. Watching the four step through the gate and explore different worlds warmed and excited us, challenged our imaginations. There was a dynamic within the team that made it a joy to watch. In the last two seasons -- and now with Daniel gone -- that dynamic has been destroyed. I am one of the ones who cannot bear to watch without Daniel.

Jonas Quinn has already been introduced as a replacement, a "handsome hunk" who is supposed to make up for Daniel's loss. In my opinion this is just more proof of how little the powers that be think of its female audience, and indeed its male audience. Why would anyone believe that the intelligent, infuriating, caring, sulking, loving character of Daniel could be replaced by anyone?

Thank you, for printing the article. Thank you, the author, for showing an understanding of us and the situation. Thank you from someone still grieving, because it feels like I've lost a friend.

-- Maddy Hughes

I would like to know how on earth the rant by Mary McNamara ("Fan rebellion threatens 'Stargate'") was ever published on your site. It read more like the ravings of the lunatic fringe than anything approaching journalism, and I can only guess that it was actually written by one of the extremist fans described in the "article" (I use the term loosely).

I found the piece to be ridiculous in its premise that "Stargate" fans are in "rebellion" because of the departure of one actor. It is insulting to the intelligence of the fans, who watch the show for many diverse reasons, and offensive to the rest of the cast. Richard Dean Anderson, Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and the distinguished supporting cast are all more than capable of sustaining the show at its current excellent standard.

As a fan of "Stargate," and a woman, I was grossly offended -- embarrassed, in fact -- by the sentimental drivel Ms. McNamara's piece reported as the truth about "women fans." It is an affront to intelligent women everywhere to state that we watch "Stargate" for the sole purpose of sighing and drooling over "The Wonder That Is Daniel." What utter nonsense. Perhaps there are a few women who watched the show for that reason, but it is far from representative of the majority. Women watch the show for the simple reason that it is darn good entertainment.

"Stargate: SG-1" is a great show. It has a strong ensemble cast, intelligent stories and an emotional depth that much science fiction lacks. These are all sound reasons why a large proportion of the show's fans are drawn from the 30-45 female demographic. It's a good show, although despite the pretensions of Ms. McNamara's polemic, "Ulysses," "Beowulf," "Don Quixote" and "David Copperfield" it is not!

I have never visited your site before, and if this is the standard of articles you routinely post then I shall not return.

-- Sally Reeve

Salon Staff

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