Friday, June 29

The new sci-fi

Source: The Guardian

Until recently, science fiction and fantasy were things you only went to see at the cinema - unless you were a teenage boy. Now, with the success of Battlestar Galactica, Lost and Heroes, the major networks can't get enough of the stuff. Gareth McLean asks: how did sci-fi become so popular, so credible - and even so political?

Wednesday June 27, 2007
The Guardian

It's not every day that you hear a justification for suicide bombing on an American TV drama - and certainly not one as vigorous and heartfelt as this: "I've sent men on suicide missions in two wars now, and let me tell you something - it don't make a goddamn difference whether they're riding in a Viper or walking out on to a parade ground. In the end, they're just as dead. So take your piety and your moralising and your high-minded principles and stick them some place safe ... I've got a war to fight."

The fact that the character talking is not some swivel-eyed terrorist but, in fact, a hero - or, at least, what passes for a hero in this TV show's murky, shades-of-grey universe - makes his speech more surprising still. In a further do-not-adjust-your-set moment, the show in question is Battlestar Galactica. Yes, that Battlestar Galactica.

Well, nearly. The reimagined BSG, as it is now known, is light-years away from its cheesy late-1970s incarnation starring Dirk Benedict, later of The A-Team, and Bonanza's Lorne Greene. The premise is the same - the last vestiges of humanity are being pursued by the sentient monotheistic robots that they created as labour-saving devices - but instead of cheese, there's grime, the harsh realities of living hand-to-mouth in space, and some of the sharpest, smartest writing on television. Gone is the comforting binary of "humanity good, robots bad", and in its place is a universe in which the good guys practise torture and recruit suicide bombers, while the bad guys are devoutly religious, embarking upon a genocidal war in the belief that they are cleansing the universe of corruption.

This is science fiction for the 21st century. What's more, it's sci-fi about the 21st century. Fans of the genre have long known that quality sci-fi and its sister genre fantasy hold up a mirror to the times in which they were created, but never before have the TV shows involved seemed so resonant or indeed so influential. Science fiction has never been more now, fantasy never more real.

Now, even those shows that aren't strictly sci-fi or fantasy are heavily indebted to it. Other than Doctor Who, which is about a time-traveller in a police box, the most talked-about British drama of recent years has been Life on Mars, about a time-travelling policeman. ITV1 - already home of Primeval, which is about a team of scientists tracking prehistoric creatures through rifts in time - is, apparently, planning a drama called Lost in Austen, in which a woman finds a gateway to the Regency era in her bathroom. Meanwhile, Life on Mars producer Kudos is developing Outcasts, for the BBC. It follows a band of ne'er-do-wells in the future searching for an alternative home to Earth as the planet's prospects look increasingly precarious. It has been described as being about "life's big imperatives - cheating death, seeking suitable mates and surviving as a species". Such is the commissioners' keenness these days on "high-concept" dramas - which is to say, dramas that borrow devices or themes from sci-fi and fantasy - that writers now complain that it is difficult to get them interested in anything else.

Among new dramas debuting later this year in America are a remake of The Bionic Woman; Journeyman, which has a man travelling in time to right wrongs; Pushing Daisies, about a detective who can bring people back to life; Babylon Fields, which is about zombies rising in contemporary America; Moonlight, about a detective who is also a vampire; True Blood, another vampire drama from Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball; and The Sarah Connor Chronicles, based on the Terminator movies. Of 45 pilots picked up for series by US networks for next season, around a quarter are straightforward science fiction or fantasy, or influenced by them. The fantastic future is here.

(Before we go any further, as the weary time-traveller might say, sci-fi probably requires definition. It is, basically, fiction that makes imaginative use of scientific knowledge or conjecture. It extrapolates about possible futures, based on the present. It's speculative fiction. Fantasy, as its name suggests, pertains more to the fantastic, the supernatural, the unexplained. So The Matrix is sci-fi while Buffy the Vampire Slayer is fantasy. Rod Serling, creator of The Twilight Zone, put it thus: "Fantasy is the impossible made probable. Science fiction is the improbable made possible.")

This is all something of a reversal of fortune for sci-fi. For a long time, science fiction and fantasy have been seen as something for teenage boys, genres you grow out of. Since the 1960s, Star Trek defined sci-fi on television, and the cult of Trek was ridiculed, most exquisitely in the film Galaxy Quest.

