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View Full Version : Movies and TV Will Sci-Fi Become The Invisible Genre On TV?


oaklandhater
01-24-2009, 07:33 PM
http://io9.com/5137539/will-sci+fi-become-the-invisible-genre-on-tv

With news of more fall pilots slowly trickling out from the networks, we're wondering if other networks may be following Fox's lead in looking for shows that definitely aren't science fiction.

We noted on Wednesday that none of Fox's seven recently-announced pilots were the kind of sci-fi fare that we've come to expect (and worry about) from the network, and now that news of ABC and NBC's latest pilots has been released (more here), it may be time to wonder if sci-fi's lure has faded in light of recent ratings flops.

Of course, NBC's sci-fi phobia isn't entirely unfounded; in the last couple of years, Journeyman, Bionic Woman and My Own Worst Enemy have proven to be high-profile SF launches that flopped for the network, and with falling ratings for Heroes and rumors of the possible cancellation of both Knight Rider and Chuck circling, NBC could be forgiven for thinking that science fiction isn't really something they can succeed with long term (They'd much rather stick with er clones; two of the network's few announced pilots are medical dramas: Mercy and Trauma). In fact, you could make the argument that science fiction as a genre doesn't have a great track record for broadcast networks in general, especially considering the ratings worries of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and content concerns leading to reworkings of both Dollhouse and Virtuality over at Fox. Maybe the success of Fringe and Lost has more to do with JJ Abrams' name and the personal dynamics of the shows over the science portion (Remember, too, that Lost's producers have talked about having to introduce the sci-fi elements of the show secretly, over time)...?

(This is where you can insert your own argument about the failure of shows like Knight Rider or Bionic Woman being more closely attributed to their quality than their nature, and I think that definitely should be taken into consideration. But, at the same time, was Bionic Woman really that much worse that, say, NCIS? Or Law & Order? Do mainstream audiences hold sci-fi series to higher standards than other genres, or do the majority of them just stay away, and there's a discerning, curious crossover audience that'll give a show a try before bailing if it's not up to their standards?)

Instead, it's beginning to look as if television networks are beginning to look at more fantastical escapism for their audiences; Fox have a new pilot about reincarnation, and ABC have given the go-ahead to a television version of The Witches of Eastwick. Even Flash Forward, ABC's new high-profile series from David Goyer and Brannon Braga, could end up being played as a more spiritual/fantasy-based drama, depending on whether the series stays with the original novel's reason for the worldwide flash-forward (by-product of the Large Hadron Collider being activated), which - considering they've said that each season will end with another flash-forward, may not be the case.

(Interestingly enough, ABC may be the network to pay attention to next fall; in addition to Flash Forward and Eastwick, they've also greenlit Happy Town, a mystery pilot from the makers of Life on Mars that's described as being the next Twin Peaks.)

If we are about to see television networks shift away from hard sci-fi towards a particular urban brand of fantasy, there are some good reasons why, outside of the (relative) failure of sci-fi shows; the sleight-of-hand of urban fantasy allows for cheaper shows that require less world-building or technobabbled explanations that may confuse audiences, for example, and in the ongoing journey for television to grab as many youthful eyes as possible, exploiting the genre of Twilight and Harry Potter would seem like a no-brainer. Most importantly, of course, the term "science fiction" scares mass mainstream television audiences for some reason, despite the success of Fringe and Lost and Heroes, and the networks are just following the advertising dollars... which, of course, are following the mass mainstream audience.

It's not permanent, of course; all it'll take is another "surprise" hit SF show and we'll see science fiction stage another takeover bid, just as Heroes begat Journeyman, Chuck, Bionic Woman et al, and Lost's success brought us Surface, Threshold and Invasion. Jesse Alexander, we're pinning all our hopes on you.

oaklandhater
01-24-2009, 07:35 PM
This pisses me off beyond belief

Mr. Laz
01-24-2009, 07:45 PM
dam reality crap t.v. :cuss:

seriously all these bachelor,date my mom bullshit shows that are like tabloid magazines.

people should be shot in the face for watching this crap.

you want to talk about dumbing down america :shake:

Bowser
01-24-2009, 07:49 PM
dam reality crap t.v. :cuss:

seriously all these bachelor,date my mom bullshit shows that are like tabloid magazines.

people should be shot in the face for watching this crap.

you want to talk about dumbing down america :shake:

I hate it too, but it's just a fad. Everything is cyclical; we'll have sci-fi out the chute here in a few years.

Guru
01-24-2009, 07:52 PM
Cancel Chuck? What?

