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What happened to the Sci-Fi Channel?

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What happened to the Sci-Fi Channel?

Old 10-24-03, 09:48 PM
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Sci Fi three years ago was a good niche channel. Sci Fi today is an up and coming player in the cable market place. What better way to legitimize a genre that by than having a successful network. Sure there would be people who would like to see Dr Who, Farscape, Star Trek and B5(in all it's incarnations) on 24hours a day, but the simple truth is that there is more to Science Fiction than the hardcore shows. Not everyone wants to wait 2 years to get hooked on B5. Not everyone can follow all the twists and turns of Farscape. But everyone can enjoy it when a monster jumps out of a closet in Scare Tactics. Theres not a dry eye in the house when John Edwards connects with a lost family member. Thats what the new SciFi Channel is about. Opening the genre up to the masses.

I would hardly call an emmy award winning event like Steven Spielberg's Taken mediocre. I dont think the star studded cast of Children of Dune is homogenized. And the upcoming reinvention of BattleStar Galactica proves that SciFi has the vision to use old classics in new and exciting ways. A female Starbuck, a Latino Adama, it's decisions like this that show Sci Fi isn't just for geeks, it's for everyone.
Old 10-24-03, 09:51 PM
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I love Scare Tactics!!! Not that she plays a huge role, but I hope Shannon Doherty doesn't quit hosting if/when she gets that sitcom of hers.

Old 10-24-03, 10:26 PM
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Opening what genre up to the masses? It sure isn't science fiction. Crossing Over is fiction and borderline fraud. Scare Tactics is monsters jumping out of closets. And what about The Dream Team? Not even the crowd who broadens the category of "science fiction" so far as to include space fantasies like Star Wars would consider this crap part of the genre.

They may be reaching a larger audience, but don't kid yourself into believing they're bringing science fiction to the masses just because they still carry the Sci-Fi name on the marquee.

"SciFi isn't just for geeks, it's for everyone." ... I think you mean "Sci-Fi Channel isn't just for Sci-Fi, it's for anything we choose to air."

What they're doing is the absolute worst disservice possible to the genre, and if you want it to be appreciated by the masses, I'm shocked that you defend these actions. They're sending a message to the world loud and clear that intelligent, thought-provoking, science fiction has no place on television, not even on the one channel named after the genre itself. It's not legitimizing the genre; it's destroying it.

What's the next step in the evolution of man? I suggest we take Calculus, replace derivatives and integrals with identification of shapes and colors followed by nap time and cookies, and open it up to the masses. Not everyone can follow a differential equation. But everyone can enjoy nap time and cookies. What better way to legitimize Calculus than making it accessible to all.

das
Old 10-24-03, 11:30 PM
  #29  
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But the SciFi channel does have deep, thought provoking shows. The Twilight Zone, Outer Limits and B5 all fit that description. SciFi brought the uncut version of Dune to tv and Blade Runner in widescreen. Lesser known, quality shows like Brimstone and Now and Again have had all of their episodes air on the channel. When Sliders was dropped by the networks, it was SciFi that came to it's rescue.

The SciFi channel has done more to save and protect the genre than any other network. 'Science Fiction' is being remade constantly and we're lucky to have a network flexible enough to change with the times. Bringing in younger viewers with shows like Roswell and Firestarter is neccessary because in a few years, all of the fans of your so called 'real sci fi' will be old and no longer a factor. For the genre to live on, the genre must attract a new generation of viewers.

Sure, it would be nice if the schedule was packed wall to wall with AAA shows, but thats just not possible. For every person that loves Farscape, there are 3 that love Knight Rider or Earth 2. Why should those people be deprived of what they percieve as Science Fiction?

To take your calculus analogy to another level, more people would enjoy and understand calculus if it were presented in a friendlier, more accessible format than a thick book and abstract problems. The same way more people will flock to science fiction when its presented in a easier, less 'intellectual' format. No one wants to turn on the TV to feel dumb.

D
Old 10-24-03, 11:32 PM
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Yeah, they pulled the plug about the same time they yanked The Invisible Man. It was a fun show. I miss it too.
I discovered The Invisible Man after it had been cancelled to. I was surprised how much I liked it, made me wish i had watched it sooner.

One thing I've learned from discovering all these shows after they were cancelled is that I tend to judge some shows too harshly. I gave up on SG-1 part way through the first season, but I've been watching a few episodes now that its on Space and it's pretty decent.

Space up here isn't perfect, but at least they don't show stuff like Braveheart.
Old 10-25-03, 12:15 AM
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I'm fine with using stupid shows as a gateway drug to more intellectual shows, but that's not what we have anymore. During the glory days of Friday Prime, they only had a couple of really great shows. The rest had broad audience appeal. Bring 'em in with an easy show like SG-1 and hope you can lure them into something more challenging like Farscape. That's great. Bring 'em in with the T&A of Lexx, and hope they stick around for something a bit more cerebral like The Invisible Man.

