WWE (formerly known as World Wildlife Foundation wrestling) is obviously excluded from consideration, as are the various late night informercials.

But how about the rest of its fare? A question recently asked why the movie Troy was shown, and if this counted as fantasy (despite the less-than-fantastical tone of the movie).

Can we safely conclude that Syfy is completely inappropriate as a method of genre classification? If so, would the confirmation be of any use for setting policy on this SE?

  • I thought it was established that genre classification, in general was considered off topic. Feb 27, 2014 at 19:40
  • Still useful to know that Syfy wouldn't be the right way to do it even if it was on-topic. Then instead of saying "we're closing this because genre class. is off topic" we could say "Syfy doesn't know what the f it's about, don't rely on it" as our close reason. This leaves the asker with closure, and we don't get 15,000 reopen attempts. Not that I mind that particularly... I'm going for a gold steward... but I digress.
    – John O
    Feb 27, 2014 at 19:51
  • @AvnerShahar-Kashtan Yes. The question was off-topic for the main site. Asking if it is on-topic on meta would have been acceptable. The premise that it is on-topic because it was on SyFy just doesn't hold though.
    – phantom42
    Feb 27, 2014 at 21:27

4 Answers 4


I don't believe it's a valid measure.

For starters, a lot of site members are actually not in the US and don't have access to it. That makes it effectively meaningless to them.

Secondly, a science fiction periodical or TV channel need not be exclusively limited to science fiction/fantasy works. Even something as explicitly science fiction as the 2000 AD comic in the UK carried material that wasn't sci-fi (e.g Blackhawk was originally historical fiction), L Ron Hubbard's original Dianetics material was printed in a sci-fi magazine, etc.

Thirdly, magazines such as Playboy carried science fiction stories. I don't think anyone would argue that Playboy is primarily a science fiction magazine.

In conclusion: the medium, or the method of transmission, is not a genre indicator.

  • The point about its limited availability is valid, but a ruler can be a good ruler even if I don't give it to you to measure with. I agree with you on the second point.
    – John O
    Feb 27, 2014 at 22:54
  • 1
    There are some excellent points here. I will investigate Playboy further to make sure that you're right.
    – Valorum
    Sep 12, 2014 at 21:23

Where a work is published, who publishes it, or what networks it is broadcast on may give some credence to a genre classification, but the true measure must be solely on the work alone.

Everything else is really secondary and has no bearing on whether or not it is defined as something.

MTV may play The Real World, but aside from the season where the residents worked in a radio station, the show has nothing to do with music. The fact that it is/was (is it still on?) Music Television does not mean that everything on it is related to music.

Despite the traditional beliefs held by many, not all animated films or series, or video games are intended for children. The medium does not necessitate the genre or targeted age range.

If a work has elements which can be identified as science fiction or fantasy related, it should be considered as science fiction or fantasy accordingly.

  • 1
    So it would be fair to close such a question by saying something to the effect of "Syfy channel has no bearing on the genre of the content it broadcasts" and leave it at that. Thanks, I agree.
    – John O
    Feb 27, 2014 at 22:56

Considering Syfy plays shows about ghost hunters and people claiming to talk to the dead (or least have in the past), I would say yes, we can "safely conclude that Syfy is completely inappropriate as a method of genre classification." It only takes one instance of non-sci-fi / fantasy to indicate a lack of cohesive integrity to the premise and with WWE (which you don't count for some reason?) and the paranormal-tinged "reality" shows, it goes out the window.

On the other hand, I don't think it needs to be verboten or otherwise legislated against for the site. Same with wikis. There's good and reliable material many places, just don't trust them too much.


No, surely not to me since they don't even SPELL Sci-fi correctly, and most of the shows on that channel are plain silly and horrible and have a lot of shows that I would consider to be horror, suspense or thriller shows that have little or nothing to do with science or science fiction at all.

I was hoping that this channel was going to show nothing but science fiction shows such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar and other classic sci-fi shows and the like.. but they barely even show most of those classic shows at all.

  • SyFy acknowledges that it is only a shadow of what it once was when it was called "Sci-Fi", that's a large part of the reason it changed its name. They probably would have done better to change the name completely, but that's neither here nor there.
    – phantom42
    Feb 28, 2014 at 14:08
  • @Phantom42 - Ah I see.. Since I don't really watch the channel unless there is something good on, I was not aware of their previous acknowledgement.. thanks. Feb 28, 2014 at 19:16

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