Saturday, September 30

Olmos to appear at NMU Sunday

Source: The Daily Globe

Actor, author, activist Olmos to appear at NMU Sunday

Actor, author and activist Edward James Olmos will give a presentation at Northern Michigan University on Sunday, Oct. 1. He will deliver his speech, "We're all in the same gang," at 2 p.m. in the Great Lakes Rooms of the University Center. A question-and-answer period will follow. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

Olmos was originally slated to visit NMU during the Uniting Neighbors in the Experience of Diversity conference held Sept. 17-19. Scheduling conflicts associated with his directing duties on Battlestar Gallactica delayed his appearance.

As an award-winning actor, Olmos has appeared in several films, including "Stand and Deliver," and on television in "Miami Vice" and "Battlestar Galactica."

The revised schedule for his appearance coincides with the university's involvement in "One Book, One Community" -- a program aimed at bringing people of all ages together by reading and discussing the same book. The campus and Marquette communities are encouraged to read "The Tortilla Curtain," by T.C. Boyle, an account of immigration in central California.

Friday, September 29

Fast Chat with Grace Park

Source: Newsday

Grace Park plays what may be the most fascinating role on perhaps TV's most provocative series, "Battlestar Galactica." Actually, she's played two of that Sci Fi drama's most complex characters.

Park debuted in 2003 as hotshot military pilot Sharon "Boomer" Valerii, fleeing with other remnants of the human race when their home planets were nuked out of existence by the Cylons, a line of human-looking robots who concluded they could build a better civilization than their violent creators. Boomer shocked even herself by turning out to be a covert Cylon loaded with a stealth program to assassinate Galactica's commander (Edward James Olmos). Thwarted and then herself killed, Boomer exhibited emotional yearnings that live on in another "copy" of the same Cylon model. This second Sharon has fallen in love with a human officer, been brutally imprisoned on his ship and finally joined her torturers in their deadly moral rivalry with the ultra-religious Cylons. "Galactica" so effectively mirrors the ethical ambiguities of our own conflicted world that it recently won a Peabody Award for its "parallax considerations of politics, religion, sex, even what it means to be 'human.'"

As the third season begins (Friday at 9 p.m. on Sci Fi), Sharon is asked to go undercover against her own people. Human "insurgents" are launching terrorist attacks on a planet controlled by Cylons, who vow to spread their faith by "any means necessary."

Park recently discussed these audacious allusions with Newsday's Diane Werts over lunch when Park was in Manhattan shooting Michael Kang's indie feature "West 32nd," about Korean-American assimilation.

When I Googled you to get some background, the first link that popped up was to your Maxim photo shoot.

My Maxim spread! (She cackles, then explains.) There's this one shot, where I'm in heels and shorts, and my legs are like [splayed], in a chair. I was so scared to do that shoot! Mostly because you see the girls in the magazine [looking sexy] - I don't look like that! I had like a breakdown at the hotel the night before. And then you get there , and it's like, oh, it's so casual. All the lingerie is so pretty. And everyone acting so casual just kind of made it like, "Oh, I guess this is normal."

So the Internet paints you as this sexy babe, while on the TV show, you're an action figure in fatigues toting a gun.

Exactly. When fan people say, "Well, how do you feel about being a sex symbol of sci-fi?," I'm like, what are you talking about? Have you not seen all through the second season, I was bruised and bloodied and cut? I was beating people up or I was getting beaten, I was getting tortured, I was freaking out screaming or crying. None of that in my book is what I imagine to be sexy or attractive. Now, should I start worrying about my fan base? Maybe. (She laughs.)

If humans treat Sharon so horribly, why is she helping them?

She's trying to see beyond the limitations of the Cylons and humans and the way they treat each other. I find that if you're part of a group, it's easy to turn a blind eye to what other people have criticized your group about. But once you step away, you can see all the horrors that your side has done. Yet because she's seen the atrocities that humans are capable of, she does not want to do the same things that they do. Once she fell in love, it was not just Cylons and humans, but it's like stepping into that divide.

I'm sure many people in the world can identify with her. There's a lot of people pushed out of their home countries and settling in other areas where they're not wanted or they're being judged or persecuted. Something similar, if less serious than that, is immigrants and their children growing up in another country. Like myself , I'm a visible minority. In one way, this is my home. But I'm not white. So there's still a difference.

And if I were to go to Korea, I wouldn't fit in there, either. Basically, you're almost like a bridge. It's like you're between two kinds of established cultures or heritages or schools of thought.

It's amazing how many hot buttons "Galactica" touches - politics, prejudice, spirituality, terrorism, civil liberties, betraying your own values.

I think it actually just opens its mouth to let the conversation start about all these topics that a lot of people would rather not go to, 'cause it's either not PC or they get uncomfortable, or it's like people have an agenda so they don't want you to start thinking about what's actually going on behind the curtain. A lot of people are just deep in denial and like to stay that way. I think sometimes we all need that, but is it a way to live your entire life? For some, I guess so. If you're truly happy. But then I think you're in denial. (She laughs.)

Newshound: SciFi

Thursday, September 28

Cylon majority

Source: Creative Loafing

'Battlestar Galactica' focuses its third season on a parallel universe -- ours

In television lore, Gene Roddenberry pitched "Star Trek" as "'Wagon Train' to the stars" and used the starship Enterprise to re-imagine Western-style adventures on the final frontier.

The Sci Fi cable channel's new version of "Battlestar Galactica" (9 p.m. Fridays) could be called "'The West Wing' in space." Starting its third season Oct. 6, the show retains the far-flung trappings of space opera but focuses on contemporary politics with laser-like intensity.

The final episode of "Battlestar Galactica's" previous season neatly summed up its twin concerns. Part of the plot featured a no-man-left-behind interplanetary rescue mission, full of faster-than-light spacecraft and marauding terminators. For all the derring-do, the more gripping plot involved, of all things, a presidential election and whether the high-integrity heroes should fix the popular vote in the name of the greater good. Viewers were more likely to be uncomfortably reminded of Katherine Harris than Darth Vader.

"Battlestar Galactica" not only revamps the late-1970s series of the same name, it elevates the entire genre of science fiction on television. The new "Galactica" cherry-picks some aspects of the original, a Star Wars knock-off starring Lorne Greene, including the premise. Both versions of "Battlestar Galactica" begin with 12 otherworldly human colonies (all named after zodiac signs) attacked and nearly wiped out by the robotic race of Cylons. The remainder of the human race travels across space in refugee ships seeking sanctuary at the legendary 13th colony known, of course, as Earth.

Some characters have been recast but remain the same, like Edward James Olmos as low-talking fleet commander Adama. Starbuck, the show's hotshot Han Solo, is now a brash, authority-defying woman (the appealingly tomboyish Katee Sackhoff). Frills like cute robot dogs are gone, and the new show features essentially contemporary clothes and technobabble-free dialogue. In some ways, it's appealingly low-tech. The Galactica may be a heavily armed, space-faring battleship, but Adama communicates not through fancy view screens but telephones -- with cords.

Minimizing the futuristic frills and space-cadet costumes brings the real-world concerns into sharper focus. The original series was little more than a juvenile action show, with episode titles such as "The Gun on Ice Planet Zero." The new "Galactica's" suspenseful perils are suffused with post-9/11 issues. The Cylons now feature models identical to human beings -- in fact, some "sleeper" agents may not even realize they're androids -- introducing a host of problems involving security and suspicion. The show's first two seasons set up a nearly constant tug-of-war between civilian and military authority, most chillingly when the Galactica encountered another surviving Battlestar, only one that had resorted to drafting civilians and raping enemy prisoners in the name of survival.

"Battlestar Galactica" may have found more respect and a wider following than any other science fiction program, largely because of its modern-day relevance and the conflicts between humans, and not flashy fights with mechanized monsters. Flesh-and-blood frailty frequently turns out to be the fleet's greatest danger, personified in such flawed figures as boozing, defensive Col. Tigh (Michael Hogan) or selfish, hedonistic Dr. Baltar (James Callis). Even Laura Roslin (the superb Mary McDonnell), the secretary-of-education-turned-president following the Cylon attack, proves at times willing to compromise her ironclad principles.

Season three begins -- at least at first -- with a revised premise with even higher stakes. Most of humanity has settled on the inclement planet of New Caprica, which the Cylons take over after about a year of settlement. With Baltar ruling in name only as a puppet president, and the settlement resembling an endless tent city, New Caprica evokes nothing so much as a Cold War-era Soviet satellite country, or perhaps a Siberian gulag. In a distant corner of space, Adama and a skeleton crew on the Galactica try to solve the impossible tasks of either retaking the planet or rescuing its population.

With frequent discussions of the human "insurgency," "Battlestar Galactica's" new season directly derives from issues surrounding the War on Terror and the U.S. presence in Iraq. One Cylon, played by Dean Stockwell, indirectly evokes the liberation of Baghdad by remarking, "They didn't exactly welcome us with, well... ." The show may not overtly oppose the Iraq War, but the writers clearly want their audience to consider the consequences of current geopolitical decisions, like detaining and abusing prisoners without charge.

The Oct. 6 premiere hinges on a charged debate, primarily between an out-of-office Roslin and resistance leader Tigh, over whether the human rebels can justify the use of suicide bombings.

