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Battlestar Galactica Is Dead – Long Live Caprica


With Battlestar Galactica having reached the end of its journey on Friday (TV movie The Plan notwithstanding) the Caprica publicity machine is really shifting into high gear.

Back in January, the Choob featured an early trailer for and a scene from the pilot episode of the drama.

Now the trailers and previews are coming thick and fast, ahead of the release of an extended version of the pilot episode on DVD on April 21 in the US (a UK release is yet to be confirmed). Based on the pilot, the Sci Fi Channel in the US (which is in the process of rebranding itself as Syfy) has ordered a full 20 episode season, which will begin airing early next year.

Caprica is set 50 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica. It’s billed as more of a family drama and will primarily tell the story of the creation of the technology that spawns the Cylons. It is viewed through the eyes of two families thrown together through a shared tragedy, resulting from a terrorist atrocity, that sets in motion a chain of events that will lead ultimately to the creation of the Cylons and the destruction of Caprica and the rest of the 12 Colonies.

Wealthy industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) is one of the two main characters. The other is civil liberties lawyer Joseph Adama (played by former NYPD Blue and Jericho star Esai Morales), the father of future Battlestar Galactica commander William Adama.

Here is the latest trailer for the pilot episode:

This next video is a little featurette that includes some new clips plus brief interview snippets from creators/executive producers Ronald D Moore and David Eick and stars Morales and Paula Malcomson, who you might recognise from her role as Trixie in Deadwood and who plays Greystone’s wife Amanda in Caprica.

And finally, here’s another scene from the pilot:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

 

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When Worlds Collide: Battlestar Galactica Lands At The United Nations – And Some Finale Thoughts


[Don’t worry, there are no spoilers for the final episode of Battlestar Galactica in this post.]

The last-ever episode of Battlestar Galactica was broadcast in the US on Friday night. I couldn’t let this sad occasion – the end of what what has been one of the best-written, most intelligent and thought-provoking television dramas ever made –  pass unobserved. I’ll talk in more detail about it after the finale airs in the UK on Tuesday.

For now, I’ll only note that the last episode left me feeling very conflicted. In terms of wrapping up the characters’ individual stories, on the whole, I thought it did a reasonable job in giving us some sort of closure.

In terms of a convincing end to this amazing five-year journey, and satisfying answers to some of the questions raised by the show’s mythology – I’m not so sure.

Don’t get me wrong, as series finales go, it was one of the better ones. I’m just not sure that the destination quite lived up to the journey. But like I said, more about that later, after everyone in the UK has had a chance to see it for themselves.

For now, to commemorate the final episode, I really wanted to post Adama’s speech from the mini-series that kicked off the new Battlestar Galactica story, the “So say we all!” speech. But I couldn’t find it anywhere online – I think the Sci-Fi channel lawyers have been busy keeping clips of the show off the internet (incidentally, while copyright protection is obviously important for TV broadcasters, such a draconian approach is counter-productive, in my opinion, a subject I will expand upon at a later date). You can find a short clip of the scene in question here on the channel’s own website but, unfortunately, I can’t embed it here.

I wanted to post it not only because it is a great scene but because its impact crossed over into the real world a few days ago.

You may be aware that last week, series stars Edward James Olmos (right), who played Admiral William Adama, and Mary McDonnell, the show’s feisty President Laura Roslin, and creators/executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick were guests of honour at a special event hosted by the Economic and Social Council Chamber of the United Nations in New York.

It was a special two-hour retrospective of Battlestar Galactica, during which many of the contemporary social and political issues raised by the show were discussed. You can see a BBC news report of the event here.

Science fiction is often at its best when it is used as a prism through which the authors observe and comment on the human condition – and Battlestar Galactica took that to new heights, certainly in terms of TV sci-fi. It took a long, hard and at times painful look at what it means to be human, tackling such subjects as terrorism, torture, the relationship between politics and religion, the use of military might to enforce political will, human rights and much, much more.

Many of these subjects were explored during the UN session, the full two-hour video of which can be found here (it’s in RealPlayer format).

However, the session really came to life with the following speech by Admiral Ada-, I mean Edward James Olmos, when he reprised his “So say we all” Galactica speech to make an impassioned plea for an end to racial divisions. And, predictably, the equally passionate audience responded just as you might expect.

Say what you like about Battlestar Galactica– and the arguable populist and superficial opportunism the UN has been accused of for hosting this event just days before the final episode of the show aired – there are few TV shows through the years that have transcended their entertainment roots to earn such real-world relevance and legitimacy. Narrow the field to sci-fi TV shows and, I think, you are looking at a club with a single member.

Of course, although Battlestar Galactica is finished as a weekly show, the story isn’t quite over just yet. Later this year, we have one final hurrah in the shape of The Plan, a TV movie – directed by Olmos – that wraps up the story of the Cylons’ original plan that was mentioned in the opening credits of the early seasons of the show but then was mysteriously dropped.

