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Can Sci-Fi Fans Face the Future? 394

khendron writes "The Toronto Star has an article about sci-fi fans and their ongoing habit of protesting the cancellation of their beloved TV shows. From mailing bras to starting malicious Internet rumours, devoted viewers try all sorts of things to protect what they love. That's not always good news."
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Can Sci-Fi Fans Face the Future?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Fight for what you enjoy, regardless

    • by STrinity ( 723872 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:18PM (#11859073) Homepage
      Because all too often fans act like religious fanatics over mediocre drivel, which makes it easier for execs to dismiss the outcry when a truly great show like Firefly gets canceled.
    • So we've gone from "fight for what you believe in" to "fight for what you enjoy"?

      I find it pretty pathetic that people would put so much effort into fighting for something so trivial. It's a TV SHOW!

      Why not put your "fighting spirit" towards something that actually matters?
      Maybe it just gives them the illusion of being "rebels" or fighting for a cause. It's protest role-playing. Fighting for a cause that might have some real significance is just too risky.
      There are plenty of valid causes that geeks can su
      • Why not put your "fighting spirit" towards something that actually matters?

        Maybe my tinfoil hat's on too tight, but the people with the power don't want the masses to do this.

        Don't you realize that TV is the opiate/soma of the masses? It does a great job of keeping most people sedated and uninterested in the "real world". Without it, they'd be unhappy enough with their pathetic and boring lives that they just might restless and be more active in things that "actually matter".

        That means changing the st
  • Lame and pointless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by squarooticus ( 5092 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:03PM (#11858626) Homepage
    Ratings are the only things that matter. An OTA show has only one mission: to get people to watch commercials. If not enough people see the commercials, the show isn't doing its job, and it goes off the air. So if you want the show to stay on the air, the only real solution is to get more people to watch it.
    • I'm surprised fans are going this far. There are plenty of other sci-fi shows, it's not that hard to be better than Enterprise. I think there is a bit of a glut of sci-fi on TV, and Star Trek has been overdone. Even if they don't like what is on now, there are so many of these TV shows on DVD too, and the company that finances the show gets its due and without the obnoxious ads every six minutes.
      • I'm pragmatic about the whole thing. If there's good SF, I'll watch it. Otherwise I won't. At least I have a very substantial collection of SF books, not to mention a good public library in my town. If the TV SF ain't that good, there's always an awesome author like Arthur C. Clarke or Larry Niven.
    • Look, the execs see it this way:

      "$36 million?! Shit, we can produce an two seasons of 'Friends' or four YEARS worth of 'Fear Factor' for that!"

      Even if you get the audience, it's not going to matter much to networks like 'UPN' who will undoubtedly replace 'Enterprise' with something stupid, cheesy and, more importantly - cheap.

      As I've said before, I think the only way to ensure new, quality, Sci-Fi will be if we all want to pay for it, ala HBO - Sci-fi.

    • Don't forget about product placement as a means for generating revenue from a TV show.

      In fact, product placement in a sci-fi series could be even more effective. Think about it: are you going to notice a Coke can more in a modern day police station set or on the bridge of a star cruiser in 2046?

      I've read that in order to use the branding that Kubrick used in 2001: A Space Odyssey (e.g., PanAM and AT&T), he had to pay those companies for the rights. My how times have a-changed!

    • But I don't understand why the articles says protesting is an "ongoing" habit? Maybe it just is the future of television: instead of being spoon-fed every kind of s**t, we'll have a voice to tell or indicate "what we want" and "what we don't want anymore."

      Weblogs and the internet are supposed to change journalism, why can't TV change too?
    • by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:04PM (#11859001)
      Not quite. Ratings are good, but the right sort of demographic is also important. This is a long-standing tradition in Hollywood; CBS cancelled "The Beverly Hillbillies" way back in the day even though it sat in the top 10 every week. Why? It's audience was an older, rural audience which wasn't really what advertisers demanded.

      A similar fate befell "Buffy." What started out as part of The WB's two-pronged attack (along with "Dawson's Creek") to morph from an "urban" network to one that targetted the lucrative teen market started to skew much older than they intended. Granted, "Buffy" also started costing much more around Season 4, and the end of Season 5 marked the 100 episode point commonly needed for syndication.