"Battlestar Galactica" relies on more than charged conversations. The show's computer-generated outer-space dogfight scenes come across as a bit clean and cold, but the on-the-ground commando-style battles, clearly inspired by Saving Private Ryan and Vietnam War films, create chilling levels of intensity. The narrative leap to the New Caprica story arc can be confusing, but the 10 online "webisodes" provide helpful transition. Beyond just a YouTube-driven marketing gimmick, the 25-minute backstory introduces some minor but soon-to-be-significant characters, and how their divided loyalties drive them toward the resistance, in the name of freedom, or to the civilian "collaborator" police force, in the name of peace.

Soon enough, "Battlestar Galactica's" so-called "ragtag, fugitive fleet" will resume its mission to Earth. For the time being, the engrossing series suggests what Star Wars would have looked like as the creation of a Soviet dissident. Programs like the original series provided simple escapism, but the new "Battlestar Galactica" uses science fantasy not to send viewers away from the difficult issues of the day, but directly toward them.

Newshound: SciFi

Wednesday, September 27

Six Shooter

Source: Battlestar Magazine
Transcribed by Giorgio

With the return of Caprica Six and a whole new storyline, Tricia Helfer has once again got her work cut out in the third season of Battlestar Galactica.

Season three of Battlestar Galactica is going to be amazing according to Tricia Helfer who plays the sexy, humanoid Cylon Number Six. Battlestar Galactica, The Official magazine, caught up with her in the middle of shooting episode nine, The Passage.

“Well, there has been a lot happening so far this year,” she says. “And I think the fans are going to be blind-sided, excited and crazy – everything all at once.”

Season three picks up four months after season two left off. Season two, of course, wrapped up with the Colonists having settled on New Caprica, under the barely competent leadership of President Gaius Baltar. The timeline then jumped forward an entire year, to the day when the remnants of the Colonial Fleet were rediscovered by the Cylons. “I think that was a huge surprise for everybody,” says Tricia.

The first episode of season three starts with another jump forward in time, about three or four months after the Cylons, alerted to the presence of the Colonial fleet by the nuclear explosion aboard Cloud Nine, arrived at New Caprica and took over the planet.

“As with any drama, it wouldn’t be interesting if there was peace, would it? The first couple of episodes really delve into what has been happening during the last year on New Caprica,” she says.

“You also see a little bit of what is going on with Caprica Six who is living with Baltar aboard Colonial One, which is of course grounded on the planet. You start to see problems that they have been having in the last few months.”

“It’s always been a bizarre relationship,” Helfer says of the connection between the character of Caprica Six and Gauis Baltar (James Callis). “There genuinely is love and respect for each other, but it’s in a world where nothing is safe and they’re two different species. It’s a love/hate relationship. They depend on each other, but they also don’t fully trust each other.”


Not surprisingly for a show that has never shied away from exploring the darker side of life. Battlestar Galactica tackles some contentious issues that are relevant to today’s world. “There is a human resistance movement on New Caprica, like there was on Caprica, but it starts to get a little darker,” Helfer reveals.

“The show deals with issues of suicide bombings and who is in the right in these instances,” she says. “Even the humans are fighting among themselves – is this right, is it wrong?”

Even though the Cylons are ostensibly the bad guys on the show, sometimes the writers like to turn the tables on the viewers. “I think that ultimately we want the audience to question and sometimes feel that the Cylons are perhaps in the right,” she says. “Then they do something that makes you go, ‘wow.’ The humans are the good guys.”

So, what has her character been up to? “In the first few episodes, it’s basically Caprica Six that we first saw again in Downloaded [season two, episode 18], who was the original Number Six that had the affair with Baltar. She was in the finale of season two – one of the ones who got Baltar to surrender.”

With President Baltar aboard Colonial One, Caprica Six is one of the Cylons who rules over the planet. “Essentially, you know, it was Boomer and Caprica Six who really made the Cylons come around and think that maybe what they had done had some flaws and wasn’t right.” Helfer says. “So they really want to try and work something out with the humans.”

Cylons making peace with humans? Helfer dismisses any suggestion that this might be a ruse on the part of the Cylons. “No, they really, honestly do, and you know that’s going to be easier said than done,” she says. “Throughout the first 10 or 11 episodes, you see everybody’s perspective on it, and you see Caprica Six and Boomer’s thoughts kind of turning against them. We start to see dissension in the ranks, within the Cylons.”

For fans of the Cylons, a great deal is going to be revealed about their ships, their society and them as individuals, which will shatter any notions that they are a monolithic entity. And digging deeper into the Cylon psyche will reveal a world tht is utterly alien to humans.

“We see what life is like on a Cylon base ship and the differences between the humanoid Cylons and humans,” Helfer says. “You start to see how their moralities are different and also their customs and some of the things they can do.”

Season three will introduce a new Cylon model called the Hybrid. The Hybrid is a half-way stage between the old metallic Cylons and the new organic models, a kind of missing link. It builds on the concept of a half machine, half organic creature first seen in episode five of season one. You Can’t Go Home Again in which Kara discovers the Cylon Raiders have living, breathing organic tissue inside them.

The Hybrid is the embodiment of the Cylon basestar. Human looking from the torso up, the Hybrid’s lower half merges into the basestar and is connected to all the critical systems on the ship. “The Hybrid essentially is the ship,” Helfer says. “The ship, like the raiders, are a living machine and have organic material. It is less human than the humanoid Cylons and it confined to one room.”


Any suggestion that the Cylons are, as a species, single-minded in pursuit of their objectives is scotched in season three. Ideally, Cylon society works on the basis of consensus, but as Helfer reveals, “We start to see how some Cylons are starting to take a little bit too much control. Really, the Cylons are a unit, that is, they collectively decide what to do. But there’s a certain Cylon that takes it upon himself or herself to overrule and that ultimately does not work out to her advantage, or his advantage.”

One of the surprises of season three is that Cylons are far more complex, psychologically, than had previously been revealed. “We discover that they have, certain things that they cannot discuss,” Helfer lets slip. “We delve into the remaining five Cylons out of the 12 models that we don’t know yet, and we discover that the Cylons don’t know who they are either. They have inhibitions against talking about them or discovering them.”

There is even the suggestion that Cylons are capable of doubt. While not exactly a new Cylon character (she made her first appearance in season two, episode eight, Final Cut), D’Anna Biers [played by Lucy Lawless] plays a huge role in the Cylon storyline in season three.

It’s not clear whether she is a renegade or a Cylon who is losing her faith, or both, but she and Caprica Six have a stormy relationship that changes into something else as the season progresses.

She says working with Lucy Lawless who plays D’Anna Biers, has been a great experience. “I didn’t really get to know her that well last year because although we worked together on Downloaded, prior to that I think I was in one tiny scene as Number Six with her and Baltar when she first come aboard Galactica as a reporter,” she says. “But it has been fun to get to know her and work wit her on the show again.”

And she reveals, “D’Anna Biers and Caprica Six really do have quite a storyline throughout the first 10 or 11 episodes.”

Fans of Number Six, the version of Cylon model six who is manifested in Baltar’s head, will be pleased to hear that she comes back in a big way, to continue coaxing and vexing Baltar by turns. “in the first few episodes, it’s predominantly Caprica Six that is around, but then Number Six begins to make her appearances again – essentially guiding Baltar like she used to,” says Helfer.

This coincides with a new attitude toward Baltar, which Caprica Six begins to develop following their decampment from New Caprica and her return to the Cylon base star. “Baltar comes with us. He is now a traitor to the humans and he doesn’t really have a place in either world,” she says. “The Cylons don’t trust him and the humans think he’s a traitor, but he finds himself on the base ship.”

Caprica Six begins to turn away from Baltar as she learns more about him. “She has sat down with everyone else and discovered that maybe she’s put too much respect and faith into Baltar,” she says.

The complexities of this relationship between Baltar the man and Caprica Six the machine takes a few more twists and turns before they end up back in a three-way relationship with D’Anna Biers… but not before Caprica Six and D’Anna torture Baltar for information.

As if Baltar wasn’t enough to complicated her life, Caprica Six also has the matter of her strange and tense relationship with D’Anna Biers to contend with. It starts with them not trusting each other and ends with D’Anna, Baltar and Caprica Six in a three-way relationship, but as with all things in Battlestar Galactica, everything may not be what it seems to be.

“I don’t know, because we haven’t filmed that part yet, but I don’t know if it is going to turn out to be manipulation on the part of Caprica Six to get D’Anna into trouble or if it’s legitimately a relationship that they have begun,” she says. “We are kind of in the middle of the story right now.”

But before they get to that part, there is the matter of torturing Baltar, a key sequence in season three that is a turning point in the relationship between D’Anna and Caprica Six.

“They start out at odds with each other. They have differing opinions but then there’s a particular scene which brings them around and you see Caprica Six going to D’Anna and saying, ‘I don’t really trust Baltar anymore and I think you have been right all along’,” she says. “Caprica Six convinces D’Anna to torture Baltar for information, so they do torture him quite intensely. Then Number Six comes into the picture again and tries to help Baltar through the pain.”