Of course, sci-fi and fantasy can't be that specialist: of the most successful films of all time, most have their origins in one or the other. As well as the Star Wars and Lord of the Rings trilogies, consider also the Alien quartet, the Jurassic Park films, the convoy of Harry Potter movies and ET.

Somehow, though, the suspension of disbelief that sci-fi and fantasy often require was too much for television audiences to swallow, and there the stigma remained. But Battle-star Galactica, along with the likes of Lost and Heroes, has changed that. All three shows are prime-time in America - Lost and Heroes on ABC and NBC respectively. Those are networks and not cable channels. This is a big deal.

Lost, with its employment of an unexplained plane crash on a mysterious island, unseen jungle monsters and strange initiatives, hatches and buttons, mixes elements of both sci-fi and fantasy. Perhaps disingenuously, given that the pilot cost a whopping $5m, Damon Lindelof, the show's executive producer, says it was never supposed to be a hit show. "It was meant to be a cult show like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Alias. Somehow this show became broader. The fact that my mother was ever watching Lost in the first place is a shock to me. It's weird and there's a monster and there's the Dharma Initiative. And she said, 'I love the characters.'"

So what went so right for TV sci-fi and fantasy? For starters, the advances in CGI and the relative inexpense of creating it for the small screen has meant that sci-fi and fantasy have become more believable and spectacular. As Tim Kring, creator of Heroes - a show about a disparate group of somewhat dysfunctional, ordinary people who each discover that they have a superpower - says: "In the last five years, there would be a major leap forwards every couple of months in what you could do within the budget of a television show. Extraordinary things that took giant mainframe computers and 12 programmers to do 10 years ago, a guy on a Macintosh can do now."

Meanwhile, in the wider world, the event that has made sci-fi and fantasy palatable, and indeed positively appealing, to a mainstream audience is 9/11. 9/11 shook value systems and certainties, making the heretofore incredible seem not so outlandish. In a world in peril, we look to the fantastic for succour. The fin de si├Ęcle feeling that pervaded culture at the end of the 19th century, when the end was thought to be nigh, produced a burst of enduring science fiction and fantasy literature.

Calton Cuse, executive producer of Lost, says they weren't trying to consciously make a post-9/11 show, but, "We live in a tenuous world in which all sorts of threats can come out of nowhere and that affects us as people and what affects us as people affects us as writers."

Tim Kring, creator of Heroes, concurs with Cuse - he didn't set out to make a post-9/11 show - but "the wish-fulfilment aspect of the show feeds off a feeling that the world is a scary place. Issues like global warming and diminishing natural resources and terrorism are issues that seem really out of control and huge. That these ordinary people may be coming along with special powers and can ultimately do something about these larger issues taps into a sense of helplessness we may feel."

It can't be a coincidence that Lost, Heroes and Battlestar Galactica are laced with paranoia and suspicion - of government, of others, and, in Lost, of the Others. Just as Invasion of the Bodysnatchers in 1956 played on fears of reds under the bed, these are the times in which we live. Kring points out that heroes emerge in popular culture at times of crisis in the real world: Superman, for example, was born from the depths of the Depression. As Doctor Who supremo Russell T Davies notes, albeit while emphasising the optimism of his own show: "We live in a time of terror."

The suicide bomber's speech, as mentioned at the top of this article, is made by Battlestar Galactica's Colonel Tigh, an irascible, unpleasant, bigoted alcoholic, who leads the human insurgency when the planet he inhabits is occupied by the robotic Cylons. The Cylons, incidentally, aren't the giant metal machines you may remember from the original series. Now, they can look much like any other human, hidden in plain sight. One in particular, Number Six, whose feminine wiles lead a brilliant but vain government scientist to betray his species, looks an awful lot like a Victoria's Secret lingerie model - which is actually actor Tricia Helfer's previous occupation.

If talk of religious zealots, insurgency and occupation sounds familiar in the show, it's meant to. Executive producers David Eick and Ronald D Moore, who worked on the Star Trek franchise shows for 10 years, both studied politics at university and were drawn to the possibilities of exploring the world now through an imagined future. "I had wanted to get away from sci-fi and do something more overtly political, like The West Wing, but I watched the original Battlestar and realised how resonant its premise had become," Moore says. "It's about people who have survived a terrible attack on their civilisation and how they struggle with an ongoing war. The show is a prism through which we explore themes and situations that are relevant now."

