This is the Golden Age of nerds. Comic books, sci-fi and fantasy are all cool. They provide the basis for the most popular and successful movies and TV shows around. There is literally no shortage of geek entertainment.
However, nerds of a certain age remember a time when that wasn’t the case. You had to wait for the good movies to randomly come on TV or maybe wear out your VHS tape. Yeah, I said VHS.
Then one day in 1992, this new cable channel called The Sci-Fi (Syfy) Channel appeared and nerds not only had a home, they knew someone else liked what they loved.
Early Sci-Fi wasn’t quite the slick production it is now. The schedule mostly consisted of Star Trek, The Twilight Zone and monster movies.
However, things began to change as it showed more and more cult hits like Babylon 5, Farscape, and Highlander. Sci-Fi itself became a cult favorite in the nerd community.
It started its own original series, Sliders, Stargate: SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and new episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The network also began airing original movies that while lacking in budget, didn’t skimp on cheesy entertainment.
This may all sound like nothing important, but to all the nerds who had no one validating their interests, it was a big deal.
People would laugh and make fun of the geeky Star Trek channel, not realizing their scorn was exactly the reason the network was needed and would succeed.
Over the years, Sci-Fi launched quite a few good shows and miniseries without the masses noticing, but the real fans knew what was up. Tin Man, Eureka and Warehouse 13 anyone?
However, in 2003 the channel aired a miniseries reboot of the 70s Star Wars ripoff Battlestar Galactica, and suddenly the rest of the world started paying attention.
Studios began thinking maybe these nerds have some good stories.
The renaissance of superhero TV shows, movies and fantasy epics can be directly traced to the groundwork Syfy has been laying for the past 25 years.
Now, when the network premieres a new series, everyone pays attention to the complex characters and deep mythology. Something the nerds have been appreciating for years.
From the first program shown, which was Star Wars by the way, to the buzz around Wynonna Earp and The Magicians to the social media appointment viewing of Sharknado, Syfy has become a legitimate part of the TV landscape, while never forgetting the nerds that made it possible.
One only needs to watch the annual New Year’s Twilight Zone marathon to see that The Syfy Channel can never really forget where it came from.