This reminds me, I still need to find me some 3D glasses before the superbowl.

KcMizzou
01-24-2009, 08:40 PM
I hate it too, but it's just a fad. Everything is cyclical; we'll have sci-fi out the chute here in a few years.Yep. A certain genre goes dormant for a while, then a new show in the same genre comes out and people feel like it's fresh and new.

Personally though, while I too, find the glut of "reality" shows annoying... I could do without 20 versions of the same show. (I'm looking at you CSI, Law and Order, etc.)

Guru
01-24-2009, 08:43 PM
Yep. A certain genre goes dormant for a while, then a new show in the same genre comes out and people feel like it's fresh and new.

Personally though, while I too, find the glut of "reality" shows annoying... I could do without 20 versions of the same show. (I'm looking at you CSI, Law and Order, etc.)I like the original CSI. Can't stand the other two spin offs though. But yes, networks love to copy things over and over.

keg in kc
01-24-2009, 09:24 PM
I don't think it's as much about science fiction as it is night/time they put the shows on, paired with the quality of said show. Put a good science fiction show on monday and the ratings will suffer, because your target audience is watching football. NBC acts like they're surprised by this year after year after year.

Then put on a bad show like Knight Rider, and it will flop. Name recognition isn't enough, especially not now that there's 3 billion channels and TiVO/DVR.

Although I do think there's the real issue of a public...disrespect is too strong a word, but many people won't take a dramatic show like Battlestar Galactica seriously because it's set in a scifi environment, they'll instead spend their time watching shows that aren't as good, but set in more 'real' environments like hospitals and police stations.

I don't know how you can get the general public to come to the realization that fiction is fiction, whether it's set in 2009 or the future (or the past, Life on Mars). Genre fiction is still fiction, but it's an issue that permeates everything, from novels to TV.

Oh, what the hell, let's not even bother and put on three more survivors, two more american idols and another dancing with the stars.

And Jay Leno five nights a week.

Lzen
01-24-2009, 09:28 PM
dam reality crap t.v. :cuss:

seriously all these bachelor,date my mom bullshit shows that are like tabloid magazines.

people should be shot in the face for watching this crap.

you want to talk about dumbing down america :shake:

This.

I admit that Knight Rider has sort of become a guilty pleasure of mine. However, Shakespear it is not. I could understand if they cancel that on.

oaklandhater
01-24-2009, 11:44 PM
I don't think it's as much about science fiction as it is night/time they put the shows on, paired with the quality of said show. Put a good science fiction show on monday and the ratings will suffer, because your target audience is watching football. NBC acts like they're surprised by this year after year after year.

Then put on a bad show like Knight Rider, and it will flop. Name recognition isn't enough, especially not now that there's 3 billion channels and TiVO/DVR.

Although I do think there's the real issue of a public...disrespect is too strong a word, but many people won't take a dramatic show like Battlestar Galactica seriously because it's set in a scifi environment, they'll instead spend their time watching shows that aren't as good, but set in more 'real' environments like hospitals and police stations.

I don't know how you can get the general public to come to the realization that fiction is fiction, whether it's set in 2009 or the future (or the past, Life on Mars). Genre fiction is still fiction, but it's an issue that permeates everything, from novels to TV.

Oh, what the hell, let's not even bother and put on three more survivors, two more american idols and another dancing with the stars.

And Jay Leno five nights a week.

you forgot to add on 4 more detective shows amd 2 doctor shows

Taco John
01-25-2009, 01:03 AM
I don't think it's as much about science fiction as it is night/time they put the shows on, paired with the quality of said show. Put a good science fiction show on monday and the ratings will suffer, because your target audience is watching football. NBC acts like they're surprised by this year after year after year.

Then put on a bad show like Knight Rider, and it will flop. Name recognition isn't enough, especially not now that there's 3 billion channels and TiVO/DVR.

Although I do think there's the real issue of a public...disrespect is too strong a word, but many people won't take a dramatic show like Battlestar Galactica seriously because it's set in a scifi environment, they'll instead spend their time watching shows that aren't as good, but set in more 'real' environments like hospitals and police stations.

I don't know how you can get the general public to come to the realization that fiction is fiction, whether it's set in 2009 or the future (or the past, Life on Mars). Genre fiction is still fiction, but it's an issue that permeates everything, from novels to TV.

Oh, what the hell, let's not even bother and put on three more survivors, two more american idols and another dancing with the stars.

And Jay Leno five nights a week.