Certainly, it feels more real today than the United Nations-in-space, technology-as-panacea world of Star Trek. Moreover, it's one of the few American dramas that deals with terrorism and the war on terror head on. The only other major US drama to do so is 24, and its all-guns-blazing approach is to the detriment of any thoughtfulness.

Where once the future, as imagined in sci-fi, was a place of possibility and a time of shininess, in BSG, it's a dark, dreadful circumstance. Humanity hasn't ventured starward to seek out new life and new civilisation - they've scarpered to escape annihilation. They go not boldly, but desperately. In Lost, its multi-ethnic, metaphor-for-America cast of characters has been downed by a plane crash and thrown into an uncertain, unfamiliar world. In Heroes, power is both a blessing and a curse, mostly attracting the wrong kind of attention.

Science fiction and fantasy have changed and, in turn, are shaping other genres. Battlestar Galactica's Moore says they deliberately eschewed aliens with knobbly foreheads, brothel planets and other sci-fi cliches. "We wanted to avoid the aesthetic trappings that sci-fi can get bogged down in and opted for a naturalistic look to the show."

BSG is the vanguard of a slew of sci-fi and fantasy shows that work within their genres, within our times, and - most importantly - as good old-fashioned emotional, engaging dramas. The producers of these dramas have created credible, cool shows - ones that are earthier and more grounded than many apparently firmly placed on this planet in the here-and-now. The drearily domestic but strangely alien Brothers and Sisters, I mean you. Why gaze at navels when you can gaze at the stars?

The far side: five of the best sci-fi/fantasy shows

Battlestar Galactica (2003-present)

Rebooted for a new century. Characters have changed gender, the clunky robots now look human, and the moral, political, sexual and ethical knots in which the characters find themselves are Gordian indeed. Also, the cast is very sexy.

Firefly (2002)

Set in the year 2517, when America and China have joined forces to become the somewhat sinister Alliance, a band of rogues, smugglers, criminals and reprobates - diamonds, the lot of them - struggle with existential problems more than they do with warp engines. Created by Joss Whedon, and often described as a western in space, it's more Deadwood than Bonanza. Cruelly cancelled after 14 episodes, it spawned the feature film, Serenity.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003)

High school is hell. In Joss Whedon's genius show, the metaphor grew fangs and claws as a blonde schoolgirl - so long the archetype victim in the horror genre - became the heroine and kicked demon butt, averting apocalypse time and again. Smart, funny, sad and brilliant.

The X-Files (1993-2002)

From the shapeshifting, liver-eating Eugene Tooms to killer midgets on skateboards, from alien abduction to bees bred for nefarious purposes, Chris Carter managed to scare with monsters-of-the-week while building a compelling mythology that would eventually throttle the show. Still, there was the Unresolved Sexual Tension between sceptical Dana Scully and Fox "Spooky" Mulder.

Doctor Who (1963-present)

When Christopher Eccleston bowed out after one series, the wheels might have come off Russell T Davies' reinvigoration of the British classic. Instead, David Tennant took the Doctor from strength to strength. Stories as clever as that involving Charles Dickens, as emotional as that in which Rose bade goodbye, and as terrifying as Steven Moffat's Blink, with its Weeping Angels, mean that Doctor Who succeeds in being both chilling and life-affirming.

· Battlestar Galactica, 11pm Saturday, Sky Two; Lost, 8pm from August 4, Sky One; Heroes, 10pm Monday, Sci-Fi, and coming to BBC2, 9pm, from July 25; Doctor Who, Saturday, 7.05pm, BBC1.

Thursday, June 28

Battlestar Galactica panel discussion


Panel discussion with members of the cast of Battlestar Galactica. Grace Park, Jamie Bamber, Michael Hogan, Tahmoh Penikett, Aaron Douglas and producer Harvey Frand.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, June 22

Ron Moore on Battlestar Galactica's Flashback Movie

Source: Can Mag
If you're still crying about the end of Battlestar Galactica, there is some reason to be happy. Before the last season airs, there will be a two hour event taking place during the shows second season. In this flashback, you'll get to revisit all the characters as well as meet some new ones.

