Thursday, May 29

Galactica Station's Review of Faith

Bopone unveils his review of Episode 4.08, strategically avoiding having to finish it on a Friday.

FAITH is about the most powerful episode I have seen in Season 4. It is a very emotional story, both in its A and B plot-lines.

The A-plotline involves the Demetrius' mutiny resolution and the subsequent meet-up with the rebel Cylons. It stands out as Sam Anders' finest hour, for he is in many ways at the center of that story. In the prologue, Sam prevents the ship from jumping back to the Fleet (at the cost of shooting Mr. Gaeta in the kneecap--a very wrenching scene). But this does in a horrific way, clear the air for Helo and Starbuck to clear the air and figure out a way to work together again.

Once at the wreckage of the Cylon Fleet one of Kara's visions is revealed (the painting in her cabin with the comet & gas giant is revealed as the crippled basestar leaking a trail behind it while transiting a gas giant) thus carrying forward the mystical thread that has been strong in the late S3/S4 period of the show.

A good Athena scene happens right after arriving on Natalie's basestar where the bulk of the Eights (shocked at the downturn in their fortunes) want Athena to lead them in rebelling against Natalie's leadership (rebelling against the rebels, if you will). Athena spurns their offer telling them that "Because you pick your side and you stick. You don't cut and run when things get ugly. Otherwise you'll never have anything. No love. No family. No life to call your own."

Sam has a very nice wordless scene in the control station of the basestar, where he's strongly tempted to put his hands in the datastream to see what happens. What would happen remains unknown, as he never quite gets the chance.

The eye-for-eye settling of the killing of Sam's last Caprican teammate, Jean Barolay, is very well done. The actors all played the part perfectly. Sam couldn't let go the death of his last teammate (a fellow Buccaneer) who had been in sports with him, the Caprican and New Caprican Resistances, and now served in uniform with him. Starbuck seems to want to brush it aside in the name of the quest for Earth, but Athena says to her, "They kill one of us and you want to drop it?" And the scene where Natalie cuts the Gordian knot after bidding the unnamed Six good-bye is very well done. Both in this scene (between Natalie and the Six) and later in the show (between the Eight and Athena where Athena refuses to take her hand) implies that Cylons place a strong emphasis on touch.

Then in the Hybrid's chamber when the Hybrid finally tells Starbuck the Original Hybrid's prophesy "You are the Harbinger of Death, you will lead them to the End, Kara Thrace." As well as "The Dying Leader will know the Truth of the Opera House" and "The Missing Three will lead to the Five who come from the Home of the Thirteenth". For once we don't have to wonder and Natalie immediately conjectures that D'Anna (Model #3) can identify the Final Five (having seen them and been Boxed for it) and if the FF come from the home of the 13th (Tribe of Humans) they would know the way back. In the background you can see Sam having dual conniptions, as he doesn't want to be unmasked to Kara, especially as well as (I think) "Huh? I don't know the way to Earth!"

The other major plotline of the episode involved President Roslin's befriending of a fellow cancer patient, Emily (played by Nana Visitor). Emily has developed an affection for Baltar's radio broadcasts as his words match some of the visions Emily has been having. Emily and Laura talk about their cancers and lives. They have wonderful emotional raport with each other and are able share many of their fears with each other.

Emily is particularly taken with her vision of a ferry crossing the river to the next life, where her lost loved ones will meet her on the other shore. As Emily dies, Laura joins her in the vision (perhaps aided by chamalla) and when Emily gets to the other side, Laura sees her own mother and others waiting for her, but she tells them "I'm not ready, yet." The scene is very well done but it would have been completely over the top if they'd gotten Paul Campbell back to have Billy standing on that bank along with Laura's oddly Barbara Bush-looking mother.

The episode ends with another superlative Roslin-Adama scene, where Roslin makes a pact with Adama to hang on long enough to get the Fleet to Earth. The emotions that Olmos and McDonnell and the rapor that they have built up with each other allow the two to convey volumes of content with just a few words and glances.

All in all, one of the best of Season 4. I give it a 9/10.

Wednesday, May 28

Cylons run Windows XP

Source:The Inquirer

THE FATE of the robotic race, the Cylons, in Battlestar Galactica, has been thrown into doubt after it has been revealed that the base ships are still using Windows XP.

A sharp eyed Gizmodo reader has found that if you look at the latest episode of the television show at minute 9:26 in episode 7, Guess What's Coming to Dinner? you can clearly see a Windows XP dialogue box on one of the screens.

Although we cannot see what the dialogue box says, we guess it might be saying something like "error message 283836 hybrid disconnected".

It is not clear why the Cylons have refused to update to Vista. We cannot think that a base ship would care about licensing problems, so we can only assume that the toasters are waiting for the next version of Windows to come out.

While your average Cylon might not notice a difference between XP and Vista, Microsoft moves to assure us that they might be unaware of the 'security issues' involved in not upgrading. However as any Six will tell you, if you are launching a nuclear strike on a colony the last thing you want is a pop-up screen asking you if you are sure you are want to fire your weapons everytime you pull the fracking trigger.

The Galactica of course uses pre-windows technology. In an early episode it was revealed that the ship only survived because the Cylons could not hack into its networks because there was no wi-fi connection.

Monday, May 26

Galactica Station's Review of Guess What's Coming to Dinner

Gooby Rastor pops inside from his Memorial Day picnic to post his thoughts on Episode 4.09.

I’m sure that there’s going to be quite a backlash against Athena this week, and I will say that my feelings about her actions are a bit mixed; her (attempted?) murder of Natalie was quite the extreme of maternal instinct, wasn’t it? But within that lies the reason I’m sort of okay with what Sharon does in the last act of the episode. A few weeks back, I was very disappointed by the way in which Hera’s parents had left her in God-knows-whose protective care while they went off together on the Demetrius. I felt (and ranted on the subject) that, given Hera’s history such an extended absence was unrealistic on their part. So while Athena’s reaction this week was certainly extreme, it made a hell of a lot more sense than what we’d seen recently, particularly in light of the dreams that Sharon is apparently continuing to have, regarding her child being taken away from her. I think one of the problems with this storyline is (again) how much it has not been on the show for the previous two seasons. While BSG has neglected to explain or use the half-Cylon child, or mention any further interest which the Cylons may have in her, it’s not really unreasonable for Athena to suspect that Natalie would try and take away her daughter again.

Wait Gooby, what are you saying? Are you really trying to justify Athena shooting Natalie down? Have you gone totally Sharonista on us? Well, no. I’m not suggesting that Athena shouldn’t see consequences. In fact, I want to see her pay for what she’s done, the way Helo never had to for “A Measure of Salvation.” Battlestar Galactica was always a great show for consequences in the first couple of seasons; remember Socinus? The show really has been at its weakest when consequences get forgotten. The thing of it is for me, if given a choice between seeing Hera’s parents continuing to forget their child’s history, or else seeing Athena acting like an angry mama bear, I’ll take the latter, and she can reap the punishments for her actions.

But to the episode as a whole. It’s better than some recent fare, such as “The Ties That Bind,” or “Escape Velocity,” but “Guess What’s Coming to Dinner” is a bit of a step down from last week’s episode, “Faith.” In contrast with last week, which brilliantly concentrated on one central theme, tonight the show leaves such questions aside in favor of doing stuff. A lot happens here (kind of), and the stage is set for even more things to happen in the coming weeks. All this is well and good, but one problem arises with pacing in the episode, which only really finds its groove in the last ten minutes of the show.

For me, the issue comes up right at the top of the show. After all the ruckus at the top, the teaser ends not with a cliffhanger, or at least with some sort of hook to take us into the credits, but with Helo, telling everyone to calm down: “Starbuck and Athena have secured the baseship.” Cue the heavy drums to make it seem like high drama, and that’s the act, roll opening credits. It’s not a fatal flaw, but the act break just doesn’t work, and BSG directors typically nail these, so it caught my notice.

