As time passes the NBC/Universal owned American SciFi channel has been disappointing me more and more. They've recently managed to waste a lot of people's time and energy producing a full season of Flash Gordon, which was just embarrassing in every respect. It was like watching a terrible B-Movie every week written by a bunch of geek wannabe's in grade 9.
At the same time they play host to ECW Wrestling, which is really just a soap opera of 10 year olds and the people who can't seem to grow out of their 'muscle men in tights' phase. I laugh inside whenever I hear a 25+ person raving on about what happened last night in wrestling. It's like listening to someone talk about their favorite soap opera only without the sweaty near nude men flying through the air. Oh, and you'll never catch an actor from Young and the Restless saying; "Nono, it's all real man. This is a real sport here." I'm not saying that everyone should grow up and tune out, but I am saying that ECW does NOT in any universe have anything to do with Science Fiction. Don't try to argue with me on this one, I'll just ignore you.
Moving on to the current day: The Sci Fi channel announced today that they are launching Cha$e, a reality television show where people run away from hunters and earn cash for every second of evasion. They're also launching Panic, which puts contestants into a mansion with money and other nasty surprises hidden all over the place. There will also be formulaic challenges scattered around.
Reality television isn't science fiction. They're wasting everyone's time and setting their credibility on fire. The real sad thing is the people who work for the SciFi network might actually see this, the people who make the big decisions above them won't. They're part of the network television corporate structure like everything else on television these days, and these crap shows are just another way to snag more advertising dollars.
I have an idea though, it could actually get some advertisers and have fanboys (and fan girls, hi Liz!), glued. Imagine, you get a few brilliant but untested writers together. Give them a big empty studio with good digital gear and an endless supply of green screen. Hire a bunch of recent film school grads to operate said equipment. Then have them and other fans who have at least a little acting talent play out the content aforementioned writers put together (one shot episodes or mini series). Their friends are allowed to help them make costumes, props and they have a limited budget and a couple of young professionals to polish that and makeup a little. Now, I think this idea could be the cause of a lot of laughs, perhaps some good drama, an exposure point for new ideas, and a chance for these less experienced people to add something to their resumes. As for the fanboys (and girls), they get to play a character in a brand new (if low budget), science fiction episode and have a chance at coming back if the staff there and the fans online (you know forum traffic would be insane for something like this), liked them enough.
Just imagine, one minute you're on your sofa, then you see this fanboy (and girl), call to arms for a new teevee show you can star in if you send your picture and a video tape in to! Start breaking out the spandex and tin foil boys and girls! You're gonna be on teevee! Or not. NBC and Universal would never go for it because it would be too labour intensive and potentially misuse fresh intellectual property they'd rather stack in their script room. Wait, they don't have a script room, they have a great big shredder now, it's used for submissions to their network that don't go through an agent.
Me bitter? Not at all, I think I'll go make a tin foil hat and a cardboard ray gun. Then I'll go storm their headquarters...