Saturday, March 07, 2009

The Great Bear

Bear McCreary has updated his blog, with his thoughts about Islanded In a Stream of Stars, and offers this piece of news:

One of the biggest challenges of Islanded was actually scoring two different versions of it. In addition to the version you just watched, I also scored an extended version for the DVD release. Not only are many of the dialog scenes expanded, but there are several scenes that were cut entirely from the show that required substantial original music. One of these scenes established that Tyrol is now in the brig for his role in Boomer’s escape and kidnapping of Hera. I was disappointed that this story point was cut from the episode, since Chief’s arc last week was so emotionally powerful.

I'm really glad that (at least a few of the) episodes on the DVD release will be extended cuts... but I also feel like we TV viewers of the series are getting gypped. Though, admittedly Universal really makes their money with BSG on DVD, so it is important to provide a great DVD product. And in the end it's probably the DVD versions that will stick with us as we watch them over and over again, and bring new viewers to the show. I just can't help but think that some of the recent episodes (Deadlock in particular) might have worked better if some of these scenes had been on air. I can't wait to see this Chief in the brig scene on DVD though.


General Boy said...

I hope we'll be able to see those scenes integrated into the episodes, rather than as separated deleted scenes. It worked very well for the DVD release of "Razor".

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you, Logan.
I feel, as a TV viewer, a little bit cheated too, but on the other hand very happy that I'll be able to discover some new things while rewatching the show on DVD.
It makes me believe that there is still a point of living after 30 March.

Anonymous said...

The thing I fail to understand is why they cut Chief's scenes to begin with. I would've been happy to lose one of the other sequences in this episode (maybe the Ellen-Saul bit in his quarters, which was well done but ultimately without point) if it meant we got some follow-up on the emotional center of "StWOM."

The more I read about deleted sequences, the more I feel that SciFi should have approved 90-minute timeslots for most if not all of the 4.5 episodes. As it is there's just too much potentially good stuff being left in the bit bucket (I guess you can't really say "cutting room floor" anymore... we're in the digital age after all), including scenes that might have gone a long way toward reversing (or at least reducing) the generally negative reception given episodes like "Deadlocked" and this one.

Eric H said...

The Chief himself is probably not in the deleted scene, since Aaron Douglas didn't appear elsewhere in "Islanded" and likely was not contracted for this episode. Rather, I'm expecting some cut dialogue that (in Bear's words) "established" Tyrol's status.

I totally agree that much of 4.5, especially Deadlocked, would greatly benefit from longer runtime. It's especially good news to learn that at least this episode, and possibly others, will have longer cuts vs. simply a deleted scenes reel.

ProgGrrl said...'s a one-hour show. It is what it is. There are no 90-minute TV shows, that is just not done. Producers have to cut shows for time. That's the medium (for now, at least).

Sure it would be lovely if every ep of BSG was written and shot to cut together exactly for time -- but it's been obvious for many seasons now, that is not how BSG's creative process goes. And thank the gods not; for these folks seem to get where we like them to go through the current process (ie, shoot long and cut, cut, cut). And it's a pretty typical way of working in film and TV: that whittling-down process.

But you all know we're gonna get at least an hour, probably more, of deleted scenes on DVDs. Let's hope for even more on the Bluray set.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Logan, the editing is definitely hurting the show. they could have aired an entire new ep with all the stuff they cut out.
how about a scene with Helo and Athena confronting the Chief instead of that weird Baltar/Starbuck funeral scene that made no sense at all? i hate to type this but I am not loving the episodes since the mutiny, back then it felt like a train PICKING UP STEAM heading toward the finish line, now it feels like that train has all but slowed down to a halt. I usually defend BSG from Lost fans who claim their convoluted piece of shit show is better, but this year they might be right. Daybreak please be our saving grace, hate to think that BSG's initial brilliance might be forever soiled by such a weak ending, just my 2 cents

just my 2 cents

Greg said...

I realize that there's a challenge in creating a show that fits what a network allots for time, but at the same time there is a definite frustration with this show by the viewers because they're being presented incomplete stories.

After finding out what's been left out so far this season, it's clear that they're not just cutting out little things for time but things that substantially advance the plot. Without them, the viewer is left wondering WTF just happened.

