Inspection- Why “Syfy?”

Nothing is as it seems anymore. A “Compassionate Conservative” is anything but. An advocate for change bitches and moans about “the professional Left” who wants actual change, when it’s the professional Right who is doing its damnedest to drive a stake into his heart unless he abandons change.

OK, pols are pols. But I pay damn good money to escape the political BS machine: too much money for over 900 channels of crap. Thank God there’s a channel dedicated to Science Fiction.

No there isn’t. Not really.

One of the reasons I eagerly went to satellite, since the cable company refused to come up my drive without a two thousand dollar bribe… long story… was because I’ve been a Sci Fi fan since I first started to read. Passed on from father to brother to brother to youngest son. It’s a pleasant congenital disease.

I just learned the prequel to Battlestar, Caprica, is being canceled. Although I disagree with all of them, there were plenty of reasons one could think of to cancel Caprica. Many called the show “slow” and “plodding.” To me it was respectfully developing a plot that explained what led up to the events in the more successful Battlestar. Most viewers these days have TV onset ADD. If it doesn’t go bang, boom, slam, punch, kick, show a bit of buttski every 10 seconds, or someone isn’t cheating on their husband with an AIDs infected monkey, they get bored. Especially Sci Fi without at least a little bang and boom. Star Wars did us fans a bit of a disservice when it comes to those of us who prefer Sci Fi that makes you think. These days the best Bradbury, Asimov, even in some cases Harlan Ellison, plots would get a big yawwwwwwwwwnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.

What in the hell is WWE doing on Syfy?

Why do they even bother calling it Syfy?

And what about all those horrible Ghost Hunters episodes? Don’t satellite providers provide CHILL for that kind of gunk? It’s like watching a bad version of The Blair Witch Project. That really is bad because Blair pissed me off mid movie. As a friend said, “Why didn’t they just follow the stream?” And at the end there’s the “reporter” and her “cameraman” running up the stairs. If you really wanted this to look like real footage, didn’t you think to ask yourself, “Who’s taking this footage?” I did.

But Ghost Hunters supplies plenty of “spooky” quotes, “Oh! What’s that? Ah! What the Hell?” “Spook” that scares and fools no one.

What about the oxymoron: Destination Truth. Kind of like The X File slogan: “The truth is out there.” Of course the whole point is to jerk you around so you never quite get to the “truth.” Perhaps “quite” isn’t enough of an insult.

Take a look at a whole day’s worth of programming. Up for a whole day’s worth of Destination Truth, or Ghost Hunters? It’s as if they think that’s all Sci Fi fans ever dream of watching: schlocky paranormal programs. Not even paranormal with a bit of class.

What does any of this really have to do with science? Or science fiction? In fact much of what’s on Syfy these days might as well be on any other channel. Paranormal? OK, some consider it “science,” but science fiction? You have science channels, the CHILL channel… you have plenty of places to place such without kicking fans of Sci Fi in the crotch one more time, or are you slapping them to the mat, breaking a chair over their head. The least you could do is insist WWE dress their combatants as Irk from the Planet Orgasm, or design the ring like a black hole. It wouldn’t be any stranger, or less intelligent, than what they already dress up as.

The other day I watched Carl Sagan’s marvelous Contact, inspired by one of the few books in recent times I dare to call “literature.” It was on late at night. I had just come home from a homebrew club meeting and we had a few beers before the wife retired. At my age beer makes NyQuil seem like an upper. I usually go to bed at 9 or 10. But I had to stay up and watch it once again and I didn’t feel the least bit sleepy.

Never guess what channel it was not on. Never guess which channel would rather play idiots roaming around some cellar under poor lighting conditions with intentionally bad camera work? The channel would rather play WWE programming: programming that only excites imbeciles and people who like to make fun of it?

I’m sure Caprica was expensive. If there was plenty of Sci Fi on Syfy, I would be sad, but understand. But there isn’t.

This very political time of year we have enough insults to our intelligence: politics, politicians and lies.

But if your going to continue to insult what would be the normally high intelligence of your real fan base: a fan base who just wants to escape the madness for thoughtful Sci Fi, Syfy, or however you want to spell it… why the Hell even bother calling it Syfy? Just shut the damn channel down or rename it.

Why? Because most of what your offering these days has nothing to do with actual science, or science fiction.

-30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.

©Copyright 2010
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved