America's Got Cable, Round 2: Syfy vs. Comedy Central


We're back! After a FEROCIOUS Round 1 which saw many mighty giants fall and several young upstarts get their due, we now embark on Round 2, which promises even more basic-cable brutality.



To kick things off, this week sees a face-off between two absolute titans of basic cable. But only ONE will walk away from the conflict alive. Who lives or dies is up to YOU. Choose wisely!

Background: Few people can deny Syfy's bona fides. The original Sci-Fi Channel arrived in USA Networks' lineup back in 1992, boasting such sci-fi luminaries as Gene Roddenberry and Isaac Asimov on its advisory board. Intended as mainly an outlet to air classic sci-fi properties like Star Trek as well as Universal Studios' back catalog of classic horror films, the Sci-Fi Channel flew under the radar until it was acquired by GE's NBC Universal unit in 2004, and most notoriously, rebranded as Syfy in 2009. Although the name change was mostly due to trademarking and SEO purposes, few will deny that Syfy has also shifted its emphasis away from hard sci-fi and more toward mass-appeal fantasy and reality programming.

Original Programming: Like most cable channels, Syfy began as an outlet for properties already owned by its parent companies, but really came into its own once it began producing original content. Steven Spielberg's Taken and the modern reboot of Battlestar Galactica put the network on the map, and shows like Stargate Universe, Eureka, Warehouse 13, Alphas, Haven, Sanctuary, Being Human, and this weekend's Neverland miniseries have helped Syfy become one of the most-watched cable networks. Add to that the still-solid WWE SmackDown and Syfy's notoriously crappy-yet-addictive Original Movies, and Syfy has truly defined itself as a singular cable channel.

Reruns: The most prominent rerun on the Syfy schedule is probably the classic Twilight Zone series, but it also devotes much of its schedule to movies both theatrically released and produced in-house.

Why It's The Best: More than almost any other cable channel, Syfy is almost always airing something to pacify even the most restless channel surfer.

Why It's The Worst: At some point you want something, you know, high quality.

 

Background: Comedy Central's birth name was The Comedy Channel, but it was rechristened after it merged with its nemesis, rival comedy channel HA!, in 1991. The initial programming was extremely low-budget, mostly consisting of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and other late-night movies. Later it splurged on reruns of SNL while forging hits out of Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher and a Craig Kilborn-led The Daily Show. After finding moderate success with original series like Dr. Katz Professional Therapist and Exit 57, Comedy Central finally struck gold with South Park, Chappelle's Show and its current must-watch daily broadcast The Colbert Report.

Original Programming: In addition to the one-two punch of Stewart and Colbert, Comedy Central continues to make a fortune from South Park (now renewed through Season 20!), in addition to creating new series like Nick Swardson's Pretend Time, Workaholics, and juggernaut Tosh.0. Its decision to produce new episodes of Futurama have bolstered its critical acclaim, and a renewed dedication to producing quality standup specials (by Donald Glover and Michael Ian Black, for example) serve as reminders that Comedy Central remains loyal to its original purpose.

Reruns: Comedy Central tends to rerun its own regular lineup, in addition to regularly airing standalone comedy specials and movies.

Why It's the Best: Except for a grim period involving Carlos Mencia, most of Comedy Central's best-rated programs are genuinely great. South Park is still strong after all these years, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert continue to be culturally relevant, and Workaholics remains entirely underrated. Meanwhile Tosh.0 has really come into its own, and the network continues to take chances on some of the weirdest sketch comedy this side of Adult Swim.

Why It's the Worst: When Comedy Central misses, it misses HARD. Remember Krod Mandoon? Or The Jeff Dunham Show? Plus, its schizophrenic nature means left-leaning shows like The Daily Show air alongside things like Blue Collar Comedy, which means that 50 percent of its target audience is annoyed at any given time. Even worse, occasionally Comedy Central stumbles onto something wonderfully weird like Strangers With Candy or TV Funhouse and then unceremoniously dumps it when it doesn't get South Park-level ratings. Very frustrating!



Official TV.com Verdict
While I enjoy escapism as much as the next guy, the comedy nerd in me wins out. Comedy Central gets my vote.


