The Sci Fi Channel has decided to give another middle finger to its main viewers. In an idiotic attempt to reach out to people who apparently aren’t “geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that,” the Sci-Fi channel spent an untold amount of money on hip marketing gurus to come up with a name “Millennials” and Generation Z can better text each other.
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HipKewlTxtr says “Dude 4 ltrs = wy btr 2 txt than 5! I lve dis chnl!”
I’m not unhip to technology. I twit, tweet, share, digg, Mybook, and whatever else the kids do to shout loudly to the rooftops “PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!” I’m not hip enough usually to watch more popular television shows. I’ve never seen an episode of the Hills or Grey’s Anatomy. I tried to watch the Office and 30 Rock, but just couldn’t get into it. Still, this apparently doesn’t put me in the same category as those other “dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that…” After all, in addition to busying myself in my dingy apartment with “stuff” like Command and Conquer and A Tale In The Desert, I read plenty of books, frequent bars and punk shows, and ride a bike when it’s warm outside. I also watch at least two of the top 100 television shows (Lost and Heroes) every week.
Still, somehow I don’t think I’m the demographic that Dave Howe, president of the Sci-Fi network desires. I’m just among those “fan-boys and -girls who love the genre.” I don’t know what Joost is and I’ve never used Gleem. But, I know I’m not the only person who based my cable subscription on the availability of the Sci-Fi Network. Despite what ad execs want you to believe, television is still a luxury. When I’m shelling out over $50 a month for cable alone, I’d better be able to watch Star Trek reruns all day long instead of a “Pimp My Ride” marathon.
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This fall on Syfy – Pimp My Shuttlecraft
Many people have been quick to point out that Science Fiction, as a genre, gets a bum rap time and again. Even stalwart defenders quickly feel the need to justify watching a fictional story on an extremely modern invention as a “guilty pleasure.” As I pointed out earlier, even the folks responsible for giving the masses something more than another reality television trainwreck fear the smirks of friends and relatives. Somehow, I guess “water cooler” chatter is still code for discussing the latest Seinfeld or Friends knockoff.
I do agree that the Sci-Fi Channel has had serious problems over the years. Plenty of people don’t tune in – but as others have already pointed out, it has nothing to do with the “brand.” I too, like man others, was thrilled to find a network where shows like the X-Files were the norm. Finally, I thought, a network with something other than formulaic sitcoms and “true life” dramas. As we’ve seen over the years, some things are just too good to be true – and we’ve been relegated to sitting through hours of poorly cobbled together disaster movies.
The “brand” isn’t what’s wrong – believe me, people are smart enough to know “sci-fi” includes stories about superheroes and the paranormal.
Yes, even these guys
That’s a demographic Sci-Fi has begging for more and constantly misses out on. People who are “smart.” Now, I’m not calling anyone stupid here – after all, I’ve actually watched more than one episode of MTV’s “Next,” but what I am saying is that Science Fiction, as a genre, is smart. It takes more than a fancy marketing degree or hip fashion sense to develop a story about an ancient race of proto-humans who seeded the galaxy with transportation devices and ascended to a higher plane of existence. It takes brains to develop a dystopian future where the living dead walk the Earth.
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Yes, pun intended
It is however, lazy and dare I say, stupid to recycle the same plot again and again, putting newer CGI faces on the monsters. It doesn’t take brains to say: “I’ve got it! What if we made Survivor more like the Amazing Race with some rejects from the America’s Top Model auditions? All we need is some CGI at home and we’ve got a real live video game!”
And that’s the problem. Instead of paying attention to its core audience and building new and interesting shows, Syfy is just plain lazy. After all, when the best you can come up with is “Spring Break Shark Attack,” your imagination just plain sucks.