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unusual source notes SG-1 cancellation...

Thanks to the Solutions Blog website for this heads-up...

ESPN Page 2 writer Gregg Easterbrook, in an extremely long article that's mostly about the new football season, wanders discursively through a number of tangential topics, including the cancellation of SG-1:


There's so much on the page that you might be better off doing a find for keywords, but on your way to the Stargate portion, don't miss "Future Historians Blame 21st Century Bolt for Decision to Evacuate Earth", which is about six items above "This Week's "Stargate" Complaint". (Both are about halfway down the long page, if you are dragging the scrollbar.)

This is a rant the quality of which could only have been written by someone who actually watches the show, indeed, who has done for years. He goes off onto a tangent about the recent seasons' premise of the U.S. building multiple Prometheus/Daedalus-class warships and why he thinks this is unrealistic in the extreme from a practical viewpoint (plus, he "liked the original Stargate premise better. The original premise was that archeologists in Egypt discover an entry point for an ancient network of gates that allow instantaneous travel across the cosmos; a handful of Earth's best step through the gate, having no idea what's on the other side and able to take along only that which they can carry. That premise forced plots to focus on contact with strange distant societies and to emphasize the small, halting nature of the human presence.") It is a rant worthy of the obsessed kind of meta that a lot of us tend to get into, and it makes me squint at Gregg Easterbrook in a knowing way.

Note: fair warning, he does *not* like Atlantis. (He considers it plodding and un-funny compared to SG-1, but I can't quite tell whether it's because he gave up on the show early on and doesn't watch it, or if he does watch it regularly too, or what.) He doesn't really spare SG-1 from criticism, either, though. I found it all pretty darned funny, and you know, didn't disagree with some of his points (save his characterization of SGA).

I'm just left wondering what most of his sports/football-interested readers make of this digression... presuming they read that far.

At the very bottom of the page he closes with:

"Next Week: The Stargate commandos use the wormhole to travel to a mirror universe where "Star Trek" has not been canceled and the other three promised "Star Wars" movies are actually being made."

Boy, you find fannishness in the oddest places, don't you?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 20th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
Easterbrook is an interesting (sometimes problematic) guy. Running into him at ESPN with no other exposure to him must seem a little weird, because you sort of think "Jock writer guy with a geek streak?". But I'd argue if you look at his career (see below) he's more a wonky geek guy with a jock streak.

He's mentioned Stargate before and he's clearly a serious watcher. Google his name + Stargate and you'll get some hits. He's also talked a little Trek, Firefly, Farscape, and Battlestar Galactica in the past.

Sep. 21st, 2006 02:04 pm (UTC)
Ohhhhh, yeah. I'd forgotten all about that kerfuffle.

Yeah, I see what you mean -- geek with jock cred rather than the other way around. I still kind of wonder what his readers make of a fairly long digression about the realism of the premises of a science-fiction show. But given that some of his readers apparently emailed him to tell him about the cancellation, clearly they're used to it.
Sep. 20th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
What an interesting guy to pick to write about football for ESPN! He also rants about Segways, auto safety devices, negative campaign ads and CEO pay. (I especially enjoyed the gay friendliness of his Jerry Porter shirtless photo, along with: Here, for female and nontraditional male fans, is a recent beefcake photo of Porter. ;-)

I like his take on the original premise versus ships -- a lot of us have been saying "enough with the ship eps" lately. But, unlike Easterbrook, I did think that SG canon did a decent job of describing the way they had farmed out bits and pieces of tech development and ship construction to private corporations; getting funding from black box budget items, patent sales and partner governments; and building the ships on secret government land in Nevada.

He may have a point with SGA about how quickly they went from "marooned in another galaxy" to "Daedalus Trips and Wormholes R Us." But he cuts them NO slack at all. I have criticisms of SGA, for sure, but they're more nuanced that his "plodding" remark.
Sep. 21st, 2006 02:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I agree with telepresence above -- more of a geek with a surprising dash of jock cred, than the other way around.

I think he does put his finger on something the fans have talked about as well -- the gradual decline in importance of "going through the Stargate" in favor of ship-driven or Earth-based plots.

I feel like the SG canon has *tried* to gesture at how it would be possible to fund and actually build those ships... but to be honest, I've always thought that it was a handwave that worked only if you don't take it too seriously or look at it too closely. I mean, how many people in the audience are aware of what an aircraft-carrier costs to build? But yes -- it isn't like the show hasn't tried to give at least *some* explanation; they're aware of the pitfalls of the concept to some degree.

I think, too, that the problem is that they gave most of their explanations back during the construction of the Prometheus and after that of the Daedalus. It's one thing to think that you could hollow out a big enough underground space in Nevada to hide the construction of an aircraft-carrier-sized spaceship -- so that your shipyard isn't visible in satellite spy photos, for example -- and another to think that this same operation could start building several ships simultaneously.

In other words, from all that we could see, it took them a few years and a giant and not-easily-hidden operation to build Prometheus. Fine. But it seems to have taken only 2 years to build Daedalus, and after that, they appear to have built the Odyssey and the Korolev within about a year. (Note, of course, that we have no idea whether the Korolev was actually built in Russia; it may have been.)

One of the problems I have with these enormous ship-building operations is the secrecy thing. It's one thing to believe that a smallish and centralized operation like the SGC can be kept a secret. (Though you have to figure NORAD was suspicious about all the supplies and personnel that kept going down the elevator and not coming out.) But building an aircraft-carrier, let alone building 4 of them? How many workers do you need for that, in how many different specialties? And not just specialists, but you know -- the electricians and the riveters and so on. How many personnel are required for just one ship? How many support-staff (people to feed them, etc.) to look after them? Where do they live?

These are, mind you, questions that we could get the answers to. We could look at the naval yards where the actual warships are built and we could probably find out the employment numbers (which I'm sure is in the thousands, not the hundreds) -- and those are operations that are basically supported by the cities in which they are located, in terms of infrastructure and services.

My point isn't that you couldn't do it. It's just that it would require *so* many people that the plausibility of keeping it a secret becomes really strained. Even if you posit that what they did was divert a huge number of armed-services personnel to the desert location -- someone would still notice you sending that many military people to a place where officially *nothing* is going on. (And the USAF couldn't do it. They only build planes, they don't have experience building anything as big as an aircraft-carrier. So you're looking at diverting a truly humongous number of Naval personnel to the *desert*... and you're going to say they're doing *what*?)


Yeah, as I said, he's really got it in for SGA, and I'm not in agreement with him on that -- even while I have my own problems with the show. But my problems with it are clearly different from his.
Sep. 21st, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
I can buy that they got faster at building ships as they got experience with it, and that Russia built one, and that many parts were built elsewhere and brought in for final assembly (they never tried to hide building aircraft carriers, so it was all done in place). But it does strain credulity, same as all the activity around Cheyenne Mountain. (Like nobody's noticed the high casualty rate among the combat Marines stationed at a deep-space radar telemetry facility?) Television handwave...
Sep. 21st, 2006 02:27 am (UTC)
He makes a darn good point about the spaceships!
Sep. 21st, 2006 02:06 pm (UTC)
Yeah, he really does.

What particularly amused me was his going out to find a picture of the construction of the Ronald Reagan to link to, in order to bolster his argument about how difficult it would be to hide such a construction project. *Dude*. That is the kind of meta I expect from *fans*, not from national columnists. ;-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )