The Giving Lens

Friday, December 17, 2010

Why I hate money and tv ratings (read: American studios)

Well, that's another great show to die.

I've just found out that the Syfy Channel has cancelled yet another Stargate show. Stargate Universe (SGU) Was a bold new installment in the Stargate franchise. It was completely character driven and was much darker than both SG1, Atlantis and the DTV movies. I for one really enjoyed it. Gone were the Goauld, the Ori, the Wraith and Replicators. SGU had no "bad guy" that they fought with every week. Instead, the enemy, for lack of a better word, was simply survival and isolation. It was a really good concept and one which was slow to burn. It was a far more dramatic show than the previous installments, which relied on action to drive the plot. I was really looking forward to seeing what they could do with it over the next couple of seasons. But no. Syfy, in its infinite wisdom, has scrapped it. To be replaced, most likely, with more wrestling or awful self made b-movies.

Ratings, it would seem, are everything to the network execs. With high ratings comes advertisers. With advertisers comes money. Forget the fan base. Who cares about the people who actually watch the show? They'll watch what we tell them to watch. The irony is that without American tv, I'd have nothing to watch, but because of it, I have to constantly search for something new because all my favourites get routinely cancelled due to their (the studio's) greed and douchebaggery.

SG1: Cancelled after 10 seasons (a great run to be honest)

Stargate Atlantis: Cancelled after 5 seasons

SGU: Cancelled after 2 seasons.

Firefly: Cancelled after 1 season

Studio 60: Cancelled after 1 season (though to be fair, American audiences dont like intelligent programming)

Kyle XY: Cancelled after 2 seasons

Sliders: Cancelled due to being fucked over by FOX

Fringe: On its way out

While one cant solely blame the suits for these cancellations, (the writers are sometimes to blame for lack of ambition and or laziness/ineptitude) the fact remains that if your show fails to make the money the studios want, then you get the axe.

And its not just tv. Jon Favrou wont be directing Iron Man 3 due to, one can assume, budget issues.

The film studios are even worse at this kind of thing. They have always thrieved on greed. Its capitalism 101: How do we make the most amount of money, for the least amount.

I'm sick to death of seeing endless horse shit movies and tv shows gaining huge ratings and success that just dont deserve it. Pirates of the Carribean 4? Seriously? Isnt that horse beaten to death enough?

You may have noticed that my list of shows, bar Studio 60, were all sci-fi. Yes, SCI-FI, not SYFY, you miscrients. If you're going to re-brand, dont be retarded about it. The reason is I love Sci-fi stuff. I was raised on a healthy dose of Star Trek, Stargate, Star Wars, anything really to do with space and or time travel/alternate dimensions. I watched Earth 2, Quantum leap, Sliders, was blown away by the 1st ep of Farscape (I was young) and I recall another show that involved marines in space, though I cant remember the name. I'm a huge nerd. I'm good at it as well. That isnt to say however that I dont enjoy other genres. Lie to me, Lost, Dexter, HIMYM, Californication, The Wire. I just prefer science fiction. Its inspiring, entertaining, can be hilariously funny, (SG1's 100th and 200th episodes were amazing) dramatic, thought provoking and touching. It is, in my opinion, the greatest and richest of all the genres. That is why I get so angry when studios shit all over it.

Alas, I feel as though I'm pissing in the wind. Science fiction will never garner the same support as a televisual/Movie art form the likes other genres enjoy. You wont see sci fi shows winning the best show award at the prime time emmys. You'd be hard pressed to see a Sci Fi movie win a top Oscar (At least not these days)

There are millions of sci fi fans all over the world. Millions of them in America alone. When you think about it, it doesnt really makes sense as to why such an obiously popular genre is constantly being beaten in the damn ratings. (a possible reason could be weak writing, but that can only go so far. Sliders was a fantastic show until the studio got involved and started demanding more of this and less of that)

There should be a dedicated channel, a proper sci fi channel, that airs only science fiction, for science fiction fans. A channel that isnt controled by idiots who think they know what people will watch. A Sci Fi channel for fans that is run by fans of the genre itself. Ratings can go fuck themselves.

But of course, for that to become a reality, the monetary system would have to take a back seat to quality programming. And that will never happen. Oh I do despair sometimes. Money, like religion, is the cause of so many problems. But without both, this wouldnt be our world. Damn paradox!

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