Dan: As Chris so eloquently and attractively illustrated earlier in this article, television is no longer the only bag in town. This is good news for everyone other than the cable companies, due to a reemergence of a market that disappeared once television overtook radio as the go-to entertainment at home. If you want to watch your favorite shows, you no longer have to buy literally hundreds of channels of junk just to grab the few gems that make you smile. One would hope that the cable networks would take this as a challenge, justifying their skyrocketing costs by putting forth better shows. Our debate last week focused on the sad other side of the coin, the other choice that stations had. Fire everyone who is recognizable as talent, fire everyone who writes thoughtful entertaining scripts and film idiots being idiots. I guess these stations hope it takes one to know one.
And, as Chris' hands are tied on the subject, we didn't pick G4 because the debate was on quality that existed and then was extinguished. G4 had potential but never did anything good. Ever. Oh G4, maybe if you had something to break up your 6 hours of COPS, then I would treat you with respect.
First point got snatched up by Kyle, that red brawler, by the easiest argument in his arsenal: Music Television doesn't have music on television anymore. Not only that, but the reality shows that they transitioned to aren't even there anymore. That's twice removed from what they insist we keep calling them, music television. Generation X, or the generation that ruined the economy for us generation Y'ers, were defined by the music videos that aired on MTV and MTV defined what good music videos were. Bringing back Beavis and Butthead is not quite what we were asking for guys.
I pulled out of the gate with the sad fact that the SyFy channel (It still hurts me to type that) used to have quality programming as a rule. You could sit down, watch Stargate SG1, flow into Farscape, followed by The Invisible Man, The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne ... it was just wonderful on a stick. Many people defended the station's current offerings with Eureka and Warehouse 13 as examples of good shows still being produced, but Eureka was just cancelled, and how long do you really think Warehouse 13 is going to last, when it would be so much cheaper to just rerun WWE Raw? Or find some other hobo who's willing to pretend he saw a ghost at 2 in the morning. I wish they didn't cancel Stargate Universe.
People emulate the idiots on MTV. This is sad, but it's also the reason why Kyle got the next point. There are shirts, internet memes, shows that are spin-offs of other shows ... it just doesn't stop. The worst part is that Syfy bad programming is thought of as nerd garbage, where as MTV bad programming gets you spots on celebrity roasts, clips shown on Talk Soup, and people who don't even watch TV knowing who's dating whom. MTV has some long, blank tentacles in everyone's soup.
As a quick aside, many people have commented on my KFC theory on why Syfy changed their name. Notice I didn't get a point for that argument.
Kyle pulled into the lead with the wild card that is the MTV library of crap. MTV has a slew of sibling stations that were supposed to serve as a compartmentalization of their programming. This, much like my goal of not gaining weight as a stay-at-home dad, went horribly awry. Since the point of MTV is no longer music, all the other stations forgot what the "M" stood for and just played the reality shows on a time-delay. If Syfy channel had supplemental stations, they would probably have a station that played nothing but ghost hunting shows. They don't though, so Kyle got the point.
I got one more point with the secret excrement weapon in my corner, which was Syfy channel original movies. As a film maker myself, I get personally insulted watching those war crime movies and knowing someone got a budget to make them. The acting is sub-par, the CGI is perplexingly bad and the plots are just plain random. The fact that this is the same station that put out the new Battlestar Galactica, and turned a small Kurt Russell movie into a multi-series, multi-million dollar franchise makes me sad.
Kyle got a drinking point with the argument that MTV used to be the judge of cool. That's the only reason people know who "The Situation" is now. MTV is known as the cool station, the one you want to advertise on if you want to reach the kids. Even though the programming has suffered, they are still coasting on their fame from when they validly wore the cool jacket. Syfy hasn't really affected culture this way, and judging by current programming, they never will.
Even though I couldn't catch up at this point, I went out swinging. Here is the summation of my final argument. If the Syfy Channel still held fast to the same ideals it started out with, they would have saved Firefly from Fox and it would still be on the air today. Deal with that truth.