In a telling article with Entertainment Weekly, Syfy proclaims the channel's new commitment to science fiction and the genre that originally made it great. But also in there is a quiet admission that when they dropped their core programming and turned from Sci-Fi into Syfy, they messed up.
It's certainly how EW sees it, and given that so many other channels have recently done shows so successfully that once would have practically been the Scifi Channel's exclusive domain — like the fantasy of HBO's Game of Thrones, or AMC's zombie drama The Walking Dead — the fact that Syfy feels it needs to announce its return to its own genre speaks volumes. After Battlestar Galactica ended, Syfy turned away from doing ambitious, high-end, "serious" shows in favor of lighter fare.
And now, Syfy says that perceptions of science fiction and other genre entertainment have changed, but it's important to note that other than the BSG reboot, which ended in 2009, Syfy didn't have much of a hand in that.
"We saw an explosion of sci-fi/fantasy content across every cable and broadcast network out there," said Syfy president Dave Howe. "Perceptions of the genre have shifted dramatically. What that speaks to is an opportunity to re-own the genre and be at the forefront of high-end buzzy, provocative storytelling — and the epiphany of that was Battlestar."
"Re-own" is clearly the operative word here. Anyways, the q&a with Syfy's new programming chief Bill McGoldrick is a fascinating read, and the article also details the five shows and miniseries Syfy hopes will lure fans back. We know about the 12 Monkeys show and Ascension, of course, but here's the details on the other three:
• Childhood's End. Mini-series, 6 hours. Stars Charles Dance. Based on Arthur C. Clarke's sci-fi classic, follows a breed of aliens called the "Overlords," who manage to peacefully invade and rule Earth, and create a pseudo-utopia that comes at the price of human identity and culture. Premieres 2015.
• The Expanse. Series, 10 episodes. Based on the series of books by James S.A. Corey, a thriller set two hundred years in the future, The Expanse follows the case of a missing young woman who brings a hardened detective and a rogue ship's captain together in a race across the solar system to expose the greatest conspiracy in human history. No date.
• Hunters. Series, 13 episodes. Based on Whitley Strieber's novel Alien Hunter, a Philadelphia cop searches for his missing wife leads and discovers a secret government unit that assembled to hunt a group of ruthless terrorists who may not be from this world. Premieres 2016.
Tywin Lannister in an Arthur C. Clarke adaptation? You have piqued my interest mightily, Syfy.