From that point on, the show attempts to juggle a number of plotlines and characters. For the most part, the job done is adequate, with a few higher points. The political subplot, focused on Roslin and Lee, finally ties into the rest of the show’s storyline, and we get an indication that the Quorum has some sort of political leverage over Roslin, with the ability to pass a vote of no confidence in her government. Did we know that before? It felt like news to me. There’s still a lot we don’t understand about how the government of the Fleet works, but at least we’re learning a bit more these days, and the holes are getting filled in. I think we’ve seen evidence that Roslin possesses approval power over Quorum proposals, which she’s threatened this season, and also that she can propose legislation as well (didn’t the law to settle on New Caprica come from President Baltar’s office?). A lot of questions remain regarding this executive-heavy system, but it’s only fiction.

I appreciated that Tory’s relationship to Baltar came to light as well, though not a lot really came of it this week... but not really. On the one hand, since there weren’t any (immediate) consequences of it all, it’s essentially just treading water. On the other hand, it’s not really treading water, since at least it’s no longer a secret between Roslin and Tory. But on the first hand, it wasn’t really clear that there was any secret in the first place. In sum total, the scenes between the two give us yet another look at hard-core Laura Roslin, but that’s hardly anything new, and the scenes don’t really seem to serve much purpose from a plot standpoint either. All in all, not really worth the time we spend with them.

The one really interesting development from a thematic perspective, comes when the Cylons voice their desire to become mortal, which is the one bar they see to their being truly human (and I agree). Because this is obviously going to be a big, big part of the later part of the season, I’m going to leave this topic alone for now, except to say that I’ve felt it had to come for a while now, and am pleased that the writers have taken this route. Actually, I rather liked what the writers did with the scheming Cylons this episode. With all the twists and turns they make, it might have seen stuffed and rushed, but I felt the show made it feel natural, which was quite the feat.

Of special note in this episode is the last ten minutes, which almost feel like a completely different episode. Most of the important setup occurs here, after Starbuck meets with Roslin. One question which arises for me: Why did the president ask Kara to go get Helo? We know why she has Baltar brought on board the Raptor, her vision involves him. But right now, Helo seems like a kind of random addition. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a scene between the two of them in “The Hub.” Anyway, poor Karl will apparently continue to play no part in his daughter’s story, as he, Roslin, Starbuck, Baltar, and the Viper squad have all jumped off at the whim of a Hybrid. And that is exciting, if a little far-fetched to think that Roslin would be allowed to visit the basestar without half of Galactica’s crew on board. Oh well, this contrivance I’m willing to let slide, because of the fun that might be had with these characters surrounded by skin jobs and the toasters which they might not be able to control.

As I wrote near the top, the pacing of these last scenes finally starts firing on all cylinders, with the scenes coming fast, the tension picking up, the twists suddenly appearing (“jump”). Plainly, I’m happy to see the show finally coming around to including Hera in the wrap-up, as I consider her existence to be one of the chief mysteries which the show should resolve by the finale, along with: Earth; The Final Five; and Virtual Six/Baltar. I think that the show has done a great job juggling three of the four big mysteries, and am confident that they’re going to be able to resolve each. Now that the question of Hera has been raised again, I’m also confident that the writers know where they’re going to go with her, and just took more time getting this ball rolling. At any rate, the last ten minutes bring this episode from "passable" territory into something higher, for a number of reasons. These next couple of weeks should be a trip.

Speaking of skin jobs, (from a couple paragraphs ago) let’s talk about the Final Four. I was a little bit dismayed to see Anders starting to crack these last two weeks, particularly this time out. So far, each of the new Cylons has handled their transition in a unique way, with Sam having (in a way) the easiest time of it. I mean, sure his wife might shoot him dead, but he at least seems to be willing to accept and explore what it means to be a Cylon, yet the same person he ever was. Contrast this with Tory, who’s certainly willing to accept, but has picked up the adjectives “homicidal” and “sadistic.” I guess they felt they had to kick Sam around a bit, but didn’t Tyrol just go off the deep end a couple episodes back? I certainly understand the guilt which is wracking Anders, but this reaction has a bit less uniqueness about it, coming after the Chief.

Finally, I’m going to take time out to address something which I’ve been noticing recently, which has become impossible to ignore while watching this season: The special effects are amazing these days. Not only is the quality good (naturally), but the space scenes have gone above and beyond all previous seasons, through sheer creativity. One problem with space battle scenes in many TV shows suffer from eventually feeling very “same-y.” cf. Star Trek. BSG has always shaken things up in this respect, but this year, the type of shots which they have shown have taken this aspect of the show to the next level. Not only was the battle from “He That Believeth in Me” simply the most gorgeous we’ve seen, but I’ve been mesmerized by the variety we’ve seen since, from the shot of Racetrack and Skulls taking off in their Raptor two weeks ago, to this week’s sequence of the Cylon basestar jumping into the middle of the fleet, and the ships barely managing to swerve out of its way to avoid collision. I watch Galactica for the characters, for the philosophy and all that jazz, but the CGI has been such an impressive part of the fourth season, and I think it winds up inflating the grades of episodes in which it figures, so I have to mention it here.

So where does this week fall in the spectrum of season four? As far as I can tell at this point, (without yet seeing the forest for the trees) it’s more than passable, perhaps even very good. Some early issues become resolved by the end of the episode, and for every plotline which goes nowhere, there’s a more interesting one which gets in gear.

Total score: 8.7/10

P.S. Ironic that I used a picture of Gaeta without mentioning him in the review, huh?

Sunday, May 25

The Rest Of Season Four Part One

Source: Mark Verheidens Blog

Three episodes remain in this leg of season four-the-last. On 5/30, it's Sine Qua Non, 6/6 brings you The Hub and 6/13 (Friday the 13th) is Revelations. Yes, we did consider introducing Jason Voorhees for a cameo when we learned when the show would be airing, but let's face it, Jason's antics are comic fodder next to the machinations of our rag-tag fleet. I guess the real question is, what will Friday the 13th bring to our shaky little alliance? Good luck? Bad luck? Worse luck? Hmmm...

I also see (hat tip to the always excellent Galactica Sitrep site) that my former employer the Los Angeles Times is hosting a Battlestar Galactica pre-Emmy event at the Arclight on June 11. Since that's literally all I know (the jungle drums from BSG central are evidently on mute), I have no idea who from the show might be appearing, but if it's anything like the last Arclight event, I'm sure it'll be fun. Check out Sitrep for the (so far quite limited) details...

Friday, May 23

First Details of Ron Moore's Upcoming Pilot

Source: IO9

When we first heard Battlestar Galactica's Ron Moore was doing a show about a deep-space long-haul crew who lose themselves in virtual reality entertainments, our first thought was, "Oh great, a whole show of Star Trek holodeck episodes." But Moore's new Fox pilot, Virtuality, is a lot more multi-layered and twisted than that, judging from the tons of script pages that have turned up. The pages are "casting sides," for actors auditioning for roles in the series, but they appear to be taken from the actual pilot script. Details, with spoilers, after the jump.

There are three strands in the Virtuality pilot, and only one of them relates to virtual reality as such:

1) The ship, the Phaeton, is nearing a slingshot maneuver around Jupiter, which will either send it back to Earth or send it hurtling forwards to its destination of Eridani. This is the "go/no-go" decision point, which will decide the crew's fate once and for all. At the same time, the ship's doctor, Eyal Meyer, has Parkinson's Disease, which throws an extra wrinkle into the tough decision. Should the ship go forward and risk not having a doctor on board? If they don't go, it may be 20 years before humans can try again — which may be too late. There are also glitches with the ship, and emergency repairs may cost one character their life.

2) The crew are all spending time in virtual reality "modules," including everything from a restful seaside scene to a Civil War battle where Confederate troops attack Union soldiers, only to fall into an ambush. In all their "modules," a mysterious figure known as the Green-Eyed Man shows up and kills the humans in gruesome ways. (Unlike in The Matrix and other scifi classics, being killed in VR doesn't harm you in real life, but it's jarring.) Is the Green-Eyed Man a hack by one of the crew members? A computer glitch? Or something else? Everybody suspects Billie, the computer geek — until she's raped by the Green Eyed Man, in a brutal and horrible scene.

