Ron Moore has updated his blog quite a bit today. He writes about his speech at the GDC, provides answers in a Q&A, and talks about the new enhanced podcasts, the writer's room podcasts, and future podcast plans.
Read all about it in his blog.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Ron Moore has updated his blog quite a bit today. He writes about his speech at the GDC, provides answers in a Q&A, and talks about the new enhanced podcasts, the writer's room podcasts, and future podcast plans.
Ron Moore's Galactica Podcast has been updated this week, with a recording of a writers meeting from July 2005, where Moore and his writing staff hashed out episode 215, "Scar." It's very insightful, as you basically get to sit in on a writer's room meeting. Get it from iTunes or here. (By the way, you can now get an enhanced version of Ron's podcast, with chapter stops and other enhanced features for iTunes and iPods.)
There is more on Ron Moore's talk at the Game Conference here.
And you can see the cover art of the upcoming Battlestar Galactica comic books here and here.
Friday, March 24, 2006
Ron Moore spoke at the GDC and compared and contrasted the old Battlestar with the new Battlestar, and a guy called Zonk took notes.
In other news, the Hugo Nominations for L.A.con IV, the 64th World Science Fiction Convention to be held in Anaheim, California, 23-27 August 2006 have been annouced, and Battlestar Galactica episode 210, Pegasus is nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation (short form).
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Ron Moore, head writer and executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, appeared at Creation Entertainment's Grand Slam Scifi Summit convention in Pasadena, California a few weeks ago, and after his appearence on stage he spoke to Pegasus Galaxy about the end of season 2, and prospects for season 3. Among the many interesting things Moore says in the interview, he confirms that Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) is now Baltar's V.P.
Speaking of Richard Hatch, there's an excellent interview with him at SFX, that took place before season 2.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
There are a few sites around that have posted links to mp3 files of Bear McCreary's music from season 2 of BSG. Bear wants everyone to be aware that:
These tracks circulating on the internet could have a seriously damaging impact on how well the CD performs. I could tell that these had re-circulated, when I started getting "fan mail" about tracks that I haven't released yet. I have to say it bothers me a lot when fans write me and tell me how much they love the soundtrack and then make it crystal clear that they've never bought any of the albums released.
Please keep in mind that no matter how cool the music is, if the tiny record label (La La Land Records) putting them out can't make enough money... there will be no BG soundtrack albums in the future. Please be aware that downloading these tracks puts future soundtrack albums in serious jeopardy.
I'm in the studio all this month fine tuning and remixing for you guys so that the Season 2 album is going to be even better than the Season 1 soundtrack. Rest assured that you're in for a treat come June. But, please help me out here and stop these files from getting around.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Now that season 2 has concluded, I thought I'd post my list of favorite episodes. As you can see from the list, I like most of the shows. I'm treating them as all equally good, as I don't want to rank them. They are just listed in chronological order. I know a lot of people don't like Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, but I think it's funny. In fact, it's the only funny episode in the series. (Well, there were also a lot of funny Gaius moments in Six Degrees...) And Edward James Olmos did a great job directing Tigh Me Up... It was like a great stage farce.
I'd also say that the most perfect episodes have to be, Act of Contrition/You Can't Go Home Again; Hand of God; Kobol's Last Gleaming Part 2; Valley of Darkness; the Pegasus-Resurrection Ship arc, Scar, and Lay Down Your Burdens part 2.
As always, it's just my opinion. Your mileage may vary.
At any rate, here's my full list of must-see episodes:
Best of season 1
Act of Contrition
You Can't Go Home Again
Six Degrees of Separation
Flesh and Bone
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down
The Hand of God
Kobol's Last Gleaming 1-2
Best of season 2
Valley of Darkness
Home, parts 1-2
Flight of the Phoenix
Resurrection Ship 1-2
The Captain's Hand
Lay Down Your Burdens, parts 1-2
On their podcast for Lay Down Your Burdens part 2, Ron Moore and David Eick noted that they were drinking some good stuff: Johnnie Walker Blue Label. (Or was it the Black Label?) Anyway, as their podcast continued on, and as their beverages started to kick in, they made some entertaining jokes. So, to those that have wondered, they were just joking about Olmos not coming back in season 3, and being replaced by CGI. (And they were just joking about season 3 taking place 5 years later.)
