Oh How I Love the Sci Fi Channel,
Let me Count the Ways
© Buzzy Multimedia
When I was a little kid, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth, if I misbehaved when afternoon rolled around, my mom would make me sit in my little chair and watch soap operas with her. Where’s a social worker when you need one? I never understood why they were called “soaps,” and I still don’t to be perfectly honest, but there was one I kind of remember because it had a vampire in it. I don’t have any childhood memories of the show itself except that my mom would call her girlfriends after and say “mmmm, Barnabas.”
So one day during the late Cretaceous period the husband and I decide to break down and get satellite TV. To give you an idea of just how long ago this was, when the Discovery Channel celebrated Shark Week it actually ran shows about sharks 10 to 18 hours a day. Although there are some advantages to living in the Unabomber’s old homestead, TV reception is not one of them. Nevertheless, we get the dish and a few days later we discover the wide world of cable programming. The Cartoon Network, 24/7 news channels, movie channels, static free local TV and… what’s this… Heaven? No, better than that. Hell, it was better than chocolate covered heaven! It was a channel dedicated to all the things I love and it was called the Sci-Fi Channel. And there, before my eyes were not one, but TWO back to back episodes of my mom’s soap opera, Dark Shadows! As if you needed more evidence as to why I am not suited to life in a cubical, I called up my job, told them I was having car trouble and would be about two hours late… mmm, Barnabas.
OK, admittedly, back in the early days of SciFi it was not 100% greatness. In truth, it showed maybe more horror than science fiction. It showed Night Gallery and The Twilight Zone, a lot, but it was a young station with a crappy logo just trying to survive. No doubt it was only airing what it could afford. How expensive could the serial episodes of the 1930s Flash Gordon cost, honestly? Even then, I knew that this channel was worth the price of our monthly satellite bill. The Mr. and I saw it more as paying for the Sci-Fi Channel and getting 499 other channels for free.
So here we are with the all grown up Sci-Fi Channel and their much improved logo. Their only real competition for my attention is my other favorite TV channel, Chill, an all horror and scary stuff channel as the name implies. We’ve come a long way baby. Now Sci-Fi is a 24/7 channel in every market I’ve ever seen it in. It is, in my humble opinion, destination TV. Let’s break it down:
Reasons to watch the Sci-Fi channel:
1. Battlestar: Galatica. Battlestar: Galatica. Battlestar: Galatica. I could stop right here not say another word and prove my point, but I’ll continue because the evidence is so totally overwhelming.
2. As contrived and obviously staged as it may be, Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International is like visual crack to those who ever so desperately want to be believe that Grandma is out there and spending her eternal afterlife moving lamps when the camera is out of focus and off centered.
3. Destination Truth is a good show. I know they’re not gonna find anything, cause if they did, I’d be watching CNN, but it always seems like they’re so close! Come on guys, I’m routing for ya!
4. Fear Factor is funny. Waaaaay funnier than Punk’ed. Here’s a great idea: Get Ashton Kutcher, make him wet his pants. Demi Moore has custody of him right? She can sign the release papers as his legal guardian.
5. Lost is on a lot, so if you’re like me and cannot remember every little nuisance that is always vitally important six episodes later, you can always catch up. I don’t think it even matters if you watch the episodes out of order, in fact, I think it helps. It certainly doesn’t hurt.
6. Nowhere else can you watch one episode of each of the various incarnations of Star Trek per day
7. ECW. Yes, it’s a wrasslin’ program, but hear me out. Folks who watch ECW may tune in early or stick around after the show and have their horizon widened by seeing a program that they never woudda otherwise seen. This increases viewership, which means more money to the station, which means it can purchase science fiction shows, like maybe one day Babylon 5. Additionally, ECW is not a sport; its scripted; the outcome is pre-determined; “real” in the sense that the participants are actually moving and talking and interacting in their “world” where reality only usually applies; it creates an emotional reaction in the viewer who is then compelled to watch another episode just in case something “real” does happen, making them want to be there when it really does happen-wait a tic, am I talking about Ghost Hunters or ECW here?
