Syfy, striving to Imagine Greater

You may recall I had a rather extensive rant when I first learned of the SCI FI Channel’s plans to become Syfy (I may start pronouncing this Siffy, though I am assured this nonsense word is phonetically the same as sci-fi).

Well It would be remiss of me not to take another look closer to the launch date, they’ve unveiled the House of Imagination, a promo to demonstrate the new look and feel of the new and better Syfy. Overall impressions? Exactly as feared so far I’m afraid.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually think it’s a lovely ad, I love Goldfrapp, and think it’s well put together, and well crafted. Though something rather obvious bothers me about it. Erm where’s the science fiction? From what I could see I noticed Amanda Tapping, something of a science fiction institution herself, and a rather cartoonish looking CGI dinosaur.

Unfortunately it’s still everything I was worried they were trying to do, it’d be a great advert for a generic channel that doesn’t specialise in science fiction, but merely fiction in general which a lot of other channels do. It actually reminds me very much of some of Dave‘s adverts, the music, the surreal wonderment of young trendy 20 somethings drifting around a house. The comparison to Dave I touched on briefly in the comments on my last article about this – as they satisfactorily completely rebranded their channel and became a much bigger success. Something the SCI FI Channel never actually needed to do, they were a well established successful channel already, Dave was (and is to a degree) a repeats channel for British comedy of various manners, but wanted to give itself it’s own personality as it was just another slice of the UKTV pie originally.

But moving back to the Syfy Imagine Greater promo – there are strong doses of of the surreal and fantastical, and some soft hints of ghosts… Nothing of science fiction, would it have pained themselves to have a little nod to their roots in there? To alleviate us disgruntled silly people, prove us wrong a little bit with a tiny hint that imagining greater didn’t just mean imagining a channel with something for everyone but the science fiction fans? Apparently not.

Imagine Greater itself as a tag-line seems less and less appropriate the more they seem to be shunning science fiction in their approach. The renaming I could learn to tolerate, and the loss of the Saturn-esque identity as long as they didn’t quite so completely re-target themselves at people who have next to no interest in science fiction.

The promo stings showing the old logo being torn/blasted/blown away and replaced with the new Siffy identity are available on YouTube, and again they’re really quite nice and play heavily on the idea of broadening your expectations from Siffy. Though as I said last time, having to tell a science fiction fan to broaden your imagination is rather pointless.

Anyway I hope they do at some point prove my worrying wrong, it wouldn’t take much, just a jokey cheeky flying saucer at some point to nod that all of that heritage isn’t completely out the window. It would have reassured me if they had something a bit more science fiction than a horse with rockets on it in the promo stings.

The rest of the change to Syfy rolls out across July, the launch is on the 7th of July I believe, so I’m sure this won’t be my last ramble on the matter, who knows, maybe they’ll surprise me. I hope they will.

Sci Fi
Syfy – House of Imagination Promo

5 thoughts on “Syfy, striving to Imagine Greater

  1. yeah I’m not too excited about this myself..but really, when it comes to the name change, it won’t make a difference. They’ve been moving away from sci fi and towards cheesy monster movies for quite a while now. There’s nothing even on that station worth watching lately.

  2. Seems like a waste of time and money to make such an inane name change! Wonder if another mega syndicate will create and produce a SCIENCE FICTION channel that actually shows science fiction movies!

  3. We can only hope that’ will occur Sharon. This seems to be the culmination of a long downward spiral for the Scifi channel. For the last 6 or 7 years or so shows like the Stargates and Battlestar Galactica have been the exception not the rule while everywhere else the Scifi channel seems to have done its best to strip away its heritage programming. The Scifi channel has always embraced general weirdness rather than limiting itself to a strict interpretation of what the science fiction genre includes. Yet it seems it really is spurning high concepts, Galactica and plot progression episodes of the Stargates aside, when was the last time the Scifi channel had anything original that had strong, dynamic characters and depth of plot that lasted more than half a season? Like all networks, they seem to be aiming more and more for the lowest common denominator with more reality shows, more emphasis on mindless violence, T&A and humor with all the intelligence and subtlety of Family Guy. Meanwhile shows like Heroes, Krod Mandoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire (admittedly not the best example of subtle, mature humor but there’s a place for the opposite) and Legend of the Seeker that would be Scifi’s natural home are popping up everywhere else BUT Scifi. In the meantime its homegrown shows between seasons / new series like Sanctuary or Galactica are left without any reruns to raise awareness of their existence while their audience withers.

  4. I have to agree, SyFy, is very silly and one huge step in the long line of the many bad steps that the people at Sci Fi have taken. No re runs ever of farscape, andromeda (not that i got into it much but still), and oh ya our 2 biggest seires like the Stargate’s and Glactica lets just do away with them and make another Stargate series, one that seems to not really have any real link to the flagship shows. It is like you say Tim they just seem to want to bring more viewers who dont really care about science fiction but who just want to waste a few hours in the TV. so now what is SyFy? from what i can gather seeing as i have almost altogether stopped watching it, is that, its biggest shows now seem to be all reality based or just ghost hunters, and of course the awful sci fi original movies (which i love because they are so bad), but honestly NBC has Heros, Spike plays Star Trek Voyager, Life after People on History and anything on Science Channel seem to have more science fiction then SyFy. in closing i know im kind of all over the place, but thats what “siffy” seems to be, like Fox or that crazy WB network just abounch of nonsense with no real genre root just a place to tune and numb your mind, and the name change just seems like a dumb bump into mainstream stylezed stupidity

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