This month’s column will be a brief one because I have noticed a tendency of mine to wax eloquent, which means you all have about three or four Web pages to read if you want to find out what I’m talking about.
Since it is the busy holiday season (and I greatly appreciate every one of you that takes the time to read my thoughts), I’m going to give you the gift of time … and cut my comments a little shorter this month.
So, what’s the good news?
I was heartened by the response to the SciFi Channel mini-series, “Tin Man.” As Airlock Alpha reported previously, the December mini-series may be back! Now, “Tin Man” is hardly my favorite mini-series of all time. (That may go to “The Lost Room,” which I adored.) But it was good, solid, interesting entertainment. And in December, that can often be hard to come by.
I’m fascinated by the response of “hardcore” sci-fi fans, who really hit the show hard and very negatively. From the lead actress on down to the plot to the effects to the very concept, many of the folks I know who would consider themselves “hardcore” sci-fi really disliked this show. Oddly enough, it was the highest-rated thing ever seen on the SciFi Channel.
What does that mean? Well, it means the “soft-core” sci-fi fans, the ones who watch science-fiction but don’t tell others about it (usually) tuned in and watched the show in record numbers. I know that because I work with several of these folks, and they really enjoyed “Tin Man.”
Since this is show business and the channel can’t survive if they don’t make money, that presents the network with an interesting problem: Do they work to appeal to the “hardcore” sci-fi fans and get lower ratings (meaning only those fans are watching), or do they set their sights on “soft-core” sci-fi fans who can bring in the bucks through higher numbers? This is complicated by the fact, as I’ve pointed out before, that “hardcore” sci-fi fans have scathed many of the SciFi Channel’s recent offerings even before they air.
What’s going to happen next? Here’s my take: As I’ve said previously, the future of science-fiction on cable is not “Battlestar Galactica.” It is “Eureka” and now “Tin Man.”
That’s particularly interesting since several of the folks involved in “Tin Man” also worked on the much-maligned “Flash Gordon” series.
I hope (and I bet the SciFi Channel would like it as well) that people will give “Flash” another chance. What might revive “Flash” is an increased audience of “soft-core” sci-fi fans. I know its a lot to ask, but if I were SciFi, I’d be advertising “Flash Gordon’s” connection to “Tin Man” to the hilt.
Anyway, that’s my take, so happy holidays!
Wayne Hall is the news editor of Airlock Alpha, writing out of Washington, D.C. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.