      "Enterprise" was the number one UPN show last time I looked at a Nielsen report, but it really doesn't belong on that channel. Programming around "Enterprise" would be tricky, and it doesn't really lend itself to many of the traditional programming strategies on a network primarily filled with minority-targetted sitcoms.

      As others have suggested, cost is also a huge factor. Sci-fi series are going to generally be more expensive than a similarly rated comedy. Give me $1.5 million an episode, and I can probably find mroe profitable ventures than a sci-fi show (remember the great game show blitz of '00?)

      Take heart: At the normal rate, we'll probably see another Trek show back on the air in three or four years. Maybe Paramount will have the sense to put it on something other than UPN. If this article was correct in stating that "Enterprise" was averaging 2 million viewers per episode, though, it had no business on the air at the price it probably cost.
    • Ratings are the only things that matter. An OTA show has only one mission: to get people to watch commercials. If not enough people see the commercials, the show isn't doing its job, and it goes off the air. So if you want the show to stay on the air, the only real solution is to get more people to watch it.

      Remember when Futurama changed timeslot every week for a few months, then settled in a spot where it was pre-empted by football overtime week after week after week?

      Remeber how Fox claimed they aired F
  • Another thought... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:03PM (#11858627) Homepage Journal
    Maybe Sci-Fi shows have run their course. After all, it was Sci-Fi that displaced the western, which had a long run.

    So ... what's replacing Sci-Fi? (Please, please, please, not reality TV, please, please...)

    • by JPriest ( 547211 )
      So ... what's replacing Sci-Fi?

      The internet.

    • by miyako ( 632510 ) <miyakoNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:12PM (#11858675) Homepage Journal
      Actually, it seems to me that a lot of Sci-Fi is being replaced with shows that have a bit more of a paranormal twist, like the (now defunct) Buffy and Angel, and shows like Charmed.
      They have a tendancy to follow some of the same themes and styles, like the morally ambiguous choices of heros, and the sort of adventure feeling.
      Of course, it's been quite a while since I've watched TV, so I could be on the wrong track.
    • by ari_j ( 90255 )
      Q: what's replacing Sci-Fi?
      A: reality TV

      Dude, it's only a $64,000 question if you don't give the answer right away like that. And yes, reality TV is the replacement. Why? Because 90% of the people who watch 90% of the TV in this country honestly enjoy that crap. The people who don't watch reality TV often have better things to do, like live their own damn lives instead of living vicariously through complete idiots who think survival has the first thing to do with voting someone off the island.

      • by eln ( 21727 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:29PM (#11858752)
        If you want to have a "reality TV" show called "Survivor," you had better have all the contestants but one die, and you'd better not help them out at all. Just videotape what happens when you drop 16 people off with no supplies but the shirts on their backs and whatever they had in their pockets at an undisclosed location with no civilization for at least 100 miles in any direction.

        That would never work. You know that as soon as they decided to resort to cannibalism, the film crew would be the first ones to go.
      • And yes, reality TV is the replacement. Why? Because 90% of the people who watch 90% of the TV in this country honestly enjoy that crap.

        I'd say we will see more and more reality shows because they are stupendously cheaper to produce than anything else. Minimal sets, no actors, no script writing, etc. Compare that to sci-fi. Special effects and complex sets are a must, decent acting, and sudo science that is close enough that it allows us to suspend disbelief - all costly if done right, and crap if any
        • by ari_j ( 90255 )
          Even the cheap production is no help if nobody watches the shows. A truly popular show will pull in millions per commercial break, so whether the episode cost $10,000 or $5,000,000 to produce, if nobody at all watches the $10,000 show and the $5,000,000 show gets 50 million viewers, the more expensive show will actually be more profitable.

          The problem here is socio-economic. Somehow, you have something like an inverse elasticity - if you decrease the quality of the product without altering the price, yo
        • sudo science
          Someone rootkitted God?
    • by sniggly ( 216454 )
      Its because scifi fans are geeks and control the internet so they can organize much more easily than fans of other kind of shows...
    • Space Opera replaces Sci-Fi, but that already happened, decades ago.
    • Crime shows (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperBanana ( 662181 )
      what's replacing Sci-Fi? (Please, please, please, not reality TV, please, please...)

      Not quite. Crime shows. Just about every evening show is a crime drama or crime fiction.