Anyway, I've seen some posts on the internets wondering if they were joking or not, so, yes they were. (Just like Eick and Katee Sackhoff were doing one long elaborate joke in Eick's video blog number 20.)
And I think drinking makes the podcasts better. I think I'll start drinking when I record the Galactica Sitrep podcasts.
And Ron and David also did some drinking on their commentaries for early season 1 episodes on the season 1 dvd set. (Since Ron didn't start the commentary podcasts until toward the end of season 1.)
I would have to say drinking always makes commentary tracks much more entertaining. So, to Ron Moore and David Eick, keep up the drinking. Especially if it's expensive good stuff.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Galactica Station posted this story today:
'Lay Down Your Burdens-Part II', frakkin' fantastic.
Tue 14th Mar
By KoenigrulesAdvancing the clock one year later was a stroke of genius by producer Ron Moore. Womanizing President Baltar has settled on New Caprica with over half of the fleet (and it looks like half the single women as well in his chambers!!!). Apparently, the Cylons have not detected them in the nebula. But complications still arise. Starbuck's husband, Anders, is dying of pneumonia unless Kara can get Pegasus Commander Lee to give up some medical supplies; Galen Tyrol is Union President fighting for the rights of his people, with a pregnant Cally by his side; and, Roslin has gone back into teaching, trying to derive some satisfaction out of her former assignment while being assisted by Maya (who has adopted the Cylon hybrid baby, now named Isis).
But all that changes when a Cylon armada appears overhead and Centurions march into the camp in Nazi-like fashion. Supposedly, when Gina blew herself up and Cloud 9 with the nuclear device Baltar gave her, lingering traces of radiation were detected by the Cylons, hence explaining their presence on New Caprica. Led by the 'changed' Six and Eight (from the earlier 'Downloaded' episode), the machine race plans to hold the humans hostage while they initiate their new plan (whatever that might be). And as the Raiders zoom overhead, all Kara can relate to Galen is that they will fight them until they can't. Wow, what an awesome cliffhanger. And coupled with the impressive special effects, this is sure to go down as one of the best (if not most controversial) episodes of the series for daring to be so different.
One would think that news would not be forthcoming so soon on Galactica's third season, but it did late this week. NowPlayingMagazine interviewed Ron Moore about the direction he would take with the next batch of 20 episodes. Included below are edited highlights of the interview.
First up, Battlestar Galactica will not be Occupation New Caprica for long. While the Cylons will hold the fleet on the planet, a resolution of sorts will occur by the fourth or fifth episode. According to Moore, "I don't think it will take quite as long as it took us to wrap up the arc at the beginning of the second season." The humans will return to the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus very quickly and resume their journey to Earth.
Secondly, a new arc on the Cylon home world will be introduced. "We're going to do an ongoing Cylon story where we're going to be cutting over to the Cylon world for the first time." As Lucy Lawless (Number Three aka D'anna Biers) is joining the cast for at least 10 episodes, one can only speculate that she will be one of the Cylons on the home world who will try to convince other models that it is the wrong thing to negotiate with the humans. Hopefully, Brother Cavel will show up too; an inside source at the SCI FI Channel has indicated that negotiations are underway to bring back Dean Stockwell to the series in the upcoming season.
Finally, Baltar will further go down the path to darkness and corruption. "[We plan to make him] more of an antagonist." Whether his character will ever reach the depths of depravity as the original figure played by John Colicos has yet to be determined. When asked whether Gaius will be sitting up in a high chair giving orders to the Cylons like Colicos, Moore could only indicate with a chuckle, "I don't know... That's still a possibility."
