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

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Old April 17 2009, 06:11 PM   #1
RobertScorpio
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and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

Why do you think SCIFI/GENRE shows have such a hard time getting ratings? Even nuBSG never really got great ratings, and it has such buzz. Is it because the TV audience is so fractured by so many channels? Or has SCIFI always been a tough sell...FIREFLY--BAB 5--Terminator--STARGATE--Later TREKS--duds duds duds...

What are they doing wrong that they can't get ratings? The only real scifi big hits in recent years, I think, would be HEROES and LOST. But even their ratings are down. But I remembar back when LOST first came on and got 22million a week..that is a lot of people.

Is the viewing pubic just to dumb to catch on to a SCIFI show?

Scifi Genre..what's wrong with it??

Rob
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Old April 17 2009, 06:21 PM   #2
Norrin Radd
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

There is still a popular image of sci-fi as being primarily made for male geeks or for children and young adults. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure that's far off in many instances. These shows have an inherently limited audience, especially when spaceships are involved.
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Old April 17 2009, 06:32 PM   #3
RobertScorpio
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

Norrin Radd wrote: View Post
There is still a popular image of sci-fi as being primarily made for male geeks or for children and young adults. To tell you the truth, I'm not sure that's far off in many instances. These shows have an inherently limited audience, especially when spaceships are involved.
I totally agree Norrin. It doesn't matter how good the writing is percieved (nuBSG for example ; though over rated IMO) they can't get good ratings. Even when they are supposed to be hip (FIREFLY)...

Rob
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Old April 17 2009, 06:44 PM   #4
T'Baio
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

There is nothing dumb about viewing pubic.
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Old April 17 2009, 06:50 PM   #5
TremblingBluStar
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

T'Baio wrote: View Post
There is nothing dumb about viewing pubic.
Okay, well then the public in general, whether viewing or not! :LOL:

I'd say in order for a scifi show to be popular it has to have something that hooks in the viewers as well as sufficient momentum, word of mouth, and marketing. All of these elements have to crystallize and work or chances are the show will fail. I don't think you can point to any one element, say space ships, and say that is why a particular show failed.
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Old April 17 2009, 06:54 PM   #6
RobertScorpio
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

TremblingBluStar wrote: View Post
T'Baio wrote: View Post
There is nothing dumb about viewing pubic.
Okay, well then the public in general, whether viewing or not! :LOL:

I'd say in order for a scifi show to be popular it has to have something that hooks in the viewers as well as sufficient momentum, word of mouth, and marketing. All of these elements have to crystallize and work or chances are the show will fail. I don't think you can point to any one element, say space ships, and say that is why a particular show failed.
nuBSG had all those elements..and still got 3million viewers a week.

Rob
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Old April 17 2009, 07:02 PM   #7
ManOnTheWave
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

T'Baio wrote: View Post
There is nothing dumb about viewing pubic.
I enjoy it as well.

The viewing public however is a mass of indecipherable wants and needs that end up forcing Poochie the Dog and the like on us.
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Old April 17 2009, 07:26 PM   #8
Norrin Radd
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

BSG is dark. Very dark.

That turned me off and I'm sure a lot of others.

It's frickin' depressing watching that show.
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Old April 17 2009, 08:50 PM   #9
Mistral
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

I think the fundamental problem is laziness. The viewers are naturally lazy. They'd rather put on The Bachelor(which takes the mental efforts of a gnat to follow) instead of a show like Lost or Firefly. The reason scifi has such a hard time of it is because you have to invest an effort, mentally, into that kind of a show. Most people couldn't be bothered. We are talking about a culture that thinks getting up off of the couch to change the channel is an unnecessary effort, remember. Same culture that invented the Clapper, too. One of the most engrossing scifi shows I ever saw was Charlie Jade. It did so bad that SciFi moved it to Tuesday at 3am after like 3 weeks! The reason it did so bad was that it had a drawn out set up requiring at least 6 weeks of viewing before the audience was up to speed on what was going on, a plot that twisted so much it looked like twine, and characters that were so nuanced if you missed five minutes you might never fully understand their motivations. The average viewer won't sit for that-so scifi pulls in smaller audiences. Laziness. It's at the heart of our culture and the heart of the problem.
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Old April 17 2009, 09:08 PM   #10
RobertScorpio
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

Mistral wrote: View Post
I think the fundamental problem is laziness. The viewers are naturally lazy. They'd rather put on The Bachelor(which takes the mental efforts of a gnat to follow) instead of a show like Lost or Firefly. The reason scifi has such a hard time of it is because you have to invest an effort, mentally, into that kind of a show. Most people couldn't be bothered. We are talking about a culture that thinks getting up off of the couch to change the channel is an unnecessary effort, remember. Same culture that invented the Clapper, too. One of the most engrossing scifi shows I ever saw was Charlie Jade. It did so bad that SciFi moved it to Tuesday at 3am after like 3 weeks! The reason it did so bad was that it had a drawn out set up requiring at least 6 weeks of viewing before the audience was up to speed on what was going on, a plot that twisted so much it looked like twine, and characters that were so nuanced if you missed five minutes you might never fully understand their motivations. The average viewer won't sit for that-so scifi pulls in smaller audiences. Laziness. It's at the heart of our culture and the heart of the problem.
I think genre shows can work..Lost got 22million when it started. What I think hurts these shows, including nuBSG, is when they have episodes and episodes of padding where nothing happens. Or, in the case of nuBSG, it just becomes to depressing to watch; to realistic. Some people like that kind of scifi, and thats cool, but once nuBSG started getting depressing and dark that is when its numbers began to drift; and its the recurring complaint I hear from those who watched at the start and then later let it go..it just got to dark to watch on a weekly basis; and I agree...

