Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Some thought it was a bad idea that I removed earlier episodes from the podcast feed, so I compromised and went and re-edited episode 3, in true George Lucas fashion. I also added an "under score" loop, just for fun. I probably won't keep that feature in future podcasts, but let me know what you think. I should have a regular totally brand new podcast up by the end of the week.

I won't return eps 1 and 2 to the line up as, those of you who heard those shows know, the audio was probably the worst at that point. And eps 1 and 2 were really both beta tests.

-- Logan

Monday, January 30, 2006

Program Note (updated)

I just thought I'd let everyone know that I've removed the first 3 episodes of the Sitrep from the feed. My plan is to remove older episodes from the feed, as they become less relevant. (Since the podcast is focused on news, news ages after a bit.) So, I always plan to keep the 3 or 4 most recent shows in the feed.

Also, I want to thank Alan Light of the CIC podcast for promoting my podcast. If you found my podcast through Alan, welcome. I will try to keep on my schedule of doing a Sitrep once a week, with all the latest Battlestar Galactica news. The show will continue to improve and evolve. (For those who have mentioned it, yes, I plan to improve the audio quality, very soon. It bothers me, as much as anyone else.) I also hope to have some guests on the show, in the future.

Let me also thank both of the reviewers of the podcast, who have posted their reviews of the show on the iTunes page for the Sitrep. I agree with both reviews (once again touching on the audio issue), and I want to say thanks for the comments. :) To "Slumberland" I hope that once I start using the spiffy high quality microphone I'm ordering, that my "strangely hypnotic dulcet tones" will only be enhanced. ;-) I appreciate that. :-)

Thanks for listening.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More Black Market

I just watched Black Market for the second time, and boy it just gets worse the more you watch it. Terrible, terrible, dreadful and depressing episode.

But, anyway, I'm sure they do better for the rest of the season.

One cool thing that JMS, the creator of Babylon 5, did when he produced the B5 spinoff Crusade, was that he had JPL on board as consultants who provided a lot of science background to the show. I think Ron Moore and David Eick should also hire JPL for science vetting. But, there is a major think tank in Santa Monica called RAND Corporation. (RAND stands for Research and Development. They work with the Pentagon and the US Government on many projects.) RAND is very good at thinking through problems. So, I'd go to RAND and lay out the premise of BSG, the fleet, the supplies, and I'm sure RAND would come up with a realistic work up of how that kind of economy would work in a post apocalyptic world. Their ideas might be interesting.

I'd think the economies of the Confederacy at the end of the Civil War, and in Germany at the end of WWII might also provide a lot of history of what does happen when a society, government, and economy collapse.

It could be an interesting thing to explore. But, then I'm not sure devalued currency, and massive inflation can translate into tv drama for a Sci-Fi Channel show Friday's at 10 p.m.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Ron Moore

Back on October 14th, 2005, Ron Moore posted on his blog:

One thing that has become apparent in recent days is just how committed we are around here to maintaining the quality of the show and our incredible dissatisfaction when those goals are not met. I found myself not only dissatisfied last night, but positively angry with myself at something I knew in my bones had fallen well below the bar I set for myself and for the show in general. I won't go into it now (maybe later) but it was one of those situations where I looked at something and had to listen to the voice inside my head say "You screwed this one up." Nothing pisses me off more than not making a show the best I think it can be and in this case, there was no one to blame but myself. The only solace I take from it is the knowledge that it does still piss me off and therefore I am still doing something I'm passionately engaged in. Far too many writers, producers, directors and actors I've known have been stuck doing things that they either didn't care about or actually loathed, and I've been extremely fortunate in always being emotionally engaged in the projects I've worked on.

In his January 27th 2006 podcast Ron makes it clear he was talking about "Black Market". The podcast is an extraordinary thing to listen to, because Ron so expertly examines the episode, to explain why he thinks the episode didn't work, and failed to meet their goals. His honesty is refreshing. His detailed examination of what went wrong with "Black Market" is really interesting to listen to.