In other Season 3 news, SCI FI issued a press release earlier this week announcing that it would delay the series premiere until October 2006. (The release is available at thefutoncritic). Immediately, the boards went crazy, with some fans in "gloom and doom" mood. But a SCI FI source told this reviewer that "BSG is going nowhere."
Reasons for the delay in airing the next batch of 20 episodes were provided:
1) SCI FI wants to have original programming throughout the entire year instead of at 10-week intervals; 2) the entire set of Galactica episodes will be shown uninterrupted; 3) SCI FI wants to try out other series that are less arc heavy in BSG's summer timeslot; and 4) it is hoped that a new combo of programs can occur in October, like Season 2 of Dr. Who with Galactica's Season 3. All these reasons make sense to this reviewer. Further, the source indicated that Galactica is their premier show, having reached critical acclaim and bringing recognition to the channel. SCI FI remains hopeful Galactica will last several more seasons, and with this programming move, it very well might.
So remain hopeful, keep watching Galactica and perhaps Who as well, and stay tuned to more developments regarding this exciting show as yours truly continues coverage for many seasons to come.
Posted By Blade Runner
Monday, March 13, 2006
I was going to write a brief review of my thoughts on "Lay Down Your Burdens part 2" but, at the root of it, my view is simply this: That Battlestar Galactica isn't science fiction. Rather, it is a drama, that just happens to take place in space. With the season finale, Ron Moore and his team have abandoned all the usual expecations of a SF series season ender. He's re-writing the rules for the sake of taking the story seriously, and and treating the audience like adults. But, instead of me going on and on about it, Ron Moore pretty much laid it all out with the following manifesto that was attached to copies of the script for the Battlestar Galactica mini-series in 2003. It was this manifesto, this mission statement, that really captured Edward James Olmos' imagination, and inspired him to take the part of William Adama . With "Lay Down Your Burdens", Ron Moore has lived up to all the goals he stated here:
Naturalistic Science Fiction
Taking the Opera out of Space Opera
by Ronald D. Moore
Our goal is nothing less than the reinvention of the science fiction television series. We take as a given the idea that the traditional space opera, with its stock characters, techno-double-talk, bumpy-headed aliens, thespian histrionics, and empty heroics has run its course and a new approach is required. That approach is to introduce realism into what has heretofore been an aggressively unrealistic genre.
Call it "Naturalistic Science Fiction."
This idea, the presentation of a fantastical situation in naturalistic terms, will permeate every aspect of our series:
Visual. The first thing that will leap out at viewers is the dynamic use of the documentary or cinema verite style. Through the extensive use of hand-held cameras, practical lighting, and functional set design, the battlestar Galactica will feel on every level like a real place.
This shift in tone and look cannot be overemphasized. It is our intention to deliver a show that does not look like any other science fiction series ever produced. A casual viewer should for a moment feel like he or she has accidentally surfed onto a "60 Minutes" documentary piece about life aboard an aircraft carrier until someone starts talking about Cylons and battlestars.
That is not to say we're shooting on videotape under fluorescent lights, but we will be striving for a verisimilitude that is sorely lacking in virtually every other science fiction series ever attempted. We're looking for filmic truth, not manufactured "pretty pictures" or the "way cool" factor.
Perhaps nowhere will this be more surprising than in our visual effects shots. Our ships will be treated like real ships that someone had to go out and film with a real camera. That means no 3-D "hero" shots panning and zooming wildly with the touch of a mousepad. The questions we will ask before every VFX shot are things like: "How did we get this shot? Where is the camera? Who's holding it? Is the cameraman in another spacecraft? Is the camera mounted on the wing?" This philosophy will generate images that will present an audience jaded and bored with the same old "Wow -- it's a CGI shot!" with a different texture and a different cinematic language that will force them to re-evaluate their notions of science fiction.
