A while back, when Sci-Fi changed their name to SyFy, there was a lot of uproar including wondering if that (plus the addition of a lot of wrestling added to the line-up) meant the network was planning to discard their science fiction roots and leave their fans high and dry. Not too many months later, and it seems as if the answer is a resounding yes. Doing a search on Nielsen numbers, between the two showings of Eureka on Monday nights, it’s performing better than any of their other shows (0.7 at 8:00 plus another 0.4 at 11:00, compared to 0.7 total for Alphas or 0.8 total for Warehouse 13). Yes, the numbers are low, but that’s normal for basic cable’s summer shows (the high for Eureka’s 8:00 time slot is 1.1).
So the on-again-off-again, will-they-won’t-they renewal question has fallen to cancellation. Why? No one knows. SyFy has come out saying six episodes, no episodes, and now…one. They are giving Eureka one extra episode to wrap up everything and give the show a finale. WTF?
Eureka is a show, like many others, that ends every season with a cliff-hanger. The last season was almost completed as far as filming when the announcement came down, so that means we have a cliff-hanger and then one episode to not only “solve” the cliff-hanger, but wrap up a five-season series.
To put this in perspective, as many readers know, I’m a fan of cliff-hanger endings. I’ll be honest, tt comes from my love of television. The Paranormal Response Team is planned as a five-book series, but let’s say it wasn’t. Originally I figured book 5 would be the end or where the game changed, so let’s pretend I wrote it according to plan B and it ends on a cliffhanger. It’s done and submitted and everything basically but sent to the printer…and then the publisher says “Sorry, we don’t want anymore. The PRT ends with book 5.” (For the sake of this argument, I can’t self-publish or do anything else with the series.)
Can you imagine the reader uproar? As the author, even though it’s outside of my control, I’d probably take the bigger hit, but where would that leave reader confidence in that publisher?
So, publisher bows to pressure and says “Okay, you can have one more story, but you get a 5,000-7,000 word short to wrap it up. That’s it.”
Five novels worth of material…and they expect that it can be “solved” in 5-7k. That’s the equivalent of what SyFy is doing to Eureka fans. They are yanking a successful show and basically flipping the bird at fans.
Honestly, if the network execs came to me and offered to option the PRT, I’d probably say no for the simple reason that I’d be afraid they’d screw the fans of that too.
Instead, how about this: Screw you, SyFy. I’m only really invested in one of your other shows and this move means I won’t be signing on for any others. Fox used to be the network that killed great spec-fic. I guess you want the title. Congratulations. Now how about we change your name again. Something like “the Wrestling and Lame Movies Channel”. I imagined something greater for you, but I guess you decided a couple years ago you couldn’t live up to the Sci-Fi moniker.