I know exactly what you're talking about. If I mention Sci-Fi to most of my friends, they all roll their eyes and think of it as nerdy stuff. It just doesn't register with them as worthwhile. I have a friend who's had my first season of Stargate Atlantis sitting in his house for almost three months now. And I just don't get it. It's got guns. Badasses. Excellent visuals. Hot chicks. Everything a guy could want in a show. I can't seem to get the guy to spend an hour just to watch the pilot.

patteeu
01-25-2009, 08:14 AM
I know exactly what you're talking about. If I mention Sci-Fi to most of my friends, they all roll their eyes and think of it as nerdy stuff. It just doesn't register with them as worthwhile. I have a friend who's had my first season of Stargate Atlantis sitting in his house for almost three months now. And I just don't get it. It's got guns. Badasses. Excellent visuals. Hot chicks. Everything a guy could want in a show. I can't seem to get the guy to spend an hour just to watch the pilot.

That's the problem right there. Atlantis Rising, which I assume is what you consider the pilot, was two hours long! ;)

I love the series, btw.

Baby Lee
01-25-2009, 08:15 AM
This is a retarded piece.
If My Own Worst Enemy is science fiction, The Dollhouse is. And that is a pilot on Fox upcoming, even if not in the fall, it is a new greenlit show.
Bionic Woman and Chuck started two days apart, and BW was a reboot of a prior fanchise, how the eff did one begat the other?

And a lot of the high profile flops, Journeyman, Jericho, Pushing Daisies, are also highly regarded by the fans they did have. Part of the problem is that Lost, following in the steps of Twin Peaks, The Wire, and DS9 prior, has created interest in television that rewards you for paying attention, with long story arcs and little moments that become big moments as the importance of them is revealed over time. But this is a double edged sword, if you don't get your audience right away and spellbind them, it's tough to get new viewer as there's an aversion to dropping into a vast mythology without acclimatation.

patteeu
01-25-2009, 08:18 AM
This is a retarded piece.
If My Own Worst Enemy is science fiction, The Dollhouse is. And that is a pilot on Fox upcoming, even if not in the fall, it is a new greenlit show.
Bionic Woman and Chuck started two days apart, and BW was a reboot of a prior fanchise, how the eff did one begat the other?

It says that Heroes begat both.

Baby Lee
01-25-2009, 08:22 AM
It says that Heroes begat both.

I may have misread it, but that's equally BS.

keg in kc
01-27-2009, 01:07 AM
ABC apparently missed the memo; they've greenlit the pilot for a V remake.

Guru
01-27-2009, 01:20 AM
ABC apparently missed the memo; they've greenlit the pilot for a V remake.You have got to be kidding me.:spock:

keg in kc
01-27-2009, 01:24 AM
You have got to be kidding me.:spock:
http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/news/e3ieb36f849687dcd176611a622a53acf03

Taco John
01-27-2009, 01:48 AM
ABC apparently missed the memo; they've greenlit the pilot for a V remake.

Awesome!

Guru
01-27-2009, 01:51 AM
Awesome!Only if they do it right. I don't have high hopes.

Taco John
01-27-2009, 01:52 AM
That's the problem right there. Atlantis Rising, which I assume is what you consider the pilot, was two hours long! ;)

I love the series, btw.

I love Stargate Atlantis, but it doesn't hold a candle to the first 8 seasons of SG1 in my opinion. I thought Atlantis got really hokey after they got rid of Weir and started up with the "base commander of the season" stuff. And certain plot lines just never seemed to go anywhere. They got off to a great start with the first three seasons, but the last two were pretty weak, IMO.

Nightwish
01-27-2009, 03:18 AM
ABC apparently missed the memo; they've greenlit the pilot for a V remake.
Will there be some Robert Englund cameos?

patteeu
01-27-2009, 05:34 AM
I love Stargate Atlantis, but it doesn't hold a candle to the first 8 seasons of SG1 in my opinion. I thought Atlantis got really hokey after they got rid of Weir and started up with the "base commander of the season" stuff. And certain plot lines just never seemed to go anywhere. They got off to a great start with the first three seasons, but the last two were pretty weak, IMO.

I'm in season 10 of SG-1 and season 3 of Atlantis right now. I can see why losing Weir will be a detriment to the show.

Ultra Peanut
01-27-2009, 05:44 AM
Dollhouse is way more Sci-Fi than My Own Worst Enemy.

keg in kc
01-27-2009, 06:30 AM
I'm in season 10 of SG-1 and season 3 of Atlantis right now. I can see why losing Weir will be a detriment to the show.Two things really hurt Atlantis, I'll spoiler tag them for you since you haven't gotten there yet:Killing off the replicators and only spending one episode (and a half) on the renegade Asgard. I think the Asgard, in particular, would have really allowed them to go somewhere good. I think the Wraith stories had run their course and they needed a new villain to focus on for a while, bringing the Wraith back later.

