Friday, November 26, 2010

SyFy - The New SciFi

I admit it freely and shamelessly, I love science fiction and B horror movies.  And up until recently, I loved the SciFi channel, now SyFy whose new slogan is "imagine greater".  My question is greater what?  

Merriam-Webster defines science fiction as "fiction dealing principally with the impact of actual or imagined science on society or individuals or having a scientific factor as an essential orienting component."  From - "We've always defined "sci-fi" a lot more broadly than most people, and Syfy is a way to recognize the programming we already have on our channel, from Stargate and Eureka to Ghost Hunters and Scare Tactics. For us "sci-fi" includes a broad range of imagination-based entertainment, including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others. Syfy helps us define our unique take on the genre." It seems SyFy is moving further and further from their own definition of their programming. 

Even with this broad definition of science fiction, I have a hard time seeing where RAW, NXT and SmackDown fit into the sci-fi genre.  The last few days SyFy has had a Bond marathon, nothing against James Bond, but, really?  Maybe with all the cool toys Bond had specially made for him, I guess you could stretch that far enough to reach science fiction.  Then you have those goofy Ghost Hunters and their spin off shows.  Really?  Come on, that is a real step down.  Those guys were boring, badly filmed and badly produced before they ever made it to SyFy and then they made it even worse by adding the spin offs.  

Scare Tactics, which is on its third, fourth, fifth.....who is as bad as it has always been.  Seriously, if any of your friends did to you some of the things they do to people on that show, would they still be your friends?  Perhaps SyFy hopes by changing the host/hostess every year they can make it a better show.  New Flash:  It isn't working!

On the flip side, SyFy has produced some really cool new shows.  Caprica has been an interesting combination of a future where they can build cylons, have robots to run their homes and offices, maintain their security systems, travel to other planets but they still drive cars. Go figure.  Haven, the gated community for vampires and werewolves whose head of security (a tarnished former big city cop) was totally clueless about until one of the vampires saves his life.  Let's not forget all the Stargate shows, SG-1, Atlantis, Universe.  Then we have Eureka and Sanctuary. These shows are science fiction.

While SyFy has a bevy of B movies, they have also produced some pretty decent original movies.  There may be a tendency to overdo the natural disaster theme, although many of them are done well enough.  I love the fact that they will string together a whole weekend of movies on one theme, one weekend it might be all snake movies, or alligator movies, the next it might be a series of tornado terrors or fire storms.

SyFy, why have you strayed so far from your roots of science fiction?  Please ditch the paid programming, wrestling and reality shows and give us more of shows like Caprica, Stargate, Sanctuary and Haven.  I miss the old SciFi that was my favorite channel for so many years, my "go to" channel is fast becoming my "why bother" channel.  Someone please, stop the madness!