      Law & Order CI, Law&Order SVU, Law&Order Trial By Jury, NCIS, 24, Numbers(oops, I mean, "Numb3rs"), Blind Justice, Cold Case, NYPD Blue, Boston Legal, The Firm, Crossing Jordan, Medical Investigation, Third Watch, Crime Scene Investigation, CSI: Miami, CSI: NY, JAG, Six Feet Under, Monk...the list goes on and on, and th

      • See, this is why I think they should have NCIS spin off SFCIS (Star Fleet Criminal Investigative Service) and CSI: Vulcan (Grissom would fit right in... and Adrian Monk on Vulcan would be amusing).

        Incidently, there has already been a Star Trek crime "series" that is quite nice. Book, of course... the first (and so far only) is "The Case of the Colonist's Corpse: A Sam Cogley Mystery". Pretty good read; I'd like to see more published (the cover and title hint that more may be planned).

        Of course, with the

      • Re:Crime shows (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sjames ( 1099 )

        Many of which condition the public into accepting trampling of their rights by real law enforcement...show DNA tests in seconds and cases solved in hours...all which make the public think that law enforcement is on a roll throwing an endless stream of serial killers and terrorists into jail, or outrage the public when their "rights" let the bad guy get off or a judge won't sign that search warrant our dashing detective needs to find who's been kidnapping little girls with

        Actually, I've heard that prosec

    • by Have Blue ( 616 )
      What's replacing it is more subdued sci-fi elements. It was once acceptable to base an entire show around "HEY LOOK SPACESHIPS"; that's no longer true. The standard trappings of sci-fi are no longer sufficient to drive a show, they must become the foundation upon which traditionally dramatic situations are constructed. In a typical TOS or even TNG episode, the plot usually revolves around a brand-new alien race with some unique but secret quirk that the heroes must discover to solve the crisis. And now look
  • Here's a clue... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:04PM (#11858634)

    The best sci-fi is in BOOKS not TELEVISION.

    As long as corporate conglomerates control the airwaves, you won't get anything other lowest common demoninator "Popular Reality Show" crap.

    Pick up a book, read some Philip K Dick, do something, just stop wasting your grey matter on tv shows!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I was going to write something but this person hit the nail on the head.

      Why waste your time trying to get studio execs to produce something they don't want to produce?

      The flat out best sci-fi is in the books. Always have, always will be.

      Same for history, horror, suspense, mystery.....etc.

      Comic books aren't being turned into movies due to the active campaigns of comic book readers. They've been turned into movie because someone in Hollywood said "Holy shit. These comics books are flying off the shelve
      • Wait, comic books "flying of the shelves" year after year? Have you seen the current state of comic book sales? It's not like the 90's any more when people were buying millions of copies of comic books. These days, frankly, a comic book that sells 100,000 copies is considered a best seller.

        I'm pretty sure the sales of comic books, in and of themselves, are not a major factor in Hollywood execs deciding to make movies out of them.


        • You're right, the comic books-to-movies phenomenon is more driven by a critial mass of 20-40 year olds for whom these comics were part of their childhood, and are instantly recognizable. That's why the Hulk, Spider-Man, X-Men, etc. are getting made into movies instead of more modern titles. It's all about capitalizing on nostalgia.
          • Yeah. Although it is nice to see some more recent comics work getting turned into movies, hopefully based more just on the merits of the story itself. Just as an example, Bendis' "Jinx" crime comic is being turned into a movie starring Charlie Theron, and apparently a movie based on his "Powers" comic has been in the works for a while too. Paramount just acquired the rights to make a movie out of Robert Kirkman's new "Invincible" comic. And then some of the older stuff is being turned into movies again
        • Right, but millions of copies of a regular monthly title hasn't happened since nearly the "golden age." And that's when the comic served dual purpose as handy paper to put on the floor for your dog or with which to line the bird cage. Oh sure, there is the occasional book that sells really well, but as you say - a book regularly selling 100,000 is a big deal now.

          Sadly, most of the books published aren't worth reading anyway.
          • Yeah. I was more referring to some of the crazy stuff that happened during the 90's, where things like the debut issue of X-Men sold millions of copies, etc. Granted, a lot of those comics selling in the millions were largely to speculators who were buying tons of copies, never reading them, and hoping they'd be worth a lot of money (what they didn't count on, I guess, was the idea that the reason all those old comic books like the first appearance of Superman are worth so much, is because they are so rar
    • Insightful, indeed. But what about the sci-fi fans who want to watch a good series on television? Why does every good sci-fi show that comes on fade away into nothing-ness? I understand that you can't please everyone at the same time, but I think that it says something when sci-fi, a genre with such a decent following, can go practically unnoticed in a medium so important and common-place as television. Is one good sci-fi show too much to ask for?
    • by Jonny_eh ( 765306 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:26PM (#11858739)
      Reading a PKD short story is much more rewarding than an episode of Enterprise.

