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Sci Fi Goes Syfy And I Understand Why

Sci Fi President David Howe announced today that starting July 7th, the network known as Sci Fi will be changing its name to Syfy. My first reaction to this: Lame. I hate rebranding. Rarely am I comfortable with changes such as these, especially when it relates to something I’m used to. For example, Pepsi’s new logo. Don’t like it. Liked the old logo. Why’d they have to change it? That said, looking closer at the announcement posted by NBC Universal, I kind of understand why they’re doing it.

Also included in my initial reaction to this announcement was the thought that with what is probably Sci Fi’s most beloved series Battlestar Galactica drawing to a close (this week!), is this really the best time for the network to re-brand? The logo is familiar and fans of the series, many of whom might not watch any of the network’s other shows will likely associate that old purple logo with the show they held so dear. I would thinks Sci Fi would want to bank on that as much as possible. We see the logo, we think BSG, we smile at the memory of that big old ship and all of her inhabitants and maybe we consider going back to Sci Fi to see if there’s some other series that we might love as much. I don’t like to think that I’d have such an obvious Pavlovian response to a logo but then again, isn’t that the point of logos?

After taking a closer look at the announcement posted today, and thinking about Sci Fi as a network and not just the home to one of my favorite TV shows, I started to reconsider my initial opinion.

Here’s a portion of the announcement:

“By changing the name to Syfy, which remains phonetically identical, the new brand broadens perceptions and embraces a wider and more diverse range of imagination-based entertainment including fantasy, paranormal, reality, mystery, action and adventure, as well as science fiction. It also positions the brand for future growth by creating an ownable trademark that can travel easily with consumers across new media and non-linear digital platforms, new international channels and extend into new business ventures.”

If you are among the people who only tuned in to Sci Fi for Battlestar or perhaps one of the Stargate series or Eureka then it’s entirely likely that you aren’t aware that the network has already branched out as far as the genre goes, if you want to get technical on what science fiction actually entails. Ghost Hunters, for example, isn’t exactly a science fiction series as it’s reality based. Whether or not you believe in ghosts, Jason, Grant and the rest of their team are real people investigating real places where possible paranormal activity has taken place. That aint fiction (and some would argue whether or not it falls under science). Another example, Sci Fi’s game shows Cha$e and Estate of Panic: Not science fiction. Scare Tactics and Destination Truth: not science fiction. The network is already branching out and it has been for a while. They’re including other genres in their original programming now and many of these shows are worth watching.

So looking at the announcement added to what we already know about Sci Fi and how it’s already broadening the scope of what they consider to be a good fit for the network, it might be time for a new brand. I’m not exactly in love with the whole Syfy thing as far as the name but the Imagine Greater tagline definitely fits and at least we can still call the network by the same name even if the logo and spelling are different. That's something, right? I suppose come July we’ll all just have to get used to the network’s new logo but as for what’s already on the network, it seems Sci Fi’s sort of due for something like this. The brand may be changing but if the level of quality in the series they're putting out there that stretch the limits of what's considered science fiction continues to thrive, I can get passed the weirdness of this new "Syfy" name.

Sci Fi has become a home for shows that go out of their way to allow us to exercise our imaginations, whether it’s with science fiction shows, series that focus on the paranormal, action game shows or programs that dig into the myths and mysteries behind things, it works and its already given Sci Fi a stronger identity that surely reaches out to a broader audience than it would if the network relied entirely on shows set in space. If the new name means the network is planning on continuing in that direction, giving us a fun alternative to the more standard series we see on network TV, I can get over my fear of change and accept the new logo.