SyFy Channel: You don’t know what you’ve got…

21 Jan

…Until it’s gone.
SyFy: They cancelled Caprica, they cancelled Stargate Universe, but they air wrestling now!? “I’ll never tune into SyFy again!” fans say. (I may detest WWE, but if it brings in money to buy good Sci Fi shows, I’ll manage somehow).

Right then, people, it’s time to use your common sense and consider this: What if the SyFy channel no longer existed? That’s one less network on which to find our favorite genre. PERIOD.

Perhaps we should put ourselves in SyFy’s shoes. In ANY economy, television is DAMNED EXPENSIVE, and the recession isn’t making creating masterpieces any cheaper. The shows that we all love are bloody expensive to produce.

For example, cited during my conversation with Craig Engler, Senior Executive at SyFy, the very popular Joss Whedon series Firefly cost FOX nearly FIFTY million dollars to create. That’s a “5” with SEVEN zeros all neat in a row after it. When it was cancelled, they LOST 50 million dollars. For 99.9% of the population, that amount of money is inconceivable. They lost it ALL. The fans were infuriated because the show was cancelled and instead of saying, “Oh tragic, I really loved that show! Thank you for making it, and if you ever decide to bring it back, I’ll be there to support you!” and showing some consideration for the network’s position, we instead complain, “That was my favorite show and I’m angry because it’s gone. Stupid network! I’m boycotting!”

Well done! Do you honestly believe that the network will make any effort to buy or produce another show like it? The old adage “Don’t bite your nose off to spite your face” comes to mind.

If fans continue to berate networks for canceling shows that are costing them inordinate sums of money, we will soon bitch & complain ourselves out of ANY good Science Fiction television.

It’s all well & good to be upset over an unexpected cancellation. However, rather than attempting to punish the very network that was gracious enough to bring the show to you in the first place, consider using your obvious intelligence as well as the time and energy you would otherwise expend complaining online and boycotting the network to do something which may actually HELP bring the show back; such as contacting other networks, producers or benefactors in order to find a new home for your beloved series.

There are numerous ways in this technologically savvy time to contact the right people. Social networking is a very powerful tool, as well as polls, petitions, blogs, websites and other marketing vehicles, all of which can actually be productive ways to further your cause, gain followers and show potential networks that picking up your favorite show will be profitable for them. You may wish to keep the main cast in the loop with your plans, so they can be aware of the possibility that the show MAY resume if all goes well. Another reason being that they may have contact with potential prospects themselves.

In closing, if we have a better understanding of all the facts when our favorite show winds up on the cutting room floor, we may not be so quick to “kill the messenger” and give the networks credit where it is due for bringing us the beloved series in the first place. After all, without their vision and hard work there wouldn’t have been such a wonderful show for us to miss. In the meantime, we always have re-runs and season DVD box sets.


Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Sci Fi, SyFy, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

6 responses to “SyFy Channel: You don’t know what you’ve got…

  1. Awix

    January 22, 2011 at 4:08 am

    That thing with the wrestling sounds grim. Commiserations.

    I’m reminded of an article Joe Straczynski wrote about the origins of Babylon 5, he said that the reason virtually every TV SF series prior to TNG didn’t make it to a fourth season was that the writers didn’t know enough about SF to write decent scripts and production was so inefficient the show was haemorrhaging cash from the first episode and wound up getting cancelled. Not sure about the former (haven’t properly followed a US series since Enterprise, I’m afraid) but it sounds like budget cuts are kind of having the same effect as the latter.

    Dunno, though, I’m British and over here we had a strong tradition for many years of making great SF and fantasy shows for no money whatsoever, so maybe I’m biased (should point out we’ve also made some pretty good big-budget cult TV as well).


  2. Dale

    January 22, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    There is a big problem with networks not comunicating with the viewers. Did anyone know that the shows were in on the chopping block because of ratings? If the fans think that everything is fine then they don’t know that something needs to be done to bring up ratings.
    The networks throw out the words ‘hit show’, magazine articles make it seem like it is going great and then we find out that the show is canceled?

