Thursday, July 30, 2009

Harvey Frand

Reuters and the Hollywood Reporter:

'Galactica' producer Harvey Frand dies at 68
Veteran's career began with Rock Hudson's final series

By Mike Barnes

July 29, 2009, 04:54 PM ET
Harvey Frand, an Emmy-winning producer who was the "man behind the curtain" on the Syfy hit "Battlestar Galactica," died July 23 in Los Angeles after a brief hospitalization for respiratory problems. He was 68.

Frand's series producing career began in 1982 with "The Devlin Connection," Rock Hudson's final series. Other credits include 34 episodes of the 1985-89 version of "The Twilight Zone"; "Beauty and the Beast"; "The Young Riders"; "The Lazarus Man"; "The Pretender"; and "Strange World." He produced more than 20 pilots and movies of the week.

Frand began on "Galactica" in 2003. For his work on the show, he earned a Peabody Award in 2005, an AFI Award in 2006 and an Emmy last year. This month, he was nominated for a second Emmy.

"Harvey was the Wizard of Oz, the man behind the curtain, the train engineer, the orchestra conductor, the school guidance counselor," NBC Universal executive Todd Sharp said. "He was adored by executive producers and production assistants, studio and network, cast and crew."

Added writer-producer Bradley Thompson: "In addition to finding a way to put every dime on the screen, he was an exceptional judge of material. He knew what we needed to tell our stories and never compromised on that. But he would constantly challenge us to find creative ways to make the piece work within the constraints of physical and financial reality.

"And if he felt we needed that something extra ... say a nuclear explosion or two ... to make the story play, he'd go to the mat to make it happen."

A native of Philadelphia, Frand began in television at NBC News. Later, as an executive at Warner Bros., he oversaw production on "Harry O," the 1973 series starring David Janssen. Frand went to San Diego to check in with the company and, because there was no on-sight producer, stayed to work with the cast and crew. After that, he was hooked on the role of producer.

Frand also produced the 1974-75 Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" starring Christopher Walken and Irene Worth, who won a best actress Tony for her performance.

Frand is survived by Bill Bowersock, his domestic partner of 32 years. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name can be made to the Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles' Alive Music Project.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Comic-Con 2009

The beautiful madness of The Geek Prom, aka San Diego Comic-Con, began last night.

There is a ton of stuff going on that we BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and CAPRICA fans will enjoy hearing about soon enough...not to mention a ton of other things in film and television both. I'm sure a lot of fans who attend will leave their thoughts, photos, videos and love over at the siffy forums and the livejournal community.

A great frakkin tee shirt spotted at Comic Con Wednesday afternoon by own-the-sky

Our first look at Lucy Lawless rocking a red toga in her new TV series SPARTACUS: BLOOD AND SAND

Friday, July 17, 2009

Digital Bits review of BSG: THE COMPLETE SERIES

Since this box set (and the BSG Season 4.5 box) are coming out Tuesday July 28th, there will be tons of reviews out there.

But I don't think anyone will give us TrueFans a better rundown of the extras and features of BSG: THE COMPLETE SERIES than Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits. This guy is just a big a fan as we are, and he knows exactly which fan extras we have been fed over the years, and which ones did and didn't make the cut for this huge box.

Bill is reviewing the Bluray, not the DVD, but much of what he says also can be applied to the DVD release. According to the press release earlier this summer, the Bluray is 4077 hours of content and the DVD is 4066 hours total.

A few quotes from Bill's review -

All the series' episodes, the Miniseries and the Razor 2-hour film are included on 20 BD-50 discs, along with over 70 hours with of bonus content. Note that virtually all of the extras from the previous DVDs are in standard 480p here, as they were before (generally presented in 16x9 widescreen). A few of the new featurettes (mostly on Season Four) are in full 1080p. It appears that the first disc of each season starts with the same, newly-shot HD video introduction by Ron Moore himself. He welcomes you to the set, and tells you why he thinks high-def is the way to really fully experience the series. In terms of the special features, most (but not quite all) of the previous DVD extras have carried over here, and there's new material as well. I'll note what's missing and what's new for Blu-ray as we go...

...Unfortunately, the 10-part Face of the Enemy webisode series is missing here for some unknown reason (possibly disc space). We've checked with Universal and the studio IS aware that people want it, so we're told that it will be made available on disc at some point in the future. We'll keep you up to date on this. Sadly, also missing is The Making of Battlestar Galactica: Razor featurette that was available exclusively on a Best Buy DVD bonus disc - that's a real shame because it's pretty great. So if you have that bonus disc, don't get rid of it.

