Saturday, February 28

Director Michael Nankin Fights The Future With 'BATTLESTAR GALACTICA' and 'SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES'

Source: IFmagazine

The helmer reveals his favorite episode, slight spoilers and how he will miss BSG

Michael Nankin, who has directed eight episodes of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA, including this year’s midseason premiere “Sometimes a Great Notion,” along with the TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES episode “Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today,” teases, “I know everything you want to know.”

iF MAGAZINE: Great! What can you tell us?


iF: Figures.

NANKIN: You don’t want to know. It’s so much more fun to discover it in the show.

iF: Do you have favorite BATTLESTAR episodes?

NANKIN: My favorite episode that’s aired was called ‘Maelstrom.’ It’s the one where Starbuck dies and we find out later she didn’t really die. It was such an intense emotional exploration of this character between me and Katee Sackhoff, I just pushed her to places that were painful, personal places that she was very willing to go there. As far as an actor/director relationship, it was really, really rewarding, a lot of hard work. So I’ve got a soft spot for that episode. And all the work that we did was all there on the screen.

iF: What were you trying to get out of the actors for the midseason premiere?

NANKIN: Well, as you know, the last images we saw in BATTLESTAR [before the midseason break] is that they’ve made it to Earth and it’s a nuclear charred wasteland. So the season premiere picks up from that same moment and deals with the emotional fallout. Thirty-some-odd thousand people trying to get to Earth, and they get there, and their hearts’ desire, the Christmas tree, is a nightmare. I have a soft spot for sad drama. I love tragedies, not tragedies that just are depressing, but tragedies that are ennobling, ultimately, and cathartic. Which is what the midseason opener is. If everybody is going to be sitting around moping, it’s going to be boring. So you have to accept that that’s where they are and then transcend it in some way, find the median, find the humor, find the life in it. What worked to our advantage was that this episode was shot during the writers’ strike. During all the prep of the episode, we didn’t know whether we were actually going to shoot it or not, and right before we shot, the writers went on strike, the producers left town and we got the green light to go produce the episode. Nobody knew at that time whether we were shooting the last episode of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA or not. Because we knew that if the strike went six months, we would never come back. It wouldn’t make financial sense [for the studio to bring it back]. So the fact that what we were shooting could possibly be our last hurrah – everyone’s game came up. Everyone wanted to do the best work of their lives and so it was all these great actors working at their highest level.

iF: Do you feel there are thematic or practical similarities between BATTLESTAR and SARAH CONNOR?

NANKIN: They both have hot girl robots [laughs]. Well, obviously, when you have humanoid robots who exist on the cusp of humanity, you deal with issues of, what is humanity? Can they be human? Are we as human as they are? And what does it mean to be human? Is it experience, is it actually being flesh and blood, what is it? So those questions are the meat of both of those shows.

iF: Is it easier to direct BATTLESTAR because you don’t have the touchstones of contemporary culture, or is it easier to direct TERMINATOR because you do?

NANKIN: I find BATTLESTAR easy to direct, mostly because BATTLESTAR is written with the budget that they have in mind, so that the stories that you get, the scripts that you get, fit comfortably with the production resources, whereas SARAH CONNOR is always trying to be a feature and so it’s butting up against the limits of its production resources. We have the template of the TERMINATOR features, which have these gigantic set pieces. How can you do that in episodic? And yet we try.

iF: Does it help that Summer Glau, who plays the Terminator Cameron, is so handy with the action?

NANKIN: Oh, she’s amazing. I mean, the other thing that both shows have in common are these incredible casts. The episode that I did of SARAH CONNOR [“Mr. Ferguson Is Ill Today”], I had very little with Summer Glau, and no action with her, really. All the action was Cromartie the Terminator [Garrett Dillahunt] and Thomas Dekker and Levin Rambin. It was fun. I liked the Rashomon storytelling, where we saw [different perspectives on the same events]. Every time we’d go back to a scene we’d already seen, I tried to shoot it in a shorthand. Once you got the idea of, ‘Oh, this is from [a previous scene],’ you might have more knowledge of a scene in a different light. As soon as you got that, I wanted to be out of it. I only wanted to revisit this very quickly.

iF: What are you working on now?

NANKIN: I’m writing a pilot for Fox I’m going to direct a CSI episode.

iF: Are you excited about working with Laurence Fishburne?

NANKIN: Are you kidding? Yes. He produced and starred in one of my favorite movies of all time, ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED. It’s this beautiful HBO film based on the Walter Mosley book. I can’t wait to tell him how much I loved it.

iF: Do you feel like you’re going to miss BATTLESTAR and are you going to be on CAPRICA?

NANKIN: I’m going to miss BATTLESTAR desperately. And I hope to be on CAPRICA in some incarnation or another. BATTLESTAR has changed the way I do everything. It’s changed the way I write, because now my writing has to be much better than it ever was, because I’ve had the example of that show, and it’s changed the way I direct, because I had such freedom on the set, unprecedented freedom, where I was able to grow as a director. So I’m twice the filmmaker I was when I started on BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

Friday, February 27

Starbuck speaks! Katee Sackhoff on the final days of 'Battlestar Galactica'

Source: Latimesblogs

The three-hour series finale of "Battlestar Galactica" starts March 13th and concludes on the 20th, and don't think wild-child pilot Starbuck isn't already locked and loaded. Actress Katee Sackhoff talks to Hero Complex contributor Michelle Castillo about sleeping on machine guns and the rumors that Starbuck might still be a Cylon: "There’s always someone out there that thinks that she is."

When the directors held an open casting call for the role of Lt. Kara “Starbuck” Thrace for the re-imagined "Battlestar Galactica" series, they were looking for a mid-30s actress with a tough military demeanor to portray the role. However, it was 21-year-old Sackhoff, with her high-heels and persistence, who won the coveted part.