"Black Market" was a rather unusual episode. Ron is right, that it often feels like it's from a different show, not Galactica. (That said, "off format" shows can often be quite good.) But, in this case, Ron is essentially correct. The episode gave me a creepy feeling of vertigo. Everything seemed out of place.

Even still, it was an interesting episode. If the writing had been tweaked in a few places, it might have worked much better.

But, it wasn't an entirely bad effort in the end. It was just more than a little surreal.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stone story on Battlestar Galactica is now online.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Items of BSG News

An interview with Grace Park. Ratings for BSG stayed steady.

David Eick's video blog is updated with scenes from Downloaded, showing Lucy Lawless talking to Tricia Helfer in some kind of Cylon regeneration bathtub.

Dark Thoughts has new images from the upcoming episode "Sacrifice" with Dana Delany.

In the news

It looks like Rolling Stone has an article in praise of BSG as seen in this cover image.

There are a few stories that look at Zoic's awesome motion picture quality SFX work on Galactica here and here.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Timeline gaps

There is an interesting discussion going on at the Battlestar Wiki about Epiphanies, and the BSG series timeline. It seems there is now a missing 2 month period in the timeline.

Maybe the gap can be explained by the dynamics of FTL travel? Or why not speculate that there is a missing two months so that at some point the producers can film episodes, or a movie filling in the missing 2 months, and call them the lost episodes? That might be a fun way out of it.

Or they could go the Star Trek route, and say that for two months they were trapped in some kind of spacial anomaly or proto-black-hole type of thing that froze the Galactica fleet for two months, or they ended in up a Groundhog Day quantum event that caused them to become unstuck, or stuck, in time, as the case may be, for 2 months?

Makes sense to me.

There are also excellent overviews of Epiphanies here and here.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Show Notes #5

Articles noted in Galactica Sitrep 005:

Katee Sackhoff in Seattle Post Intelligencer:
and in:

David Eick on season 3:

Ron Moore’s new blog entries:

Lucy Lawless to appear in 10 season 3 eps:

Ratings drop:

New Yorker review:

National Review:

Review of Resurrection Ship at Unofficial Galactica Blog:

Ron Moore writes about his favorite SF books:

Update on Flicker ballot prop from TV Squad:

See also:

Alan Light Podcast link and promo:

Music from:

and speical thanks to
Podcast Maker 1.1.5 by Potion Factory:

email the Sitrep at bsgsitrep@yahoo.com

Ron Moore's favorite SF books

SCi Fi That Soars
Sun 8th Jan

From Wall Street Journal:

1. "Stranger in a Strange Land" by Robert Heinlein (Putnam, 1961). In part a retelling of the Christ story as seen through a science-fiction prism, this sprawling social commentary tells the story of Valentine Michael Smith, a son of human colonists lost in the first manned flight to Mars. Raised by Martians, Michael has been returned to Earth, before whose society, and foibles, he stands uncomprehending. Soon enough, he is a victim. It says something about the complexity and intellectual edge of "Stranger in a Strange Land" that it remains one of the few science-fiction classics to have escaped adaptation by the movie industry. The book is very much of its time, the 1960s, in the way its central story of Valentine's reintegration into human society challenges organized religion and gender roles. Not to mention its embrace of those swinging '60s themes, free love and group sex. An emblem of this book's influence: the word "grok"--Martian for complete, instinctive understanding--has entered the language and a dictionary or two.

2. "Foundation" by Isaac Asimov (Gnome, 1951). This is simply the first volume of a trilogy that brought together the massive series of "Foundation" stories that Isaac Asimov began writing in the 1940s. A heady blend of speculative fiction and epic storytelling spanning literally hundreds of thousands of years, the saga concerns the huge and prosperous Galactic Empire. At the center of it all is psycho-historian Hari Seldon, whose mathematical calculations predict the future fall of the empire, to be followed by a 30,000-year dark age before a new civilization emerges. To safeguard its knowledge through those hellish centuries, the empire allows Seldon to establish a small outpost, a foundation, which grows large, thanks to its command of technology and learning of all kinds. Mr. Asimov's lucid prose and extravagant imagination ensures that if you read this book, you'll go on to read the entire trilogy.

