Is it now the official policy of Syfy to piss off hard-core fans of what was once the SciFi Channel? First the network changed its name in an attempt to widen its reach beyond its core demographic of basement-dwelling video-game fanatics between the ages of 25 to 54. Then it followed up the groundbreaking genius of its Battlestar Galactica reboot with endless Saturday night B-movies (Sharktopus!), the acquisition of WWE Smackdown!, and cheesy reality shows like Ghost Hunters. And now? For the first time in about fifteen years, the network has decided not to run a 4th of July marathon of The Twilight Zone, replacing one of the greatest TV series of all time with twenty hours of The Greatest American Hero. Is this any way to serve man, Syfy?
The network announced the switch nearly a month ago, but as the big day has grown closer, Rod Serling’s army has mobilized, launching the obligatory Facebook protest group and posting heated comments on Syfy forums (“What do you expect from a company that can’t even spell ‘SciFi’ right?” sniffed NYPDRetired; another predicted a Manimal marathon was next). Some have taken to Twitter to vent; even actor Kevin Pollak (whose sci-fi credentials are in order, having starred in Willow) has registered his disgust by retweeting three anti-Syfy posts.
When Vulture contacted a Syfy spokesman to ask why the network insisted on spitting in the face of tradition, he said the channel wasn’t abandoning Twilight Zone; Serling’s tales would be seen as per usual on the New Year’s marathon. But for the Fourth, Syfy simply wanted to “freshen things up a little this year by presenting Hero, since it hasn’t been seen (nationally) in nearly twenty years.”
But as disappointed as many diehards will be by the loss of classic creepiness this holiday weekend, there are some William Katt fans who can’t believe their good fortune — including, one would assume, the Family Guy writers. (And if you squint, doesn’t Katt’s ‘fro look like a firework explosion? It’s holiday-appropriate!) Sure, we’ll admit that GAH boasts a pretty awesome, timeless, and frequently parodied theme song. But so does Twilight Zone, though that has the advantage of being a true TV classic, rather than just a campy childhood memory.