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Still Hope for Farscape 361

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the but-not-a-lot-of-it dept.
An anonymous reader wrote in to say that the "Save Farscape" campaign thinks there is still hope. If the next 11 episodes (starting Friday, January 10 on the SciFi Channel) pull the right numbers ). According to this interview with David Kemper:"If we were to do 2s, straight across the boards for these eleven eps, I would be expecting to have phone conversations with people immediately..." Of course that is pretty unlikely- but my household won't miss an episode. To bad the cats don't count in the nielsons ;)
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Still Hope for Farscape

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  • is the kemper interview long enough that they just *HAD* to put it in a zip file? or is it yet another ploy to counter the slashdot effect?
  • Nielsen (Score:5, Informative)

    by CySurflex (564206) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:11PM (#5028904)
    Nielsen ratings only apply to nielsen households which is a small percentage of the american public. If your TiVo or your cable set-top box was allowed to send back viewing habits info to the cable provider, the media companies would have much better numbers to go by.

    I never understood why people always get so riled up by that prospect.

    • Re:Nielsen (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SirWhoopass (108232) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:22PM (#5028992)
      I don't know how keen I am on having every ad agency in the country know my viewing habits, but you are right. The Nielsen rating only apply to a very small number of households. I would bet a lot of groups are underrepresented. How many single college kids living in apartments/dorms do you know with Nielsen boxes?

      It would be interesting to see what happened if you could suddenly get viewing data from all those TiVos, digital cable boxes, and satellites out there. It might be like when album sales became directly tied to the sales register instead of clerk reporting. It was discovered that country music accounted for far more sales than was credited.

      • Re:Nielsen (Score:3, Insightful)

        by msobkow (48369)

        Personally I don't care what ad companies target a show -- I fast forward through the crap unless it catches my interest anyhow.

        Here's a hint for the advertisers: make it amusing. I'll actually watch an amusing ad, even if I have no interest in the product. IBM, Blockbuster, and a few others seem to have grasped that; corps like GM, Chrysler, Ford, etc. are still under the misguided belief that their ads have anything to do with which vehicle I end up buying.

        • You mention amusing adds and all I can think of is that old add (ran during the superbowl I think) where they fired gerbils or some rodent things out of a cannon into a wall with the company name on it. I can never remember the name, but the image of rodents smacking a wall, falling to the ground, shaking a bit then walking a way left an impression. Really no clue what they were selling though.
      • Re:Nielsen (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JordoCrouse (178999)
        I don't know how keen I am on having every ad agency in the country know my viewing habits, but you are right.

        I don't know how much I care about that. In my opinion, if they are going to broadcast an ad anyway, they might as well use something that appeals me as well as something applicable to my life situation (hint: more beer commercials, less tampon commercials).

        I have yet to hear a compelling argument why targeted advertising is so bad, but if anyone out there wants to give it a shot, I'm all ears...

        • The targeted advertising itself? No real problems. It's the information that they use to target you. Do you really want the world to know you watch 25 hours of Jerry Springer a month? What if your health insurance company bought that information and decided you watch too much TV, so they're increasing your rates?

          I don't actually think this would happen any time soon, but it's the other side of the equation.
      • Re:Nielsen (Score:5, Insightful)

        by marekk (572361) on Monday January 06, 2003 @08:16PM (#5029741)
        This is completely false. While Nielsen households are not a completely random sample of the viewing audience, they are accurate enough to represent the viewership audience per show within an acceptable margin of error. Random sampling/surveys are a scientifically sound method of obtaining an overview of the whole.

        If the Nielsen ratings weren't accurate, stations, broadcasters, advertisers, etc would be screaming for a more accurate viewership measuring system. The accuracy of the Nielsen ratings is essential to the surviability of the NielsenMedia company. If the people that studied these ratings (advertisers, execs) didn't feel they were accurate, they would be looking for a new parter to monitor ratings.
        • If the people that studied these ratings (advertisers, execs) didn't feel they were accurate, they would be looking for a new parter to monitor ratings.

          Right, and we should trust them on that, because TV and advertising executives are renowned for their analytical acumen.