"It’s two episodes that are not really part of the fourth season," explained Ronald Moore. "They’re not connected to the cliff-hanger where we ended season three. We were approached by home video, in between the seasons, who expressed an interest in releasing a couple episodes on DVD for domestic and foreign distribution and, as we talked about them internally, we realized that there was no way we could really pick up the cliffhanger in that form, and we would preserve that for the official beginning of the fourth season. The way that made the most sense to all of us was to go back a little bit in time, not before the series began, but back a season or two ago, and tell a story then. We found a way to connect the events of that story to things that will happen in the fourth season. It sets up some things that will happen in season four."

If you don't get it on DVD, you can catch it on the Sci Fi Channel. "I don’t have a date for you, but the plan, as I understand it, is to air the episodes on Sci-Fi, and that it will be released on DVD either the next day, or two days later, or something like that. The extended episodes, as we’re calling them, will be broadcast in the fall and the official start of season four will begin in early ‘08."
For those keeping track, try to guess which episodes of season two the two parter falls between. "There is a specific point that I cannot remember off the top of my head to be honest, but essentially it ties into the story of the Pegasus, which you know was destroyed at the beginning of season three. There are sequences that involve Admiral Cain but it does not take place like during the Pegasus and Resurrection ship because those episodes pretty much happened continuously. But some of the events of the Pegasus's backstory back during the original Cylon attack are dramatized. And then other events after the death of Admiral Cain while the Pegasus was still in the ragtag fleet are covered in the two parter."

Battlestar Galactica is now resuming production on season four.

Friday, June 15

Battlestar Galactica: Q&A in L.A.

Source UGO.COM, By Jenelle Riley

Last week, Battlestar Galactica fans turned out in droves for a special event at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. After screening highlights from the third season, a Q&A was held moderated by Lucy Lawless, who plays cylon D'Anna Biers. Afterwards, Lawless revealed it was her first time hosting such a panel. "They called and asked me," she explained. "I figured, 'Why not?'" Appearing on the panel were stars Edward James Olmos (Admiral William Adama), Mary McDonnell (President Laura Roslin), Katee Sackhoff (Captain Kara "Starbuck" Thrace) and Jaime Bamber (Captain Lee "Apollo" Adama). Also present were showrunners David Eick and Ronald D. Moore, the latter enduring many a good-natured jibe from the former about not needing Battlestar, as he has plenty of Star Trek money to retire on.

Lawless, looking tan and stunning in a black evening gown, kicked off the night by asking about "the elephant in the room"... the recent announcement that season four of Battlestar would be its last. Asked how he felt about it, the always frank Olmos summed up the feelings of many fans with one word: "Terrible." Following the thunderous applause, Olmos continued, "To be very, very candid about this, I don't think the powers-that-be will understand exactly what this show is doing until 20 years from today when they look back and start to realize what kind of a mirror Ron and David created. This kind of thing happens every once in a while. We are very gifted and lucky to be a part of a situation that was able to comment on our society today. And we took it to the fullest." Olmos went on to dismiss the Nielsen ratings system (Battlestar suffered from low ratings that didn't reflect its passionate fan base) and noted, "We're not doing a dramatic series to sell Cheetos."

Asked how she felt, McDonnell, beaming in a form-fitting green dress, laughed, "I always have to go after him." She went on to reveal her sadness for the show ending and how passionate everyone involved was about the series. "It's a hard one to contemplate giving up," she stated. "And it's been a luxury as an artist to do. On the set yesterday there was an electricity that was new."

Jamie Bamber, speaking in his native British accent, revealed how he was at first hesitant to sign a six-year contract, thinking, "Who wants to work with the same stupid people for six years?" Bamber went on to joke, "And I say that every year, every time they deprive me of my illustrious career path that is laid out before me in theaters and movies and I have to come back and be Ron and David's bitch for another year, I resent it heartily. Then when they told me this was the last year, I'm moaning and complaining. And reading my mortgage bills, which I haven't had to do for the last four years."

Also a hot topic during the discussion: the death (and rebirth) of Starbuck, which was kept so secret from the cast and crew that they actually threw Sackhoff a going-away party. Sackhoff, looking very un-Starbuck in a simple white dress, let slip that she felt underused during the beginning of season three. She had called Moore and Eick around the second episode crying, asking, "Are you trying to get me to quit the show? I don't know what's going on?" She added, "It didn't help matters that during the hiatus I got a phone call that started out, 'We just want you to know we love you. But... we're going to kill you. But wait! We're going to bring you back, you just can't tell anyone. This is going to be the biggest cover up ever! You cannot tell a soul, not even your mother!"