      Stop with the blind loyalty to a 'brand'. Let's get some loyalty to quality. There weren't nearly as many people upset over the cancellation of Firefly as there are people upset over Enterprise's. Maybe if Firefly was called 'Star Trek: Firefly' people would've cared.
    • by gidds ( 56397 ) <slashdot@nOSpAm.gidds.me.uk> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:39PM (#11858814) Homepage
      Just what I was going to say! Maybe the story should have been called 'Can Fans of TV Sci-Fi Face The Future?' (To which the obvious answer is 'Does It Matter?')

      I for one am getting fed up with people equating the sort of bad space opera, alien-of-the-week stories, soap opera, and space-bound military action that we see on TV with real, hard-edged, thought-provoking, intelligent ideas-based science fiction of the sort that we see in books and especially in the 'pulp' magazines where it all started and where real talent and real ideas are still being fostered. (Personally, I prefer the short story format, as that tends to concentrate on the ideas and deliver them with real punch.)

      Even in Star Trek at its best, I'd only count some of the episodes as real science fiction. (To be fair, while some of those ones were great, some weren't; and some of the non-SF ones were very good.) But none of the 'SF' programmes on (terrestrial UK) TV at the moment interest me at all.

      Science fiction isn't necessarily about space, time travel, cosmology, particle physics, parallel universes, alien races, or robots -- though there've been wonderful stories about all of those. And it certainly doesn't need to involve space ships or laser pistols, despite the many films and TV series which seem to think it does. It's about ideas. It's about asking 'What if...?' It looks at the universe and says 'Why not...?' Or even 'Unless...'

      To take two film examples, I consider The Truman Show to be better science fiction than Minority Report. The latter certainly looked the part, had all the trappings, and got right up to asking some really interesting and fundamental questions; but then pulled back from them and decided to be a bog-standard action film in the end. Whereas the former dared to take a Big Idea and actually explore the consequences.

      So what I'd personally like to see is a science fiction TV show that's not even called science fiction, that the fans of what currently passes under that name won't notice or be interested in. I don't know if the cancellation of Enterprise will make that more likely, but it probably can't hurt...

    • WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by samael ( 12612 ) <Andrew@Ducker.org.uk> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:40PM (#11858821) Homepage
      I mean, sure, there's a lot of crap out there, but both BSG and Firefly have been excellent in recent times.

      Yes, there's great written SF that's far better than almost any TV SF, but it _is_ possible to produce good TV SF.
    • it's a pain in the ass tracking down good Sci-Fi. Note that I said Sci-Fi, not Science Fiction; i.e. cheesy space opera ala E.E. "Doc" Smith. There's no shortage of good hard Science Fiction, but if I want to sit down and read a good novel about swashbuckling aliens, there's just too much crap to weed through. I think the problem is it's too easy to write bad space operas. Anyone can try it, but it's a lot harder to keep the pace up and keep things interesting.
    • Wow that's elitist (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Aexia ( 517457 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @06:30PM (#11860954)
      There's a lot of printed sci-fi crud out there too that panders to the lowest common demoninator. They're two different mediums with different strengths and quality matters in both.

      If you want to cherry pick Philip K Dick as being representative of sci-fi books, you have to let me cherry pick Firefly as representative of sci-fi television. And frankly, I'll take Firefly anytime.
  • As creators of speculation, of course Sci-Fi can fabricate the face of the future. That's all we do.
  • by RonnyJ ( 651856 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:05PM (#11858641)
    It's somewhat dismaying to read one of the comments from Jolene Blalock in the article, apparently regarding the final episode of Enterprise.

    There is an awkward silence when the subject of the final episode is broached. "I don't know where to begin with that one," she finally stammers. "The final episode is ... appalling."