This isn’t the first time we see Number Six in season three. “A couple of episodes before that she teaches him more about projection than Caprica Six does. Baltar end up being able to sort of project himself,” she says. “ Of course, we don’t know if this is because he’s a Cylon himself or if it’s just his own abilities, because he has always fantasized about six in a different environment.”

The character of Six, in her many guises, has played a pivotal role in the show from the very beginning, first coaxing Baltar into bertraying the Colonies, then later as the spirit in his head that whispered advice and then later still as the several physical manifestations of Six.

Is it difficult playing the different Sixes? “It is pretty easy to keep Number Six different because it is obviously written where nobody else can see her in the scene and Number Six is quite a bit more seductive. I chose to make Caprica Six a little bit more real, more grounded. With Number Six it’s fun to slip back into her and play out the seductive or powerful intimidating side,” she says.

Despite her role in making Baltar betray the Colonies and his subsequent deceptive behaviour, Helfer doesn’t see Number Six, as she exists in Baltar’s head, as a dark character. “I think they, the audience, responded to the Number Six in his head in the mini-series as sort of this light thing in amongst this really dark story,” she says. “So that may have played a role in why in the first season in particular and most of the second season it was predominantly or basically Number Six in Baltar’s head.”

And of course, season three sees more of a role for Caprica Six, building on what was extablished in the second half of season two. “Those storylines have to be altered, you have to grow from there or they start to get tiring after awhile,” she says. “There is only so many times that Number Six can whisper in Baltar’s ear before you say,’Okay, here’s Number Six again.”’

Seeing more Caprica Six in the beginning of season three is a way to, “change the character up a little bit”, she says. “And then it’s fun when Number Six comes back again, with different edge. I deliberately played Caprica Six and Number Six quite differently, but they start to find common ground again in the third season when Caprica Six starts getting a little harder on Baltar and starts pulling back a bit.”


Another revelation in season three about Cylons is their ability to project their own environments around them, and these ‘projections’ are very real.

“Like Baltar’s visions of Number Six in his fantasies, back in his house or in different scenarios – while he is in fact in a room aboard the Galactica – the Cylons can do this and they call it ‘projection’. They can project whatever environment they want for themselves and they can share projections,” Helfer explains. “So Caprica Six sees a forest and another sees a cathedral. They can also see themselves inside the base ship that the Baseship [itself] is very plain.”

Filming these scenes is technically difficult. “You have to film it in a room in the basestar, then in a forest and then… From whomever’s point of view the discussion is coming from, that is where you are.”

All of which makes it ambitious for a TV show. “The scene I’m doing tomorrow is the forest part, and the cathedral part of the scene we have already done, a week ago, in the base ship,” she says. And yet the extra effort that goes into filming these scenes is worth it, she adds.

Getting ready to premiere. Q & A.

Source: Ron Moore's Blog

Okay, first let's make this clear: OUR TIMESLOT HAS CHANGED. WE'RE ON AT 9:00pm FRIDAY NIGHTS now, not 10:00pm. Those of you with TiVo won't have any trouble, but try to spread the word to everyone else.

We're really happy with the premiere episode and I'm already starting to get feedback from critics and press who've seen it and the consensus seems to be very, very positive, so I hope all of you enjoy it as well.

SciFi.Com recently became aware of the phenomena known as "frak parties" which are being organized out there in the great beyond by Zak Exley and I encourage all of you to go to the link on SciFi.Com and put your own frakking parties together so you can enjoy the frakking show along with a lot of frakking other people. (Maybe even hook-up with a frak-buddy or two.)

Now onto the questions and answers:

"I sincerely apologize if this has been asked before, but I would really like to know:
Was Admiral Cain guilty of murdering her XO and ordering the murder of civilians?
Was Admiral Cain guilty of marooning/stranding the Pegasus RTF?
Was Admiral Cain guilty of "drafting" civlians into the Pegasus crew?"

The answer to all of the above is, yes. While we heard about all these actions second-hand, the intention was that they were all factually correct.

"We've heard that in Season 3, the Centurions will actually be "played" be actual actors in motion capture suits/external rigs (In Season 1 and 2, they'd just stick a cardboard cutout in front of an actor so they'd know where their eye level should be, or have guys wear a shirt that read "CENTURION" on it when running in the woods to let editors know that's where a Centurion would be in post). How has this affected who actors on set interact with/respond to Centurions? Who "plays" the Centurions? (Is is uncredited?) I mean I'm not expecting some CGI Gollum-level performance here, but this sounds fun. Though I hope they've removed the "coctail hour swagger" effect... "

While we did briefly discuss using a new technique of using actors in motion capture suits to portray the centurions, we ultimately decided against it for budgetary and production reasons, and the centurions will be completely CGI once again.

"The BSG books are soon to be out. Do you okay these books, do they fit in your BSG timeline, or is this totally seperate from what you're doing?"

I do consult with the people involved in the books and I generally give them a lot of leeway in their storytelling since it's a completely separate project from the TV show.

"With respect to the Centurians - I feel like they are a bit limited in design. Perhaps TOO limited. For instance - why couldn't a Centurian simply articulate basically 360 degrees at every joint in all axes - so it could simply plop onto the ground and run like a dog perhaps. Or simply rotate its head 180 degrees to look behind it as opposed to having to turn around. It could them simply run backwards as fast or nearly so as it could forwards (its legs would simply swivel around at the hips or pelvis). Couldn't Centurian's exchange parts? If one gets it's hand blown off, and there is another destroyed Centurian with an intact hand near by - could one simply eject it's bad hand and install the functioning hand?"

I think that's a valid criticism and it's certainly something we've discussed among ourselves from time to time. We made a fundamental choice at the outset that the centurions would be an extension of the original Galactica centurions, and therefore would be bipedal and vaguely humanoid in appearance. It's an aesthetic choice, one intended to maintain a sense of humanity even in the mechancial opponents. We've talked about other, more complicated devices and robots, but it seems to veer off into predictable territory rather rapidly, so we've decided to keep it pretty simple for now.

"Hi Ron, love the show. I have a question about the Cylon attack which (according to the podcast) was originally scripted to cap off the Kobol storyline in Home, Part II: Were the live action elements for these scenes ever filmed? If so, is there any possibility of having the finsished sequence reintegrated into the episode? I have always longed to see it in there, because after 7+ episodes of having everyone go their seperate ways, it would've been very moving to see them flee Kobol together."

The scenes were cut before they were shot, unfortunately.

"Why has Adama's midset/attitude/whatever you wish to call it changed so radically during the year in orbit around New Caprica? "

We've actually touched on this story in an episode where we shot a lot of flashback material to some of the events that occured during the "missing year." We're editing the show right now, and hopefully it'll survive into the final cut.

"I am very struck by the story on your IMDb profile of how you got your start on 'Trek, simply slipping a script to the producers, as a recent Cornell grad with no Hollywood insider connections. Can you tell us more about your experiences in Hollywood before you struck gold? What made you want to be a screenwriter? What was your mindset when going for a tour of the TNG set that day? Finally, what advice do you have for people similar to you who are interested in screenwriting, but have no connections whatsoever?"

I'd been living in LA for three years, working a variety of odd jobs before I got the break at Trek --messenger, contract administator, personnel director, even animal hospital receptionist. I was sleeping on the floor of my ex-college roomate, who'd come to LA a year before me and who was also trying to break into the business. I was starting my life over, having just been politely asked to leave Cornell after I'd neglected to go to class for several... months. I was studying political science and history, with an eye toward going to law school, but by the time I left, I'd already realized that I didn't want to be a real attorney, I wanted to be Perry Mason and there was a fundamental difference between the two.

I'd always written stories growing up -- my mother still has a small "book" I wrote in the third grade -- and I'd written a play in high school and joined a literary society in college, but I'd never seriously considered writing as a profession until I literally had nothing left. So, I left Ithaca and moved in with my buddy and decided to become a screenwriter.

I wasn't that diligent, in all honesty. I started and stopped a dozen or more screenplays, took half-hearted stabs at writing spec scripts for television, but in general I didn't really focus on the craft or improve the horrendously undisciplined methods which had been my undoing at Cornell. I drifted from job to job on the periphery of the film business and felt my life slowly going nowhere.

It wasn't until I knew I was going to visit the sets of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" that I dimly perceived what would turn out to be a golden opportunity staring me in the face. With three or four weeks lead time, I did something I'd never done: I sat down and wrote an episode. Looking back, it's amazing I never even attempted to write one before. I was an avid fan of Trek, watched every episode of "Next Gen" without fail, and intuitively knew the format, the structure, and the voice of the show. But, at that point in my life, I needed something right in front of me, a real deadline to get off the couch and actually do something.

I remember that when I took the script with me to the Paramount lot, I just assumed that I could give it to the guy giving me the set tour and that he'd be willing to read it for no reason except that I asked him to. In truth he was reluctant to accept yet another unsolicited script from a fan (he got this kind of request everyday) and he politely turned me down at first. As we left his office and headed to the set, I left the script behind, but determined not to take no for an answer.