3) Even as the crew is stressed out by the experience of being in deep space alone for 10 years, and losing themselves in VR entertainments, they're also being watched. In particular, the ship is one huge "reality TV" show, which is broadcast back on Earth. The ship's computer whiz, Billie, becomes the "host" of the show, which is struggling with declining ratings — so she has to find ways to increase the show's "drama" to make it more compelling viewing. There are interview segments interspersed with sequences where Billie films the crew arguing. The crew have to take part, or risk breaching their contracts — which could mean their families back on Earth lose their preferential housing. (There are tons of hints that Earth is one huge ecological cesspool, and liveable dry land is at a premium, with long waitlists

The show's most freaky character — sort of a cross between Gaius Baltar and Brother Cavil — is Roger Fallon. He's the ship's therapist (and may have to take over as doctor if Meyer is incapacitated.) But he's also the producer and director of the ship's "reality TV" show, which places him in a weird conflict of interest. He's supposed to be listening to the crew's problems, even as he's urging Billie to create more "drama" to boost the show's ratings. He's a manipulative snake, who's a famous self-help guru with a book that's almost as popular as the Bible back on Earth. We're clearly supposed to hate him and yet find him oddly compelling. His wife, Rika, is having a virtual reality affair with the ship's captain, Frank Pike. (Yes, the captain is really named Pike.)

Other simmering subplots: Manny and Val, a gay couple, have been stuck on galley duty and hate cooking, plus they're bad at it. Another married couple, Alice and Kenji, are having sex in weird spots all over the ship and trying to keep it secret for some reason. (Plus it seems as though Alice had an abortion so she could go on the Phaeton's space flight, and her sister just had a baby back on Earth.) Billie is adjusting to being the host of the "reality TV" show, and her VR module is a hilarious scenario where she's a Joan Jett-esque rock star who's also a superspy. (And her band are all super-spies too.) Another character, a scientist named Jules Braun, is having the computer create a virtual reconstruction of his dead son, Shawn.

Bottom line: It's a bleak and disturbing look at the effects of a long space trip on humans, as dark in its own way as Battlestar Galactica. It sort of reminded me of the underrated film Sunshine, in the focus on psychological drama in cramped quarters, plus the dangerous repair sequence and the fact that the ship has a hydroponic garden. But the "reality TV" aspect adds a whole extra sardonic layer to the cake.

Battlestar Galactica - How It Ends

Source: Mark Verheidens Blog

Great teaser, huh? I guess that's something you learn when you write television! Anyhow, there will be zero spoilers here, but since Aaron Douglas went public with his reaction to Ron Moore's script for the season four ender (which viewers probably won't see until sometimes in 2009), I figure it's okay to chime in and say...

It's simply... amazing. The sort of script where, when you finish, you just fall back in your chair in a daze, then call anyone in the loop and spend hours talking about how satisfying and powerful and (pick superlative of choice)... usually I would be a little mindful of raising expectations or succumbing to excessive hyperbole, but that's not going to be a problem here. Of course, I've seen what's coming up for the rest of season four, and I think it's all mighty powerful stuff (not to mention exciting, heart-breaking, "etc."), but to know it all culminates in something so remarkable... well, the bar for great television just got notched up another level. No kidding.

If that doesn't whet your appetite, nothing will... me, I'm on pins and needles waiting to see the first dailies!

Tuesday, May 20

Interview With Ron Moore

Source: Wired

Wired: What were your hopes and thoughts for doing the show? Did you execute them?

Moore: Before the miniseries started, when I was really thinking about the project, pitching it — before I was even writing it — it was really about capturing a certain mood, a certain vibe for the show, that I didn't think anybody had done. I was really in love with this idea of doing a sort of documentary style, making it much more naturalistic than science fiction is usually presented. And I was looking for something that was neither Star Wars-Star Trek, which I categorized in my head as a sort of the romantic side, or Blade Runner-Matrix, the cyberpunk side. I wanted a third kind of category to put the show in.

I wanted something that would be different. I really wanted it to be grounded, I really wanted it to be political, to sort of comment on society in a much more aggressive way than the work I had been doing on Trek and the other pieces.

And to a large extent, I would say, yeah, we did accomplish that. I feel good about that. I remember when I watched the miniseries for the first time, even when I got the first box of dailies, I was really surprised that it was what I hoped it would be, that we captured that mood. That we plowed this new row, I was really thrilled with that. And then we set about more fully realizing it, broadening it and expanding it, deepening the story, but the minis really got to where I wanted to go.

Wired: Did you have a notion for what you wanted those politics to be, or did you know you just wanted it to be—

Moore: I just knew that I wanted it to be political. I knew I wanted to really get under the skin of a lot of things that at Trek you sort of dealt with but in very safe ways, in my opinion. We dealt with a lot of issues and concepts that we also deal with in Galactica, but it always felt like there was an easy moral answer by the end of the episode, and if it was ambiguous in the end it was a safe ambiguous way, and the good guys couldn't get roughed up that much, they just couldn't be that bad. They weren't human beings on some level. They weren't quite fully realized human beings.

I wanted this show to be more political in the sense that watching these characters grapple with these ideas and concepts would be controversial and difficult, and that it would spark debate and [that] you should not always agree with what your heroes were doing. Sometimes you'd be unclear whose side you were really on in the debates, and I wanted it to be more complicated and complex, much like the world we really live in.

Wired: OK, I can hear myself nerding out already, but: Dealing with the patriarchal captains that Trek had, that Galactica does, too, you find yourself in a much more complicated relationship with these surrogate fathers on Galactica. How do you maintain the character as being that father figure even though You're going to think He's wrong more often or disagree with him? [Captain] Picard sort of becomes easy. He's going to step in at the end and tell you what to think, pat you on the head.

Moore: Yeah, it's a different notion. I tried to deal with it where Adama was patriarchal in the family sense, He's the father figure of the cast and father figure of the show, but that from the beginning they call him the Old Man. They respect him and like him, and they all have affection for him on the ship, but plenty of people disagree with him, and not everybody thinks he walks on water. There's sort of a respect and distance, and as you got further into the show, you could see that he was a deeply flawed man, a man who just fell into this position.

Read the rest here

Saturday, May 17

'The luckiest guy alive'

TV hunk suffered serious spinal injuries in a car accident – and walked out of hospital after just five days

He stars on Battlestar Galactica as Ensign Sam Anders, a secret member of the indestructible Cylon race. And it turns out Michael Trucco is pretty indestructible in real life, too.

Last Dec. 2, the 37-year-old actor and a buddy were taking an easy Sunday morning drive on Malibu's Pacific Coast Highway when their Ferrari 360 skidded on a curve, rolled up an embankment, flipped into the air and slammed to the pavement upside down. Trucco, who was in the passenger seat, suffered a broken neck but managed to pull himself out of the car, stand upright and get away from the wreckage.

He was airlifted to UCLA Medical Center, where – after six hours of spinal surgery – doctors pronounced him a freak of nature. "They just shook their heads and said, `This doesn't make sense,'" recalls Trucco, whose vertebrae damage was likened to Christopher Reeve's. "I was told only one in 100 people can walk away from an accident like that. I easily could have died or ended up a paraplegic. I'm the luckiest guy alive."

Well, maybe the second luckiest. Trucco's friend, whom he declines to name, escaped without a scratch – probably because the car hit the ground on Trucco's side. "The impact felt like someone had taken a 500-pound mallet and hit me square on top of the head, like in the cartoons," says the actor. "Then I realized I couldn't move my arms or legs.

"Weirdly, there was a kind of serenity in that moment. I remember thinking, `No way. This is not how it's gonna go down!' I refused to accept what was happening."

Trucco remained paralyzed in the car – and trapped upside down in his shoulder harness – for several moments. "It was as if my body had shut down like a computer, then did a little check on itself and rebooted. Once I could move my limbs again, I got the hell out of there." His next few days were excruciating. "Even blinking hurt," Trucco says. "I never knew such pain was possible."

Trucco's fiancée, actress Sandra Hess, whom he met when they were regulars on Pensacola: Wings of Gold in 1998, was at his side throughout the ordeal.

