Sci-Fi Fodder

In Case of a Writer's Strike

There has been a lot of speculation on what will happen if the looming Writer's Strike actually occurs. If you haven't been following the story, the writer's current contract expires on October 31st. Just as a history lesson, the last strike was in 1988 and lasted 22 weeks!

So, what would a writer's strike mean to us, the viewer? Although the networks have stockpiled scripts and accelerated production on many shows, the reserves will run out quickly. Alternative programming (or reruns) will have to be found to fill the airwaves.

SyFy Portal has speculated that "...there is a good chance that you may find some of your favorite shows like "Battlestar Galactica" and "The 4400" coming to a network near you". This is a good point, since NBC Universal owns the SciFi channel programming and the USA Network, which air the aforementioned shows.

Although I'd love to see "Battlestar Galactica" or "The 4400" on a major network (and thus gain a larger possible audience), I got to thinking about other possible replacement programming. There is a great library of older Sci-Fi programming that could be aired to fill the gaps. I came up with two somewhat obscure shows that might be good fill-ins.

The first show that I thought of was "The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.". I loved this series when it debuted on Fox in 1993! It featured Bruce Campbell as "Brisco County", the son of an old west lawman who was always looking for "the coming thing". Evidently, I am not the only fan of this show, as the IMDB user ratings has it listed as an 8.8 out of 10 (that's good!). Bruce has attained legendary status and is currently on "Burn Notice", so it's plausible that viewers could tune in. As a side note, Carlton Cuse (the producer of "Lost") was also the executive producer for "Brisco".

The second show is more obscure and frankly, would probably get "Caveman"-type ratings. Still, I'd love to see "Quark" back on the air for a short period of time. If you don't recall that show, it featured Richard Benjamin as the captain of an intergalactic garbage scow. I was pretty young in 1977 when it aired, but I clearly remember that it was funny. I'd relish the chance to check it out again as an adult.

Are there any other replacement shows that you would like to see?

I'm a huge fan of Bruce Campbell, but I would not choose those shows. My vote would be for "The 4400", but if there was a choice of obscure shows...hard to say.

-- Posted by: Alexandra at October 26, 2007 8:43 AM

Take a lesson from '88. The programming holes were plugged up with movies, sporting events, newsmagazines, and hastily assembled unscripted clip shows.

"America's Most Wanted" and "America's Funniest Home Videos" were products of the '88 strike. "Cops" and "Unsolved Mysteries" were plucked from cable obscurity to major network prime time in '88, but they were both unscripted shows, too. It was in '88 that you started seeing newsmagazine shows like 60 Minutes, 20/20 and 48 Hours on several nights a week, instead of just one.

These days, the prime time ratings are already heavy with 'reality' shows. You'll just see more of the same. My guess is they'll do things like bring back "Millionaire" before they give second tier scifi a chance.

But if any show deserves to get a second shot in this window, it's "Firefly". No contest.

-- Posted by: Deep Cover at October 26, 2007 2:40 PM

I am with ya, Deep - they probably will just film a whole slew of new reality shows. I don't expect that they would show something like Firefly, though, since there is almost no chance of filming new episodes. If it garnered new fans, they would want more...and it ain't gonna happen.

That's why I went with old, old shows (Quark) for the nostalgia viewer, or shows that are currently in production (4400, BSG). It seemed more likely to me that those shows would be safe to air, draw some viewers, but not cause any outrage when they were pulled at the end of the strike.

-- Posted by: Fred at October 29, 2007 4:27 PM

No, bring back firefly.

-- Posted by: cruden at November 2, 2007 3:21 PM

IIRC, Quark only ran a year. What I would suggest is the NBC bring back the original Bionic Woman, and watch it get twice the ratings of the current show....

-- Posted by: Mike Shields at November 6, 2007 9:52 AM