Syfy to Produce…Sci-Fi? What the Hell?


The Hollywood Reporter is Hollywoodily reporting that someone at Syfy seems to have taken note of a certain something regarding their network.

Almost five years after a rebrand that abandoned the Sci-Fi moniker and enraged fans, NBCUniversal brass is aware that its attempt to lure a broader audience might have lost it some clout in the increasingly lucrative genre that shares its former name.

“Enraged”? I don’t recall being enraged; I just recall thinking it was really, really stupid. It was, and still is. But ignoring that fact, yes, who knew that basically turning your back on the genre you claim to televise might lose you some “clout” within that genre?

The story goes on to explain that someone at NCB Universal realized that science-fiction can equal money. They then go on to cite several shows as examples.

AMC’s The Walking Dead remains the biggest series on TV in the key 18-to-49 demo, FX’s American Horror Story regularly scores more Emmy nominations than any series, and Game of Thrones has attracted such a fervent fan base, HBO is filling Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for its March 20 premiere.

Oh, yes, quite the set of science fiction shows, if by “science fiction” one means “a show that has nothing to do with science, another show that has nothing to do with science, and a fucking fantasy show with magic and shit”, then, yes, they are sci-fi shows.

The article then goes on to say that Syfy will be creating a bunch of mini-series and space operas and actual, you know, science fiction. I do applaud this move. I do sincerely hope that’s what happens. I hope that, for example, when they give Riverworld a third try, they actually base it on the books. I’d love to see a Foundation mini-series, for example, or some more Dune stuff. How about a TV series based on The Dragonriders of Pern novels? Or do up some kids books, like the Danny Dunn series. Updated for modern times, those could be quite popular.

I do hope Syfy goes ahead with this plan and pulls it off. On the other hand, the article also brings up Sharknado 2, so I’m not exactly going to hold my breath here.

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4 Responses to “Syfy to Produce…Sci-Fi? What the Hell?”

  1. Zach Says:

    Honestly? I don’t care about where their productions fall on the sci-fi scale; Battlestar Galactica wasn’t exactly sci-fi in any real sense, but it worked fine. But as long as they’re devoting the bulk of their creative energies to creating Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus and Sharknado – and does anyone honestly believe that’s not where their focus is going to be? – I’m out.

    The difference between Syfy and AMC/FX/HBO is that the latter were already invested in quality programming before the shows mentioned debuted. Syfy has put their energy into branding themselves as the place you go to see kitchy B-movies; the last good show they produced wrapped up 5 years ago.

    • Chris Says:

      It does seem like once every year or two, they put out a token effort at doing something better. But then they screw it up and slink back to making crap. That BSG was a good show that was also a critical success was a major fluke for them; they even managed to screw up the two spin-offs.

  2. arthurthepanther Says:

    I will just leave this here: although I agree wholeheartedly with the majority of your post and certainly that GOT and American Horror Story are not even remotely sci-fi, the Walking Dead is at least putatively a post-apocalyptic horror subgenre of science fiction. The zombies aren’t magical (although we know that scientifically they could never happen in real life). They contracted a virus which reanimated their tissues when they died, and gave them a primitive, flesh-seeking motivation. It’s far less scientific than it might be, but it is at least nominally science fantasy, if not hard, nivenesque science fiction.

    • Chris Says:

      Bollocks. It’s even less sci-fi than the Star Wars series. That virus thing is total bullshit, and the bodies would all decompose within a week. I also fail to see how a virus makes them immune to just about everything but a head-shot and how it makes them get up and walk after being dead.


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