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Science Fiction & Fantasy Farscape, Babylon 5, Star Wars, Firefly, vampires, genre books and film.

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Old October 14 2008, 12:33 AM   #1
V
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'08-'09 TV season scifi slump

this is a good article on SyFyPortal:

http://www.syfyportal.com/news425459.html

  • Major returning series like Heroes, Pushing Daises, Terminator:SCC, and Chuck are in a ratings nosedive, with sometimes critically mixed reviews
  • Viewership is down as a whole, though, largely due to the Writers' Guild Strike last year; returning shows got truncated first seasons, or a slump in quality (Heroes season 2, BSG season 3, though that's not on TV now and season 4 already fixed most problems, etc.)
  • [FONT=Georgia]"The sad truth is, genre programming has been in a creative slump for some time and is failing to deliver material that is truly interesting, innovative or intriguing. Even quality programs such as "Heroes" and "Lost" suffered from creative slumps that led to viewers tuning out. Certainly, quality genre programming can still be found, but when the landscape is littered with garbage, it's not hard to see why many mainstream viewers simply avoid this type of programming.[/FONT]"
  • Creatively, they just keep shoving remakes at us: Battlestar Galactica isn't really a direct remake and its an exception which unfortunately encouraged a lot of awful further attempts: Bionic Woman and Knight Rider, the "laughably awful" Flash Gordon.
  • [FONT=Georgia] [/FONT][FONT=Georgia] "Remakes and re-imaginings are, by far, the biggest culprits in this slow death of originality, but imitators share some of the blame. Despite protests that "Fringe" isn’t like "The X-Files," "Journeyman" was not just a remake of "Quantum Leap,"and "Moonlight" wasn't "Angel" in a different wrapper, the truth is, the shows shared enough elements to at least make people consider the sense of déjà vu they were feeling"[/FONT]
  • Personally, I also think this was just an "off year" and everyone is still recovering from the Writers' Strike; not just in ratings, but creatively. "Fringe" is honestly an okay new show and not a direct "X-Files clone" (its the same "subgenre" but its got its own thing going). But even "Fringe" isn't a "new breakout hit", as Lost then BSG then Heroes were. Its okay but it hasn't grabbed our imagination and hears and minds, because it isn't entirely "new". Anything new is always "bad".
  • What is out in mid-season? Dollhouse of course, but given that they forced them to make a THIRD pilot episode....I strongly suspect there is behind the scenes fighting: Whedon wants to make a very dark and morally ambiguous show while the network always wants to make a "happy show" (What was NYPD Blue? or Sopranos?)
  • Scifi Channel (Beyond) is going down the tubes: "Caprica" sounds awful the more I hear of it, an RDM-less attempt to cash in on BSG, while Sanctuary and Stargate: 90210.....
  • I'm also upset that....when live-action scifi slumps, I turn to anime which has good scifi (Cowboy Bebop, Planetes, etc.) but Cartoon Network just canceled its Toonami block and pushed its last remaining anime shows back to the 5:00 AM (yes, AM) death slot....so the one good show on, "Code Geass", is buried (It's about an alternate history in which the Holy Empire of Britannia has conquered Japan using basically Battlemechs, and an exiled Britannian prince starts a rebellion in "Area 11" (formerly Japan) as revenge on his homeland. It's good stuff and great 'mech action).
  • With the loss of Harry Potter, THE main tentpole film for Winter 2008 is gone. We're down to City of Ember, Twilight, and Max Payne.
  • I *am* excited about RDM's new "Virtuosity" and the remake of "V" (the series) - V may be a remake but it had a lot of political allegory which is always good. I mean in a post-9/11 world your first thought is "V remake" not "Bionic Woman remake".
  • Is it just me, or is it that everyone has abandoned TV (and Film) because of the Economic Collapse and everyone is worrying about that or the election now?
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Old October 14 2008, 01:05 AM   #2
Temis the Vorta
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

Is it just me, or is it that everyone has abandoned TV (and Film) because of the Economic Collapse and everyone is worrying about that or the election now?
TV is cheap entertainment; it should be doing better as Wall Street stumbles.

The election is probably distracting people some but other entertainment venues are really distracting the audience. The % of the audience being lured away by cable over broadcast is increasing all the time. There are only so many eyeballs to go around.
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Old October 14 2008, 03:16 AM   #3
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

New media coupled with lack of urgency in shows. I am following Heroes and Office and Smallville EXCLUSIVELY digitally. I like all the shows and am entertained by them but when the day came i couldnt get myself to ditch playing warcraft or reading about politics or away from my prison break dvds, etc etc. The urgency just isnt there.
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Old October 14 2008, 03:36 AM   #4
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

Stone_Cold_Sisko wrote: View Post
New media coupled with lack of urgency in shows. I am following Heroes and Office and Smallville EXCLUSIVELY digitally. I like all the shows and am entertained by them but when the day came i couldnt get myself to ditch playing warcraft or reading about politics or away from my prison break dvds, etc etc. The urgency just isnt there.
Other than a shared set in the common room, I don't have a television here at school, so I only watch digitally (which has meant that I've all but entirely missed two years of ER and Law & Order). I'm not sure I'd go back to television now; I'm not used to keeping to a schedule anymore - the only show I ever remember is Sunday Night Football, which I seldom watch.
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Old October 14 2008, 03:36 AM   #5
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

V wrote: View Post
[*]I *am* excited about RDM's new "Virtuosity" and the remake of "V" (the series) - V may be a remake but it had a lot of political allegory which is always good. I mean in a post-9/11 world your first thought is "V remake" not "Bionic Woman remake".
Uggggggggh, say it's not so. Battlestar Galactica while a critical darling isn't exactly lighting up the Nielsens either.

