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Syfy: AKA The Sci-Fi Channel


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#1

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 5, 2005 @ 4:08 PM

I thought it would be good to have a place for general Sci-Fi Channel (U.S., but U.K. welcome too) rants & thoughts instead of keeping them buried inside show threads.

And to kick things off:

The Queen of Sci Fi Gets Ready to Rumble. New York Times. About Bonnie Hammer, it starts out talking about her background and highlights of her Sci-Fi channel experience, points out that:

In Ms. Hammer's six-year reign at Sci Fi, the channel's audience has doubled. More important for its finances, Sci Fi is ranked in cable's top 10 among adults 25 to 54 and 18 to 49, the demographics its advertisers seek.

It was an uphill climb. "There were a lot of negative perceptions of both the genre and who actually watched it, that it's for geeks, it's all male and it's for 12-year-olds," said Ms. Hammer, who as if to heighten the contrast favors lots of jewelry and the occasional leather skirt. "So we had to embrace a lot of what we heard and then try to figure out how to change that."

And I wonder whose perceptions those were - the network's or the advertiser's. The 2nd half is about the other half of her job - U.S.A. Network. She's done a decent job, but I wish her vision were a bit wider then killer Fridays and big event series. 6 years ago, didn't Sci-Fi used to have shows featuring fan films?
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#2

Groovy Chainsaw

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 11:12 AM

I remember Sci-Fi channel's fan film show -- Kevin Smith hosted !

I'm kind of burned out on " Sci-Fi Originals " and that seems to be what the network is focusing on nowadays. I'm not getting into their series -- I know lots of folks are and what's good for the genre is good for the genre, but they're not my cup of speed. Their made-for-TV movies ( any made-for-cable, really ) are meh -- you know they can only go so far with gore, language and skin.

More marathons of culty-series and one-season wonders !
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#3

Aurelian

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 2:58 PM

Holy shit. Sci-Fi has lost its mind (and its mandate):
There....are no words...
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#4

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 3:23 PM

Wow. I've never known what Passions was about, and now I don't care to. I guess Buffy was all tied up, and they convieniently ignored the high female audience for some of their shows (*cough*Farscape*cough*).
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#5

buttersister

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 3:37 PM

Crap. That's pretty crazy. And Passions, sir, I knew Dark Shadows and you? Are no Dark Shadows.
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#6

belsum

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 4:39 PM

Dang. Remember when they used to show marathons of Land of the Giants and Lost in Space? Good times.
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#7

Amelie06

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 6:12 PM

I don't know about Passions now because I finally broke free of the hold daytime tv had over me a few years ago, but it wasn't so bad. In the begining it was kind of spoof of soap operas. Every day was like the crazy desperate stunts that other soaps only use once every two years. Soaps are known for randomly bringing people back from the dead...Passions brings back 3 people in one episode. The Hispanic people are poor and blue collar. The white people are rich and drink all the time. Such ridiculously broad stereotypes! There was also a lot of supernatural stuff. I can see where the channel is coming from in acquiring the show.

All that being said, I agree that a lot of women were watching Farscape before they killed it! A lot of women are currently watching Battlestar Galactica! I thought some study revealed that a lot of women already watch sci-fi. Why does everyone think that 12 year old boys and 43 year old male virgins (not that there is anything wrong with that) are the only people watching sci-fi?
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#8

Fleuryous

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 6:54 PM

All that being said, I agree that a lot of women were watching Farscape before they killed it! A lot of women are currently watching Battlestar Galactica! I thought some study revealed that a lot of women already watch sci-fi. Why does everyone think that 12 year old boys and 43 year old male virgins (not that there is anything wrong with that) are the only people watching sci-fi?


I think perhaps this is still rooted in the Trekkies and Star Wars fans from years ago that may have been much more male-dominated. I do think that Sci-Fi's shows have a very heavy female population. And I think that's great. Not trying to stereotype either gender since I'm sure there's much overlap, but I think that's also why there's more complex shippy elements to shows like Stargate.
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#9

fuzmeister

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 10:45 PM

OMG....I LOVE PASSIONS!! hehehe.....that show is ridiculous!!! Interesting choice of acquirement......what's next?
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#10

xaxat

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Posted Dec 6, 2005 @ 11:44 PM

Dang. Remember when they used to show marathons of Land of the Giants and Lost in Space? Good times.


Indeed (said with deep voice). I forgot where I read it, but someone wrote an article about how much money the channel was making showing the Sci Fi originals. Although I don't like them (they all seem to feature Dean Caine) it appears they are here to stay.
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#11

bitterman

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Posted Dec 7, 2005 @ 9:20 PM

I guess I'm an old school SF TV (male).

