Not Enough SciFi On TV For You? Really?

One of the frequent gripes in the SciFi community is the lack of quality programming for our genre. The shows that do come along don't seem to get the network and/or fan support they deserve and often end up cancelled before they hit their stride. We all whine, wail, and barbarically yelp about this subject all the time.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when I picked up the April 11-17 issue of TV Guide and saw their SciFi Review. Not only did they spotlight upcoming new shows like Falling Skies (TNT's alien invasion drama) and FOX's Terra Nova (now set to premiere in the fall), but they reminded viewers of existing standbys set to begin new episodes or seasons this spring, like Chuck, Torchwood, Sanctuary, and Dr. Who. This list didn't even include other renewed favorites like Eureka, Warehouse 13, and SyFy's very successful American version of Being Human.

With all these shows (including all the ones I didn't name), paranormal fare like Vampire Diaries and  Supernatural, as well as the Wonder Woman reboot, I'm left wondering, What exactly are we complaining about?

I don't know about you, but I don't have enough time or DVR space to keep up with the shows broadcasting now. With cable and pay networks like STARZ and HBO, the TV season has been redefined and is no longer confined to a September-through-May schedule. We have new content year round on many channels.

If anything, I see all networks, broadcast and cable, looking for ways to respond to customer demand for out-of-the-box (or galaxy) content. In addition, the content that does exist is more multifaceted than ever. Vampires, zombies, time travel, and aliens -- oh my!

As with anything, there is a price to be paid. The new TV programming models are fraught with delays (either for a broadcast start date or break between a single season). Seasons are shorter on cable and pay networks, but they usually air all-new episodes straight through, without repeat breaks. And let's not forget that until a new show is actually broadcast, the threat of never seeing it remains in the back of our minds.

Even with those concerns, I still feel optimistic about the future of SciFi programming. Really!

What are your feelings on the future of SciFi in television? Let us know in comments!

10 Responses to "Not Enough SciFi On TV For You? Really?"
  1. Thotfullguy says:

    Great post Dawn. You’re so right. Anyone that says there aren’t great show choice out there to fill up your DVR isn’t looking hard enough. I’m excited about the new Doctor Who season (gonna push play right now in fact). And I’m super excited about the new Torchwood series thus summer (horaay Brits!). Also, just finished up the great Being Human (US) series recently. Great quirky drama!

    Okay, all that said, here is my complaint: Where’s my space scifi? Where’s my show set aboard a spaceship? Or about other worlds? That’s what I want.
    Hey, I like Earth. I was born here. Not embrassed about that (well maybe a little). But how come all these sci fi shows on now are set on Earth? Enough already.
    Stop cancelling shows like Firefly, Caprica and Stargate Universe. I want to seek out new life and new civilizations and boldly go somewhere.
    Please, pretty please?

  2. fastcart says:

    Thotfullguy stole my one of my complaints. After SGU ends, there’s no more sci fi set in space or on a spaceship (that we know of at this time).

    My other complaint is the shows I care about, what I’d consider quality shows, are being cancelled while the ones I’m meh about or don’t watch are either being cancelled or being replaced with scripted reality TV series or wrestling. It’s a cryin’ shame that Caprica and SGU got cancelled while The Event (it’s not a reality show or wrestling, but it does air on Monday) got picked up for an entire season.

    I don’t know about everyone else, but I’m losing Smallville, Supernatural, Caprica, and SGU this season. Yes, there’s a bunch of other shows on (Chuck [sorry], V, No Ordinary Family, Warehouse 13, and Sanctuary for instance), but I can keep them forgotten on the DVR. And, I have. Caprica, SGU, and Supernatural are or were shows I couldn’t wait to watch. They went on the DVR so I could rewatch them, not because there was something else on at the same time.