A few other items are missing from the box set as a whole, though they were never available on DVD, including additional blogs and some of the exclusive writer's room and "frak party" podcast commentaries. Also not here are most of the "recap" TV specials (Battlestar Galactica: The Story So Far, Battlestar Galactica: Revisited and Battlestar Galactica: The Phenomenon) and the two finale specials (Battlestar Galactica: The Top 10 Things You Need to Know and Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakkin' Special). That's a bummer - especially The Last Frakkin' Special, which included a lot of great behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and crew on the end of the series. It would be great if Universal gathered all those specials up (including the two Lowdown specials that launched the series) along with The Face of the Enemy webisodes and released them on bonus disc of some sort (mail-in perhaps, or a BD-Live online reward?) to accompany this box set. Yeah, I know... unlikely. But still a good idea. A featurette on the show's special effects work (and team) would have been cool too, but what are you going to do? I do have to give the studio a LOT of credit for the new bonus content included for Blu-ray - ESPECIALLY the new deleted scenes and extended episodes. Even if you've seen the entire series as broadcast, the three extended episodes from Season Four essentially include more than an hour of new Battlestar that you haven't seen yet. That's a real treat - like rollin' the hard six!

...Among the new featurettes on Season Four, there are few standouts. The Journey Ends: The Arrival is a retrospective look back at the finale and the series as a whole, featuring the interview comments of many of the show's cast and crew. Evolution of a Cue and The Musicians Behind Daybreak cover the work of composer Bear McCreary - the latter is a very nice glimpse at the recording of the finale score with a full orchestra. The 5-part A Look Back covers a number of interesting aspects of the series, including Moore's original show "manifesto" (that convinced Olmos to join the cast), Richard Hatch's perspective on having been involved with BOTH Battlestar series, and the stylistic contributions of director Michael Rymer among other things. And for those of you eagerly awaiting the DVD and Blu-ray release of Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, which will complete the series later this year (and will be broadcast on the newly rebranded SyFy in November), the ...And They Have a Plan featurette gives you a nice little taste of it.

...One other packaging note: Accessible via a clear plastic lid inset into the top of the case, is an empty space containing a toaster! Well... a replica Cylon Centurion figure at any rate - a nice touch. The figure itself is very nicely detailed and highly articulated too. Personally, I'm thinking about taking the figure out and setting him on my office shelf, then using the empty space to store other discs - the series' soundtrack CDs (from La La Land Records), those bonus DVDs I need to keep, and even DVD-R recordings of the missing content in paper sleeves. (What, like I wasn't going to record that stuff, knowing that it probably wouldn't be on the DVD/BD?! Yes... I am THAT much of a fan.)

So say we all, Bill!


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fanvid: Unnatural Selection

An astounding BATTLESTAR GALACTICA-TERMINATOR mashup with ... Darwin's Origin of Species. By charmax.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

May The Toast Be With You, Frakkers

As we round the corner into the last few weeks before this year's San Diego Comic Con (which I will be covering on Twitter and at FanGrrl Magnet if you are interested), Wired announced something hilarious. Apparently the STAR WARS folks figured out a great new merch item for SDCC this year... and it looks vaguely familiar...

Says Wired:
It’ll be a surprise to precisely no one that Lucasfilm leads the vanguard of Comic-Con must-have gimmicks and gadgets. The marketing machine that put the action in action figures will introduce the Star Wars toaster at this year’s convention. The device turns every piece of toast over to the dark side — burning an image of everyone’s favorite Dark Lord of the Sith onto your Wonder-bread. Where else will you get a chance to smudge jam into Darth Vader’s grill?

Umm...the vanguard? LOL. Well, you know what they say about plagiarism, don't you. ;-)

Meanwhile, SciFi SyFy and NBC have announced that there are six special SDCC 09 swag items going on sale at the NBCU store, including a yet-to-be-announced CAPRICA item, this hilarious OFFICE Schrute Farms watch, a great CHUCK polo shirt...and a new BATTLESTAR GALACTICA Frakkin Toaster with LED. See the demo vid below:

Keep an eye on NBCU's store blog and twitter feed for news of the SDCC item sale which begins soon.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

EJO on The Plan

Edward James Olmos spoke to Collider at the recent Saturn Awards presentations.