Tuesday, 11 August 2015


From May 1997: From back when multi-channel TV was still analogue... the dishes were bigger and the programme line-up more appealing: an ad for the UK branch of the SCI-FI CHANNEL


  1. I remember the publicity push when The Sci-Fi Channel opened up their UK branch, with celebrities such as Jon Pertwee contributing to "You're watching The Sci-Fi Channel" break-bumpers.

    As a satellite viewer, The Sci-Fi Channel was an often frustrating experience in its early years, since the channel shared its transponder frequency with no less than *five* other broadcasting stations. I recall particularly missing out on what turned out to be the final broadcast of the Bionic Six US/Japan animated series - a series that now has slim prospect of ever getting a complete physical media release. Bionic Six of course was, like their other half-hour cartoons, accorded an early-morning slot - which could only be seen if one had cable, rather than satellite.

    On a semi-related note, it's kind of amusing to see anime to prominently spotlighted in the above advert, since Sci Fi UK (as they would eventually be known after their split with their US progenitor) rather infamously started putting their acquired anime productions on later and later in the day as time went on.

    By late 2004, what anime they had left was given a regular slot at 5 o'clock *AM*, and Sci Fi UK subsequently dropped all regular anime from their schedules by November 2004, citing -in all seriousness- low ratings. Due to repeated enquiries, the following year Sci Fi UK even belatedly added a question on their website FAQ as to whether they would ever acquire any more anime again. Of course the answer was no, and the response even consisted of the words "that old chestnut" - a pithy comment no doubt written by the obnoxious individual (whose name I forget) who used to moderate their message board at the time.

    Of course, by 2005 Sci Fi UK had long since dropped most other shows that were of interest to me as well, such The Incredible Hulk, Buck Rogers, Lost in Space and Max Headroom to name but four. An increasingly dubious amount of material with very little to no real science-fiction content on some of their acquisitions around the same time finally opened my eyes to how far the channel had declined. I've not bothered with them for about a decade now, and by all accounts haven't missed much.

    You're not kidding that the programme line-up was more appealing back in 1997!

  2. recommendations for this week:

    BACK ISSUE 82 - this features several articles on SECRET WARS and SECRET WARS 2. Its just a shame about the cluttered looking cover and the editor's decision to shrink the masthead title to almost nothing.

    DARKSIDE - the latest issue is a superb cover tribute to the late Chris Lee.

    I've also noticed the Leonard Nimoy tribute issue of STAR TREK is already nearly sold out.

    1. Funnily enough, I'm hogging the sofa in CAFE NERO even as you speak... reading the SECRET WARS articles in BI. It looks like an excellent issue.

  3. wow, that was good timing on my part !

    I remember passing a CAFE NERO every day on the way to my brothers london pad. I always found it highly amusing as the new trek movie reboot was due out then ( in 2009 ) and the villains name was Nero !

    Here's a preview of the new CRIME SCENE mag :



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