Finally, our visual style will also capitalize on the possibilities inherent in the series concept itself to deliver unusual imagery not typically seen in this genre. That is, the inclusion of a variety of civilian ships each of which will have unique properties and visual references that can be in stark contrast to the military life aboard Galactica. For example, we have a vessel in our rag-tag fleet which was designed to be a space-going marketplace or "City Walk" environment. The juxtaposition of this high-gloss, sexy atmosphere against the gritty reality of a story for survival will give us more textures and levels to play than in typical genre fare.
Editorial. Our style will avoid the now clichéd MTV fast-cutting while at the same time foregoing Star Trek's somewhat ponderous and lugubrious "master, two-shot, close-up, close-up, two-shot, back to master" pattern. If there is a model here, it would be vaguely Hitchcockian -- that is, a sense of building suspense and dramatic tension through the use of extending takes and long masters which pull the audience into the reality of the action rather than the distract through the use of ostentatious cutting patterns.
Story. We will eschew the usual stories about parallel universes, time-travel, mind-control, evil twins, God-like powers and all the other clichés of the genre. Our show is first and foremost a drama. It is about people. Real people that the audience can identify with and become engaged in. It is not a show about hardware or bizarre alien cultures. It is a show about us. It is an allegory for our own society, our own people and it should be immediately recognizable to any member of the audience.
Science. Our spaceships don't make noise because there is no noise in space. Sound will be provided from sources inside the ships -- the whine of an engine audible to the pilot for instance. Our fighters are not airplanes and they will not be shackled by the conventions of WWII dogfights. The speed of light is a law and there will be no moving violations.
And finally, Character. This is perhaps, the biggest departure from the science fiction norm. We do not have "the cocky guy" "the fast-talker" "the brain" "the wacky alien sidekick" or any of the other usual characters who populate a space series. Our characters are living, breathing people with all the emotional complexity and contradictions present in quality dramas like "The West Wing" or "The Sopranos." In this way, we hope to challenge our audience in ways that other genre pieces do not. We want the audience to connect with the characters of Galactica as people. Our characters are not super-heroes. They are not an elite. They are everyday people caught up in a enormous cataclysm and trying to survive it as best they can.
They are you and me.
Sunday, March 12, 2006
A very slight re-working of this speech was used on Friday's Galactica finale for the Chief's labor speech:
"There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!"
--From the conclusion of Mario Savio's memorable speech, before Free Speech Movement demonstrators entered Sproul Hall to begin their sit-in on December 3, 1964.
Hear the speech. (in Real Player.)
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Friday, March 10, 2006
Gannett News Service
"Battlestar Galactica" season finale, 8 p.m., Sci Fi Channel. This show has quickly gone from good to great. And it has shown a remarkable willingness to take sharp detours. As this episode begins, Starbuck is leading a rescue mission. The Cylons — ruthless robots that can create multiple versions of a human form — are attacking from the air. Meanwhile, an election pits President Roslin against Baltar, the self-centered genius who was seduced by a gorgeous Cylon. He finally has a campaign issue: He's pushing to have the runaway fleet of humans settle on a semi-habitable planet. There is much more on the way. This ferocious series is about to spin in several directions. If you're not a regular, make sure you watch the "previously" part at the beginning. Then settle in for strong writing, sharp direction and great performances.
Scott Collura in Now Playing Magazine reviews Lay Down Your Burdens Part 2, saying, "Battlestar Galactica finishes its second season with an extended 90-minute episode that is as unwieldy as it is impressive. Plot-wise, showrunner Ron Moore and his team continue to chart new territory that other genre shows, or even most A-list dramatic television series for that matter, dare not enter. The willingness to move these characters forward, to not “reset” story and plot to the status quo each week, has never been as clear as it is here, particularly in the final 30 minutes or so of the episode (which we will not spoil for our readers… yet – check back after the episode airs on Friday for a chat with Moore about the finale, and where the show is going in year three). ...The extra 30 minutes or so added on to this episode only further complicate matters, rather than answer questions, so divergent and radical are they from the prior 60 minutes – from the entire preceding two seasons of episodes, in fact."