They were shooting scenes for the second season episode "Time Squared" down on Stage 9, where the Sickby, Corridors, Engineering and Shuttle Bay sets were located. We walked through the Engineering set, which was covered in plastic tarps, and then found a dark, out of the way place to watch Patrick and his photo-double rehearse a scene where two Captain Picarcds are in the same shot next to an Enterprise shuttlepod. It was exciting and thrilling to actually stand on the starship Enterprise after all those years of imagining it, but there was this other part of me that felt like I'd finally come home. Usually, when I'm experiencing a singular event, there's a strong part of me that is constantly whispering, "Look around, enjoy this while it lasts, you won't be here again." The fleeting nature of life and our experiences is something I've always been hyperaware of, ever since childhood, and it usually feeds into my innately sentimental streak, prompting me to try and imprint the moment into my fallable memory with some kind of permanance.

But on that day, I wasn't looking around with the idea of trying to memorize it all before it vanished, I was actually looking around thinking, "Don't worry, you'll be back." Somehow, I just knew this wasn't the last time I'd be on these sets, wouldn't be the last time I'd stand on a starship, that I'd get another chance to meet Patrick. I remember walking out of the soundstage without any covetous looks over my shoulder or secret swiping of souveniers -- I just assumed I was coming back, without any plausible reason for feeling that way.

On the way back to my tour guide's office, I again pressed the case for him to read my script, and in the end, he must've liked my naivete or chutzpah, or both and agreed to read it. Turned out that he liked it and put me in contact with my first agent, who submitted it to the show and about seven months later, I was back on those sets, watching them shoot scenes from the very script I'd brought on that first visit.

To say I was lucky would be an understatement. To this day, I still can't believe the series of events and how they happened at the same time I found the writing discipline and initiative that I'd so studiously avoided for three years. I have little advice for people wishing to break in to the business. No one else broke in the way I did, indeed, every writer I know has a unique tale to tell of how they got their break. The only lesson I draw from my experience is that I think everyone gets their break in this industry, but the question is whether you're ready, willing and able to take advantage of that break when it happens. I was, and so I made it, but I've known many others who have had their break, only to watch it pass them by for one reason or another. It's the kind of business that will discourage you if you can be discouraged, and you need to know that about yourself right from the beginning.

Tuesday, September 26

Baltar and Battlestar

Source: Toronto Star

And Jen Gerson listens as the actor playing the most complicated (and slightly evil) character on TV expounds

Yes, the new Battlestar Galactica is that good.

Yes, the current show was re-made from a '70s sci-fi series featuring awkward, halting robotic villains, multiple capes and a premise based on both astrology and the Book of Mormon.

And yes, even that show was a made-for-TV rip off of Star Wars.

And yes, it was declared by Time magazine to be the best TV show of 2005.

Galactica is set to head into its third season and even murkier waters, when the show starts up again Oct. 7 on Space Channel at 9 p.m.

Over the past two years, the series has dealt with terrorism, religious zealotry — even graphic depictions of prisoner abuse.

And James Callis, who plays the tortured Dr. Gaius Baltar, says that the show is about to get even gorier.

The second season left Baltar — who unwittingly helped the robotic and villainous Cylons overthrow humanity, a key point in the television show's plot — as president of the few thousand survivors.

I.D. spoke with Callis about kissing co-star Tricia Helfer, coming out from under the shadow of his campy 1978 alter-ego and being so damn evil.

QHow much did you take from the 1970s' version of Baltar in crafting your version of Baltar?

AWell, pretty much only the name, I have to be honest. And I think it's only the surname because this is Gaius Baltar and the other one was Count Baltar.

QAnd how much of it was your character and how much of it was other people telling you what they wanted?

AOn the very first day Tricia and I shot our meeting scene. And it did feel a little bit like being directed by committee because there were so many people on-set. And then after awhile they slightly relaxed. Nobody was quite sure what they wanted at the time. I'm not sure, maybe they were very sure. I wasn't quite sure perhaps.

It's kind of give and take. There's not necessarily a mindset but there's an energy, that because the character shares the name with this traitor from the series beforehand in the '70s, it's like it has to be monitored all the time. Because if it isn't, it's a bit easy to make this guy that guy almost by the association of name.

That's something I try to monitor. I think that comes out (in the character as) angst and guilt ... I think he lives under an ever increasing shadow of shame.

QDo you find that your fans ever take your character too seriously?

AI think people would be hard-pressed to take the character as seriously as I do, so no.

I try to explain to people who don't see it. It comes like a trough of guilt and you're sliding up to your neck in it every day and they're like, `Yeah, and you get to work with Tricia, you poor devil. Yeah, James, tell me about how tortuous it really is.'

I'm not saying that there aren't great things that you get to do, but I'm saying that you can get yourself into a mindset, it's a very dark, abysmal place, to be honest.

QDo you take a lot of that home?

AI don't think you carry it with you in the way that you look, necessarily, or the way you behave but some parts of this show, especially this year, they can't fail to stay with you. Especially for the people who have acted them out. It's pretty crushing.

QWe're all waiting for that story arc to snap and for Baltar to be officially cast out of humanity.

Because you know eventually it's gotta happen. When's that happening? Do you know when that's happening?

AIn some fashion, it's happened already. And, uh, yes. I don't know how much I can say. Tell me, is this vetted by our PR department?

QUm, no.

AIn that sense, I shouldn't reveal things deep into the season.

QYou can't blame me for trying. I'm just curious because we know it's got to happen and we're just waiting for it and the fact that it's gone on for two seasons and it still hasn't quite, ... you don't have your throne room in the Cylon empire yet.

AOh no, no, no and he never will, I don't think.

That's not really his journey. It's not to say that he doesn't end up with Cylons but they don't want to give him a throne room, let's put it that way.

QWhat's it like making out with Tricia? Do your buddies give you a hard time about that one?

No, no, not really. This season we haven't really made out so much. I don't think anybody gave me a hard time. It's amusing. On some level it's amusing because I don't have to do very much and it's kinda fun.

QOh, well. Poor Tricia.

AWhy poor Tricia?

QBecause you say you don't have to do very much.

AWell, in the sense that the onus on those scenes is on the beautiful girl and certainly if I was watching the show, I wouldn't want to see me.

I'd want to see Tricia.

Newshound: SciFi

The future is now

Source: Lexington Herald

'Battlestar Galactica' is smart, complex and well-acted

It's on the Sci Fi Channel, but the science fiction is the least interesting thing about about Battlestar Galactica.

Take the addictive action drama, translate it from outer space to another setting -- such as the Middle Ages -- and it would be just as addictive. Putting it in the future does add an intriguing twist, however. It's a future where the last of humankind is on the run from their creations -- the Cylons, an artificial intelligence that has evolved to the point that some of them are nearly identical to people.

Diving into Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5, which comprises episodes 11 to 20, might not seem the place to start, but it makes sense to fans. Sci Fi usually airs the show in 10-episode segments.

Season two ended with the Cylons having conquered the remaining humans (about 50,000) who had settled on a habitable planet, while Galactica, the battle spaceship that had protected them, is hiding.

Season 2.5 tells how they got there, and season three, dubbed "The Resistance," begins Oct. 6 on television. You can watch Webisode teasers on it at www.

Besides strong storytelling that places emphasis on personal conflict, religious themes and questions of community over razzle-dazzle, Battlestar Galactica boasts an attractive cast. Edward James Olmos as Cmdr. William Adama, the leader of the military, is a real presence on screen, giving authority to the role. Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin and James Callis as Vice President Gaius Baltar, who has mixed loyalties because of his relationship with a Cylon spy (Tricia Helfer), are clever political adversaries.

And despite the dreary future that Galactica postulates, the show boasts plenty of eye candy, with Grace Park, Katee Sackoff and Kandyse McClure. The blond, seductive Helfer is the poster girl for fan sites. Fortunately, all of them can act. Galactica was a surprise at first, considering the creaky, silly TV series it springs from, but the new series is one of the best shows on TV.

Monday, September 25

Life on Caprica

Source: Battlestar Magazine
Transcribed by Giorgio

BSG prequel series takes shape as development of spin-off continues

Writer/executive producer Remi Aubuchon revealed more details about the planned Battlestar Galactica spin-off series, Caprica. Set 50 years before events in Battlestar Galactica. Caprica is set to follow life on the eponymous Colonial world as humankind creates the Cylons.

"Caprica is going to be a very human story about how our bubris can lead us to disaster." Aubuchon told Dreamwatch magazine of the planned series which he is currently developing with Battlestar Galactica executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. "It's more than just a science fiction show in some ways it will owe more to Dallas than to Star Trek."

Aubuchon reports that elements of Battlestar Galactica's third season will serve to set up Caprica and confirms that William Adama will be aged 11 in the spin-off series - although he refused to be drawn on whether the young Adama would be seen in the show. The writer/producer also notes that Caprica will end with the Cylon War.

"The series will explain how humans made the Cylon War inevitable." Aubuchon states. "Viewers might well find themselves rooting for the Cylons during much of the series!"

Aubuchon is scripting the pilot episode for Caprica with extensive input from Moore and Eick. While some viewers have expressed concern that Moore and Eick's involvement with the spin-off might limit their involvement with Battlestar Galactica or could result in a fall in quality of the parent show. Eick has been quick to quash such fears.

"Ron and I are deeply involved with Caprica and we're very enthusiastic and thrilled about it, but when it comes to the detail work of pounding out the script , there's third partner involved who's at the helm." Eick explains. "I think that is the job that tends to be the one that creates the distractions and dilutes a person's attention and focus. So in this particular case, we don't have that problem."

