Highest Ratings in Sci Fi Net History, So Why Not Say So?

This forum is specifically to discuss anything to do with the story of the mini-series. <b>This forum contains SPOILERS!</b>

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Postby cyberman on Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:20 pm

Agreed, and well said. I think another big problem is that the moron executives look at a highly serialised show like Farscape and see it as too difficult for new viewers to get into. I will admit to the fact that it takes a great commitment to get a new viewer educated in the Farscape universe.

Each episode builds on the character develoment of the last, which is why the show is as great as it is. Unlike most dramatic telveision, where nothing happens for an entire season but one-off plots that don't impact the main characters in any way shape or form, Farscape requires that you learn the mythology. The executives see this as a barrier to new viewers.

But between the cancelation and the mini-series, I managed to recruit 6 brand new viewers to the series who joined me in a viewing party for the mini. Not to mention the fact that Sci-Fi could easily have educated new viewers by re-runnig old episodes in a better time-slot than 1am in the freaking morning!

I managed to educate myself on 5 years of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mythology in a matter of months by watching it in syndication. Syndication is the life-blood of a series and Sci-Fi refuses to expose the Farscape franchise to time-slots where it could garner new viewership. I don't count the marathon prior to the mini. That was an obvious strategy to employ, but I never saw one episode, since it was always during regular working hours. There are countless hours of prime-time television where Sci-Fi trots out insipid tv-movies like "Future Sport" to name just one, when they could be showing repeats of a quality show to new viewers.
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Postby Fracture on Thu Oct 21, 2004 5:45 pm

That's the one thign that really makes less and less sense to me about The Sci-Fi channel. They have squat for programming to begin with and jsut lots of random old re-runs so why put a show like farscape in such a awkward timeslot as 3 in the morning or a 6 hour marathon starting at 8 AM on a Tuesday? It just seems mean. Like HA HA we have the rights and look we show your show all the time but no one watches it wink nudge.
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Postby cyberman on Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:06 pm

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that when the new President/Chairman or whatever he was came aboard Sci-Fi he wanted to get rid of much of the old programing. Apparantly he didn't like science fiction so he started promoting crap like Scare Tactics and that Beyond the Grave show with John Edwards. I'm not talking about Bonnie Hammer. I know she was always an advocate for the show. Am I crazy or did we read this somewhere? If the leadership still feels this way then it is no surprise that Farscape was never given a chance. Still, I can't beleive a successful executive could be so blind. I mean, I don't particularly like the West Wing but if I were in charge of NBC I wouldn't cancel their highest rated show.
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Postby Fracture on Thu Oct 21, 2004 6:41 pm

Well if that is in fact the case then cut the show loose and let someone else take it.
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Postby icedrake8 on Thu Oct 21, 2004 8:10 pm

hey all....Ive been lurking around here for a couple weeks now, but this was so interesting I had to register just to participate in some of these discussions :D

now then, I started watching Farscape about a year ago........which would mean right after they stopped making new eps. Ive been just taking whatever FS I could get in between there........as a matter of fact, until this past 2 weeks' marathon I had probably only seen about half the eps (I taped them all :D :D :D ) but I still thought it was great. Now, SciFi's setup is to play "classic" SciFi, including shows such as ST:TOS, The Outer Limits (both original and new), Twilight Zone, Babylon 5, Crusade, Quantum Leap, etc, all day for one day, then again all day after about 5 or 6 weeks have passed. I know this because I was constantly checking every day to see if FS was on.

An interesting aside here, it would be VERY interesting to know what SciFi's ratings were for when they just randomly showed FS and also the ratings overall for the marathon.

Back to the main thrust. Now, there is one reason why SciFi is going the direction they are that I can think of *right off*. That being MONEY. FS an extremely expensive series.......while series such as Scare Tactics and their other "reality" shows are relatively cheap to produce and, because of the airheaded reality craze, draw in (I would assume anyways) fairly good ratings as compared to some of the other crap they show.

Another aside.......its funny how I think of other stuff as Im typing lol. Whatever happened to Crusade? I was really enjoying the eps I saw of that, but there were only like 10 eps ever made or soemthing.......another Farscape Incident?

