Star Wars Fans Are Not SyFy (Sci-Fi) Fans
I just had this argument with an editor for “John Smith – Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars” so it is fresh in my mind. In truth, he sent a long list of comments trying to turn this book into a Star Wars type novel and, well, after I read it, I politely bitch slapped him into place. He’s probably still smarting.
The title of this blog post is utterly true though. Despite a 2009 movie called “Fanboys” which tried desperately to document that SyFy fans do not get along with Star Wars fans, most of Hollywood and the book world do not understand. Sci-Fi fans embrace that which focuses on the message. If a story happens to have characters we can embrace along the way, so be it. Star Wars fans only accept things they can shoehorn into their Star Wars universe.
Let me use some big Crayons here so the non geek world can understand.
Sci-Fi fans watched and enjoyed “The Fifth Element”. We accepted the quirky pretty girl who spent way too much time reading encyclopedias as someone who was important at some point. We were rewarded for that acceptance much like horror fans were rewarded in the final scenes of “Jaws” when the shark was finally revealed. Are reward came as a single line “I am fifth element”. At that moment our minds filled in her back story and universe. We didn’t need any character development. Star Wars fans didn’t watch it because Lucas didn’t make it.
Sci-Fi fans require an outraged and quick lipped character to challenge and poke fun at everything around them. Sci-Fi fans warmly embraced “Farscape” because John Crichton spent most episodes wise cracking about everything and dropping the occasional “Star Trek” reference. Star Wars fans didn’t watch it because Lucas didn’t create it.
Sci-Fi fans rallied behind and voted in Dr. Who when it came to TV-Guide’s fan cover in 2012. Not only do we accept a main character that, over the course of 30+ years we still know little to nothing about, we accept the fact every so many years he will “regenerate” into a new doctor and that every so often we will get one or more new companions who become “us” in the series. Star Wars fans don’t watch it because Lucas doesn’t do the special effects.
Are you seeing a pattern here?
Sci-Fi fans really do “expect greater”. Not only do we want shows with a 7-30+ year story arc, we deliberately want them to leave large pieces of the characters out so our minds can fill such things in. On very rare occasions, after a show has been on for many years, will we allow the writers to go back and actually flesh out a character which has been on since the beginning. To understand these rules, you need to rent all of “Farscape” with your Block Buster subscription, THEN, watch “The Peacekeeper Wars”. Don’t worry, Star Wars fans won’t have any idea what you are talking about when you show up to work on Monday.
Most importantly, we do expect these shows to have an arc. Other shows may spin off of them, but we do expect them to have a limited arc. Those of you who don’t grasp this should watch the entire “Babylon 5” series then rent the short lived “Crusade” series.
Second most importantly, Sci-Fi fans are completely unforgiving when you kill off a series too early. Fans pushed “Babylon 5” from station to station so it could finish its arc…with a few station crossing hiccups along the way. “Firefly” has become a short lived series with a massive fan base. Despite an incredibly stupid network which ran shows out of order, and didn’t air them all, the Brown Coat Nation has risen. When Josh and a few stars from that show get scheduled to appear at a convention, they get the biggest room at the convention and it is still SRO (Standing Room Only).
One thing any Sci-Fi fan knows for certain is that “Firefly” will get to complete its story arc. There are too many fans with too much money who know too much about the biz.