On June 4, 2014, RetroPhaseShift went live for the first time. It’s been 2 years since then, and boy, has the site been through a lot of changes, from posting schedules and topics of focus to huge influxes of visitors and changes of hosts. I thought I’d share some of what I consider to be the site’s most important moments today, and some interesting statistics I’ve collected.
- The first episode review was of Defiance, Season 2 Episode 1, posted on June 23. I hadn’t quite figured out the format I wanted to use with these yet, so it’s rather short compared to many of the other season 2 reviews posted later. To date, I’ve done full reviews of Defiance seasons 2 and 3, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 2. The most popular single episode review is Defiance Season 2 Episode 7, which is (coincidentally) also my least favorite episode of the series. Casti Cosplay Club and all that. I suspect its popularity stems from the fact that it is the first appearance of Kai, who had a minor role in that episode but returned for the season finale in a big way… and people couldn’t remember who he was. Oops. That particular review has gotten 557 views to date, which kind of gives you an idea as to why I felt reviews weren’t an effective use of my time on the site.
- The next feature to crop up was what RetroPhaseShift quickly became known for: “What Could Have Been.” These articles delved into the unproduced seasons of some of our favorite shows, most of which were canceled well before their time. My ability to write these is entirely dependent on how open the creators are after the show was ended prematurely; some writers get a kind of catharsis from sharing their plans, while others become a little bitter that they never got to see their vision through to the end and withhold everything. Others are just earnestly hoping for a TNG or Serenity style revival, and don’t want to ruin their chances by tipping their hand, which is fine, too. The first show I looked at was Enterprise‘s 5th season plans, but it was the third one, Stargate Universe season 3, which rapidly turned into the most popular post on the site, racking up almost 30,000 hits in 2015 alone.
- Our second most popular is definitely the Friday Four, a series of list articles on a variety of topics. One of the early hits was “4 Upcoming Shows,” which detailed some shows in development at the time and managed 10,000 hits in just one month! Of those featured, both Killjoys and The Expanse have aired already, while Ballistic City seems to have been dead in the water. (No word on Letter 44 yet.) As the Friday Four continued to evolve, a subcategory arose in the form of the “Genre Savvy Survival Lists,” which give advice for people in common sci-fi situations in a humorous fashion. Being newer, they’re hard to compare, but “Tips to Protect Yourself from The Conspiracy” is definitely up there.
- The last of the three big features is the Subjectively Obscure Sci-Fi Primer, where I try to introduce little known, often prematurely canceled sci-fi shows to a new audience. The vast majority are 90’s shows created in the wake of The X-Files and Star Trek TNG‘s successes, but not all are; my personal favorite, Max Headroom, was a late 80’s show, and one of the first covered, Charlie Jade, was a 2000’s show that was obscure more because of its country of origin (South Africa) than its release timeframe. At one point, I considered doing these as videos, but YouTube’s content DMCA robots put the brakes on that plan.
- And of course, my biggest and most recent landmark: the release of The Arcology, my first novel. Please check it out if you haven’t already! It’s the slow introduction of more original writing material to the site and I hope that those who’ve been here for a while will give these a shot, too.
Over the last 2 years, there have been 197 posts, which averages 2 posts a week (obviously the real number at any given time could vary a lot). My most popular days are always Sunday and Monday, which I suspect is made up of people who binged series over the weekend and came here looking for answers about what would’ve happened. There have also been 171 comments, roughly one per post (although a post with 1 comment is significantly more likely to get others; the Stargate Universe post has over 2 dozen). August 2015 was one of the best months, followed by March 2016 (Arcology Hype? I hope!).
That about wraps up most of the big stuff since the site launched, and all the numerical data I think is worth looking at. Anything surprise you? Anything you’re curious about? Or maybe you just want to share some of your favorite memories and articles? You can freely do so in the comments, or on Twitter @RetroPhaseShift. There’s also Facebook, if you’re so inclined, and liking the page is always appreciated! Or join the mailing list to keep up with any posts you may have missed and get exclusive insights into the world of The Arcology.