The Death of Sci Fi in the UK

Survivors has gone. Paradox has gone. And, last night, Sci Fi itself in the UK came to an end...

It was 10pm on a fateful Tuesday April 13th. The general election was looming, with worries on which untrustworthy, expense-claiming, candy-stealing, snail trail-making politician would end up running the country. Wars were raging in far off places and money remained scarce in an economic climate still defrosting from the winter freeze.

The world was in a right old state, but there was one source of solace for the lonely science fiction-loving geek on our small little island, a TV channel that had been a beacon of geek for the nerd in us all: the one and only Sci Fi Channel.

This was a channel that, in past years, had been filled with science fiction greats and had brought us some of the best B-movies and underground cult series around.

In truth, in recent years, we hadn’t watched Sci Fi nearly as much as we used to. The programming we loved was replaced, in places, by bad made-for-TV and direct-to-DVD movies. But we had high hopes for a nudge back to its former glory with the news that Human Target, a comic book-based action-adventure show we quite like, was now airing on the channel. It was the chosen launch site of the revamped V series as well, another glimmer of hope on the science fiction horizon.

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The fact was, for a long time Sci Fi was a geek’s best refuge, but in America, things had turned sour long ago and evil, faceless marketing ‘experts’ ripped this legend of broadcasting from our US cousins, rebranding the channel… Syfy. Yeah, that’s what we thought too.

We don’t understand how a name change, and a bad one at that, would hope to make us love a channel like we used to. We always assumed it was the programming that did that, silly us.

But this new channel was to attract new viewers, and apparently, would feature less sci-fi programming, and more, erm… drama, wrestling and, well, normal programs. Obviously, there aren’t enough standard programming channels around, and far, far too many original, specialist offerings to keep things interesting. No? We’re wrong there?

Well, thankfully for us Brits, we seemed to have escaped this rebranding and for months we’ve been able to continue watching the channel (if not many of the shows), complete with the familiar Saturn-emblazoned logo and the proper Sci Fi name.

But wait! After watching X-Men 2 on this dark night, what should happen? What disaster could occur? Yep, with the credits of the movie still gaining speed, some cheerful, Sunny D-slurping TV announcer jumps in and proclaims that… “The wait is over. Don’t. Move. A. Muscle. You are moments away from the launch of your new look Sci Fi.”

Then, with no countdown, no fanfare, not even a single firework, Sci Fi was instantly rebranded Syfy, and our beloved channel has now officially succumbed to the textspeak evolution. Well, shit!

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Those four letters were followed by an equal parts dreamy and perky pop tune parading in some of the most bubbly sweet, prancing pretty people in stylish clothes who will populate the SeeFee channel. We’ve not seen their likes outside of Fill-In-The-Blank Country’s Top Model. (Not that we watch that, mind.)

And so, an era ends. Last night. At 10pm.

We know where we’re not wanted. R.I.P. Sci Fi.