"Everyone scoffed at the idea of Starbuck in high heels," Sackhoff said, looking back on the role that won her a 2006 Saturn Award. “That’s was who she was in my mind. That’s me: No one is going to tell me to take my high heels off, and I carried that throughout her attitude. Maybe not the high heels, per se, but Starbuck’s attitude was there from the very beginning with me.”

Five years later, with the final episode of the critically acclaimed series mere weeks away, Sackhoff has become one of the show's most popular characters. And with new wrinkles and revelations every week, the saga of besieged humanity and its struggles with a race of sentient machine-people called Cylons has given Sackhoff and other cast members the daily duty of deflecting fan questions.

“After five years, it’s got easy to pretend I don’t hear them, but I’ve even got my doctor calling me pretending he has to talk to me,” said Sackhoff, who turns 29 in April. “Instead, he’s going, ‘So about last night’s episode... .’”

Don’t expect Sackhoff to spoil the final episode; she’s remained firmly mum on the ending. Similar to Starbuck, the actress has her own tough, go-getter attitude, nurtured through her upbringing in Portland, Ore., where she spent her youth playing hard in the mud with her brother. She moved to Los Angeles right after high school graduation, and all those old days of playful combat in the sludge prepared her for an intense shoot for the final episode, which she likened to “Apocalypse Now.”

“There’s a picture of me at 3:30 in the morning, asleep on set, with a machine gun under my head, and that is how the end of the series went,” Sackhoff said. “Everyone was exhausted, and there’s probably a lot of safety issues that should have been brought up. But, hey, it’s alright when you’re firing a machine gun at 3 o’clock in the morning, I mean that’s not dangerous at all.”

The final episode, which has been turned into a three-hour event, is billed as a wrap-up that answers all the questions. But one fan of the show -- Sackhoff herself -- believes that "Battlestar" could have stretched out into at least one more season. She predicts that the ending is going to leave some people yearning for more.

Then there's the matter of the forbidden C-word: Cylon. Starbuck's destiny has been portrayed as a harbinger or key catalyst of some sort in the struggle between man and machine -- but is she herself "a toaster," as Starbuck used to call Cylons? Sackhoff has said time and time again that Starbuck is not Cylon, but she also says that the series finale might leave that matter open for some debate.

“I’m just going to go ahead and let them believe what they want because there’s nothing I could say that’s going to convince anyone otherwise,” Sackhoff said. “And, the funny thing is, I can honestly say that at the very end of it, people are still going to think it. There’s always someone out there that thinks that she is.”

(Here's a photo of Sackhoff on the Vancouver set of "Battlestar" during one of the final episodes. She's greeting students on a field trip who just happened to cross paths with the television crew. To see more exclusive photos from the set, go here.)

She says there is definite closure for her character, however, though whether it is ill-fated or a happy ending, she won’t say. For Sackhoff, who has been a fan of the Starbuck role ever since she read the script for the miniseries, Starbuck’s evolved throughout the series. Spending most of her early 20s working on the show, Sackhoff’s grown alongside the fighter pilot, who’s changed from a person who was willing to give her life because she didn’t value it to someone who values each and every day as a gift. And then there's her volatile relationship with husband Samuel T. Anders, the character played by Michael Trucco.

“I think what’s interesting is it’s kind of been Kara from the beginning,” Sackhoff said. “It might not have been what she is, but she never really knew who she was. Where we find her now is, she doesn’t know what’s real in her life, but she realizes what she knows is real: How she feels and how much she loved Sam. What we see happen between Kara and Sam the last episode is so heartbreakingly beautiful, it puts her selfishness and her lack of commitment in relationships to rest. I think in the end she becomes a beautiful partner.”

While fans might find the hardest part saying goodbye to Starbuck, she admits that leaving the relationships that she’s formed with the cast and crew on the show will be the hardest part for her.

“We didn’t have one bad apple in the show, from the crew to the cast,” Sackhoff said. “If we did, they disappeared quietly into the night, and nobody remembers them. They really, really paid attention to people’s personalities, not when they were casting, but when we were working. I think that it shows.”

Thursday, February 26

Galactica Station's Review of "Deadlock"

Boomergirl returns to the reviewer's chair, and has praise and qualms with "Deadlock."

Fifth Cylon Ellen Tigh returned to Galactica in full boozy, bitchy, manipulative mode this week. After “No Exit”, when she was so calm, collected and mature in the face of John/Cavil’s puerile rants, there had been some hope that the horrible Ellen of seasons past was the product of Cavil’s petty programming machinations, but clearly, there’s just something in Saul that brings out the worst in Ellen no matter which life she’s in. And with last week’s heavy set up for Ellen’s return to the fleet, it was no surprise that there would be some kind of showdown in store for us when she and Boomer stepped off the Raptor onto the Galactica to Hotdog’s shocked, “How many dead chicks are out there?”

The cerebral part of us knows that nothing good could come of a love triangle between Tigh, Ellen and Caprica Six, but the newly reborn Ellen seemed so diametrically opposed to the old scheming Ellen we loved to hate, that it seemed as if the writers were tantalizing us with this unlikely what-if scenario of a reasonable conclusion to the messy ménage a trios.

All questions about how the showdown would play out are wiped away when Ellen and Tigh end up on the conference room table almost within moments of her arrival in a queasy scene intercut with Caprica Six’s sudden abdominal pains as she eats alone in Tigh’s quarters. I was a bit surprised that Ellen so quickly suspected Tigh of ‘infidelity’—if it can be called that when a man believes his wife is dead—as between the two of them, Tigh had never showed any inclinations toward waywardness; it was always Ellen who made a fool of him. Tigh’s explanation that he always thought of her doesn’t help matters. “Please do not tell me that I was your mental porn!” Ellen snaps. “That’s just sad!”

