Tag Archives: television

Battlestar Galactica comes to a close – kinda

How BSG wrapped up (or didn’t) will be talked about for a good long while. And that’s perfect if you ask me. Unlike The Sopranos, a show that begged for a close that had resolution, Galactica wouldn’t have been served well if every if every question was answered. Like Dave Rogers I feel that the show attempted to hold up a mirror to life itself, which ultimately is a mystery.

Something to think about – while the survivors ultimately reject technology – there is a marriage of man’s creations and forces beyond knowledge that carry the survivors to Earth.

You tell me – didn’t you feel pain watching Galactica, itself, herself, ‘break her back’ in that final jump?

Some related reading:

io9: As Battlestar Ends, God Is In the Details

Seattle PI: Battlestar Galactica’s Ron Moore Answers Our Burning Questions

geekdad: BSG at the UN: Wow, That Actually Worked!

YouTube: BSG at UN

Salon: Goodbye, “Galactica”

guardian.co.uk: Battlestar Galactica: Better than The Wire?

NYTimes: Show About the Universe Raises Questions on Earth

rc3.org: Battlestar Galactica and Mitochondrial Eve

NYTimes on Jon Stewart

NYTimes: Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America?:

Most important, at a time when Fox, MSNBC and CNN routinely mix news and entertainment, larding their 24-hour schedules with bloviation fests and marathon coverage of sexual predators and dead celebrities, it’s been “The Daily Show” that has tenaciously tracked big, “super depressing” issues like the cherry-picking of prewar intelligence, the politicization of the Department of Justice and the efforts of the Bush White House to augment its executive power.

For that matter, the Comedy Central program — which is not above using silly sight gags and sophomoric sex jokes to get a laugh — has earned a devoted following that regards the broadcast as both the smartest, funniest show on television and a provocative and substantive source of news. “The Daily Show” resonates not only because it is wickedly funny but also because its keen sense of the absurd is perfectly attuned to an era in which cognitive dissonance has become a national epidemic. Indeed, Mr. Stewart’s frequent exclamation “Are you insane?!” seems a fitting refrain for a post-M*A*S*H, post-”Catch-22″ reality, where the surreal and outrageous have become commonplace — an era kicked off by the wacko 2000 election standoff in Florida, rocked by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and haunted by the fallout of a costly war waged on the premise of weapons of mass destruction that did not exist.

What’s the impact of time shifting on mass entertainment?

The NYTimes looks at the effects of DVRs and Web video on mass entertainment. It’s not as clear cut as you think: In the Age of TiVo and Web Video, What Is Prime Time? – New York Times: “As a result of time-shifting, the biggest shows are getting bigger and some of the smaller shows are getting negatively impacted,” the senior television executive said.

That’s so counter intuitive. In my experience, my TV watching not only increased, but Richelle and me watch a far wider variety of shows.

In 6th grade, I was Rod Serling

My 6th grade teacher, Mr. Crell, had a yearly tradition where he’d produce a video, by his students, for the entire school. A play or short story would be chosen that his class would act out and he would direct. My class got the educational experience of putting together a production of a Twilight Zone episode titled “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”.

After watching the original, we had a discussion over some of its themes, how they might apply in our lives, and they reflected on our country’s history. The take away was that fear and paranoia were dangerous, and could be used to manipulate us. I had the honor of playing Rod Serling. Honestly, I probably got the part because I didn’t want to be on camera all that much, and I spoke very clear and deliberate back then, in an effort to overcome a speech impediment.

Like Pax it was a small pleasure hearing it referenced in one of Keith Olbermann’s commentaries last week. This one, particularly impassioned, having to do with 9/11′s fifth anniversary. It fit well. Sadly.

If you haven’t watched yet, well just take a few minutes.

James Doohan, “Scotty”, Rest In Peace

Yesterday afternoon I heard the news that James Doohan had passed. My wishes to his family, his friends, and to all my Star Trek buds out there.

CNN obit and Memory Alpha’s Bio of Montgomery Scott.

Previous employers have looked at me as ummm a “miracle worker” – and ahhh – I let on my secret once to my former boss, Rajiv: applying the “Scotty Rule” to project estimations. Never, ever, ever quote the time it would take to finish a project accurately. Pad it. Double and triple it.