Mr Laccetti said...

Besides the case of Deadlock, I don't really agree that the deleted scenes are necessary to our understanding of the show . . . Chief's in the brig? Where else would he be? Do we really need to know that? I might be alone in this (well, alone among fandom; the showrunners seem to agree with me), but I actually enjoy subtle character moments much more than plot points, and I've always enjoyed BSG's terse way of handling plot advancement (how many times has the chronology suddenly shifted forward -- "one year later" is just the most obvious example).

Also, "generally negative reaction" to this episode? Yes for Deadlock, but every other episode in 4.5 has more or less received a generally positive reaction -- at least by the critics and the posters on this blog.

brisotope said...

I *don't* think it is obvious that Chief should be in the brig. Apparently, Racetrack isn't there and look what she did. So, while an entire scene isn't necessary, some bit of dialogue about the whereabouts of a very important and popular character could've been included.

That said, it was still a beautiful episode! I still think about how much I loved the brief Caprica Six/Baltar scene. I'm probably alone in that.

Eric H said...

@ ProgGrrl: There you go again, being all informed and rational and everything. I mean, really :-)

Seriously, though, of course you make fair points. I think the real beef some people have is simply the editing choices made within that 1-hour constraint, and of course that is an endless debate because those choices can never please everyone. And although my complaints are minor -- I was one of the few who quite liked Deadlock, though wishing for a bit less spackling and a bit more 'splaining -- I will confess to worrying that we'll be left with a few too many dangling mysteries when it's all over. But I will just repeat "In Ron We Trust," and soldier on.

Anonymous said...

Logan is exactly right and I've been arguing this case to Ron since Season 3. Just look at the deleted scenes on your Season 3 DVD set for "A Measure of Salvation". There is absolutely no reason that couldn't have been slipped right back into a far superior extended version of the episode; they add immesurably to giving Starbuck and Leoben a great post-New Caprica moment and show a more textured reaction from Athena, who finds turning on her people quite difficult.

Even "Resurrection Ship 2" has a pivotal deleted scene in which Lee explains why he's suicidal to Dualla and it helps us understand his actions in "Black Market", too. "Six of One"'s deleted scene in which Adama throws Starbuck down makes a lot more sense than the aired version.

Also, David Eick promised us longer episodes, and Sci Fi would have bent over backwards for its most recognized show. They wouldn't have cared if more episodes aired; all they cared about was the budget; the more footage for their buck, the better. It's David's fault for abandoning editing the show in Season 3, since both he and Ron used to do their edits and then work together to find one that satisfied them both. It's why Pegasus extended version was so awesome. More importantly, it's why "Lay Down Your Burdens 2", which was 90 minutes was among the greatest TV episodes I've ever seen and certainly the best of the series. They syndicated version is atrocious.

It's also Ron's fault for not trying to expand more episodes. His willingness to do this for his scripted episodes this season is proof that he understands this, and I'm grateful he's at least doing that. However, if he's unwilling, he should allow the other writers to do the same for their episodes. Mark Verheiden, the series' most consistently great writer after Ron, wanted "The Road Less Travelled" to include how that older woman extra died when Leoben's ship exploded; there were also some great scenes with head Six saying bye to Baltar and Athena talking with Helo that would have added to the episode.

Deleted scenes suck if they're important info because it misses the whole issue of presenting a worthwhile story in a moving and coherent manner that moves the audience. It shouldn't be that difficult to master and put the stuff back in and many fans would pay a few extra bucks for an extra disc to fit this stuff. Season 4.0 should have had many expanded episodes, since apparently a lot of stuff was cut from amazing episodes like "Sine Qua Non".

Unlike The X-Files, which managed its editing and writing very well, BSG has left too much to editing and we've been getting increasingly rushed story-telling since "Exodus". We deserve more on DVD, quite frankly. There's no reason for a rushed job. I don't mind if Ron takes a year to release a DVD. Season 4.5 has been a disaster -- from "Blood on the Scales" that left out so much, including explaining Baltar's feelings, to "Deadlock". Thank the Gods that "Islanded" is getting a fair treatment; now let's do the other episodes and eventually Season 4.0 and Season 3.