Soon afterward, as the Cylons—Ellen, Tigh, Tory, Chief, a Six and an Eight—gather around Anders’ bed, to the tune of Cottle’s grumpy, “Just don’t anybody unplug anything!” (I just love Cottle’s cigar chomping bedside charm, don’t you?) the you-know-what begins to hit the fan. First is the bombshell that the Cylons within the fleet want to abscond now that the Final Five are reunited (even with Sam in his current precarious state). Initially opposed to this plan, Ellen says that Hera is the future, only to have the unwelcome news thrust upon her that not only was her husband frakking their ‘child’ Caprica Six, but that Six is pregnant with Tigh’s son. The ensuing scene is a space-opera update of the petty, bickering family argument at Thanksgiving dinner with the comatose Sam as the turkey. Finally, Chief breaks through the arguments with, “Can we talk about the offer and deal with the baby later?” Reverting to their usual Cylon system of majority rules governance, Six and Eight say that there should be a vote and it will be binding: either they all leave or they all stay. Anders had made it clear he wanted to stay as does Tigh, and its no surprise that Tory wants to leave, but the shocker was Chief so readily expressing his desire to go. Was it just me scratching my head or did Galen Tyrol gladly accept resuming the post of Galactica’s deck chief just one episode ago?

Adama and Roslin both view the return of Ellen Tigh with some justified apprehension, but they deal with the issue in vastly different ways. Restored to some sense of equilibrium since the mutiny, Roslin finds Caprica Six to get a read on the situation now that Ellen has returned. Too bad for any viewers hoping to learn Caprica’s real name; when Roslin abashedly realizes she never knew Caprica’s handle, Caprica shoots back, “You’ve probably called me some names.” Roslin seizes on the fact that Caprica had been attacked not long ago when she had gone done to Dogsville to get some food, and takes the opportunity to apologize on behalf of the fleet, before seguewaying the conversation into the discussion of their shared dreams and the importance of Caprica’s baby.

Adama, however, is sinking deeper into the booze and the antidepressant pills. In between scenes of him shuffling mopily through the ship’s corridors as teams of Sixes and Eights paste Cylon goo into Galactica’s cracks, he has a sloshy exchange in his quarters with Tigh, in which he asks Tigh if there have been any new revelations since the meeting, and whether or not Tigh was truly ‘born’. “Great-grandpa was a power sander,” Tigh says. Did I mention that I absolutely LOVED Tigh in this episode? And this wasn’t even his finest moment.

Meanwhile, Gaius Baltar has returned to his cultish flock only to discover that in his absence, the militant Paulla Schaffer has taken over shepherding duties. A much more sour saint than Baltar, she leads by fear mongering, insisting the flock had been abandoned by Baltar and that they need to arm themselves, hoard food and safeguard themselves against marauders. Ever the wily survivalist, Baltar realizes he has to do the opposite of whatever Paulla’s doing, and when he goes with his flock into Dogsville—the lawless shantytown that exists deep in Galactica’s underbelly—and sees the starving, pitiful group assembled there, including a peaky looking little boy also named Gaius, he proposes to use his flock’s stored food to feed the huddled masses, cannily asking the protesting Paulla if she would feel better eating when children were going hungry.

The food is rounded up and distributed to the people of Dogsville, and Baltar seems to be having a gay old time rubbing Paulla’s skeptical face in it all until the Sons of Ares come and wrest the food away with their cache of bigger guns and badder attitudes.

As an aside, I found myself having a hard time summoning up any interest in this story line. Disturbing as it is to watch a broken, post-mutiny Adama peering hopelessly at the Cylonization of his beloved Galactica, I can at least feel for the Old Man; whereas I cannot conjure any sympathy or understanding for Baltar. He has reinvented himself so many times in order to save his own skin that it is almost impossible to conceive of any sincerity in anything he does. Is there truly a deeper meaning in his desire to help others? Does he really mean it when he tells Head Six (yes! She’s back!) that it felt good to help people? Is there any furtherance of the plot line to come from the struggle taking place in the bowels of the Galactica?

More on that later. Back to the brewing catfight when Ellen saunters into Tigh’s quarters with all the assurance of a woman returning to her own home, which to her credit, it was in all those long months before New Caprica. Certainly, she deserves some sympathy in seeing her place usurped by a younger, prettier model, who’s also pregnant with her husband’s child. Worse, if the Cylon ideology is correct of believing that conception only occurs when love is involved, here is in-your-face proof that her husband loves someone else. But what ensues when she confronts a visibly shaken Caprica Six is the essence of pettiness, jealousy and nastiness. With a studied chirpiness, Ellen chatters on about how her relationship with Saul had always been very volatile: “I step off the Raptor and boom! We’re making love and less than a day later, I’m screaming at him! We were always, always, always like that. But I wanted to assure you…. Oh…he didn’t tell you about the sex? And here I was, trying to be good.” Meowrr!

Caprica is rattled by Ellen’s malice, but she still holds her own. She tries to keep to the high road, suggesting that more than love was needed for Ellen and Saul to have a baby, trying to assure Ellen that Tigh really loved her, but Ellen plants her barbs with skill, first telling Caprica that she and Saul had discussed using the name Liam if they’d ever had a son, and then silkily purring, “You win. The man loves you. In fact, I’d say there isn’t much he loves more.”

And Ellen is not nearly through with Caprica. When the Cylons reconvene, Ellen announces her decision. She votes to leave. This makes the vote three to two. Saul is horrified by the notion and refuses to leave. The Cylons remind him of majority rule, which Saul waves away. He understands clearly that Ellen’s decision has nothing to do with majority rules or the good of the Cylon nation. He tries to convince them that this is the wrong road to take, but finally loses his temper and snarls at them to all leave. And with a triumphantly bitter smile, Ellen turns to Caprica: “Do you see, little girl? There is something in the universe that he loves far more than you or me, and that’s Bill Adama and the ship and the uniform…Everything else takes second place. I knew I did, but I always wondered if a baby would. Guess I know now.”