"Michael was unbelievable," Hess says. "He never complained – not even once – nor did he ever ask, `Why me?' He was never angry or resentful at his friend who was driving. I really believe it's his attitude that got him through this thing. He willed his survival." Truth be told, the heartthrob did worry about his career – but even so, he lucked out.

The crash happened fairly early in the writers' strike, so he was able to recuperate before BSG resumed production this month. (He also just shot a comedy pilot for NBC called The Man of Your Dreams). "I didn't want BSG to have to rewrite Anders as a sniveling, whining ball of despair who's hiding out in the corner," says Trucco, who now proudly sports a ghastly seven-inch scar on the back of his neck. "Guys like scars! They're like war wounds. I've been told they want to incorporate mine into BSG – but that's all I'm allowed to say."

His TV wife, Katee Sackhoff (Kara "Starbuck" Thrace), isn't surprised by his miraculous recovery. "Michael's such a strong son of a bitch," Sackhoff says. "Anyone else would have been hurt even more, but he bounced back. Really soon."

And how. Trucco was out of the hospital in five days, though he lost 15 pounds and remained in a neck brace for several weeks. In a spooky bit of precognitive casting, Trucco shot an episode of Eli Stone last August in which he played a guy in a wheelchair who was involved in a similar car accident. "It was just too weird," Hess says. "The episode is still on our TiVo, but to this day, I can't bear to look at it."

She'd love her man to ease up on the macho stuff, but it's not likely he will. "I love cars, I love motorcycles – which is an especially big issue with Sandra," Trucco says. "But I don't want this accident to make me a victim. I jumped out of an airplane on my 34th birthday because I promised myself I would. I have an interest in confronting my fears."

So what's the lesson here? "It's human nature to try to find the message in something like this," observes Trucco. "Maybe I needed a bit of adversity, a dose of emotional hardship. But it's not like I was a real a--hole who needed an attitude adjustment. I didn't have the George Bailey moment where I run around town yelling, `It's a wonderful life!' I really believe that we have the power to manifest our own fates."

Or was it just good fortune? Says Trucco with a laugh: "My friends all tell me I was born with a horseshoe up my butt."

More 'Battlestar Galactica' TV movies to come?

Source: Chicago Tribune

There's big news on the "Battlestar Galactica" front.

There will be another set of Webisodes that will link the first 10 episodes of Season 4 and the second half of the fourth and finale season.

Even bigger news: More "Battlestar Galactica" TV movies may get made.

As Galactica Sitrep noted Thursday, an internet radio show, The Doctor and Mrs. Who, reported last night that up to three “Battlestar Galactica” TV movies may get made later this year. Several sources at the show confirm that those films are indeed being discussed right now.

BattlestarExecutives are now doing number-crunching for these proposed films, and any deals for these movies are far from done. However, it would make sense to make more “Battlestar” TV movies while the show’s creative team and actors are still all in one place, as it were. (Pictured at left are cast members Jamie Bamber, Edward James Olmos and Katee Sackhoff.)

According to one source at the network, the talk about the films is just idle chatter “at this point.” But several other sources close to the show says there is good reason for “cautious optimism” about one to three future “Battlestar” films, which would get made this summer, if they get the green light.

“Nothing’s etched in stone yet,” one source said – creative decisions haven’t been fully fleshed out and the casts have not been locked in.

And it's worth noting that "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer Ron Moore is a very busy man -- he's currently writing the show's series finale, his Sci Fi project "Caprica" is in pre-production and his Fox pilot, "Virtuality," which he co-wrote with "Battlestar" writer Michael Taylor, has been picked up for next season. Last month, he also signed a deal with United Artists for three yet-to-be named feature films.

As for the proposed "Battlestar" TV movies, "there have been scattered notions floating around as to what the movie/movies (nobody's even nailed down how many) would cover -- and then there's the issue of whether the actors will be around and affordable," one source noted.

But the films could indeed get made. And it’s important to note that these proposed films won't affect the finale of "Battlestar Galactica" in any way -- that series finale will still proceed as planned. The films would be about incidents in “Battlestar Galactica’s” past. They will not take place after the time frame of the series finale. And the stories in the proposed films will depend, at least in part, on what actors are available to work on them.

For those keeping score at home, “Battlestar Galactica” is currently airing the first 10 episodes of its fourth and final season. The current batch of episodes will finish up in early June. Production is underway on the last 10 episode of the show and the final scenes for the series finale will be shot in June. Production could get under way on the TV movies as early as July, and one source says the films could get the green light in the next two weeks or so.

By the way, at this point, it’s not known when those last 10 episodes of "Battlestar" will air. Informed sources say that a decision on that won’t get made until mid-summer, so my guess is that Sci Fi won’t the final 10 episodes until 2009.

Thursday, May 15

Monday, May 12

Anatomy of a cylon

Source: Darth Mojo

It’s no secret that I’m the biggest fan of the original Battlestar currently working on the new incarnation; you could almost say I’m the “ambassador” of the 1979 version, always looking for opportunities to include classic Galactica material on the current series. It was maybe two years ago that I was talking to [writer/producer] David Weddle and hypothesized, “you know, if we ever did a flashback to the first Cylon war (maybe something that showed us what Adama was like as a young pilot), it would showcase the original hardware! Remember the miniseries museum scene?” He thought about it for a second and said, “yeah, I suppose you’re right.”

Of course, a flashback like that would be a wet dream for any fan of the original series, but would it ever happen?

Eighteen months later, Mr. Weddle came up to me in commissary and said, “Mojo, you’re going to get your wish.”

Anyone who’s seen Razor, (the BSG DVD project made between seasons three and four), knows exactly what he was talking about. Not only were we going to get a huge, all-out battle between original series spaceships, it was decided to go for broke and give the fans what they’ve really wanted to see - old school Cylons.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, those chrome-plated, sword-wielding, skirt-wearing, “by your command” shouting robots were returning - and the visual effects team were going to make damn sure they came back ready to kick ass, take names and blow up the list of names.

Click the above link to see the rest.

Rekha Sharma Loves Being a Cylon

Source: Buddy TV

Unlike other cast members who have been disappointed to find out that their characters have turned into Cylons on Battlestar Galactica, Rekha Sharma seems to enjoy the twist in her character's storyline.

Sharma, who portrays Tory Foster on Battlestar Galactica, opens up to MediaBlvd Magazine about her recurring role on the science fiction series that has taken the center stage as she got to roll around with Baltar (James Callis), discover she's a Cylon and shot Cally (Nicki Clyne) out the launch bay.

“I think it's an actors dream come true to have something as crazy as to wake up and discover that you are the enemy that you have been fighting and fleeing, in a very literal sense. That's pretty mind boggling from a story telling point of view, and what you have to do an actor to prepare for that. Then on a metaphorical sense too, in the larger excitement of how awesome this is to tell a story in which we are telling the truth; that all of our enemies lie within. That quote, you are your own biggest enemy. What a wonderful metaphor to explore though the concept of humans and Cylons. It's such a great show, I'm such a huge fan of it, and it's ridiculous,” Sharma told MediaBlvd Magazine.

Prior to Battlestar Galactica, Sharma has appeared on shows like Da Vinci's City Hall, The Lone Gunmen, Smallville, John Doe, and Dark Angel. However, she particularly takes pleasure on her stint on the SciFi show where she gets to play the assistant to the dying president Roslyn (Mary McDonnell).

“It is great, because I've certainly done a lot of stuff that I don't love. But you've got to pay your bills. You look for art, and we're all trying to make art, but there are a lot of sketches before you get to a real masterpiece. And I feel like I'm working with Picasso right now. I'm no longer in the academy training. There's something really special going on in this show,” she explained.

Fans can catch Rekha Sharma on this week's episode of Battlestar Galactica in which bitter enemies must put aside their grudges as the Demetrius crew teams up with Cylon rebels to destroy a vital enemy target.

Eric Stoltz joins 'Caprica'

Source: Hollywood Reporter

Eric Stoltz has signed on to star opposite Esai Morales in Sci Fi Channel's two-hour "Caprica" pilot, while Frances Fisher has been tapped for an eight-episode arc on the network's "Eureka."