    Maybe, I’m in the minority. But, I’d rather have one or two quality sci fi shows that I can enjoy wholeheartedly, really geek out about, than have five or more shows I don’t have passion for. I’m not even going to talk about getting my hopes up for Terra Nova because it’s on Fox. Fox has burned me more times than M. Night Shyamalan, and that’s saying something. And, until I hear more about what’s coming this fall, or get more info on upcoming shows like Wonder Woman or Falling Skies, I’m not too optimistic.

    Also, I agree with Thotfullguy that this was a great post. Thanks!

  3. Harumph says:

    Count me among the disgruntled with the state of affairs on TV today.

    Despite Sean’s cries of anguish for Caprica’s taking aim at a dog (the gun had blanks, btw)–the show was quite good (the 2nd season anyway)–I like that central characters were so amazingly flawed and occasionally die off. The biggest issues I had with that show was it didn’t seem to be setting up the rise of the Cylons as much as having a melodrama in spaaaace. Moved from the successful Friday sci-fi block to a Tuesday. Axed.

    Stargate: Universe
    Such a good show, losing characters here and there, and was just ramping up to a central theme to carry the show when it too got axed. Loved the gritty vibe, tension between characters, and so on. Moved from the the Friday SciFi (ahem, SyFy) block to a Tuesday. Without warning. Bastards.

    Bob’s Burgers
    Not a sci-fi show, but a damn funny one. It’s as edgy as The Family Guy was in its prime. Likely to be cancelled.

    So what do I have to choose from? Cheese. When it comes to television programming I’m lactose intolerant.

    On the upside I’ve been watching reruns of Firefly on the *Science Channel* of all things. Too bad there’s so few episodes.

  4. DawnAZ says:

    I think you make a good point Thot about the lack of space themed shows once SGU is off the air. I haven’t heard any buzz on anything along those lines. Perhaps if the new Fall 2011 shows do well, someone will place a bet on the galaxy again.

  5. Starsaber says:

    Of the three shows I make sure to watch live, one was canceled (SGU), one’s wrapping up (Smallville), and one’s perpetually on the bubble and we probably won’t know until the day of the season finale (Chuck).

    I have to say that until this last half season, SGU was my least favorite of the Stargate shows, despite having my second favorite character (Eli). I think part of its problem was that the first half season was a dramatic departure from the previous Stargate shows, which confirmed the fears of the people who were on the fence about it after the way the SGA cancellation was handled.

  6. DawnAZ says:

    Starsaber- I have struggled with SGU. In fact, I will save watching the last shows for DVD or instant watch. I think you’re right about Chuck’s fate being decided at the last possible moment. My fingers are crossed!

  7. Clicker says:

    What about those of us too cheap (or is it smart?) to pay for cable? From your list I only get “Chuck”. I’m rewatching all seasons of E/R right now, and when I’m done with that I am going old school and rewatching B5. yes I am

  8. starblaze says:

    Unfortunately, the best time for Sci-Fi fans was probably late ’80’s to early 2000’s.

    Now, SyFy isn’t as good anymore. There are not many Sci-fi shows in syndication. Plus, the biggest “sci-fi” craze is vampires. I could watch some of Buffy…but there’s too much Twilight influence.

    I miss X-Files, Star Treks series, Battlestar Galactica, even Dark Angel. It seems like there will be a Star Wars series. But, that is still a few years away.

    We need more sci-fi set in space.

  9. rdkdm says:

    Well I got boerd and made up my own sci fi tv show set in space but I have no idea what I am supposed to do with it If only I could work out the kinks but thats what writers are for I have a premise and the charecters are well developed and the universe they live in is well developed but I don’t know how the hell to make enough action since it is supposed to be realistic and they are fighter pilots they wopuld not be fighting wars all the time they would be training living on there base and what not most of the time. But I also threw some paranormal stuff in there too so I don’t know. Ive’e been writing since I was like six and this is what I ended up with eventually if only I knew how to get a show i think it would please everyone if done right.

  10. beau says:

    Those shows are garbage! I’d rather watch dog shit turn white on my lawn!

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