Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, there it enters the roots of the vines, to be changed into wine, a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy.
– Benjamin Franklin
Unfortunately, Mr. Franklin could not have foreseen how the world would changes over two hundred years later. If he had… well, the quote above might have been a little different.
Happy Monday, folks! Syfy has announced Sharknado Week! Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Syfy has announced a week’s worth of Sharknado from July 26 to August 1 to celebrate the arrival of Sharknado 2: The Second One. This on top of news about a month ago that Syfy had already ordered Sharknado 3.
Perhaps there’s an “Old Person” in your life. You know what I’m talking about. Some old curmudgeon who constantly talks about how things were better “back in the day”, when kids “knew what was good for ’em” and “respected their elders” and “didn’t set fire to the carpet”. The reality of it is that these things were never true. Things were never better “back then”, they were just good or bad in different ways.
Sharknado is the exception to all this. Sharknado is the Paris Hilton of movies. It’s bad, it’s stupid, and it doesn’t care. That’s fine once in a while. I could see Sharknado being a guilty pleasure to be found on cable at around 3 in the morning. I might even find a way to accept Sharknado 2, mostly on the title alone. But Sharknado 3? And a week’s worth of celebration for the release of Sharknado 2? Genocide has occurred for lesser reasons.
That Sharknado went viral is a testament to both the perversity of entertainment and the sad reflection that there just wasn’t that much out there to compete for our interest. That a second one was put into production is almost expected because of how profitable the first one was. That a THIRD movie has already been ordered puts on display, front and center just how desperate Syfy is to get eyeballs. If Sharknado 2 does well enough to financially justify a third one, it will be a testament to poor taste in modern culture.
I remember when the SciFi channel first came went on the air. I was sharing an apartment with a pot dealer (back when weed was basically illegal instead how it is now as kinda-sorta legal) and staying up late to check out this new science fiction channel that was sharing time with a Home Shopping Network knock off. I remember innovative programming. For example, inbetween shows, mixed in with the commercial breaks there were clips of “This Moment in Science”. Each day recalled a new scientific breakthrough that happened at some point in the past. I watched hours of programming just to get those snippets. There were talk shows analyzing science fiction shows, Twilight Zone marathons where viewers picked the episodes and more.
Then SciFi got big. The crap shows started coming in. The movies dropped from interesting-but-low-budget to B-movie, to C-movie, and finally to Sharknado. SciFi became Syfy because the owners of the channel couldn’t figure out how to be hip to the new crowd. The Asylum, the company behind Sharknado, has become the main content provider for the monumental crap that Syfy (which should be pronounced “siff-ee”) puts out. The great science fiction channel turned into intellectual toe-cheese. Sharknado 3. Ugh.
We need a good science fiction channel. SciFi used to be it, but apparently the human race is not allowed to have nice things. There must be a way to bring back the good stuff without it devolving into populist crap for the lowest common denominator. I wish I knew the answer, but it looks like no good deed goes unpunished. For every quality channel out there pushing worthy goods, there is a multitude of channels like Syfy pushing crap like Sharknado. God hates us and wants us to be unhappy. But, like Banksy says, there is always hope.