Always liked the show, and I actually preferred it to SG-1 in some ways, mainly because it was darker from the start, but the last season just fizzled to the end.

Of course I didn't think SG-1 ended all that well either. They never should have aired anything without Jack O'Neill. It reminded me of late-run x-files, when they were mulder-lite. Just didn't work for me. And I'm a big fan of Ben Browder and Claudia Black.

Adept Havelock
01-27-2009, 04:44 PM
ABC apparently missed the memo; they've greenlit the pilot for a V remake.

I've always been fond of the originals, cheesy as they were.

They could have been a 50's B-Movie called "Nazi Cannibal Lizards from Outer Space!"

keg in kc
01-28-2009, 12:31 AM
Apparently news of the death of scifi network TV has been greatly exaggerated.

NBC orders 'Day One' pilot (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3idb2c398ada1252b734b2e4be38865b9d)

Futuristic drama the latest from 'Heroes' scribe

By Nellie Andreeva

Jan 27, 2009, 03:03 PM ET
NBC has handed a pilot order to "Day One," a futuristic drama from "Heroes" writer-producer Jesse Alexander.

The project, produced by Universal Media Studios, chronicles the aftermath of a global event that devastates the world's infrastructures when a small band of survivors strive to rebuild society and unravel the mysteries of why the event took place and what the future has in store.

Futuristic dramas are in fashion this pilot season. In ABC's "Flash Forward," people black out for two minutes when each has a vision of the future. And ABC's "V" tackles a future in which the Earth is ruled by aliens.

Alexander's series credits also include "Lost" and "Alias."

oaklandhater
01-28-2009, 12:52 AM
Apparently news of the death of scifi network TV has been greatly exaggerated.

NBC orders 'Day One' pilot (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/television/news/e3idb2c398ada1252b734b2e4be38865b9d)

Futuristic drama the latest from 'Heroes' scribe

By Nellie Andreeva

Jan 27, 2009, 03:03 PM ET
NBC has handed a pilot order to "Day One," a futuristic drama from "Heroes" writer-producer Jesse Alexander.

The project, produced by Universal Media Studios, chronicles the aftermath of a global event that devastates the world's infrastructures when a small band of survivors strive to rebuild society and unravel the mysteries of why the event took place and what the future has in store.

Futuristic dramas are in fashion this pilot season. In ABC's "Flash Forward," people black out for two minutes when each has a vision of the future. And ABC's "V" tackles a future in which the Earth is ruled by aliens.

Alexander's series credits also include "Lost" and "Alias."

Hell Yes i will be watching this.

Taco John
01-28-2009, 01:30 AM
Two things really hurt Atlantis, I'll spoiler tag them for you since you haven't gotten there yet:Killing off the replicators and only spending one episode (and a half) on the renegade Asgard. I think the Asgard, in particular, would have really allowed them to go somewhere good. I think the Wraith stories had run their course and they needed a new villain to focus on for a while, bringing the Wraith back later.

Always liked the show, and I actually preferred it to SG-1 in some ways, mainly because it was darker from the start, but the last season just fizzled to the end.

Of course I didn't think SG-1 ended all that well either. They never should have aired anything without Jack O'Neill. It reminded me of late-run x-files, when they were mulder-lite. Just didn't work for me. And I'm a big fan of Ben Browder and Claudia Black.



I agree on most counts. The renegade asgard story would have been great. It's a shame that they didn't show that right about towards the end of season three and used the replicators and the renegade asgard as a catalyst for the Wraith and humans to be forced into an unholy alliance. That would have been great. I'm not sure how that would have affected the timeline as both shows were running at this time - but that's a detail.

I have to disagree on the point about SG-1 not airing without Jack O'Neill. I love Jack as much as anyone, but the SG-1 team is much bigger than O'Neill and I personally thought that Daniel Jackson's character had developed into enough of a bad ass by that time to make up for it. There was a lot more cheesiness to that "second run," but there was plenty of good story in there too. I still wish they were running shows on SG-1 - whoever get promoted into the roles. That was some fun stuff! :)

Valiant
01-28-2009, 01:57 AM
This is a retarded piece.
If My Own Worst Enemy is science fiction, The Dollhouse is. And that is a pilot on Fox upcoming, even if not in the fall, it is a new greenlit show.
Bionic Woman and Chuck started two days apart, and BW was a reboot of a prior fanchise, how the eff did one begat the other?