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


Click below to see the full tournament bracket:


Note: Because we started with an odd number of channels, we gave some of the bigger channels a first-round bye.


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

Comments (158)
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SYFY! What can i say, im a sucker for nerdy shows, thee only reason i watch comedy central is because of John Stewart, but 90% of my DVR content is Warehouse 13!
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I love SciFi, but the SyFy channel has been a very poor representation of the medium for many years now. Much as I don't want to support Comedy Central, SyFy isnt really offering much competition at all.
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NBC has ruined the SyFy channel. Comedy Central all the way...
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SyFy
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Comedy Central. When SyFy is good, it's really good, but Comedy Central is regularly consistent in the quality they set for their shows and therefore gets my vote (Yep, I know the article says the exact opposite thing, but just my opinion). I'm not saying the quality set is high, or anything, but simply consistent, while SyFy manages to air amazing shows like Battlestar Galactica or even Alphas next to cringe-worthy Original Movies.
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SyFy
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5 years ago it would be SyFy.. now it's CC.
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Hands down, Syfy. You want some comedy, you can get those LOLs at Syfy - Watch some Destination Truth (entire crew is hilarious), or enjoy the banter of the dynamic duo of Steve & Tango on Ghost Hunters, or for non-documentary style shows watch the science fiction stuff like Eureka and Warehouse 13. Really, "horror" movies like "Sharktopus" were made to be campy on purpose. I laughed through that whole movie.



The only thing that still has me scratching my head with Syfy is wrestling having been added to the lineup. I still don't get how that fits at all.



While I love stuff like the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and Jeff Dunham, I can only see the same special so many times. I've lost count of how many times I've flipped past the Comedy channel to see "Jeff Dunham Arguing with Myslef" was on - again. Personal taste thing for me also, I just don't find the spoof/satire news shows all that amusing. I'd rather see the real life humor of a crew of paranormal researchers/investigators. :)
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SyFy
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tough one!.. i love my SCi fis and i also love my comedies!.. but the scientist in me wins the day..
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Well, My vote is for Comedy Central, but I do love some of the movies that SyFy plays, because then I can make my own Mystery Science Theater 3000 out of them.
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SyFy...
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Definitely SyFy. They have made some programming errors, like cancelling Stargate Universe, but definitely SyFy.
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Comedy Central...only because that other network lost my respect years ago. (When they gave up on real science fiction.)
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COMEDY CENTRAL, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have my full attention 5 nights a week. And plus, as ShadowySea07 points out, Syfy had a cooking show lol.

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SyFy should lose any such comparison since it is a Sci Fi Channel that so clearly hates science fiction. It seems to have completely turned it's back on hard science fiction and replaced it with a diet of Wrestling and light comedy - Even Blood and Chrome might get relegated to being a web series! Eureka is going to end after the next season so precisely what hard science fiction series is it going to have. None that I can think of. It is a channel which seems to hate the one thing it's target audience wants.

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Syfy
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SYFY, because it runs some nice older scifi movies once in a while, like tyhe thing, body snatchers and some other ones. It runs Merlin, and not to mention some good miniseries too.
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syfy.
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SyFy
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SYFY all the way (Stargate SG1 , atlantis ,Sanctuary,alphas,eureka,BSG and caprica)
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Comedy Central, because any channel that would give MST3K a chance is alright by me. The fact that it resurrected Futurama only cements my decision all the more.
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comedy central

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dor remember syfy came up with utter garbage like Marcel's Quantum Kitchen
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comedy central wins for me just because of futurama. syfy sucks and has a few decent shows but 90% of the channel is either crap.
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As always - the numbers never lie (although I do make them up):



SyFy:

+5 each Haven, Warehouse 13, Alphas, Eureka, great re-runs, for facilitating Prices' 'SyFy Original Movie' recaps, +1 Sanctuary* and +10 for a great back catalogue. = +41.

-5 for wasting money on "Original Movie's", -10 for cancelling so many great shows, -6.1 for having 61% 'reality' programming, -5 for being called SyFy = -26.1

TOTAL = 14.9.



Comedy Central:

+10 Southpark, +5 each John Stewart, Ugly Americans, standup specials = 25

I can't think of any reason to take points away so... TOTAL = 25



Comedy Central wins.