Apparently, Sackhoff, who confessed that she actually broke down and told her mother the truth, was so convincing, that her co-workers felt awful for her. Sackhoff recalled Eick phoning her. "He said, 'Katee, you took it too far! I didn't tell you to lie!' I said, 'I'm an over dramatic actor and you told me to sell it!'" Sackhoff recalled. Ronald D. Moore added that even the network got involved. "When the studio calls you at 8 o'clock in the morning, the studio doesn't even wake up until 9, when they call you at 8, it's bad. They said, 'Your entire set in Vancouver is on the verge of mutiny. They think that you're killing Starbuck." At the time, Moore's response was, "That's great, they're buying it!"

Also brought up frequently during the night, particularly from audience members, was the question of whether Adama and Roslin will consummate their relationship. Or, as Lawless so bluntly asked Olmos, "Is Admiral Adama ever going to get laid?" While everyone was cagey about revealing too much, McDonnell implied something might have happened on New Caprica in the episode "Unfinished Business," where audiences saw the pair smoking marijuana under the stars. "Yeah, but doesn't that just make you crave Taco Bell?" Sackhoff asked.

The panel ended with a preview of the upcoming TV movie, Razor, which premieres in November and focuses on the Battlestar Pegasus under the command of Admiral Helena Cain (Michelle Forbes). Moore dashed hopes of a Battlestar feature film, however, saying the story "has a beginning, a middle, and an end."

After the Q&A, a VIP party followed where Moore and Eick elaborated on plans for season four, premiering in 2008. Moore said we will see the return of the strange relationship between Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callum) and Six (Tricia Helfer), who is visible only to him. "We sort of played it down in the last season," he noted. "But we'll be returning to it and showing it in a new light." The producers also confirmed that audiences will see Earth this season, though they teased that it might not be "exactly what you expect." One thing Eick could confirm, that should console fans entering the final season: "I just know that season four is going to kick some almighty ass."

Sunday, June 10

Classic Cylons Returning To 'Battlestar Galactica'?


The following story contains MINOR SPOILERS for the upcoming fourth season of "Battlestar Galactica."

The most famous version of "Battlestar Galactica's" Cylons -- you know, the shiny suits from the original 1970s series -- got nothing more than a short cameo appearance in the 2003 pilot miniseries.

But fans attending a special BSG event at Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood earlier this week say that the "By Your Command" Cylons could make an appearance. It's just unclear if what they will see from the classic series will be a background crop, or a living, breathing (as much as Cylons lived and breathed in the 1970s) sparkling toaster.

Will fans get to see these old Cylons in action? Hard to tell, and most likely not judging by the video footage shown during the event.

One fan who attended, Greg Cotten, told SyFy Portal that while the preview for "Razor" does show a classic Cylon model, it's simply nothing more than a Cylon head in a display case, similar to what was seen in the miniseries.

However, two other sources with the show say that yes, there will be old-style Cylons, and they will be moving and interacting.

Moore also told the crowd that while the movie will focus on the Pegasus crew, it will include appearances by all the major cast members from the series.

Whether or not we really get to see the original models is clearly up in the air, but there are reports that at least November's telemovie focusing on the Battlestar Pegasus will include flashbacks to the original human/Cylon war of 40 years before, reports the Collider Web site, and it's likely that's where the original Cylons will show up.

"Battlestar Galactica" executive producer Ronald D. Moore also took questions from the audience, and confirmed that he is writing a draft script for the proposed sequel to Will Smith's 2004 film "I Robot," and confirmed earlier reports that he is still involved in the remake of "The Thing."

The "Battlestar Galactica" telemovie, which is being called "Razor," will air in November on SciFi Channel, and be released almost instantly on DVD. The fourth season comes back in January or February.

Saturday, June 9

Talking With "Battlestar Galactica" Creator Ron Moore


Ron_moore Marjorie Kase hit the "Battlestar Galactica" fan even in Los Angeles this week and chatted with the stars. First up - a talk with creator Ron Moore.

You've already started shooting the fourth season. Is there a definitive ending yet?

We have mapped out in detail half the season. In general terms, we've talked about what the ending of the show is. We all kind of know what the shape of that's going to be. We have a general sense of these events will happen, and this where we're going to end up, but we haven't specifically lined up where say, each individual character is going. We just know the general parameters.