From the TNG episode “Relics’:

Scotty: “Starfleet captains are like children. They want everything right now and they want it their way. But the secret is to give them only what they need, not what they want.”

LaForge: “Yeah, well, I told the captain I’d have this analysis done in an hour.”

Scotty: “How long will it really take?”

LaForge: “An hour.”

Scotty: “You didn’t tell him now long it would really take, did you?”
LaForge: “Of course I did.”

Scotty: “Laddie, you got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker!”

From “Star Trek III: The Search For Spock”:

Kirk: “How long to re-fit?”

Scotty: “Eight weeks. But you don’t have eight weeks, so I’ll do it for you in two.”

Kirk: “Do you always multiply your repair estimates by a factor of four?”

Scotty: “How else to maintain my reputation as a miracle worker?”

Kirk: “Your reputation is safe with me.”

God bless and God speed.

Moore’s Deep Space Journey

Ron Moore’s Deep Space Journey – New York Times:

The original ”Battlestar” was often dismissed as a ”Star Wars” rip-off, but it was always stranger and more ambitious than that. There was an element of 70′s-era ”Chariots of the Gods” crackpot-ism to it. (”There are those who believe that life here began out there,” spoke the tweedy voice of Patrick Macnee at the opening of each episode, and proof of this common ancestry was provided weekly in the King Tut-style space helmets Apollo sported.) But that was blended in an intriguing way with late-cold-war anxiety over Soviet appeasements and an openly biblical story line, widely considered a tribute by its creator, Glen A. Larson, to the parables of his own Mormon faith. Twelve colonies of space-faring humans, survivors of slaughter driven away from their home planets, had set off through space in search of the mythical 13th tribe that, legend tells, settled a promised land called ”Earth.”

…Compared with the thriving ”Star Trek” and ”Star Wars” franchises, ”Battlestar” fandom was marginal — the province of a few diehards making Web sites and sewing Colonial-warrior costumes. But these diehards rallied around Hatch, donating the costumes and props they had fabricated or volunteering to do the computer graphics for the space battles. And as they did, Hatch became for most of them the face of the fight for the new ”Galactica.”

In 1999, at the San Diego Comic-Con, he showed his completed trailer, titled ”Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming.” He reports that it received a standing ovation. I can report that it looks remarkably professional and engaging and certainly faithful to Larson’s original story. But you will probably never see it, because Hatch spent somewhere between $20,000 and $40,000 of his own money to create a film within a franchise in which he owned absolutely no rights and which, for this reason, as well as actors’ union regulations, he can never show or distribute for money.

But that was fine. Because for Hatch, it was always about convincing the world that it made sense to bring back ”Battlestar.” And in fact, soon Universal would indeed be relaunching the Galactica — although Richard Hatch would not be on board.

…Moore said he would do it, but he wanted to make some changes. After numerous meetings and a full script treatment, he wrote a two-page memo that laid out the basic tenets of what the new ”Battlestar Galactica” would eventually become. ”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,” it began. ”Call it ‘naturalistic science fiction.”’ There would be no time travel or parallel universes or cute robot dogs. There would not be ”photon torpedoes” but instead nuclear missiles, because nukes are real and thus are frightening.

”To this day,” Eick says, ”I don’t think either of us could have anticipated how valuable the memo would be.” It would repair everything that had been worn down to convention in a genre Moore had once loved. But ”Battlestar” would be more than just an opportunity to do ”Voyager” correctly.

”When I watched the original pilot,” Moore says, ”I knew that if you did ‘Battlestar Galactica’ again, the audience is going to feel a resonance with what happened on 9/11. That’s going to touch a chord whether we want it to or not. And it felt like there was an obligation to that. To tell it truthfully as best we can through this prism.” In the miniseries Moore wrote to introduce the new ”Battlestar,” the echoes of the war on terror were unapologetic and frequently harrowing: what happens when an advanced, comfortable, secular democracy endures a devastating attack by an old enemy that it literally created (which enemy, in Moore’s version, also happens to be religious fanaticism)?