About a couple of years ago I read a list of projects the SF channel wants to do including take some classic SF novels and turn them into mini series which is an astounding idea. However, if they continue with their current trends then I'm gonna punch myself. One of my favorite all time novels is The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and when I heard it was supposed to be optioned into a SF miniseries/ movie, I was happy. However, when I read that the this anti-war war novel was focusing more on the romance between the two main characters, I nearly vomited up my Bachelor Chow.

I don't have a problem with them appealing to female viewers with softer programs than the harder (stupider?) stuff us old school geeks liked. I accept that SF isn't just the realm of male geeks anymore. However, what bothers me to NO END is when they morph source material into something it AIN'T to try and appeal to female viewers.

Not to sound like a trog male, I felt the same way when Hollywood butchered Starship Troopers by lobotomizing the story to a meanlingless/stupid "plot" to appeal to 15 year old WWF, er WWE fanboys. I don't know about anyone else, but I don't think that standing in a circle and shooting automatic weapons INTO said circle is EVER a GOOD idea.

I know it's impossible for Hollywood, but STICK to the damn source material! End of stupid rant...

I don't know if it is going to be made as I'm going on info 2+ year old, is there anyone who can anyone shed light on this?
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#12

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 7, 2005 @ 9:56 PM

Given the scarcity of good producers, and the difficulty of adapting any written work, I fear for any novel that Sci-Fi will do. I'm still wondering if they're gonna try Red Mars. But sometimes they get lucky. The thing with original works done by big name directors seems to go better for them.
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#13

Jerusha Mac

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Posted Dec 7, 2005 @ 10:52 PM

, if they continue with their current trends then I'm gonna punch myself

Aw, don't punch yourself bitterman. I'm sure there are more culpable subjects.

I like the old school geeky stuff and I'm not a geeky 12 year old boy either. Generally I'm against all adaptions of books because they invariably screw them up, the only saving grace is that at least one viewer goes to the source. I hope.

They chose Passions? That's just ridiculous. They need late 70's early 80's General Hospital when the Cassadines controlled the Weather Machine. Now there is schlocky sci fi combined with good old fashioned story telling.
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#14

Fleuryous

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Posted Dec 8, 2005 @ 1:37 AM

I actually don't think Passions is that inappropriate for the Sci-Fi channel. I remember turning on the TV a couple of afternoons and seeing a crazy witch and a midget boy on a soap opera set and thought I was going crazy. Incidently, I think that midget actor died suddenly as well. It does seem to have a supernatural bent, and depending on when they show it, would be perhaps more appropriate than yet another showing of Tremors.

They should show Passions and then follow it up with the episodes of Days of Our Lives where Marlena turned into a devil.
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#15

ubi

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Posted Dec 8, 2005 @ 10:06 AM

You mean possessed by Satan? What's next, Port Charles?
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#16

ProfCrash

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 2:44 PM

I am a women. I would love to have Farscape back. Maybe a new B5 series. Heck, what about Firefly. But Passions? That is actually worse then when they were playing Braveheart on the Sci Fi Channel.
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#17

spritz

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 3:18 PM

On a different matter concerning the SciFi Channel, I love those short promotional skits that the channel shows during commercial breaks. I think it's the only network that does such a thing. Those skits are amusing and very creative.

I like the one where a cute infant suddenly lets out a breathe of flames. Another good one is where a monster pops up from a jack-in-box device and scares away a bunch of kids and then giggles about it to the one little girl who knows it's just a joke. One of my favorites is the one where a guy's tattoes comes to life, peels off his body and then joins him for dinner.

It's a shame that the network hasn't produce much SciFi-original movies and miniseries as entertaining and creative as those skits.
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#18

buttersister

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 3:26 PM

Heh. They're handy little timers, too. Tells me my Show starts again in a minute (aka after the penis enhancer commercial).
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#19

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 5:12 PM

I still have nightmares from the dog-balloon teaser.
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#20

smgkansas

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 5:19 PM

I think they're cute too. Except for the one where the guy starts pulling on a hair and gradually unravels his whole body. For some reason I just can't watch that one.
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#21

Ace

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 6:27 PM

I don't have a problem with them appealing to female viewers with softer programs than the harder (stupider?) stuff us old school geeks liked.


I have problems with them assuming female viewers want softer stuff.

Or that we'd bother to tune in to their crappy channel to watch a crappy (non-science fiction) soap opera we could've watched when it aired, if we'd wanted to, because we had VCRs then and knew how to use them, thank you very much.

