Okay, we all know the Science-Fi channel went off the rails a few years back. Way off the rails, They made some poor decisions regarding their programming, doing things like showing unscripted reality shows in place of classic science fiction series and choosing to have professional wrestling as part of their schedule’ in lieu of having actual science fiction.
They alienated (intentional pun) a lot of science fiction fans in the process and earned the scorn of their fan base, With the introduction of shows like The Expanse, Dark Mater, and Killjoys, they seem to be trying to fix the damage they have done to their brand and lure fans back to believing the network is once again a reliable source for all things sci-fi, and show they have learned their lesson.
Now they are going one step further in their attempt to once again win approval among genre fans. Syfy turns 25 this year, and to commemorate the occasion, the cable channel will unveil a rebranding effort to take advantage of the growing popularity of science fiction and fantasy shows. Along with the new look, the channel announced that it’s picking up two series: Krypton, a Superman prequel, and HAPPY!, a show about an ex-cop turned hitman whose life is changed by a perky, blue-winged talking horse. The network is also working on more traditional adaptations of classic SF novels such as Brave New World, Hyperion, and Stranger in a Strange Land, as well as the horror series The Purge, and a show based on George R.R. Martin’s 1980 novella Nightflyers. That story, previously adapted for film in 1987, follows a group of scientists who set out into space to locate an alien creature until the ship’s computer complicates matters.
The reboot has been a long time coming. In 2009, the SCI FI Channel rebranded as “Syfy,” a change that was poorly received. Fans rolled their eyes and mocked the spelling, while Time magazine named it one of the 10 worst brand name changes. But the network’s larger changes weren’t as catastrophic: it produced new shows that boosted ratings and revenue.
Still, Syfy seemed to have missed the boat on the explosion of high-quality genre shows that began to sweep television. While it was airing shows like Warehouse 13, AMC and HBO were putting together ambitious projects like The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. Syfy has begun to catch up with that wave, airing critically acclaimed series like The Expanse and The Magicians, and more traditional genre fare like Killjoys and Dark Matter. Chris McCumber, president of entertainment networks for NBCUniversal, explains that the earlier rebranding was an effort to capture a broad audience. He says the corporation now understands the need to do the opposite, by doubling down on Syfy’s roots. The end goal, he says, is to create a home “for fans to come in and celebrate the genre that they love.”
The rebranding will take effect on June 19th, and will include a new look and feel for the channel and its online presence. The network’s stated goal is to become the home for fans of all stripes, not only by producing new shows but also as an online destination for commentary and news.
All I can say is the new logo does not seem like a step in the right direction, but hopefully, the rest will be. We wish them the best of course, after all, more science fiction on tv is better than less science fiction on tv in my humble opinion. Happy viewing.