Scifi Missing The Point with Farscape

by Paul William Tenny

Apparently the really expensive, heavy-on-the-drama and absolutely enjoyable original Scfi Channel series Farscape is making a bit of a comeback, albeit not through traditional outlets. The critically acclaimed (for all that comment is worth these days) series will see 10 new episodes streaming from the Scifi Channel website, each limited to between three and six minutes in length, according to a press release.

Now with that babel out of the way, here's the problem and here's where Scifi is missing the point: this is an opportunity to prove that a television show doesn't have to die just because a broadcast or cable network doesn't want to carry it anymore. People want more Farscape and if webisodes is the way to get it made, then so be it. But the most obvious problem is that people don't want three minute shiny toys, they want 42 minutes of sweet Farscape ass to spank.
The producers of Stargate: SG-1 are trying to produce a television series entirely off the Internet in Sanctuary. We're talking real writing here, real production quality, and episodes I presume that run longer than a bloated commercial break. This is an opportunity to do what they've done, and go for the full show. Sure, we can all live with reduced budgets and the constrained story telling that accompanies them, but why play games like this when there is a new frontier to explore?

The Writers Guild of America is going to fight the studios to the death over coverage for precisely these kinds of new media shows. What if a thirty minute webisode of Farscape proved so popular that people might buy them, like they can buy old TV episodes of established shows from iTunes? Think of the money that could be made, all without having to sacrifice your broadcast schedule, or struggle to find advertisers.

To that end, why hasn't the SG-1 crew gone to Scifi and tried to work out a deal where another season of the show can be told through web-only content? Though this 3-6 minute thing is a total joke, there's no reason you can't tell a solid story in 20-30 minutes, and I'd buy them too. Why wouldn't I? No commercials, and I get an entirely new season of SG-1 and Farscape.

Great opportunities like this don't come along very often, and this is like getting in on the ground floor of the VHS boom. Mark my words.


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excellent read!! so true!!

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