Or that anyone would be interested in their endless lousy movies about giant rats, germs, ants and, I dunno, cell phones gone wrong and terrorizing modern-day society.

Hi, Sci Fi? I'm a female viewer and I think Battlestar Galactica pulls too many punches. Put that in your sexist pipe and smoke it.

I don't want soft. I don't want soaps. I want strong genre TV with complicated plots and cracking characters.
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#22

bitterman

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 7:29 PM

I don't want soft. I don't want soaps. I want strong genre TV with complicated plots and cracking characters.


That's what I want so no arguments there (any genre...)

I have problems with them assuming female viewers want softer stuff.


Errr, I guess I was just a little too broad with my assumption (making an ass out me) brush strokes.
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#23

bmills

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 7:45 PM

You know what I hate? When they come up with one of their mini-series, and they run it 24 hours a day for a couple of weeks. I just plain didn't watch while it was the Steven Spielberg's Taken Channel, and I'm getting sick of this Triangle thing even though I've never watched it.
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#24

Astrogirl

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 10:31 PM

They have to get the funds to overpay Bryan Singer and Company somehow. No one is watching it, so the only way to make money from it is to pack a hundred commercials in to each break and air the miniseries until Sam Neill's face is burned in to every tv screen. The Triangle would have been interesting if it hadn't been a rehashed episode of O'Bannon's SeaQuest DSV.

Sci Fi has a terrible track record with their movies and miniseries. I'm (irrationally) hoping they don't trash The Dresden Files they way they've trashed every other book-to-movie effort.
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#25

Keithette

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Posted Dec 9, 2005 @ 11:00 PM

Actually, Sci Fi got excellent ratings for Triangle. According to The Futon Critic, 3.9 million people watched the finale, which is the most viewers they've had for anything since Taken.

But I agree, most of their made for TV movies are just awful. However, I've enjoyed most of their Dec. mini series, including Triangle. That includes Taken and the Battlestar Galactica mini-series, but definetly does NOT include the awful Earthsea thing they did last year.
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#26

Divaah46

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Posted Dec 10, 2005 @ 12:01 AM

I miss the "Theme Days" that SciFi used to have during the daytime. Superhero Day, Fantasy Day, Gross Things Day, etc. It was nice knowing that Alien Nation would be on Fridays, or Wonder Woman could show up on Tuesday, or whatever. Now the marathons are so random, who knows if Wednesday it'll be Stargate or The Incredible Hulk.

Also: Bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back. There are about 10 seasons' worth of shows. Bribe Comedy Central to release the others and air those puppies once more!
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#27

shimi

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Posted Dec 10, 2005 @ 12:33 AM

I thought it was interesting that the NYT love song to Bonnie Hammer didn't mention the Farscape cancellation brouhaha. Or maybe it was just a brouhaha for this Farscape fan!

I went off the Sci-Fi channel in a big way after that, which was why it took me a season and a half to warm up to Battlestar Galactica. I'm still expectig them to eff it up or cancel it mid-cliffhanger.

Divaah46, I'm with you! Those were fun. Now everytime I flip to Sci-Fi it's either Stargate or Twilight Zone. Yes, TZ is a classic but give it a rest already.
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#28

selkie

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Posted Dec 10, 2005 @ 2:44 PM

I'm (irrationally) hoping they don't trash The Dresden Files they way they've trashed every other book-to-movie effort.


Same here. Because I don't have much confidence in Skiffy managing to deal with the books' balance of some really funny bits with the really dark stuff Harry has to deal with.

On the other hand, Eureka seems to have potential- a good premise with a lot of opportunities to play around with different concepts.

A bit of net digging turned up a press release saying they've got films/miniseries in development based on Kim Stanley Robinson and Greg Bear books. I'm not sure if I should be impressed that they seem somewhat willing to give hard SF projects a try or worried about what they'll turn Red Mars into.
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#29

deimos

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Posted Dec 10, 2005 @ 3:02 PM

Also: Bring Mystery Science Theater 3000 back. There are about 10 seasons' worth of shows. Bribe Comedy Central to release the others and air those puppies once more!


Unfortunately, I think the issue with MST3K is more the film rights than the show rights, so I doubt we'll be seeing it on Sci-Fi anytime soon.
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#30

cutecouple

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Posted Dec 30, 2005 @ 4:05 PM

2005 Was SCI FI's Best Yet, Sci Fi Wire. Not bad, although it's scary to think of what they did it with.
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