Categorized | Reviews

TV Review: Syfy 20th Anniversary Special

Genre: Documentary| Sci-Fi

Air Date/Time: Monday, December 10 at 9/8c (Two Hour Special)

Network: Syfy

Summary: Happy Birthday, Syfy! On Monday, December 10 at 9PM (ET/PT), the Channel will celebrate two decades of award-winning, imaginative entertainment programming during the star-studded Syfy 20th Anniversary Special.

From iconic series such as Farscape, Battlestar Galactica and Warehouse 13 to Ghost Hunters, Face Off and the upcoming transmedia experience Defiance, the special will look back on Syfy’s launch and evolution, and ahead to the future through the personal, behind-the-scenes insights of the creative talent themselves.

In the two-hour telecast, a wide range of actors, directors and producers will share their memories of popular scripted shows including Alphas, Battlestar Galactica, Being Human, Caprica, Defiance, Eureka, Farscape, Haven, Lost Girl, Sanctuary, Stargate: SG1 and Warehouse 13.

Showcasing a treasure trove of memorable clips, the special will feature interviews with the hosts of the hit unscripted programs Destination Truth, Face Off, Ghost Hunters and Total Blackout.

The Syfy 20th Anniversary Special will also talk to the stars and creators of Original Movies and Miniseries such as Dune, The Triangle, Taken, Tin Man, Alice, Neverland and Sharktopus. Dean Cain (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) will narrate.

The Syfy 20th Anniversary Special is produced by the Emmy Award-winning company Associated Television International. Executive Producer: Jim Romanovich. Producer/Director: David Stephan.

If you love Syfy like I do – which means you love a lot of what it represents, along with a lot of what it broadcasts – then you will definitely love this show. In fact, if you have been watching it for even a fraction of the 20 years that it has been on the air, then you’ve earned this special, too. You put in the hours, watching this network, and you deserve some time to celebrate your excellent taste.

The two-hour special is divided into several parts, each of which, at least on my screener, addressed a different aspect or show or subset of the channel:

    • The start of the channel and a nice long section on Stargate;
    • A bit more of the history then a nice long section on Farscape;
    • Original Miniseries (primarily Dune, Children of Dune, Taken, and the Robert Halmi Sr. miniseries including Tin Man and Alice) and Original Movies (with some nice clips with Roger Corman, who says great things like “the acceptable level of insanity is higher than i thought,” which belongs on a plaque)
    • Battlestar Galactica
    • Reality programming: Crossing Over, which started the paranormal genre, then Ghost Hunters and Destination Truth; hidden camera and competition shows - “Scare Tactics is a comedy show,” “Total Blackout is Punkd meets Fear Factor in the dark,” and Face Off – and collecting, including Hollywood Treasure
    • The rebranding from SciFi to SyfyWarehouse 13, Eureka, and Haven
    • Shows “about the human condition”: Being HumanLost GirlSanctuaryAlphas
    • The future of the network, including Continuum and Blood and Chrome (briefly), and Defiance (a longer discussion)

This is an extremely well-crafted special, featuring a whole array of stars and producers discussing their shows, along with a wealth of clips. The history is interesting, and the comments are almost all insightful. One or two are a bit silly, but not nearly as much as the advertising might have you believe.

The discussion of the network itself also makes some interesting points, like the fact that none of the major networks have schedules without reality programming. I also appreciate their view that sci-fi can incorporate a panoply of “imagination-based programming” that allows for a lot of different tastes and interests. It’s a big ol’ tent of freakiness that can include Battlestar Galactica and Total Blackout and Haven and WWE Smackdown and Neverland and Sharktopus.

I admit it, I learned a lot about shows that I may not have previously watched or even considered watching, and I in fact have gained a new appreciation of them. Be careful, or you may do the same…

But the best part, of course, is the celebration of the shows that we have watched and loved all along, and if you have been a fan as well, then this special is for you. Happy Birthday and thanks, Syfy.

I give the Syfy 20th Anniversary Special Four Out of Five Stars.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Serenity says:

    I’m really upset that they didn’t include any Stargate Atlantis actors in the special. The show premiered on their network (unlike SG1) and ran for 5 years. And they can’t include a single actor from the show? Not even David Hewlett, who has done a lot of other work for them? I’m beyond disappointed and feel quite insulted. Do they even mention SGA in the special at all? I’ve been so turned off from this network I’m not sure I’m even going to tune in to Defiance, which, until now, I was really looking forward to.

    • Erin Willard says:

      Serenity, they did spend some time on it, talking with the showrunners about it, and including clips; that whole section was about the entire Stargate franchise. The reasons for the actors’ absence could have been time constraints, but could also vary from availability to contractual issues to willingness on the actors’ parts. Don’t skip out on Defiance; if it’s great, it might help make up for what you didn’t get from Syfy in the special. Defiance has been a huge undertaking for Syfy, so I’m really hoping for great.

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