Back to the point again 8)

The execs are like everyone else in power anywhere.......and that is they only care about money. Now, my understanding of the system is that the producing company pays to make an episode (or run of eps) and then sells the network X episodes for X dollars, with the X dollars being higher the more expensive a show is to produce.......it doesnt make any sense to make a show if you arent getting any money back. So, since we know that Farscape is a very high-budget show....we can assume that it costs SciFi a LOT to buy a season. I would further assume, not having any blockbuster shows, SciFi isnt exactly rolling in money. So we can assume that it is possible that SciFi simply cant afford Farscape......in which case I lay some blame also on the people in charge of selling Farscape. If SciFi wont pay for it.....why not try Spike for instance (who have been showing MASSIVE amounts of ST:TNG and DS9 lately) or UPN or some other channel, which could afford it and also give it a better (perhaps constant) time slot.

But, this scenario is giving SciFi too much credit. So lets try another possibility. lets assume that SciFi could afford it, and of course I think that we KNOW that SciFi knows how we feel about our show. So why wouldnt they bring it back? We can be sure that if they have ANY brains amongst themselves they *should* want to. Perhaps they dont want to discard any of their current shows on what they feel would be a flyer. I.E. we're doing ok now the way we are.....but if we take a flyer on more Farscape, which as Cyberman noted, is NOT an easy series to get into, whereas if we keep all the cheap shows we have now, we can still float for now.

Another example would be if you are hanging off a cliff. Do you just hang there and try to not slip, or do you reach up to try to get back on firm ground? SciFi is electing the former if I read the situation correctly.

So what will SciFi do? Assuming either of these situations, I would say the best bet is that they will endorse a NEW, spinoff, subtitled series. For instance, Farscape: the Restoration, or something like that........think of Farscape as ST:TOS. My bet would be on a ST:TNG like continuation........same name, same overall mega-characters and cultures (like the Federation, or the Klingons), but different goal, and different main characters. I dont think SciFi will take a chance on continuing our Farscape....as it would be too risky for them.

Alternatively, if it is pitched to other networks.....we may see Farscape in a fixed time slot, from the beginning, leading up to a high-budget continuation.

I have a bunch more to say.......but it builds off some of this stuff, so I'll wait for some responses to this post first before I (maybe) stick my foot in my mouth further :D
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Postby Fracture on Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:12 pm

Well the problem with a Farscape spin off is that it realistcally has to revolve around John Chriton somehow. Afterall the shows name is the name of his project.

Also right now is a GREAT time to get new viewers. Unfortunatly to retain what the Sci-Fi Channel wants from the show (The ability to cater to fans and causal channel surfers) they have to drop teh baggage (history) which is what the fans like.

Now they could cut most of the cast out try and keep Ben, Claudia, and a coupe others and start the show off new from a new standpoint. Have what went past stay past (mostly) and start off in a new direction. As it stands they have a mostly clean slate and it could be thought hat they were allowed to take off. I think having them reform the Peacekeepers as a better force woudl actually be a bad Idea for new viewers because there's too much history they woudl have to know about everyone involved.

However if they went in teh direction that it were (let's say) John, Aryan, Chianna, Rygal, and 1 new cast member than they woudl not only have a smaller cast to deal with but you could introduce old Ideas by having to have the crew explain them to the new cast member.

Say for instance at the end of a new season 1 Scorpious shows up. You could have him waltz in and do something to establish him as a really bad guy, the crew likely reacts accordingly (except the newbie) and then after the initial confontation they can explain the major reasons as to why he is to be feared.

This sets up 2 thigns. First it's a good setup to give a new viewer enough info on a character tha they don't need to know the history to know that characters role. And second it piks their interest enough to go buy the DVD's or try to catch the reruns.
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Postby cyberman on Thu Oct 21, 2004 9:15 pm

I do agree with a majority of what you said, icedrake8. I don't think Sci-Fi will pick up Farscape with more stories of John Crichton. I don't think Farscape was affordable, given the ratings and the availble commerical sponsors interest relative to those ratings, and I do think new Farscape (The orginal series) would be better served to shop around to other stations. The problem lies in the syndication rights.

