Friday, December 01, 2006

Slate Magazine Article

Slate Magazine has posted up an interesting article on the writing process of the show:

Captain's Log
Want to understand Battlestar Galactica? Eavesdrop on its writers.

Ronald D. Moore, the executive producer of Battlestar Galactica, has created a great show with a goofy title. The title isn't his fault, of course—he's remaking a crappy 1970s sci-fi relic—and, in any case, it lured in an audience of geeks who will watch anything with the word star in the title. A few months ago, Moore told me (and, more recently, Entertainment Weekly's Jeff Jensen) that the geeky title means a swath of Battlestar's potential audience doesn't tune in.
Whether as fan service or a hunt for those missing viewers, Moore has done Herculean labors to promote his show. He blogs and he podcasts DVD-like audio commentary tracks for every episode; die-hards painstakingly synchronize their iPods and TiVos every week. But if you really want to understand what makes Battlestar Galactica great, scroll through the iTunes list to the podcasts called "Battlestar Galactica Writers Meeting." These are four hours of unedited recordings from the writers' room, and they're fascinating, even for the uninitiated. The podcasts are like a master class in how to make good television.
For most of those four hours, writers David Weddle and Bradley Thompson are working on an episode called "Scar" (which aired Feb. 6), presenting their detailed outline of the episode to Moore, the show runner. (The process is called "breaking.") Moore made his bones working on Star Trek spinoffs, which he says had an almost totalitarian approach to breaking and story development. Trek characters weren't allowed to have flaws or conflicts, and almost every story was external—it originated as a mission from Starfleet or as a complication posed by some visitor. As a result, Trek plots don't hold up; shows from the last 20 years seem stilted and predictable. BSG is rigorous about "breaking" stories, too, but to the opposite end. Every show is internally directed and driven by character, by conflict. There are no aliens with weird foreheads or pointy ears on the Galactica—just imperfect people in extraordinary circumstances.

Full Article Here.

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