    • by yotto ( 590067 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:45PM (#11858851) Homepage
      Whenever I see ellipsis (Those little dot dot dot things) I instantly think "MISQUOTE!" There are two possibilities here:
      1) She said "The final episode is," then paused dramatically, and finished up with, "appalling."
      2) She said something like "The final episode is an endearing tribute to both the failed show and the Star Trek universe, and I find the fact that it will be seen by so few to be appalling."

      Either way, I think the way she was quoted was ... appalling.
      • by Heisenbug ( 122836 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:05PM (#11859337)
        3) It's an indication of a pause to choose the appropriate word. Of course the speaker probably paused several times per sentence anyway -- this pause was left in to indicate the interviewer's impression that she paused because she has strong feelings on this subject and wished to be precise, which itself is useful information.

        Getting worked up to the point of all caps and an exclamation point in your brain is ... mildly neurotic. But I guess we all freak out over something or other. Carry on.

    • It's somewhat dismaying to read one of the comments from Jolene Blalock in the article, apparently regarding the final episode of Enterprise... .."The final episode is ... appalling."

      Without any hint of humour whatsoever I can say - What do you expect? The other episodes were appalling too.

      I'm far more concerned about the following attempt to defibrillate the trek movies:

      ...also a prequel, supposedly set between the Enterprise era and the original adventures of Capt. Kirk.

      The idea being, one ca
  • It's human nature... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dingo ( 91227 ) <gedwards@@@westnet...com...au> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:06PM (#11858647) Journal
    ...you just try and organise a "please don't axe our favorite show" protest before it has been axed. It just wont happen.

    Too bad as it would probably work better.

    Executive types hate reversing decisions, somehow thinking it implies they don't know what they are doing, but deciding not to can a series...thats just another choice that can be made without loosing face.

  • by eln ( 21727 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:07PM (#11858652)
    The problem with Enterprise is, the studio knew that there was this already existing rabid fanbase for all things Trek, so they figured that they could put any old crap on TV, put the Trek name on it, and they would have a built-in fanbase. Sadly, all of these protests have proven them right.

    Unfortunately for them, this time the fanbase isn't big enough to sustain a series, even on the low ratings friendly UPN. The article also states how they hope to be picked up by the Sci Fi channel, which requires even lower ratings of its fare.

    The problem is, Enterprise really isn't a very good show. It needs to be cancelled. Maybe it will mean the death of the Trek franchise, but I seriously doubt it. More likely, it will result in someone down the road coming up with another Trek series and actually putting some effort into writing a quality show.
    • With no clear route for the next Star Trek Movie either, the future of Trek is looking dark indeed. Bring Back Kirk Trailer II had more insightful Trek storyline than some past Enterprise shows. It irked me to no end that they had so little of the Enterprise series take place on Earth, and obviously that's where a lot of the Federation building would have to take place.
      • With no clear route for the next Star Trek Movie either, the future of Trek is looking dark indeed.

        Indeed...DS9 could have a movie done, due to the storyline not having been wrapped up tight, but even that would be a bit of a stretch.

        If there even should be a new movie, that is. Leaving the theatre after seeing the horror that was ST:Nemesis, all I could think was "God, just let it die..."
  • Does anyone else see that on the main slashdot page, the headline reads "Can Sci-Fi Fab..." while the readmore says "Can Sci-Fi Fans..."?
  • Best Quote Ever (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ford Prefect ( 8777 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:12PM (#11858670) Homepage
    There is an awkward silence when the subject of the final episode is broached. "I don't know where to begin with that one," [Jolene Blalock] finally stammers. "The final episode is ... appalling."
    Should this quote have had spoiler tags? Although, for me it'll probably be the best episode ever, in that I simply can't stand Enterprise. Or Star Trek in general, to be honest. Although I'll probably get flamed to death for admitting so... ;-)
    • You're not alone in not liking Star Trek and especially Enterprise. I used to be a Trek fan. I started watching the original series on late-night television in my senior year of highschool. By the time I moved out of home a few years later I was a pretty big fan and your typical walking-encyclopedia Trek nerd. But then I got into reading books (public transport to work and all that) and learnt what real Science Fiction was all about. I'm still impartial to Star Trek and other TV shows. I like new stuff like
    • I think we all know that if you mention being flamed, that almost certainly you won't be. It's a rule. It's in the federation charter, right after section 31.
  • by kgruscho ( 801766 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:12PM (#11858673)
    The article towards the end mentions that some of the more successful fan movements have been largely the result of female fans. (e.g. Farscape) I wonder to what extent this is true of Enterprise? Anybody have some numbers? The impression I get from the marketing of Jolene Blalock is that women have not been marketed to..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    `The person who sits there on the Internet attacking you is the first person to come up to you at a convention and love you.'
    Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackhoff, on sci-fi fans
    Yeah, well, about the only way some fans get any is making love like crazed tribbles at conventions.
  • Bras!?! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Nelson ( 1275 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:21PM (#11858717)
    Sci-fi fans? Surely these are manziers or bros that are being mailed in.

