Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Syfy"; Or, "More Evidence That The Golden Age of North American Science Fiction Television Has Run Its Course"

I didn't plan to make my next post here on the exact same theme, but then I heard the news: the Sci-Fi Channel's executives plan to rebrand it "Syfy."

When I first saw this story on The Colbert Report, I thought it was a joke, but sure enough, it's true, as this article shows.

I haven't been a big fan of the channel's direction these last couple of years. It's preposterous that ECW wrestling should be the one unchangeable fixture in Sci-Fi's line-up. And of course, those who've been following this blog know I'm not a fan of the trend toward more reality programming. (I could also talk about the direction it has taken in its made-for-television movies, but as anyone who's checked out the IMDB commentary regarding those can tell you, it's just too easy a target.)

This tells me that we'll be getting (much) more of the same, and I don't think that's a bold prediction. Ultimately, this is about the channel abandoning its core concept, as most channels do eventually. That's why the Oxygen network airs Goodfellas (anyone besides Shawn Spencer wonder about that?), and reruns of Ghost Hunters. That's why MTV and its associated channels somehow manage to offer less and less music with each passing year. And of course, the less said about G4TV (offering its viewers anything but video games), or Bravo (which aired product like the films of Jean-Luc Godard, before NBC turned it into its reality show toilet in another demonstration of the wonders of corporate "synergy"), or AMC (how does the original television series Mad Men qualify as classic American cinema?), the better.

Looking back on all that, maybe we should be surprised Sci-Fi stuck it out this long.

I'm pretty sure that "the critics" will applaud the results, as they usually do; but I'm almost certain I won't share their feelings. Neither will a great many fans, who get their two cents in here at TV Week.

Not surprisingly, they're almost unanimous in agreeing that the channel's recent course has been a poor one and likely to worsen still in the attempt to win a broader audience. (Incidentally, even the channel's new name has been universally condemned as lame-and in the words of "Tracey" on the TV Week web site-a "demonstration of functional illiteracy.")

No comments:

Subscribe Now: Feed Icon