Whether it’s this information, this sudden questioning of Tigh’s love, or the attack in Dogsville the day before that is the blame, perhaps we’ll never know, but Caprica suddenly develops severe abdominal pains again and is rushed into sickbay where a startled Cottle announces that the child is in trouble. Panicked and desperate, Six begs the doctor to cut her open, to save her baby even if it means she will die. Ellen has an apparent change of heart, realizing that her cruelty and pettiness may have cost this baby his life. Appearing stricken and remorseful, she promises Caprica that she’ll take the other Cylons and leave in peace, urging Tigh to declare his love for Caprica, to reassure her. He tries, but breaks out in frustration. “This is nonsense. She knows it! I don’t need to say it. I shouldn’t need to say it to anyone. Isn’t enough that I feel it? I feel it! For her, for you, for Liam! I shouldn’t need to spout the words. I feel it less with words. Just let me gods damn feel it and I’ll fill the frakking room!”

In the hands of a lesser actor, those lines could have become maudlin, even comical, but in Michael Hogan’s hands, Saul Tigh has never had a finer moment. I know I’m not the only one who smelled an Emmy with that scene.

And then suddenly the baby monitor goes dead. A grief stricken Caprica Six sobs as Cottle ushers everyone else out of the room.

Back to Baltar and his flock of nutty cultists. Again needing a way to salvage the situation, and with Head Six’s prodding, Baltar proposes to find a way to get bigger and better guns to fight back. He goes to Adama with his proposal. Initially, the disgusted Admiral refuses to listen, saying, “I’m going to the head, do something a little more constructive…a project I’ve been working on”, but somehow, Baltar grasps on the fact that Adama is very disturbed by the Cylonization of the ship and uses this to convince Adama that helping him arm the starving and hopeless civilians will be the ‘last human solution’ for his ship. Sadly, the Admiral seems to be beaten down enough by the events of the past few months. He relents and gives Baltar’s crew a cache of weapons. Gleefully, Baltar tells Paulla, “See? You give. You give and you will receive.” Paulla’s tight little smile as she loads her gun is enough to send shivers down the spine.

Not long afterward, Tigh goes to see Adama, tearful over having lost his son, Liam, short for William, and the best friends share a poignant, beautiful moment, that seemed to me more to be the crux of hope for human-Cylon relations than any other storyline in the show.

But just as it seems that all hope has faded for everyone, the scene cuts into the sick bay where the monitors behind Sam Anders show a sudden spurt of brain activity. Do we dare to dream?

And lastly, Adama and Roslin walk past the Galactica memorial stunned to realize that the Cylons who have joined the fleet since the Alliance have put up their own memorial wall to commemorate their lost comrades. Integration, at last. “It’s already happened, hasn’t it?” Adama asks.

Overall, the episode was a bit uneven. Perhaps I had expected more since the explosive episodes of the past few weeks, but the pacing was off: in some places riveting and in others yawn-inducing, interspersed with some of the best dialogue zingers in a long time, and sadly, a few plot holes I couldn’t quite believe. How did Boomer find the Galactica? Why would Chief be so ready to leave? And why bother introducing a Cylon love child if you make the viewer question the love? As a mid-season, mid-series episode, this would have been fine. This late in the series with so many plot lines to tie up before the end, though, it feels like more needs to be told in this space. Hopefully, the pace will pick up with the remaining episodes. Tigh’s acting in this was superb, and pulled the episode to an 8/10 rating.

Thursday, February 19

Battlestar Galactica - Deadlock

Source: TV Blend

After last week’s information packed episode, which even Ron Moore admitted was extremely heavy on explanation and exposition, I think I need a slight reprieve. I appreciate that Moore and his team have set out to answer everything. During his podcast last week he told fans that the plan is to have everything answered dealing with BSG so that no mysteries transfer over to Caprica, which will have its own mysteries and plotline.

We have a sneak peek clip of tomorrow night’s episode of BSG entitled “Deadlock.” Watch as Six shows that she can use her legs for more than looking good or wrapping around men. The end is nigh for the great ship, as you could clearly see from all of the stress cracks last week. Watch Battlestar with us at 10pm EST on Sci Fi each Friday.

Tuesday, February 17

Galactica Station's Review of No Exit

Gooby Rastor seeks a way out of his latest existential crisis by reviewing episode 4.17, “No Exit.”

Hell is other robots.

Sorry, that was obligatory for me. And the title’s reference to the Sartre play is an appropriate one, as much of the episode relies on exposition in the form of dialogue, almost to the extent of the original. The success of this episode is a bit surprising, considering that it so egregiously breaks one of the cardinal rules of film and television making: Show, don’t tell. “No Exit” puts a lot, I mean a LOT, in the mouths of Michael Trucco, Kate Vernon, and Dean Stockwell. The benefit of this is really the same reason why schoolteachers like me sometimes just love to lecture: People talking can be a remarkably efficient way to transmit information in a short amount of time. Lectures can be a great bore too, so it’s nice that the actors make the watching worthwhile.

There’s not too much in the way of direct fallout from Gaeta’s mutiny the week after. Some, sure, including Ander’s wound and Tyrol’s discovery. But mostly, we’re turning to new business, and uncovering much of the mystery surrounding the Cylons. And boy oh boy what we learn about the Cylons! Sam Anders tells us the story of the 13th Tribe, all of which is very interesting stuff, but is nothing compared to the real “No Exit” scene between Ellen, (John) Cavil, and Boomer, where we learn the full story of our modern Cylons and the development of the skinjobs.

