Are Sci-Fi Fans Cheap Bastards or Just Too Few?

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by retrodog, Jan 24, 2010.

Why isn't Scy-Fy only Science Fiction?

Poll closed Feb 3, 2010.
  1. Sci-Fi fans don't spend enough money to support a channel

    2 vote(s)
    2.0%
  2. There aren't enough sci-fi fans to support a channel

    16 vote(s)
    16.3%
  3. Science Fiction sort of sucks

    6 vote(s)
    6.1%
  4. Science Fiction that is shown on Scy-Fy sucks

    22 vote(s)
    22.4%
  5. What??? I thought World Wrestling and killing dragons was science fiction.

    4 vote(s)
    4.1%
  6. The people who run Scy-Fy will sell out to anyone with some money

    48 vote(s)
    49.0%
  1. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey

    Advertisements

    But that's the whole thing. What defines a Sci Fi fan? The person who might enjoy a show like you described because it's fun and doesn't worry about the fact it's a ripoff of something else or that the sci fi in the show is not that exact, or is it the hard core Sci Fi fan who can't watch the lighter weight stuff because it's "inferior"? There just aren't enough hard core fans like that to support a whole channel. The problem is, mass appeal Sci Fi is found on all the premiums, Spike, USA, Bravo, FX and a whole host of other channels.
     
  2. dcheesi

    dcheesi ...I'm not.

    18,413
    1,317
    Apr 6, 2001
    MD, USA
    One problem is that the types of sci-fi that are broadly popular (space opera, action thrillers, etc.) are also relatively expensive. Futuristic sets, special effects, custom wardrobes, etc., it all adds up.

    Movies can do it because they expect huge returns in ticket sales and DVDs; by contrast, cable networks have to subsist on ad revenue for much of their income. The money just isn't there to support multiple high-quality shows of the type that are most marketable.

    Meanwhile, the quieter, more cerebral types of science fiction tend to require more attention and thought than the average viewer is willing to put into them. Plus that type of fiction requires really good writing to make it worthwhile, and that's hard to maintain over the long term.
     
  3. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    That's a very good point. When you see something like Avatar, or even Star Wars, you realize there's just no budget on TV to do anything close to that, that doesn't look cheesy. The only show I watch on Sy Fy is Eureka, which is a fun show, but basically character driven. Perhaps they need more shows like that. Other shows that don't have to be too high tech that would work are shows like The 4400, or V.
     
  4. WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango New Member

    5,777
    1
    Sep 20, 2006
    New Jersey
    I think Sci Fi channel just puts too much crap out there. Mostly their made for TV movies, which are just horrendous. Not only the storylines but the CGI is just too fake looking. I think they have some good stuff like the Stargate series', Sanctuary, Eureka and Warehouse 13. I don't watch much else on there because it's older stuff I've seen before, plus when they show marathons of shows like Invasion, they skip episodes. I think they need more original programming. We've seen the networks try some scifi shows but they get cancelled for low ratings, ratings that would be great for SyFy. Take V for example. SyFy showed every V related program when the ABC version was about to start. Why hadn't someone at SyFy thought of bringing back V? What about Dollhouse, FlashForward, or Fringe? They need to come up with shows like these to be more successful. I realize there are budget and cost issues with some of these shows but my point remains.
     
  5. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey

    Advertisements

    All those shows would fit the genre for me. I always thought Dollhouse belonged on Sy Fy. But do hard core Sci Fi fans consider Fringe or FlashForward Sci Fi? I do.
     
  6. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    Nothing is absolute. I didn't say it was. So you've misunderstood what I wrote: It was about science fiction, not sports. I would bet you that there are far more male sports fans than (even) male hardcore science fiction fans. The genre is evidently not rich enough to stand on a one-gendered leg.

    What makes one thing, though, that providing "enough sci fi shows that either are hardcore enough to be accepted by the real buffs" would be worth the added cost of presenting that extra new, original content?

    Trade small for big -- that sounds like a smart move.
     
  7. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    In other words, to be acceptable, it would have to cost a lot more, eh?