Lost meandered around in season three...Heroes did it last year. Once you start meandering around, so that you can lengthen a shows life (as the producers of LOST were told to do) then you're going to lose fans who think you're just pulling their chains. IMO..

Rob
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Old April 17 2009, 09:46 PM   #11
TheArsenal
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

Setting movie sci-fi aside, as it seems to do well.

Maybe television viewers don't like complex plots. Maybe the majority of television viewers are lazy. Or maybe BSG and to a far lesser extent Sarah Connor is too dark. Maybe LOST did meander. I've certainly said one or all of these things at one time or another.

But lately, I've come around to thinking that television viewers just don't like - or are unwilling to give a try to - the elements and concepts that drive televised sci-fi, no matter how good the show. They just don't find those elements appealing enough to delve into them in any depth in much the same way I don't care for medical shows.

One can ask is it the meandering plot or the overt introduction of the once carefully hidden sci-fi that caused LOST to shed viewers? Impossible to know. Is it something about the quality of Terminator: SCC or the difference between the action adventure movies and the time travel scifi heavy TV show that tanked in the ratings? Lacking mind reading skills, hard to say.

I look at TV scifi the same way I look at football (soccer) in this country. Doesn't matter how damn good the games are, people aren't interested and just don't want to know.
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Old April 17 2009, 10:00 PM   #12
RobertScorpio
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

TheArsenal wrote: View Post
Setting movie sci-fi aside, as it seems to do well.

Maybe television viewers don't like complex plots. Maybe the majority of television viewers are lazy. Or maybe BSG and to a far lesser extent Sarah Connor is too dark. Maybe LOST did meander. I've certainly said one or all of these things at one time or another.

But lately, I've come around to thinking that television viewers just don't like - or are unwilling to give a try to - the elements and concepts that drive televised sci-fi, no matter how good the show. They just don't find those elements appealing enough to delve into them in any depth in much the same way I don't care for medical shows.

One can ask is it the meandering plot or the overt introduction of the once carefully hidden sci-fi that caused LOST to shed viewers? Impossible to know. Is it something about the quality of Terminator: SCC or the difference between the action adventure movies and the time travel scifi heavy TV show that tanked in the ratings? Lacking mind reading skills, hard to say.

I look at TV scifi the same way I look at football (soccer) in this country. Doesn't matter how damn good the games are, people aren't interested and just don't want to know.
Where I think LOST got LOST? When they came out and said that ABC asked them to padd it for another year or so..then they introduced the tailees (EHCO AND ALL OF THEM)..They invested all the time into Echo's past, the Police woman's past, and all of that..and brought the storytelling to a stop....
and for what??

LOST, for me, is really doing good. I like it better than HEROES. I still like Heroes, but I stopped really liking that show when it was apparent that no one can stay dead on that show...so it has lost its dramatic appeal to me....Nathen should have died and stayed dead; IMO.

Rob
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Old April 18 2009, 01:33 AM   #13
Cutter John
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

There are plenty of intelligent, thoughtful people out here who like good tv SF. Unfortunately not in high enough concentrations to provide the viewing figures the networks want.

But then we've always been in danger of drowning in a sea of sheep.
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Last edited by Cutter John; April 18 2009 at 02:05 AM.
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Old April 18 2009, 01:46 AM   #14
Temis the Vorta
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

It's not just sci fi. Everything is having a hard time with ratings. It's mainly because of the competition caused by cable TV - same number of eyeballs, a lot more to watch. But DVDs, video games, the internet and social networking sites are sucking up a lot more people's time, especially in the valuable-to-advertisers under 35 demo. Supply is outpacing demand.

Sci fi isn't even suffering that badly. Think about the "genre" of historical fiction - doing far, far worse than sci fi - it barely exists on TV. Ditto for Westerns. Even the popular genres of cop shows, doctor shows and lawyer shows often flop - just because there are examples of popular hits in those categories doesn't mean anything for the survival of the next show down the pike.

People want their individual tastes catered to and as the number of shows increase, the tastes of the audience narrow. There are still only so many hours in the day to watch TV. Sci fi is my favorite genre but it didn't make me stick with sci fi shows that didn't appeal to me like Dollhouse, T:SCC or Eli Stone. and there are plenty of people who could tell me why they've bailed on shows I like - Lost, Heroes, BSG, Chuck.

But blaming this on "laziness" is itself lazy. The audience isn't lazy. They are good at honing in on just what they like, and what they don't like. The more the have to choose from, the pickier they get. Why not? If you can afford to be picky, be picky!

I could bemoan the impatience of people who couldn't stand Lost's pace, or the narrow-mindedness of people who were annoyed by BSG's darkness and maudlin self-indulgence but what's the point? Other people don't like what I like, and don't care, and I return the complement. Journeyman sucked, so there! And anyone who got "bored" of Pushing Daisies has no soul!
I look at TV scifi the same way I look at football (soccer) in this country. Doesn't matter how damn good the games are, people aren't interested and just don't want to know.
Bingo. I don't care about ANY sports. At all. Ever. I'm sure there are millions of people who would consider this attitude incomprehensible and many of them have as much interest in sci fi as I have in sports.
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Old April 18 2009, 02:49 AM   #15
Tulaberry whine
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Re: and you...MISS AGAIN!!!

Does anybody else find it a little hard to take when fan boys decide their favourite (usually ropey) show isn't popular because people are 'too stupid' to understand it?

Am I to believe people are happy to sit down and watch The West Wing, Six Feet Under or The Sopranos for example but are 'too stupid' to get into Heroes, Stargate or TSCC? Really?

Or conversely, people are 'smart enough' to watch Attack of the Clones in their droves but 'too stupid' to watch The Wire for example.

There's more to it than that (hopefully).
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