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Published on September 4th, 2011 | by Meredith Burdett

Syfy, What Are You Doing?

Sometimes, science fiction and fantasy shows are mistreated. The past is littered with casualties of war that have been scheduled badly or cancelled abruptly. Doctor Who in 1989, Firefly in 2002 and Angel in 2004 (which creator Joss Whedon astutely likened to “a healthy guy dropping dead of a heart attack”).

It seems that the problem can stem from a lack of faith in the program in question, plenty of channels are guilty of jettisoning what they feel is a dead duck but this week the channel that has caught the attention of i09 is Syfy.

Formerly the Sci-Fi Channel, it has been partly responsible for keeping an interest in the genre and also for making some “odd” decisions.

Some of these errors of judgement include not picking up Firefly when it was on offer, cancelling Farscape and Eureka and not picking up the revived series of Doctor Who as quickly as possible. The last one is surely the worst of the crimes!

For those of you that haven’t seen Firefly, Farscape or Eureka, you are nicely but firmly asked to go and seek out the DVD’s. These shows were bright and original and should have been given greater room to grow.

The real oddity is what seems to be the lack of faith that the channel first seemed to have when Doctor Who returned to the screens on 2005. The channel only managed to start showing the Ninth Doctor’s adventures from 2006. Even then, they were heavily cut down. Then they let it go off to BBC America where it’s gone from strength to strength. Odd behaviour for a channel that launched itself with repeats of classic Who. Where’s the love?

A full list of Syfy/ The Sci-Fi Channel’s atrocities can be found at io9.com…

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What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!




8 Responses to Syfy, What Are You Doing?

  1. avatar Dave says:

    Dropping Eureka is a real crime. Here hoping Big Finish get a license to make audios of that series too.

  2. avatar Bob James says:

    This is a track record of sheer stupidity that is rivaled only by Fox. I think the channel was once a trailblazer, when there wasn’t much of an outlet for scifi-/scifantasy on television (especially on cable television here in the US. Times were different: I remember my cable service laughing at me when I asked if the then new channel would be available). But now it has become more than a little irrevelant. The reality of the situation is that a lot of the time, extremely shortsighted and creatively bankrupt people are put in charge of these things. They’re watching the money so close they lose or lack any vision. Great shows have found a life in the mainstream, and this is a good thing.

  3. avatar Simon says:

    The reality is, since their change of management sometime in late-2009, the channel has failed its viewerbase. They have degenerated into the likes of ABC that cancel a show sometimes 6 months down the line. I think it’s safe to say the old Syfy we knew and loved is well and truly dead.

  4. avatar Alex says:

    I stopped taking Syfy seriously years ago. From their commissioning of hilariously titled B-movies like Mansquito (the titles are really the only good parts of these things) to adding professional wrestling to the schedule to the silly decision to adopt “Syfy” as the branding, they really haven’t had my respect for years. The fact they initially turned down the Doctor Who revival based, according to reports back in 2005, “quality issues” and because it was too British shows they really don’t have a clue.

  5. avatar Kate says:

    I hate Syfy. I used to like it, but then they canceled “Stargate: SG-1″ citing “low viewing numbers” when they were only looking at first showing numbers – I know I always watched it later thanks to my work schedule. I think the real viewing numbers were much higher than they thought – but on the other hand, SG-1 was ten years old and perhaps the time had come. But to cancel “Stargate: Atlantis”?! It was a beautiful show, very funny, but serious enough that it wasn’t comedy. I loved the characters – I was sobbing like a baby when Beckett died, and when Weir came back as a human-form Replicator.

    Their failure to show the new “Doctor Who” episodes for MONTHS after they originally aired was atrocious. I downloaded them off the Internet – I will freely admit it. When the alternative is not seeing one of your favorite shows until AFTER Australia has seen it (and let’s face it, Australia’s the last to get everything, poor people!), well, desperate times…

    Canceling “Farscape” was horrendous. That was a great show – it was so funny, and Ben Browder and Claudia Black had great chemistry together (I was so glad they came to “SG-1″ even though there weren’t many scenes between them).

    I just recently watched “Firefly” – I knew I would love it so I put off watching it. And I was right, I loved it. I don’t understand why it was ever canceled when Fox was so clearly at fault for airing episodes out of order and losing viewers through confusion. It’s fresh, it’s original, it’s hilarious – I just watched “Jaynestown” last night and thought it was great, between Jayne’s attempt at disguise to the Kaylee/Simon interaction. WHY WAS THIS SHOW CANCELED?! Did none of the execs bother WATCHING this show before they turned it down?!

    When you throw in the hideous B-movies (good gosh, why waste the money?!), and the wrestling (well, it’s fiction, anyway), and the dumb@$$ ghost hunter shows…can we please stop pretending this channel has anything to do with science fiction?!

    Right…off my soap box now – just really hate SyFy and have for a while now…

  6. avatar Andy Wood says:

    SyFy is all about those **** monster / b movies now – each one a waste of a £1 – if the poundshops stocked them

  7. avatar Cdnbob says:

    You think that’s bad. You should check in to see how Space in Canada treated Doctor Who and Who fans when they first went on air and aired the classic series.

  8. avatar Bradley316 says:

    Firefly, if I remember correctly, originally aired in the “Friday Night Death Slot”. That did not help that series right out of the gate. I don’t think it ever got high enough ratings for the execs at FOX to satisfy them.

    The Sci-Fi Channel has always been garbage in my opinion. Even in the early days when they showed reruns of classic shows, they always made edits to them to make room for more advertisements. Like the others mentioned, the programming on Syfy is awful.

    BBC America has a number of faults, too. They also did not show the new series of Doctor Who until about 2006 if I remember, so they are no better than Syfy. Plus, after a while BBC America will broadcast the episodes of New Who with numerous small edits, just like the Syfy broadcasts. This is done to show as many ads as possible. BBC America will show the brand new episodes uncut, but to fit as many commercials in, it takes over one hour to actually see the whole episode. They do this with all their other shows. Plus, BBC America’s lineup is crap overall.

    So, it just sucks. I’ll gladly wait a day or two and pay for the iTunes downloads of Doctor Who and buy the DVDs when they come out.

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