3. "Dune" by Frank Herbert (Ace, 1965). The world depicted here by Frank Herbert is as richly textured and detailed as J.R.R. Tolkien's "Rings" triology, to which this novel has been compared. Set in an outer-space empire many thousands of years into the future, the plot is structured around the combat between powerful families vying for political control. Mr. Herbert portrays every aspect of the galaxy culture--the warring noble houses and the characters and societies they represent--with a particularity that makes them unforgettable. This was the book that made me realize that science-fiction could be more than ray guns, rugged heroes and wacky sidekicks.

4. "Dragonflight" by Anne McCaffrey (Ballantine, 1968). The first book of Ms. McCaffrey's wildly popular "Dragonriders of Pern" series introduces a world that appears, at first glance, to be a product of the purest traditional fantasy--a place where majestic dragons sweep the skies above medieval castle holds. In fact, it is a meticulously constructed science-fiction universe. The heroine is Lessa, who lives in servitude on the planet Pern, colonized long ago by humans. She goes off to the place of the great dragons, where she learns to ride and commune with the creatures. Now dismissed as burdens on society, the dragons are no longer revered as saviors of the planet in a long-ago battle. Soon they will be needed again. Don't look for slash-and-burn dragon warfare here or anything hard-edged. The pleasures of this work are to be found in Ms. McCaffrey's lyrical style.

5. "I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream" by Harlan Ellison (Pyramid, 1967). The short story that gives this collection its title is one of the most frightening works you're likely to encounter. The tone is set with the opening line: "Limp, the body of Gorrister hung from the pink palette; unsupported--hanging high above us in the computer chamber; and it did not shiver in the chill, oily breeze that blew eternally through the main cavern." This is a tale of five humans trapped within the belly of a supercomputer, called AM, which has managed to wipe out everyone in the world but these five, whom it relishes tricking and torturing. Mr. Ellison's prose here is like the machine he envisions: a peerless force.

Mr. Moore is creator and executive producer of the Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" series.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Thoughts on the trilogy

If you take in Pegasus, and Resurrection Ships parts 1 -2 as a whole, it really feels like a motion picture experience. In fact those 3 episodes together are superior in quality to the 2003 Galactica mini-series that launched this new series.

The acting, writing, and production as a whole were all of the highest quality. Michael Rymer's direction really brings a motion picture feel to the show.

Ron Moore's writing is always pushing the drama so that while the show has epic space battles, the story remains focused on the characters. The FX on Galactica are great, but the reason people are attached to this series is because we care about Adama, Roslin, Starbuck, Apollo, and even the two drunk XO's, Tigh and Fisk.

To sum up: It's the characters stupid. That's why people love the show, and keep coming back for more.

The writing always rings true. Those scenes between Gina and Baltar are haunting. The level of rapport between actors James Callis and Tricia Helfer really comes out in their "two hander" scenes in the Pegasus brig. As Baltar fully transforms to being totally on the Cylon side of the debate, we can see how he got there. (The original Baltar, wonderfully played by the great John Colicos, never got to play these kinds of gray areas.) Since we can see Gaius is deeply angered by how Gina was treated, his shift to aiding Gina escape and seek out "justice" is genuine. When he tells her he loves her, you know he means it.

The quality of the acting also shines in the scenes between Starbuck and Apollo during the course of the 3 parter. We see Starbuck struggling with Adama's orders to kill Cain, as well as her growing respect for Cain. When Cain expresses her pride in Starbuck after the raid on the resurrection ship, Katee Sackhoff nicely plays the conflict within Starbuck in that moment.