Saturday, September 23

The struggle for survival continues

Source: Canadian News Wire

Canadian Television Premieres Saturdays at 9pm ET / 6pm PT, beginning October 7 with a special two-hour episode

TORONTO, Sept. 22 /CNW/ - It has been 134 days of Cylon occupation on New Caprica, with 39,192 survivors trapped on a desolate world with no hope of escape. Have Admiral Adama and the Colonial fleet abandoned them? The enemy has evolved and has returned. Will humanity survive? Battlestar Galactica, the series Rolling Stone called "the toughest, smartest show on television," Time Magazine voted as one of the best dramas on the small screen, and recent winner of a prestigious Peabody Award, returns for another gripping season October 7, with a special two-hour episode in its new timeslot, Saturdays at 9pm ET / 6pm PT.

At the end of the second season, President Baltar is sworn in, and his Cylon lover unleashes her final vengeance against the fleet, detonating a nuclear warhead that destroys the Cloud Nine luxury liner. Colonization of the planet New Caprica goes ahead over Adama's objections, leaving only skeleton crews aboard the Galactica and Pegasus. After a year, a Cylon invasion force jumps into the system and lands on New Caprica. Overpowered, Adama and his son Lee order their battlestars out of the system, leaving the civilian colony defenseless as a Cylon occupying force arrives to announce the dawn of a new era. The last surviving humans find themselves building a resistance to their new leaders, trying to eke out an existence.

Executive produced and developed by Ronald D. Moore (Carnivale, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and David Eick (American Gothic), Battlestar Galactica is a stunning re-imagination of the 1978 cult classic hit series that has redefined the space opera with its gritty realism. It has distinguished itself by the intensity and present day relevance of its stories and performances of its ensemble cast. The series confronts everything from religion, politics and sex, to what it really means to be human. Starring Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama), Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin), Jamie Bamber (Commander Adama), Katee Sackhoff (Kara "Starbuck" Thrace), James Callis (President Gaius Baltar) and Canadian actors Tricia Helfer (Number Six) , Grace Park (Sharon "Boomer" Valerii), Michael Hogan (Colonel Tigh) and Tahmoh Penikett (Karl "Helo" Agathon); season three features special guest appearances by Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica: The Original Series), Lucy Lawless (Xena: Warrior Princess) and Dean Stockwell (Quantum Leap). Production of a third season is currently taking place in Vancouver, B.C.

Please visit SPACE Media for high-res photos:

Newshound: SciFi

Friday, September 22

Great Space Coasters

Source: Entertainment Weekly

'Battlestar Galactica': Inside TV's next great cult hit. If you're already into this sci-fi series, you know it rivals 'Lost' and '24' among TV's best. If you're not, catch up with our preview of the new season

In English, the word 'frak' means...absolutely nothing. But in the not-so-faraway fantasyverse of Battlestar Galactica — Sci Fi Channel's critically exalted reboot of the 1978–79 TV series about space-faring humans fleeing genocidal robots known as Cylons — 'frak' is similar to a certain FCC-unfriendly epithet that also begins with f and ends with k. Judging from a recent visit to the show's Vancouver set, the multipurpose word will be heard frequently when Galactica returns for its third season on Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. It will be used to express angst when married military man Lee 'Apollo' Adama (Jamie Bamber) finds himself yearning for married fighter pilot Kara 'Starbuck' Thrace (Katee Sackhoff) and mutters 'Frak me.' It will be used to express awe once chief mechanic Gaelin Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) discovers a secret saloon inside the titular battleship and marvels, 'Holy frak!' And it will be used to express rage after a high-ranking officer (nope, we ain't tellin') drives a pen into the neck of tortured traitor Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and screams 'MOTHERFRAKKER!'

Yep: There sure is a lot of frakkin' human drama on this sci-fi show. Sometimes there's more of it than there is actual science fiction — and that's exactly how they like it in Galactica's little corner of the cosmos. To be certain, the show has its fair share of far-out bits, like visually stunning F/X, trippy concepts (a half-Cylon/half-human baby whose blood has cancer-curing powers), and, of course, Number Six (Tricia Helfer), an immortal platinum blond Cylon partial to wearing crimson red dresses and high heels. But more than that, the show has distinguished itself as one of television's very best dramas — on a par with 24, The Wire, and Lost — because it so utterly transcends both its genre and its source material.

The original ABC series was a one-season wonder of Star Wars-era escapism that over time has attracted a nostalgic, multigenerational cult following. But this gritty new version has taken the same bleak conceit of its predecessor — the unceremonious obliteration of humanity on the peaceful planet of Caprica by cybernetic invaders — and rewired it with prickly, challenging post-9/11 relevance. No longer are the Cylons chrome-plated toasters with oscillating LED eyes — they've evolved into flesh and blood, which allows them to hide in plain sight, like, say, as a muckraking journalist (D'Anna, played by Lucy Lawless). Moreover, they're now motivated by their radical belief in one God to wipe out their creators from existence. Fortunately, the Capricans are as resilient as cockroaches.

Exactly 50,298 surviving souls soon boarded a fleet of star cruisers — led by the massive battleship Galactica — and embarked on a possibly fruitless quest for a mythical lost colony called Earth. They were led by Adm. William Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell), along with ace fighter pilots Apollo and Starbuck; once-trusted pilot — and Cylon sleeper agent — Sharon Valerii (Grace Park); and the brilliant but slightly mad scientist Baltar, whose feverish visions of Number Six propelled his unlikely ascension to the presidency in season 2. That disastrous development only led to more problems once the refugees found a home on the barren planet of New Caprica; by the finale, their bid for a new beginning came to an end when the Cylons returned.

For nonviewers, this may induce a massive headache. But the series' sophisticated stories have also attracted a distinctively new breed of fan, one who's not necessarily a sci-fi buff. 'Some of the smartest people I know are addicted to this show,' says McDonnell. 'All it takes is one or two episodes and you're hooked.' Though routinely snubbed by the Emmys (yeah, it stings them), Galactica recently won a prestigious Peabody award, and the affirmation has the cast and crew psyched. 'The last thing that I wanted to be doing was science fiction on cable television,' says Olmos. 'But this, to me, is a real gift. I'll be in science fiction every day of my life if they can give me this kind of drama.'

Now, if only they could give him a bigger audience. Galactica averaged 2.3 million weekly viewers in season 2, and while that's impressive by Sci Fi's standards, conventional wisdom says its ratings could — and should — be much larger. Blame the complicated plots and the genre's fringy rep, a stigma that's only exacerbated by a glut of similar-sounding (and inferior) shows like Stargate Atlantis, Farscape, and Andromeda. Says Callis: 'It's strange to exist in the popular consciousness, but so few people actually watch the show. I can't tell you how many times I've had to tell people, 'No, we're not Stargate. Really.''

'Our name has always been a blessing and a curse,' says exec producer Ronald Moore. 'Now it's really a curse. We've done market research. People who would watch Nip/Tuck, The Shield — that's our audience. But the minute you say Battlestar Galactica, you can see the lights go off in their eyes.' Adds Park: 'I can't even get my agent to watch the show. I appreciate your laughter, but it's true. Sooooo true.'

And yet. Mounting buzz and fan-generated ardor have raised hopes that a giant leap forward in popularity is at hand. At the same time, the show is about to make some of its riskiest moves yet. In a strategic shift, Galactica will return in early October — not during basic cable's usual summer-launch season — but for the first time against the broadcast networks' big guns. 'Moving to fall isn't going to hurt,' insists Sci Fi president Bonnie Hammer. 'With the right product, we can go toe-to-toe during network season. And we truly believe Battlestar Galactica can do it.'

But this is its third season, a critical time when even the best TV series start to struggle with maintaining their creative vitality. So Moore and coexec producer David Eick are, ironically enough, ramping up some of those allegedly alienating sci-fi elements for season 3, which features an exploration of Cylon society via an extended stay inside one of their base ships. Eick, naturally, feels compelled to share some jumping-the-shark anxiety here at the moment of Galactica's breakout opportunity. 'We approach season 3 with nothing but terror, insecurity, and sheer liquid horror that we're going to screw it up if we're not really, really careful,' he says. 'That's our mantra: Don't screw it up.'

Then again, it seems that Battlestar Galactica has actually done pretty well for itself by trying to steer prospective viewers in the other direction. When Sci Fi relaunched the franchise with a 2003 miniseries, there was certainly a ragtag band of enthusiasts — including original star Richard Hatch — clamoring for it. Since 1998, Hatch had led a charge to get Galactica's copyright owners to resume the saga via a new show. He nearly got his wish: In 2001, a concept developed by director Bryan Singer and his X-Men producer Tom DeSanto for Fox focusing on a new generation of Galactica denizens imploded after delays infringed upon Singer's commitment to X-Men United. Enter Sci Fi — and exit the whole 'continuing the saga' idea. The network instead optioned the property with the intention of 'reimagining' the franchise — same characters and concept; different actors and aesthetic approach — and hired former USA Cable exec Eick. He, in turn, snagged Moore, well-known in sci-fi circles for his years as an acclaimed writer and producer in Paramount's Star Trek factory. Neither man had any nostalgia for the original series; to this day, Eick still hasn't watched the entire pilot.