        • Re:Nielsen (Score:2, Interesting)

          However, the precision drops as the number of viewers of a given show decreases. So, small enough viewership == large variance in precision. Not to mention that the Nielsen ratings depend heavily on pollee honesty.
    • In that case they could also check who zaps through the commercials on the Tivo, and just don't count them for the ratings.

      If I ran a network or was a customer of one, I would definitely want that info.
    • If your TiVo or your cable set-top box was allowed to send back viewing habits info to the cable provider, the media companies would have much better numbers to go by.

      Not likely.

      Although I don't really know a lot about how many homes are used or how they're selected, I would be very surprised if the Nielsen system either has (a) too few homes for a highly reliable sample (it only takes a few thousand) or (b) a poorly-selected sample. Why? Because it's so easy to do it right, and so many people know how to do it right, that it just makes no sense to screw it up. If Nielsen weren't using statistical "best practices" (or close to it), there would be an opening for a competitor to come in and beat them by providing better data.

      Were Nielsen to start including all Tivo users in their sample, they'd degrade their numbers, not improve them because Tivo users are not a representative sample of the TV-watching public. They are probably an extremely good sample of the TV-obsessed couch potato demographic, though ;-)

    • Nielsen is a highly respected data-collection agency. They have very rigid standards regarding their statistical methods, to the point where their margin of error is something like 2-3%. They take extreme care in getting a fair sample of the population.

      Your method would be unscientific, with an overrepresentation of TiVo and cable customers. And Farscape would still suck.

    • They wont use tivo ratings until everyone has a tivo. Tivo users are a self selecting group, high income, and geeky. Thats great, if you are marketing to high income geeks (So SciFi would love those numbers)

      However, High income geeks are not the average household on there, and that is what the nielsons are trying to measure. The nielsons numbers would be worthless if they didnt base them off of a random sample
    • If your TiVo or your cable set-top box was allowed to send back viewing habits info to the cable provider, the media companies would have much better numbers to go by.

      I'd like to see the demographic of TiVo owners first. From my perspective, Tivo owners are mostly wealthy geeks.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    An anonymous reader wrote in to say that the "Save BeOS [beunited.org]" campaign thinks there is still hope. If the next 11 quarters (starting Friday, January 10 on the Palm Channel) pull the right numbers). According to this interview with David Kemper:"If we were to use NetPositive, straight across the Palm site, for these eleven quarters, I would be expecting to have phone conversations with people immediately..." Of course that is pretty unlikely- but my household won't miss a chance to resurrect BeOS. To bad the cats can't point and click ;)
    • didn't you hear, beos is already saved [openbeos.org]. no money needed, but feel free to contribute code. in about a year, they'll be where Be was 3 years ago (which was pretty good, for 3 years ago). finally, a descent gui for my p2-266! now if they only had nfs. and a descent web browser. god knows they have enough irc clients.

      yes, i'm offtopic. but i'd rather save beos than waste my time watching tv (and trying to save a tv show so i can waste more time watching tv).
  • Nielsens (Score:5, Funny)

    by szcx (81006) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:11PM (#5028909)
    Of course that is pretty unlikely- but my household won't miss an episode. To bad the cats don't count in the nielsons ;)
    Unless you have a box, you count for about as much as your cats.
    • My cats produce better material than these Nielsen households enjoy.

      I keep hoping they are not representative of TV viewers as a whole, but statistically I suspect they are.

      Where the biggest errors may come in is where advertisers draw lessons from the ratings.

      Catch your Nielsens here [yahoo.com]. Do you agree with the rankings?
      • My God, it's nothing but football and crime shows!

        Do you think maybe the two are related [courttv.com]
      • Good example of Nielsen stupidity: They count "NFL Monday Showcase" at 9:00PM as a show distinct from "NFL Monday Night Football" at 9:07PM.

        (And if you think "Yes Dear" holding the 14 spot is a bad sign for American culture, you must not remember when "Three's Company" was the number one show in the country.)

  • But for the life of me I couldnt get past all the freakiness.

