Syfy Channel special celebrates 20 years on TV

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Last night the Syfy Channel premiered a new show documenting its 20 years of bringing science fiction and related programming to cable TV.  The Syfy Channel 20th Anniversary Special chronicles the key landmarks of the channel going back to its inception in 1992 as a network of mostly reruns of classic sci-fi series like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits and the original Star Trek, as well as collecting and expanding upon series that didn’t make it on other networks, like Sliders and Andromeda.  The 2-hour show is a great way to reminisce about all the good–and bad–TV that has sucked you in, featuring commentary by series creators and cast, and narrated by Lois and Clark star Dean Cain.

Actors Amanda Tapping, Christopher Judge and Michael Shanks discuss the first big hit for the network originally called the Sci Fi Channel: the Stargate franchise, including Stargate SG-1, and spinoffs Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, as well as the made-for-TV movies.

Then there were early series that didn’t last long, like USA Network series that moved to Sci Fi, like Good vs. Evil, The Invisible Man, Welcome to Paradox, and Mission Genesis.

Ben Browder and Claudia Black chat about the four seasons of the Australian production, Farscape, the next big series for the Sci Fi Channel.  The renaissance of science fiction fans fighting for a series to return occurred with Farscape, resulting in Brian Henson bring a 4-hour mini-series event to round out and tie up the loose ends of the series.

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Sci Fi/Syfy also has had a long run of great, often Emmy Award-winning, standalone mini-series, including Dune, Taken, Earthsea, The Triangle, Riverworld, the brilliant series The Lost Room, fairy tale retellings like the Zooey Deschanel vehicle Tin Man, Alice, and Neverland. 

Creators of the more bizarre part of the Sci Fi/Syfy Channel, like Roger Corman, discuss the network’s infamous, crazy-titled Saturday Original Movies, including zany shows like Alien Apocalypse, Snowmageddon, Mega Paranha, Sharktopus, Pteradactyl, Jersey Shore Shark Attack, Piranhaconda, Frankenfish, Swamp Shark, Dinocroc, Supergator, Megasnake, Boogey Man, Triassic Attack, Swarmed, and Lost Treasure of the Grand Canyon.

The next big break for the network was the mini-series Battlestar Galactica, a remake of the 1970s TV series that was very popular and prompted an ongoing TV series starring Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonald, and a spinoff called Caprica.  The special includes insight from actors Jamie Bamber, Katee Sackhoff and Alexandra Torressani, and producer and long-time sci-fi writer/producer Ronald D. Moore.

More recently the Syfy Channel has packed its line-up with reality TV shows, including the successful Crossing Over with John Edward, Haunted Collector, Ghost Hunters, Face Off, Paranormal Witness, Destination Truth, Scare Tactics, So You Want to be a Superhero, Total Blackout, Collector Intervention, and Hollywood Treasure.

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Actors Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock, and Allison Scagliotti discuss the success of the sci-fi/steampunk series, Warehouse 13.  Actors Neil Grayston, and Colin Ferguson discuss the long-running series Eureka, and producer Shawn Piller and actors Eric Balfour and Lucas Bryant discuss the current hit series Haven. 

Actors Sam Witwer and Kristen Hager discuss the monster mash-up series Being Human.  Anna Silk discusses her hit series Lost Girl.  And the series Alphas and Sanctuary are also highlighted.

What’s next for the Syfy Channel?  The Special previews new series Continuum with star Rachel Nichols, Defiance starring Angel star Julie Benz, and a new Battlestar Galactica made-for-TV movie, Battlestar Galactica: Blood and Chrome. 

All in, the Special is a great way to be reminded of so many great TV series, and also remember all the series you might have thought originally ran on the network, like Babylon 5, Lexx, SeaQuest 2032, and at least one of the Star Trek series.

C.J. Bunce

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