At San Diego Comic-Con this summer, MGM dropped a big announcement: it was bringing back the long-running Stargate franchise with a new show: Stargate Origins, a 10-episode prequel web series. Along with that news, it also announced a new website called Stargate Command, which will become the de facto online home for fans of the franchise. That site launched yesterday, and it’s a dedicated streaming service for all things Stargate.
Huge back catalogs of content have helped bring streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu enormous levels of success. But while there are major streaming platforms out there, there is also a multitude of ones that target a specific audience, such as Comic Con HQ. Disney has also announced a streaming service, dedicated to its own vast library of content, including films from its Star Wars and Marvel franchises. MGM conceived the idea for Stargate Command last year when the studio decided not to go forward with a rebooted Stargate film trilogy, but wanted to find a way to give back to the fan community. MGM told The Verge that the platform is an experiment: “we thought the combination of a social platform that could also deliver video was a really interesting context to give fans something that we know they’ve been asking for a long time, i.e. new Stargate content.”
$20 gets you access to all of the live-action shows and movies through May 2018
The site has a public-facing section for fans to chat with each other, but members who pay $20 (a one-time payment that runs through May 2018) will get access to the entirety of Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate: Universe, as well as the original films, Stargate: The Ark of Truth, and Stargate: Continuum. The one thing that appears to be missing is Stargate: Infinity, a short-lived animated show that aired from 2002–2003.
In addition to the shows, members will get access to behind-the-scenes footage for Origins as it enters production, and other content and interviews with the people involved in the creation of the show, as well as forums, polls, and quizzes. Users can log into the site through the web or via iOS or Android apps, and can stream the episodes to a television by way of Airplay, Chromecast or similar device.
It remains to be seen how successful Stargate Command will be. Stargate never quite gained the same level of visibility as shows like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones, but it is an ideal franchise for such an experiment because of the sheer amount of content it contains. Between the three shows, there’s 354 episodes, along with three films, all of which have gained a considerable fan base in the 20 years since the first show debuted on Star. That fan base might be enough to help sustain its own original content.
Will fans show up to make the site successful?
If Stargate Command is successful, it feels like a model that MGM or other studios can use for other dedicated franchises where they own massive content banks. Shows such as Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, or Star Trek each have their own huge fan bases that might find value in having an entire series available to binge, especially as the industry’s heavy hitters begin focusing on their own content.
As someone who has incredibly fond memories of watching the show with friends, I have to say that Stargate Command is making me go back on what I said about joining a new streaming service last month. While I have the entire run of Stargate SG-1 on DVD, the ability to stream it is incredibly convenient, even if I have to pick up another service. I’ve been wanting to rewatch the entire show for a couple of years now, and getting some original content to go along with the package is a nice bonus.
Update, September 22, 2017, 8:45AM. Included some additional statements and information about apps from MGM.