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Editorial: Battlestar Galactica: Blood And Chrome Could Save Syfy’s Soul

Hey, Syfy, how’s it going? Yeah, I know, I don’t visit as much as I used to. Sure, I still swing by for Alphas each week, but I know you’re really busy these days, what with all the wrestling and the ghost hunting and the game shows about people bumping into things in the dark. I don’t want to take up too much of your time here, but we need to have a little talk, you and I. It’s about Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome. I think it could save your soul.

Look, Sci-Fi…can I call you Sci-Fi, just like in the good old days? No? Fine, “Syfy,” whatever. So here’s the thing. Yesterday your official Twitter feed told us that the incredibly awesome-looking Battlestar Galactica prequel spinoff, Blood and Chrome, was not dead, but would indeed air at some point, in some form. Probably. And while it’s great to hear that Blood and Chrome hasn’t been relegated to the trash bin, I have to ask…what the hell are you thinking, man?

Earlier this year, when the Blood and Chrome trailer hit the internet, the fans started frothing at the mouth because it looked badass. I’m actually one of the people who liked a lot about the admittedly flawed Caprica, but there’s no question that Blood and Chrome looks a lot more like the BSG spinoff fans were hoping for. Space dogfights. Human-on- Cylon carnage. That sucker has hit written all over it. With the right writers, it could still maintain the depth and humanity of its parent series, but up the action quotient to a degree that would keep fans hooked and coming back.

So where the hell is it? We’ve watched over the past couple of years as an exciting project has dwindled further and further every time there’s an announcement about it. First it was going to be a full series. Then it was going to be a web series. Then maybe a one-off TV movie. And now? Now all it is is “air date to be decided.” A solid concept for what could be an amazing show molders on the shelf while you keep churning out one shitty new show after another. For the love of god, Syfy, you’re about to premiere a show that airs “viral videos.” You do realize we all have the internet, right?

Look, you wanted to branch out and not be defined solely by science fiction content…fine, I get that. With the ever-increasing media landscape, you want to be able to attract as many sets of eyeballs as you can. But does that mean you have to abandon the one thing you’ve done really well several times over the years? You’re the network that gave us Farscape, for crying out loud! Does anybody seriously think Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica could have found a home anywhere but on your airwaves? And without you there’s no way Stargate would have flourished into multiple spinoffs as it did (even though you did cancel Stargate Universe awful quickly, as the show’s fans often remind me).

I realize you make all the reality shows and contest shows like Face Off because they’re cheap. That’s fine. But why not use some of that budget you’re saving on flotsam like Viral Video Showdown to greenlight one or two really strong science fiction shows? The sort of show that can be your flagship, earning critical praise like you did with BSG. The sort of show that defines Syfy as a brand. A show like Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome. Because honestly? I haven’t got a clue what that name is supposed to stand for. It just looks like somebody shook the cable landscape and all the shitty shows that weren’t properly secured slid down into your schedule.

And here’s the danger. Time was, the Sci-Fi Channel was one of the only homes for projects like Farscape or Battlestar Galactica or Stargate. But look around you. AMC, the channel that became a success on the shoulders of Mad Men, is earning dynamite ratings and acclaim with a zombie show based on a comic book. HBO, one of the most respected sources of cable programming around, is riding high with a series based on a dense, convoluted series of fantasy novels. Starz is developing a military science fiction series with the guy who created Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Those were all projects that, back in the day, we would have thought would be perfect matches for the Sci-Fi Channel. But the stigma around genre content is fading. The Avengers has made $1.5 billion worldwide, and now more and more exciting genre projects are going to other, more respectable networks, while you introduce yet another show about haunted tchotchkes.

Oh, there are still some promising lights on the horizon. I’m hoping that Rockne S. O’Bannon’s Defiance will recapture some of the old Farscape magic and become something truly amazing. I’ve got every finger crossed that you find a way to make your Blake’s 7 remake something other than a regrettable and ill-conceived footnote. You do still have a handful of genuinely good shows, like Alphas and Being Human. But with Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome, you could make a statement. You could declare that you are about more than just cramming as many horrible paranormal “reality” shows as possible down our throats. That you still have what it takes to stand behind ambitious, well-written genre content.

It’s time to stop settling for mediocrity and aim higher. It’s time to take your own advice, Syfy: Imagine Greater.

Comments

  • Nick

    Word.

  • ac ellas

    What do you expect from a network named for syphilis?