[*]Is it just me, or is it that everyone has abandoned TV (and Film) because of the Economic Collapse and everyone is worrying about that or the election now?
Sounds a bit dramatic, I doubt everyone just has their heads in their hands sobbing into their 401k's and abandoning all entertainment.
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Old October 14 2008, 07:26 AM   #6
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

People seem to be blaming everything on the economic woes. Relax folks, the world isn't going to end....
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Old October 14 2008, 07:34 AM   #7
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

I think the ratings woes of Chuck, Heroes, and Terminator are more because of Monday Night Football than anything else, but there does seem to be a decline in viewership this year compared to previous years.
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Old October 14 2008, 08:07 AM   #8
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

So the ratings are down ? Good, cancel the lot. All of it. End science fiction on TV, it needs a break.

And now you know how us who are Star Trek fans first and Sci-Fi fans second felt all the years we had to listen to exactly that kind of comment.
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Old October 14 2008, 08:12 AM   #9
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

The following is all conjecture, don't ask me to prove it.

Network TV is dying. Ratings are down across the board, not just sci-fi.

Sci-fi fans are well above average when it comes to being onboard with the latest technological advances, and this has led them to timeshift their favorite shows far more then the general audience. When was the last time you can remember anyone telling you they downloaded or Tivo'd last night's episode of Two and a Half Men? But we all have friends who timeshift Heroes, or BSG, or whatever.

But of course, the genre shows are in a creative slump. Many are mindless remakes that do not know where exactly they are going. Some, like Lost or BSG are so convulted and confessing that new viewers are hopelessly lost.
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Old October 14 2008, 08:16 AM   #10
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

Back when TOS was cancelled everyone said "but look at the colour TV numbers!"

Now we say "but look at the DVR numbers!" or "it's selling well on DVD!"

Networks don't give a crap. Your show has to get high ratings on the night. That's what advertisers pay for.
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Old October 14 2008, 08:38 AM   #11
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

People tend to forget that Sci Fi and Fantasy form a niche market. It's not supposed to draw tons of viewers. But TV execs have noticed one thing: us geeks tend to buy stuff. But the years have made us more "picky"...
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Old October 14 2008, 08:42 AM   #12
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

So... the modern sci-fi tv era that began with TNG back in '87 is coming to an end maybe? We've already lost Star Trek, Babylon 5 is probably gone now for good. Joss Whedon has lost the faith of his network, despite Buffy, Angel and Firefly. Stargate looks to be falling into family friendly viewing. New Battlestar Galactica and Lost have end dates planned. The Sci-Fi Channel aires wrestling in place of science-fiction...

I guess the genre could use a break, but let's not forget we've had a good ride in the last 20+ years from sci-fi television.
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Old October 14 2008, 08:46 AM   #13
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

^For the last time, the Sci-Fi Channel airs ECW because NBC Universal made an agreement with WWE to show a certain number of hours of WWE programming when they bought the rights to Raw back but didn't plan where they were going to put it.

Outside of the first season, Stargate was always intended to be family friendly viewing. Family friendly TV can be aired at any time and thus is easier to sell in syndication.

The TV Sci-Fi boom that TNG started ended a long time ago. It's too late to start mourning it now. Most Sci-Fi shows these days are embarrassed by the "Sci-Fi" label and try to hide from it.
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Old October 14 2008, 09:33 AM   #14
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

We made a conscious decision a few years ago to break out of our traditional viewing habits/preferences. Both myself and my wife have a strong preference for genre programming, I think TNG is what got us both into Sci-Fi, and since then we've probably seen every major cult offering.

Over the last three/four years though it's become increasingly obvious that it's becoming more and more difficult for genre shows to survive. After losing shows like Jeremiah, Firefly and Carnivale early we decided to start watching more standard drama, hence shows like Without a Trace, Cold Case, Numb3rs and The Unit came on to our radar. We still prefer genre, but at least we know that there's every opportunity that these shows will be back. They're not great shows IMO, but they're not bad, and they're worth the investment if only for the knowledge that you'll at least see them back next year. My favourite show of the last couple of years, Jericho, cancelled twice. Says it all. We'll probably continue watching genre stuff as well, but we've had to broaden our field of viewing, if only to safeguard against the further disappointment of seeing favourite shows cancelled.
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Old October 14 2008, 10:20 AM   #15
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Re: '08-'09 TV season scifi slump

Angel4576 wrote: View Post
We made a conscious decision a few years ago to break out of our traditional viewing habits/preferences. Both myself and my wife have a strong preference for genre programming, I think TNG is what got us both into Sci-Fi, and since then we've probably seen every major cult offering.

Over the last three/four years though it's become increasingly obvious that it's becoming more and more difficult for genre shows to survive. After losing shows like Jeremiah, Firefly and Carnivale early we decided to start watching more standard drama, hence shows like Without a Trace, Cold Case, Numb3rs and The Unit came on to our radar. We still prefer genre, but at least we know that there's every opportunity that these shows will be back. They're not great shows IMO, but they're not bad, and they're worth the investment if only for the knowledge that you'll at least see them back next year. My favourite show of the last couple of years, Jericho, cancelled twice. Says it all. We'll probably continue watching genre stuff as well, but we've had to broaden our field of viewing, if only to safeguard against the further disappointment of seeing favourite shows cancelled.
I've done the same thing, I'll give just about any genre show a shot, but I've found plenty of other shows I enjoy. Wire in the Blood, House, Damages, Dexter, The Closer, etc. I personally never understand it when people say "There's nothing worth watching" because there's tons, you just have to be open minded enough to try the shows in the first place. It's only the same as non-genre fans saying that sci-fi is rubbish without ever checking it out.
The fact that a show may be cancelled next year never puts me off watching either. I'd far rather give it a shot, buy the dvd and hope it's back next year, than miss out on a fantastic new show.
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