Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Ron Moore

‘Virtuality’ Lives?

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Virtuality lives?

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July 23, 2009 at 11:29 pm

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It sounds as though Rob Moore’s Battlestar followup, Virtuality, is dead on arrival, which is really too bad, because the pilot (first twelve minutes / whole episode) was actually fairly promising. (The premise is intriguing, from the eco-apocalypse backstory to the overarching reality-TV conceit—though there are worrying signs of BSG-style mysticism already peaking through.) Of course, there’s a “Save Virtuality” web campaign, but that and widespread, very positive reviews will get you exactly nothing. Maybe Sci-Fi Channel SyFy will come through, but I wouldn’t hold your breath…

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July 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Nighttime Links

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Nightime links.

* Change we can believe in: ‘Obama Administration Set to Fire Its First Gay Military Linguist.’ Obama’s lack of leadership on gay issues, DADT first and foremost, is really startling—especially given that a majority of Americans already believe DADT should be repealed.

* At one point news of a new Ron Moore sci-fi pilot would have gotten me very excited; I was so young, once. Airlock Alpha says Virtuality most likely won’t make it to series.

* Lots of things have been said about A-Rod, but this pitch tipping thing seems like a big, big deal if true. Black Sox scandal big.

* The Complete Book of Space Travel.

* As any nerd can tell you, there’s a new Star Trek movie opening this weekend. io9 has your basic primer, while Slate prefers a history of the Klingon language. If you’re looking to bone up on Trek, Memory Alpha might be your best bet.

* The MPAA thinks educators shouldn’t get a DMCA exemption to use decryption software to show clips in class. Instead, they should use a camcorder to tape the clip off the TV. What could be more easy?

In the words of media literacy researcher Martine Courant Rife, that’s like typing up a quote from a book, taking it outside, chiseling the words in a rock, photographing the rock, scanning the photo, and running OCR on it. And for what?

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May 8, 2009 at 2:08 am

"150,000 Years Later"

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Has there ever been a show that misunderstood itself as badly as Battlestar Galactica? As regrettable as the last few seasons have been, I confess I was completely unprepared for the sheer awfulness of this finale. I think I pissed off a few people on Twitter with my up-to-the-minute spoiler-laden despair, so I don’t want to repeat that mistake here—but suffice it to say I can’t think of a television finale less successful than this one.

I wrote not that long ago that

All that said, I think it’s too early to turn Battlestar into Star Wars; the reputation of the series will live or die in what happens in these next few episodes and it could still go either way. Melodrama aside—and yes there was a lot of it last night—I think there are reasons to believe.

Well, now we know. Frak it all.

Put its utter randomness, offensively easy a-wizard-did-it mysticism, and excess sentimentality aside. Battlestar Galactica in its final moments actually seems to view itself as some sort of prophetic warning about the dangers of artificial intelligence. Delivered by angels. It’s actually that bad.

What a colossal disappointment. Bad, bad, bad.

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March 21, 2009 at 3:02 am

On The ‘Who’s The Final Cylon?’ Hour

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Twitter gives me access to instant commentary on things from some of my regular readers, which gave me a head’s up about what to expect for last’s night return of Battlestar Galactica, which I watched this afternoon. (Catch up on BSG minutiae here. Get Steve Benen’s take on politics and BSG here.)

Bill wrote: BSG=meh. more melodrama. I won’t be sad to see it go.

And Fred wrote: I didn’t even know the season premiere of Battlestar Galactica was tonight. Man, my enthusiasm for that show is waning.

It’s absolutely true that Battlestar Galactica is a far worse show than it was in its first season, when it was easily one of the best science fiction series ever aired. Ron Moore let the show get away from him in a few senses:

* He attempted to “humanize” the Cylons without thinking through “cylonicity,” turning the series’s main antagonists into confused and jumbled mush;
* he got so caught up in trying to fool the audience that he forgot to tell an intelligible, coherent story;
* he fell in love with poorly thought-out cliffhangers;
* he thinks the audience cares about the sexual relationships of these characters far more than most actually do;
* he left himself far too many Secret Cylons (12!) to get through in too little time, unnecessarily turning the final season and a half of the show into Who’s The Final Cylon? Hour;
* and this is the worst crime, encompassing all the others, the one that cuts down so many great series: he failed to plan ahead.

