Did you notice this over the last week?
The Sci-Fi Channel decided to rebrand to ‘SyFy’ in an attempt to capture the ever-elusive “broader audience”. In the process they have, naturally, pissed off the majority of Geek Nation. Their marketing shclubs have issued statements like this:
“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi. It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”
“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular.”
Ouchie. Talk about your blatant negative stereotyping.
I guess the suits at NBC/Universal (show us the U.S.-Mexico game on a channel we can watch!) in all their sagacity know programming better than the average dysfunctional geek. They are flush with success coming off their best ratings year ever, and like a big bank loan exec. circa 2006, they feel invincible.
But on behalf of Geek Nation, let me remind said suits that there are two reasons why they’ve had such a good year, and one of them has nothing to do with good programming (they started airing wrestling on Sci-Fi, a move panned by many a true sci-fi fan). The other reason, is, of course, Battlestar Galactica (which is now over).
One problem SyFy/Sci-Fi will face: their diminishing quality of original programming. BSG is done, Stargate nearly so, and it’s been awhile since they had the quality quirkiness of shows like Farscape, Good vs. Evil, The Invisible Man, etc. They seem more committed to those truly awful straight-to-DVD schlock movies.
Sci-Fi network lost major points in Beemsville when they cut their online fiction piece, Sci-Fiction, which was edited by Ellen Datlow and one of the best destinations for both new and classic short fiction. Imagine Greater? Bring back original fiction and some decent shows and we’ll talk. Besides, as the discerning geek knows, the best place for intelligent science fiction shows is BBC America – and has been (BSG notwithstanding) for years.