    My 2 cents.
  • by Microsift (223381) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:14PM (#5028931)
    "Brilliant but Cancelled" described fan efforts to save cancelled shows, noting it is nearly impossible, once the final decision is made. They did cite one example of a show that was cancelled and brought back because of fan support, "Cagney and Lacy." The show was out of production and the actors and actresses had been released from their contracts, but they managed to get everyone back.

    If Farscape is officially canceled, there's probably not much hope. One notable difference is that the shows featured on "Brilliant..." were all on one of the major networks, so Sci-Fi may play it differently.
    • I note that "Brilliant but Canceled" was cancelled [cbsnews.com]. (kidding)

      The difference here may be the internet. The fan campaign would not be 1% as coordinated, or powerful in recruitment, without I can't even believe I find myself considering writinga letter or giving money to this cause. (See savefarscape.com [savefarscape.com].)

      It's a long shot, but such are often the best shots. And the past may not be prologue. :)
    • I've heard of this other show that was brought back because of fan reaction and lobbying.

      Some Sci-Fi show from the 60s.

      Ordinarily, studios just don't listen to audiences, as counter intuitive as that seems, especially today, when most studios are just arms of a gigantic multi-national corporation (that's controlled by the Gnomes of Zurich with help from the girl scouts and the orbital mind control lasers)
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:18PM (#5028966) Homepage Journal
    Everyone still call/write si-fi after each episode and ask for more...

    Be sure to mention content in each weeks show so they KNOW you are really watching..

    We have a chance here, lets not blow it.

    • We have a chance here, lets not blow it.

      I share your pain, but we have no chance. In geek-speak, it's the Kobayashi Maru, we ain't Kirk.

      The Trio channel ran an interesting series of "Brilliant But Cancelled" shows in December. (Including my much lamented favorite, Profit) They also ran a documentary on cancelled TV shows, and talked about Fan campaigns to save shows. The bottom line, straight from the horse's mouth, is that they just won't work. Period. Every case except the original (ST:TOS) where a show has risen from the grave was due to some other force at work. Even the show's producers said "Thanks, but save your energy."

      Ratings = $. Letters = recycling.
    • For those who want to keep trying to Save Farscape, here are some things you should know:

      • The new "season" (SciFi's words, even though its still Season 4) starts this Friday, Jan. 10th.
      • The time has changed AGAIN. It is now being shown at 8PM EST/PST and 7PM CST

      I do believe that SciFi changed Farscape's scheduled viewing hour for the second time this season to further cut down on viewership so the suits could point to even lower Nielsen Ratings as a reason for cancellation.

      So, for these next 11 Fridays, tune into SciFi channel for 1 hour, Support 'Scape, and then tune in to another station. :)

      • The time has changed AGAIN. It is now being shown at 8PM EST/PST and 7PM CST I do believe that SciFi changed Farscape's scheduled viewing hour for the second time this season to further cut down on viewership so the suits could point to even lower Nielsen Ratings as a reason for cancellation.

        On the other hand, perhaps 8pm is a better time slot. I know I'm more liikely to watch something at that time, and go out at 9.

  • Accept it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by core plexus (599119) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:19PM (#5028970) Homepage
    I know some peole will get their knickers in a twist over this, but here's The Ugly Truth: Everything Dies. Just like the post about the science programme on BBC going off the air after more than 30 years, it has to end sometime. Best advice: Go out with a bang, don't wither and whimper. One more thing: less TV, more life.

    Man Gets 70mpg in Homemade Car-Made from a Mainframe Computer [xnewswire.com]

    • Re:Accept it (Score:2, Insightful)

      by grinwell (138078)
      Best advice: Go out with a bang, don't wither and whimper. One more thing: less TV, more life.

      Ah, but what if instead of going out with a bang, it goes out with a never-resolved cliffhanger??? That's what Farscape fans despair of.

      And one more thing: less good TV, more CRAPPY TV
      • Ah, but what if instead of going out with a bang, it goes out with a never-resolved cliffhanger??? That's what Farscape fans despair of

        I was pretty pissed off about this season's hiatus, what crappy way to do things. And then when I heard the show was cancelled, that bugged me too, but it's been so long since I've seen an episode that I don't really care any more.

