Here it is. My long anticipated and much delayed analysis of the contents of SkiffyTube™ (don’t forget the IP notification).
I’ll eventually be moving this to Monday so you can all start out the week knowing EXACTLY how much science fiction content there will be on the SciFi Channel.
Let me put that differently: I’ll eventually be moving this to Monday so you can all start out your week knowing EXACTLY how much skiffy content there will be on SkiffyTube™.
(I seem to remember a class in journalism or some such that mentioned you’re supposed to list the largest factor first when it comes to lists, polls, percentages and such – unless of course your subject is how little there is of something, in which case you lead with the smallest item. Which is of course why I am in a quandary over how to introduce this. Do I start with ‘the most content on Skiffytube™ is NOT science fiction’, or do I start with ‘the least represented genre on Skiffytube™ is science fiction’…?)
I took the up-coming, mid-August week (10th – 16th) (end of the summer season if there were such a thing anymore) as my exemplar.
Let me define some terns. Small finch-like birds that…ooops, wrong blog. It’s easy to lose your subject (and concentration, not to mention target audience) when discussing the SkiffyTube™ channel.
My terms are generous. If I think it is SF, then it goes down as SF. If I think it is marginally SF, it goes down as marginal SF. If it is anything else, it goes down as non-SF content. (The sub-categories of which are legion.)
Where something has been described elsewhere as SF and I disagree with that identification, it goes down as non-SF – with an explanation. Please note, no explanations are required below.
Let’s get the easy stuff out of the way.
The total programming time available over the course of a week is some 168 hours.
Of that time the SciFi Channel Skiffy Tube(TM) devotes
20 hours to paid programming
48 hours to movies
2.5 hours to suspense anthology shows
.5 hours to educational programming
9 hours to the X-Files
2 hours to anime
11 hours to reality programming
1 hour of wrestling, 2 hours for Ripley’s (the best of the lot) 3 hours for Scare Tactics, 1 for Scariest places and the rest to my favorite oxymoron – the paranormal reality ghost hunting franchises
9 hours to dark fantasy
8 hours to paranormal fantasy
1 hour to spiritual fantasy
57 hours to SF & Marginal SF programming
The movies break down as:
4 hours of SF movies
2 hours of Marginal SF movies
42 hours of rubbersuit monster movies
The 57 hours of SF programming breaks down as:
9 hours of The Outer Limits
4 hours of Star Trek
17 hours of Star Gate franchises
8 hours of Jake 2.0
1 hour of Charlie Jade
4 hours of Eureka
4 hours of Jeremiah
8 hours of Jericho
1 hour of Doctor Who
1 hour of Battlestar Galactica
If we aggregate the anime, the movies and the shows, (that are at least marginally SF) we end up with
65 hours of Science Fictional programming.
Why is X-Files not SF? Here’s the X-planation: the show is a police procedural that deals with a variety of subjects – paranormal, myth, urban legend, ufology, conspiracy, etc. Some of the trappings are sometimes SF, but the show itself is not.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is an early precursor of the reality show.
Tales From the Dark Side is a Night Gallery/Twilight Zone anthology show also-ran, with often low-quality production – not one of the best of the lot. Again, sometimes SF plots/themes, but more often than not, suspense, paranormal & etc.
You can probably figure out that I don’t think that someone gaining ‘extra-powers’ necessarily falls into the SF definition, nor do tales of someone who talks to spiritual beings – that’s something for CBN, but then they’ve probably got enough of that going on ‘for real’ over there not to need a ‘fictional’ account of the same thing.
I’m being generous with some of the shows I classed as SF – Jericho chief among them. Sorry. I saw parts of one episode once and it sucks. The logic of the scenes I watched was so poor that I can only give them marginal credit because it’s a post-apocalyptic tale.
Charlie Jade – never saw it. The Wiki description – cop trapped in a parallel world – almost sounds like Piper’s Paratime concept. I’ll give it a nod cause Wiki says it is SF. (Thin ice, I know, but…)
Jeremiah – more post-apocalyptic stuff. Like a stretching out of the Miri episode of Star Trek, TOS: all the grups are dead. “Bonk Bonk on the head, bonk bonk!” Meh.
(Producers like post-apocalyptic tales: hardly any budget needed for costumes, CGI or sets. Just find a junkyard, lay out some smoke pots and – viola! The Earth After Whatever…)
I’ll be nice and admit that Star Trek: TNG, the Star Gate spinoffs, Outer Limits and etc ARE SF.
So, for the week of August 10th, 2008
Skiffy Tube™’s SFPR 38.69% (Science Fiction Purity Rating)
Hey, at least AMC gets it right a heck of a lot more than that: when they label something SciFi, I’ll bet they’re on the mark at least 75% of the time. (So now AMC can tell SFC they’re TWICE as pure!)
For those of you who like the math done for you:
20 hours of paid programming 11.9%
48 hours of movies 28.5%
2.5 hours of suspense anthology shows 1.4%
.5 hours educational programming .02%
9 hours of the X-files 5.3%
2 hours of anime 1.1%
11 hours of reality programming 6.5%
9 hours of dark fantasy 5.3%
8 hours of paranormal fantasy 4.7%
1 hour of spiritual fantasy .05%
57 hours of SF & Marginal SF programming 33.9%
8% of the movies are SF
4% of the movies are marginal SF
And, just to put a fine point on things –
111 hours devoted to non-SF programming
57 hours devoted to SF programming
ONLY 57 hours devoted to SF programming
and 111 hours devoted to other shit stuff.