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Ask Matt: Summertime TV, Post-Damages Woe, and More!
Jul 5, 2010
by Matt Roush
... Question: I have a kvetch about the Syfy network's current nightly programming. I keep tuning to Syfy hoping to see fairly new episodes of current hits like Eureka or classic episodes of Battlestar, but instead huge blocks of Syfy's schedule are dominated by gross-out horror films or, worse, cheap CGI horror. Syfy relegates syndicated cult faves like The X-Files and Star Trek to sporadic daytime blocks, while their nightly programming relies on bad horror films. I don't equate science fiction with backpackers getting mauled by Dinosharks and Octospiders, and I'd much rather see classic X-Files than another bad monster movie filmed in the Ukraine. New Syfy shows like Caprica and Warehouse 13 could benefit from repeat primetime airings, but Syfy's programmers are more apt to reach for severed arms and flying piranhas than repeats of Stargate Universe. Do you have any insight on why Syfy has been so parsimonious with its own critically acclaimed shows in favor of schlocky horror flicks? Why is Syfy robbing their new shows of much needed primetime exposure?—Stephanie
Matt Roush: I admit I don't pay a great deal of attention to channels like Syfy except on the nights when it airs original series I may be inclined to watch (like Warehouse 13, which premieres a new season this Tuesday, and Fridays, where Eureka will be returning alongside the unfortunate Haven). You make a good point that it would behoove Syfy (or at least enhance its reputation) by giving its signature shows more of a spotlight throughout the week (and months of hiatus), but clearly the programmers have found the mix of sensational reality and Z-grade horror flicks to suit their business needs. Otherwise, why go there? Could also be a licensing issue with some shows that limit the number of times they can be repeated, but where the classics like X-Files are concerned, it's also possible that they've exhausted much of their shelf life for now. At least where the bottom line is concerned.