There are no flashbacks, no tricks with the timeline, just all the bad blood of the Cylons coming out to the surface between Ellen and John. One of the things I liked about this so much is that not only do we get the story on what the relationship is between the Final Five and the other Cylons, and what “the Centurion side of the family” brought to the table, but also we get to hear Brother Cavil’s perspective on things. He may be the chief antagonist, but he’s got a valid, albeit twisted reason for what he does. These scenes are exactly how exposition dialogue should be, as they are eminently watchable. Dean Stockwell and Kate Vernon really do a phenomenal job with their screen time.

The scenes between Kara, Anders and the rest were also informative and well-done. Seeing Anders with aphasia was kind of fun, wasn’t it? From what I understand, the brain surgeon was a bit of stunt casting, but I didn’t recognize him, so you all will have to decide if it was a positive or a negative.

A couple bits of Cylon related business to toss in here: First, this heretofore unknown “Daniel” model of Cylon, whom it’s a good bet is the father of one Kara Thrace. I hate spoilers, so I’m not shelling out any here, but Daniel is a piece of the jigsaw puzzle which links things up so nicely, which makes it all add up so wall, that I’ll be honestly stupefied if he doesn’t turn out to be her absent father. Second, there’s Boomer. The show is plainly setting her up to get a little bit of peace, which she should have. But my biggest qualm with this episode is how... unearned I’m afraid she and the Chief’s happiness will be. We haven’t seen Boomer at all in so long, we haven’t had any sense of her psyche or her journey. I can’t help but think that Boomer’s redemption would have been so much sweeter had we gotten a better sense of her descent and her relationship with Cavil. Additionally, there seemed to be a great opportunity lost with Boomer in this episode. Ellen spoke to her about the great gift which the Final Five had given the other Cylons. Free will, she mentioned. I doubt I was the only one who wondered why Boomer didn’t scream at Ellen about how she had explicitly been denied free will. I really do want to see Boomer healed; I expected that her story would be pure tragedy, but at this point, I think there’s been plenty of that with Gaeta and Dualla. But I really wish it hadn’t been so quick and sudden a reversal.

On the human side of things was Lee’s sensible notion to do away with the outmoded idea of the 12 colonies, which dovetailed in with Roslin’s continued inability to show any leadership. Really, wasn’t that what got them into that trouble with the mutiny in the first place? But Lee seems fully prepared to step up, as he has to. After all he’s the only one left.

Lastly, I suspected last week that the Chief’s discovery of the cracks in Galactica were a foreshadowing of the ship’s coming demise. It still might turn out to be. But this week, we see that things are a lot worse on the old ship than it seemed. And that there might be hope for her, just so long as the Admiral can stomach transforming her into a half-Cylon. You know what they say; have some irony, it’s good for your blood.

To sum up: Not perfect, and only really good if you can dig the heavy amount of dialogue used to get the back story across. But I could, and did, and am grateful for the amount we learned. 9.3/10

Sunday, February 15

Galactica Station's Review of "Blood on the Scales"

Once again it’s Captain Kickass coming to you from the comfort of her living room to bring you her thoughts about episode 4.16 “Blood on the Scales.” This episode was the primary conclusion to the storylines set in motion in “a Disquiet Follows My Soul” and “The Oath.”

The episode begins with Gaeta’s mutineers taking very-much-alive Adama and Tigh prisoner. Gaeta instructed his men to throw Tigh in the brig with the other cylons and bring Adama to him. Meanwhile, he instructed Hotdog to shoot down the raptor carrying Roslin and Baltar to the basestar, but Hotdog could not bring himself to pull the trigger while Roslin was on board, thus enabling the raptor to reach the Basestar.

Roslin attempted to reassure the worried Cylons that Adama just needed time to regain the upper hand. She instructed them to move the basestar into the fleet to shield it. I thought this was an excellent tactic by Roslin; however I was a bit taken aback by it at first. Why did the Cylons choose to listen to her? We know they were scared, but these cylons were pursuing the humans and making their own decisions not long ago. What changed? My guess is the leadership. Both Cavil and D’anna were very stringent and controlling leaders. As far as we know, D’Anna stayed on Earth and Cavil is still hunting the rebel cylons, so really, the leadership is gone. When you have no leadership, are running scared, and are faced with a livid Roslin, well you’d better shut up and do what she commands.

Gaeta and Adama watched as the basestar took position in the fleet. “Now Mr. Gaeta, are you going to shoot me?” smirked Adama. The Adama-Gaeta interaction in this episode was riveting. Gaeta may have thought he was taking command but he never had the authority and confidence that Adama did – and Adama took care to make that crystal clear at every opportunity. Zarek realized this and advised Gaeta to get on with Adama’s trial which Gaeta reluctantly agreed to. They dragged Romo Lampkin in to “defend” Adama, and Lampkin quickly recognized that it was all for show and that Adama was already judged and hung as far as Zarek was concerned. He requested to speak to Adama, but could not convince Adama to do anything but stand his ground. This is classic Adama. He’s always stood by his decisions.

As Gaeta and Zarek grilled Adama, Roslin finally got through to the fleet and was able to warn them about what was occurring before Gaeta was able to shut her down. I think this was the first indication that Gaeta and Zarek’s plan was starting to crack. Very interesting scene with four reactions. Adama was holding his head high, Roslin was taking charge, Gaeta was starting to sweat, and Zarek was scrambling to keep hold of his power.

