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Television Media

Farscape Frelling Cancelled 445

Mukaikubo writes "The Sci-Fi Channel has decided to cancel their second largest show, Farscape. Because networks respond better to phone calls and snail-mail letters than a mass e-mail campaign and there is contact info on a fan-run Message Board. Time is of the essence, as the Network wants to tear down props at the end of next week. Help save one of the best science fiction shows on TV today!" Other articles can be found here and the chat log is online too.
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Farscape Frelling Cancelled

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  • I'm sure they'll show reruns for years on SciFi, and failing that there is always []. But it would really be a shame if no new content was created.
    • by bludstone ( 103539 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @10:22AM (#4212002)
      Or you could, i dont know... Buy the dvds? They are released by ADV Films, who are not a member of the MPAA or any other evil organization... And you would be supporting the show you liked.
      • Not only that, but I believe ADV releases their DVDs without any kind of encryption or macrovision protection. In all, they seem to make good products and release good shows. (In addition to a whole load of anime, they also released the Reboot season three DVDs.)

      • They are released by ADV Films, who are not a member of the MPAA

        Perhaps not, but they do put out their series at prohibitively high prices. $25 for 2 episodes? The series may be good, but $275 per season is a bit much for me...
        Stargate SG-1, on the other hand, sells for only $70 per season. True, it's an MPAA company, but at least they're not going to bankrupt me if I want to buy their shows.

        --The Rizz

  • FastFood and FastTV (Score:5, Informative)

    by Knacklappen ( 526643 ) <> on Saturday September 07, 2002 @07:46AM (#4211722) Journal
    Well, it's a sad thing to write, but maybe they just make more profit with other series of lower quality? It's like when the Babylon 5 spin-offs where killed... Here's a good statement from JMS [] about this.

    The analogy I can find, is to Fast Food: Low-quality stuff for the masses (but it's practical and I'm enjoying it sometimes). Guaranteed profit. The stuff I consider high-quality, is a matter of taste. So the market is limited and profits not guaranteed. If you would run a restaurant for a living, what would you offer?

    Sad, though.

  • by dr_eaerth ( 149359 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @07:58AM (#4211741)
    In April, Joe Straczynski, creator of B5, had this to say in reference to Sci-Fi passing on the Legend of the Rangers series:

    The SciFi Channel has indicated that it's moving away from space shows, with all the hardware/alien stuff that goes with it.

    Farscape is, of course, a space show, so I saw this coming. It was surprising that it stayed on the schedule this season, but not surprising that its stay of execution was only temporary.

    And now, for a small question from me... What is the point of a science fiction channel without science fiction?
    • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:14AM (#4211764)
      They aren't the science fiction channel, they are the SciFi channel which is a much broader, and shallower genre. Unfortunately it includes pablum like "The Dead Zone" which really belongs on the Women's Channel because the plots are so touchy-feely it is ridiculous, not to mention the bogosity of John Edwards and his feel-good show.

      If they aren't going to do space shows, does that mean SG1 is doomed? How about the rest of the Dune movies?
      • Well, I guess I don't get the distinction between "sci-fi" and "science fiction" any more than I would see a diff between Hi-fi and "high fidelity", thought I suppose one could be a "stereo" and the other is "good sound". (So, the shorter one can be "nouned"? Don't think that applies here!)

        I certainly don't get Farscape. It's not Sci-Fi anymore than Friends is a soap or Charlie's Angels was "crime drama". They're all comedy.

        Just like Andromeda.

        SG-1 is pretty damn funny too.

        Colonel Jack O'Neil: Hey, Carter, thought you might like to watch a movie, so we got Star Wars. Teal'c here has seen it like, what, eight...

        Teal'c: Nine.

        O'Neil: ...nine times, so it must be good!

        Capt. Samantha Carter: [long pause] thinking [to O'Neil] You've never seen Star Wars?

        O'Neil: Well, you know me and Sci-Fi.

        Maybe it's all comedy...

        • Well, I guess I don't get the distinction between "sci-fi" and "science fiction" any more than I would see a diff between Hi-fi and "high fidelity", thought I suppose one could be a "stereo" and the other is "good sound". (So, the shorter one can be "nouned"? Don't think that applies here!)

          To those who are wondering why,
          What we call 'SF' ain't 'sci-fi',
          It's just, there's a fine line,
          Between Robert Heinlein,
          And 'Son of the two-headed fly'.

        • The distinction is this: Pretentious assholes who like science fiction don't want thier favorite stories (which they consider to be literature equal to the best works of Dickens and Tolstoy) to be considered part of the same genre as crappy B movies about giant spiders invading Earth, even though it is.