Now it's bring them in with a derivative mini-series that contains no actual involvement from Spielberg, and hope they're stupid enough to hang around for idiotic programming like The Dream Team. To use the "make it more accessible" defense, there has to be a goal. If you lure people to calculus with nap time and cookies, you still have to teach calculus at some point and time, or what's the point. You can't just make it friendly to stupid people; you still have to teach it. There is no quality series on the horizon, no value to dumbing down the channel. They're not making science fiction accessible to the masses; they're just making stupid shows for the average viewer to watch and slapping the "Sci-Fi" name on it. That's not noble, and it doesn't help the genre. You have to have balance, and there is none.

I'm not demanding wall to wall quality. There are no AAA shows anymore. None. SG-1 is the best thing they have going over there, and it's not as good as it used to be, wasn't that great to begin with, and was bought from another channel.

"For every person that loves Farscape, there are 3 that love Knight Rider or Earth 2. Why should those people be deprived of what they percieve as Science Fiction?" They're not. There are a good 20+ channels that would show Knight Rider and plenty that would show Earth 2, but there's only one possible home for a show like Farscape, and if they're going to parade around as the Sci-Fi Channel, then dammit, they need to have at least one original show on there that challenges the viewer to think. Preferably more, but having one should be a requirement. They have dick.

Watered-down generic shows loosely based around fantasy can find a home on many channels. There has to be a home somewhere for the good shit, or else it's all a waste. There are hundreds of stations for the viewer not to feel dumb. Hell, even in its prime, the Sci-Fi (sic) Channel was 80-90% mass-appeal shows like Quantum Leap and Highlander: The Series. But if the best science fiction shows on television are shit on by the station that proclaims itself to be the Sci-Fi Channel, there is no hope for the genre.

No matter how many viewers you get, if none of the shows have any quality or any relation to science fiction, everyone loses.

In closing, **** Sci-Fi. **** 'em in the ear.

das

Last edited by das Monkey; 10-25-03 at 12:17 AM.
Old 10-25-03, 03:31 AM
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I'm sorta new to the scifi channel, only being a viewer for about 2 years. I used it to watch the full run of Babylon 5 and Stargate. Along the way I would watch some of the advertised shows. All I can say is that channel is a huge waste. With so many channels to choose from they give me little to no reason to even check and see what they're running. I just recently got into Farscape over the summer (dvd's and borrowed tapes) and I'm dumbfounded as to how they could have treated the show the way I've read they did. I understand they need to turn a profit, but what happened to being proud of a product and sticking by it?

I enjoy the day marathons (when its something I want to watch) but there is no consistent way to watch so many of the shows they run. They'll run a block of sliders and then it wouldn't be on for a week. They'll run Hercules and then nothing for ages. I'm even cool with the scifi channel also running fantasy/horror shows and movies because in my mind they all kind of go hand and hand. That being said lets stop running the crappy ass movies, get a decent schedule for the syndicated shows(so people like me can plan to watch), and stop milking stargate so hard. Overkill anyone?
Old 10-25-03, 04:10 AM
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'nuff said
Old 10-25-03, 08:37 AM
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I lost interest in Sci-Fi because it seems they show the same cheesy low bodget movies over and over again. They used to have some great programming and would pop in some great unknown films (I first saw 'Cube' on Sci-Fi and Invisible Man was cool). Now, I could care less about what is on Sci-Fi. And, yes, Crossing Over is the biggest piece of S*** sham of a show on TV. I can't believe how people fall for such a fraud.
Old 10-25-03, 09:10 AM
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Derrich, while I respect your opinion of the Sci-Fi Channel, I have to point out one very critical flaw in your thinking. You credit Sci-Fi for being able to broaden their audience, adjusting their programming to appeal to a wider audience base. But that was not the original point of the channel. In fact, much as with other cable channels like The Technology Channel or The Anime Channel, Sci-Fi was originally intended to be a niche channel to provide programming for the science fiction marketplace, which, though not "mainstream", consisted of a strong base of generally literate, educated individuals with spending ability. This, in fact, is why, up until the last couple of years, the programming was diversified "within the science fiction genre". The schedule was a mix of original science fiction programming and classic genre series. The original programming did not reflect other series on the air on the major networks (unlike "Scare Tactics", which is a direct result of the proliferation of trashy reality series like "Fear Factor").

Yes, Sci-Fi does currently do the occasional "event" like a "Taken" maxi-series or a "Dune". And I give the network its due credit for being able to come up with quality mini-series like this. But also look at how they're promoting them. "Taken" was sold more off of Steven Spielberg's name than the concept. The "Dune" mini-series heavily promoted the big-name movie stars in each, William Hurt and Susan Sarandon. They're bringing people in by bypassing the science fiction aspects and promoting the personalities involved. And it gets them big ratings. For those programs. But the overall network ratings clearly indicate that most of the people they're bringing in with the personalities are not sticking around for their other programming.

