Once upon a time, in a diverse and culturally tolerant place called basic cable, a little upstart channel decided to do battle against such big names as Home Box Office, Showtime, and Cinemax. Calling themselves “The Independent Film Channel,” their goal was simple – champion the offbeat and fringe movies being made by artists that fall far outside the media mainstream. It was an offshoot of Bravo and since 1994 (its premiere) was the host to the alternative Oscars, the Independent Spirit Awards. Over the next 20 years, it – along with the similarly styled Sundance Channel – hoped to show there was more to the artform than big explosions, witless RomComs, and gross out comedies.
Naturally, over time, some oddball TV series were added just to “spice things up” and while they kept to their motto of never editing films for running time or content, IFC had this horrible habit of inserting commercial breaks in the most inopportune places imaginable (one time, I recall watching a horror movie where the killer was about to be revealed, only to see his identity fade as the next round of ridiculous “As Seen On TV” like ads played out for what seemed like hours). Now, we can do away with the “films” part of the moniker all together.
While celebrating the release of their latest original program, the mock mini-series ‘The Spoils of Babylon‘ (featuring Will Ferrell, Tobey Maguire, and Kristen Wiig) at the recent Television Critics Association winter press tour, the company announced it would no longer be known as The Independent Film Channel, but by the much simpler (and celluloid free) IFC. As reported by The Wrap, president and general manager Jennifer Caserta stated that the new “stands for a growing number of smart, funny and original alternative comedies, but our viewers already know that. So, starting today, IFC is legally IFC.”
Basically, this is the final kiss of death for movies on the channel (not that they needed one – all you have to do is check out their current listings to see the scraped barrel bottom scheduling) and a more permanent place for series such as ‘Portlandia,’ ‘Comedy Bang Bang,’ and ‘Maron.’ When you think about the numerous streaming sites offering in abundance what IFC used to provide in drips and drabs, it’s probably for the best. How much longer the network can function as a destination for post-ironic hipster humor remains to be seen, however.
Source: The Wrap