Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Four-Quadrant Show

The Chicago Tribune's Maureen Ryan spoke the Fox’s chairman, Peter Liguori, about "Virtuality," the pilot "Battlestar Galactica" executive producer Ron Moore and co-executive producer Michael Taylor are making for Fox, and also about Joss Whedon’s mid-season show for the network, "Dollhouse."

MR: What’s going on with “Virtuality”? It seems like there’s so much positive buzz about it, but that doesn’t always translate into a pickup [to series].

PL: Yeah, look, this is why do you pilots. Especially, the more ambitious the show, the more important the pilot is – just being able to do that exercise and figure out, do we have the characters right, can we [execute] this. Ron Moore, honestly, he’s the real deal. When you sit there and talk to someone and say, “Does he have a strategy? Does he have a 100-episode plan, does he have a grip on his characters?” He’s got it. It’s a very ambitious pilot, it’s a very ambitious premise. I think we cast it really well....

MR: So there’s a gay relationship on the show. Can you talk about that, about things you find interesting about the show?

PL: What I think is interesting about it is, it’s the first 21st or 22nd Century office show, office drama. It’s a bunch of people working in a claustrophobic environment, working for a business with a specific mission. Where do you have to go to with that? You have to go to character, you’re not going to go to “Star Trek”-ian moments. You’re really going to go back to the characters to get to the core. And that is the genius of Ron. Plus there’s a social commentary, he does that in “Battlestar” and he has that here. The gay relationship is one part of that.

About Joss Whedon Liguori said:
You can launch a show and it’s a 4-share show. It’s not going to become a 24-share show. The thing with Joss, you launch his show and instantly it becomes somebody’s favorite show. To me, in this current television environment, if you can be somebody’s favorite show, you’d better be patient with that show.

[It used to be] and 18-share show, that was the bar you had to jump over. If you’re looking at a 7-share show in an 18-share-hit environment, wrap it up, move on. Done. Today, I sit there and say, you know, I sat there from a distance and saw “House” premiere at a 7-share. I know I have certain tools at my disposal for promotional platforms. And you know what, I’d rather know I have a very strong, loyal core that I can build on. That being said, getting out of the gate is important in this environment.


Other news & notes:

Tim Goodman of The San Francisco Chronicle reviews "The Cleaner" the new Benjamin Bratt series that co-stars Grace Park:
This is quite a departure for Park, who plays it sassy, sexy and spunky here, not her measured "Battlestar Galactica" persona.

Trek Movie Report also rounds out all the details about the collapse of JumpCon.

Newsrama has information about a new Battlestar Galactica comic book series from Dynamite called "Battlestar Galactica: Ghosts" by Brandon Jerwa. The four issue miniseries is an original story about a black ops Viper squadron out on their own since the time of the attack on the colonies.

io9 recently reported that manga publisher Tokyopop will be publishing an anthology of Battlestar Galactica manga called, "Echoes of New Caprica" in March of 2009. Tokyopop has previously produced Star Trek manga.

io9 also wrote about the theory oriented website Battlestar Revealed.

The recent Astronomy Picture of the Day for July 15th, was the Lagoon Nebula which you may recall from the Battlestar Galactica episode "Home Part 2" in the Tomb of Athena Planetarium show.

That last link to Nebulae in fiction reminds me of this xkcd comic.

12 comments:

ProgGrrl said...

Let me come down from my massive fangrrl high this week long enough to say how much I'm enjoying listening to all the Fox execs swoon over RDM, Whedon, Abrams...heck even the ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILLY guys who are working on the Sci-Fi comedy show.

I just saw another video interview in which JJ Abrams says he's dying to work on something with Whedon.

Meanwhile...MAD MEN is on in 12 days and Weiner wants it to go on for four more seasons?!? DAMAGES just cast William Hurt, Timothy Olyphant, and Marcia Gay Harden?!? TRUE BLOOD and FRINGE's viral marketing has begun now, 2 months ahead of their premiere dates?

Pinch me...am I dreaming?

*supersquee*

Ashoka Raza said...

Fox chairman:

"Where do you have to go to with that? You have to go to character, you’re not going to go to “Star Trek”-ian moments. You’re really going to go back to the characters to get to the core. And that is the genius of Ron."

.......

"It's all about the characters"

I cringe when I hear this.