Meanwhile, Tyrol was crawling through the ship, frantically trying to reach the engine room. His urgency was palpable and it showed that cylon or not, Tyrol still cared for his friends in the fleet. It was telling. Later, the scene between Tyrol and Kelly underlined the same point. The final four, like Boomer, had extensive and deep relationships with others in the fleet, and when they were revealed to be Cylons, none of these people knew how to react. We saw how Adama reacted to Tigh, but that was all we were able to see. Given that many members of the fleet had longstanding relationships with the four, this season and this episode in particular have done a good job of showing more of the widespread impact of the Final Four reveal.

I want to take just a moment out to talk about Kelly. I think the show runners were absolutely clever in enhancing the continuity of the show by including Kelly, the friend of the rapist on Pegasus, and Lampkin. Reusing these characters just reminded the audience of the history and intricacy of the show. We saw that Kelly broke down after his conversation with Tyrol and in the process of escorting Adama to his execution. Kelly was extremely uncomfortable with his actions and the thought of betraying Adama. Later, when Lee caught up with him, Kelly promptly chose to be back on Adama’s side. That was another clear turning point.

But we missed a key early turning point. One of the most shocking scenes in the episode occurred as Zarek tried to sell Gaeta to the Quorum. I can’t remember two more memorable paired sentences than:

Zarek: “…People who have the courage to voice their dissent, but at the end of the day still stand by their president.”
Quorum leader: “I think you should leave now, Mr. Vice President.”

With that one line, the Quorum showed that they understood the situation and wanted to hear from the person they knew as their President. Zarek simply couldn’t have that. He wanted his power at any cost and was going to have no qualms about the actions he felt he had to take to do so. So, he cold bloodedly had the quorum killed. The scene was brutal and gruesome, as was the scene immediately following, in which all the bodies were shown. In a sense, the one scene almost seemed to bring both Zarek and Gaeta back to what they were like pre New Caprica. Zarek was ruthless, and Gaeta was terribly uncertain about his actions but following what his gut told him no matter what.

On to Kara and Lee. At the beginning of the episode, they continued to move through the ship and were determined to put down the mutiny. They finally freed the cylon prisoners, and Lee quickly realized that his father was not among them. Lee became frantic and ran into Kelly, who was still shaken after his encounter with Tyrol. Kelly stammered Adama’s location and joined Lee, Tigh and the others as they raced to save the Admiral.

As they hurried along, Kara and Sam stopped for weapons, and in a quick encounter Sam was shot in the back of the neck. Kara stayed behind with the intention of getting Sam to Dr. Cottle, while the others went with Lee to save Adama. I found this scene particularly heartbreaking and I saw Kara as a woman who had finally realized that her husband wasn’t guaranteed to be around forever and that scared her. She spent a great amount of time since season 3 pushing him away, but that scene showed me that Kara still had significant feelings for Anders. These feelings were evident when she addressed Lampkin fearfully stating “He’s going to die.” And I watched Lampkin faced with wanting to save his own life but unable to resist Kara’s pleas for help – it truly was an emotional scene. Kara couldn’t leave the man she loved to die alone and Lampkin couldn’t leave them to their own fates even as he wished to. Maybe I’m a sucker for helping others, but I thought it was a great scene.

Again, this episode was about the mutiny but also about transcending relationships and bonds and I felt that the scenes between Tyrol and Kelly as well as Kara and Anders conveyed the impact of those lasting bonds very well. On the flip side, they also showed the strained Adama/Gaeta relationship, and oddly, gave a nod to the Gaeta/Baltar relationship of old as Gaeta requested a talk with Baltar before his execution. In a show as complex as Battlestar Galactica, it is easy to forget early relationships and dynamics, so I thought this episode did an excellent job of stringing things back together in that regard.

Back to Gaeta and Adama. Gaeta ordered one of his men to prepare Adama for his execution and by this time, Roslin had issued a threat to turn her weapons on Galactica if Gaeta and Zarek did not release their prisoners and surrender in five minutes. Zarek was ready to engage, but I think this is where Gaeta saw some of his errors in arranging the mutiny. The death toll was climbing, and Gaeta was simply unprepared psychologically for the ramifications of the mutiny. Watching these scenes, it appeared to me that Gaeta really thought that the bulk of the harm in the mutiny would come to a few men, the cylons, and supporters of Adama. He didn’t realize how much it might divide the fleet and how many innocent people might die, and that was never Gaeta’s plan. As he became more aware of the reality of the situation and Zarek’s lunacy, Gaeta became more disconcerted, and in an interesting twist, his stress was manifested in an ever increasing itch on his leg stump. Once he realized that too many people were dying, he elected to jump instead of fight with the basestar, a decision that obviously displeased Zarek.

Gaeta called his soldier and gave him the go ahead to execute Adama. Unbeknownst to him, Lee and Tigh reached the deck and freed Adama from the firing squad. Zarek taunted Roslin with the information that Adama was dead. In another emotion-laden response, Roslin loudly and angrily assured Gaeta and Zarek that she was coming for them and would hunt then down. She ordered the basestar to prepare to fire. Gaeta ordered for the FTL drives to be spooled for a jump, however, Tyrol reached the engine room just in time and manually disables the FTL. Adama charged into the CIC practically simultaneously, took back command of Galactica, and informed Roslin of the change right away.

As Adama ordered Gaeta and Zarek’s arrests, he looked at each in turn. There was really no need for words here. Zarek and Adama brilliantly conveyed their loathing for one another in a short glance, and Zarek quietly went with the guards knowing he was beaten and tried to salvage his pride as he had always done. The look exchanged between Adama and Gaeta was longer and it conveyed Adama’s disappointment in Gaeta and his intention to show no mercy while Gaeta returned a gaze that was mixed with regret, guilt, fear, and also acceptance. He had done what he felt what was right, and it had turned out horribly wrong for everyone.