Dave Mason of the Scripps Howard News Service writes, "Battlestar Galactica proves it's almost too big for the small screen as it takes viewers on an epic-making 90-minute season finale. ...But nothing else on TV compares to Battlestar. It is an epic with unexpected twists. The surprises in the season finale are woven together to make this episode feel like a book you can't put down."
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Political Dramas Excel
By Rob Owen, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
TV's two best political dramas, NBC's "The West Wing" and Sci Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica," both serve up excellent episodes this weekend.
Tonight, "Galactica" (10 p.m.) ends its second season with a 90-minute episode that's explosive (literally and figuratively) as it upends the series' existing format. It's a surprising, makes-you-think season ender that examines the very nature of what's right and whether or not the ends justify the means. The finale also caps an uneven second half to the show's second season (those "woe-is-Starbuck," "woe-is-Apollo," gotta-fill-the-20-episode-order hours could have been done by any series).
By resetting the stage, the "Galactica" writers set the show up for a fresh start in season three, which will begin in October.
"The West Wing" (8 p.m. Sunday) returns after an extended Olympics hiatus with an episode that should give some satisfaction to fans who have long pulled for destined-for-each-other Josh (Brad Whitford) and Donna (Janel Moloney) to get together.
Additionally, President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) calls the presidential candidates to the Oval Office for a briefing on a world crisis that makes winning the election -- for either candidate -- a lot less desirable.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Well, it's insane, but after Friday's finale, we'll have to wait till October for season 3 of Galactica to start up again. Normally, Sci-Fi Channel series return in July, as BSG did last year, and as the two Stargate shows will this summer. It's unclear why they are making this move, as the show starts filming early next month. Though SyFy Portal has wild speculation.
In other BSG news, Newsday and The Daily News of McKeesport, PA have reviews of Lay Down Your Burdens part 2. They are quite spoilerly, and could quite possibly ruin one of the biggest plot twists for you.
But, if you want it to be totally ruined for you, TV Squad's Spoilers Anonymous totally lays down all the burdens of Lay Down Your Burdens part 2. Trust me, don't read it unless you want the whole show spoiled for you. (As a side note, a website called patriotresource.com posted Galactica finale spoilers months ago, that at this point seem to have been almost uniformly wrong. As of now, they have been scrubbing their site of their error prone reports, and replacing them with current reality.)
Also, Ron Moore has updated his blog with a Q&A with answers to questions posted by fans.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
E! online has some Q&As with the Galactica cast and producers from Friday night’s Battlestar Gallactica event at the Museum of Television and Radio. It includes minor spoilers and hints for Lay Down Your Burdens part 2 and season 3.
The Museum of Television and Radio’s 23rd Annual William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles (which continues through March 15) got off to an impressive start last week. The festival selects a different TV series or personality each night and has screenings of episodes followed by Q & A sessions with the cast and creative teams. BATTLESTAR GALACTICA was the subject of such a panel on March 3rd, and iF MAGAZINE was there to get the scoop. Featured in the panel were the shows producers and creators: Ronald D. Moore and David Eick. Also on hand were series headliners: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis and Grace Park. Here are a few highlights from the event.
Eclipse Magazine has a review of Lay Down Your Burdens with some spoilers:
Source: Eclipse magazine
The first part of the two-part second season finale of "Battlestar Galactica" took some bold steps: Chief Tyrol's beating of Cally, and his fear that he's a Cylon; the discovery of a habitable planet and its effect on the election; Starbuck's rescue mission to Caprica. As for this week's conclusion [Sci Fi Channel, Friday, 10 p.m. ET/PT], well, in the words of Al Jolson, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"
"Lay Down Your Burdens Part 2" opens exactly where Part One left off � with Starbuck's [Katee Sackhoff] team, and the few remaining members of the resistance pinned down by Cylon fire. We cut between them and the ongoing election drama, which finds President Roslin [Mary McDonnell] in danger of losing. With doom seemingly encroaching on both fronts, the enemy fire on Caprica suddenly stops!