And Caprica (above), a prequel set 50 years before Battlestar Galactica and dealing primarily with the creation of the Cylons, is due to begin early next year, with the pilot episode out on DVD next month. It promises to continue the trend of examining our own society through the Galactica universe, with Caprica depicted as a society very similar to our own, with technology, consumerism, greed and decadence running out of control.

The show sounds intruguing and I’m really looking forward to it – but will the Galactica audience be so attracted to a planet-bound show with no space battles or killer robots? Time will tell.

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Battlestar Galactica Spin-Off Caprica’s DVD Details Revealed


As previously announced, the pilot episode for Caprica, the spin-off/prequel to the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, is out on DVD in the US on April 21. A UK release has yet to be announced.

It won’t air on TV until early next year, when the full 20-episode season begins.

We already knew that the DVD release would feature an unrated, uncut, extended version of the two-hour pilot.

Now Sci-Fi Wire has revealed details of the extras, plus the DVD artwork and a few new stills.

The extras on the DVD include behind-the scenes features on the creation of the show, including:

  • A commentary track featuring director Jeffrey Reiner and executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick.
  • Deleted Scenes.
  • Video blogs.
  • Featurettes: What The Frak Is Caprica?, The Director’s Process, The V Club and The Birth Of A Cylon.

Caprica is set 50 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica.

It’s billed as more of a family drama and will primarily tell the story of the creation of the Cylons, as seen through the eyes of two men thrown together through a shared tragedy – wealthy industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), father of Battlestar Galactica’s commander William Adama.

Filming begins on the remaining 18 episodes of the show’s first season during the summer. It is expected to air early next year. Battlestar Galactica is currently airing the final batch of episodes of its fourth and final season.

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Caprica To Debut On DVD


Caprica, the Battlestar Galactica spin-off/prequel will debut on DVD in April, eight months before it is due to start airing in the US on the Sci Fi Channel.

A limited edition, extended, uncut version of the two-hour pilot will go on sale in the US on April 21.  The DVD will also include bonus features that take viewers behind the scenes of the show’s creation.

Caprica is set 50 years before the events of Battlestar Galactica. It’s billed as more of a family drama and will primarily tell the story of the creation of the Cylons, as seen through the eyes of two men thrown together through a shared tragedy – wealthy industrialist Daniel Graystone (Eric Stoltz) and Joseph Adama (Esai Morales), father of Battlestar Galactica’s commander William Adama.

Filming begins on the remaining 18 episodes of the show’s first season during the summer. It is expected to air early next year. Battlestar Galactica is currently airing the final batch of episodes of its fourth and final season.

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The Show WILL Go On…


So far, we’ve looked at the TV shows that have already been cancelled this season and the ones with their future hanging in the balance.

So to round off our mid-season round-up, here’s some better news for the new year, as we take a look at the TV shows that have a brighter future (at least for now).

Mad Men (AMC): Possibly the finest TV show currently in production, this character-led drama about advertising executives in early-60s new York simply oozes quality. Series creator and main writer Matthew Weiner has said that the show will run for five seasons (network permitting) and cover 10 years in the lives of the characters.

Season two ended its run earlier this year, with ratings that grew from season one (almost doubled, in fact). AMC have ordered a third season – however Weiner reportedly has been playing hardball, looking for a pay rise to reflect the critical and ratings success of the show, and whether he will still be in charge when it returns is somewhat unclear.

Dexter (Showtime): Superior drama, with a vein of dark humour running through it, starring Six Feet Under’s Michael C Hall as a serial killer who works a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami police department. Season three recently ended its run and the network has committed to at least two further seasons, of 12 episodes each.

Caprica (SciFi): This prequel to the highly acclaimed Battlestar Galactica re-imagining was in development hell for a long time and looked doomed but the SciFi network in the US has finally given the green light to the show after a pilot episode was made. It’s unlikely to hit our screens until 2010, however.

Billed as more of a family drama than a space opera, Caprica is set 51 years before the Cylon attack that kicked off the Battlestar Galactica story and tells the story of two families (one of them led by the father of future BSG commander William Adama and grandfather 0f Apollo) and their role in the creation of the Cylons.

Survivors (BBC): The remake/re-imagining of the classic 1970s British show – created by Terry Nation (the man who created Blake’s 7– The Cathode Ray Choob’s all-time favourite TV show – and Doctor Who‘s deadliest foes, the Daleks) – about the survivors of a plague that wipes out 99.9% of the human race has been renewed for a second 6-part season.

Burn Notice (USA): This Miami-set tongue-in-cheek drama, about a spy inexplicably cast adrift by his bosses and left to fend for himself, has earned a 16-episode third-season order from the USA network.

Fringe (Fox): The new show from Lost/Alias’s JJ Abrams, about an FBI agent who teams up with a brilliant but mentally unstable and amoral scientist and his estranged son to investigate crimes involving cutting-edge fringe science (concepts that blur the boundary between science fact and science fiction,such as telepathy, levitation, reanimation, genetic mutation), which seem to be part of a wider global conspiracy.