    And of course, there, spending the more money would be worth it, if they got enough audience. The same show, with a lesser audience on cable, would be costing too much.
     
  8. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

    115,825
    5,228
    Apr 2, 2001
    Dallas

    It's not really just a matter of survival. It's a matter of expanding their audience. That's why they shift programming focus. To draw in more and more viewers.
     
  9. WhiskeyTango

    WhiskeyTango New Member

    5,777
    1
    Sep 20, 2006
    New Jersey
    I noted the budget issues in my post. And no it wouldn't have to cost A LOT more. All of the SyFy shows I mentioned use a lot of CGI that is of a much greater and realistic quality than what I see in the made for TV movies. So they've obviously found a CGI method with a cost that is acceptable for the network to make money. That same tech would be applied to new programming.

    Not necessarily. If a show like V draws a 3.5 in the ratings, it would be a hit on SyFy, but not on a network. The audience is there, it's just not in the right forum. If SyFy had been the one to pick up V, not ABC, they would have tailored the budget to meet their needs (cheaper CGI, lesser known cast, etc.) The point I was making is that the ideas for good sci fi are out there but SyFy is not picking them up.

    I think you even pointed out in another thread that there is a premium built into the costs of a show airing on a major network that doesn't exist on cable channels. That will inherently make the same show cheaper if it were to air on SyFy.
     
  10. betts4

    betts4 I am Spartacus!

    28,486
    359
    Dec 26, 2005
    A Galaxy...
    I agree. Have it set up so that certain nights could be repeats of 50's movies and another be new tv show (dollhouse or V was mentioned) and one night be older tv shows (twilight zone, Trek, lost in space even) I like the idea of the afternoon for kids - maybe some anime that is on other channels or something like Johnny Quest or Speedracer - not exactly sci fi but better than wrestling.

    There are more movies that would be more fun and would have me watching that channel then what is being shown now.
     
  11. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    I'm not saying they should trade small for big, only that this is why they can't get it to work, and have to supliment non niche programming. I think it's the same reason A&E can't last on just Operas and art shows. Or History with just historical documentaries. The hard core fan is just not a big enough core audience. So they augment.
     
  12. Hoffer

    Hoffer Eat Lightning ----- Poo Thunder TCF Club

    43,259
    2,320
    Jun 1, 2001
    Twin Cities, MN
    I guess I like Science Fiction, but not the crap on SyFy. The only shows I've ever really watched on it are Stargate and Battlestar Galactica. I don't like the new Stargate. So, now I watch nothing on it.

    I remember when they'd promote big shows. Like made for SyFy movies. Sometimes I'd think they'd look cool and DVR them. I'd never last more then 20-30 minutes. Last one I remember trying to watch was a Wizard of Oz movie.
     
  13. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    So you not like the shows because they are badly written or because the F/X are poorly done? T
     
  14. Hoffer

    Hoffer Eat Lightning ----- Poo Thunder TCF Club

    43,259
    2,320
    Jun 1, 2001
    Twin Cities, MN
    Yeah, I'm thinking the only SciFi I like are the ones that cost a lot of money to make. Actually, I'm not big on action movies cheaply done either. I recently tried watching Chuck on NBC again. It was just so lame. This scene with the Baldwin guy in a helicopter with a mini-gun just made me cringe. I also remember the bad guy assassin being really awful. I'm sure I watch things that are lame, but I guess lame SciFi or action shows I can't handle.
     
  15. Steveknj

    Steveknj Lost in New Joisey TCF Club

    58,292
    5,226
    Mar 10, 2003
    New Jersey
    To me it's fun, because I can get passed all that. I realize you aren't going to have Avatar type effects on TV and I don't take all the high tech stuff that seriously. If the characters are good and it's fun, then I can watch it. Can you sit and watch old Sci Fi from the 60s or 70s? The tech in those are so cheesy today that it's laughable. But if the story is good and the characters are fun, it's still a great watch.
     
  16. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    Absolutely... it's the crux of the issue.

