Syfy renews 'Stargate,' 'Sanctuary'

Cable net hands each series a 20-episode order

Syfy is expanding its commitments to "Stargate Universe" and "Sanctuary," granting both series another season.

"Universe" recently aired its freshman midseason finale. The show's hiatus will extend until April, and Season 2 will debut in the fall along with a third season of "Sanctuary."

The Friday night shows have commenced production on their next seasons in Vancouver and have received 20-episode orders. "Sanctuary" has averaged 2.2 million viewers in the fall when seven-day DVR data is included. "Universe" has averaged 2.6 million.

Debuting after the conclusion of Syfy's critically acclaimed "Battlestar Galactica" and the cancellation of "Stargate: Atlantis," "Universe" has charted a tricky course through the network's fandom. Striking a tone that was more realistic than previous "Stargate" shows though not as grim as "Galactica," some viewers were miffed the show was not familiar enough.

"We're dealing with 15 seasons of expectations with a certain fanbase," executive producer Robert Cooper said. "Hopefully, as the show goes on, people will appreciate 'Universe' for being its own thing."

With a fall-finale cliffhanger that left the ethically compromised Dr. Rush (Robert Carlyle) stranded on a planet, Cooper said the season's second half will become more serialized and build on the fractures within the show's group of spaceship-trapped castaways.

"The implications of leaving Rush on the planet, the real division that will cause amongst the crew, the judgment of those characters and their actions are going to have a big impact on the show," Cooper said. "We have a lot of things planned for the second half of the season."

The show also plans to have more scenes set on the ship, as opposed to cutting back to drama on Earth, and will introduce a full-bodied alien.

"There is a big story point coming up that does introduce an alien race," Cooper said. "It's more along the line of a "District 9"-type alien. Our interaction is handled in a very "Universe" way; they're not the typical "Stargate" alien bad guys."