  • Nobody

    Sci-Fi’s soul died with the name. SyFy is just a soulless zombie that needs a shotgun blast to the brainpan.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.baker.5891 Kyle Baker

      No, see zombies would be at some of the core of what Sci-Fi stood for. All we have now are beyond cheep “sci-fi” movies and wrestling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dusty-Rhodes/100001408648181 Dusty Rhodes

    Get real. They obviously HATE their core audience, and have done as much as they can to alienate us. I have got to the point where I actively DON’T watch anything by NBC/Universal, their parent company, because I don’t like getting into a show only to have it cancelled on a cliffhanger.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jeff-Hendrix/100000184051379 Jeff Hendrix

    might as well stop then with the sci-fi,given the majority of the shows are stuff like collection intervention and that hot set show.i miss the old sci-fi channel with great shows and maybe one sci-fi orginal moie a month

  • http://twitter.com/AIBaron Avi Baron

    Agreed. And well written. I also hope ever day that Defiance will be incredible. I had given up on BSG: B&C ever showing in the same sense that I have given up on SGU ever returning from it’s “hiatus,” though at this point, it may be better to do the Blood and Chrome movie, make it awesome, and the invest in 2 or more fantastic series.

    • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.baker.5891 Kyle Baker

      same here…

  • DonewithSyFy

    Damn Right!!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kyle.baker.5891 Kyle Baker

    I just got to say, if there’s WRESTLING on a SCIENCE-FICTION NETWORK, it must be banned. I gave up on them long ago, and I watched Sci-Fi channel almost daily. Syfy? Maybe once a week.

  • Guest

    After they cancelled Eureka, I finally threw the towel in saying “they just don’t care anymore”. I mean COME ON! SGU as well, right as it found its stride, cancelled. It took SG1 and SGA a little while to find their mark, but they did.

    • http://www.facebook.com/cjc3271 Camilo J Carranza

      The worst part about how they cancelled SGU was that they used the excuse of ‘poor ratings’. It was getting better ratings than the other garbage they were airing… until they put it into one of the absolute WORST timeslots possible, making it extremely difficult for people to watch it as it aired. They also chose to ignore that, in order to be able to watch the show in a way that fit their own schedule, many viewers recorded it with DVR or whatever. Poor ratings? My ass! The only poor ratings are the test scores of SyFy’s board of directors on their IQ tests.

  • http://www.facebook.com/LAScaper Kim Carl

    Honestly, what do you expect from the people who replaced the masterpiece that is Farscape with Scare Tactics and Tremors? SCARE TACTICS AND TREMORS. I gave up of skiffy a long time ago.

  • Mark

    Seriously, Nobody… “Bullet to the brainpan…squish!”

    How about when they started asking viewers to help them come up with more scenarios and ideas for their bad, b-movie sci-fi stuff? If we give them another few years, it’ll be hard to tell them apart from Fox, except that as much as I hate Fox for cancelling shows with real promise early on, at least they have the balls to try.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=725400971 Aron Gamman

    The last time I watched this channel was for the Battlestar Galactica finale. I watched most of the episodes on-line because of how awful the channel was otherwise, even then.

  • http://twitter.com/EzShake Ezekial Shake

    SyFy has adopted the 99cent Store business model so they will not do Blood & Chrome … and only HBO or Showtime should be allowed to do sophisticated series at this point (maaaaybe FX)

  • Brian

    EXCELLENT ARTICLE, David. You took the words right out of my mouth. I feel the same way. I understand its the nature of the beast that any channel will make a reality show because they’re cheap. Sure. But how about spending the damn money on something worth while. At the very least, sell the BSG rights to a network who will actually make it!

  • Brian

    I hope I someday get incredibly rich one day, because I will buy this network and make it into the huge success it always could have been. My business model: do the opposite of what the current owners are doing now.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mattharris73 george harris

    I watch nothing on syfy. If I watch a syfy show I use a web service.

  • http://twitter.com/Socknitster Jennifer F Wells

    Well considered and well said. I gave up on this channel long ago. They’ve alienated their core group of viewers. It’s hard to believe this is the same channel that gave us Farscape, BSG, and SG spinoffs. Money at the expense of quality. That’s the bottom line. They just don’t give a frack.

