No? Me neither.
Just in case you hadn’t already heard, I’ll give you all the quick rundown: SciFi network has decided that it doesn’t like the Science Fiction genre and believes that fans of the genre are weird. So, to help distance themselves from the identity they spent 17 years creating they are naming themselves “Syfy” (or “Venereal Disease” if you speak Polish).
This confuses me greatly. Yes, I get the idea that SciFi is technically an entire genre of entertainment and so branding it can be quite hard. I guess I could pretend that most people don’t know how to capitalize the name of a network that isn’t just a bunch of letters. I could even humor the idea that they want to broaden their horizons and start showing programming with a different target audience. But that’s where I start to choke.
You don’t expect to find fast cars on the Food Network, do you? I’m not expecting Talk Sex on the SPEED Channel. I don’t expect anything good on ABC Family. The idea of not expecting science fiction on the channel named after science fiction is a little baffling to me. Granted, SciFi became almost synonymous with “bad made-for-tv movies” instead of actual science fiction but at least they were consistent. What are we to expect now?
Wasn’t the whole point of naming it SciFi in the first place to make sure people knew it was a science fiction centered channel? You could have just named it “We’ll show whatever gets us ratings, unless we think you’re all losers” Network (WSWGURUWTYAL? Maybe not) if this was your intent all along:
“The name Sci Fi has been associated with geeks and dysfunctional, antisocial boys in their basements with video games and stuff like that, as opposed to the general public and the female audience in particular,” said TV historian Tim Brooks, who helped launch Sci Fi Channel when he worked at USA Network.
“We spent a lot of time in the ’90s trying to distance the network from science fiction, which is largely why it’s called Sci Fi,” Mr. Brooks said. “It’s somewhat cooler and better than the name ‘Science Fiction.’ But even the name Sci Fi is limiting.”
You spent a lot of time in the ’90s? You created the series in the ’90s! You aren’t exactly the National Broadcasting Company, are you? It’s not like you’ve been around through a few world wars and have had to change to keep up with the times. You created the network to fill a specific niche, and now you don’t like the niche you picked? Why not just create a new network then!?
Probably the most transparent argument for the name change is the idea that trying to copyright the brand “SciFi” is too hard, and “Syfy” is much easier. I’m not a trademark lawyer, but I’m pretty sure this is a load of bull. I’m fairly certain that The Learning Channel never got confused with an R&B/Rap duo. When I tell people I watch Discovery Channel, I’m fairly certain they don’t picture me actually watching a discovery being made. I mean, if the guys over at FOOD Network aren’t having a problem with branding, I doubt SciFi is really all that hard. Even Oxygen doesn’t think it’s a problem (and they don’t even put “Channel” or “Network” after their name)!