Wednesday, September 02, 2009


The what channel?

A couple of years ago, I mentioned that I was recording and watching the 1990s version of the TV series The Outer Limits. What I’d like to see, actually, is the original series from the 1960s, but I haven’t seen that being aired. The Sci Fi channel was showing the ’90s series, so that’s what I watched.

But they didn’t air the episodes in order, and as I kept track of the ones I saw, I found that there were a few that got missed. I set standing TiVo searches for four missing episodes, and there they’ve sat for probably a year and a half now.

Until one popped last weekend. The episode “Inner Child” showed up on the TiVo, and I watched it on Monday. Only...

When the the Sci Fi channel become Syfy? That just looks stupid. Is it some idiotic attempt to be “l33t”, or what? Oy.

Ah. I see on the Wikipedia entry that “[t]he name Syfy was officially adopted on July 7, 2009,” so it happened about two months ago. More details, from Wikipedia:

On March 16, 2009, Sci Fi announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy, to end confusion over how to capitalize and stylize their name and as part of an effort to rebrand the channel as offering “imagination-based entertainment” (including science fiction but also fantasy, the paranormal, adventure and others). Network officials also noted that, unlike the generic term “sci fi” which represents the entire science fiction genre, the term “Syfy” can be protected by trademark and therefore would be easier to market on other goods or services without fear of confusion with other companies’ products. The only significant previous use of the term “Syfy” in relation to science fiction was by the website Syfy Portal, which became Airlock Alpha after selling the brand to NBC Universal (represented by a shell company) in February. The new name took effect on July 7, 2009. Reaction to the new name has been largely negative within the cult community.
It’s good to see that I’m not the only one who doesn’t like it. Not that I care too much: this week is the first time I’ve watched anything on it in at least a year.

The first argument seems specious: sure, one had to remember whether the old name was “Sci Fi” or “SciFi” or “Sci-Fi”, or whatever, but now one still has to deal with the variant versions of “Syfy”, in addition to remembering the “y”s (not “i”s). There’s no real change there. The point about the “imagination-based entertainment” rings false as well — the new name is as closely tied to science fiction as the old, really, and they can always veer into paranormal and other silliness if they want to.

No, it seems that the trademark issue was really the point, and I guess that makes sense. We’re used to odd spellings in product names.

It still looks stupid, though, but I suppose if they’ll just show the Outer Limits episodes “Zig Zag”, “Final Exam”, and “Worlds Within”, they can call themselves anything they like.


Dawn said...

I think it is the stooooopidest thing I have ever seen. Ugh. Syfy. Puhlease!

be well... lol

missincognegro said...

My reaction was, "WTF?" Is it supposed to be a hipster manner of spelling?

The Ridger, FCD said...

They lost claim to SciFi when they started showing Ghost Hunters, and to pretty much any respect when wrestling became a staple. So I don't care what they call themselves.