How to increase SF/F TV ratings with 5 simple ideas.



By | Posted on 11 December 2012

While Science Fiction and Fantasy shows do all right in the ratings department, I think we can easily identify ways to improve them. So I gave it a long hard think and came up with five suggestions:

1) Let’s try for a serious Science Fiction reality show. Not one of these “people who want to be super-heroes” or “something is fake-haunted this week” jobs. A real reality show. Send some people into space and film them. You want “seven strangers picked to live in a loft,” lets get them to live in a space station. Then you’ll see things stop being polite and start being real. Bonus points for the first fight that ends in an air cycle.

2) Now this is a big one. In fact you can assume the rest of these all have this one folded in. We need to make them kids. Twenty-two at the absolute oldest. You and me might not dig on it, and it can make us feel old and they could even end up written vapidly, I get that. But it’s where the market is. So let us sigh, give in, and embrace it. Fantasy High. Space High. Robot High. Whatever the show is we’ll stick a bunch of kids in it and make them the focus. Look, when I was younger Top 40 radio told me children were our future. The radio isn’t wrong, y’know? I mean the radio told me it is never wrong, and so I believe it or it’ll shock me again.

3) A musical. Look, Glee, Wedding Band, Nashville – there are more and more shows that feature music as part of the story. Characters who sing and dance their way through their problems. Well maybe it’s time we had a version of that with aliens. Or high fantasy. I’m not sure which is better. We could go either way, really. Elves or Venusians – whichever floats your particular boat more. But think about it! A cast of plucky folk singing their way through the obstacles in life. Those obstacles just happen to be orc, or gorn.

4) Figure out a way to do either CSI: Middle Earth or CSI: Andromeda. Either one will do, maybe even both but just make sure we can get that CSI in the front. There are roughly seventy CSI shows on at any given moment. If we can get just one that is also a genre show we’ll be gold, I tell you! Gold! Also the horrible black-light use in a hobbit hole to find stray DNA remains… thrilling and disgusting!

5) Finally I think we could take a lesson from HBO and Showtime. Add random, story unnecessary, nudity. It seems to up ratings, go figure. I know I’m shocked. Maybe, we could even center the show around the nudity, sort of like Californication. You know, nudist elves or a space colony that encounters a strange life form that eats clothing or just… well I mean we could simply air Barbarella, I guess. Yeah, I’ll make a Barbarella TV show joke but let’s be honest that is probably going to happen within three years, and then we won’t be laughing at this. We’ll be crying.


Eisner & Harvey award winning editor, writer & tired person. Co-Writer of AMELIA COLE, ARTFUL DAGGERS and ACTION CATS. Editor of Jamal Igle's MOLLY DANGER. Writer of lots of other comics, novels & essays.

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