After waiting for some devious Cylon plan to kick in with continued silence, Starbuck and a few others venture forth to scout out the situation. The Cylons are gone! Meanwhile, back on the Galactica, Roslin's campaign manager has put her "Plan B" into action -- prompting a possible election scandal.
This extra-length season finale takes the members of the rag-tag fleet and changes everything for them. Starbuck is reunited with Sam Anders [Michael Trucco], her lover from when she went to Caprica to retrieve the Arrow of Apollo. We meet a brand-spanking new Cylon model, and it seems it's been with the fleet the whole time. Two important characters get married. And that doesn't even take into consideration the astounding change that occurs at about the point a regular-sized episode would have ended -- nor the incredible twist/cliff-hanger it presages!
As usual, though, the big events are not the focal point of the episode � which remains firmly fixed on the effects that those events have on the characters that populate the series. When Chief Tyrol [Aaron Douglas] apologizes to Cally [Nicki Clyne], their relationship takes an unexpected shift. When Adama [Edward James Olmos] meets with Roslin, following the election, we learn more about each of them.
One of the most profound changes occurs in Caprica Sharon [Grace Park], who has suffered the loss of her baby [or so she's been told]. Suddenly she becomes nihilistic, confounding Lt. Helo [Tamoh Penikett] completely. Even that change is not as profound as the change in Baltar [James Callis] who not only follows the path of least resistance, he practically skis down it!
Special mention should be made of Dean Stockwell's performance as the priest who counselled Chief Tyrol in Part One, and plays a key role in setting the events of Part Two in motion. Tricia Helfer also continues to bring it as Six --her actions directly set up the cliff-hanger, and it is wonderful the way she communicates her regret at having to do so.
There is little doubt that "Battlestar Galactica" is one of the premiere programs on any tier of television [network or cable]. The two-part season finale, "Lay Down Your Burdens," is one of the most powerful dramatic experiences of the season eclipsing the efforts of several of the year's Emmy nominees by a factor of tenfold, minimum! This is not an episode to miss even if it means that you spend the spring with butterflies in your stomach and sweat on your brow!
Saturday, March 04, 2006
* For season 3, since so much changes by the end of season 2, you should really do a big change to the opening credits sequence, and allow Bear McCreary to "go nuts" and create a new season 3 theme. (Not that there's anything wrong with the UK/Season 2 theme -- I like it very much. But, since the US had a different theme in season 1, why not keep the tradition of changing the theme each year? Babylon 5 had 5 different themes for each of its years.)
* Have your wife Terry Dresbach involved with more of the podcasts in the future. She's great.
* That's all I've got. Everything else is fine.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Advance reactions to Lay Down Your Burdens...
TV Guide and Maureen Ryan in Chicago Tribune on BSG finale. Philly.Com on BSG finale.
Downloaded can be Downloaded for free in iTunes from TV Guide.
HNR set visit during filming of season 2 finale with Mary McDonnell interview.
Ron Moore’s blog entries with updated Q&A.
Matt Roush in TV Guide reacts to Downloaded. TV Squad reviews Downloaded. The Tubular Blog reviews Downloaded. As does Dave Mason for Scripps Howard.
Galactica earns a Nebula nomination and a Golden Reel nomination.
Galactica novels coming by Peter David and Craig Shaw Gardner.
Comic books based on the new BSG arrive in May.
An awesome streaming radio interview with Bear McCreary. And Bear McCreary is in CFQ magazine.
Strange Ensemble, “Super Sonic Express”
Ash Verjee, “Is Magic Is Spaceship”