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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

because Syfy wasn’t kidding when they said they don’t like sci fi

It was exactly a year ago that the Sci Fi Channel announced that it would be changing its name to Syfy. And much geek angst ensued. Did this mean the network — a haven for nerds even if it was even then falling down on its apparent stated mission to, you know, present science fiction on a regular basis — would be moving away from, you know, presenting science fiction on a regular basis?

This week we learned that the answer to this is an emphatic Yes:

LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) — A year after the Sci-Fi Channel replaced its name with the more vague and therefore less limiting “Syfy,” the network is also broadening its pitch to advertisers.

During its upfront presentation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York tonight, the NBC Universal cable channel will tout a slate of programs less bound to the niche of years past, announcing its first night of reality programming and other forays into science non-fiction content, as well as its growing slate of scripted sci-fi dramas and fantasies like “Warehouse 13,” “Eureka” and “Battlestar Galactica” spinoff “Caprica.”

“Less bound to the niche”? Frak that. Why do we need a science fiction channel not bound to the niche?

“Mary Knows Best,” for example, will chronicle radio host, mother of three and “psychic intuitive” Mary Occhino in a humorous docu-soap format, particularly as her children — a skeptic, a paranormal investigator and a reluctant psychic — couldn’t have inherited her abilities more differently.

“Paranormal Investigators” will follow in the vein of Syfy’s “Ghost Hunters” by profiling outstanding cases of supernatural activity, while “Beast Legends” will put a documentary spin on some of the most notorious creatures and myths.

Syfy is also entering the reality competition genre with “Ghost Hunters Academy,” pitting aspiring spirit chasers against each other in weekly elimination challenges — a “Project Runway” for the haunted-house set.

It’s end-of-empire bread-and-circuses meets anti-intellectual paranormal religulousness! Hoorah!

Frak this.

This has been your WTF Thought for the Day.



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