8. Original serial programming like The Dresden Files, Eureka, Sanctuary, Stargate, Stargate: Atlantis, Stargate:SG1, Stargate: Yo Mamma, Cha$e (which sucks, btw), Estate of Panic (which mostly sucks) is there for your entertainment. Most of these shows were good; heck some were downright entertaining (but not Cha$e, don’t waste your time, it’s like watching stupid people jog for money) they certainly have a fan base that is as devoted now as it was when the show was on the air.
9. Dark Angel, the show that featured Jessica Alba. I’m a hetro-gal and even I think she’s hot.
10. Firefly. Hello! Not only is it science fiction but it’s by the real dark lord of the Sith-Joss Whedon. Love him or loathe him, the man can write, he can plot, he can create characters that inspires greatness in others. Recognize.
11. Nowhere else in these great states of our can we see the BBC wonderment that is Doctor Who. How can the sole provider of this sci-fi staple ever be overlooked for the necessary service it provides.
12. After watching House, or The Big Bang Theory, you can shower (hint, hint, hint) and come back to the TV in plenty of time to catch all of the Ani-Monday programming schedule.
13. Kingdom Hospital (Steven King at his all time best), Moonlight, Tru Calling (love the Dushku), and Wolf Lake are all shows that died on the vine. If only there was a way (ECW) to get these shows “out there” (ECW) so that people (ECW)who are brand new to this sort genre (ECW)can watch them (ECW) and maybe develop an interest (ECW) in them. If only (ECW) there was something else (ECW) could be used as a lure (ECW) to get brand new viewers (ECW) to the channel (ECW). If (ECW) only (ECW) such (ECW) a (ECW) thing (ECW) existed (ECW).
14. The Outer Limits. This is a holiday staple. Not a single nationally recognized holiday goes by, not a one, that no less than three channels are showing a James Bond-athon. For all the people who are not watching 007 there is the black and white escape of the Outer Limits. Scary is timeless. We never have to say to ourselves, “if Bond had an iPhone, this movie would be seven minutes long.” Whereas in Outer Limits the thing that goes bump in the night doesn’t get any less frightening no matter how push-button life becomes. If George Jetson was cast in a James Bond film (you’re welcome for that image, btw), George would press a button, save the world and have freaky cartoon sex with Jane. However, if George was in the world of the Outer Limits he’d be seeking the arms of Astro in four minutes flat and then they would both fall victims to the scary, twist ending.
But the coup de gras has to be…
15. The Made for TV Sci Fi Saturday Night Movie! Geeks, Nerds, Dweebs and Dorks assemble in mass to watch that slice of runny, smelly cheese every Saturday night like clockwork. I do, you do, we all do! And no matter how bad it is, how awful the special effects are, how talentless the largely Canadian cast may be, that there are plot holes large enough to pilot the Starship Enterprise through-it doesn’t matter. We all sit as a family and watch it every single gosh darn Saturday night at 9 p.m. And, sometimes again at 1 a.m..
I go to a lot of conventions, like DragonCon, and I can’t tell you how many of the celebrities I meet always ask where I’m staying ’cause the hotel they’re at doesn’t have the Sci-Fi Channel. They are flabbergasted that at the biggest convention in the South East, a con that attracts over 30,000 people every Labor Day Weekend does not have the Sci-Fi Channel. A valid point to be certain.
Their common sense outrage aside, ‘ya know what else that means? Every Saturday night when I am watching TV, that aside from being joined by my husband and our gaming group, that I am watching Runny Cheese: the Apocalypse with Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Alan Dean Foster and most importantly-my mom. She’ll call me after the viewing and say something like “it wasn’t that bad, but he’s no Barnabas.”
by QtR – Theresa Bane, Vampirologist