July 8th, 2007


Sigh, Fie

The Doctor Is In

Friday night we had the start of Season 3 of the new Doctor Who on Sci-Fi Channel. Two ninety minute broadcasts -- one involved a bride who gets sucked into the Tardis (I hate when that happens) and one which starts out with a London hospital getting yanked and dumped on the Moon (I really hate when that happens). "The Runaway Bride" episode may be the most exhausting Doctor Who ever -- I just don't think we've ever had a car chase scene... with the Tardis.

I'm giving credit to Sci-Fi Channel for showing Doctor Who, but this isn't their doing. Yet it's about the second best show they've got.

Six Feet Under From The Other Side

On Thursday Sci-Fi Channel was having a marathon of the show Dead Like Me. I'd never seen an episode of Dead Like Me before, but I'd always liked the promo ad which showed this sullen young woman having an "Oh shit" moment as she gets hit by something screaming in from outer space killing her. Ouch. So she becomes a grim reaper. Watched a couple of episodes, which turned out to be somewhere between Seasons 1 and 2.

I was surprised to see Mandy Patinkin in the cast, and more surprised to see the episodes copyrighted 2003-04. Turns out, after doing a quick Wikipedia check, that this series, too, is not a creation of Sci-Fi Channel, but was a Showtime production. Like Six Feet Under and The Sopranos from HBO, we refuse to pay for the premium channels, so I never would've seen Dead Like Me the first time, and we were busy so we never saw it in regular run on Sci-Fi Channel -- and anyways, they only started giving us proper TV listings for the Sci-Fi Channel recently and... oh never mind.

The couple of episodes of Dead Like Me I watched were utterly charming. I am going to have to watch more of this.

"Flash, Oh Oh, You're A Miracle..." -- Queen

Oh Gawd, Sci-Fi Channel is doing Yet Another Rendition of Flash Gordon for Fall 2007? Well, why the hell not. They've not done anything original in the first place. Though I will give them some credit for doing a bang-up quality job on their best series, Battlestar Galactica. But every damned show or TV movie they do is either a retread, based on a book, or The Same Old Thing Gone Bad. Supergator? That's another movie coming up -- have no idea whether it's new or not, but that's okay. Who cares? It isn't really SF and it's just another in a long chain of Oversized Critter movies that they show.

It's kind of like what happened with TechTV. First they merged with G4 channel to become G4-TechTV. Then they dropped all pretense of doing anything but fun and games. No more decent computer shows. No more decent anime late nights. The only thing they've done recently which is worth watching is Ninja Warrior, which is a dubbed and subtitled version of a long-running Japanese endurance obstacle course TV show. And like Sci-Fi Channel, G4 isn't doing any decent original programming itself.

Bottom Line

Look, I like Doctor Who as a fun diversion -- and I'm glad that (a) BBC Wales is doing a bang-up job with this version and (b) that anyone, including Sci-Fi Channel, is bothering to show it in the U.S. But it's no wonder that Sci-Fi Channel dumped the amazing SciFiction story market. They have no idea what SF is. Whether this is due to management incompetence or pandering to a non-SF demographic -- I don't know.


Dr. Phil
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