  • Yes we can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse ( 789240 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:21PM (#11858718) Journal
    We can face the future better then most people. We can't stand the current shit on TV (DIY super celebrity magic flog it special!) and we want something which at least has something intresting in it.

    The average beer swilling idiot would complain if you canceled whatever his favourite show was, it's just us geeks have a forum (the internet) and we can rally in huge numbers against things we hate.
  • by MrAndrews ( 456547 ) <mcm.1889@ca> on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:25PM (#11858737) Homepage
    This came up a few days ago with the "pay-per-view series" story [slashdot.org], and in a thread attached there some of us contemplated something of a plan to actually make a series based on fan interest... like a middleman-less version of broadcast TV.

    Along those lines, I made a page outlining the "business plan" [dustrunners.com] and asked for input as to how much you personally would pay per episode of a particular show. I did it kind of late in the game, though, so only about 400 people saw it. I'd like to increase the sample if I could...

    The idea related to TFA is this: if you have a block of fans that are fanatical enough to gather hundreds of thousands of signatures, to pull a sinking series out of the abyss... why not actually give them what they want? If you get subscriptions for a season of a show from enough people, you can easily produce a show, and you will make bigger profits than before while still giving the fans what they want. Especially in sci-fi, where the audience is more internet-aware and a lot more passionate, this seems like a great solution for all parties.

    Anyway, if you'll at least take the time to vote at the bottom of that page, it would be very interesting to see how Enterprise's target audience actually feels about the idea.
    • One thing that may keep execs from loving this idea is the illusion of control it gives those (rabid) subscribers. Sure the studios have a potential new revenue stream, but what happens when the fans start making demands? An interesting question to add to your business plan research might be "How much control do you expect the fan base of said series to have?"

      Studios aren't used to (and probably won't stand for) fans making demands, and will let fans know who's boss, at least in terms of production.

      They m

  • To me the obvious thing for the *FAN*atics is to set up a Star Trek MMORPG. Set some sort of honor system up so that everyone is as squeaky clean as good old Gene saw the future and let them pilot their ships all they want. I honesty can't believe that no one has created this beast already - talk about your monthy subscriptions - this thing is a gold mine.


  • by kahei ( 466208 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:29PM (#11858753) Homepage
    ...in the cause of demanding Futurama back!

    BRING IT BACK, damn you! I want to hear about how Fry and Leela fall in love! I want to see Amy and Kif raise a family of tadpoles! I want to witness Zoidberg's later career as a famous radio psychiatrist! I -- I want to hear how it ends!

    HOW COULD YOU CANCEL IT, YOU BASTARDS? How _could_ you? I mean, how was any one individual physically able to say the words 'Let's axe Futurama' without their tongue turning black and their eyes bursting into flame and their skin blistering and peeling and bursting and their vile TV-exec brain crawling away across the floor? I don't understand how it's physically possible.

    This, THIS is the proof that evil is built into mankind. This is the physical manifestation of original sin. This is the archetypal ur-mistake of which all other mistakes are just shadows, the womb of chaos from which springs a monstrous child, the black goat of the woods with a thousand young... *mumble mumble*

    But! the people who watch Futurama aren't the kind of people who have nothing better to do than work with ratings agencies.

    So, it has to go.

    Why must everything beautiful be so brief?

  • by mabu ( 178417 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:30PM (#11858765)
    Good sci-fi requires that one think ahead and imagine the future. The problem is our society now is so obsessed with present-day instant gratification that the concept of imagining a different world tomorrow is almost alien (no pun intended).

    How many people look up at the stars anymore? How many people can even see the stars from big city lights? I think one reason why we have crappy sci-fi now is that it's not really science fiction; it's formulaic plot lines designed to distract someone in between ads for shampoo, pickup trucks, and diet pills.

