Yesterday I posted a Guest Clack written by colleague and all-around good guy, Michael Hinman, who runs Airlock Alpha. What some of you may not know is that Airlock Alpha used to be called SyFy Portal and looked quite different than it does today. Mike hinted at Airlock Alpha to me a while back, though I never asked why the name was changing. Now that the site’s up, I know the real deal: Sci Fi, the channel, bought the rights to the name “Syfy” from Mike.
And you know what? Good for him! It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving guy, and I like the name Airlock Alpha better anyway. The sucky part of the story is Sci Fi’s reasoning for changing its name to Syfy: to get rid of the notion that they’re for geeks and are, instead, more “human-friendly.” Holy shit — we’re Cylons!
Sci Fi’s had the damnedest time trying to find an identity for itself over the years. Not only can no one figure out how to write their name (is it “Sci Fi” or “Sci Fi Channel” or “SCI FI” or “SCIFI?”), but they’ve thrown in wrestling and reality shows to really throw us for a mind fuck. I bet the guys at Ghost Hunters are thrilled that they don’t have to explain why their show is on a channel that seems to indicate what they do is fiction (OK kids, let’s not get into a discussion about the reality/unreality of ghosts here).
Sci Fi changing their name is a good idea, but their reasoning is just retarded. Tim Brooks, a TV historian who helped originally launch Sci Fi, said: “It gives us a unique word and it gives us the opportunities to imbue it with the values and the perception that we want it to have.” So now, instead of giving at least a glimmer of what the channel offers for programming, they’re going to use a word that gives us no freaking clue what the hell it’s about. Oh, and genius move using a homophone to really mess with our heads — at least with SyFy Portal, they had the decency of actually exclusively covering, y’know, Science Fiction content!
From this Syfy-branded non-human, let me say that the new values and perception I’m getting is that you have no idea what the hell you’re doing and you’re going to be forever known as “that channel that used to be pretty cool when they had a science fiction show called Battlestar Galactica on.”