America's Got Cable: IFC vs. Logo

Welcome to another groin-pulling week of America's Got Cable: The Search for the Nation's Finest Basic Cable Channel!

OLD BUSINESS: The nerds are in charge now! In our first ever UNANIMOUS victory, congratulations goes to...

*******************************SCIENCE CHANNEL***************************************

Easiest decision yet? Probably. I liked what you had to say about it:

CrimeDramaBee: SCIENCE CHANNEL is really awesome.

Lance_Corporal: I cast My vote for The Science Channel. For Science.

NateDogTheGreat: Science is the only truth man can believe with any certainty. Huberts Many-Worlds theory in Quantum Mechanics actually implies immortality and it makes quite a bit of sense if you can understand it. The Science Channel made me understand it and now I will live forever. Planet Green simply makes me feel guilty because my anonymous little town doesnt even provide the necessary equipment to properly recycle. Im sorry I was born here! Immortality vs. Guilt, I pick the Science Channel!

I have no idea what you're talking about, NateDogTheGreat, but I hope everything works out for you! That's more than I can say for one of the next two contenders:

NEW BUSINESS: This battle is about to get quirky.


Background: The Independent Film Channel is another one of those surprisingly old cable channels that’s only recently burst into popular consciousness by overhauling its image and mission statement. Back in 1994, IFC was originally established as a sister channel to Bravo (you know, when Bravo was still considered a movie channel), and it aired primarily independent films that were uncut and commercial-free. After dwelling on the fringes of basic cable for, oh, 16 years or so, in March 2010 the channel rebranded itself, began airing original programming and (unfortunately) began including commercial breaks. How PBS of them!

Original Programming: At least those advertising dollars are going to a good cause: IFC has TERRIFIC original programming, particularly comedies. Shows like Onion News Network, David Cross’ The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret and sketch stalwart The Whitest Kids U’Know are joined by the amazing Food Party and the amazinger Portlandia. Basically, if you like your comedy conceptual and weird, IFC is your home away from Adult Swim.

Reruns: IFC really knows how to pick ‘em. For a while it’s been repurposing British and Canadian series like Kids In the Hall: Death Comes to Town, Dead Set, The IT Crowd, and some Monty Python stuff. But its American-rerun track record is just as good: Arrested Development, Freaks & Geeks, The Larry Sanders Show and Mr. Show. But also, you know, IFC still airs movies. GREAT ones. Today alone IFC will air Waking Life, Paranoid Park, and In America. Those are good movies!

Why It's The Best: IFC may still be a plucky underdog of a channel, but for quality comedy and sheer good taste, it really is tops.

Why It's The Worst: The only thing worse than a movie nerd is a comedy nerd (believe me, I own a mirror), and IFC is just a straight-up enabler for both.


Background: In 2005, Viacom converted VH1 Mega Hits (whatever THAT was) into Logo, its first ever network aimed directly at the GLBT community. Although Logo enjoyed immediate support from big-name advertisers, full corporate backing, and a president in the form of much-beloved MTV veteran Brian Graden, the channel struggled to hit the airwaves in many of the more conservative markets. Because, you know, just the fact that something exists is just too much for people to put up with. While much of Logo's initial programming was pretty dry and serious-minded (i.e., tons of "coming out" documentaries), it's lately taken on a campier, good-times feel with the genuine hit RuPaul's Drag Race and its own awards spotlight, the NewNowNext Awards.

Original Programming: The aforementioned RuPaul's Drag Race has been Logo's biggest (and only?) crossover hit, frequently re-airing on sister channel VH1, but Logo also boasts its own answer to Bravo's Real Housewives franchise with The A-List, whose New York season will be followed up with a Dallas season later this fall. In addition to airing a huge number of one-off documentaries and specials, Logo is also home to the genuinely decent comedy shows, The Big Gay Sketch Show and Jeffery & Cole Casserole.

Reruns: You know what? Logo has surprisingly great reruns! Not just the ones you'd expect, like The L Word, Nip/Tuck, or Queer as Folk (though those have definitely aired here), but also truly awesome things like Strangers With Candy, Absolutely Fabulous, Little Britain, The Sarah Silverman Program, and Wonderfalls.

Why It's The Best: It's weird to say this in 2011, but it's pretty great that this network even exists. Out of 600 channels, at least one of them should cater to this audience. BESIDES Bravo.

Why It's The Worst: Like most networks with intentionally narrow appeal, Logo might be overly pleased with itself when it should be creating better shows. Plus, reprehensible garbage like The A-List almost directly flies in the face of its more noble intentions.

Official Verdict: Both of these channels serve a purpose, but only one of them is consistently fun to watch. Sorry, RuPaul, IFC is just too good.

But now it's your turn! COMMENT BELOW and tell us your verdict: IFC or Logo? And make your case! What do you love or hate about each channel?

Want to catch up on past battles? Head over to the America's Got Cable archives.

Follow writer Price Peterson on Twitter: @pricepeterson

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