Space: What Sci-Fi Channel should be (or was)
It's no secret that some of us over here at the palatial TV Squad offices are a bit confused by the recent scheduling decisions that have been handed down by the Sci-Fi Channel's executives over the past few months. I mean, other than the shows that are part of the Sci-Fi Friday block, a good portion of the schedule is filled with cheesy made-for-tv movies, reruns of creepy Law & Order: SVU episodes and, for a reason only known to the executives of Sci-Fi and Universal, Extreme Championship Wrestling.
So, while visiting Toronto I found it refreshing to watch the Canadian equivalent of Sci-Fi Channel known simply as Space. Why? Because it wasn't showing ECW, or Law & Order episodes, or movies about killer gophers. Amazingly, it was actually showing science fiction programming. All right, there were some horror based programs and movies (pretty much on Friday nights only), and there were a few new age types of shows, but for the most part it was all science-fiction and fantasy.
In fact, if you take a look at the shows listed on their website you can see the variety of programs that they offer, which is pretty much every single science-fiction, fantasy and supernatural show made in the last 20 years. It ranges from classics like Star Trek (in fact, all of the Star Trek incarnations, except DS9 for some reason), short run series like Earth 2 and Firefly, current shows like Stargate SG-1, The 4400 and Battlestar Galactica British imports such as Hex, and Canadian productions like 11 Somerset and 5th Quadrant.
In addition to these first and re-run shows, Space has something that Sci-Fi Channel doesn't have: shows about the science fiction and fantasy industry. One show in particular is called HypaSpace, which focuses on interviews and stories about television, movies, video games, and action figures. On the particular weekend I was in Canada HypaSpace featured interviews for on A Scanner Darkly and Pirates of the Caribbean, as well as reviews of PotC video games and action figures. While attending the TT20 science fiction convention a HypaSpace film crew sat right next to me in the media room interviewing stars such as Richard Hatch and George Takei.
Sci-Fi Channel should be like this. Get rid of ECW and reruns of Frankenfish and start pulling sci-fi, supernatural, and fantasy shows from the vast Universal library. Don't rely on the web for original programming; put some industry-based shows over the air. And, for pete's sake, grab the Star Trek series from channels like Spike and G4, where they really don't belong. Do this and Sci-Fi Friday viewership may expand into other days of the week.