Sci Fi Channel


Sci Fi Channel

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Sci Fi Channel (United States)

SCI FI (originally The Sci-Fi Channel, sometimes rendered SCI FI Channel) is an American cable television channel, launched in early 1992, that specializes in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal programming. It is part of the entertainment conglomerate NBC Universal.

History

The channel was launched in early 1992 as a joint venture between Paramount Pictures (then self-owned, was purchased by Viacom in 1994) and Universal Pictures (then part of MCA). In that time, network programming included the old television series Dark Shadows, the film serial Flash Gordon, and other science fiction movies and series.

The channel was seen as a natural fit with classic film and television series that both studios had in their vaults, including Rod Serling's Night Gallery (from Universal TV) and Paramount's Star Trek and classic Universal horror films such as Dracula and Frankenstein. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and author Isaac Asimov were among those on the advisory board. In 1997, Seagram, which bought MCA in 1995, purchased Viacom's interest in USA and Sci Fi, and sold the networks to Barry Diller in 1998 to form USA Networks, Inc. Diller later sold USA's non-shopping (film and TV) assets, including Sci-Fi, to Universal's then-parent Vivendi Universal in 2002. Vivendi's film, television, and cable TV assets were then merged with General Electric's NBC to form NBC Universal in 2004. A high definition version of the channel launched on October 3, 2007 on DIRECTV.

 

Sci Fi programming

See Sci Fi original programming for the full list.

Sci Fi's programming includes original television movies, miniseries, and series.

Series

The channel's most prominent series include Battlestar Galactica, Farscape, and Stargate SG-1, (picked up from the cable network Showtime after five seasons, and eventually becoming American television's longest running science-fiction series), and its spin-off Stargate Atlantis. Its 2006 series, Eureka was the channel's highest-rated series premiere. In addition to Stargate SG-1, Sci Fi also picked up the cancelled Comedy Central series Mystery Science Theater 3000, running three additional seasons of that show. In January 2007, it introduced The Dresden Files alongside Battlestar Galactica on Sunday evenings. It's also the US home of the revived Doctor Who series. In 2007 SciFi also picked up the World Wrestling Entertainment wrestling show (and brand) ECW. Sci-Fi has also commissioned a pilot from the comic series The Stranded (comic) it co-produces with comics publisher Virgin Comics.

Sci-Fi Friday

One of the channel's most successful nights is a two- to three-hour lineup of series on Friday nights, under the banner "Sci Fi Friday". These have included various combinations of Heroes, Farscape, Sliders, The Invisible Man, First Wave, Lexx, Doctor Who, Flash Gordon, Tremors, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Battlestar Galactica, Painkiller Jane and Chuck.

Second run programming

The channel runs many cult classic science fiction TV shows that have been cancelled in recent years such as The Incredible Hulk, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Max Headroom, Land of the Lost, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Batman, Space: 1999, My Secret Identity, The Time Tunnel, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Surface, John Doe, Firefly, Dark Angel, Tru Calling, and the dark comedy Dead Like Me. It also shows reruns of popular shows such as The X-Files, The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Darkside, Ripley's Believe It or Not. For a very long time, the channel was the home of reruns of the 1960s gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. The series aired on Sci-Fi from 1992-1997, and 1999-2003. This channel was also the first to air Star Trek: The Original Series, and Star Trek: Enterprise on cable. It also ran the UPN cancelled series, Jake 2.0. On June 1, 2007, SCI FI aired the UPN series Level 9. The series ran once and was then pulled from the channel's schedule. The channel aired the entire series Kindred: The Embraced on October 17, 2007 and most of the series Wolf Lake on October 18, 2007.

Sci Fi Channel and G4 have purchased the rights to broadcast reruns of Lost beginning fall 2008.

Anime

Briefly in the early 1990s, Sci Fi showed anime movies, although they were often edited in order to fit the market pressures often placed on basic cable. It was the first to show the movies Robot Carnival and Akira in their original Streamline Pictures English dubs, as well as showing Central Park Media's Dominion Tank Police, Gall Force, and Project A-ko.

