Defiance: How to alienate your audience

I hadn’t planned to write a post about a television show, but the choices made by the producers and Syfy forced my hand.

For those that haven’t seen it, “Defiance” is a science fiction show featured on the Syfy channel every Monday at 9PM.   The general plot is that three different races of aliens attacked the earth and changed the nature of the planet by terraforming it while it was still populated with us.  An alliance happened with one of the races and together we defeated those attacking.  The planet is now a weird, post-apocalyptic version of itself with a militant-political group trying to become the new super power.  A small town named Defiance struggles to keeps its collective independence against all those trying to take over while dealing with the cultural troubles that come with trying to integrate all the races together that live within its borders.

(It’s also a video game but I’ve never played it.)

The writing is good with complexities and multiple twists.  The characters do not work in harmony and every single vice and moral weakness is out and used.  There is greed, there is corruption, there is hatred, and there is pettiness.  Call it the anti-Trek.  There’s also a lot of sex so be warned if you have children.  There is so much sex, in fact, that it took me a while to figure out exactly who they were aiming the show at.  (Every space based science fiction show I’ve ever seen was aimed at the 10 and older crowd.  I’d feel weird watching this with my 16 year old – if I had any.)  And yet, the writing is so good in it that it overcomes the sex.  The layering is too good to let go.

That’s why I’m angry.  The producers of the show have committed one of the cardinal sins when it comes to creating a lasting show.  They jilted the fans.

At the end of the season finally cliff-hanger, the announcer invites the fans to come back and find out what happens when the show returns…  June 2014!

That’s right.  The producers of the show and the powers that be over at Syfy want the viewers and fans of Defiance to wait almost an entire year for the show to start again.  That’s a hell of a break!  That’s going to give every other channel out there a chance to create new shows and grab the people that were watching “Defiance”.  Even if every other channel out there shows nothing but reruns for the summer, they still have from September to June to scoop them up.  It would not surprise me if the show loses ½ to 2/3rds of its audience.

What are they thinking?

Do they want the show to fail?

They must because the last time I saw a show do anything like this was Tremors the series and it was done on purpose by the then producer over at Syfy. (The show didn’t fit her idea of what “Sci-fi” was supposed to be, so she deliberately killed it through mismanagement.)

It shocks me to see this blatant act of disregard by people who are supposed to have a brain and experience with entertainment.  They should know better.  I run this little blog and I can say completely that I get physically ill if I add only one new post in a week.  I’ve set up the place where you expect multiple posts and I’m gonna do my best to give them to you.  I write down these posts after doing physical work in the Florida heat for your enjoyment and I know every blogger out there is doing something similar to bring their audience (and me) something I enjoy reading, seeing, or hearing about.  You’d think those that make thousands of dollars in the entertaining business would respect their clientele a little more.

The golden rule is:  Give a damn about your audience.

Maybe someone needs to remind the people over at “Defiance” and Syfy that.

8 thoughts on “Defiance: How to alienate your audience

  1. They do the same thing with Warehouse 13. It has shorter seasons than most network shows and doesn’t come back for nearly a year. It’s really hard to remember story lines or characters after all that time. I don’t understand their reasoning, either.

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