          Therefore, they insist that "good" science fiction is a completely different genre from "bad" science fiction.

          I can debunk this silly notion with 2 words: Starship Troopers. Anybody who has both read the book and seen the movie based on it knows exactly what I mean.

      • They aren't the science fiction channel, they are the SciFi channel which is a much broader, and shallower genre. Unfortunately it includes pablum like "The Dead Zone" which really belongs on the Women's Channel because the plots are so touchy-feely it is ridiculous, not to mention the bogosity of John Edwards and his feel-good show.

        Hello, I'm imitating John Edwards and I am happy to tell you that all of your loved ones are "Fine" they are always "Fine" yep... fine fine fine fine. (Coughs) Oh wait, I meant to say it as the French do - "Fin'e".

        Oh by the way, along with my utterly useless answers I will just ooze smarmy fake compassion then laugh all the way to the bank.
      • If they aren't going to do space shows, does that mean SG1 is doomed? How about the rest of the Dune movies?

        Depends what "space show" covers, not much space travel in Dune and not that much, most of the time in SG1.

    • And now, for a small question from me... What is the point of a science fiction channel without science fiction?

      Maybe John Edwards knows?

    • by RatFink100 ( 189508 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @09:50AM (#4211928)
      Saying science fiction is about space is like saying crime fiction is about guns.
    • It is an interesting question... Why is it that anything that portrays space as a useful place to be that is anything other than hideously uneconomical to get to gets axed almost immediately? As is, for that matter, anything that shows the least bit of imagination or originality...

      Are people just not interested in anything beyond the "lands we know" anymore?

    • And now, for a small question from me... What is the point of a science fiction channel without science fiction?

      Assuming that "Sci-Fi" was intended to mean only addressing science fiction. The most obvious example being "Sightings", a "documentry" series about the paranormal.
  • At times like this when it appears a trend is forming to cancel highly-rated shows like Farscape and Witchblade on cable, you have to wonder if there was a network study somewhere which claimed that Sci Fi was "out" or "on the want" and everyone is trying to get ahead of the curve. TV execs always seem to be trying to get ahead of the curve (rather than sticking with what works), which seems to leave us with fewer and fewer old, popular, and unique shows and more and more shows stamped from the same cloth.
    • I like science fiction, but I'd hardly call myself a "fan". Some of what passes for popular in the sci fi community doesn't register at all with me, and in fact I'd often write off as just not very good.

      Unfortunately I'd have to put Farscape in that column. I caught an episode or two and just didn't find it all that interesting. I'd guess that someone, somewhere decided that a show that lacks whatever elements make scifi popular to those people who don't count themselves as part of the sci fi fanbase.

      I think that like any genre the true fans always have a greater level of appreciation for things that will never register with most people. Some things (Star Wars, Alien, Close Encounters, Blade Runner, etc) have an attraction that makes them attractive outside the genre's base. I don't think that Farscape was one of them.

      And this is true of lots of genres of books, movies, music, or any other creative endeavor. It drives the fans batty, of course, because inevitably they are insulted when something they thought was a good representation of the genre gets cut because it just isn't popular with non fans.

      What surprises me is that as many scifi fans as there are that they haven't started doing their own low-budget scifi films direct to video. The Born Again types have been doing this for a while now, making movies based on Revelations. Its pretty big in the Christian community but doesn't even register on Hollywood's radar.
  • by cioxx ( 456323 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:22AM (#4211773) Homepage
    Look, I would hate to burst your bubble, but this looks to me like a lame publicity stunt by the networks. I hate to be the conspiracy theory guy, but hear me out, because this is a great strategy.

    1. SciFi/USA Networks Cancel Farscape claiming it costs too much to produce
    2. The story hits various portals such as internet message boards, tv news, slashdot and others.
    3. Creates a huge outcry from the fanbase, letters will be written, online petitions will be signed
    4. Suddenly SciFi has a change of heart and brings the series for a trial run for one more season
    5. As a result this turns out to be the best way to lure new viewers who are intrigued by all the hype
    6. ??? []
    7. The Network Profits by an unprecedented media stunt by increasing viewership.
    • But what about the cast and crew? Isn't it bad to screw with the talent like that?