The faithful got their first glimpse of Galactica 2.0 at a 25th-anniversary convention organized by Hatch at a Hollywood hotel. Reports of Moore's revisionist plans had already reached and irked fans (Starbuck's now a chick?! Heresy!), so Hatch invited him over to respond to his critics. Moore accepted, and even brought clips from the still-in-production miniseries. The reaction: boos, hisses, even threats of popcorn throwing. 'At one point,' recalls Moore, 'they asked me, point-blank, 'Will you pledge to make a different show if this goes to series?' And I said, 'No.''

And you know what? Those angry fans all probably watched anyway: The miniseries garnered promising ratings for Sci Fi, and the series launched in January 2005 (though not until a foreign partner was recruited to help underwrite the costly enterprise). This version still has its dissenters; you can Google 'Galactica in name only' to sample their vitriol. Most of their fury is still directed at the now-female Starbuck. Her sex change rankled diehards because of affection for original portrayer Dirk Benedict (who reportedly was going to reprise his role in the Singer/DeSanto version), and because it represented the death of a dream: to see a continuation, not a revamp, of the saga. 'At first, it totally sucked,' says the new Starbuck, Sackhoff, of the derision. 'There were petitions on the Internet to, like, save Starbuck's genitalia. I started becoming obsessed. I'd be up until 2 a.m. after every episode, trying to figure out if I won them over. And because it takes 100 positive remarks to let go of one negative comment, I would be going, 'Okay, one more positive, one more positive… S---! It's a negative!' I was like, I've got to stay off the Internet.'

For his part, Hatch thinks they just need to get over it. 'The miniseries was very hard to watch for the original fans, and for me, not because it wasn't wonderful, but because it was so different,' says the actor, who has a recurring role on the new Galactica as a political dissident-turned-leader. 'It's the same thing as life: We grudgingly yield to change, and ultimately realize that change is good. This Battlestar has balls. It has guts. It digs more deeply into the premise than the original ever could.' Under Moore and Eick's watch, Galactica has thus become a TV think piece teeming with politically potent issues. Moore said he felt the very premise — a society is devastated and transformed by a catastrophic terrorist attack — demanded that the show's fiction speak to our post-9/11 environment. Embracing the opportunity, they resolved that Galactica 'was going to be about us,' says Moore, 'about the experience that we're having right now.' He and Eick praise Sci Fi for the freedom they've been given, although their penchant for coloring heroes with disturbing moral ambiguity (Starbuck brutally torturing a prisoner; Adama drowning a baby in a dream sequence) has sparked some clashes with network brass. 'They could be a wee bit more hopeful and aspirational,' says Hammer. 'But it's a huge learning curve, and they're finding the right balance.'

Still, don't expect the bleak skies to clear up completely. The fleshbots may have again found their targets, but they're increasingly conflicted over their genocidal policy: They've set up Baltar as a puppet leader, and are making the New Capricans live under their boot instead of crushing them with it. Galactica's geopolitical touchstone, meanwhile, has shifted from Patriot Act America to occupied Iraq. As such, the rooting interest for viewers has become murkier. In the season premiere, for instance, human insurgents make a shocking choice to employ suicide bombers. For the actors, bringing to life this juicy dilemma was a mixed blessing. 'I was thrilled by the possibility of taking people that we know and love and seeing them put in a circumstance where anyone can become [someone] they don't want to be,' says McDonnell. 'Shooting that particular episode, everybody looked sad, everybody felt sad. We realized we were all sort of going through the same thing: the hopelessness of an occupied nation.'

If relating to an oppressed people was rough for the cast, venturing behind the iron curtain of Galactica's oppressors was just plain weird, and not everyone believes that getting to know the Cylons is a good idea. 'My personal jury is still out,' says Bamber. 'I think where the show really works is in the daily grind aboard the Galactica, trying to run from this unknown and therefore ultimately terrifying enemy.'

The encouraging news is that the creative gambit has been given considerable thought. To prep the Cylon actors, Moore wrote a veritable Cylon manual called 'Life on a Base Ship.' 'It was like gold,' says Helfer, who declined to divulge any nuggets. 'But I did share it with other actors who didn't get copies. Not any humans, mind you, just my fellow Cylons.'

For all the hand-wringing, Hammer believes the Cylon plotline enriches the provocative question at the center of season 3's stories: 'How do you know which side you should root for?' She hopes Galactica's audience can grow this season; if it doesn't, its current ratings and network-enhancing reputation — combined with ancillary revenues from DVD sales and the hugely popular original webisodes that have netted 1.8 million downloads since launching earlier this month — still make it a very valuable asset. Sackhoff puts it in perspective: 'The show is good because we're on a smaller network that allows us the freedom to take chances. I don't know if this show could go mainstream, and if we'll get any bigger than we already are. Let them have their Grey's Anatomy, you know? We'll keep our secret to ourselves until it's time to give it up and move along.'

Like the original Galactica, this version has an implicit conclusion: the eventual discovery of Earth. Moore and Eick say they have an ending in mind, but won't say if it involves the Galactica and its fleet actually reaching our fair planet. Ask the cast, and they'll tell you (after insisting that Galactica is really about the journey, not the end...blah blah blah) about a popular joke on the set: The series' climactic scene will find the fleet being blown to bits by America's president. 'You know it's never going to end happy,' teases Park. 'They think Earth is this magical Eden, but we all know how we treat each other here. Then again, you know the Cylons are just going to follow them to Earth and bring their little war to our backyard. So maybe it would be better all around if [the American president] ordered a nuclear strike on Galactica. That would be like the biggest 'F--- you.'' Or frak you, as it were.

Atmosphere Visual Effects Signed for Third Tour Of Duty

Source: Broadcast Newsroom

DMN Newswire--2006-09-21-- Visual effects facility Atmosphere Visual Effects has been tapped again by NBC Universal for the third season of SCI FI Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," consisting of 20 one-hour episodes. This marks the third consecutive season that Atmosphere has provided visual effects for the series.

The studio has been nominated for a 2006 Emmy Award for the "Battlestar Galactica" episode "Resurrection Ship Pt. 2," along with Zoic Studios. This marks the third straight year Atmosphere has received Emmy nominations, previously being nominated for its work on the first season "Battlestar" episode "Hand of God" and for the pilot episode of ABC's "Stephen King Presents Kingdom Hospital." The studio won a 2006 VES Award in the category of "Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program, Commercial, or Music Video" for its Cylon Centurions in the season two "Battlestar" episode "Fragged."

Atmosphere also recently completed over 200 VFX of talking animals for the straight-to-DVD kid's feature "Air Buddies" (an International Keystone Entertainment production and the latest in Disney's "Air Bud" series). Atmosphere is finishing up final shots for the film's promotional campaign and recently contributed multiple visual effects shots to USA Network's "The 4400."

Principals in Atmosphere are Andrew Karr, Tom Archer and Jeremy Hoey.

Newshound: SciFi

High-flying sci-fi: 'Battlestar Galactica'

Source: The Toledo Blade

Science fiction is easy to knock - what with its symphonic bombast, earnestness, ethereal flakiness, adolescent misogyny, and blinkered fans obsessed with the elemental composition of Mining Colony Y-72, located six moons from the Whoreallycaresian galaxy.

It's so easy to dismiss science fiction as goofball and inbred that when the genre, in the words of William Shatner, gets a life, it's not a small thing.

Because more than any other popular form of fiction, sci-fi is in a uniquely potent position: Not only can it speculate wildly about what will happen - wild speculation is the whole point.

That said, what makes a show like the Sci Fi Channel's terrific updating of Battlestar Galactica one of the best series on television is not the speculation but the way its imagination is never far from its timeliness. New on DVD this week is Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5 (Universal, $49.98), and mark these words:

It'll outlive Star Trek.

Only a couple of seasons in (season three starts Oct. 6), this formerly corny intergalactic property has become a provocative and resonant voice against fanaticism, addressing topics such as religion, politics, racism, terrorism, questions of security, and what it means to be human. There are special-effects battles, but what grabs you are the personal wars, between bad guys and good guys, and more interestingly, between good guys and other good guys.

Star Trek wasn't averse to being topical, but this new Battlestar is so frank in its human frailties (and sexuality), it makes the Enterprise crew members come off like dispassionate Borgs. Gone are the chrome robot warriors and cute cyborg canines of the original '70s kitsch-a-thon - a blatant Star Wars knock-off, and not without ardent fans - and in their place, a rich drama about the last remnants of a civilization inching their way to Earth.

It's worth noting the creator of this unlikely reinvention is Ronald D. Moore, whose credits include producing and writing episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Watching Battlestar Galactica, it's as if he's decided that far in the future, if the human race is reduced to a single ship soaring through the galaxy in a desperate bid for survival, we'll get really sick of each other.

Newshound: SciFi

BSG Magazine #7 is the last issue.

Source: Ragnar Anchorage

Here is a letter that was addressed to me advising me of the end of BSG Magazine and that issue 7 was the last issue, I am hereby sharing the content with you guys since several of you also have a subscription to this magazine, this letter also confirms the rumour of termination of BSG Magazine.

