Galactica at 10

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    What’s really amazing is that the thing isn’t in endless reruns. It’s kinda like Babylon 5 in that regard. [LINK]

    Despite the fact that “Battlestar Galactica” won a loyal following and a great deal of acclaim (including a Peabody Award), most networks aren’t eager to do anything ambitious or adventurous with science fiction premises. That’s frustrating, given that the events that take place on other worlds and in other galaxies, as Moore notes, give creators a bit of license when it comes to telling challenging tales about the way life is lived here and now.

    “That’s still my objection to a lot of science fiction [on TV] — it doesn’t take advantage of” the metaphorical possibilities of the genre, Moore said. “Science fiction programming doesn’t really take advantage of the fact that we get a free pass on commentary, and you can really talk about deep, powerful things and very political things. And the same with the spiritual component. Television can’t deal with anything spiritual anymore unless it’s like ‘Once Upon A Time,’ when it’s witchcraft or magic, which doesn’t exist in any kind of real way for most people. So because it’s fantasy, it gets a pass. ‘Oh yeah, they can be spiritual people about made-up stuff and incantations and waving wands and spells and all that, we’re perfectly fine with that.’ But any kind of actual religion, any kind of actual spirituality or dealing with the philosophical questions — [the networks] just get all weird about it.”

    There has been one big change since “Battlestar Galactica” was starting out: Serialization, which had been an anathema to most network executives, is now valued and sought after. But there’s a flip side to that, Moore said: Executives want writers to walk into pitch meetings with several years’ worth of storytelling already worked out in advance.

    “They’re starting to sort of talk themselves into believing that if you walk in and you’ve got it all worked out in advance, that’s the ticket to success,” Moore said. “And the truth is, ‘Lost’ and ‘Battlestar’ and shows like that — we kind of made it up as we went along, and you discover things, you improve things, you make corrections … Networks, in classic network fashion, are talking themselves into believing, ‘Well, if we can just get them to tell us everything at the beginning,'” then a show will succeed.

    i thought this was interesting too:

    “I know Damon Lindelof casually, and the day after the ‘Lost’ finale aired, I sent him an email just saying, ‘Okay, here’s what it is. Today sucks because it was all yesterday and it’s all over and it’s all this press — it’s all this stuff. But the day after it’s done, there’s just this hole, and it just hurts because it’s gone. And you’re just grappling with the fact that for so long the show ‘is,’ and suddenly the show ‘was.'”

    It’s an interesting article, apparently drawn from a much larger interview.

    I’ve mixed feelings about serialization – I think at this point, it’s gone from being an experiment (Babylon 5, later Buffy) to being a flavor-of-the-week that’s been just about done to death. The studios and showmakers are playing a longer game: serialize it so it compels people to buy the show on DVD or buy the entire season on iTunes – and I’m not sure it even necessarily benefits every show to which it’s applied.

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    Steve W
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    There’s nothing inherently wrong with serialization… don’t you wish the people running the show Heroes had any kind of a game plan thought out? I’d wager that they’re looking at shows like Breaking Bad, that had an end game for their story and it sucked in the viewers and shoveled in the awards. But that was because it was on cable where they didn’t have a bunch of dickhead network executives screwing with the formula or firing the writing staff and showrunner if the ratings briefly drop. They could tell their story without corporate roadblocks getting in the way.

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