01/09/2003

Insulting Insinuations, or, Why we're not as dumb as they think we are

SciFi defends their decision to cancel Farscape (blurb near end of page)

I think the thing that peeves me most about this mindset is that idea of keeping up with the show was "too much work" for viewers. First, I dislike the assumption that viewers (even casual ones) aren't willing to "work" for sharp, well-written genre television (I might almost buy that if SciFi made any effort to give viewers a chance to keep up. I mean, other than rerunning the first three seasons, and a couple of Chain Reactions, they never re-ran the show. How the hell are new viewers and/or casual viewers supposed to catch up? How many times did they run "Taken", for instance. Or Stargate?). Let alone the assumptions that smart, well-written TV with a running story requires "work" to be enjoyed. Thank you for insinuating that we'd much rather sit back with "Joe Millionaire".

I also dislike the assumption that to be successful a television show must be completely unserialized so that it is accessible to new or casual viewers at any point. You can't tell a story with that level of single-minded episodic limitation. You can't have character development and growth, not in the same way when you have at least some thread of an over-arching plot. 'Cause you can have a successful show with those elements. Buffy does it. Hell, look at Stargate SG-1, SciFi's new cash cow (while certainly more episodic than Farscape, it still has its share of long-running plot arcs).

Lastly, I fucking hate SciFi's assertation that ultimately it was the writers and the fans who killed the show. I can't buy that. Not in the face of how they've promoted the show (poorly), not in the face of their over-all programming changes (Tremors? The Dream Team? Showing *Braveheart*, for chrissakes?). Just admit that you thought it was too expensive and it wasn't the kind of programming you wanted. We might all stop watching your network because there's nothing worthwhile on it anymore, but at least we won't want to send rude gestures your way for the insult to our intelligence.

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