Anime was most frequently aired on Saturday mornings in a roughly two-hour-long block entitled "Saturday Morning Anime". Each week, the network would air a different anime feature in this timeslot. During the late summer, Sci Fi used one week of its weeknight primetime slots to feature an anime theme week.

On August 26, 1996, Sci Fi aired the heavily promoted U.S. television premiere of Tenchi Muyo in Love, the first movie of the popular anime series Tenchi Muyo!.

Although most of Sci Fi's anime programming was composed of feature-length films, a few, such as Dominion Tank Police, were OVAs cut together to fit into the feature timeslot. One regular feature of the Saturday Anime rotation was composed of the first three episodes of the 1990 fantasy OVA series Record of Lodoss War; however, the third episode ends on a cliffhanger and Sci Fi never aired further episodes.

In May 2007, it was announced that anime would be once again returning to Sci Fi Channel. On June 11, Sci Fi aired the first weekly "Ani-Monday" block from 11:00 pm ET to 1:00 am ET, though it ran till 1:30 am for the first airing, because of the length of the feature. The online schedule lists all following features for the rest of June and all of July as going to the standard 1:00 am. Content for the new block is provided by Manga Entertainment.

The first airing of the block was the world premier of the English version of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society. Sci Fi Channel's airing was June 11 and the DVD for the movie was released on July 3, 2007.

Any nudity in an anime program is blurred or cropped out by the network censors. This was seen most prevalently in the concert scenes in Macross Plus.

The current anime line-up consists of Tactics and Noein, and past aired shows include Macross Plus, Tokko, Virus Buster Serge, and Street Fighter II V. Aired movies include Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Solid State Society, Highlander: The Search for Vengeance, Ghost in the Shell, Karas the Revelation, and Read or Die. The network has also introduced a weekly two-hour late-night block of anime for Tuesday evenings for the month of February.

Miniseries

Sci-Fi original programming gained national prominence in 2003 with the airing of Steven Spielberg Presents: Taken, which won the Emmy Award that year for best miniseries. A two-night updating of the 1970s series Battlestar Galactica ran later that year. Sci Fi miniseries for the 2006-2007 season included The Triangle, Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King and The Lost Room. Previous miniseries include Frank Herbert's Dune (2000), Frank Herbert's Children of Dune (2003) and Five Days to Midnight (2004).

In 2004, the channel aired the fantasy miniseries Earthsea, based on Ursula K. Le Guin's series of young-reader novels. Le Guin wrote in the webzine Slate that despite promises by the production company Hallmark Entertainment and the office of executive producer Robert Halmi, Sr., that "the producers had no understanding of what the books are about and no interest in finding out. All they intended was to use the name Earthsea, and some of the scenes from the books, in a generic McMagic movie with a meaningless plot based on sex and violence." Le Guin noted in particular how her people of color protagonists, who were a dusky skin tone evocative of Native Americans and a conscious alternative to the almost universally white heroes of much fantasy fiction, were cast with white actors except for one, Danny Glover, who is African-American.

The channel's latest miniseries is Tin Man, a re-imagining of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was aired early in December 2007.

Sci Fi Pictures original films

Main article: Sci Fi Pictures original films

Typically independently-made B movie-quality movies with total budgets of $1 to 2 million, they usually air on Saturday nights. In April 2005, the network announced that it would air 28 original movies on Saturday nights through 2006.

Bumpers

In some of Sci Fi Channel's modern-day bumpers, people and animals are fascinated by fantastical and futuristic occurrences. The bumps themselves are original and inspired vignettes of science-fiction/fantasy (e.g., a car which turns into a cube that goes into a woman's purse, a woman getting pricked by a rose and the woman dissolving into water, etc.) in contrast to the programming content of the network itself, with the preponderance of the programming including such films as: 'Supergator', 'The Snake King', 'Chupacabra: Dark Seas', 'Dead and Deader' and so on. The bumpers end with its slogan, "iF", which are two of the letters found in Sci Fi. The channel's current logo debuted during the airing of the first installment of Steven Spielberg Presents Taken in December 2002.