Before his execution, Gaeta spoke with Baltar one last time about his unfulfilled dreams (why Baltar?), and Baltar told Gaeta that he knew who Gaeta was (what did that mean?). Gaeta seemed at peace as he sat down next to Zarek in front of the firing squad, they shared a brief smile (huh?), and Adama gave the order to fire just as Gaeta realized his leg had finally stopped itching. The itchy leg was an apt symbol for Gaeta’s discomfort and restlessness regarding his actions, and thus it stopped when Gaeta finally found peace. It was a heartbreaking end to a character we watched develop over the years, but Gaeta’s descent was a most consistent one. We watched Gaeta idolize Baltar, report the election rigging, come to hate Baltar on New Caprica, covertly work for the resistance and almost die because of it, discover that he was used by the Cylons in New Caprica, lose a limb on a mission he didn’t fully believe in, and watch his friends die one by one. His decent was not surprising given his history and his story was tragic. He was just a man trying to do the right thing who was led astray by his own perceptions and the decisions of others.

Final Thoughts:

The timing of actions throughout this episode were right on target, from the way Lee and Kara freed the prisoners, to Anders’ shooting, to Roslin and Tyrol’s actions, and Adama’s rescue. If each of these facets had not gone as well, the fate of the fleet would have been uncertain. Perhaps it was quite a bit of material for one episode, but being down to six episodes, the story needed to be moved along, and I felt like the action was handled well for the time frame.

Finally, this episode showed that Baltar really has gone through some fundamental changes in his thinking as far as claiming responsibility for people and his own actions. Although I was skeptical (and still am) about overall changes in Baltar, I think he has transformed for the better in some way. I remember watching the miniseries and seeing Baltar for the first time thinking “For some reason, this guy will be important.” And really, he has been important – just not in a way I could ever fathom. I guess Baltar’s change remains to be understood.

Overall, I felt that this episode did an excellent job of weaving character actions, thoughts, histories, and relationships together. It showed us several points of view (Zarek vs. Adama vs. Gaeta) and at least in my case, forced me to consider how these views were valid in their own way. Character actions and reactions were consistent with character histories and the variety and depth of emotions depicted in the episode was absolutely amazing. I was left with a few questions such as why Gaeta wanted to speak with Baltar at the end, but some things are better left a mystery.

I rate ‘Blood on the Scales’ 9.5/10 - Pretty darn fantastic but there’s always room for improvement.

Friday, February 13

Tricia Helfer To Guest Star On Chuck

Source: TV Blend

Remember in Battlestar Galactica when Six used sex to distract Gaius Baltar long enough to get the security access she needed to help the other Cylons start the apocalypse? As if we could forget. Well it looks like Tricia Helfer’s about to take on a similar role in an upcoming episode of NBC’s Chuck.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Helfer is going to guest star on Chuck for one episode, which is set to air on March 30th. The Battlestar Galactica hottie is set to play a special agent whose mission is to pose as a stripper and distract Chuck’s future brother-in-law “Captain Awesome” so that she can steal his hospital key card. Is Captain Awesome as gullible (or horny) as Gaius Baltar was? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I’m betting on not. Helfer’s hot but something tells me Awesome is just too awesome to fall for it. If he does, let’s hope Chuck’s around to stop whatever Helfer’s character is planning on doing once she gets that key card.

Wednesday, February 11

Galactica Station's review of "The Oath"

Viper Bopone delivers "The Oath."

This episode opens with Vice President Zarek showing Mr. Gaeta that ruthlessness would be required for their revolution. Zarek kills CPO Laird who refuses to be dissuaded from contacting CIC about Zarek leaving Galactica on Racetrack’s Raptor. Gaeta was shocked at this act but proceeds with the plan. (Laird is a good example, by the way, of a minor character that can keep turning up, Laird having originally been on Pegasus and transferred to Galactica in S2 by Admiral Cain. This show does keep track of people.)
Mr. Gaeta’s plot essentially involves having a mutiny by a combination of flight officers, marines, and former resistance fighters; taking control of all communications to CIC to obscure what it is happening long enough for the mutineers to reach CIC to arrest Adm. Adama, Col. Tigh, and other loyal CIC watch-standers. This plan would have had much less chance of success had not Dualla committed suicide (as Dualla would’ve stayed loyal and she controlled comm.). Oddly enough, Mr. Hoshi is among those arrested—evidently Gaeta made no effort to recruit his lover to his cause.
The mutiny has an unintended side-effect of bringing two characters back to themselves—Kara and Pres. Roslin. Both women come back to their old selves and throw themselves utterly into thwarting the mutiny. Starbuck rescues Apollo and we are treated to some excellent action sequences as the two race through the ship to rescue Adm. Adama.
Another surprising incident in this rebellion is Racetrack’s siding with Gaeta—particularly leading Apollo into a trap that almost got him killed. Its possible that she didn’t know Skulls and Conner were going to kill Apollo rather than arrest him, but she shows no major reaction to them when the proceed to try to kill him—only Starbuck’s intervention prevents Apollo’s death.
It is decided that the best course is to get Roslin off the ship and over to the rebel basestar, to rally support from there. The episode ends with Tigh and Adama engaging in a last stand against the marines (led by another old time character, Capt. Kelly, who was evidently released from the brig by the mutineers). That scene while it looked good, didn’t quite make sense as to why Tigh and Adama decided to make a stand there—the Raptor with Roslin had already left and Lee and Kara had escaped up another passageway. So why stay there and fight? A question not answered.
Another major question the episode leaves unanswered is: even assuming that the loyalist side wins, given the large number of pilots in the mutiny, how is the ship going to be able to function?
Since the episode was part 1 of a 2 parter, it is a little hard to rate on its own but I’ll still give it a solid 8.5 out of 10.