      I don't buy it. I think it's just SciFi doesn't want to spend so much on what is only now a moderate performer.
    • No didn't happen for MST3K won't happen for Farscape. SciFi Network has no clue about keeping viewers.
    • If they wanted to do it for a publicity stunt they would've announced it on the main site, or on the scifi channel itself. The cast saying it in a chat log isn't exactly an effective way to build up a large amount of controversy. Only hardcore fans and internet geeks will hear about it.
    • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @02:43PM (#4212907) Homepage Journal
      It might seem strange, but this sudden reversal seems consistent with the situation at SciFi. It's a pretty weird situation -- SciFi and USA Interactive's other cable networks were supposed to be spun off into a joint USA-Vivendi operation. But that seems to have fallen through. Instead, USA seems to be moving towards becoming a subsidiary of Vivendi. Except that Vivendi itself is in trouble. So they're both looking for ways to cut costs.

      Yeah it's dumb. You have to spend money to make money. But it's the way business works these days. Investors see everything in terms of the quarterly bottom line. This was true even when the economy was booming and is doubly true now. The company I work for has been profitable for 8 quarters straight, has a huge amount of cash, and no long-term debt. And yet we have to jump through hoops to justify even tiny expenditures -- even ones that would obviously save us money in the long term.

      The cash issue explains a lot of stuff at SciFi that had me puzzled. Their unwillingness to show Farscape episodes that supposedly had already been paid for. Their sudden disappearance of other shows because of "poor ratings". (Ratings that are poorer than the "Tales From the Crypt" reruns they used as filler?) I'm afraid the bottom line is this: SciFi's strategy of becomming a first-run entertainment provider is dead, and it's back to reruns of other networks' shows.

      • Yeah. Well. I never much cared for it, but I do know Farscape was popular. Maybe now they will go back to showing reruns of other good series. With exception of TNN, ever notice that there aren't many networks who show what they started to show when they started. SciFi when they started showed things like Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica and things like that. Cartoon Network showed, well, old cartons like Bugs Bunny, Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone. Now on there you get stuff like the Powerpuff Girls (eck) and Johnny Bravo. Maybe SciFi can do reruns of Dark Angel? Who knows!
    • They could have had the same effect by just saying they might be planning on cancelling it and won't make a decision for a few months than saying it's cancelled now and they've got a week befoe they start tearing all the sets down to make room for a bigger John Ewards auditorium.
  • I don't think petitions, letters, nor phone calls will do any good.

    As Ben put it, "They're taking a chainsaw to Moya next week" meaning that the sets are scheduled to be destroyed within a matter of days.

    Yeah, maybe letters and phone calls will make them spend the money to rebuild the sets, but I probably wouldn't hold my breath. They would have folded the sets if there was a chance the show was going to be picked up again (as they did with "Crusade"'s sets [even though they never did pick up this series]). I think it's best we wish Brian Henson et al the best of luck on their new endeavors instead of spending our energy on such a longshot. The best we could hope for is for a final episode or movie, but I doubt this as well
  • by perlyking ( 198166 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:41AM (#4211804) Homepage
    But what is "frelling"?
    There is no good sci-fi on at the moment. I see Enterprise and its just more "wild west cowboys in space" crap.
  • by vandelais ( 164490 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:42AM (#4211805)
    I never got into the show, but understand why other people did. It's a decent show and probably should continue.

    There is always hope. HBO has a rather good record of picking up shows of meritable creative content that do not get network/cable support from the cronies that run them. Maybe you could redirect or cc your support mail there.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Urrghh... what a way to wake up on a Saturday. Farscape is one of the few shows that I make time to watch.

    I'm not usually surprised when a series is cancelled - either it obviously bites, or no-one is watching. Neither seems to be true of Farscape. In fact, I'm so mystified by this, I've spent my Saturday morning writing a letter to the Sci Fi channel in the U.S... I know, I know, I've been extremely polite (just expressing my sincere shock) and I realise that they will probably just bin it along with the thousands of other "fan" letters, but I had to do it.

    I've never done that for a TV show before. So maybe that will mean something to the less cynical slashdot readers.

  • Fax them! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ageless Stranger ( 540738 ) <crossbar.monkeybutler@org> on Saturday September 07, 2002 @08:50AM (#4211816) Homepage
    I urge everyone who is upset about this to send a fax to Sci-Fi Network. I found the this link to a free online fax service from the parent article.

    Free Online Fax []

    Sci-Fi's fax number is +1-212-413-6531.
    • Now, what you do here is take about 5 sheets of paper, write "DON'T CANCEL FARSCAPE, WE LOVE IT" about 3 times per sheet, then feed the first sheet through, and then tape the sheets together in a circular motion.

      Sit back, let fax for about 7 and a half hours.

      Of course, it's long distance, but... as brody once said, "small price to pay for the smiting of one's enemies".