In the scenes Starbuck and Apollo share with each other, the depth of their friendship comes through, particularly in the scene in Apollo's bunk, as Apollo reveals his flirtation with suicide.

The final acting duo is of course Adama and Roslin. When you have two Oscar nominated actors as your leading actors it makes all the difference. Watching them play off each other is a marvel. From the mini-series and first season where they were at odds, to now where they are allies, friends, and perhaps the potential for more... Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell are so good as actors that they are able communicate emotion with simple gestures and looks.

Galactica has the best FX on TV thanks to the team at Zoic. But, what makes the show unique, is that great cast, and the high quality of the writing.

These last 3 episodes, Pegasus, and the Resurrection Ship two parter, prove that there isn't a better science fiction series on television than Battlestar Galactica.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Show Notes for Sitrep Ep 4

articles noted in the show:
BSG season 2 begins on Space in Canada Saturday the 14th, 8 p.m. ET 5 p.m. PT.
BSG photos:

Ratings info:



Interview with Bear McCreary:

Katee Sackhoff new movie:

Special FX

Ballot Spoiler:

Galactica novelization by Jeffrey Carver

Reviews of Resurrection Ship:
From Now Playing Magazine
Star Ledger

email the Sitrep at bsgsitrep@yahoo.com

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Podcast ep 3: Galactica Sitrep

Galactica Sitrep episode 3 just went online. You can get it in iTunes, if you subscribed to it, just hit "update" in your podcasts and it will download.

The Apple iTunes store listing.

Here are tonight's show notes:

The women of Galactica, are in the news

articles noted in the show:
AOL’s Battlestar Galactica page.

Grace Park in The New York Times.

Tricia Helfer on Canada’s Next Top Model.

Great Link article with Michelle Forbes on playing Admiral Cain.

Music by:
Strange Ensemble, “Super Sonic Express”

Ash Verjee, “Is Magic Is Spaceship”

This podcast was made on a Mac. Hardware and software used:
iMac G5
Garage Band 2.0
iTunes 6.0
and speical thanks to
Podcast Maker 1.1.4 by Potion Factory:
email the Sitrep at bsgsitrep@yahoo.com

Resurrection Ship review

Alan Sepinwall has an awesome review of Resurrection Ship parts 1 and 2 in the New Jersey Star-Ledger. Some highlights:

With these two episodes, "Galactica" will have lasted longer than the schlocky '70s original. (Unless you count the "Galactica 1980'' spinoff, which even the most die-hard Lorne Greene fans would prefer to ignore.) And if ever a remake were worthy of survival, it's this new "Galactica,'' the best drama series on television right now.

The latest story arc, begun in an episode that aired last September, has the fleet stumbling across the Pegasus, a military vessel crewed by people who thought they were the only survivors of the Cylon attacks -- and who lost their grip on right and wrong as a result.

Where Adama has had his decisions and authority constantly questioned by Roslin and the rest of the civilian government and media, Pegasus Admiral Cain (Michelle Forbes) has grown used to unchecked authority. She lets her men rape and torture Cylon prisoners, and, in an incident described tonight in chilling detail by her second-in-command, she scavenged the handful of civilian ships the Pegasus found after the attacks and left their crews and passengers to die alone with negligible parts and supplies.

To Cain, the crazy ones aren't her crew, but Adama and Roslin, who sit around "debating the finer points of colonial law" while they're all at war with the Cylons. Trying to defend her actions to Adama's top pilot Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff), she insists, "Inevitably, each and every one of us will have to face a moment where we have to commit that horrible sin. And if we flinch in that moment -- if we hesitate for one second -- if we let our conscience get in the way, you know what happens? There are more kids in those body bags, and more kids floating out that airlock."

Writers Ronald Moore and Michael Rymer obviously side with Adama and Roslin, but they're smart enough storytellers to not make Cain a raving lunatic straw-woman, easy for the good guys to knock down. As played by Forbes, Cain's remorseless approach can sound almost reasonable -- especially as a major character like Starbuck starts to buy into it.