September 2006.

Dear Subscriber,

The Express Mag team is pleased to count you among our faithful subscribers and wishes to thank you for your continued confidence in us.

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Submitted by Giorgio

Wednesday, September 20

10 Minutes with Dean Stockwell

Source: Battlestar Magazine
Transcribed by: Giorgio

As Brother Cavil, Dean Stockwell has become a firm part of the Cylon's master plan. The official magazine asks about how he got the role and approach to playing a Cylon.

Dean Stockwell is no stranger to viewers of science fiction. Best known for his long-running part in cult hit Quantum Leap, in which he starred as Sam's (Scott Bakula) holographic side-kick Al, the veteran actor has also starred in Star Trek: Enterprise and Stargate SG-1. Now, as a Cylon model, it looks like he's set to make his mark in yet anotherscience fiction franchise!

NB: How did you first get involved with Battlestar Galactica?

Well, it was on of those rare occurrences where my agent put it together [laughs]. He's got Katee Sackhoff (Kara Thrace) as a client, and he just saw this opening and it worked out.

NB:Had you seen the show?

No - not only that, but the deal for the first two episodes I did came together rather quickly, so I did the first two episodes without having seen it.

NB: Was tha difficult?

A little bit. But I knew the quality of the writing wa very high, and once there I could tell the quality of the cast and the direction was [also] very high. I just trusted my own instincts about where this character needed to be. They tried to tell me a little bit about what the show was about, but it's very difficult to explain it to somebody without showing it to them. So when I had done the episodes, I came back home and they got me the first season. I put it on and watched it, and I was very,very impressed. It's a really good show. And thenI saw that my hunches worked out very well!

NB: How did you approach portraying the character?

Well, I approach every acting job in the same way, and that's strictly through intuition and instinct. I don't research stuff, I don't go into depth of character or anything like that, I just get ideas, and I execute them.

NB: As a Cylon, there are multiple versions of the character - did that affect the way you played him?

No. I didn't try to create different personalities because I think the personality is the key thing of the individual Cylon. I don't think that should be lost.

NB: There's a scene early on in season three where there are multiple versions of each Cylon Model having a conference. Can you tell us a bit about how you went about filming that scene?

Well, I thought it was one of the best ways of shooting and approaching it. In the President's office, the director set out the chairs in a circle. And then he put the camera in the center and did a 360 degree turn around. He had to do that several times. Once with one actor in one chair, and then the next time with the same actor in another chair. So, when the actual shot was put together, you'll see more than one cylon. There's doubles and triples in the room. I think it'll be very effective.

NB: There seems to be a lot of tension between the Cylon models. Is that something you are interested in exploring?

Yeah, we'll see where it's going to go. At this point I don't know [laughs]. After I did the two episodes this season, I can't tell you where it's going to go. That's one of the great things about this show I think. [But] they can't kill me off!

NB: What was the experience of filming Battlestar Galactica like?

It was enjoyable. the only cast member that I knew when I went up there the first time was Eddie Olmos. I had done Miami Vice with him back in the early days [laughs]. I knew him, and I knew him to be a wonderful actor, and it was my pleasure to get to know and work with all of these other people in the cast. I found them all, to be without exception, really cool and really good. They welcomed me wonderfully. I'm so impressed with them, I can't tell you.

I feel very lucky to have gotten it, because I've taken myself off the board for any series. I've been living up in New Mexico, 7,000 feet, on a tall mountain, and I'm making art. i make collages. I had a show here in Dallas, and another one in Santa Monica in October, and it's becoming more important in my life. For me, it's on a higher level of [creativity] than acting. But this just fits in. It's recurring. Just once in a while I go up to Vancouver. I love Vancouver, it's a lovely town. So this is just perfect for me.

NB: So are you happy to go back?

Yeah, absolutely. When I was up there last time, the writer passed around a document to all of the Cylons in the cast that I got to read. It said very specifically that there are seven - [let's] call them the significant seven - Cylons, and then there's five others ones that are in this mystery mode. No one knows where they are, what they are, and what they are up to. They've so scretive that they've programmed the significant seven so that they can't even think about the other five. They can't have a thought enter their head about these other five [laughs]. I turned out to be number three. Brother Cavil, of the significant seven. I'll be back!

NB: There are new rumors online about a Quantum Leap "20 years later" TV movie. Can you tell about that?

There's been a rumor about that for years and years and years, I haven't heard anything from anybody that would be direclty involved in it, so it seems to be nothing more than a rumor. We'll see. I would do a movie of Quantum Leap, sure. Everybody would have liked to have [seen] Sam relocated to get back safely, but that wasn't Bellisario's [the creator] idea. I think it would be fun.

Tuesday, September 19

'Battlestar' transcends time, place, space

Source: The Daily News

Though it's on the Sci Fi Channel, the least interesting thing about "Battlestar Galactica" is the science fiction.

Take the addicting action drama, translate it from outer space to another setting - such as the Middle Ages - and it would be just as addicting. Putting it in the future does add an intriguing twist, however. It's a future where the last of humankind is on the run from its creations - the Cylons, an artificial intelligence that has evolved to the point where some of them are nearly identical to people.

Diving into "Battlestar Galactica - Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)" may not seem the place to start, but it makes sense to fans. Sci Fi usually airs the show in 10-episode segments.

Season two ended with the Cylons having conquered the remaining humans (about 50,000) who had settled on a habitable planet, while Galactica - the battle spaceship that had protected them - is hiding.

"season three, dubbed "The Resistance," begins Oct. 6. You can watch Webisode teasers at

Besides strong storytelling that places emphasis on personal conflict, religious themes and questions of community over razzle-dazzle, "Battlestar Galactica" boasts an attractive cast. Edward James Olmos as Cmdr. William Adama, the leader of the military, is a real presence on screen, giving authority to the role. Mary McDonnell as Laura Roslin and James Callis as Dr. Gaius Baltar, who has mixed loyalties because of his relationship with a Cylon spy (Tricia Helfer), are clever political adversaries.

And despite the dreary future that "Galactica" postulates, the show boasts plenty of eye candy with Grace Park, Katee Sackoff and Kandyse McClure. The blond, seductive Helfer is the poster girl for fan sites. Fortunately, all of them can act, which is no surprise. "Galactica" itself was a surprise at first, considering the creaky, silly TV series it springs from. The new series is a surprise no more. It's one of the best shows on TV.

Click on the link to read about other shows

Newshound: SciFi

Exclusive Interview: Ron Moore

Source: CHUD

Over the course of two seasons Battlestar Galactica has gone from "They brought back that crappy show?" to one of the smartest and relevant programs on television (to be fair, it was always smart and relevant, it's just that a lot of us didn't realize it early on). The man behind the show is Ronald Moore - hardcore fans of Galactica know Moore from the show's weekly podcasts, which are essentially commentaries for the latest episodes that you can download from iTunes, a really cutting edge and fun way for the show runner to speak directly to the viewers.

The second half of Galactica's second season is hitting DVD today, and the final episode is a shocker - so much so that, if you haven't seen it, you may want to be wary of this interview, which discusses elements of that episode and the massive impact it has on the show in the third season. That season ending shocker was great not just because it was unexpected but because it was one of the few times a successful show changed up the status quo simply because it would be a good story.

Season three of Galactica premieres on October 6 on the SciFi Channel, and the show is moving to a new timeslot, airing an hour earlier at 9pm. Make sure you buy season 2.5 on DVD from CHUD by clicking here and then watch all the webisodes leading up to the premiere - two webisodes a week giving the background of the resistance that is gearing up to fight the Cylon occupation. Watch the webisodes on

Click on the link to read the interview

Newshound: SciFi

BSG: Season 3 secrets

Source: Wizard Entertainment

Ladies of space Katee Sackhoff and Grace Park help propel the hit show into a third season

Two of “Battlestar Galactica’s” loveliest ladies, Katee Sackhoff and Grace Park, portray arguably two (more than two, in Park’s case) of the most complex characters in the large ensemble cast of the series, now entering its third season on SCI FI Channel, which debuts October 6. Sackhoff portrays Starbuck as a reckless drunk with a death wish, and Park brings humanity to all her roles as multiple copies of the Cylon Boomer.

Wizard caught up with them to talk about the new season, the romantic triangles and why they want to record a drunken cast commentary for the next DVD set.

WIZARD: Can you guys give us any teasers about what’s coming up in the new season?

GRACE PARK: I can verify for sure that it is darker than the first two seasons. You are probably wondering how that can happen, but you actually start to see the characters implode within themselves and what that does to them. Not only do we focus on the heroes and the human/Cyclon interaction, but we visit the Cylon world. We go on the baseship and see what that looks like.

KATEE SACKHOFF: I can say [Starbuck’s] core relationship with Anders will be riddled with drama, as is her relationship with Lee [Adama]. That triangle is not going anywhere. By the end of season three, we will know what her purpose is, and why the Cylons keep her alive.

Your characters were both, in one way or another, part of a love triangle in the last season, and Katee, yours continues this year.

SACKHOFF: The more drama the better, right? It’s a dream job, I get to go to work and take my pick between two beautiful men. That’s always going to be a struggle for [Starbuck], these men in her life. Every time someone gets close she pushes them away. She loves really hard but she also hates herself so much that she won’t allow herself to be happy for too long.