And a lot of the high profile flops, Journeyman, Jericho, Pushing Daisies, are also highly regarded by the fans they did have. Part of the problem is that Lost, following in the steps of Twin Peaks, The Wire, and DS9 prior, has created interest in television that rewards you for paying attention, with long story arcs and little moments that become big moments as the importance of them is revealed over time. But this is a double edged sword, if you don't get your audience right away and spellbind them, it's tough to get new viewer as there's an aversion to dropping into a vast mythology without acclimatation.

I like My own worst enemy and Chuck.. Hopefully SciFi will pick them up and maybe drop the gay ass wrestling...

Ultra Peanut
01-28-2009, 02:15 AM
Er, isn't ECW the highest rated show on Sci-Fi?

keg in kc
01-28-2009, 02:29 AM
Er, isn't ECW the highest rated show on Sci-Fi?No.

Ultra Peanut
01-28-2009, 02:48 AM
"One of," then?

Last week's numbers:

GHOST HUNTERS INTERNATL SCIF Wed 09:00P-10:00P 2.3 mil (What, did they hire Elijah Burke or something?)
ECW SCIF Tue 09:00P-10:00P 1.8 mil
BATTLSTR GALACTICA (ORIG) SCIF Fri 10:00P-11:00P 1.7 mil
MOONLIGHT SCIF Fri 09:00P-10:00P 1.1 mil
INVASION SCIF Fri 8:00P-9:00P 830k

Ultra Peanut
01-28-2009, 02:56 AM
Basically, what I'm trying to say is BRADEN WALKER.

keg in kc
01-28-2009, 03:09 AM
ECW used to have much higher ratings (2.4-2.6 in 2006). They've steadily dropped over the last two years. They're in iMPACT! range now, 1.1-1.4.

oaklandhater
01-28-2009, 04:31 AM
You would think Battlestar would have higher ratings then that.

Guru
01-28-2009, 04:42 AM
I like My own worst enemy and Chuck.. Hopefully SciFi will pick them up and maybe drop the gay ass wrestling...Chuck better not get canceled. I still need to find some 3D glasses for Sunday's ep. I hate it when TV tries 3D.

keg in kc
01-28-2009, 05:04 PM
You would think Battlestar would have higher ratings then that.I don't know if those are adjusted for DVR or not. Last I heard, BSG is the most-DVRd show on the air (meaning people don't watch it live, which can cut the ratings by as much as .5). It's also usually heavily downloaded on iTunes.

Either way, though, even with those numbers added in, the ratings are nowhere near what they were for the miniseries. Popular theory is that they lose more and more viewers each time they take a 12-18 month haitus. Not many people are happy with SciFi and the way they've broadcast it (which isn't a new criticism, lots of history of that).

I think they're lucky to get a series finale, frankly.

Guru
01-29-2009, 12:38 AM
I don't know if those are adjusted for DVR or not. Last I heard, BSG is the most-DVRd show on the air (meaning people don't watch it live, which can cut the ratings by as much as .5). It's also usually heavily downloaded on iTunes.

Either way, though, even with those numbers added in, the ratings are nowhere near what they were for the miniseries. Popular theory is that they lose more and more viewers each time they take a 12-18 month haitus. Not many people are happy with SciFi and the way they've broadcast it (which isn't a new criticism, lots of history of that).

I think they're lucky to get a series finale, frankly.Well, they only took the 12 month hiatus once and that was for this season. Hell 24 took a longer hiatus.

keg in kc
01-29-2009, 02:42 AM
Well, they only took the 12 month hiatus once and that was for this season. Hell 24 took a longer hiatus.I believe there was more than a year between the miniseries and the first episode.

However you want to slice it, they've split four seasons and a mini-series over more than 6 years.

Guru
01-29-2009, 02:52 AM
I believe there was more than a year between the miniseries and the first episode.

However you want to slice it, they've split four seasons and a mini-series over more than 6 years.Well, I am out of the loop for the time period between the miniseries and the first ep. I didn't get to watch the miniseries so all I knew was that there was a new series named Battlestar Galactica.

Adept Havelock
01-29-2009, 07:50 PM
I believe there was more than a year between the miniseries and the first episode.

However you want to slice it, they've split four seasons and a mini-series over more than 6 years.

The mini aired in late Dec. '03, the series launched on SKY in August/September '04, and Sci-Fi Jan '05 (IIRC).

Considering the number of folks who downloaded it off the net before the US premiere of "33", they never tried that again.