During a news conference to promote the "Galactica" miniseries that revived the franchise three years ago, a defiant Olmos all but ordered fans of the original show not to watch, saying "it will hurt" for them to see such a different version. At the time, it just seemed like hot air, a veteran actor trying to drum up some controversy about his new project, but Olmos couldn't have been more correct. Moore and company have taken the basic premise and characters of a cheap "Star Wars" rip-off and used them to make a great epic drama that comments on American life today better than most shows set on terra firma.

If I were a fan who had spent 25 years weeping over the end of all those stock footage spaceship fights, then realized just how smart and exciting and moving and scary the original show could have been, I'd feel pretty hurt, too.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Galactica Sitrep Podcast

You can now subscribe to the Galactica Sitrep podcast in iTunes.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Some show notes and news

The Great Link reports on an article on TV Guide online with heaps of praise for the upcoming episodes of Battlestar Galactica.

The Great Link also reports on more critical acclaim for the upcoming new episodes of Galactica. Note worthy is this review, in Eclipse Magazine with a few hints and (in my view) minor spoilers.

Thursday, January 05, 2006


(All of the following links will launch iTunes, if you have it.)

If you missed the Sci-Fi Inside Battlestar Galactica on the Sci-Fi channel you can get it for free on iTunes.

You can also get episodes from season 2, season 1, and the mini series, for 1.99 per episode. (In the event you don't have the DVDs, or want to watch Galactica on your computer or video capable iPod.)

You should also subscribe (for free) to Ron Moore's podcast commentaries, for almost all of the episodes. (These commentaries later end up on the Galactica DVDs.)


Hollywood North Report has some log lines and episode info about episodes 11-20 for the rest of season 2 of Battlestar Galactica here and here. (Beware of spoilers.)

Also, note that David Eick's Galactica video blog has been updated this week.

See also TVgasm and TV Squad for their Galactica pages.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


There are only a few ground-breaking, seminal SF shows in the history of television.

First off, without question was The Twilight Zone, Rod Serling's master piece of anthology television. You can see the Zone's influence in many movies and TV shows today. The excellent ABC series, "Lost" in many ways plays like one long, huge, Twilight Zone episode.

The next big paradigm shift in SF television was the original Star Trek. The vision of Gene Roddenberry, and the writing of Gene Coon, made Star Trek the bold vision of the future that it was. Star Trek has a magic that is hard to attain.

The next shift came in 1993, when J. Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5 started its 5 year arc. JMS's B5 broke new ground. It was the first SF show to use a multi-year story arc. Story arcs of that type had only been done in British television, and usually not for as long as 5 years. JMS set out to write a novel for television, and he did. It was a true epic. And its vision of the future was a break with the Star Trek mold in terms of the characters. The Trek characters over the decades had become totally perfected humanity. JMS's humans (and aliens) were not. They were conflicted personalities, who underwent tremendous growth in their characters, and they were forever changed from what they were in season 1, by the time season 5 ended.

B5 ended in 1998, and it was not until 2003, that the next seminal shift occurred.

Ron Moore's reimagined Battlestar Galactica blasted on to the sci-fi channel in December of 2003. Season 1 of the series started in January of 2005. Season 2 started in the summer of 2005, with the second half of season 2 returning in January of 2006. Moore show is a bold departure from all previous shows, while building on the great shows and movies before it.

On BSG, the characters are flawed, and imperfect. The struggle is dark, and not the bland optimism seen in the later incarnations of Trek over the years. Moore and his team are not afraid of controversy, and always seeks out the strongest possible emotional resonance in the drama.

It's a bold creation. It's a far cry from the original Battlestar, so much so that after a time, who will even remember the 1978 series?

It will be interesting to see if BSG keeps up the momentum they've built up thus far. Just when you think Galactica could get stale, it gets refreshed, and goes in new directions, that are totally unexpected.

It's the best show on TV, without question.