Yes, I can't believe it's been almost five years since the first time I received an invite from NBC Universal inviting me to make the trek up to Vancouver to be a part of its first ever SciFi Channel Digital Press Tour.
I was kind of amazed they were even doing it. The Internet had been around for some time, and so had news outlets such as us. But it was the first time that a network -- any network -- was paying special attention to digital media, and I have to admit, it was a nice feeling to have.
And despite it being their first tour, I still think it was one of the best. It included not only a chance to interact with the various talent from each of the popular (and not-so-popular) shows at the time, but it included set visits as well. We're talking "Eureka," "Stargate: Atlantis," "Sanctuary" and "Battlestar Galactica." Hell, they even put us on a bus and shipped us to the U.S.-Canadian border to see the sets of "Flash Gordon."
It was amazing, but something I never thought would be repeated. Yet, each year, Syfy hosts a digital press tour. The last two years, they've stayed out of Canada and away from the sets, but that doesn't change the great chance for interaction digital media has with the talent that makes up the programming at Syfy.
I'm not a fan of everything Syfy does (although for some reason people accuse me of it). Yes, I do like many things the channel has done, and I will even defend some programming choices like wrestling, as a way of helping to boost the overall revenue for the show.
But I am certainly never going to slam the reality programming, something that some readers have asked me to do. I don't necessarily watch the reality shows on Syfy (or any channel, for that matter), but it's not because I don't think it's good. It's just more a matter of time. I can tell you that what I have watched of shows like "Destination Truth," "Fact or Faked" and "Hollywood Treasure," I've absolutely enjoyed. And I'm not the only one -- these are big ratings winners for Syfy, so if you're not a fan of these shows, then you're probably in the minority.
That doesn't mean you have to like them. It just means that it's hard to make the claim that reality programming is bringing down Syfy. I don't think it is at all. If the reality shows were sub-standard, then yes. But I honestly can't think of any non-scripted show Syfy has aired that hasn't been of high-quality.
I mean, even looking at the scripted side, I would probably poke fun at the Saturday original movies the most. But those also are ratings winners, which means people really like them and they tune in.
The fact that Syfy has grown as a cable channel in recent years is no accident. They have done it with quality programming, a strong marketing approach, and solid leadership -- not just with Dave Howe, but even with his boss, Bonnie Hammer.
So I am honored to be going back to the press tour this year, and I'm quite excited about it. I know the site hasn't been updated too much in the last week or so as I recover from a horrible, horrible stomach flu ... but we definitely will be providing some up-to-the-minute coverage of the press tour whenever we can, both on Airlock Alpha and our sister site, Rabid Doll.
The shows? There are some good ones. "Being Human" with Sam Witwer, Sam Huntington and Meaghan Rath. The Syfy original miniseries "Neverland" with Rhys Ifans, Anna Friel and Charlie Rowe (I have the screener with me, but not sure if I will have time to watch it before Monday).
"Warehouse 13," "Eureka" and "Haven" -- all talking about their holiday specials -- with the amazing Eddie McClintock, Colin Ferguson and Emily Rose. The Canadian import "Lost Girl" with Anna Silk. We're even having lunch with the beautiful Amanda Tapping and the talented Robin Dunne from "Sanctuary" Monday afternoon.
And it's not just the scripted shows we cover, but also the non-scripted ones. Shows like "Face Off," "Monster Man," and yes, even "WWE Friday Night Smackdown."
You can follow all the action, of course, as it happens through our Twitter feed. We'll be tagging everything "#SyfyTour," as I'm sure other writers will be doing as well, so you might as well look for that.
Either way, you can check back with Airlock Alpha and Rabid Doll on Monday and Tuesday to see what we have to share. And then listen for Alpha Waves Radio this Thursday airing at 8 p.m. ET/PT at TrekRadio as we share some of the audio from the event, including many of the names you read above.
There is always some great information to share. And if you have a question for any of the Syfy personalities, just send me a Tweet @airlockalpha, and include a #SyfyTour hashtag if you can to make sure I see it.
Oh yeah, and watch Twitter closely. We used a lot of the video Tweeting from Tout at San Diego Comic-Con last year, and we expect to do it again.
Look forward to sharing some great stuff for you from the Syfy Digital Press Tour in Orlando.
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