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omegaman 01-18-2013 11:51 AM

Why Fringe’s Finale Marks the Decline of Sci-Fi on Network TV

martok2112 01-19-2013 08:11 AM

Well of course folks don't want to watch intelligent sci-fi anymore. It's reverting back to the time when shows like Beverly Hillbillies were number one, except in this case, it's juvenile, dumbassed "reality" shows.

Why waste your time actually using your imagination when you can watch a bunch of unemployed punks living some so-called "dream" for their fifteen minutes of fame? Total trailer trash television.

samwiseb 01-19-2013 10:06 AM

I think it's more complicated than that.

Reality TV is not only cheep, it's really cheep compared to more professionally produced TV programs. And what we're seeing is corporatism and media running just completely out of control in their ever-competitive grab for people's attention spans. More channels means less viewers. More internet and devices means more distractions besides TV. TV networks are producing/selling what they can afford to produce with the numbers they have, and consumers are buying.

A person with a smart phone can't even sit in a darkened movie theater anymore without forgetting that he just paid $11.50 for this experience; so great is his need to be plugged in. Car Crash Guy's ST09 review at one point summed up exactly what is happening with our media. What's one TV network in the face of all the ever-exploding media options available?

Even LOST would not generate the numbers today that it did in 2004-2010. And a 'hardware' oriented sci-fi show? Who knows. BSG may very well remain the last of those to get a successful run.

kevin 01-19-2013 11:16 AM

I think this is why I'm not holding my breath for a new Trek TV series anywhere in the immediate future. And even if one does arrive I'm not sure network would have the resources for it. I think pay cable would be somewhere that would and even then it's not guaranteed.

I think another issue is the old problem of network shows not really getting time to breath and exist before cancellation beckons. In that sense the article is right. In the case of Fringe it really shouldn't have lasted five seasons as it never had fantastic ratings after the first season. The irony now (for ENT fans anyway) is if that show today was getting the ratings it did when it was canned it would probably qualify as a major hit, things have changed so much so quickly. By the standards of the network it was on anyway.

It still wasn't in great shape but stuff like that is kinda relative nowadays.

samwiseb 01-19-2013 12:49 PM

Of course, what numbers would ENT actually be pulling in if it were one today?

Pay TV seems as likely a place as any, what with the presumed success of Game of Thrones on HBO. I mean I've never seen it, but I would assume it's a top quality production (for whatever its budget is). Ten episodes per season seems to be the standard with them now. It used to be thirteen. I remember wishing BSG could have remained at thirteen episodes, since most 'space' shows are already stretched in their budgets anyway and the variable quality usually suggests they could have been 40% shorter.

But meanwhile the market continues to change. Would even a pay TV option be practical by the time CBS considered it? And as you said, even now it's already not guaranteed.

kevin 01-19-2013 01:03 PM

I think it was down to around 3 million viewers (give or take a few hundred thousand either way) by it's final season on UPN.

Granted, the current TV output of the successor network The CW also suggests that Star Trek would not fit it's style of programming but there have been shows getting by for years on ratings less than even that on it the last couple years (Supernatural, Nikita, etc).

martok2112 01-19-2013 06:25 PM

CW never really struck me as a "Star Trek" conducive network either.

I agree that it would be cool if ST were a pay-cable series with 10-13 eps per season that allowed it to focus on quality story telling and production values. :)

samwiseb 01-19-2013 08:08 PM

That's the theory anyway. Even if it happened that way it might not pan out.

But it would seem preferable to having 625 episodes with only 20-30% of them having real replay value.

martok2112 01-19-2013 09:21 PM


Even though this was not on a pay network, shows like Falling Skies definitely have a good replay value. I was enthralled by the first season.

I have "The Walking Dead" season one, and still have yet to watch it, but I know it's good. Lots of acclaim, and my roomie enjoys it. (Big time zombie genre fan.)

horatio 01-20-2013 04:48 AM

Game of Thrones is a good example for why people are still willing to see and pay for good television shows. If the folks who market it would be smart enough to sell it on the net via stream services to foreigners they would even make more money.
It's like with music, once the possibility to legally download music was created pirating went down.

So yeah, I don't join the "people are getting dumber" chorus. The only dumb people are the ones who do not see the ample opportunities to sell their stuff.

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