    I agree with a lot of what you said but it also falls on the networks to communicate with the fans about what is happening. How hard is it to say ‘ratings are not looking good so this may be the last season unless they pick up’? Hey, your fans may surprise you.

    Another problem is what they put the show against. Don’t put a new show against a strong and established show on another network and expect high ratings.

    Another thing is that SyFy screws up the shows by cutting the seasons in half like they do. I know all the networks take a midseason break but none of them do it for as long as SyFy does. To be honest, I would always thing that the shows were canceled already because I had not seen anything on them for months and when they do start back up with the second half of the season, I would think that it was actually the next season.

    ‘What, Caprica has been back on for a couple of weeks? I thought it was canceled. Oh according to these commercials the show is doing great, cool.’

    There are only a handfull of shows that I watch so I tend to get pissed when I hear that they are cancled but when a show takes a long time for it to come back on, I tend to just forget about it until I see something that reminds me of it.

    Sorry that I am all over the place and I probably contradicted myself a few times, I seem to do that.

  3. Kat Waterflame

    January 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    My biggest problem with networks is that they don’t give shows a chance. I understand that they need good ratings, but I’m always confised on what is considered good!

    Does anyone remember the show “Emily’s Reasons Why Not” that came out a few years ago? No? Really? I wonder why not… It was advertised on every bus, billboard & magazine I saw for months! You know why you don’t remember it? Because even after all that advertisement, the show was canceled after the pilot aired. Let me say that once more: IT WAS CANCELED AFTER THE FIRST SHOW!!! One show is all they gave it. “The ratings weren’t enough” to keep it. After one show?!?!? I actually watched the pilot. It wasn’t a bad show! It would have gotten better over time. But, the network didn’t give it more time.
    I know this doesn’t completely apply to SyFy, but they have had a few shows that I was surprised when they got canceled… I wish networks were more honest with us, the fans, about why our shows are getting canceled!

  4. briantudor

    January 23, 2011 at 7:43 pm


    Great points! When (then the SciFi Channel) Syfy cancelled Farscape and the Invisible Man, I stayed away for a long time. Not out of a sense of boycotting, but because at the time they really didn’t have anything to offer me in the way of entertainment. BSG brought me back, and while Caprica was slow at times and had a huge break killing the show, I don’t blame them for the cancellation. I blame Ex-Producer David Eick. He is fine as the second banana, but when it comes to running the show all he does is run shows into the ground (i.e. Bionic Woman, a show with so much potential and like-ability it is hard to believe it failed).

    I’m not as up in arms as most about Wrestling being on Syfy, Universal has a long standing relationship with WWE and the ability to add a highly rated 10 year old program would be hard for anyone to pass up. Kat in the comment above makes a great point about shows not getting time anymore, but where there are hundreds of channels you have to be nearly great from the start or you will never gain the audience you deserve, kind of like NBC’s CHUCK, which would work just as well on Syfy as it does on NBC.

    Thanks for posting, and provoking some thoughts.

  5. Ruth

    January 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

    It’s not that I’m boycotting Syfy, but after this latest series of cancellations I’m thinking twice before losing my heart to any of their shows.

  6. Jess

    February 1, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    The heartbreak I felt when “Firefly” was cancelled (Fox, not Syfy) will never go away. But honestly… “Caprica” was not nearly as good as its predecessor. Part of what made BSG such a success was that it was a military drama. You take that universe and build a slow-paced sci-fi “Sopranos” out of it, and the audience is probably not going to follow. I think they’ll have much better luck with the “Blood and Chrome” prequel.
    So in conclusion, you have an excellent point. I love what SyFy does, and I wish they had more money with which to do it. “Being Human” is fantastic so far, and though I’ll miss “Caprica” and “Stargate Universe”, I am willing to forgive.


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