There was a time when one could tune into their favorite TV show and enjoy an episode without the slightest thought that there may not be another episode next week. Now every single science fiction show on today stands blindfolded at the end of the plank. Add “save” in front of any science fiction show in a Google search and results will include an active group of dedicated fans trying their hardest to keep it on the air. From Fringe, which fans sat in wait of renewal until recently, to Firefly, which was canceled almost a decade ago, science fiction fans will not stand down.
That is likely why 73 percent of you, the fans, have voted to start your own fan-funded production company in our recent “State of Affairs” post.
Each year, it seems there is one less science fiction or fantasy show to watch. Fan favorite shows being replaced with more reality TV and cooking shows. A cooking show, really? Oh, but it’s “quantum”. In an effort to appease the masses, television network response to hundreds of thousands of fan uprising to return their quality shows is to produce more crap and give it a sci-fi sounding name.
Reality TV shows are simply cheaper to make and, even with a smaller viewership, they have a larger profit margin. It is possible the current television network system simply is not the right place for quality science fiction any longer. The networks are a business, and their primary objective is to make money, as much as possible. Can any one even blame them? Sure, hate them for taking beloved shows off the air, but networks are a for profit business. Viewership versus cost is how shows are renewed, canceled, and even syndicated.
Recently on SyFy, a new commercial aired, advertising Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. Although the show was only syndicated with no promise of new content on the network formerly known as SciFi, it was nice to see another quality science fiction show on TV. The excitement was short lived, as apparently the SyFy execs were just playing a joke and canceled an already canceled show, even though it cost them no production dollars to air an already created show. Even though syndication was paid for and a large amount was spent on advertising, the viewership was not large enough to bring in a profit and avoid another cancellation.
Instead of beating our heads against the wall over and over again in what seems likes a futile battle, a different approach and system is needed. During HNBF, the plan was that the fans would fund and produce one of their favorite canceled shows. The plan was later suspended due to not having the support of the key people of Firefly.
More Firefly would have been great, but the current direction (voted by the fans) to create a fan-funded science fiction production company is even greater a cause. For this reason, support of Unstoppable Signals is needed.
The networks can keep their soap operas, reality, and cooking shows, while the fans create their own home for the best genre of television. Support may not be able to save or revive any canceled favorites but the possibility of a place for writers/directors to create new shows and content their fans directly control the fate of is an amazing future for science fiction.
Then, the time of quality science fiction being systematically ripped from fans can quickly come to an end.