Have you thought about which Earth they're going to reach?
Oh yes, I'm pretty sure what Earth they're going to. I was just on the set yesterday, talking to a couple of writers and we had a new idea that it could be this other time too. That would change a lot of our assumptions about what we're doing, but we're still in a place where we're trying to be free and open to ideas.

Tell us about the new movie coming out midseason.

It's called "Razor." It's a storyline that delves into the Battlestar Pegasus quite a bit - back to the beginning, seeing the Cylon attack, what happens to Pegasus during the Cylon attack, and events that were talked about in backstories when those episodes were originally broadcast. It moves through time actually, sequentially. You get up to the point where Lee is in command of Pegasus and then you start dealing with his first mission as commander of the Pegasus. Eventually things that are said and done in "Razor" set up certain things that happen in the fourth season.

What were some of your influences when you first started the show?
When I was first contacted about doing "Galactica," it was February 2002, just a few months after the 9/11 attacks. I watched the original pilot [of the first show] in that context, I realized that if you're going to do a show about this apocalyptic moment, [a] genocide that happens in a heartbeat, suddenly it's just about this core group of survivors that run away from their implacable enemies, the audience is going to bring all their emotions of that event of the world they live in. If you were honest with that and you tried to really be truthful about what it means to live in those kind of times, you had this unique opportunity. That was really the biggest influence.

And then I would say there were films like "Black Hawk Down" that were very influential. "Blade Runner" is hugely influential - to everyone in the genre, "Das Boot." There was a naturalistic style as to how they portrayed men at war and sort of what warfare was all about, not being over-stylized and glamorous but really giving you this down-to-earth realism.

You must have received a ton of feedback in the beginning from hardcore original fans. Did you find it mostly positive or negative?
There was a fairly large reaction that we were redoing the show at all and it was very negative. I had an incident once, I got invited to something called Galacticon, which is a convention for original "Galactica "fans. They booed and hissed when I got up on stage and showed them clips of the new show before they aired.

Did you tell them to "Get a Life?"
No [laughter], they asked me if I would change the show though.

Did you?
They said, "Would you heed what we're saying and make the show more in our keeping?" and I said no, I won't. [laughter] This is the show. You don't have to watch the show, but it's the show. I've interacted with fans for a long time because I was at "Trek" for a long time. It's always interesting to hear what they're saying, what they're arguing about, what their bitches are and what they love. It's fascinating, but I always try to keep a firewall up to say it's not a democracy. It's interesting stuff and I like hearing feedback from the audience. This is what we're going to try to do and just hope that you like it.

David Eick Hopes for a Galactica Feature Film!

Source: IESB.NET
Written by Robert Sanchez

Battlestar Galactica will be in its last year on TV but does that mean that feature films are out of the question?

This is a touchy subject for all parties involved and we will be quick to explain. Some outlets are reporting that there will be no feature films for Battlestar but that’s not 100% accurate.

Did Ron Moore and David Eick kill all hopes for a feature film during this weeks Battlestar Galactica All Access Event? No, and the truth is, it’s not their choice or even Sci-Fi/NBC Universal’s choice to answer the question. David Eick told the IESB that he hopes for a feature film and has extended the olive branch to Glen Larson.

Aha! Glen Larson? Yes, the original creator of Battlestar Galactica has never been 100% happy with the new TV show but holds the feature film rights to the property. So if David and Ron hope to make a movie, they will have to first make peace with Glen.

You can watch IESB’s interviews with Ron Moore, David Eick and even Jaime Bamber as we discuss the feature film for Battlestar. David Eick mentions that he has extended an olive branch to Glen and Jaime begs him to let them do a feature film, pretty funny actually.

Glen’s control over the movie rights are quite evident with Sci-Fi having to redo their plans for Battlestar Galactica: Razor (Pegasus storyline that will air this fall) was first planned as a straight to DVD movie but then had to be changed as two stand alone episodes that will first air on TV and then immediately be released on DVD.

So what are the odds that Glen would allow a feature film based on the TV show? It will be tough considering that he has always planned to go back and make a movie based on the original series and characters. But, then again, stranger things have happened in Hollywood and things can always change overnight.

Tuesday, June 5

Tahmoh interviewed by Kindreds


Date: 1st June 2007

Tahmoh, over the past few years, you’ve developed a very devoted and loyal following. Is it weird to have fans?