  • http://twitter.com/TVTastic TV-Tastic

    Seriously, you guys (both the writer and the commenters) need to get over yourselves. SyFy has a grand total of TWO hours of wrestling per week, so can we stop bringing that up? What next: Bill Clinton is a draft dodger? These arguments are getting seriously dated. Here’s the the thing: SyFy is doing better now than they ever have been so feel free to leave because you won’t be missed. But, waitaminute…. surprise, surprise, it’s their core SciFi series of ‘Alphas,’ ‘Haven,’ ‘Being Human,’ ‘Lost Girl’ and ‘Warehouse 13′ that are their biggest hits. And sorry, but Game of Thrones, due to its content and its production costs, could never see the light of day on SyFy or any other basic cable channel.

    Where exactly are you getting this notion that “B&C was destined to be a hit,” David? If it was the destined to be a hit, it would already be on the network. Here’s the reality: space-themed SciFi has been dead for a long time on television… period. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. For crap’s sake, BSG (which is the greatest show ever on television) was a ratings disaster in its final season, save for the series finale. SG-1 was on its last legs as was SG:A. Is it really a surprise that both SGU and Caprica failed so miserably, so quickly, despite having the crap promoted out of them by the network. It shouldn’t be. You’re living in an era where a Star Trek series couldn’t last more than four seasons.

    This isn’t SyFy’s fault, this is simply the fact of the ever-changing landscape of the 18 – 49 demographic. They simply have no interest in space themed SciFi on television (for the most part… I’d say TNT’s Falling Skies might be the exception but that’s more TWD with aliens than it is space themed SciFi) and attempting to force yet another quality BSG spinoff down the throats of an audience that has no interest in it only to placate a small amount of fans is not only foolish for the network from an immediate standpoint, but its ultimately damaging to the series and the franchise, as a whoie and make no mistake about it, BSG is their biggest property and they aren’t going to wreck it so the fanboys can get their fix on a basic cable network. At this very, though there are signs that interst is growing again, space-themed SciFi is far too risky (especially with their biggest property).

    Taking this a step further, B&C isn’t dead, it’s just not going to be on TV (or if it is, you’ll only see the pilot. Bear McCreary told us that he has heard rumors that the two-hour pilot is going to air on the network within the next four to six months, which had something we had already surmised based on the grumblings of our inside sources and not now, IMDb has at listed as March 2013, too). You folks need to understand that the television revenue model is changing and that SyFy is one of the innovators in the new marketplace. You’re going to get BSG:B&C but you’re probably either going to have to subscribe to Hulu for it or have an XBOX Live account to view it on the SyFy app or just pay for it from iTunes or Amazon and that’s how it’s going to go. The new world of television is not dependent on TV ratings, exclusively, anymore. It’s becoming dependent on direct targeting of niche markets and then repackaging the content for non-exclusive digital and international distribution deals. What do you think the “transmedia” ‘Defiance’ is all about? Try to think outside of the box, folks. Even the aforementioned ‘Game of Thrones’ has only been getting renewed due to its international distribution deals. What… do you folks think that there’s that many more people subscribing to HBO because of ‘Game of Thrones?’ Holy crap, you probably do,

    Also, you might want to actually keep track of the network press releases, as well. SyFy currently has 13 straight-up SciFi scripted series (including quite a few space-themed series) in development, plus two more imports within the next year (‘Sinbad’ and ‘Continuum’). So what it really comes down to is that SyFy has plenty of Science Fiction, it just doesn’t have the series that you want, right now, therefore, they aren’t truly a Science Fiction network and you’ll just bash all of their other programming… that has actually made them successful. Genius and completely rational.

    Here’s the complete rundown of all of SyFy’s scripted series in development. Scroll down for the complete press release.

    http://wp.me/pWba8-Ka

    • Munkz

      SyFy is garbage, plain and simple. Ghost Hunters?? Really?? It’s a friggin’ train wreck, there are MUCH better ghost hunter shows without all the bs. Being Human was total trash. They took a brilliant BBC production, Americanized it and destroyed it. BSG, Warehouse 13 and Eureka were the only original shows they’ve done in the past 5-6 years that were actually worth watching. I could care less if they have 13 scripted series in development. More junk from a sub par cable channel.

      • thegrouponscash

        Being human garbage? BS from the things I heard from the uk version the US version is far superior and don’t even get me started on the werewolf who scream like a girl and the ghost girl or the two main leads that died and got replaced it is just going to get worse.

        Eureka was only at its best on the first season everything after that was really mediocre during it’s 3rd season it just became more soap shit it’s more evident in the final season it was time to put it to rest. I could never get into warehouse 13.