  • normally (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Apreche ( 239272 )
    I would say yes save the show. However, I dont' like that show. It's too much like Star Trek, which I hate. I mean, I'm a geek just like the rest of you, but this is one area of geekdom I just don't get. When I watch Star Trek I just can't help but feel I'm watching an afternoon soap opera, except everyone is wearing an alien costume or a space ship uniform. Changing the setting doesn't make a show any better. I don't watch scifi channel anymore anyway. Wait... I don't watch TV anymore really. Go ahead and cancel all the shows you want.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @09:42AM (#4211908) Homepage Journal
    In those cases, they killed off shows that you had to think ( gasp ) to enjoy.. and replaced with mindless garbage. Sign of the times i guess.
  • by slashdot_commentator ( 444053 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @09:42AM (#4211910) Journal

    Look at what the networks have killed in the past 6 months (of note):

    Dark Angel (FOX: news to me, but axed in May, had ok ratings!)
    Futurama (FOX: weak ratings)

    A couple days ago:

    Witchblade (TNT: had strong ratings!)
    Farscape (Sci-Fi: good ratings?)

    (I'm sure I'm missing a biggie in all this. X-Files, Ally McBeal, Family Guy, etc. don't count...)

    I'd understand the cancellations if the ratings were weak, and new programming was so much more promising but:

    Derivative spinoffs: CSI:Miami, Law & Order:
    Cop shows, cop shows, cops shows
    doc shows, doc shows, doc shows

    Another boring lawyer show from David E. Kelley
    New soon-2-be-DOA show from the other lucky producer...

    And the rest being f**king lame-assed "reality" shows I don't watch. How the f**k do loser shows like Big Brother2, Amazing Race2, and The Mole2 manage to get timeslots??? Yeah, they're cheap to produce, but they get sh*tty ratings.

    I just don't get it. There a quite a few new shows coming out this fall, and most of them have LOSER stamped on them. Why kick out a promising show to stick in a sure loser?

    The only thing new that looks like it has promise is Firefly. But I would have killed something other than Dark Angel... (Birds Of Prey looks promising too.)

    Is it that our demographic (and thus, entertainment preferences) is too old and not desirable anymore? Do good shows cost too much? Do networks make more money on sh*t reality shows?
    Am I missing a possible trend? (Economic recession putting content companies out of business? 9/11 makes people want mindless, "wholesome", patriotic, hero themed shows?)

    Its a conspiracy, I tell you! And the handwriting is on the wall. Get ready to say goodbye to Buffy, Stargate SG1 (a Sci-Fi channel property), Angel, Smallville, Enterprise(?), South Park, Son of the Beach,

    I can't say its all bad. I watch way too much TV. I'd like to feel confident that there will be something watchable in a couple of years, but it doesn't look good (for me, for us?)...
    • Since so many people seem to be asking, Farscape was scifi's highest, or second highest show depending on who you ask. Unrealized Reality (Season 4, Episode 12) pulled a 1.5, which is pretty unheard of for this network.

      Unfortunately, it's also their most expensive show to create, but what the hell else do they have? They killed b5:lotr (And no, not THAT lotr), they killed lexx, Stargate's coming to a conclusion after this season.... They're going to have dead zone and johnathon edwards when at the end of this year.

      JMS said scifi wants to get away from "those space shows", when they killed the b5 spinoff. I haven't figure out who's irrational bias this is, they're the scifi channel for christ sake, ut if I ever identify the person responsible, rest assured that I will provide contact info.

      • by GigsVT ( 208848 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @12:00PM (#4212349) Journal
        John Edward -- All fiction and no science.

        Real science fiction fans deride the use of Sci-Fi as a moniker, I guess it is becoming obvious why. Soap operas in space are not science fiction, 900 number reject asshole "psychics" that scam old people are not science fiction.

        Science fiction is about expanding the way we thing about the present, by showing us probable or possible futures, based on the science and technology we currently have. It only barely encompasses the "supernatural", only insofar as the "supernatural" is just science we do not yet understand, which, by definition isn't really supernatural.
      • (blink)

        The want the sci-fi channel to get away from those space shows.


        I can see it from a managers point of view though. Make a sci-fi show that requires almost no special effects, and it will be a lot more profitable that one with a lot of expensive special effects.

        I bet "Crossing over" bring them a bundle of cash.

    • Demographically, for an example, Mole 2 was holding its own against AI in the 18-34 demos for that time slot. If people that advertisers want to sell to are watching, that's good enough.

      Then again, NBC Executives have twice cancelled ratings-wise successes that followed Friends (Inside Schwartz was ranked in the top 15 at year's end, believe it, or not), because they pulled in only a 30 share rather than carry the 60 share of the Ross/Rachel crew.

