fans produce a grassroots commercial to save show
of Wired News
How far will fans go to save a doomed TV show? Devotees of the SciFi Channel's Farscape, which was canceled in September, have pooled their money to buy a TV commercial pleading for the show's resurrection.
The commercial -- created and funded by fans -- is set to run in 24 major cities around the United States next week including: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Hartford, Houston, Lexington, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Tampa and Washington, D.C. This revolutionary concept may well be the first of its kind in any fandom and promises to reach millions of households across the US. Call it "grassroots gone high tech."
The commercial may run only once in some of the major markets, and often on an obscure channel in the middle of the night. But that's fine, according to the campaign's organizers, because they mostly want to attract media attention.
"The goal of this project is to draw mainstream media attention to our cause," explains the campaign's website.
Last week, fans sent out dozens of press kits to TV stations and networks drawing attention to the ad. It's still too early to tell if they were successful, however. Organizers of the Save Farscape campaign couldn't be contacted for comment. The commercial pays homage to Apple's Switch ads. It features clips of Farscape followers explaining why they love the show.
"Farscape is one of TV's smartest, funniest and most consistently surprising shows," said fan Nathan Alderman. "It's got a great cast, equally strong writers and it doesn't dumb anything down for its viewers. It's the main reason I got cable in the first place."
Produced by the Jim Henson Company, Farscape tells of an astronaut propelled to the other side of the universe. Critics have praised the show, now in its fourth and last season. TV Guide called it "the best science-fiction series on TV."
Despite the plaudits, SciFi canceled the show due to the high cost of production -- $1.4 million per show, according to estimates -- and lower ratings. The show's audience has declined from 1.6 million viewers to 1.5 million, according to a SciFi Channel FAQ. But that hasn't deterred thousands of the show's fans, who have been campaigning for it to be brought back since the news of its demise broke in September.
The TV spot is the latest stunt in a long-running, Internet-centered campaign, which has included sending letters, faxes and even empty snack food boxes to producers and TV executives. The Save Farscape campaign encourages fans to send flattened cracker boxes with the note "Crackers DO Matter" (a reference to an episode called "Crackers Don't Matter"). Campaign organizers also cling to the hope that another network will pick up the show.
So far, however, the fan support has not swayed SciFi to revive the show.