Sci-Fi has rights to the syndication and only Sci-Fi is able to air Farscape. Sci-Fi is also not interested in giving up their syndication rights (or so I have heard). Why would another station buy Farscape and invest all the money in new shows and educating new viewers if they are not going to reap the rewards from all the syndication dollars. Re-runs prove to have better ratings when the show is still producing new episodes so this investment by a UPN, WB, or the like would be counter-productive since they would essentially be seading the pockets of Sci-Fi's Farscape re-runs.

Additionally, I have to still lay some blame on Sci-Fi for Farscape NOT being more affordable. Why? Becuse throughout the run of the series when it originally aired and since the hiatus, Sci-Fi has moved it's time slot and only shown re-runs at INSANELY inconvenant hours. There didn't appear to be any respect for the value of the franchise and the fragile nature of a viewing public who will not follow a show from one night of the week to another. I'm not talking about the fanatics like me and you. I'm talking about the masses that take a show from 1.5 million viewers to 2, 3 and 4 million viewers. The casual observer who will watch a show if it is convenant for them. This requires a steady dose of re-runs and a consistant time-slot for new episodes.

Since Farscape is an expensive show (another point I agree with) Sci-Fi should know that the sponsors are going to look more closely at the ratings before droppoing gobs of money to sell their soap, cheese-puffs, or hair products.

This doesn't factor into account the fact that Sci-Fi would consistantly re-air new episodes two hours later on the same night while not including the viewing figures for that second broadcast. So if you didn't watch it at 8pm but knew it was comming on at 10pm, your eye-balls would not be counted in Sci-Fi's estimation of popularity.
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Postby Jerimiah Crichton on Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:29 am

For my part, I see the cancellation partly as a sign of the times in television these days. Now a days you have "expensive" show taken off the air to show "inexpensive" shows that lack imagination ie...REALITY SHOWS!!!! Sci fi has even jumped this bandwagon recently with Mad Mad House, Ghost Hunters and Scare Tactics...these shows are cheap to make so they don`t really care what ratings they get.

I really hate that stuff like this is happening and taking off the good shows that enjoy to watch. Farscape was critically acclaimed and had a strong/loyal following...but I guess that doesn`t mean much. I guess they would rather have ten shows that suck then one really brilliant show!

Ah well...sorry for ranting! :D
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Postby cyberman on Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:46 pm

You bring up a very good point. These reality shows (especially the "Sci-Fi" versions) must have appeal to corporate execs. Hopefully the times are-a-changin' as we hear about more and more reality shows that slip in the ratings. Reality TV will always be around but I'd like to think that it will not be as pervasive as it is today. The only one that is any good is Extream Makeover: Home Edition. The rest are garbage. Perhaps we will see entertainment take a drastic turn to salvage quality programing. With the advent of DVD proliferation and the internet we may see production decisions being made with a different framework. Heck, the Farscape mini is evidenced of that. It wasn't Sci-Fi that "commissioned" mini. Henson found it's own backers (via the internet fan base) and they pushed the show to market as apposed to Sci-Fi pulling the show to market. Something has to be done if reality TV maintains it's hold on the corporate tv giants
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Postby greg donovan on Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:19 pm

syndiaction would be cool but im pretty sure that they have to hit 100 episodes for that to happen.

didnt farscape air on USA a few times way back when?
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Postby Fracture on Fri Oct 22, 2004 5:50 pm

Actually they don't need the syndication. The farscape series as we know it has ended. The story resolved enough to allow for a whole new direction and they could shop it around as that.
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Postby BritAngie on Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:48 pm

greg donovan wrote:syndiaction would be cool but im pretty sure that they have to hit 100 episodes for that to happen.

didnt farscape air on USA a few times way back when?


The hundred eps thing is a myth these days. The golden number is generally around 90 which is why it was so ironic sci fi stopped the show short at 88.. The mini's two parter gets them to 90. :D
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Postby aeryn-rules on Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:05 pm

The hundred eps thing is a myth these days. The golden number is generally around 90 which is why it was so ironic sci fi stopped the show short at 88.. The mini's two parter gets them to 90. :D[/quote]

a number that needs at least doubled.
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Postby BritAngie on Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:29 pm

Absolutely! :lol:
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Postby cyberman on Fri Oct 22, 2004 7:42 pm

I guess technically if you broke the mini down into 1 hour portions (for regular broadcasting) you could say the series is at 92 episodes.
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