Jeff, more than anything, it’s just extremely flattering. I’m honored and I’m touched, and hopefully it’s a reciprocal relationship, you know? I work my ass off because I know there are fans out there, and I believe in this art form so much. I work very hard to bring my best and most truthful work to the screen whenever I’m there. I don’t ever want to be a lazy actor, and I don’t ever want to be associated with that. I’m growing very rapidly on this show because I’ve had the opportunity to work with such an excellent cast and of course such excellent writers, and I just want to keep improving. I want to get better. So hopefully that’s what they appreciate, and you know I take it very seriously.

Over the past season your character became quite a polarizing figure, becoming possible the most loved and most hated character at the same time.

Yeah, it’s quite a dichotomy isn’t it?

Yeah it is. As an actor do enjoy playing a character that evokes such strong emotions, and has any of that reaction seeped into your one-on-one interaction with fans?

Well it’s funny, in the first and even second season I would sometimes have fans come up to me and be angry and it’s hilarious. They were angry at me about the fact that I had gone to the other side, or that I was giving this person a chance. To me, I just couldn’t understand that rationale or that way of thinking. You know, I’ve heard Helo referred to as the moral compass of the show in many ways, and I think it’s a great quote.

Helo, especially in the beginning, you’re questioning his character, and it’s hard with so few scenes and so little dialogue to show his reasons and to give validity to why he’s doing this; why he trusts this woman who has saved his life, regardless of the fact that she’s a Cylon. Well, she’s proven herself different to him. So much so that he’s willing to go as far as he did.

In many ways it’s the theme of the show. Who are we and why are we better than these that we’ve created and are responsible for? We’ve created them, but they’ve evolved into something else. They are alive. This is an organic being, they aren’t a piece of metal, they have a conscience and they have a soul. Helo might be one of the first people that actually sees this and sympathizes with it, and hopefully instead of war, one day there can be a compromise and we can move beyond this. It’s a great storyline, with a lot of opportunity.

But all in all, the fan response for Helo has just gotten better and better and I think it’s great when people question the show. I know when Helo prevented the opportunity to unleash the biological weapon on the Cylons, I definitely got some response from that at the convention, and people like ‘Why? Why?’. And I asked them are you serious? You wouldn’t be watching the show any more! If Helo killed the Cylons you wouldn’t be watching a show any more, would you?

Well my next question was going to be how much did you agree with Helo’s decision to stop the virus, but it sounds like Tahmoh Penikett would have done the same thing.

Tahmoh Penikett would have done the same thing, and I very much agree with Helo. I know why he did it, and it actually even makes sense to me as an actor, which is something that some of Helo’s actions haven’t always done. But all in all I do agree with Helo’s decision.

Of course he couldn’t let it happen. He’s got a child who’s half-Cylon. He’s got a wife who’s a Cylon. We can’t just go and commit genocide on these people. Just like he said when he’s having the argument with Roslin, he said we’ll be guilty of the same crimes. Humanity will suffer this, we’ll be passing this on to the next generation, we’ll be responsible for this. What does this make us?

More on, check it out there or follow the link.

Friday, June 1

Season Four is the last!

Low-rated but critically worshipped Sci Fi Channel drama "Battlestar Galactica" will sign off next year after its fourth season, producers said Thursday.
Move isn't a stunner. Rumors about the show's fate have been swirling for months, and the skein had to fight to get renewed for a fourth season.

Despite some of the best reviews for any show on TV -- and a fiercely loyal fan base -- "Battlestar" is a very expensive show to produce, especially for a cable net. Sci Fi has tried to turn that buzz into bigger ratings, but the show never seemed to break out beyond a core niche.

Sci Fi stuck by the skein, however, because of its status as a signature program for the net.

Exec producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick issued a joint statement saying it was their decision to end the series.

"This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end," producers said. "Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end, and we've decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms."

Producers promised to end the show "with a bang."

Sci Fi exec VP of original programming Mark Stern said the cabler respected Eick and Moore's call.

"We have always known that Ron and David had a plan for 'Galactica,'" he said.

"Battlestar" will begin its fourth season with a two-hour episode in November. It will then return in early 2008 to finish out its 22-episode run.

Cabler hasn't yet said if it plans to move forward with a proposed "Battlestar" prequel series.

For his part, Eick remains busy. He's exec producing NBC's buzzworthy "Bionic Woman" remake and has a slew of other projects in development.

Newshound: Jodokast1221