      SFC's tactics seems to make it unprofitable for another network to hop in and save the show, or else toss in money to rebuilt the sets. Slash and burn, anyone?
    • Well, people who are stupid enough to actually buy the stuff they see in the commercials are probably a better target group than those who don't and even use DVRs to skip them.
  • Someone from the company said in chat that the problem is that SciFi couldn't get other markets. Why? Because they refused to licence back episodes and the series makes no sense without the back story!!!!

    Fucking idiots can't change their marketing when they have that oddest of things, a show with a story.

    Yes it's an expensive show. But if you can't make money on the best show on cable, with high ratings then fire your incompetent marketing department, don't cancel the show!!!

    Anyway that's what I think we should say in all of our tinkle-bell letters (clap those hands).

    Licence the damn back episodes and you can sell the series, idiots!

    Rocky J. Squirrel
  • by mstyne ( 133363 )
    Because networks respond better to phone calls and snail-mail letters than a mass e-mail campaign and there is contact info on a fan-run Message Board.

    Huh? I'm hoping this is due to a /. editor's scalpel.
  • I'm sorry for those people that enjoy Farscape, but I could never get into it.

    I could never get into it. It just seemed like Days of Our Lives in spaceships. It had that same dark, dreary lighting and slow pace that is so typical of soap operas. Even the character summaries from the show's web page sound like a soap opera:

    Chiana's happiest when she has the opportunity to show off her scoundrel skills; she's a thief, a liar, a seductress and a drama queen.

    I'll take Enterprise any day. The story line is inspirational. The recurring characters are admirable. The production values are top-notch. The special effects are beyond reproach. And each episode stands on its own and does not require that you watch the show serially from the pilot up to the current episode to understand what is going on -- though, taken together, it tells a larger story.
    • Now I don't want to start a B5 vs Star Trek flamewar (quite frankly, I like them both a lot), but one thing B5 did better was the story arcs - you did have to watch many of the episodes to see what was going on, and it was very hard to break into the series otherwise. DS9 did this as well starting around the 4th season, but to a more limited extent. Enterprise seems to have moved back to the TOS/TNG model (mostly).
    • You just saw the wrong episodes. I would roll my eyes a bit when it was an Erin/John romance-fest. But check out episodes like "Crackers Don't Matter." And the drama can be seen in a different light. I consider John Crichton to be as classic as Dirty Harry or John McClain (Die Hard). Both dramatic, but neither would be compared to soap opera characters.

      As for special effects, I'd prefer a fly-by of Moya over Enterprise.

      Hopefully Farscape engrossed the right minds, so someone in high places will scoop it up.

      "Humans are suuuuppeerriioooooor!!!" - John Chricton
    • I reread my original post and was embarassed to see the title with the word "that" where the word "who" should have been. Let the snickering begin...
    • To each their own...

      I'll take Enterprise any day.

      I could never get in to Enterprise.

      The story line is inspirational. The recurring characters are admirable.

      I found the storyline, while appealing to my like for "history" (even if it is fictional), doesn't really seem to go anywhere. And the characters fail to interest me.

      The production values are top-notch. The special effects are beyond reproach.

      Sure. Decent production. And they seem to do a somewhat admirable job of trying to balance between a "future" defined by our real-life past views of technology during the 60s and the current sense of ethetics that lead to the look of the "modern" Star Trek.

      And each episode stands on its own and does not require that you watch the show serially from the pilot up to the current episode to understand what is going on -- though, taken together, it tells a larger story.

      I don't find that a big selling point. Of course, I also enjoyed shows that really required a sequential following (like B5 or Twin Peaks). Having said that - I don't feel that Farscape suffers so much from this. And even if it does... that this is really a such bad thing. Unless, of course, you're a studio manager more concerned with filling in time slots than what your programming actually is.

      Farscape and Enterprise are entirely different shows and, honestly, I feel that its rather unfair to try and compare them. The only likeness between the two is that they both have a space sci-fi (sci-fantasy to the purist) background.

      And I must admit, it took me a bit to get interested in Farscape. But after watching a handfull of episodes (a couple of different times), I got hooked. Mainly because Farscape is very different. Its chaotic. Its full of very odd concepts and designs - from hardware, to aliens (and I've come to appreciate the occasional anamatronic alien puppet instead of another makeup-and-prostetic alien). And there is a certain degree of desperation that pops up occasionally that I find refreshing (as an example, running out of food and facing starvation pops up from time to time).

      Will Farscape be everyone's cup of tea? Hardly.
    • "I could never get into it. It just seemed like Days of Our Lives in spaceships. It had that same dark, dreary lighting and slow pace that is so typical of soap operas."