        I actually thought I missed the first of these last 11 episodes last friday, and I was only mildly put off. btw, the sci fi website still says it'll be on at 10pm eastern, instead of the actual 8pm. go figure.

    • Re:Accept it (Score:3, Informative)

      by gwernol (167574)
      Everything Dies... Best advice: Go out with a bang, don't wither and whimper. One more thing: less TV, more life.

      Agreed, except that Farscape was written to be a five season show. One of the things that makes Farscape so exceptional is that it has a huge story arc running over all five seasons. Killing the show after the end of season four is particularly brutal because the storyline will never be resolved. They only had one season to go.
    • Re:Accept it (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TrevorB (57780)
      Well, seeing as how the show was only supposed to last exactly 5 seasons and no more, and the show ends in a major cliffhanger, fans of the show are a bit bent up about it. In shows where overall story arc matter (as opposed to everything-back-they-way-they-started-when-the-epi sode-started shows), getting the last chapter cut out of your book can be fairly upsetting.

      Babylon 5 was in a similar situation. After really struggling out of the blocks and looking like it was going to make it, there were signs on the wall that 4 seasons might indeed be it. JMS tried to wrap things up nicely to end the show after 4 seasons, and then notice that the 5th and final season would go ahead came late in the year. As a consequnce (and IMHO), the 5th season suffered as a consequence, feeling more like an add on set of minor story arcs. But at least there was closure if it only went 4 seasons. Farscape's just going to end mid-stream.

      I think some people see this on the scale of New Line Cinema saying that LotR:Return of the King wouldn't air in theatres. (How much importance you place on both of these is a presonal preference)
  • Amazing (Score:5, Funny)

    by Twirlip of the Mists (615030) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:20PM (#5028980)
    So they're hoping and praying for Farscape to pull in a 2 rating? Astounding. Firefly consistently drew around a 2.4, and yet Fux dropped it faster than... a... um... fast dropping thing.

    Sorry. I'm having a figurative language problem today. I can do personification and synecdoche, but I can't pull off metaphor or simile. It's like....
    • I don't necessarily know much about these things, but a 2 on cable (scifi) is a lot better than a 2.4 on a network such as Fox. They just don't see that many viewers on basic cable. At least that's how I understand these things.
  • by loggia (309962) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:20PM (#5028981)
    USA Networks (which owns channels like Sci-Fi and USA) is following the current trend of "own your own shows and make more money."

    USA Networks does not own Farscape.

    USA would rather pump out garbage like Tremors: The Series, The Dream Team with Anna and Michael and other crap... because they own it and would reap the windfall if the shows become syndicated later on.

    Now I did not say this plan makes sense. It doesn't. Disney has tried this with ABC and fallen to the bottom of the ratings heap. Far to the bottom. So much so that they are losing a tremendous amount of money on ABC. How is this better than working with a variety of production companies to create hits and making money the old way? It isn't.

    But that is the current wisdom.

    Also, USA Networks thinks showing the same programs on USA and Sci-Fi is a good idea and so is showing cheap black-and-white shows that get low ratings.

    This is "smart."

    • Actually, they cut it so they could run Takken.
    • A very similar thing happened with The Chronicle. Though the show had not been on for as long as Farscape, it developed quite good ratings for SciFi. In weeks where new episodes aired, it was (with a couple of exceptions) the top show on the network. Then it was moved around, stuck on hiatus, brought back in fits and spurts, and finally strangled after a single season. The constant changes to the schedule and the lack of support for any program has effectively destroyed SciFi's ratings. When it started, The Chronicle pulled in over 2 ratings. Ratings in that range were a given for new episodes of Farscape just a year or two back. But as fans have learned that they can't trust SciFi, they've stopped watching. Why get invested in a series when a single season of episodes will be spread over a year or halted without warning? Science Fiction fans are more loyal than any other viewers on television, yet the SciFi Channel has managed to send them running in droves. SciFi is an perfect example of management to the point of destruction.
    • Also brings us The Dead Zone, simply be best sci fi show to come out in a long time.