All that said, I think it’s too early to turn Battlestar into Star Wars; the reputation of the series will live or die in what happens in these next few episodes and it could still go either way. Melodrama aside—and yes there was a lot of it last night—I think there are reasons to believe. The Final Cylon mystery has finally been resolved, unless it turns out that either Tigh is wrong about Ellen or else the forums are right and Cylon Ellen is actually an aged version of either Kara or Number Six.

And with that mystery aside and Earth apparently discovered, destroyed, and rejected, the show appears to be setting its sights on the wonderful silent mystery that has sustained it all these years—really, a mystery about narrative continuity itself—and which drove so much of the initial interest in the show: “All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.” The cyclical nature of history in this universe is more than just a metajoke about the existence of the original series—the epic size and scope of the universe gave the show an expansive depth that it almost completely squandered in the hermetic middle seasons. If these final episodes are to be about history, and History, alongside everything else, that’s very promising.

For a time these teases helped make Battlestar Galactica seem somehow bigger than itself, and with the final season returning to that place I’m hopeful it can regain some of that early luster. Earth, and everything after, should help—the show hasn’t felt this utterly desolute since 33. I haven’t lost hope for BSG, and god knows I’m usually the first one off the bus. So sit tight: I think there’s still a chance for Moore to pull this thing off, if he does everything right, and if this last half-season is better than good.

Last night’s episode was the capper of the first season, made immediately following the start of the writers’ strike. In that sense it’s sui generis, for good and for bad, with the real last season starting next week…

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January 17, 2009 at 9:31 pm

"Oh, well it kind of had to be that person."

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Battlestar’s Ron Moor has an interview with AMC displaying some nice self-awareness about the extent to which the Final Cylon plot has taken over (and sort of ruined) his show.

Q: The build-up to the final Cylon has been unprecedented. How is the revelation not going to be a letdown?

A: It will never be as powerful as the build-up. I resigned myself to that a long time ago. The “Who Shot JR” of it all is an instructive lesson: No matter who it is, it’s still going to be a bit of a letdown. But I decided that precisely because of that, it wasn’t going to be in the final episode. I didn’t want that to become the entire series. I’m sure there will be a variety of reactions. Some people will love it, some people will hate it. But I think when you see how the revelation fits into the overall mythology of the show, when all the questions are answered by the end, then it’ll make sense and you’ll think, “Oh, well it kind of had to be that person.”

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December 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm

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December 14, 2008 at 5:31 am

Is Billy the Final Cylon?

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For a long time now I’ve ranked Billy as my top choice for the Final Cylon on Battlestar Galactica on the grounds that it would be the writers’ only chance to rectify what was surely one of their worst-handled plotlines. Now I see that Ron Moore recently approached actor Paul Campbell about reprising his role as Billy—not as the final Cylon but rather as a dream figure in Roslin’s subconscious (a bit from the penultimate episode of the season which ultimately went to Elosha). If the info on io9 is accurate, it seems pretty likely that Billy isn’t the Final Cylon, which means I’m now laying all my chits on Cally.

And while we’re on the subject, Jane Espenson should really try keeping this under her hat:

When Campbell’s lack of availability changed that plan, writer Jane Espenson detailed the amount of work that created to fix the script:

In a hallmark of what I consider really fine writing, I just did a global search and replace on the name. I did not change the lines. The only thing I did… I added ‘Cue the celestial trumpets.’ That one phrase that Elosha has was all I did to change it.

As Moore says in response, “There you go. That’s how finely detailed this stuff is.”

It’s further worth noting that of course the actual identity of the Final Cylon really doesn’t matter in any thematic sense, and indeed the revelation probably won’t make any narrative sense at all. But I find it to be a really intriguing problem of television production—after years of build-up, and especially after last year’s four-for-one season finale, how could this last plot twist ever be remotely satisfying? I must admit I’m fascinated by the problem the BSG writers have created for themselves, and I’m quite interested to see how they decide to try and solve it.

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July 1, 2008 at 12:30 am