      What I couldn't stand was the encounters they had with 'weird things'. I mean things that were weird for the sake of being weird. They lost me at the planet populated by lawyers.

      Gotta agree about Enterprise. What I like most about that show is the dialog. It's so much different than the other Trek shows. I think a lot of people don't pick up on that and that's why they hate it.

      I miss Quantum Leap over all of it. Scifi can be good, but you have to have good characters in it to make it work. QL decidedly proved that.
    • I'll take Enterprise any day. The story line is inspirational.
      I think you misspelled "superficial."
  • by GuardianAli ( 552915 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @11:10AM (#4212163)
    One, everyone is right in that the Show was less linear in the 4th season and had more single episode bubbles. I think the reason is cause SciFi wanted another Star Trek and not another Babylon 5. They needed a show that they can show in ANY order in the reruns and not have to worry about keeping the story arc going. One of the reason Star Trek is so popular is cause with its overall single episode ways, they can be rerun like mad and anyone, not even star trek fans can see an episode and get into it and not worry about why, who, when.. I LOVE babylon 5 but i have to admit, if i watch the reruns, its much harder if i wasnt already aware of the series plot.

    As for why it was canceled? Face it people. Scifi and USA Networks isnt Paramount with its huge cash reserves. It takes money. While Paramount can keep up with the costs, SCiFi cant. All those CGI effects, costumes, salaries, Puppets, etc..all cost money.
    I hate it. I wish they didnt cancel it. But SciFi can actually make MORE money rerunning POPULAR scifi shows and have fans watch then make a new series or new season.
    Think about it. They get money for the commercials and stuff for simply reruning a show that was already made or has already paid for it self.So instead of spending money on it, they can start making money. I think they simply figured 88 epsiodes are enough backlog to show reruns and have the fans keep coming back out of nastalgia.

    sad sad. Witchblade is canceled too!! Cause its TNT. Sad. Cause a cable TV isnt as big as Paramount or not enough money..original and great shows get cancled.

    First wave,
  • by Bogatyr ( 69476 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @11:14AM (#4212181) Homepage
    Caitlin Kiernan, the horror and fantasy writer, has a long comment on the cancellation of Farscape along with contact information and actions to take, including contacts for the advertisers on the show. She doesn't have links to individual days, so read the journal and look for the entry for Saturday, September 07, 2002. mlÂÂ
  • Mailbox Full (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hallow ( 2706 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @11:17AM (#4212194) Homepage
    The phone number given is for a woman named Bonnie Hammer. Unfortunately her voicemailbox is full. Does anyone have the number of anyone it would be appropriate to call?
    • If you wanted to be obnoxious you could just start dialing numbers in the near vicinity of the posted ones. Imagine if EVERYBODY at the network came to work on monday to find their voicemailboxes full of of complaints about farscape.
    • The phone number given is for a woman named Bonnie Hammer. Unfortunately her voicemailbox is full. Does anyone have the number of anyone it would be appropriate to call?

      She sure seems appropriate, since it seems they've taken the ax to the better programming after her arrival. Granted, Vivendi Universal has had it's financial problems with Messier having been at the helm (since dumped) but cost cutting of original programming, if that's what's going on, makes no sense. Why take one's higher rated programs off. Does it lower some costs? Sure. But it also makes Sci-Fi into just another run-of-the-mill cable channel with reruns. It certainly lowers the value... something I'd think they wouldn't want to do since I'm guessing a lot of the subsidiaries (possibly the whole USA net group and Universal group) may be back on the block. Maybe they could save costs by eliminating her position. I think USA would be better back in the hands of Diller and Universal back in the hands of the Bronfman's. I'm guessing they could both get them back at a lot less than they sold them to Vivendi for in the first place. (After all, they've taken a beating on Vivendi stock, that's for sure!)

  • by option8 ( 16509 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @11:33AM (#4212252) Homepage
    i think it's about time for a cable channel that's entirely programmed by the viewers, kinda like a slashdot channel.

    yeah, it wouldn't have much original programming, but i imagine it would be the best mix of reruns and syndicated shows available. and with this crowd, a lot of sci-fi and classic thinking-person's shows (ooh! a channel that would show "The Prisoner" would get my vote)

    maybe with enough karma-minded contributing viewers, it would have enough clout and advertisers to afford to get some original shows produced...


    it's an idea. not my best...

  • by Malic ( 15038 )
    I have a family member that has had some high-level dealings with SciFi Network. He doesn't have the best things to say about them. He actually told me that really weren't interested in picking up another "space show" because they had many already.