      The supernatural element is mixed perfectly with existing conflicts (ie, his relationship to his ex-girlfriend, his new found fame) and the first season was simply one of the best sustained-quality tv series I've seen in awhile. Now we get a big second season arc, dealing with the presidential canidate that's going to bring Armaggedon, on top of his now nationally renowned notoriety, has made for a fine season opener and promise of greater things to come.

      I'll admit they've made some serious crap before, but between That Other Great USA Show, Monk (if you don't like it you haven't seen it), and the fantastic Dead Zone, I do believe that USA doesn't get it wrong all of the time.
  • Nielsons ratings (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ragetech (97458)
    I'm so pissed... I got called to record my viewing habits for a week for the Nielson ratings, but my week I'm supposed to "diary" what I watch is from last Thursday until this coming Thursday. I was kind of hoping to be able to record the new Farscape episode -- at least I got to put a blip on for last Friday's repeats, but...

    Farscape is the only show I've watched, in the past five years, that I've followed religiously. It's hard to explain it to anyone how much you can get into it, but it was sooo well done; it's cancellation by SciFi really made me loose interest in T.V. -- besides The Simpsons, what shows are out there that are long lasting?

    My girlfriend's Japanese, and she was telling me of this soap she used to watch that her father watches, that was on for literally 20 years. Unfortunatly, the tv execs don't invest in shows that much here. They want quick, easy cash... and eventually it's going to hurt them.

    Ok, I'm rabling... go Farscape!
  • A Nielsen Point... (Score:4, Informative)

    by geddes (533463) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:25PM (#5029019)
    A Nielsen point is the percentage of televisions in the US that tuned into the show. So a 2 would mean that 2% of the households with televisions in the united states (or roughly 2 million televisions) had tuned into the show. (More information at the Nielsen FAQ [nielsenmedia.com].

    For reference, the most popular TV show last week was CSI, followed by Monday Night football. CSI got 13 points, Monday Night Football 11 (data here [yahoo.com]). So though a 2 isn't blockbuster (the lowest scoring show in the top twenty got a 6), it is still impressive. I don't know if farscape can do it.

    • For reference, the most popular TV show last week was CSI, followed by Monday Night football. CSI got 13 points, Monday Night Football 11 (data here [yahoo.com]). So though a 2 isn't blockbuster (the lowest scoring show in the top twenty got a 6), it is still impressive. I don't know if farscape can do it.

      For further reference, take a look at this page [snurcher.com] which shows the Nielsen ratings for all four seasons of Farscape. For season 4 it was averaging around a 1.4, so getting up to a 2.0 is not a huge leap, but it is some work.
  • Priorities first. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonvmous Coward (589068) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:25PM (#5029022)
    Futurama.
  • by fava (513118) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:30PM (#5029053)
    Not taken down and put into storage but destroyed with chainsaws and taken to the dump. Rebuilding all the sets would be very expensive, the ratings would have to be very good to justify it.
    • Actually, Ben Browder (and I think even David Kemper) said himself that the sets were falling apart after 4 seasons and that re-building them from scratch would have been cheaper and faster than trying to salvage them.

      Though I agree that they are going to have to pull consistent 2s or higher in the Nielsen ratings to get this series saved. Anyway, I'll be watching. Too bad I don't have a Nielsen box. :(
  • I don't watch it (mostly because the theme song is about as sweet to my ears as the sound of a cat sliding down a blackboard), but save Farscape, and then save Firefly , wich I do like : )

    pleaaaase!

    • by amuro98 (461673)
      Firefly was doomed from the start.

      It aired Friday nights during that awkward summer/fall transition when everyone's either on vacation, or getting re-integrated into school life (eg. parties.)

      Fox didn't air the pilot movie which explained who everyone was and what was going on, but instead aired that horrendous episode about the train robbery, which was easily the *worst* episode of the season. I'd heard the pilot movie was supposed to have aired back in December around Christmas (which would have been another brilliant move by Fox...)

