If you are a geek, the news that SyFy cancelled Eureka probably isn’t news anymore (If it is, well, better we ripped that band-aid off before you kept reading). And you likely know that the PTBs have “graciously” granted the show an extra episode in it’s sixth season to wrap everything up. Which, quite frankly, is the least they could do, considering they waited to announce this decision at the end of shooting for Season 6.
The cast and crew of Eureka have publicly been very positive about the whole thing, despite some of them finding out about the cancellation via Twitter (sorry, Erica Cerra). And really I would expect nothing less from the people that have entertained me so well over the seasons. They are consummate professionals, wishing to leave the series with their heads held high and not mired in acrimony. Being neither professional nor answerable to SyFy, I don’t have that problem. So speaking only for myself, but likely echoing a number of Eureka fans, I just have to ask:
What the @%$# is your problem, SyFy?
Eureka is one of their most popular shows, with (if the reaction to cancellation is an indicator) a varied, enthusiastic and loyal following. Even SyFy acknowledges that, claiming the only area in which Eureka under-performs is cost.
Okay, valid point. No matter how popular the show, if it costs too much to make then SyFy has to drop it. Sure, I can buy that. It isn’t as if there were other projects that could be down-sized or even scrapped in order to free up funds for a more popular show. After all, how could we expect them to put aside quality movies like Meteor or Stonehenge Apocolypse in order to properly fund a series watched as more than drinking-game fodder? Why, that kind of thinking would have deprived us of Killer Mountain, premiering this Saturday. And obviously they should cancel Eureka before losing any of the three Ghost Hunter shows they carry. God bless SyFy for keeping us safe from the phantom menace (though not from The Phantom Menace, sadly).
Or could it be that Eureka got cancelled because it was so popular? It doesn’t take a GD scientist (pun intended) to see that Sci Fi…sorry, SyFy, has been re-branding themselves. Bad enough they shame-changed their name. (SyFy? Really? That’s like that annoying kid in your high school named Steven who spends one summer break in Europe, and insists his name is now pronounced “SteFAWN”.) But the addition of shows like WWE Smackdown and a kludge of paranormal/urban legend “reality” programming shows that SyFy’s heart just isn’t in science fiction anymore. And if it continued to carry a great sci-fi show like Eureka, they might be in the awkward position of supporting something they don’t really care about anymore. Heck, we geeks might even insist they make more great sci-fi, and then they’d really be in trouble.
So for me, it comes down to one of two possibilities. Either the people in charge at SyFy are making a tremendously stupid business decision, or they are following their re-branding strategy. I could be completely wrong on both counts, and there could be a third or fourth possibility I don’t see from my position outside looking in. But for right now all I see is a station cancelling a hit television series based on their bad economics. Whether that’s from stupidity or malevolence, doesn’t matter much to me.
But SyFy, I think you need to take a second and consider your future. There are already many stations carrying the reality-porridge you are so eager to add to your line-up. And there will always be people ready, willing and able to make bad sci-fi, disaster and monster movies (cthulhu bless them!). But there is no one out there doing what you used to do, back when you went by Sci Fi; you wowed people with your Dune mini-series, for instance. You have a chance to create truly unique programming, about subjects and in ways that both entertain and make people think. If you were truly focused on your job, we’d be watching Walking Dead and Game on Thrones on you, or some other equally amazing series we hadn’t heard of yet. Maybe you need to take some time to think about that.
Maybe you just need to take your own slogan to heart, and imagine greater.
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Comments? Counterpoints? I’d love to hear them!