So, when it gets down to it, despite their attempts to broaden their viewer base, their core viewership still consists of the hardcore science fiction fans. And, unless the network is going to full-time run programming that can be sold on the basis of the actors and directors involved, they're going to have difficulty expanding to a mainstream base. That said, it's in their best interest to try and retain their sf core. Which means continuing to spend money on more dynamic, original, sf-themed programs like "Farscape", like "The Invisible Man", like "First Wave", and accepting that these will not do the numbers of a "Dune" or a "Taken" or even a "Stargate SG-1", but will help them maintain and grow their core viewership amongst the science fiction fans.

What it comes down to is how they want their network to be defined. Do they want to be known for boldly inventive science fiction programming, with an occasional event project that will bring in a more mainstream audience? Or do they want the reverse, to be a mainstream channel that only occasionally produces something dynamic and original in the science fiction genre? I know what I wish they'd choose, but it's clearly not the choice they've made.
Old 10-25-03, 09:57 AM
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I gave up on Sci-Fi after they got rid of g vs. E.

I wish someone would re-run that show.
Old 10-25-03, 11:54 AM
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Quoth Rogue588 <HR SIZE=1>



'nuff said
<HR SIZE=1>

Damn. I thought the ground assault was going well. No need to drop the nuke in here just yet.

das
Old 10-25-03, 12:44 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Damn. I thought the ground assault was going well. No need to drop the nuke in here just yet.
It true. You guys were carrying the battle well. I just figured the "B" bomb would free you up to watch some more television. I'm still looking for the "F" bomb. I'm sure it's on their server somewhere. Perhaps i'll have to check Bedrock instead..

But, ya know...it got me thinking...



coincidence..?
Old 10-25-03, 01:16 PM
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I think this quote from a 1991 Bonnie Hammer interview illustrates much of the problem. It's her definition of sci-fi:
"It's anything outside of what we know to be true. Sci-fi is speculative fiction." She then goes on to cite 'Field of Dreams' as a sci-fi movie. So basically she considers any movie with any sort of fantastic element as science fiction. Still not sure where Braveheart fits in there... wait a minute, I see the misunderstanding now...
Old 10-25-03, 01:27 PM
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Quoth DRG <HR SIZE=1> <HR SIZE=1>



Brilliant!

das
Old 10-25-03, 03:09 PM
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Originally posted by immortal_zeus
I love Scare Tactics!!! Not that she plays a huge role, but I hope Shannon Doherty doesn't quit hosting if/when she gets that sitcom of hers.

agreed here, Scare Tactics is one of the few times I watch Sci Fi, and the UFO investigation shows are cool too. They should really shitcan the bad, bad Sci Fi Original Movies though...
Old 10-25-03, 03:09 PM
  #42  
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whoa! I take back EVERY SINGLE NEGATIVE THING i've EVER said about Bonnie Hammer.

it's clear that she is truly the innovator that everyone keeps denying that she is..

those pictures prove it.

I"m sorry Bonnie.
Old 10-25-03, 03:17 PM
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Originally posted by Derrich
Sci Fi three years ago was a good niche channel. Sci Fi today is an up and coming player in the cable market place. What better way to legitimize a genre that by than having a successful network. Sure there would be people who would like to see Dr Who, Farscape, Star Trek and B5(in all it's incarnations) on 24hours a day, but the simple truth is that there is more to Science Fiction than the hardcore shows. Not everyone wants to wait 2 years to get hooked on B5. Not everyone can follow all the twists and turns of Farscape. But everyone can enjoy it when a monster jumps out of a closet in Scare Tactics. Theres not a dry eye in the house when John Edwards connects with a lost family member. Thats what the new SciFi Channel is about. Opening the genre up to the masses.
Don't you mean dumbing it down for the masses?

That's what network TV is for.

Why are you trying to defend a station that even you admit is abandoning good programming in an effort to appeal to the lowest common denominator?
Old 10-25-03, 03:20 PM
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Originally posted by das Monkey
Quoth Rogue588 <HR SIZE=1>



'nuff said
<HR SIZE=1>

Damn. I thought the ground assault was going well. No need to drop the nuke in here just yet.

das
Hey, I dropped that nuke way back on the first page :-)
Old 10-25-03, 07:10 PM
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I have to say I agree with das. The original point of the channel was to be a niche channel. Why else would you name it after a genre? I believe when originally started up they promoted that you could see all your old sci-fi shows.

