Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Imagining a Greater SyFy Channel

I know, it's no universe-shattering revelation that the SyFy cable channel pretty much sucks these days.  What was once a prime source of fun science fiction-based television has devolved into a basic cable dumping ground for "reality" shows about fake ghost hunters and cheesy Something vs. Something Else TV movies destined to be featured on a remake of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in about 15 or 20 years down the road.

Yes, the mistakes SyFy has made as a network are obvious to everyone except them.  But in the spirit of science fiction that asks the classic question "What If," what if Syfy didn't have to suck all kinds of suckness in suckitude?  What if the channel actually lived up to its tagline and...yes, imagined greater?

The thing is, SyFy does have a nice little foundation to build upon.  There's one more season of Eureka to air, and other current series such as Warehouse 13, Sanctuary and the U.S. remake of the brilliant U.K. series Being Human are perfectly decent, albeit not especially groundbreaking, programs.  However, the best science fiction series currently on television aren't found on SyFy these days. 

HBO now has two great shows with Game of Thrones and True Blood that are far superior to SyFy's offerings of the U.K. series Merlin and the Being Human remake.  AMC recently found zombie gold in their adaptation of Robert Kirkman's comic series The Walking Dead, while FOX has Fringe, arguably the most hardcore science fiction series on the air right now, and is serving up the big-budget Terra Nova at the end of the month.  And of course, BBC America gladly took over from SyFy's bungled attempt at airing the relaunched Doctor Who and has steadily grown the show's audience into becoming their top-rated series.  Oh, and BBC America also currently airs reruns of classic sci-fi series such as The X-Files and the Battlestar Galactica remake that yes, used to air on SyFy.

I realize SyFy is pretty set in their cozy low-budget programming mentality and that's not likely to change anytime soon, so it's frustrating to see the channel remain a mere shadow of its former self.  There are plenty of old shows that could use some love on the channel -- the aforementioned MST3K, classic episodes of Doctor Who from the original 1963-89 run, Babylon 5, Farscape, Quantum Leap, Alien Nation, Smallville and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine to name just a few.  And when you think about the number of terrific comics properties that could (and should) be developed into television shows, it boggles the mind that SyFy can only offer up something like Alphas.  Oh, and remember when SyFy/Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica remake was mandatory viewing on Friday nights?  Imagine if Buck Rogers or yes, Star Trek received the same creative and budgetary effort?

Imagine something...greater.

1 comment:

  1. Very good points. I hear lots of reminiscing about what SciFi once was, but I didn't have access to the channel at the time, so I missed the days of classic DOCTOR WHO, WONDER WOMAN, and MST3K. I never even look at the channel anymore it's so depressing. And their name change looks like the name of an STD.