Because any criticism I've had of this show has been based on its over-focus on character.

.......

The mini-series had me believing that the writers setup a dangerous universe.

Randomness and terror was commonplace. Nothing was promised to these characters...not life or success.

- The show starts with Roslin being diagnosed with terminal cancer.
- The show starts with the Cylons being faster, stronger, and more intelligent than their adversaries.

This felt so real.

..........

But as the show progressed, the show began to depend more and more on character.

The viewer started to get that these characters were here to stay. The universe existed to service them.

- Roslin magically found a cure for cancer and survived into the final season.
- The Cylons got dumber and more ineffective as the show went on.

This felt unreal...like typical television fiction.

..........

Of course, Galactica is still the best show on TV.

But I wish TV fiction would break free of this character-dependent straitjacket.

JD Grant said...

Fox and SciFi, dare I be excited after all the pain and heartbreak they've caused me?

I do want to know more about the Sunny guys doing Sci-Fi comedy though. What's the scoop on that, I love Sunny!

ProgGrrl said...

@ashoka: if you aren't down with character-driven drama, and you want to follow Ron Moore's career, I believe you are going to be an unhappy camper.

@jd: the basics of this new Sci-Fi comedy BOLDLY GOING NOWHERE are here, and a (spoilery) detailed preview of the pilot script is here.

Logan Gawain said...

Right on PG.

"...the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands." --William Faulkner, Nobel Prize speech 1950.

Ashoka Raza said...

Sorry guys, my point wasn't clear.

I don't blame RDM.

I'm actually trashing the medium of television & movies.

And implicitly, I'm praising other mediums like novels and comics (or graphic novels).

....

On TV, you're stuck with these narrow handful of characters, and they have to be involved in just about everything that happens in the universe.

One minute Tigh won't shake the hand of a terrorist leader, the next he's pontificating on the benefits of suicide terror.

One minute Lee is causing riots because of his defense of Baltar, the next he's the unanimous choice for President.

So these characters become carpetbaggers. Transplanting themselves to explore the issue of the day.

This isn't realistic, or even effective.

......

If we were only dealing with a show of narrow focus, like some comedy or romance tale, it's not a bad thing.

But Galactica deals with the great issues of the day...terror & war.

To explore these kinds of issues, you need flexibility.

You need to acknowledge that the universe doesn't revolve around your lead characters. You need to take a birds eye view, and include other voices in a meaningful way.

.......

Really, what I'm saying is that "character focus" on TV tends be bad.

It just means you obsess over some individual. Do a closeup on some characters face, as they make the decision to do something bad.

The Soprano's did that do death. It's not original anymore.

........

So, no, I may not follow RDM's future TV shows ProgGrrl.

But I'm begging him and the other writers to consider working in another medium like graphic novels.

There, they would be unchained. And I'd be just as worshipful as you are. :)

The What said...

I've said it before on here, and I'll say it again: no one is forcing you to leave your TV on, ashoka.

Have you considered spending a bit more time at the library instead? ;)

JD Grant said...

@PG, thanks that looks like it is going to be good. The Fox/SciFi cancellations leave me with worry for the future though.

Ashoka Raza said...

The What,

I'm a proud supporter of my public library. Without it, I wouldn't go from living in public housing to working in Lat Am commodities.

.........

By posting only about the things you love, you're nothing more than a groupie.

By posting only about the things you hate, you're nothing more than a b*tch.

I hope I've found a happy medium. Where I'm clear about the things I love about Galactica...and I'm just as clear about the things I hate.

......

The reason I post this stuff is because RDM's a revolution in television. He can change the thing for the better.

There are some weak spots, mostly due to the limitations of the medium.

But those limitations can be overcome.

.......

For example, Stephen Gaghan broke those conventions in his film "Syriana".

In Syriana, you saw a birds eye view of a complicated situation involving the exact same themes as Galactica.

But unlike Galactica, Syriana placed more emphasis on its universe & issues than its characters.

So the District Attorney didn't end up being president. The CIA operative didn't save the day. Lots of stuff blew up.

The characters existed in a universe where they were blind to each others motivations and actions. They didn't "transcend".

.......

My wet dream involves RDM adopting that birds eye view structure, and mixing it with his strong character-driven drama.

Can I not share my wet dreams 'The What'?

:)

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