Logan Gawain said...

Well, I would just add that in prior seasons Sci-Fi regularly allowed the show to run a few minutes longer now and then. (And once allowed the 90 minute version of Lay Down Your Burdens 2.) Seems like every week on Lost ABC lets the show run 2-5 minutes longer. So, perhaps this year Sci-Fi wouldn't allow it. (In season 3, they also used to show deleted scenes at the end of the ep, before the end credits -- remember?)

And eps shouldn't be longer just for the sake of being longer... it's just when certain plot points are important and worthy of being included. We don't know the nature of the Chief/Brig scene, but we'll see it on DVD. Maybe it's important or maybe it's not. Bear notes its emotional value though.

So, it's all about striking a balance. Clearly, going back to Deadlock having more information about the marine situation would have given proper context to Baltar getting guns. So, I hope that ep extended on DVD too.

But, I'm just guessing Sci-Fi has asked the producers not to let shows run over as much as they used to. (But, they did let Sometimes A Great Notion run a few minutes long, as I recall.) I imagine it disrupts the rest of the schedule, and would mess up airings of Mansquito or whatever else is on Sci-Fi -- honestly, I don't know what's on Sci-Fi beyond BSG, and late night Twilight Zone re-runs, since that's about all I watch on that network.

westwood999 said...

HI Logan, Can you help me with something? I'm looking to join any group of BSG fans to watch the final episode on March 20....can't view this one alone.....willing to drive pretty much anywhere in the Boston /Providence /Worcester Area to be part of the BSG send-off.
Your blog reaches a large part of the BSG community and I would be so greatful for this. Would you post this request on your blog?

Logan Gawain said...

@westwood, I'm sure we'll be noting viewing/frak parties for the finale, and we'll certainly link to any info we find about planned events and promote the idea.

Logan Gawain said...

Ah, now we know what was in that brig scene, thanks to Mo Ryan's interview with Michael Taylor who told her:

"I know that there were scenes, or at least one scene, of Tryol in the brig, and I think my sense there was that he had confessed and put himself in there out of guilt."


Anonymous said...

Facinatng discussion going on here, I see.

Of course, it's only one hour show and nothing more, so it's clear that we shouldn't expect longer episodes. Even though there is this little sorrow (yep, sorrow, not anger), that Sci-Fi didn't allowed Ron & Crew do more eps. Not longer but simply more of them. I guess we can all see that it would have been healthy for the series.

Obviously, no limits would lead to nothing but catastrophe (like it did in many popular TV shows) and good recollection would remain only in our memories. But basically I agree with the thing, that Richard Hatch has once said in Video Blog - we all know many series, that should have been ended and they weren't; BSG is opposite, it's ending, but it could use some more time. I'm not saying this because I'm a great, unsatisfied fan, who demands his favourite show to air eternally. It's practical. Writers have developed the plot right up to the end. This plot needs particular amount of time to be presented to viewers in a proper way. They didn't get that much time. And that's it.

Not having the specific story made up and requesting unlimited time - wrong.
Having the plot created and wanting just the suitable number of eps - right.

Nevertheless, after all that said, I still *love* every 4.5 episode not less then previous ones. There were a few frustrating scenes that made me sort of angry with creators but this feeling usually pass after some time of thinking, discussing, considering everything and rewatching.

Face it - we can pretend that kind of remarks to be a serious complaint. But actually it's nothing but whining of spoilt fans, provided with the greatest stuff in the universe and being so satisfied that they look for anything to repine againts.

And that's the appropriate aproach to the case. :D

ProgGrrl said...

@westwood...I have been collecting up info for a new Frak Party Finale post, and as of now I have found them in Vancouver, Toronto, Austin, San Antonio, and Portland. And that's it.

RE: this issue of seeing Tyrol in the brig. I don't agree this is some *crucial* thing that the ep is missing. Of course he will be in trouble...yeah, sure, it's nice to know that he put himself there or whatever. And it's nice to know that Racetrack and the other mutinous pilots are on the prison ship now.

But those are certainly not crucial plot points. I didn't miss them and can see why TPTB might leave them on the cutting room floor for time.

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