      Oh yeah, and don't forget about the baseball playoffs, which knocked out a few episodes, depending on where you happen to live.

      Officially, Fox says the show is on hiatus until they find a new timeslot for it, but I don't think anyone here would be surprised if Firefly never came back.
      • Fox didn't air the pilot movie which explained who everyone was and what was going on, but instead aired that horrendous episode about the train robbery, which was easily the *worst* episode of the season. I'd heard the pilot movie was supposed to have aired back in December around Christmas (which would have been another brilliant move by Fox...)

        It aired in late december, I watched, it was good.

        Officially, Fox says the show is on hiatus until they find a new timeslot for it, but I don't think anyone here would be surprised if Firefly never came back.

        Fox is not buying any more episodes, and they aren't airing any of the ones they have in stock...

        Go check out fireflysupport.com, they have details.

    • "I don't watch it (mostly because the theme song is about as sweet to my ears as the sound of a cat sliding down a blackboard), but save Farscape, and then save Firefly , wich I do like : )"

      Firefly totally shocked me by being excellent. I was expecting a show I might tolerate on occasion if I was really, really desparate. Instead, I got a show that was innovative and polished. Filming techniques and plot structures in many of the episodes were strikingly different from the same old crap pumped out night after night all over TV.

      Firefly stands as a great show in its own right, not just as a good sci fi show. It's really unfortunate it got canned-- it'll probably open another slot for some shitty CSI ripoff.
  • Far superior program.
  • No hope (Score:2, Informative)

    by grinwell (138078)
    SCIFI has no intention of renewing Farscape. The 2.0 would not only exceed any of Farscape's ratings so far, but would be the highest of any SCIFI series (except the "Taken" miniseries).

    Someone even Graphed the Ratings [farscapeweekly.com]
  • by yobbo (324595) on Monday January 06, 2003 @06:55PM (#5029207)
    Oh wait it hasn't been cancelled... yet.
    • Re:Save Enterprise! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by spanky1 (635767)
      Are you serious? Enterprise kicks ass! This is the first Star Trek series that I have gotten really into the first season. TNG and Voyager took me until the second season. DS9 I never really liked.
  • To bad the cats don't count in the nielsons ;

    If a nielsen family is not watching it, it doesn't matter.

    I dont care if 97% of the nation watches and loves it if the 0.5% of the population that is a nielsen metered family is NOT watching it it DIES.

    this is why nielsen ratings mean absolutely nothing today. they are numbers that measure very innacurately.
    • uh, you really dont understand statistics do you. a .5% (and I think its much smaller than that actually) RANDOM sample of the entire nation is a very accurate picture of the entire nation.
  • Stop showing it on Friday night! Contrary to what a lot of folks think, some of us actually go out and do social activity on the Weekends.

    And no, Rosie Palms and her five friends doesn't count.
  • by jabber01 (225154) on Monday January 06, 2003 @08:31PM (#5029834)
    If the next 11 episodes pull the right numbers sounds an awful lot like Jimmy Swaggart's If my ministry doesn't collect 8 Million dollars... of a few years back.

    Are TV execs so soul-less as to decide a show's viability by the number of eyeballs they deliver to advertizers, without so much as a moment's consideration for the inherent quality of the show itself? Oh whom am I kidding? Of course. The bastards!

    How many avid fans of Shakespeare are there? Of opera and theater in general? Of reading classic books? Even of reading pulp instead of watching soap operas?

    It's clear that "Good Taste" is the trait of the minority. Yet, it is utterly shameful that we live in an age where economies of scale and advertizing dollars are the sole drivers of the success of entertainment.

    Why must good entertainment be relegated to the relatively well off, and sustained by charitable contributions of the wealthy, while the tripe is sold by the bucket, paid for by people looking to take as much money as possible from anyone gullible enough to not change the channel or walk away every 8 minutes?

    Bah! Ok, I'm done. Who's next on the soap-box?
  • i thought tivo *DID* report anonymous viewing stats? does anyone know for sure?
  • My hosue got a Neilson survey, i was to late to save Firefly, but i tried my hardest for Farscape along with some other great shows.

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