Alessandra Toressani also has come aboard the NBC Universal Cable Studios-produced "Caprica," a prequel to Sci Fi's "Battlestar Galactica." Stoltz will play Daniel Graystone, a wealthy computer engineer who, after an emotionally crippling family tragedy, uses his technological wizardry to forever change the future of Caprica. Toressani plays Daniel's daughter, Zoe.

Stoltz ("The Butterfly Effect") is repped by CAA and Helen Sugland at Landmark Artists Management.

Torresani ("Malcolm in the Middle") is repped by UTA and Elissa Leeds at Reel Talent.

"Eureka," from NBC Universal Cable Studios, returns for its third season July 29. Fisher will play Samantha Thorne, aka "the Fixer," a corporate titan who is brought in to clean up Global Dynamics.

The actress ("In the Valley of Elah") is repped by manager Tammy Rosen and attorney Dave Feldman.

Sunday, May 11

Bear Mc Creary's BG Roxy Concert Footage on G4!

Source: Bear McCreary's Blog is running exclusive concert footage of the recent Music of Battlestar Galactica at the Roxy Theatre! It features interviews with myself, singers Brendan McCreary and Raya Yarbrough, and our MC for the evening, Kandyse “Dualla” McClure. You’ll also hear clips from our performances of Fight Night and Roslin and Adama.

If this segment gets enough clicks, they’re ready to run FULL MUSIC VIDEOS of those two songs, so pass that url to your buddies!

And check out the absolutely stunning photographs from both concerts, as well as a full band rehearsal, from the lens of Andrew Craig, who does amazing work. These are some of the best pictures of our band ever taken:

We are in the process of putting together a video of the complete concert and the documentary we premiered. Fear not. You will all get a chance to see this thing. I don’t know how yet… maybe I can convince Universal to include it on the Season 4 DVD, maybe we’ll release it online, maybe I’ll burn DVDs myself and leave them at bus-stops. But, it will get out there, I promise!

In all seriousness, though… some enthusiastic noise from the fan community will really help get this concert footage on the Season 4 DVD. So, if you want to see this, help out by drumming up some support online.

Click this link to see all there is Bear McCreary's Blog

Saturday, May 10

Galactica Station's Review of Escape Velocity

Gooby Rastor, encouraged by finishing the other review, finally catches up and reviews Episode 4.06, a week late.

Wow, after last week’s episode seemed determined to drag plotlines, kicking and screaming, as far as they could in ~40 minutes of television (to mixed effect), Battlestar Galactica really seemed content to let their storylines float along a bit in “Escape Velocity,” which winds up being rather inaptly named. Not that stuff wasn’t happening, but it kind of felt like an athlete running in place, and jumping rope, in preparation (one hopes) for running the mile. Since there’s a little bit of movement in so many places, let’s just hop in and I’ll try to keep the review from getting too disjointed.

The Final Four (less Anders) were up to a lot this episode, weren’t they? We had to know that there was going to be some fallout from Cally’s death, and we get to watch the (soon to be ex-) Chief beginning to lose it. And you know what? It works. Tyrol’s irrational behavior works for me in a way that Kara’s doesn’t this season. While Tyrol lashes out and gets himself thrown off the hanger deck by Adama, his motivation is always crystal clear. The man’s hurting from a number of sources, including his wife and Boomer (who knew he was carrying a torch?), the discovery of his nature and the questions as to what happened with Racetrack’s Raptor. Was it just stress that made him leave that relay in? Is this how things started with Sharon, too? All of this is conveyed with tremendous force by Aaron Douglas. As an actor, he seems to be getting the most mileage out of being a Final Five Cylon of any of them, which is a compliment to Douglas, not a slam on the other actors. Though I should mention that this quality is nothing new for Mr. Douglas. One of the things which the show has constantly been able to rely on, is that it can put Chief Tyrol into a dark place, and Aaron Douglas will chew up the scenery with it, in a very good way. From what I understand, he’s a very “in the moment” kind of actor too, which seems to serve him well. Bravo to Douglas. He’s one of the supporting characters whom I hope this show catapults to great fame and fortune; he deserves it. I could go on about all the ways I enjoy the Chief’s grief arc, but... oh all right, just a little bit. I loved it when Tyrol screamed at Adama, who honestly has never treated Tyrol all that well, I don’t know why. Chief’s mention of Bill’s promise to take Cally and shoot her if Tyrol and his men didn’t resume work (in “Dirty Hands”), was a welcome callback. Really, whether you agree with Adama’s actions or not, how does he think he can have a sympathetic chat with the man after that? Though of course Adama had to get Tyrol off of his hanger deck, and there’s no way he could have known all the inner turmoil of the man, it did seem awfully presumptuous, the way he seemed unwilling to let Tyrol grieve in his own way (despite his opening line that “no one knows how they’re going to react). When a man’s wife has died, you let him say whatever he wants to, you don’t try to shut him up. Clean up the mess later. “I’m sorry if I’m not going to do this the way you want me to, or the way you might.” You tell him, Chief, she was your wife.

Meanwhile, with Tigh’s scenes, we get a possible answer to a nitpick I had from the season opener. Now that Saul is hallucinating about dead Ellen, it becomes more possible, to my mind, that he’s engaging in a bit of toaster-style projection. If that’s the case, I’m willing to forgive the lapse of documentary-style shooting when Tigh dream-shot Adama in HTBiM. Tyrol, too, seems to have been engaging in the same, when we heard Adama casually mentioning Tyrol’s Cylon nature. Also of note, moving back to Tigh, is that he does mention to Caprica that Hera is on board, so we KNOW that the show hasn’t completely... no, no, Gooby. You had your Hera rant last episode, and this time they at least mentioned her. Stay on topic.

Right, sorry. Tigh and his Six scenes. Obviously, Tigh sees an opportunity in being a Cylon, just different from the one Tory sees. Tigh’s got a hunch that being a toaster means that pain has now become optional, if only Caprica can teach him the trick. Of course, this is also the time when Ellen’s ghost shows up to haunt Saul, spurring him on that much more. Ironic too, though not exactly out of character, that the first tactic which the Six tries to help(?) Tigh is beating him bloody. As an aside, I really like that they have Tricia Helfer showing Six’s glee at pummeling someone again. That model really likes doing that, ya know? It’s not a lot that we get with these scenes between Cylons, but they do seem to indicate where the character is headed, and that’s good.

Tory continues to have a character-establishment arc, involving such notions as her supplying Baltar’s notion of being “perfect just the way we are,” adopting the charming idea of turning off her sense of guilt, and possibly coordinating the attack on Baltar’s cult with the Sons of Ares. All right, I’ll admit that the last point is me extrapolating a bit, but what gave with her staring down Gaius after the thugs left? So we also see where she’s heading, but we knew that last week.

Baltar, on the other hand, I don’t know where they’re going with. I’ll admit however that right now, the Baltar storyline is the one that intrigues me most about this show, perhaps because I don’t know where it’s going, yet I feel certain that it’s going to go somewhere. This episode wasn’t just treading water with Gaius, either. At least, not as much as with the other plots. He rants à la Jesus in the Temple, and give a sermon which is sort of the opposite of Christian thinking, regarding how we’re all flawed creatures in need of God’s grace. Hm, if only there were a term which described a Christ-like figure, only the opposite thereof. Ah well.

Anyway, Baltar’s situation also gives us a glimpse into the incremental movement of the political plot, where Lee and the quorum refuse to roll over for Roslin, despite her invoking the memory of nine-elev—New Caprica, I mean. There’s some notes of the current U.S. political situation; with Roslin scoffing at the naïveté of the young idealistic Lee Obama, but the pace of this storyline is still more C-SPAN than anything else, and I don’t know that I see it changing anytime soon.