    Easy to say, I suppose, when it isn't your money.

    So you're suggesting that the amount of investment in setups made for a series order of 13 episodes is as readily justifiable by a two-hour TV movie? That doesn't make sense.

    I think folks have to come to a different point with regard to their understanding of what a TV movie is: It isn't some blockbuster that attracts a greater amount of attention by viewers than a series would. Instead, a TV movie is practically the same as a television series where even before you start you know you're going to cancel the series after just two episodes. That's an exaggeration, of course, but I'm sure you are able to understand the point. The cost of TV movie needs to be commensurate with a reasonable expectation of viewership, and therefore not really that much different, on a viewer-hour basis, than a regular television series, but without the advantage of a television series, i.e., the ability to invest more in setups because the cost of some of those setups can be amortized.

    What TV movies can offer are literary advantages: A fresh story, rather than being slaved to series canon and having to withhold some of the "good stuff" for later -- the ability to have every one of them be "the series finale" giving closure. That's a great advantage, but it does not translate into better production values.

    What I meant was that V cost too much for cable. If it was on cable, then it would have had a smaller budget.

    Sure they are.... they cannot corner the market on every genre idea, without super-inflating the prices. Their competition will seek out some of those ideas and build on them. It is unreasonable to expect Syfy to do whatever is necessary to own every idea.
     
  17. Stormspace

    Stormspace Electrocuted by TiVo

    5,198
    6
    Apr 13, 2004
    Hartsville, SC
    I think that the Syfy channel is currently in a slump. They've lost Doctor Who(not permanently) due to issues with the actor, Stargate SG-1, Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, Torchwood, and a few others. That's left a fairly large gap in SyFy programming that they need to fill. SGU, Sanctuary, Warehouse 13, and Caprica are attempts to recapture audience, but except for SGU and maybe Caprica I think they'll have to go back to the drawing board. Sanctuary blows, as does Warehouse 13, I watch both, so I should know. :)

    At the same time the success of SyFy shows like Battlestar have prompted other networks to try Syfy. Heroes, Flash Forward, Jericho, Human Target :), and Lost to name a few. What we need is a moderately successful SyFy franchise to move to the SyFy channel. Heroes would be a good choice, or perhaps a new show based on the new Star Trek universe.
     
  18. retrodog

    retrodog King Button Pusher

    27,144
    301
    Feb 7, 2002
    At the gun...
    It became pretty obvious what their goal was when they changed their name. :rolleyes:

    The last Star Trek movie was so popular because it wasn't a real Star Trek movie. Sure, it would pass as Science Fiction, but it was too mainstream to be considered a real Star Trek episode/movie. But hey, whatever it takes, right? :D

    I for one didn't like the Battlestar Galactica series at all. I thought it was an excruciating painful melodrama with a science fiction bow tied around it. But at least they put some effort and money into it.

    I finally watched some submarine movie yesterday which starred the BH 90210 kid (grown up). It was basically Snakes on a Sub. I wouldn't have made it through more than about 15 minutes but the girl was cute. But my point is this, while I was watching this movie I found the 10,127 commercials about Caprica (or whatever it's called) to be crazy overdone. They just drive you crazy with the trailer for one single show over and over again. I found myself racing back to the couch to get the remote and FF through them. It's annoying when a station forces you to sit in your recliner with the remote in your hand at all times. :D
     
  19. Rob Helmerichs

    Rob Helmerichs I am Groot! TCF Club

    58,362
    14,918
    Oct 17, 2000
    Minneapolis
    Exactly. To be able to monetize their name.

    Wait, huh?
     
  20. bicker

    bicker bUU

    10,671
    90
    Nov 9, 2003
    Florida
    Syfy Channel is actually riding quite high. Its audience is growing, over the long-term, and more importantly its demographics appear to be improving. They've got some of the best shows they've ever presented, in Eureka and Warehouse 13, and now Caprica, and have come off presenting one of the best genre shows ever, in Battlestar Galactica. The Syfy Channel is exactly what I want it to be.
     

Share This Page

spam firewall

Advertisements