Syfy Channel Backhands Eureka Fans… and Its Audience at Large

It’s likely that fans are beginning to wonder: does the Syfy Channel even like science fiction anymore?

It’s a fair enough question to ask, and one that Eureka fans have probably made up their minds on already. The story goes thusly: the Syfy Channel had made a statement assuring fans that Eureka (currently in its fourth season and filming its fifth) would get an additional season. This sixth season would be shorter—six episodes long—with the understanding that the Syfy Channel might change their mind and expand the story somehow.

They changed their mind, all right. They cancelled the sixth season altogether.

Now the writing team of Eureka is stuck trying to end a show that they had been promised an extra half season to wrap up, with only a few weeks of shooting left to them. That spells quality right there. The writing team of Eureka has always been pretty solid, but my heart goes out to them.

And this after cancelling the vocally supported Stargate: Universe. Who are they planning on incensing next? Why don’t they reboot Battlestar Galactica again? It’s been long enough, right? Or they could replace all original programming with rodeo coverage! SFF fans love that stuff!

Frankly, it’s the latest in a long downhill run for Syfy (which became painfully obvious with their rebranding in 2009). As they said in the statement about this abrupt executive decision, “After painstaking consideration, we have had to make the difficult business decision to not order a Season 6 of Eureka.” Now, no one is so naïve as to assume that television network decisions are not entirely business-minded, but it seems clear that the Syfy Channel has been out of touch with their fanbase for a long while. Their heyday has come and gone.

The Stargate franchise wore out and died gasping. The attempt to make a more gritty version of the show (SG:U) infuriated some fans and entraced others, but not enough to keep it going for more than two seasons. Warehouse 13 is a lukewarm X-Files rehash that has high ratings, but is frankly pretty dull. Then there’s the Being Human reboot, which I’ve already expressed my disappointment with at length. And Alphas… does anyone actually care about Alphas? With the stellar Misfits now on Hulu, I can’t think of a reason to pay attention to another poorly conceived people-with-superpowers yarn. Eureka was never the most serious-minded SF, but it was fun, quirky, and had a lot of heart. It managed to survive what others did not, but apparently didn’t warrant loyalty enough to demand a decent send off.

The network made a similar mistake with Farscape in 2003, but the writing team stood their ground and refused to end the show at the last second. The words “To Be Continued…” in the final episode prompted an uprising that led to the fans bringing financial backers to the then-SciFi Channel to force them into ending it with a proper miniseries. Eureka fans might have to take a page out of their book if they want to see their story get the treatment it deserves.

Used to be, evenings at my house were full up with what the SciFi Channel had to offer. These days, since wrestling and intentionally awful horror films are not really my thing, looking elsewhere appears to be the only option.

Emmet Asher-Perrin used to watch so many shows on the SciFi Channel. So. Many. Shows. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.


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