Now does that means can't expand or try new things no. They did very well IMO with there original series and some of there movies. The problem is they IMO are going too far from the core aspect of what the channel started as.
Old 10-26-03, 06:17 AM
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Braveheart was a mistake. I concede that. But that doesnt change the fact that Braveheart brought more people to the channel. And while they were watching an epic film, they also watched promos for more focused science fiction shows. Who's to say a Braveheart viewer didn't come back to see Stargate Sg1 or B5.

Currently the SciFi channel has taken the route of 'event programming'. The award winning Steven Speilberg's Taken brought much needed positive attention to the network and I expect the re-invention of Battlesar Galactica to do the same. The effect seems to be working as the channel is regaining much of it's lost momentum. SciFi Originals have been getting better and better with production values that rival major hollywood features. Cube2:HyperCube, The New Roswell Investigation with Bryant Gumbel, and Tom Clancy's NetForce(featuring Scott Bakula from Star Trek:Enterprise) all fly in the face of accustations that the SciFi channel doesn't program quality television.

As far as past perceived missteps, upon closer scrutiny you can see that SciFi made the only possible decisions, no matter how heartbreaking it was to the network. Sci Fi doesnt not have the monetary reserves to allow expensive underperforming shows to drain funds even if it's critically acclaimed. Being a good show doesn't need to stop it from being successful. SciFi deperately wanted certain series to succeed, and placed a lot of home in them, but either due to a failure with the creators to reach a minimum number of fans or fans not getting the word out , things didn't work out. Despite heavy promotion, B5:Legend of the Rangers was a dissapointment in the ratings. Farscape's audience continued to fall even after more promotion was given. This proves that the audience for 'hard' sci fi just isn't there. After Farscape failed to live up to expectations (despite it's large budget), and the very vocal protest by a few viewers upon it's cancellation, the SciFi channel had to take steps to renew it's image. Having the head to the network villified and the programming degraded by under-informed online mobs could not have made it easy to attract new series.

D

Last edited by Derrich; 10-26-03 at 06:24 AM.
Old 10-26-03, 06:58 AM
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Who's to say a Braveheart viewer didn't come back to see Stargate Sg1 or B5.
The Nielsen ratings people?

Cube2:HyperCube, The New Roswell Investigation with Bryant Gumbel, and Tom Clancy's NetForce(featuring Scott Bakula from Star Trek:Enterprise) all fly in the face of accustations that the SciFi channel doesn't program quality television.
I don't know about the Gumbel thing, but the other two projects were not SciFi originals. Cube2 had already been released on video and NetForce was a network television mini-series and had also had its video release already.

SciFi deperately wanted certain series to succeed, and placed a lot of home in them, but either due to a failure with the creators to reach a minimum number of fans or fans not getting the word out , things didn't work out.
It's statements like this that has some people wondering if you aren't a shill for SciFi. You speculate the fault as lying with the creators and/or the fans, but you do not even acknowledge the possibility of SciFi having any responsibility in how the shows perform.

Despite heavy promotion, B5:Legend of the Rangers was a dissapointment in the ratings.
In the east, it was scheduled directly opposite "Snow Bowl", the Patriots-Raiders championship game. In the regions where it was not (e.g. California), the ratings soared.

Farscape's audience continued to fall even after more promotion was given. This proves that the audience for 'hard' sci fi just isn't there.
The show kept getting juggled around the schedule so that SciFi could nurture Stargate. Additionally, the promotion levels actually decreased, not increased as you would have everyone believe. And, no, the performance of one show does not prove that the audience for 'hard' scifi just isn't there. That's as ridiculous as someone saying the prevent defense in football always works based on one game.

Having the head to the network villified and the programming degraded by under-informed online mobs could not have made it easy to attract new series.
You see, it's hard to take you seriously when you refer to people as "under-informed online mobs". Many people in this group were heavily informed and, often, right in the mix of what was occuring. Regardless, why would you consider yourself more informed than anybody else unless you actually work for SciFi?
Old 10-26-03, 10:01 AM
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Originally posted by Derrich
... SciFi Originals have been getting better and better with production values that rival major hollywood features... The New Roswell Investigation with Bryant Gumbel... all fly in the face of accustations that the SciFi channel doesn't program quality television...
I would hardly call crap like a new Roswell "investigation" "quality television." But it's consistent with crap like John Edward.

Last edited by movielib; 10-26-03 at 04:08 PM.
Old 10-26-03, 01:36 PM
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Crossing Over With John Edwards

Edited to add: The way the strips posted, it can be a bit confusing to read. I posted two strips next to each other, so read the first two panels, then the two underneath, then the ones to the right, if that makes any more sense than normal
















Scott Kurtz rocks!

Last edited by SiberianLlama; 10-26-03 at 01:39 PM.
Old 10-26-03, 02:17 PM
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It's nice to see that SciFi's new shows are reaching so many people that it's become part of american pop culture. Just more proof that Sci Fi's current direction is the correct one.

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