The Star Wars Channel – all Star Wars, all the time!

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    Even if they rope in stuff like Droids and Ewoks and making-of shows, could they program more than, say, a six-hour loop? [LINK]

    “We have said that with these channels and these brands — ESPN, ABC, Disney, maybe even down the road something related to Star Wars and Marvel — we do have an ability as a company to take product, specifically filmed entertainment, television, movies, directly to consumers,” CEO Bob Iger said during last week’s conference call when asked about Disney’s chances to roll out its own streaming service.

    Wait a minute. Disney is starting to talk up the potential of Star Wars or Marvel television channels being on the same level as its ESPN, ABC, and Disney Channel juggernauts? This could get interesting.

    Disney has already been milking its deep Marvel catalog for the small screen. It’s not just “Daredevil” on Netflix. The second season of Marvel’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” recently concluded on Disney-owned ABC. Finding enough content to program an entire channel might not be easy, but the catalog of characters and potential is certainly there.

    The challenge will be harder for Star Wars. Disney is just starting to carve out new franchises within the Star Wars universe. That may take time, but they said the same thing about Disney’s Marvel acquisition, too.

    I’m just gonna watch “The Best of Order 66” over and over again

    Disney’s doing really well on turning Marvel into a TV juggernaut: they have two seasons of Agents of SHIELD in the can (with a third on the way), one season each of Agent Carter and Daredevil (both renewed), and a whole slew of other shows rolling out on Netflix one at a time. A Marvel channel is already within shouting distance of being doable, especially if they can either reclaim or license animated stuff, even vintage things like the old Fox X-Men animated series. If they can lasso that stuff in, then boom – that channel could go on the air this fall.

    Star Wars? You’ve got six movies (only two or three of which anyone seems to like on any given day), and a dozen or so episodes each of the old Ewoks and Droids series, the two live-action Ewok TV specials, 6+ seasons of Clone Wars, there’s about to be a second season of Rebels…that’s it. (If they wanted the best ratings ever for a streaming service, they could tell George to put his fingers in his ears while they run the Holiday Special for the first time since ’79.) George simply hasn’t mined Star Wars as endlessly as Disney would’ve done.

    Brace yourself, Artoo, we’re in trouble again at three, and again at eight!

    But is it really wise to narrowcast to this degree? That kind of thing I’d leave to people and their preferences and their playlists. It’d be insanely easy to do a Star Trek channel or a Doctor Who channel, and no one has done either. (And alas, there’s no all-Brit-SF Blue Box channel either, which is still up there in the top five best ideas ever.) If no one’s seen money blasting out of those ideas, would these actually fly?

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    Some years ago I was toying with the idea of an all-Star Trek channel. They have quite a bit of material to use: six TV series and a whole bunch of movies. Heck they could even broadcast some of the fan material that’s been generated for the past few years. This thought rolled around in my head for a while but I failed to get any real excitement out of it.

    The first question that comes to mind, of course, is would there be enough material? Star Trek has a lot more material (I think) than Star Wars but it would begin repeating itself before too long (six months? A year?). They would have to supplement the network with documentaries about Star Trek, biographical shows about the stars, producers and creators and perhaps have a talk show or two in the evening hours. Even then that might not be enough and they would have to add non-Star Trek material to the mix: other Sci-Fi shows (B5, Firefly, etc.) or perhaps even non-Sci-Fi shows (did somebody say Wrestling?). After five years or so the channel would be radically different than it was at the start, just to maintain their rating numbers.

    Even if there were enough programs to last a while I would eventually burn out with all things Star Trek. It’s be like eating beans all day to no end. Sure there are different flavors of beans in the mix but it’s still beans. After a while I’d run off t o watch an episode or two of something completely different (Mony Python maybe or even Downton Abbey). Variety is the spice of life and there ain’t enough variety in just one genre of shows.

    All of the above applies to the new Star Wars channel. How long will the channel last under it’s original vision? I suspect that time could be measured in months.

    Steve W
    Steve W
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    They should put together a clip show of all the various Star Trek shorts and fan videos for an hour each week, with an interesting host to pull it all together. Shoot, they could have a Henson Creature Shop puppet be the host, like Sy Snoodles. Or one of those Mos Eisley Cantina or Jabba’s Palace creatures host it, just to be wacky. A fan clip show would be dirt cheap filler for the network, and there’s a seemingly endless amount of short videos out there and new ones all the time.

    Face/Off was a success for SyFy, maybe they could do something similar with Star Wars characters. They could build animatronic puppets with the winners each season getting their character in the background of one of the upcoming Star Wars films. They could do a tie-in with Make Magazine for the episodes where they have to build droids and astromechs.

    Maybe there could be an hour long show put together of various amateur series set in different eras of the Star Wars universe, sponsored or partially sponsored by the network. The amateur film makers would be instructed on how to put a television show together by the network people, they could use creatures and droids made in their Face/Off-style shows, and at the end of the season the ones doing the best get a bigger slice of airtime, or possibly their own half hour program.

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