As much as I love some of the programmes on SyFy they continually shoot themselves in the foot, which annoys the crap out of me, but what annoys me the most is how they continually cancel great shows and replace them (or so it seems) with 'reality' shows.

Comedy Central has only one highlight for me and that's South Park, but they have beaten SyFy (for me at least) because they keep it simple, they keep the shows that people like (most of the time) and scrap the one's that aren't working.

SyFy reminds me of a market vendor, constantly sacrificing a good product in the hopes of replacing it with a millionaire-making product, but without every realising that they just don't have the skill or ability to get that millionaire-making product. They would be much welthier if they just stuck with the good products!



Notes:

* I've just given up on Sanctuary, the 1st season was good, the 2nd was ok, the 3rd was poor, the 4th has been terrible, also, Robin Dunne is a crap actor.
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Oh, and CC gets my vote simply because "N.o B.ody C.ares"s fingerprints are on EVERY Si-Fi death and attempts to get us to lower our standards to the mind-numbing, drool-inducing mediocrity that they try and pass off as Si-Fi.
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"While I enjoy escapism as much as the next guy, the comedy nerd in me wins out. "

FINALLY !!! Admitting you have a problem is the first step. Now go to the DVR and delete all references to Dexter and we'll get you the help you need. Eventually, you may even be able to hear the name ZOEY without going into sugar-shock.

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Staff
To be fair, Dexter is sort of hilarious these days.
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Comedy Central!
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SyFy FTW!!!



As long as SyFy can keep to it's formatting of Science Fiction or Fantasy then it's the clear winner. Comedy Central hasn't produced anything of substance but South Park. I do get upset with the SyFy channel because it seems to drop shows just as they are coming into their own (Caprica, Dresden Files, Farscape...). But hands down, you will find that my family will watch Syfy over almost anything on Comedy Central.
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Don't watch comedy central. Although SyFy has its program problems, love Haven, Warehouse 13 and Sanctuary. Sorry that Caprica failed to find an audience and looking forward to the next serial space opera.
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SyFy sucks. They air a freakin' cooking show. Wtf!
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Syfy
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Syfy!
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SyFy.
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Comedy Central.
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Hey let's change the name to "SyFy" for IP purposes and then cancel every Sci-Fi show and replace it with cheap reality garbage - that'll put our ratings through the roof!!!!



---> I think Comedy Central wins hands-down until someone cleans house top to bottom at Syfy
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BTW can whoever approved that bracket graphic. I know it's way past the era when form followed function but here function is ignored completely and the form is sophmoronic.
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Cool pun.
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SyFy by a hair. Not renewing Eureka was a bonehead move; quality show with ok ratings which has years of original concepts left,



CC has some good comedies but is getting more snarky than funny.
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Comedy Central, they don't cancel good shows over extra seasons of crap, or at least they do it less
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I watch comedy central more and only for Futurama, yet I would still pick Sci-Fi instead.
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Comedy Central. Syfy has turned into a boring reality tv channel.
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SyFy all the way for me
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Comedy Central (Simply because of South Park and Futurama)

And hey, I actually LIked krod Mandoon!
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Syfy
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Hard choice, but I choose SyFy because it has good original programs, and reruns from favorite shows, and who doesn't love a cheesy syfy original movie on a lazy afternoon?
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If only syfy original movies were of good enough quality to count as cheesy. The rest of your post I agree with. I havent forgiven them yet though for cancelling Stargate Atlantis
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Comedy Central. Never got into any of Syfys programming.
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Syfy!!!!! It is the obvious choice! There is always something to what for everybody, it has comedy, action, adventure, drama, it's the everything channel!!!!!
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Comedy Central

Both seem to have declined in quality and now are working on comebacks but other than that these are two very different networks. Sort of apples to oranges but I voted for CC b/c it's more likely for me to flip to the channel and just watch w.e is on. The Daily Show, (old) South Park, Chappelle's Show, Workaholics...
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Sci-Fi channel was awesome with shows like Farscape, First Wave, and Stargate SG-1. Now as SyFy (AKA the Syphilis Network) it's gone all weak with Wrestling, cooking shows, and shows about people who are afraid that their homes are haunted...



I wish Comedy Central would show more actual stand up. It used to show more actual comedians...
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