Non-science-fiction programming

In 2006, Sci Fi began showing some non-sci-fi programming. These have included:

* Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, shown on May 4, 2006
* WWE's Extreme Championship Wrestling, started June 13, 2006

In the past, the network has also aired films, such as Braveheart, Cape Fear, and Jaws which do not contain elements of science-fiction, fantasy, or horror. Also, during Cartoon Quest, the animated series Rambo and the Forces of Freedom, based on the Sylvester Stallone action series about a Vietnam War veteran, aired.

ECW became the most popular program on the network by the summer of 2007. Sci Fi has additionally aired the WWE flagship show Monday Night Raw when the program's usual broadcaster USA Network broadcast the U.S. Open tennis tournament over its usual Monday night timeslot.

SciFi.com

SCIFI.COM is the SCI FI Channel's website, launched in 1995 under the name "The Dominion" (which it dropped in 2000). It was one of the first large-scale, publicly available, well-advertised, and non-portal based Web sites). In addition to information on the channel's programming, it covers science fiction in general, primarily through its semi-autonomous Science Fiction Weekly webzine, edited by Scott Edelman, and SciFi Wire newswire.

The site has won a Webby Award and a Flash Forward Award. From 2000-2005, it published original science fiction short stories in a section called SciFiction, edited by Ellen Datlow, who won a 2005 Hugo Award for her work there. The stories themselves won a World Fantasy Award; the first Theodore Sturgeon Award for online fiction (for Lucius Shepard's novella "Over Yonder"), and four of the Science Fiction Writers of America's Nebula Awards, including the first for original online fiction (for Linda Nagata's novella "Goddesses").

SCIFIpedia is a commercial wiki special interest encyclopedia owned by the SCI FI Channel as part of its SCIFI.COM web site. Launched on April 22, 2006, SCIFIpedia's topics include anime, comics, science fiction, fantasy, horror, fandom, games and toys, UFOs, genre-related art and audio, and the paranormal. (Credit: Wikipedia).

Websites

Sci Fi Channel

Scifipedia official site

Sci Fi Channel Australia

Profiles

ECW

Television

 

Sci Fi Channel Australia

Sci Fi Channel Australia is the an Australian subscription television channel specialising in science fiction programming. It is owned and run by the TV1 General Entertainment Partnership.

The channel began broadcasting on Foxtel, Optus & Austar pay-TV networks on 1 December 2006. The channel is available to Foxtel Digital subscribers on the "My Escape" package tier, "Living" tier for Optus TV and "Fun" tier for Austar Digital.

Sci Fi uses the same branding and packaging as the US channel of the same name, but has its own schedule and programming. It airs popular shows such as The X-Files, Buffy, Medium and the Star Trek and Stargate franchise.

Citroën is the main network sponsor.

Media and Press coverage

The Adelaide Advertiser on November 22, 2006 reported about the demand of a sci-fi channel in Australia.

The official launch party of the Sci Fi Channel was held on November 16, 2006 at the Australian Museum in Sydney. Guests included Jacqueline McKenzie (from The 4400), Gigi Edgley and Matthew Newton (from Farscape).

Sci Fi Channel programming

(Listing as per the Sci Fi Australia website)

* Afterworld
* Angel
* Babylon 5
* Battlestar Galactica (1978 TV series)
* Battlestar Galactica (2004 TV series, commenced airing with season 1)
* Buffy the Vampire Slayer
* Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons
* Charmed
* Cleopatra 2525
* Earth 2
* Earth: Final Conflict
* Farscape
* Firefly
* Galactica 1980
* Heroes
* Jake 2.0
* Lexx
* Medium
* Mysterious Ways
* Odyssey 5
* Quantum Leap
* Samurai X
* Sea of Souls
* seaQuest DSV (later retitled seaQuest 2032)
* Sliders
* Surface
* The 4400
* The Dead Zone
* The Outer Limits
* The Sentinel
* The Thunderbirds
* The X-Files
* V
* Who Wants to Be a Superhero?
* Xena: Warrior Princess

Stargate

* Stargate SG-1 (commenced airing with season 8)
* Stargate Atlantis

Star Trek

* Star Trek
* Star Trek: The Next Generation
* Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
* Star Trek: Voyager
* Star Trek: Enterprise (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

Websites

Sci Fi Channel Australia

Profiles

ECW

Foxtel

Television