So let’s take a quick step back to a storyline that, as mentioned, seems full of steam. Virtual Six continues to build up Gaius’ image to her own opaque ends, even lifting the poor guy up and back into the tender mercies of an unsympathetic soldier. If there’s a Cylon on the show who still seems to have a Plan, it’s the devil in the blue dress. The writers have promised us answers to what exactly is up with Six, and at least she seems to be a pretty integral part of the story this year. Virtual Baltar on the other hand, still goes woefully underused. I’m starting to think that the writers didn’t really think through exactly how to use that character, and just decided to stick him in wherever they thought it would look cool... and that’s a bleeding shame, because when they first introduced him in “Downloaded,” yes it was cool, but it also seemed to enjoy a symmetry with Virtual Six’s actions. I’m pretty surprised that the writers seem to have some block regarding this character, but I don’t know how else to explain his disjointed, random appearances on the show.

And now the words I’ve been waiting to type all season:

Starbuck wasn’t in this episode.

Okay, okay, we saw her sleeping briefly. But no Crazy Kara to distract us tonight. I never would’ve thought it, but I needed a break from the girl. On the same note, nothing on the Cylon front to report, but it looks like Leoben next week, so... that might just have something to do with Kara. Yippee.

Oh, and? That shot of Racetrack’s Raptor taking off from the Galactica was pretty good-looking; and the crash was intense, though I didn’t care for the way both she and Skulls got off injury-free. It wasn’t utterly implausible, but it was a little... they did explode a couple of times after all. (I didn’t really know where to put these observations. Sore Thumb Zone it is!)

“Escape Velocity” is a bit of a step up from “The Ties That Bind,” in that the show gives us fewer WTF? moments, but then, it also seems to be an episode content to tread water. (If this were Top Chef, this episode would be taken to task at Judge’s Table for not cooking to win, but rather cooking not to lose). Thankfully, Tyrol’s scenes were winners, and while Baltar’s were fairly safe and predictable, they do keep me wanting to see more. I can’t go all the way up to 8/10, but I’ll have fun with decimals, instead.


“C. Shows improvement, but still not up to usual quality. I know you can do better, young lady.

Thursday, May 8

Galactica Station's Review of "The Road Less Traveled"

Well folks, from the looks of it, we are about to be thrown into the action of Season 4. “The Road Less Traveled” focused solely on the Demetrius and Baltar storylines, and although the focus made it seem slower in terms of pushing the story forward, it appeared to be preparing us for the season ahead. The episode was chock full of emotion and was very effective in displaying the reactions of every character featured. And as always, it left us with more questions than it answered.

Let’s begin with Baltar. As Season 4 began, we watched Baltar rattle around uncomfortably, trying to figure out if he was safe and if he had to remain with his lovely ladies for much longer. It seems that Baltar has always wanted two things: fame and belonging. Before the genocide of the Humans on the twelve colonies, Baltar was a famous, powerful, coveted scientist. After escaping the genocide, he was often portrayed as the guilt-ridden loser who muddled into positions that made things worse for the fleet. He continued this way until after the trial in Season 3, when he was spirited away by the mysterious women. This is classic Baltar. He stumbles into dumb luck and follows whatever path is open to him.

By the current episode, we see Baltar fully stepping into his role as a religious leader and I find myself wondering “Does he really believe what he is saying? Is it possible that he has transformed and is doing what he believes in, or is this just another way for him to seize fame, glory, and belonging? Baltar has been through a lot and has survived it all. He could be realizing, just as he said in his speech, that “someone” out there loves him. But what persuades him that it is Six’s “One True God” who is seeing him through all of his escapades? How does he know that the twelve colonial Gods do not exist? Is the Six in his head that infallible? It also baffles me as to why Baltar no longer questions his visions of the Six in his head (off topic I know). More disturbingly, he seems to have adjusted to seeing himself! Come on Baltar, do you really think that’s normal? Or are you just that special? Sure beats me.

While we’re on the subject of Gaius Baltar, I have got to mention his new wardrobe. Ladies and Gentlemen, Baltar imposes no limits on “dressing the part.” This week, he’s all decked out in a long, dark, purple robe with gold trim that appears to be made of velvet. When we first see him, he is wearing a bright blue shirt underneath the robe, making the costume even stranger. I think he should go back to the slacks and collared shirts.

Enough about Baltar’s outfit, let’s talk about Tyrol. The depth of the emotion exhibited by Tyrol in the episode is absolutely stunning. Tyrol, recently demoted to specialist for provoking Admiral Adama, appears to be feeling the full force of his wife’s death. He floats through the episode in a sort of dazed state, but we can see that he is consumed with guilt and the need to understand what had happened to Cally. When we first see him, Tyrol is jumping rope rather determinedly in his chamber. Nicky is behind him in his crib, and they are listening to Baltar speech on the radio. Tyrol stops jumping and cuts off the radio, only to receive a squeal of protest from his young son. Tyrol turns the radio back on and continues to jump, almost as if he would like to be left to his own thoughts. I was really hoping we would get to see a Nicky/Tyrol moment. Coupled with the fact that Nicky has just lost his mother and is probably too young to process it, it would have given us a glimpse of fatherhood according to Galen Tyrol. Perhaps Tyrol is too distraught to reach out to his son right now.

Later on, Tyrol interacts with Tory at the site of Cally’s death and he confides that he does not believe Cally would have killed herself. Tory takes the opportunity to manipulate Tyrol’s fears and cover her own tracks – is that chick creepy or what? It’s open to interpretation I suppose, but you can guess my feelings. Tory isn’t the only FF Tyrol talks to. In a scene that captures the depth of anger felt by Tyrol, Tyrol tells Tigh that he can’t forget things he’s done as quickly as Tigh can. Tyrol then challenges Tigh on his spending time with Caprica Six. Ouch, you do hit hard when you’re hurt, don’t you, Tyrol? On one hand, this is not something Tyrol would have said to Tigh under normal circumstances. However, he’s right; things have changed for all of them and no one is who they used to be, including Colonel Tigh.

Later, Baltar comes to speak to Tyrol and something causes Tyrol to accept his hand. Perhaps this isn’t so surprising when one considers that no one else has been shown to offer plain sympathy to Tyrol. His employees need him at work, Adama is done with him, and Tigh and Tory want him to start moving past Cally’s death. Baltar however, has nothing visible to gain from Tyrol “feeling better” and maybe something about that gets to Tyrol. However, Baltar reaching out to Tyrol is something I can’t explain. What motivates Baltar? There’s no love lost there.

On to Starbuck and the Demetrius. As the show opens, Helo walks in to find Starbuck immersed in papers. He tells her that he wishes to talk about their scheduled rendezvous with the Galactica, but Starbuck insists on another course change instead. When Helo returns to convey the directions to the rest of the crew, they are extremely unhappy. I, for one, was very pleased with how the Demetrius story was set-up and executed. You have a person under suspicion by everyone around her (Starbuck) who is being given one last chance by those who desperately want to believe her (Adama and Helo) but is given this chance to prove herself with a crew of people who could not distrust her more. And why should they? They’ve watched their families and friends die at the hands of the Cylons. So, they see Starbuck, once a hero of the fleet, who mysteriously “died” and returned and assume that she must be a cylon. Then, they are put on a ship with her away from the fleet and Galactica to follow (what they must think of as) her crazy visions. Is it any wonder that they are jumpy? Starbuck is either oblivious to or disinterested in her crew’s feelings – probably both. She is too absorbed in her maps and charts to care; after all she has to find Earth, and it is this uncaring attitude that lands her in chains at the end of the episode.

Leoben is a rare treat on Battlestar Galactica. Every time he pops up, he manages to frak with the minds of Kara and anyone else he encounters. They all want to believe he is lying but his words hold a kernel of truth that makes each character doubt him/herself. True to form, Leoben does the same on the Demetrius. When he is first brought in, Starbuck appears ready to imprison him, but stops when he makes references to Earth.

