Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Syfy sounds catchy

I've known this was coming for months, but now that it is in effect it is really drawing a lot of attention to itself whenever I pass by the channel. Which, now that Battlestar Galactica is no longer airing, is not all that often. But as I'm scrolling through the listings on my DirecTV guide, the name is right there (channel 244), whether I stop to watch or not.

The "Sci Fi" channel changed to "Syfy" last week. Over the weekend the ubiquitous ID in the lower right corner of the screen alerted the viewers to this fact, featuring the text "SciFi is now Syfy."

I know from an article in the TV Guide from a couple weeks ago that they arrived at "Syfy" largely because it was a web URL that wasn't already taken, and one they could copyright. And apparently they think the new four-letter designation may help them expand their audience by getting away from the geeky association that the abbreviation for science fiction had.

And the thing is this: No matter how much I grasp what they were going for, with the re-branding plan, with trying not to be tied down in their programming, I cannot look at that new moniker and imagine it being pronounced as one would say "sigh fie"; words where the first syllable sounds like "sigh" start with "si" (sign, sigh—hmm, they appear to start with "sig" but absent that last consonant the g ceases to be silent… oh, and silent), "sci" (science), or "psy" (psychology, psyche). "Sy" connotes a soft i sound, such as in syllable. So in my mind "Syfy" is pronounce like "siffy" (i.e., like "silly" but with f's). And the first real word that pops up when I think of the "syf" part: syphilis. Which obviously doesn't have an f but the homonym ph combination, but that doesn't matter; it's what springs in to my consciousness, despite all the efforts of my brain to the contrary.

It's juvenile and stupid, I concede, but it is where my mind goes.

That probably isn't what the powers that be at the network were going for, but on the off-chance it was, this certainly would open the door to allow them to air very different types of programming, which could appeal to a... different... audience. (Perhaps those who feel they've had something done to them by the Spike network?)

Not sure that it will increase the odds of me watching, but there's plenty of other channels without the association of venereal disease in their name available.


The inexplicability of the new name has already had one benefit for the channel: I am so distracted by it that I cannot dwell on the dubious grammar of the channel's new motto: Imagine Greater.

However, I find myself starting to think that doing so might result in me needing to go to my doctor for a penecillin shot.

1 comment:

  1. Great juvenile minds think alike. I hadn't seen the new logo until I saw it here. Before I read your post I thought: "That looks like it could be pronounced siffy - like syphilis."

    Take the euphemism for swine flu: H1N1. To me you could easily put in Roman numerals, I for 1. Ergo, HINI - or heinie.

    I know - what an ass I am.



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