    Frill. They are the SciFi channel! Space shows are they're bread and butter!

    The problem with television is that relatively new emerging networks (Fox is another example) is their history:
    1. Get launched and have a desperate need to make a name for themselves
    2. Having nothing to lose, take risks by trying non-"same old, same old" programming
    3. Acquire A LOT of very positive attention from an audience starved for original programming
    4. Become successful
    5. With success, they now have something to lose
    6. They lose their edge and stop taking risks and gravitate towards "safe/tried-and-true" programming.
    7. They become freaked out that they are losing marketshare and long for the good-ole-days.

    Hmmm... Lots of traditional businesses follow a similar path now that I think of it...

    1. Petition SciFi for more Farscape
    2. Failing that, watch a lot more Good Eats
  • by Geckoman ( 44653 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @12:30PM (#4212451)
    Well, not Farscape's cancellation in a specific, John Edwards kind of way [sic], but Sci-Fi's decline in a general, Hari Seldon kind of way.

    My theory for the past 10 years has been that there is an inevitable tendency for any given TV network or channel to become exactly like all the others. New, focused channels may pop up, or old ones may refocus, but those are momentary spikes, and the general direction will remain unchanged.

    Remember when MTV actually had music? Or when VH1 did? Now they both mostly have crappy reality shows and cheesy documentaries.

    Remember when TNN was The Nashville Network? Even if you weren't a country fan, you had to respect the attention they gave to their target demographic, with "Dukes of Hazzard" and "Dallas" marathons, NASCAR, outdoor shows, and the Grand Ol' Opry. The first bad sign was when they started showing Star Trek. Nashville? Huh? Now they're the "National Network," and last time I checked there were no fishing shows or overalls in sight.

    CNN used to be all news; now it's mostly talk shows that are vaguely news-related. Fox and WB used to be hip and edgy, and now they could give CBS a strong challenge for the snooze market most nights. Heck, even the Weather Channel has shows now!

    And soon we'll all pine for the days when Sci-Fi actually had science fiction. I'll go out on a limb and predict that they'll soon change their name to "SF," then shortly thereafter start pretending that it stands for something completely different, like -- I don't know -- "Serious Favorites: The Best Shows Everybody Likes!"

    When we were told we'd have 500 channels of programming, nobody ever bothered to mention that they'd all be showing reruns of Law & Order and Friends.

    • Try TNN on Saturday and Sunday, when it's all overalls, deer huntin', monster trucks, adding blowers to your Shelby Cobra kit, wrasslin redneck fun! The Star Trek/Robot Wars/Baywatch/Conspiracy Zone stuff runs on weekdays...
      • Ah! That explains why I haven't seen it. On weekends I'm usually out in the yard adding blowers to my 4x4 huntin' truck to get it ready for the mud races on Saturday night. ;-)
    • I liked MTV better when they were the animation channel. LiquidTV, The Maxx, that weird alien-in-the-brain series, etc. Those were some awesome shows.
  • A Clue... (Score:2, Interesting)

    I attended WorldCon, in which some of the executives of the SciFi channel were at a panel.

    They gave no clue that they were cancelling Farscape, but it was clear that the relationship with Farscape was different then many of their other shows. Basically a number of their shows are produced by either themselves or by a sister company under Vivendi Universal, but Farscape is not.

    Thus they have very few rights to Farscape, basically first broadcast rights. They may have decided that they needed more rights or control to the properties that they do broadcast then what Farscape was offering. Think about it, with the Dune miniseries, they own it completely. They get money from every DVD, every overseas sale, etc.

    This adds up, and may be what makes them believe they'll make more money producing their own or their sister companies shows then continuing to promote Farscape which owns all such subsidiary rights.

    BTW, re: the comments about starting in January being a bad sign, the executives also said in the panel that they don't try to do new stuff in the fall like the other networks. Instead, they counter-program, and thus introduce new mini-series and events in December when most networks are doing their first reruns, and introduce new shows in January and Summer when the momentum for network shows is down.

    -- Herder of Cats

  • by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @12:48PM (#4212509) Journal
    The SCIFI web page for FarScape has no mention of a cancellation, and in fact they are touting new epsisodes in January. They are also touting the new FarScape video game.

    On top of that, SCIFI doesn't seem (from my brief research and the recollection of the credits) to have anything to do with production, they seem merely to purchase the show for "broadcast". What I understand is that Jim Henson Productions owns the show (characters, plots, elements, etc). So if JH owns the show, why would SCIFI cancelling the show cause JH and the production company to tear down sets when apparently the show runs on several other channels/stations in other countries (like BBC2 in England, FoxTel in Australia, etc).