    You want to see good science fiction? Turn off your stupid tv and go out and look at the night sky away from the city; your imagination will be more entertaining than a thousand mediocre tv shows.
  • And therein lay the problem. For years, fans of the original show -- with original star Richard Hatch (not the Survivor champ) as their vocal point-man -- had been agitating for a revival of Battlestar Galactica ... as it originally was

    You mean there are two Richards?

    Damn you Toronto Star!!! DAMN YOOUUUUUUUUU!!!
  • We are out numbered by people who want to watch stupid reality TV shows. And the networks know this, so cancel our shows and put on more reality TV, bam, better ratings.
  • The future is not to be faced [imdb.com].
  • Okay, everyone knows TV has gone downhill, but what about videogames? There are some really good sci-fi-themed games out there. Wing Commander series, anyone?
  • by Nice2Cats ( 557310 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:50PM (#11858893)
    The problem is not that shows end, the problem is that they don't reach their natural end. Compare Buffy to Angel: Even if the seventh season sucked, Buffy had a natural end that made sense and was for the most part satisfying -- the issues raised in the beginning were solved. More episodes wouldn't make sense, the series rests complete. Angel, on the other hand, just stopped, leaving everybody unsatisfied. You could keep adding more episodes tomorrow.

    If a series ends naturally, there is grumbling, but marching in the streets doesn't make sense. Enterprise and other shows that were pulled in mid-run make you feel cheated, and in fact, that is just what has happened. This is one of the reasons why television sucks big time compared to books: Imagine "Lord of the Rings" without the third book, and you get an idea of why people get pissed about these aborted seasons.

    • by Have Blue ( 616 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:42PM (#11859597) Homepage
      An even bigger problem is series that reach their natural end and then don't stop- the studio execs realize they have a cash cow on their hands and insist that the franchise continue to run even as the story makes less and less sense and the hardcore fans give up and drift off (see: X-files). Try imagining Lord of the Rings with a fourth and fifth book, in which something even MORE evil attacks Middle Earth, and everyone has to band together to fight it off again. Maybe this time the Hobbits have become lazy and corrupt and humans will ally with orcs!
  • by Sundroid ( 777083 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:51PM (#11858909) Homepage
    Fans make or break the shows -- an old adage anyone in show biz will tell ya. This article actually serves as an excellent PR piece for actress Jolene Blalock, who dares to defy Hollywood tradition by telling the truth about her own show.

    On her fan site, there are quite a few photos of her without the sci-fi makeup. Here is the link: http://www.hostconnect.org/~jolene/htm/index.html [hostconnect.org]
  • Sure (Score:3, Informative)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @12:59PM (#11858965)
    There's anime. Where do you think the fan base for all these shows went.
  • by Thedalek ( 473015 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:02PM (#11858983)
    It's not a question of "Can Sci-Fi fans cope?" Sure, we can cope. We just have to put up with far more crap than any other kind of niche market. If there's a decent Sci-Fi show on the air at any given time, chances are it A) Isn't advertised, B) Isn't in a consistent timeslot, and C) Frequently gets preempted for other things (like sports - See Firefly, or actually, any Fox-based SF show for a good example).

    This is largely due to the fact that TV executives don't like science fiction in the first place. Even the Sci-Fi channel has recently been frighteningly short on actual Sci-Fi, and pretty heavy on Monster-of-the-Week and Fantasy.

    It's also a matter of the networks keeping their word. Farscape fans were particularly upset at the cancellation of Farscape because the fifth season was meant to be the final season. This was pretty clearly stated by Rockne & Co fairly early on, and cancelling at the end of the fourth season was a clearly antagonistic move. Firefly fans got ticked because the show was never given a fair chance at all (Ask Rupert Murdock why) despite excellent writing, effects, and direction.

    Perhaps the best example of this problem was the Fox series Sliders, starring John Rhys-Davies as Professor Maximilian Arturo. The show was very clever and well thought out, right up until the third season, when each episode became a copycat of a recent movie. The writers were under pressure from the executives to tone down the science of the show, and amp up the "x-tremeness." So, midway through the third season, Rhys-Davies, disgusted with the direction the show was taking, wrote himself out, killing his character. Of course, the whole time, the show was struggling against poor budgets, floating timeslot syndrome, lack of public awareness, and constant preempting, and finally was canned a few episodes after Rhys-Davies departure. Then there was the SciFi channel's resurrection of the show, which is best left unmentioned.