The next time we see Starbuck and Leoben, they are holding onto each other and adding to the painting that Starbuck has begun on her walls. Anders rushes in when he sees them and begins to pummel Leoben. Starbuck screams at him to stop and that Leoben knows about Earth. Helo and the guards rush in, and the guards take Leoben away with Anders following. Helo says to Kara what I had been thinking. Why was Kara listening to Leoben after all he had done to her? Kara is convinced that he can help them and the Cylons know about Earth. Ok, so we know that Kara is impulsive and crazy, but what exactly did Leoben say to her? If there’s one big problem in this episode, it’s that we have no idea what occurred between Kara and Leoben this time around. I’ve always been able to place Kara’s actions with what was happening at that moment, but this time, I’ve got nothing. Is she so desperate to find Earth that Leoben uttering the simplest detail convinced her of his sincerity? Did he give her more substantial evidence of his claim? Kara’s relationship with Leoben has always been inexplicably toxic, but at least we had more to go on in other episodes. The only thing we know is that Leoben claims that he received his information from the Hybrid and that he wants Kara to see the Hybrid. I suppose we will have to wait until next week. Darn.

Next, Anders confronts Leoben and asks him what he wants from Kara. Leoben takes the opportunity to play mind games with Anders. He alludes to the idea that Anders is more than he appears which unsettles Anders and puts him on guard. Does Leoben know Anders’ secret, or just that Anders has a secret? How much does Leoben know about the big picture? We don’t know… and he (and the BSG crew) has kept us guessing for 3 years now. Leoben then tells Anders that the Cylon are at war and the war is between “those who embrace our nature and those who fear it.” This admission is quite interesting. We know the bit about the war to be true but Anders does not; furthermore Leoben’s statement implies that the nature of a Cylon is destructive, at least from Leoben’s standpoint. Is that what all Cylons believe?

Certainly Athena may agree with Leoben. She has spent the last few years working so hard to gain acceptance by the fleet and has even gone so far as to choose humanity over the cylon. Thus, it is not a shock that Athena is the first one to suggest mutiny on the Demetrius. The crew argues back and forth about mutiny, but two things happen that ultimately lead to a decision. One, Starbuck announces that she’s decided to follow Leoben to his baseship in search of answers. The crew is alarmed that it could be an ambush and that Kara is determined to go anyway. Second, Sergeant Mathias is examining Leoben’s raider and is about to return when an explosion kills her, which angers the crew. These are the catalysts that ultimately force Helo to listen to the concerns of his crew and commit mutiny by arresting Starbuck. It’s hard to defend Starbuck. Yes, the leader of a ship should expect to be obeyed, but Starbuck is flying her own course without regard to the well-being of her crew or the dictates of those above her in rank. She brought the mutiny on herself.

In essence, “The Road Less Traveled” is incredibly impressive in showing consistency between events and characters’ reactions to them. Starbuck is singly devoted to finding Earth and all her actions are in line with that goal. The crew distrusts Starbuck for legitimate reasons and moves to commit mutiny. Helo and Anders are Starbuck’s only supporters and Helo only defects when forced to it. Leoben is as devious, manipulative, and mysterious as ever, Baltar is carrying on with his newfound path, Tory is creepy as usual, and Tyrol is full of raw grief and anger.

As said before, I think this episode would have benefited from more insight into Tyrol/Nicky, Baltar’s motivations for reaching out to Tyrol, and Leoben/Starbuck. Again, I was left with too many questions and not enough answers, but as frustrating as that can be, I have to admit that the uncertainty adds to the magic of BSG. All in all, I’m excited to see what’s in store for us, and I cannot wait to see how things play out on the next episode.

Overall, I give this episode 8 out of 10. Pretty good, but could have been better.

Galactica Station's Review of The Ties That Bind

Gooby Rastor finally moves his arse to get the review of episode 4.05 onto the blog.

A quick note: This review has been long-delayed, and I probably ought to have sourced it out when real life started bludgeoning me around the head for two weeks. All apologies for the wait, and I’ll try and do better next time. If it makes a difference, the bulk (nearly all) was written before "Escape Velocity," so it should be free of the influence of later eps. -Gooby.

Finally, the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica takes a step back from Starbuck. Not that I don’t love our girl, but jeez, Kara’s an antidote for Prozac these days. So in the interests, perhaps, of lightening the mood, “The Ties That Bind” turns from Kara to... Cally.

Good Lord. Could you all please excuse me for a minute, while I put on some Sarah McLachlan and cut myself some? Thanks. Anyway, to the story. Cally is one of those characters whom I’ve have mixed feelings about for quite some time. She’s been sort of an odd mix of a tiny, somewhat childish woman combined with moments of pure rage. And while it’s often easy to sympathize with her and her emotions, just as frequently, I’m a little freaked out by her. Not that I wanted to stare into her frozen, asphyxiated corpse eyes or anything, though. Among the most freakish moments for Cally, to my mind? When at the beginning of one two-part episode, she got her head broken by a man, and by the end of it, she was married to him. I will grant, that the editing of the show, as well as the Great Leap Forward, certainly had an effect on how creepy it came off for me; but still, one of my Life Rules has been: “Don’t marry someone who breaks your jaw.” One nice thing about TTTB (3TB?) is that Cally actually brings up how nuts it is to do just that.

But doesn’t it seem like just forever since we’ve seen Cally? I think the last time I remember seeing her was in “Dirty Hands,” right after... oh that’s it, right after she’d been shot out an airlock. Trend noted. And Adama threatened to put her against a bulkhead and shoot her. Times have been tough for the girl, yes? Still, there wasn’t much of a head’s up that things were this bad, was there? To be quite honest, I felt a little bit of difficulty getting into this episode’s main plotline, which may have something to do with my ambivalence towards Cally, or possibly my being thrown off by the surreal camera-work towards the top of the show. It seems like BSG is straying more into the land of visual trickery these days, and I for one wish they’d ease up on it a little bit. To me, one of the reasons that season 3’s Baltar subplot worked (well, to a degree anyway) was that it was such a stylistic departure for the show, from that gritty realism thing it does so well and consistently. I don’t know; am I wrong about this? Am I in the minority, wanting BSG to kinda hush up the “fiction” part of science fiction, and remain a show, essentially realistic, about hot killer robots who chase us around in our spaceships when we’re not all busy getting messages from our respective deities?

Gah, where was I? Cally. Okay, so we haven’t seen her for a while, the camera-work is distracting and she was never my favorite character. Still, I certainly had a level of interest in seeing what the show did with her, now that we know she brought a toaster to term and all. Obviously, she represents the most significant complication in the personal lives of the final four (Starbuck doesn’t count, because she and Anders are barely married at this point, and besides, she takes a back seat this episode, finally), so naturally we want to see how they use her. For me, I’ll admit that the route they chose, using her to showcase the emerging Cylon nature of one Tory Foster, surprised me, but in a good way. For all their uncertainty, the Final Four are Cylons, and it’s nice to know that at least one seems prepared to be a force for ill. They’re still the bad guys after all, if only marginally. Tory’s speech to Cally in the launch tube struck me as everything we might expect to hear from a benign Final Five, right up until she lay the super-powered smack on Cally. Even if I wasn’t 100% invested in the path there, I felt it was a good scene.

But Cally didn’t own the show. Lee’s B-plot, I’m pretty sure I’ll wind up liking more than most people, but then, I think I like Lee more than most people do. The storyline does provide an interesting perspective on Roslin’s government, and how she’s consolidating power. But what of it? What is the deal with this Executive Order; why does Roslin want secret tribunals? There’s no hint of the reason, here. If there’s a fault in this plot (and there is), it’s that it’s unclear where they’re going with this. Quo vadis, Lee Adama? Why should we care that you’re now a politician, and apparently buddying up to the other Apollo? This plot needs to go somewhere, if it’s not going to end up being just a place to stick Lee just because there’s no other place to put him.

Speaking of the crew of Demetrius, I actually don’t mind that goal (finding a place) with many of these characters, simply because they’ve had nothing to do, for so long. In particular, I refer to Helo and Gaeta. Both are good characters, and each has suffered recently from the writers not having any clue how to write for them anymore. For Mr. Gaeta, it meant that an already tertiary character drifted even more into the background, while Helo had a new job every other week on board Galactica. So I’m looking forward to them at least getting out from the same-old, and hoping this opens there characters up some more. With them are Anders—interesting, more about him in a mo’, Seelix, Hot Dog, Barolay, oh hey, that tattooed fellow! Then, some dude I don’t know, and... Athena? WHAT? Okay, now I know they didn’t take little Hera off on their adventure across the stars, so what the frak gives? Does the show even remember that it wrote in a daughter for these two? A child who, might I add, has returned to her parents from the dead and from Cylon kidnapping? Where is she? Who’s taking care of her? How in the world would these two have ever allowed her out of their sight again?

