The Extinction of Genre Specific Channels

While I wasn’t a fan, the cancellation of Alphas on the “SyFy” channel became the latest evidence that genre or to be more exact, “geek related” channels are slowly dying out. G4, the video game related channel is changing over to the GQ channel, to appeal to the modern male. I consider myself a modern male and I like videogames and hot babes which G4 had plenty of. What the hell is GQ gonna offer me?

SyFy has also been going downhill for some time ever since they switched their name and began cancelling numerous sci/fi related original programming to focus more on crappy reality shows and wrestling. It seems to me that the once vast promise of cable, to give us more choices in what we could watch, has changed and the goal now is to homogenize the airwaves and become more like the networks that we as cable viewers wanted to escape from to begin with.

Cable used to be the haven for shows that other networks wouldn’t touch because they didn’t think the ratings would be there. Some of these cable channels actually seemed like they cared about their viewers and were happy with the niche that they were providing. Who can argue since cable boomed giving people more choices as to what to watch. You were a science/fiction fantasy fan, hey here’s a channel. You were a foodie, hey here’s a channel. You liked talk shows, hey here’s a channel. You like sports, hey here’s a channel. It went on and on.

While some of the niche channels survived and managed to stay true to their original vision to this day, most have fallen by the wayside changing their names and what they program. MTV is a prime example. I know this will shock a lot of my younger audience, but the M used to stand for Music. It didn’t matter what time of day it was, when you turned on MTV you were more likely than not gonna see a music video. I think they did more for music, by introducing more people to different genres of music, in a single generation than radio ever has. Now, they are nothing when it comes to music.

Sci/Fi was another one. I used to be a regular viewer of that network. I’d watch old episodes of Stargate and Star Trek on there, then Ghost Hunters, Warehouse 13 and Stargate Universe to name just a few. Then they got hold of wrestling, changed their name and started cancelling series due to low ratings. Now we all know, sci/fi has never done all that well on TV, but the fans of those shows are loyal. Loyal enough that, if they don’t want to give our shows a chance, we’re gonna stop giving you a chance. My viewing of SyFy has been reduced to episodes of Ghost Hunters and whenever there is a Twilight Zone marathon. To show just how ridiculous they got, SyFy even had a show about cooking that didn’t last. To think they cancelled an original series to show that nonsense, helped push me over the edge.

My point is this, we’re losing this channel individuality by the day. Everything is being homogenized down to some formula that everyone copies because they know we’ll watch it. We need to stop it, we need to stop letting them get away with it. There still are some safe zones out there for us. BBC America has some great programming. If you manage to get a network called MEtv, they have a great block of classic sci/fi type shows that they play on Saturday nights. Star Trek TOS, Batman (with Adam West), Lost in Space, Twilight Zone and the piece de resistance…Svengoolie who hosts a B grade movie every week. If you’re old enough to remember Elvira, he’s like that just with slightly less curves. Well, actually if you see him he does have more curves, they are just not as nice as Elvira’s. Either way, I’d suggest giving those networks a try.

Until we hit some of these other cable networks in the bottom line, they aren’t going to bring back our shows or our channels. It may be a losing battle, but I’m willing to try at least. How about you?

So, until next time….


Originally published January 23, 2013