    The problem isn't that SF fans are obsessive. The problem is that the TV executives don't care about SF, don't understand or like SF, and generally aren't willing to put forth any effort to help SF.
  • by Artifakt ( 700173 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:10PM (#11859027)
    ... People love particular episodes, or particular dialog or plotlines or characters. So what's going to happen if the fans get another episode of Enterprise, and it's a "bad" episode? How will you feel if you paid to get more episodes, and that actor or actress you hoped would get some really good character development gets a lot of wooden lines and writing that seems to go totally against the character as already envisioned? What if you were hoping to see more Ferengi, and Paramount turns out three episodes with nary a Feringi in sight?
    Right now, the fanbase is making a promise it can't keep - "Here's money! Give us Trek, and none of these thousands of investors will nit-pick about where that money went afterwards!".
    Professionals in Hollywood know that, if you add more and more investors in a project, there will inevitably be more who complain later. With tens of thousands involved, this adds greatly to the uncertainty of the project. Anyone acting in it, or writng the scripts or even just doing the special effects becomes worried that they will get extra helpings of blame if it doesn't work out. At this point, the fanbase is asking a lot of people to take exceptional risks with their careers for little or no upside. Maybe Rick Berman deserves that, but do all the others involved? Again, maybe a few of the executives have already taken a negative impact on their future in Hollywood, and should, in 'fairness' have to seize on a chance to prove they could do better, even if the odds are against them, but Hollywood doesn't seem to be saying "You'll never work in this town again." to those execs, and it has a nasty tendency to say that to other people. Those other people are probably responsible for the parts of Enterprise somebody actually loves.
  • by kirun ( 658684 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:21PM (#11859085) Homepage Journal
    1) Geeks buy hi-tech TV gear that skips ads
    2) TV shows popular with geeks loose money
    3) Shows get cancelled

    The alternative, of course is in-show advertising:

    ALIEN AMBASSADOR: We demand tribute from your puny species!
    EARTH AMBASSADOR: Our delegation comes bearing Crucial Ballistix RAM. Truly, the latency is low, and the tracer LEDs magestic.

    -- later --

    COMMANDER: Fire at will!
    * FIGHTER 1: Fires missile
    * HUGE MISSILE: Hits FIGHTER 2 and explodes
    COMMANDER: You fool! You hit the window!
    PILOT 1: Damn that 3M Security Glass!
  • It's very simple (Score:4, Informative)

    by gothzilla ( 676407 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @01:22PM (#11859090)
    From the article:
    "I mean, we started out with 13 million viewers on the pilot, and we somehow managed to drive 11 million of them away."

    There's 11 million other trek fans that feel Enterprise sucked with 2 million that stayed. Sounds to me like an overwhelming majority feel Enterprise was a terrible show and it's obvious the remaining fans are simply fanatic activists. There's nothing wrong with being a die-hard fan, but the ratings pretty much prove how terrible a show it was. I could understand protesting the cancellation of a star trek series that was produced well, but why the worst of the series?
  • by mustangdavis ( 583344 ) on Sunday March 06, 2005 @02:31PM (#11859530) Homepage Journal
    Forget Star Trek - it has been over exposed!!

    Instead of paying $36 million for one more season, those fans should use that money and buy all of the Stargate SG-1 seasons on DVD, watch tem, and then follow the current series on TV.

    It is much cheaper - the plot line is MUCH more interesting, and the special effects are better as well.

    In fact, the Stargate series now has all sorts of sweet ships, so they won't have to give up on the idea of flying around in space - they'd only have to give up on the concept of anti-matter and start believing in crystals and naquada!!!

    Sci-Fi has advanced beyond Star Trek with series such as Stargate and BSG - it's time for everyone to move on!!!!

    This isn't you're father's Sci-Fi!!!

    • Not exactly sure where SG-1 is going too. Part of what made the show one of the better film to TV series, at the beginning at least on Showtime, was the fact the show came in DD souround sound, no commericals, and the fact that Michael Shanks looks and sounds way too much like James Spader.

      It seems like at the end of this season a lot of things are going to get rapped up. **Spoiler Alert from here on**

      Richard Dean Anderson will be gone next season, personal reasons, the whole Jaffa rebellion and war a

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