A couple of weeks ago, I complimented the show on having its characters ask the tough questions about Kara Thrace’s return, and how it meant that we the audience weren’t being expected to take it all on faith either. But here? No one is asking the questions, and I think the expectation is that we won’t, either. Well no dice, show. You wanted me to pay attention to that kid, “shape of things to come” and all, and now I am. And I’m awfully, terribly sorry that you don’t know what to do with her anymore, but tough. Failure to mention what her parents have done with her is just plain lazy, whatever else you’re trying to do.

Enough about Hera. Let’s concentrate on characters who still exist. Anders’ scenes with Kara, whom I’m becoming more concerned with by the week, were maybe the last gasp of Season 3 Starbuck. You know, the one who looks at Sam, claps her hands and says “oooh! Something to hurt! I realized, watching the scene after, with them talking in bed, and recalling their scene at the memorial in the season opener, that I’m losing my empathy for Kara, as well. At least last season, she felt sane, or what insanity she had was caused by the visceral pain she had undergone. Now? This messianic urge of hers, which has her holding the President at gunpoint and painting on the walls, has stolen some of the humanity from Starbuck, and that’s a damn shame, because she was a beautifully human creature, from the start. Her sense of purpose, wherever it’s coming from, is now causing her to ignore the needs of the crew under her command, and it’s an open question, how long they’ll put up with it. Starbuck never had a problem bending the rules, of course, but this seems more like a case of her forgetting that the rules even exist. She doesn’t seem to care about anything much anymore, other than the chip in her brain zapping her when she doesn’t think about Earth.

But, like I say, she does spare a moment to demean poor Anders, and rattle of some identity crisis stuff that he will in no way relate to, so it’s not like she’s a total loss yet. We’ll just wait and see what awaits us and this good ship.

The Cylons storyline continues to... gah, Boomer kissing Al. Sorry, I love Dean Stockwell, truly I do, but well... I don’t like seeing “gentlemen of a certain age” kissing. Sorry if that makes me shallow. Anyway, Natalie may have fired the first shot, but Cavil seems determined to fire the last one, no? And are we to understand that all the Eights, Sixes, and Leobens (other than Caprica, Boomer, and Athena) are on the Basestars that were attacked? I didn’t really think that’s how Cylon society worked. Maybe this is a small sub-set of Cylon society, but if that’s the case, how can they decide to “un-box” an entire model? I’m confused. Normally, a bit of mystery around the Cylons, I’d call a good thing. But it just seems like the parameters of this conflict are really stretching belief.

Well, looking over what I’ve written, it seems like I didn’t care for this episode all that much. I feel like I enjoyed the episode perhaps more than my tone infers, but when I start to think about the various subplots and what their weaknesses are, the episode really doesn’t hold up that well to close scrutiny. I originally might have given this episode an eight, and I still don’t feel like this episode failed as an essentially good hour of television, but the problems do add up, and serve to bump it down, let’s say to 7/10.

Ouch, that’s a C-. But Battlestar can do much better.

Wednesday, May 7

Meet William Adama's dad

Source: TV Squad

Just yesterday I posted about the casting announcement for Amanda Graystone in the Battlestar Galactica prequel, Caprica. Now comes word that one of the most anticipated characters of the series has been cast.

Esai Morales, who you may know best as Lt. Rodriquez on NYPD Blue, or as Major Beck from ill-fated Jericho, has landed the role of Joseph Adama, father to William, grandfather to Lee. Joseph is described as "a man who has done a few crooked things in his life" and is one to be feared. Remember, he knows a thing or two about the law as well.

In looking back at photos of young Bill Adama from the Razor vignettes, Nico Cortez -- who plays Bill -- could easily pass as Morales's son. I wonder if we'll be treated at all to some scenes from the future of the Cylon war, where Cortez can reprise his role.

Tuesday, May 6

Caprica, Warehouse 13 Are Cast

Source: SciFi Wire

Paula Malcomson (Deadwood) has been cast as the female lead in Caprica, SCI FI Channel's prequel to Battlestar Galactica, while Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly will headline SCI FI's two-hour pilot for Warehouse 13, a comedic SF drama to be directed by Jace Alexander.

Malcomson will play Amanda, a surgeon who works as a double agent, in Caprica, which is set 50 years before the events in Battlestar. Caprica follows the evolution of the Cylon race and the fight between two families.

Warehouse centers on two FBI agents, Myka (Kelly) and Peter (McClintock), who work at the government's Warehouse 13, which houses supernatural objects. They are assigned to retrieve missing objects and investigate reports of new ones.

Saturday, May 3

In a Dark Tomorrow


WASHINGTON - Now in the midst of its fourth and final season, SciFi's "Battlestar Galactica" - a tale of humans nearly destroyed by a race of machines called Cylons - is as bleak, allegorical, and groundbreaking as ever. And the stakes seem especially high, as four humans turn out to be sleeper Cylons, a pilot named Starbuck returns from the dead, and Admiral Adama, the gruff commander played by Edward James Olmos, tries more desperately than ever to find a mythical place called Earth. We caught up with Olmos on the night he received an award from CINE, an organization that promotes excellence in video and film.

Q. I'm not sure there's ever been a show on TV that's so relentlessly dark. Is it bleak on the set?

A. It is. I mean, we really do take it to heart. It is bleak. And it is getting darker. This last season has gotten to the point where we end up crying a lot. Emotional breakdowns. It's human drama. And when you perform in it, you're inside of it. A lot of people are dead. I'm not going to say who, because why ruin it for people, but a lot of us die.

Q. This season?

A. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. [Laughs.] Not very many of us are going make it to wherever it is that they're taking us. So we just mope along. We open the script just like the viewer. We're all taking the journey. Not only is it difficult because you lose the person inside the story, but you also realize that person is no longer going to be on the set. It's over. Unless they're a Cylon.

Q. That leads me to Starbuck's apparent death . . .

A. Oh, it was so sad. Because they didn't tell us that she was coming back. I was angry.

Q. You were snookered like everybody else?

A. Of course, I was snookered. All we know is just what we're being fed. She died, and then she was gone for awhile, and then she came back. And that was so scary because we have no idea why and how she came back.

Q. So you as an actor don't know?

A. Well, we've filmed something that started to explain it. And it's not an uplifting understanding. [Laughs.] I will say that. It's as dark as everything else. You sit there and you go, "Oh my God, you guys are sick!" They're pushing the envelope. And the network is allowing it.

Q. Has there been anything you know of that the network has not allowed?

A. In the first or second season, the whole idea of suicides was really tough for them to take. I put it in one of my programs that I directed. The idea that people aboard ships were committing suicide. Why wouldn't they? Are you kidding me? Suicide rates would have gone right through the roof.

Q. Right, because what are they living for? And the living conditions aren't pleasant.

A. Terrible. Terrible. We're eating green algae. We've been eating green algae now for almost two years.

Q. And now, it seems that anyone could be a Cylon.

A. We're back to that.

Q. If you know who the final Cylon model is, I'm sure you can't tell me . . .

A. I don't know, either. And no one knew when [the other four were revealed.] You should have seen what happened. There was anger. Real anger. The main one was Michael Hogan [who plays Colonel Tigh.] He just couldn't get past it. He said, "I didn't sign up for this kind of stuff." He was so hurt he was a Cylon.

Q. It does pull the rug out -

A. Right from under him. It changes everything. You see the way [the actors] dealt with it. The confusion, the anger that Colonel Tigh handles it with is true.

Q. Back to "Star Trek" and probably before, science fiction has had diverse, expansive casting. Is that because of the nature of the genre, or the kind of creative people who go into it?

A. I think both. One, the window is open and they allow it. And two, it's the imagination of the people that are developing it. They don't get tied down thinking about who would sell this the best. They say, "This is a reality that I'd like to explore."