Losing The Battles, But Winning The War?
Author: Scott Nance
Source: SyFy Portal
It's been a long, twilight struggle. We've lost many
more battles than we've won, and the names of the fallen are legion. "Angel,"
"Farscape," "Firefly," and "Invisible Man" are just a few science-fiction series
that died early deaths in the face of what seemed to be a never-ending onslaught
of reality television, as executives sought cheaper and cheaper programming.I'm
big enough to admit there were some days I wasn't sure we could win. It seemed
the encroachment of so-called "unscripted television" was unstoppable -- that
eventually we would be awash in nothing but "Fear Factor" and "Survivor" clones.
I particularly worriedthe days were truly numbered for sci-fi series once "Scare
Tactics" and othersuch reality shows popped up on the Sci-Fi Channel.But, yet,
we may be on the verge of grasping victory from the jaws of defeat. Scripted
series, andsci-fi shows particularly, are perhaps for the first time this
decade, ascendant while it is reality television that finds itself on the
defensive and in disarray.The suit in charge of Fox -- the ultimate purveyor of
reality television -- now admits the network's decline in ratings is due to
relying too much on schlock like its latest reality brainfart, “Who's Your
Daddy?”Fox's average ratings have slid from 6.5 million at this point last year,
down to 5.9 million viewers in prime-time this year, according to the Associated
Press. In addition, Fox is all the way down in fourth place among viewers aged
18 to 49, a prized demographic, AP says.That's certainly a true statement, but
stunning nonetheless because I hardly expected a television executive to ever
publicly admit such a thing.And, now, our team is on the verge of winning its
first major fight in years:The Sci-Fi Channel is on the verge of renewing its
excellent and groundbreaking original series, "Battlestar Galactica."What began
last year as a two-part miniseries, "Galactica" grew to a 13-episode season
which has delivered record ratings to the cable outlet. Pickup for a second
season could come this week. I've been told all of the cast have just been
offered a second-season contract, and that barring a major ratings falloff for
this past Friday's episode, a renewal is in the bag.Aside from UPN's tepid
support for "Star Trek: Enterprise" and Sci-Fi Channel's support for its
Stargate franchise, if this news proves true, this will be some of the only good
news we fans have heard in years.That the Sci-Fi Channel's parent network, NBC,
recently aired an edited-down version of the original 2003 "Galactica"
miniseries is further evidence both of the quality of this show specifically as
well as fresh interest from broadcasters in scripted series in general, and in
sci-fi as a genre in particular.If the Sci-Fi Channel indeed greenlights a
second "Galactica" season, we fans will have reason to celebrate and reason to
set our sights even higher. Specifically, watch to see whether and how quickly
the Sci-Fi Channel further enlarges its stable of original, scripted series.
(Anyone else remember those long-ago days when Sci-Fi Channel was home to
"Lexx," "Farscape," and "Invisible Man" simultaneously?) Once series start
blooming once again on the Sci-Fi Channel, the next big test of our strength
will be whether a genuine science-fiction show can once again survive on one of
the big six broadcast networks for longer than a handful of episodes.Imagine
that: commercial television that ever-so-occasionally once again rewards
creativityand original thought. Well, I can at least dream, can't I? Fortune has
for too long shined too brightly on those who revel in "The Bachelor."
Excellent news! Television needs better stories than reality TV, which has to be the worse of TV, and is probably on it's way out sometime soon. Hopefully with Galactica being upped for a second season will encourage more in the way of better stories, writing and acting. It's also probably a little late, after Firefly and Farscape have been cancelled already, with little hope for being renewed ever. This story will go far, if it's renewed. Plus, the ratings that I saw is that it got a 2.5 for episode 1.04: Acts of Contrivance, which has gone up from the last one.