Why the Sci Fi Channel’s rebranding ticks people off

People have been loudly voicing their opinions about the Sci Fi Channel’s decision to re-dub itself as “SyFy” since the news dropped on March 16th. The feedback has been overwhelmingly negative, I’ve yet to hear anything positive in fact. Know why? Because we’ve just been collectively slapped in the face.
Now I could go on about how the new logo is ironically unimaginative or reiterate that many feel the name seems like slang for a venereal disease or any number of other things I agree with from this write-up on Den of Geek. What I’m most perturbed by is that I get the impression they think we’re stupid.
Station president Dave Howe and all the network and PR folks can try and spin this all they want but you and I both know that the name change comes solely because NBC Universal needed something they could trademark. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If they have some big, bright ideas to actually make the channel better, to make online entertainment better, to bring us genuinely good programming, they can put a dress on the logo and call it “Shirley” for all I care. Just don’t try and tell us this change is being done for the benefit of us little people.
The one bit that comes through loud and clear from the various articles and press releases I’ve read is that they claim the term “sci fi” limits them in terms of creativity and alienates a big portion of the general viewing audience. This is insulting to me on three levels: 1) This assumes that sci fi fans are too stubborn or stupid to bend their personal definitions to accept other related genre programming attempts; 2) This assumes non-genre fans to be too stupid or stubborn to watch a show just because it’s on a sci fi dedicated station; and 3) This assumes that viewers have not noticed the channel has already been branching out for years and are fine with it. Also, if you find science fiction to be a limiting genre, then maybe you’re not as creative as you think.
Good TV is good TV no matter what form it takes or what channel it appears. If the brass was really so concerned with providing quality shows for the people at home, maybe they should actually…I don’t know…listen to the us. Remember “The Lost Room” and how it was really well-received? Maybe you should’ve went ahead and produced a series or a sequel. How about turning promising shows like “The Dresden Files” or “Flash Gordon” into movie serials? Why not pick up cool shows dropped from other stations (like “My Own Worst Enemy” from NBC or “Firefly” years ago or “The Middleman” or “Kyle XY” from ABCFamily)? How about executing the cool ideas you do have competently? Why not keep the craptastic movies to a rare treat as opposed to shoving them sixteen at a time down our throats three days a week?
One other thing that Mr. Howe and the peeps at “SyFy” have tried to push is that they’re not trying estrange their current loyal core audience. Too late. Look, it may sound like I’m abandoning the channel or that I’m calling for people to join me with pitchforks and torches to march on the “SyFy” headquarters but I’m not (at least not yet). As long as they produce interesting, exciting shows, I’ll at least check it out. Because I’m not stupid or stubborn, I’m just a little angry right now.
I’m sure you’ve been ranting about this all week too. Do you feel insulted like me? Are you angry? Confused? Think everyone’s overreacting? Feel free to share…

About Tamara Brooks