Sunday, February 8

Preview of 'Battlestar Galactica' 4.17: No Exit

Source: aceshowbiz

"Battlestar Galactica" is getting closer to the end and a preview for next week's episode called "No Exit" is readily available. The official synopsis is not yet revealed but looks like the final cylon, Ellen Tigh, will take action of what she knows. The sixth episode before the show wraps up will air February 13.

Kate Vernon who plays Tigh recently told TV Guide that she returns to the show "to reunite with my husband in the good old-fashioned way." Tigh was revealed as the fifth and final cylon on the January 16 episode of the show. "Some of my friends who are die hard fans are indignant that I didn't tell them," Vernon said, "and they're thrilled that I am the Cylon."

Aaron Douglas who plays Chief Galon also made time commenting on Tigh being the cylon, telling io9 that he initially didn't like the idea. "But when the mythology unfolded and (exec producer) Ron told us the whole story and explained why - what you guys will see at the end, the explanation of who the final five are and what they mean - I really liked that. I think it's really great. Ellen and Tigh are like mom and dad to the rest of us."

The episode "No Exit" will also see John Hodgman playing the assistant to Dr. Cottle.

View Preview Here

Thursday, February 5

Caprica two-hour premiere to drop on DVD in April

Source: Sci-Fi Wire

Caprica, the highly anticipated prequel to Battlestar Galactica, premiere exclusively on DVD on April 21 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, SCI FI Channel announced.

The feature-length prequel will be available on DVD as a limited-edition uncut and unrated version before the series' broadcast premiere on the SCI FI Channel in 2010.

Caprica is executive-produced by Ronald D. Moore and David Eick (Battlestar Galactica) and Remi Aubuchon (24). The DVD will carry a suggested retail price of $26.98.

Universal Cable Productions will begin production on the Caprica series in the summer in Vancouver for a 2010 television premiere.

The DVD will also include bonus features that take viewers behind the scenes of the creation of Caprica.

The film will also be available at selected online destinations for digital download transactions.

Here's how SCI FI describes the series: Caprica begins a new epic saga that continues the franchise's commitment to thought-provoking storytelling and extraordinary characters. Set more than 50 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica, Caprica is a world at the peak of its power, grappling with new science and technologies and the issues they create.

The series will star Eric Stoltz, Esai Morales, Paula Malcomson and Polly Walker.

Tuesday, February 3

Preview for the Episode "Blood on the Scales"

Below is a clip from Friday's episode of Sci Fi's Battlestar Galactica, "Blood on the Scales." Remember how last week's episode left us on the edge of our seats with that closing "to be continued"? Well, here's a minute of what happens next.


Click Here

Monday, February 2

'Battlestar Galactica's Final Cylon


Life is full of great mysteries. Is there a God, is there life after death and does Jordan really love Peter Andre? All of these will be debated long after we've turned to dust. Fortunately, one such conundrum has recently been solved - we now know who the Final Cylon is! Not even Nostradamus could have foreseen Ellen Tigh filling that role, but a bit of exploration into her past reveals that the clues were there all along...

The wife of Saul Tigh, who makes Russell Brand look sexually restrained, was unveiled in the first episode of Battlestar Galactica since the resumption of its final season this year. Saul's flashback to a pre-nuked Earth featured Ellen informing him that they will be reborn together in the future. So one can only deduce that she, unlike the Final Four Cylons on board Galactica, knew of her true identity all along.

Ellen's initial appearance on the fleet was a shock to her husband, as he was convinced that she died during the Cylon attacks on Caprica. Her tale of survival against all odds was certainly flimsy, as it contained baffling elements such as an unknown hero plucking her unconscious body from the ruins of an airport and bunging her on board a fleeing ship called the Rising Star.

There she stayed for several weeks until Adama found her. Interestingly, no-one on board the vessel claimed to have any knowledge of her presence prior to Adama's discovery. Of course, in hindsight she has clearly taken a bit of a detour via a Cylon Resurrection Ship. Her subsequent very human behaviour, including sexual and material greed, along with a desire for status, helped to mask her identity. It was all too easy for the audience to brush her aside as a devious Lady Macbeth type with psychological issues rather than something far more sinister.

Upon her marital reunion, she quickly drove Saul back to drink and flirted with other men in positions of power (particularly Tom Zarek) and extracted some important information about future Colonial plans. This aroused Adama's suspicions (but fortunately not his libido) and he cleverly ordered Baltar to use his Cylon detection machine on her, without Saul knowing. Interestingly, the tests came back negative.

However, given Baltar's treachery and collaboration with the Cylon Number Six in the attacks on Caprica, it's highly plausible that he would never have revealed Ellen's Cylon status if he knew. The most likely explanation is that he deliberately failed to test her properly, as he would have surely used this knowledge of the Final Cylon as a bargaining chip in the future if he knew.

When the occupation of New Caprica was soured by the Cylon colonisation, Ellen appeared to show a previously unseen characteristic of fierce loyalty. For she copulated repeatedly with Cylon Cavil in return for the safety of her one-eyed hubby, who had been tortured and in captivity. Little did Cavil know that he was unwittingly bagging the prized Final Cylon! Crucially though, Ellen was forced into leaking the plans of the anti-Cylon resistance to Cavil in order to protect Saul's life, which ultimately led to her own supposed death when her husband poisoned her drink. Could this have been part of her plan, and where has she been since?

Nonetheless, the 'murder' hugely affected Saul's temperament and led to visions of Ellen, in the guise of Number Six, while interrogating (and ultimately impregnating) the real Number Six. This can be seen as a visual portent of what was to follow, given that Ellen had momentarily assumed a Cylon identity in Saul's mind. Perhaps this was the first hint of his suppressed memories that would eventually resurface upon Earth.

So, the clues were there all along and the Final Cylon neatly fits into the show's mythology. It just remains to be seen when Ellen will next reappear - and then we'll finally discover her masterplan. We hope...