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Sci-Fi Movies Television Entertainment

Does Syfy Really Love Sci-Fi? 742

brumgrunt writes "Has Syfy fallen out with science fiction altogether? A look at its latest scheduling shows that it's further away from its roots than ever. 'There's still a lot of the older sci-fi content on the airwaves, but it's slowly being phased out, and forget about original programming. After all, this is the programming crew who ruined Caprica by stuffing it into the Friday night death slot and splitting the season into two parts. These are the geniuses who killed off Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe. These are the people who wrecked Farscape, one of the most inventive and fun sci-fi shows to ever be on television. They also ended Mystery Science Theater 3000, only the greatest show ever invented by robots in space.' Is this now as good as it gets?"
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Does Syfy Really Love Sci-Fi?

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  • by footNipple ( 541325 ) <footnipple@ind[ ] ['iat' in gap]> on Friday February 25, 2011 @01:31PM (#35313758)
    The programming has become so bad that when deciding on a cable tv package the only significant difference (for us) between the tier I ordered and the one above was the Syfy, Bravo and an extra c-span.

    I ordered the lesser priced service specifically because I was no longer interested in that channel. So Syfy sucking has saved me $20+/month

    It looks like I'll get my science fiction in print and from any number of the streaming services.
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @01:46PM (#35313998) Homepage

    Fantasy Books are now king while interest in science-based fiction is almost null.

    Yes. Our local Barnes and Noble has four shelf sections of "Paranormal Teen Romance", plus one of "New Paranormal Teen Romance". Half of the SF section is now vampire-related. So is a big fraction of the romance section, plus some of the main fiction section. All the vampire books combined into one section would be impressive. One of the goths who works there says that vampire book sales are down, but zombie books are picking up.

    At retail, SF is either space opera, paranormal, or reprints.

  • by FreonTrip ( 694097 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .pirtnoerf.> on Friday February 25, 2011 @01:49PM (#35314066)
    And Syfy's still better off than TLC, which has dropped any meaning associated with those three letters and shows endless permutations of freak show reality TV gawkery. Network decay [] is an ugly thing.
  • by initdeep ( 1073290 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @02:00PM (#35314240)

    It's already been proven the previous incarnation wasn't financially viable.

    thus the reason it was sold to NBC/Universal.

  • by The End Of Days ( 1243248 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @02:05PM (#35314312)

    You'd basically need a limitless source of money you can sink into it with no hope of a return to execute your plan. There just isn't any money in targeting a relatively small, fickle customer base that prides itself on never buying anything that's been advertised and happily pirates everything, claiming they are entitled to free entertainment.

  • Note how many true Sci Fi authors have gravitated to to name "Speculative fiction" cf. they don't want their lofty ideas to be constrained
    by the weights of "Science".

    This can be a decent thing. Novels like 1984 and Brave New World could be considered "speculative fiction". I don't find it a terrible sin against the genre to switch between exploring technology (hard sci-fi) and exploring concepts (speculative). My two favorite Sci-fi authors (Stanislaw Lem and Clifford Simak) are both light on hard science, and heavy on philosophical exploration.

    I think the thing to keep in mind is that science fiction shouldn't just be about technology and physics (I've seen the over-explanation of both of these kill more novels than help), it should be about exploring the "what if?". "What if" can be both extrapolation of sceintific and technological trends, and the extrapolation of social, cultural, and other trends. Take Philip Dick, no one will deny his importance to the genre, but he had very little high techology, and practically no ad nauseum descriptions of how gadgets worked, his fiction was still highly engaging on an intellectual level.

    I really don't get the "hardcore science" or it isn't sci-fi crowd, they always come off as boring snobs who completely ignore 90% of the genre, and nearly all of the early works and history. There are very few hard science fiction novels that I find enjoyable, I'd rather just read a non-fiction book on the concepts, since all the jargon and explanations often get in the way of the most important thing, an enjoyable story. Sometimes dragging out the Star-Trek-eque particle of the week is perfectly acceptable if it keeps things from becoming nothing more than a pedantic slog.

    Contrast to the BS of "Transformers" or any superhero movie. Why do I care?

    Transformers wasn't really sci-fi. You could replace the robots with giant space dinosaurs and the movie (cartoon) would be exactly the same. It was an action flick (or cartoon) using loose science fiction trappings. Contrast it with Blade Runner, which also lacks the "hard" bits of science, but manages to explore interesting concepts and consequences. I would happily call Blade Runner a sci-fi story, but Transformers is just action.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 25, 2011 @02:37PM (#35314832)
    You and I may think they were the best shows. But really, these people aren't stupid. They don't put the shows that people WATCH into the death slot. A bunch of geeks may think these shows were awesome. But the "unwashed masses" didn't or the shows would be on in prime time good slots. End of story. I don't care how stupid the people at the network are - they know enough to put their well rated shows in good slots. It just turns out that a good portion of the collective slashdot "we" like different shows than the majority of people - and we are a small minority.
  • Re:Wrestling now (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Abstrackt ( 609015 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @03:02PM (#35315248)

    SGU was terrible.

    I really wish they ran a live version of the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe in place of it.

    SG:Atlantis and SG1 were great shows. SGU just lacked any of the wit and fun those shows brought us. I watched SG:A and SG1 because they were fun, last thing I really needed was a giant bummer.

    It was the lack of wit and "let's see what part of the ship breaks down this week!" that killed SGU for me. I think SGU had a lot of potential but it was basically Twilight in space.

  • SGU (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sarbonn ( 1796548 ) on Friday February 25, 2011 @03:09PM (#35315346) Homepage Journal
    There was a 200th episode show of Stargate SG1 that had a mock-up of its own show where they pretended to recreate Stargate SG1 with a more hip, young crowd (the punch line where one of the characters reveals she's pregnant). When Stargate Universe aired, all I could think was they took the joke of that one episode and made it real. They even did the joke from the show where they pretended to shorten the intro of the show to just showing the title, a one note of theme music and then go to commerical, which they did with SG1. Turns out, that's exactly what they did with Stargate Universe as well. It's almost as if they made a joke and then someone saw it and realized, hey that might just work. And of course, it didn't.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982