Solid, if unremarkable, viewing figures ensured that the show was picked up for a full 22-episode season order early on in its run.

Sanctuary (SciFi): Endearingly old-fashioned storytelling and cost-cutting use of green-screen technologyto digitally create the locations are the trademarks of this show, which began life as a series of webisodes broadcast over the internet before being picked up by the American SciFi TV network.

Stargate SG1’s Amanda Tapping stars as the enigmatic, long-lived English doctor Helen Magnus, who is in charge of the titular sanctuary that seeks out monsters, freaks and other “abnormals” (some human, some not) to either aid or imprison them depending on how hostile or dangerous they are.

It’s not a flashy or very sophisticated (in terms of writing) show – in many ways it harks back to simpler times when story-telling on TV did not have to be so cynical – but it’s hard to dislike and Tapping’s character makes for a enthralling lead.

SciFi were happy enough with it to order a second 13-episode season.

Life On Mars (ABC): US remake of the acclaimed BBC original about a present day police officer who has an accident and wakes up in the 1970s. After a dismal pilot version (filmed in Los Angeles and set in Chicago), a radical overhaul saw most of the cast replaced (with Harvey Keitel replacing Colm Meaney as Gene Hunt and The Sopranos’ Michael Imperioli brought in) and the action (and filming) switched to New York.

The new pilot was a huge improvement. The ongoing series has closely closely followed the plots and story arc of the UK version but with hints that the underlying mythology (and the explanation for Sam Tyler’s time-shift) may be very different to what was ultimately revealed in the BBC show.

The initial 13-episode order has been increased by four and when the show returns from the festive break, it will move from Thursday nights to Wednesdays, paired up with the reinvigorated Lost, which network chiefs at ABC hopes will help boost Life On Mars’ mediocre ratings. If the strategy works, a second season could be on the cards.

True Blood (HBO): Six Feet Under creator Alan Ball reunited with HBO for this series, based on a series of books, about a telepathic waitress (Anna Paquin) who falls in love with a vampire (the show is set in Louisiana in contemporary America, where vampires have come out of closet and co-exist, somewhat uneasily, with humans).

Ratings were very poor to begin with but grew steadily during the 12-episode first season, and the show is now one of HBO’s biggest ratings-grabbers. A second season has been ordered.

Kath & Kim (NBC): Another US remake, this time of the superior Aussie original. It hasn’t been the total disaster you might expect if you are a fan of the Australian show. However, the harder edges of the original have been softened somewhat for the American audience and casting the relatively slim, beautiful Selma Blair as Kim does seem to miss the point of the character somewhat. In any case, ratings, though slightly mediocre, were good enough for NBC to up the order fr the season from the initial  13 episodes to a full 22. Whether the show will return for a second season remains to be seen.

Worst Week (CBS): Yet more US remake-ry, this time of the BBC comedy The Worst Week Of My Life, about an accident-prone groom-to-be. Middling ratings but CBS ordered an extra three episodes (for a total of 16) and this remains a possibility for a second season.

Sons of Anarchy (F/X): Drama about a gang of outlaw bikers, starring Hellboy‘s Ron Perlman. First season has completed its
13-episode run and a second has been ordered.

Samantha Who? (ABC): Somewhat mediocre sitcom starring former Married With Children babe Christina Applegate as a woman who gets hit by a car, loses her memory and discovers that she wasn’t a very nice person before the accident. ABC has ordered an additional seven episodes for season 2, bringing the total to 20.

Californication (Showtime): David Duchovny vehicle about a charming but troubled writer, has been renewed for a third season.

Entourage (HBO): A sixth season has been ordered.

The Mentalist (CBS): Exceptionally high viewing figures for this crime drama – about a former phony psychic who now uses his brilliant powers of observation to help the cops solve crimes – won it an early full-season pick-up and a second season looks certain.

Psych (USA): A fourth season has been ordered of this comedy drama, which is also about a fake psychic who helps the police.

Gary Unmarried (CBS): The new Jay Mohr comedy received an order for an additional seven episodes (plus two further scripts) taking it to at least 20 episodes in total.

My Boys (TBS): Comedy about a female sports writer in Chicago, and the men in her life. Nine-episode third season has been ordered.

Medium (NBC): Season five of the supernatural crime drama, starring Patricia Arquette, gets an extra six episodes, for a total of 19.

Monk (USA): The “dramedy” about an obsessive-compulsive private detective is to get an eighth and final season.

Privileged (CW): Drama about a wannabe journalist who ends up as a tutor for spoilt rich kids. The CW network ordered an extra 5 episodes, bringing season one up to 18 in all.

90210 (CW): The updated follow-up to 90s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 has been a big ratings hit for the CW network, who ordered a full 22-episode season after only three episodes had aired.

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