        Ghost hunters 100% agree how the hell is that piece of shit still on

    • http://www.facebook.com/craig.mertins Craig Mertins

      It’s interesting – as well as telling – that you insist that people stop bringing up wrestling as an example of what is wrong with the SyFy network, because it’s only TWO HOURS per week, for goodness sake!! (And throw in an irrelevant and pretentious political “comparison” for some odd ego self-stroking, and then imply that to bring up the wrestling issue exposes what obviously backward rubes we must be to keep pointing out this example.)

      Contrary to your opinion, the two hours of wrestling programming is quite relevant to what many of us see as what is wrong with SYFY’s current direction. Please remember that the wrestling had been airing quite some time BEFORE the inexplicable decision to change the name of the network into something that evokes images of venereal disease (which considering some of the programming found there is probably more appropriate). So what was their reasoning and excuse for the two or three years prior to this change in artistic direction? Please try to satisfactorily explain what place ECW (or whatever it is) Wrestling has on a network that still purported to be primarily and solely dedicated to Science Fiction entertainment? I submit that you can’t.

      You defend the network, making a big production over some press release regarding the change of it’s name, quoting their claim of wishing to avoid being associated “exclusively with space-themed science fiction and time travel” . Seriously….who’s the real rube here? The actual translation of this double speak should be clear: “The nerds aren’t going along with letting us increase our profit margins by seriously dumbing down the content, so we’re changing the name to Syfy because then we don’t have to actually explain or justify why we can fill the hours with shit that has nothing to do with science fiction at all, and still turn a profit.”

      The network clearly IS contemptuous of it’s original core audience – the name change was obviously intended to be less “cerebrally intimidating” to the lowest common denominator audience they want to attract, who will eagerly consume the intellectually and artistically bankrupt buffet of cheaply produced reality shows and “not even good enough for straight-to-dvd” movies that comprises the majority of programming time. And that core audience deserves some of the same loyalty back, whether you think so o not. Profits are not the sum total of success, and the relentless drive to increase profits is anathema to the arts themselves.

      You smugly invited those of us unhappy with this direction to “Leave….because you won’t be missed”, as SyFy is raking in higher profits
      these days. Maybe so, but the network was built by a dedicated core audience who wanted to see more science fiction on television – NOT LESS. If Syfy continues to alienate that core audience, they will be left with the folks who WANT the shit and dregs that dozens of other cable networks are offering, and most of them have a LONG head start on SyFy. So they will keep cannibalizing themselves until there is nothing left but a worthless hollow shell. Maybe you don;t mind it – but the rest of us do.

  • majicm9

    It’s soul died when it dumbed it’s named down and started playing wrestling.

  • http://www.flavors.me/aperturestar Aperture Star Creations

    Syfy lost most of my respect when they made Red: Werewolf Hunter without crediting me as the story creator. It was partially my mistake for not copyrighting it before sending it to them but still. They should know better.

  • erasmus654

    Michael Engleman, Vice President and Creative Director for Syfy <—-THIS is the son of a bitch that is responsible for much of the epic fucking fail going on at our once-favorite-tv-destination……here is a little snippet from his "Executive Biography"

    "Most recently, Engleman has served as the key architect behind the brand
    evolution to Syfy, including developing the new positioning, logo, and
    tagline, along with an innovative brand film showcasing network talent
    that was produced by the award-winning 4Creative team from the UK.
    Before joining Syfy, Engleman served as Vice President and Creative Director
    at CMT, Country Music Networks, a division of MTV Networks. He directly
    managed four separate divisions, On-Air Promotions, Off-Air Promotions,
    Print Design and On-Air Graphics, and established a new brand position
    that lead to landmark ratings growth. Engleman joined CMT in 2004 as the
    Director of On and Off Air Promotions."
    (http://www.nbcumv.com/mediavillage/networks/syfy/executives?bio=contents/biographies/ExecutiveBios/A_G/Engleman_Michael.xml)
    That says it all, does it not?

  • anonops

    Fuck “syfy”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lee-Mc-Donald/1205872108 Lee Mc Donald

    SyFy (ugh, what a name) has been on life support for too long. It’s time to pull the plug and let it rest in peace. I really have no idea what that name means, but at least someone with guts & vision can take the name “Sci Fi” and create a channel for Science Fiction.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Cranford/100001142349548 James Cranford

    i was so excited when the i first saw the ‘sci’fi’ channel coming into my cable lineup. memories of ‘the black lagoon’, ‘lost in space’, numerous godzilla and king kong movies… war of the worlds…several series that aired on regular tv years ago i thought i would be able to see again. ufo space 1999, dr who, the list goes on and on… and somewhere in there maybe another channel… i got a small taste of all these.. but then…nothing… crap. 18 minutes of commercials for each half hour. ‘sci fi’ shows made by people who didnt care about sci fi,who was disappointed they were playing sci fi. horror movies based on mood, background, music, shadows… not sudden gory action. oh well. i hardly drop by anymore. oh i check sometimes to see whats playing, but then again i check on the communist ‘current tv’ channel too.