PARK: I love having romantic interests. I enjoy them if they are genuine or organically believable. They were trying to play up my love interest with Tyrol, but none of us would have it. We could see what they were trying to do, and unless it was written in a way that we could believe it, we didn’t feel that we were honoring the story.

Let’s talk about the fans. You guys have stories, right?

PARK: [We film in Vancouver], so it’s like going to the border, and Customs are being very business-minded and not smiling at you whatsoever, and you are completely intimidated. As you are walking away, they are like, “Love the show, by the way.” It’s little things like that that make me smile.

SACKHOFF: Of course, you always have weird fan encounters. I think that’s what’s so great. The fans are fiercely loyal.

What keeps the show fresh for you, and how long do you think you guys can keep it up before it expires?

SACKHOFF: From what I’ve heard from where the storyline is going, it’s going to be even more fun. I’ll stay on the show as long as it continues to be exciting and challenging.

PARK: With all the talent and passion involved, we can easily keep it fresh. It depends on whom we are doing the stories for. If we start doing the stories for audience members and awards, good luck. You might as well throw it in the can and go home. That’s when people become uninterested in the show and the passion leaves and it becomes just a job.

So now is the perfect time to ask you ladies how the cast really gets along. All those stories about everyone loving everyone else can’t be true, can they?

PARK: We hate each other. It’s just getting worse and worse every year. She’s the biggest bitch of them all. [Laughs] We all actually do get along quite famously, it’s a bit ridiculous. We do go party together here and there.

SACKHOFF: I think it would be hysterical to get us all together, drunk, and do a commentary [track for the DVD]. The thing about the cast is that we work really hard but we also know how to play really hard together. A couple bottles of wine and a pack of cigarettes and it would be a good time. It just would go to show the camaraderie on set, and how everyone just gets along with everybody else.

PARK: A drunk cast commentary sounds like a fantastic idea! Let’s do it!

Newshound: shirelym

Play the Battlestar Galactica Online Videogame!

Source: Movieweb via BattlestarGalacticaDVD

In honor of the release of Battlestar Galactica: Season 2.5, an online game has been created to celebrate this release.

Defend Battlestar Galactica and the Colonial Fleet against the Cylon attack! If your mission is successful, you will gain access to the exclusive clips from the midseason cliffhanger episode "Pegasus"!

Click Here to play the Battlestar Galactica game and become part of Colonial Fleet history!

Newshound; SciFi

Ronald D. Moore Thanks Star Trek

Sourec: New York Times

For 10 years, I helped propel the latter-day incarnations of “Trek” into new territory while keeping alive the set of moral principles I’d taken to heart. As I plotted the adventures of the Enterprise-D and the travails of the space station Deep Space 9, I gradually became interested in pushing the boundaries of “Star Trek,” and began to let Captains Picard and Sisko find the shades of gray in a universe Kirk sometimes saw only in black and white.

Science fiction on film and television has, over the past four decades, moved decisively away from the optimism of “Star Trek.” “Blade Runner,” “Alien” and “The Matrix” posit much darker, dystopian futures; even the “Star Wars” movies posit the rise of a galactic empire founded on “the dark side.” Social and commercial explanations abound for this shift, but my theory is that “Star Trek” set the gold standard for the idealistic vision of tomorrow and no one has successfully challenged it.

Nowadays, it may appear that I’ve turned a blind eye to my lodestar as the crew of the battlestar Galactica behave in ways that would’ve been unthinkable in the “Star Trek” universe that Gene Roddenberry created. But “Battlestar Galactica” remains very much informed by the lessons I learned from that slightly paunchy man in the gold pajama top on the good ship Enterprise.

My characters may not have all the answers (sometimes they’re not even aware of the questions) but they contain kernels of both good and evil in their hearts and continue to struggle for salvation and redemption against the darker angels of their natures. Their defeats are many, their victories few, but somehow, some way, they never give up the dream of finding a better tomorrow.

And, thanks to a 40-year-old television show, neither do I.

For the full article visit The New York times

Saturday, September 16

"Frak" used in Veronica Mars episode

Source: Ausiello Report

What do you get when you cross Veronica Mars with Battlestar Galactica ? aside from my head exploding? The third season premiere of Veronica Mars, that's what. Rob Thomas, the mad genius that he is, pays the ultimate compliment to Battlestar in Mars' Oct. 3 opener when Veronica's college RA introduces her to the word "frak," and it immediately becomes her new favorite expression. Could I be more in love with this ridiculously low-rated show? I honestly don't think I could.

The Battlestar "cross-over" was just one of many highlights from this season's first two episodes ? both of which I watched last night while fused to my sofa. Veronica and Logan worshippers have cause to be particularly giddy, as Neptune's "star-crossed" (Veronica's own words; see Episode 2 for more) lovers not only share a sweaty bed scene, but several really sweet and funny couple-y moments. And the early word on Piz? Fanfrakkintabulous. He's clever, smart, silly and, well, easy on the peepers.

As usual, I'm not allowed to say much about what transpires plot-wise in both episodes. In fact, the PR department's traditional "Don't Reveal" list is twice its normal length. But feel free to send me questions at and I'll do my best to answer them in Wednesday's Ask Ausiello. In the meantime, here are a few asterisked lines from the "Don't Reveal" list to whet your appetites.

Battlestar Galactica returns to AOL


Battlestar Galactica has returned to website with Season Three Sneak Peeks on what is coming this coming season and a review of the past two seasons of BSG. For more information go to or just go to head to the tv section and it's hit shows goodluck.

Submitted by: Giorgio

Friday, September 15

Sci-fi fans are clicking up a storm

Source: The Globe and Mail

Once every decade or so, science fiction becomes respectable. The last time it happened was around 1994, when, in the heyday of the massively popular Star Trek: The Next Generation, one could say the words "Jean-Luc Picard" without having someone jump out from behind a corner to deliver a gigantic wedgie. The show got nominated for the best-drama Emmy; the chattering classes started paying attention. Liberation bells peeled through the halls of the world's high schools. Suddenly, the cool kids were into it.

And then, somewhere in the bowels of Hollywood, a gong sounded, and it was over. The fans all piled back into the closet, which at least turned out to have a good Internet connection.

Well, the glory days are here again. Battlestar Galactica, a first-run series from the NBC-owned Sci Fi Channel, has critics tripping over themselves to proclaim that the cool kids like this one too. The show returns to Canadian airwaves for its third season on Oct. 7, (9 p.m., on the Space Channel), and an innovative series of Web-only episodes have already begun -- but more on that presently.

For those who have been too busy watching Lost, Galactica tells the story of an advanced society, not unlike our own, whose robotic servants turn hostile, ultimately annihilating their masters in a nuclear holocaust. The remnants of humanity flee in a ragtag fleet under the protection of their last warship, the Battlestar Galactica. Desperate and hotly pursued, they set out to find the lost colony of man, Earth.

A television series could take this premise in a couple of directions. One was the space-opera attempted by the original Battlestar Galactica series; the semi-watchable 1978 campfest was cancelled after one season of goofy space battles. Today's remake, on the other hand, has turned the concept into a post-apocalyptic political drama, with tight scripting and tough questions. Add a cast of suitably beautiful people and a quota of exploding robots, and a critical success is born.

Now, with the show about to return from a six-month hiatus, its producers have decided to generate buzz in advance by prelaunching the new season on-line. A series of 10 miniature episodes -- webisodes, if you will -- is airing on the Sci Fi Network's website, at Each webisode is just 2½ minutes long, eventually adding up to a half-hour mini-episode between them.

Collectively called Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance, they tell the story of a resistance movement among humans, marooned on a planet under robotic occupation. Watching our heroes adopt some uncomfortably familiar terrorist tactics embodies the kind of relevance that won Galactica a Peabody award.

Notwithstanding, the move to such a tiny format is awkward at best. It's hard to fit more than two scenes into 2½ minutes, and yet each instalment needs a setup, a story and a miniature cliffhanger; each webisode gets in gear, then lurches to a stop. And the small box that frames on-line videos forces the director to rely on close-ups and medium shots to keep details from getting lost, which limits the visual palette.

And there's another catch: They're not available in Canada. The same network tricks that let Google display ads that seem to know where you live have allowed the people at to lock off access to people who aren't surfing from within the United States. Nor was the Space Channel, which broadcasts the show in Canada, offered the rights to show the webisodes on its own website. (This is especially irksome since the show is produced in Vancouver and features a contingent of Canadian actors, starting with Tricia Helfer of Canada's Next Top Model fame.)

Of course, where there's a will, there's a way. About a day after each webisode goes live on the website, it has popped up on, the video-sharing site that's heavily populated by clips illicitly taken from commercial shows. (Try searching for "Galactica Resistance.")

NBC has been playing whack-a-mole to have the clips removed, but since YouTube removes material only after copyright holders file a complaint, the webisodes have remained on-line long enough to be watched by thousands of foreigners.

One suspects that it suits NBC's interests just fine to have an unofficial back door promoting its show in markets where it can't or won't. After all, nothing generates a buzz on-line like telling people they can't see something. You can hear the frenzied clicking from the closet full of fans already.

Newshound: Reverend J