    While SCIFI has a history of cancelling good shows, and I can't completely discount this as rumor/hoax the story just doesn't make a whole lot of sense, and there is no press release or the like that I can find on a credible site.

    If you do believe that the story is true and SCIFI is indeed cancelling FarScape, then I suggest that along with your letters/calls/emails/faxes to the SCIFI headquarters, that you also write/contact the programming managers at some other stations, just in case.
    HBO comes to mind, they are a major force in commercial-free original series, and they currently lack a SciFi based show. In order to compete with Odyssey 5 and Jeremiah on ShowTime (don't they also show SG-1?), HBO might very well be willing to pick up FarScape along with the installed viewer base. A letter writing campaign to them might better scure the future of FarScape in the event of cancellation by SciFi Network and cesssation of production by Henson, et al.
  • by edo-01 ( 241933 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @02:19PM (#4212821)
    A bit woozy, so bear with me... I worked on Farscape since the beginning of season 2 in the VFX department, I left at the beginning of season 4 but continued to freelance on the show.

    Tonight I was checking literally as I was about to go out the door and saw that we'd been cancelled... my jaw just *dropped*. I couldn't believe it, the show was literally our lives for the last three years...

    The mood at the party was pretty good, a lot of sadness - I mean sci-fi broke the news the DAY before the wrap party, everyone was still reeling. We'd all known that season 5 was an on-paper "lock" but we knew there was a chance it might not happen. But overall people were in a cool state of mind, nothing like this had ever been done in Sydney before and it's been a hell of a ride. Everyone involved with the show is so happy to have been a part of it, for me it was my first job in the industry after quitting the IT world, and even when it got tough I'm so grateful to have gotten the opportunity, and I've made a lot of good friends to boot.

    Brain Henson explained that it had almost made it to at least 13 eps for season 5 but in the end he just couldn't sell it. Man, I'm numb (of course that could be the after effects of the party) It turned out to be a damn good party though, the gag reel had been hastily re-cut to include some nice moments in light of the news, but it went down well - Anthony Simcoe as D'Argo and Wayne Pygram as Scorpious bring the house down every year with their totally in-character bloopers, this year was no expection. I know the show was not to everyone's taste, hell sometimes I didn't go to the screenings myself, but it's a great offbeat show, and if you liked it enough; as Ben Browder, David Kemper and Richard Manning explained in the chat, send (polite!) letters to sci-fi, or call, and let them know.

    Ok drunken ramble mod /off going to go watch the sun come up :-)

    • Bloopers?

      Is there any way for the fans to see these?
      • by edo-01 ( 241933 ) on Saturday September 07, 2002 @03:28PM (#4213046)
        Man, I doubt it... These are generally pretty blue and they don't bleep them :-) Things like D'Argo threatening to f**k a peacekeeper squad to death and Scorpious resonded commanding them to line up and fellat the Luxan, that was last year. This year the funniest was again something D'Argo said that I'd maybe only repeat on alt.tasteless. In involved babies. They're also full of in-jokes, whenever a cellphone ruins a take the guilty party has to buy a slab of beer - one year there was great one of Pilot talking when it happened, he raised himself up and yelled in a very Aussie accent "aaaaaand *another* slab for Jacko!" (or whatever the guy's name was. Season one GMD, the old FX house did a great shot of the Digital Rygel singing Sinatra. We did our own CG Rygel and I always wanted do do something involving him and some Hynerian slave girls, or a "Star Wars" shot of a command carrier going by to reveal a bumper sticker like "I break for Fat Chicks" or "Hows my driving, call 1-800-eat-shit" etc... but I never got the time... never will now :-(
  • Vivendi is the owner of Henson productions (producers of Farscape) and in addition to other media properties. A quick googling indicates that they have been suffering financial difficulties, and are on the brink of bankruptcy. The rumor is, even with the 2-season deal that obligates Henson to the 5th season, they won't be able to produce it for the price of the original contract. Sci-Fi cannot afford the new price for the ratings the show drives, so as a result, they told Henson to stop the 5th season. So, even though I'm sending my letter to Sci-Fi channel, I doubt there will likely be a resolution unless Sci-Fi wants to buy Henson on the cheap in lieu of suing over the contract obligation. The actors in the show are more tenured and are probably driving costs to a certain extent. Furthermore, its unlikely to be picked up by another network who may be willing to pay more, due to the Henson obligation to Sci-Fi channel for the 5th season (Sci-Fi wants their eps at the original price if Vivendi picks up the pieces, or another company buys out Henson).

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling