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Sci Fi pulls out all stops

<strong>GEEK ALERT – STATUS RED: </strong>The fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica debuts this weekend, and if you’re already the proud owner of a Starbuck inflatable “companion” I don’t need to tell you...


GEEK ALERT – STATUS RED: The fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica debuts this weekend, and if you’re already the proud owner of a Starbuck inflatable “companion” I don’t need to tell you, but if you’re a bit less committed to your high gloss, critic-friendly dystopic sci-fi franchises, the Sci Fi network is pulling out all the stops to remind you that you have a date with your broadcast entertainment receiver unit, you big nerd.

(Keep your eye on this spot for my spoiler-ridden preview of the season premiere, which may or may not be full of entirely fabricated red herrings to keep you guessing. After all, there’s almost nothing I could make up that might not actually happen in the show’s season-long swansong.)

Sci Fi has made deals with videogame sites like Ugo and 1up to go dark for the hour that the show airs, with a message telling insufficiently enthusiastic fanboys looking for Halo cheats to “get the frak off the web” (oooh- naughty) and park themselves in front of the TV. According to a story in Brandweek magazine, the cable network has also made a deal “with TiVo and independent pizza parlors, with prizes ranging from iPhones to free food, aim to boost ratings by nudging viewers to watch the show live when it airs Friday night.”

Sci Fi missed the boat, however, by neglecting to make a deal with the makers of Red Bull and Pizza Pockets – the major food groups of its core demographic. On second thought, I’d hate to think of the secondary uses that energy drink cans printed with the likeness of Tricia Helfer’s Number Six or Grace Park’s Boomer might be put to, or the hospital bills that the makers might be liable to in class action suits.

The network has also produced recaps specials that aired here on Space last Friday; BG: Revealed featured creators Ronald D. Moore and David Eick doing a play-by-play on the previous three seasons, while BG: Phenomenon featured interviews with fans such as Seth Green, Talk Soup’s Joel McHale, country singer Brad Paisley and Anthrax guitarist Scott “Not” Ian, as well as fanboy demigod Joss Whedon. The promo specials were set to saturate the airwaves, cable universe and the net, airing across “all the NBC cable channels, nationwide cable systems, Hulu, free on-demand, YouTube, Amazon Unbox, fantasy sites, Yahoo! and others.” I’m surprised they aren’t giving them away with the family-sized boxes of Slim Jims at Costco.

Sci Fi has spread a broad net with the BG campaign; besides getting cast members to do a Letterman Top 10 and buying air time during NCAA playoffs, they’ve bought spreads in up-market magazines like Elle, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. I guess ad space in Mangazine, 2600 and Barely Legal was too expensive.


 
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