Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SyFy Bean Counters...or "Stargate: Universe" Lament

There was a time when commercial television viewership was actually considered to be almost an unspoken contract between the producers and the viewers. If a user picked up a show, especially one that was serial in nature, the expectation was that the story would be satisfying and continue through its cycle to the end. The arc of the story would ebb and flow; there were times when things grew really exciting, and then weeks would pass relatively calmly while the writers set up for the next hill on the roller coaster.

Today, though, we have something completely different: A business completely run for the sake of mounting piles of $$$. There is no care for the person at the other end of the signal. The folks at SyFy--the ones who are actually making the decisions about what stays on and what goes off--simply don't care about the core SyFy viewership. What they do care about is getting cheaper shows on board so that they can maximize their profits, culturally similar to the Ferengi from the Star Trek Universe.

The core SyFy viewership is, by my estimation, an intelligent bunch. These people are well read, technologically savvy, and forward thinking. SyFy viewers lead busy, vital lives. Not all of them can catch a show on a regular schedule, so the advent of online, on-demand viewing has been a boon to them. 

SyFy viewers have great imagination and tremendous hope for our future as a species of enlightened beings. 

Hope springs eternal.

Common sense usually wins. 

Some of us remember when the television season actually lasted from September through December. Every year, like clockwork, the shows would premiere in September, then finish up in December with the Christmas special. There were a few that would continue after that through around mid-February. Then the networks would pull out all the stops in May with "sweeps", and summertime was filled up with reruns...but nobody cared anyway because everyone wanted to be outside. 

Today, the job of tracking when a season is supposed to end and begin again has become difficult. The timetable seems very helter-skelter to me; completely out of rhythm and, to be honest...frustrating.

And now I find myself in the regrettable position, once again, of having gotten attached to a fairly new show on Hulu, only to have it ripped from my grasp just two seasons into its story arc. Say it ain't so, SyFy...say it ain't so.

You can bet on one thing: The people who watch Stargate: Universe are NOT the same people who are going to tune in week after week to watch reality shows or WW-Whatever Wrestling. I would just as soon learn to speak Romulan: In other words, that's just not my world, man. Sure, some people may get into watching low-paid actors and models carrying out various pranks and pratfalls, i.e. so-called reality TV. It's just that I've seen enough people make fools out of themselves in my life that I really don't need to see any more. I mean really...if I want to see fools, I can just tune into FOX News. 

I think I'll just curl up with a book.

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