Fan rebellion threatens "Stargate"

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Press Commentary
Title: Fan rebellion threatens "Stargate"
Commentator: Mary McNamara
Date(s): 13 February 2002
Venue: Salon
Fandom: Stargate SG-1
External Links: Fan rebellion threatens "Stargate"
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Contents

Fan rebellion threatens "Stargate" is an article that tries to figure out why women are some of its biggest fans despite the fact it was pitched to the usual young, male demographic. The article determines much of the show's popularity had to do with the character of Daniel Jackson and his "Spock-like appeal to female fans" and that the departure of this character from the show would surely be a death blow.

This article was reprinted in full in DIAL #21.

Some Excerpts

  • It’s unclear how MGM and SciFi Channel could have misread the core audience for “Stargate” so dramatically and allowed Shanks, whom many viewers saw as the show’s heart and soul, to slip through their fingers... Dr. Daniel Jackson speaks 23 languages, wears glasses, suffers from allergies, and occasionally launches into tedious Spock-like discourses on obscure academic subjects. But women have decided that the quirky character, and the actor who plays him, are all the more appealing for it.
  • Then there’s the wonder. To be specific, there is The Wonder That Is Daniel, or TWTID, an abbreviation often seen on the Internet. TWTID appears to be a global phenomenon that makes women’s hearts go pitter-patter, without regard to race, creed or national origin. “When he gets excited over something, it’s like it flows out of the TV screen and just grabs hold and takes me along for the ride,” says Gen, an American fan. “His passion for life is contagious.
  • If men should find a lesson here, perhaps it is to consider the seductive possibilities of an archeology career. “Daniel is the kind of guy who has an infectious passion for his work,” sighs Sharon, also an American. “Who wouldn’t want to spend an hour in an Egyptian tomb listening to that soft, sensitive voice explaining the technicalities of hieroglyphs? There is something uniquely attractive about a man so absorbed in discovery. Plus I suppose also there is the thought of what it might be like to be the focus of that intensity.
  • MGM and SciFi only made matters worse by promising female viewers a “handsome hunk” in Daniel’s place. As a fan named Paula fumed in a letter to SciFi: “How could you hope to replace a complex, three-dimensional and so very human character with just another pretty face? You thought that was enough for us. It isn’t!
  • MGM has already introduced Jonas Quinn (Corin Nemec), the new “Stargate” hunk, but female viewers want their ethereal geek restored to the screen and insist that they will accept no beefcake substitutes. “Daniel is unlike so many fictional characters. He is three-dimensional, thoroughly believable and lovable,” writes Erique from Germany. “Out of all the characters on ‘Stargate,’ we, as viewers, are most likely to identify with him, because he represents our own wonder at the miracles out there. His passion, courage, morality and intelligence are what draws us in. He is the main reason I watch the show. When he died, it seemed more real to me than the passing of other characters on television. And infinitely more tragic, because the wonder and passion of the show died with him.

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