  • Rhinostic

    If Syfy, the business not the channel, followed the Lucas model and held on to the merchandising rights to their shows and then sold toys, shirts, costume pieces, props and games QVC style once a week directly to the audience with call ins and special guests from the shows. They would generate the capital that is lost to advertising in spades. The problem with SyFy is they keep trying to run it like a deep cable network. They should be trying to figure out how to become the hub of geek culture. Why does the SyFy channel have SyFy news, where they interview Nasa MoHawk Dude and Nathan Fillion, announce that Disney bought LucasFilm, and tell us what is the best foam for Larping Swords? Why doesn’t SyFy have a show about new videogames? Why doesn’t SyFy show classic “B” movies at midnight instead of MegaSharklodon vs Debbie Gibson? How many people/shows does it take to never find definitive proof of ghosts on a channel that should be looking for aliens or elves?

    Wrestling = ratings = advertising dollars. We get it. But fan service, especially under the Lucas business model, is worth where the real money is.

  • liplip

    So say we all!

  • http://kingrex32.webs.com/ KingreX32

    Im still waiting for this series. Still waiting.

  • http://shortstormtrooper.com/ Lee

    The channel also failed to deliver on the promised Farscape web series.

    I do wonder why it doesn’t feel that science fiction is a good niche to stay within, most of the popular films are science fiction and certainly science fiction has produced some very popular television shows throughout the years.

    So why the diversity of content?

  • SAprinter

    I have a long standing DVR setting to get Warehouse 13. I have mostly given them up. I stopped watching them regularly when Farscape was canceled. Granted I’m not in the magic age group. I’m too old for them to care about me, but the funny thing is: us older folks are the ones with cash. I may have to look up Alphas and check them out, but I got tired of being fed crap from SyFy. Wrestling and “reality” programming suck. I’ll just read more. I mean if these fools couldn’t give the Dresden Files time to find an audience they can’t be very smart.

  • Adam J.

    Ever since the name change, they have gotten progressively worse with their choices of shows. One by one the good science fiction has been replaced with crappy reality tv and wrestling. Once Eureka ended I lost all interest in that channel. Ill use a streaming service for Alphas and Warehouse 13, but if they started to bring back good sci-fi then i might be convinced to give them a second chance, but I hold little hope for their exceutives to change their course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cjc3271 Camilo J Carranza

    The only science fiction left in SyFy is the fiction that they have a board of directors that have even half a clue about how to run a successful network.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Calliesky Deborah Bower

    I used to watch the Scfi channel (the name change is a stupid as their change in programming.) Not any more. Blood and Chrome was their last chance to keep me as a vciewer. But it looks like I should just remove them from my favorites menu. They are no longer a Scifi channel. The dummies that made these changes should be abanded on Hoth. They have become a stupid reality show channel… just like E. They need to completely chane their name. They are no longer a Sci Fi channel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611054330 Wylie Mitchell

    don’t mention that 2 of their sci-fi show,being human and lost girl aren’t even original shows.lost girl is just the 3 canadian seasons and being human is just following in the BBC series

  • http://www.facebook.com/john.greenbaum.5 John Greenbaum

    Amen!!!!

  • skeets11

    I say sell Blood and Chrome to the Science Channel. It has done a great job with Firefly and mixing real science iwth Science Fiction is a natural.

  • http://twitter.com/Thedocbot Rick Lucey

    Let’s make it simple someone out there should start a science fiction channel as we don’t have one. I mean with all the movies over the last 80 years or so plus the variety of TV shows there is enough content for two scifi networks!

  • jsmith0552

    Well, now we know that B & C might not have saved Skiffy’s soul, but it certainly would have been a step in the right direction. What we really need is the next newest cool and “original” thing. Nobody was thinking much about BSG when the idea of a reboot was just a rumor, but the network took a gamble and for the most part let Ron Moore have his head. Now let’s let the next person with a cool idea have a shot at something. Running a good thing into the ground hasn’t worked yet and there are plenty of casualties along television (and films) roadside to attest to that.