Syfy's Best and Worst Shows Since 2009

Where were you on July 7, 2009? Probably somewhere throwing up in disgust, because that's the day SciFi Channel became Syfy, one of the most annoying rebrandings in television history. Sure, we're used to it now, but back then? We nearly rioted, because SciFi was trying to distance itself from being too nerdy

Since then, Syfy's direction has mostly been to wander aimlessly, from just wanting to be accepted by the mainstream by adding cooking and reality shows to getting back to its roots with deeper sci-fi series. It's been a whirlwind, and it's produced both bad and good results. 

To celebrate the six-year anniversary of the name change, I've put together a list of the 10 best and five worst shows on the network since that fateful day. It is very likely you will have a different opinion than me, and I'd like to hear it in the comments. That's right, BRING IT! 


10. (tie) Warehouse 13 and Helix
Warehouse 13: July 7, 2009 – May 19, 2004; Helix: January 10, 2014 – April 10, 2015


Wow, we just started the list and I'm already cheating with a tie? Yep, I simply couldn't bear the pain of leaving the black goo insanity and viewer trolling of Helix off the list despite the fact that Helix, a drama supposedly about viruses but obviously about some schizophrenic 5-year-old's nightmares, was usually an awful show. Just the anticipation of seeing what unholy hell the series would unleash was worth a permanently fond parking space in my memory.

But this spot rightfully belongs to the lovable Warehouse 13, which started off as a monster hit for Syfy (it was the network's third-highest premiere ever at the time) and ran an impressive five seasons. The combination of X-Files adventures and Indiana Jones artifact hunting made it easily accessible for genre fans, and for an added spark, the romance between Pete and Myka was enough to keep things smoldering when they weren't digging through dirt or snooping around someone's old attic for powerful items. Also: Saul Rubinek!!!


9. Total Blackout
April 25, 2012 – July 9, 2013


A product of the new initiatives to bring Syfy to a broader and dumber audience, Total Blackout was a game show hosted by Urkel (Jaleel White) and filmed in some corner bungalow in a shopping mall somewhere... and it miraculously worked for great mindless television. The show's gimmick—contestants were herded through a room in total darkness to guess items based on any of their four remaining senses—was psychological torture, and the casting directors did a fantastic job in picking out TV-friendly personalities to squeal and gag as we laughed at their expense. Plus, each time a team lost, they were dropped through a trap door to their death. Or maybe it was just a waiting room with a padded mattress. But let me ask you this: Have you ever met someone who lost Total Blackout? Mass murder conspiracy confirmed!


8. Dark Matter
June 12, 2015 – present


It's only four episodes into its first season, but so far Dark Matter has shown itself to be one of Syfy's better scripted shows since the rebrand in 2009. About a crew of a derelict spaceship who wake up with no memory of who they are or how they got there, Dark Matter explores identity, starting over, maybe cloning, Two's butt in tight pants, and uptight casino pit bosses. This could easily make its way off the list with one bad turn, but it can also make its way up the list if it does things right. So far, so good enough for eighth place! 


7. Caprica
January 22, 2010 – November 30, 2010

You know Battlestar Galactica would be number one on this list if it qualified and if you disagree then please run headfirst into oncoming traffic, but since it ended before the name change (and its loss might have been a big factor in the rebranding), we'll have to settle for its prequel Caprica. Though far from the quality of the first few seasons of BSGCaprica did a good job playing with the themes of artificial intelligence while incorporating grandiose family politics into the mix. Add in some great performances by Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Alessandra Torresani, and Paula Malcolmson, and it's a shame this overlooked drama only lasted a season. Not enough space battles, explosions, and Number Six, I guess.


6. Being Human
January 17, 2011 – April 7, 2014


American imports of British shows usually suck, but Supernatural's Jeremy Carver brought Toby Whithouse's joke set-up about a ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf living in the same house together and made it his own. It wasn't a perfect show by any stretch, but when it hit, it bruised your emotions and was much better than it had any right being. And that cast! Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, and Kristen Hager were splendid together.


5. Face Off
January 26, 2011 – present


Bold statement incoming: Face Off is one of television's best reality shows. It's true! The Project Runway-for-the-TV-and-film-makeup-crowd skirts the temptations of inter-contestant drama and housing politics for actual talent and some very cool movie-ready monsters. The series may be running out of things to make since a new season seems like it starts airing every other day, but it's still as fun a watch as ever. Plus: Glenn Hetrick's hair is rad.


4. Eureka
July 18, 2006 – July 16, 2012

One of Syfy/Sci-Fi's longest-running shows was unique for its time in that it was a lighthearted series on the network known mostly for headier and bleaker science fiction. That was probably a key to its success, as Eureka floated easily through its five seasons of drama/comedy hybridization about a small town inhabited by geniuses. I didn't watch nearly enough of this, but I liked what I saw.


3. Continuum
May 27, 2012 – present


Who'd a thunk a Canadian import about a time-traveling cop in a tight bodysuit would be as good as it is? Three seasons into its run, the series continues to bend minds and time with its look at freedom fighters, corporate overlords, and the mess that time travel makes of everything. We'll see if it can stick the landing when the fourth and final season airs later this year.


2. 12 Monkeys
January 16, 2015 – present


The idea of adapting Terry Gilliam's cult 1995 film into a television series was flat-out insane, but co-creators Terry Matalas and Travis Fickett focused on the elements that mattered to them and would work well on television. Specifically, logic-breaking time travel. And by expanding on the franchise's wretched future and its effects on the past, it made 12 Monkeys incredibly viable as television series. And if the geeky science didn't do it for you, the budding cross-time-space-continuum romance did.


1. Alphas
July 11, 2011 – October 22, 2012

What if Heroes wasn't stupid? It might look something like Alphas, the best series Syfy has produced since the name change in 2009. Alphas took the normal people with super abilities idea one step further and made them all team up for one of the most badass government-sanctioned crime-fighting groups ever assembled. What made Alphas work on a week-to-week basis was its knack for creating great personal stories and a season-long arc that unfolded into an ambitiously large mythology, and it rarely faltered. But none of that would have mattered if it weren't for the incredibly well-drawn characters and their uniquely individual relationships with each other (<3 Bill + Gary). Of course, we can't have nice things, and Alphas was canceled after two seasons. 



Next: The 5 worst shows Syfy has aired

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