Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 SciFi Upfronts

This in from TV Squad

The 2008 Sci Fi Channel Upfront: A report

Posted Mar 19th 2008 12:20AM by Brad Trechak

Battlestar Galactica castI have just got back from the Sci Fi Channel's 2008 Upfront and the new year looks very exciting. Upon arrival, the press was treated to an interview with the cast of Battlestar Galactica along with co-producers Ronald Moore and David Eick. They were introduced onstage by Mark Stern, the Sci Fi Channel's executive vice president of original programming.

A few announcements were made regarding the upcoming season throughout the night. I tried to keep things spoiler-free, but stuff might leak through. You have been warned.

* The new season begins April 4th, if you didn't already know.
* A streaming version of the season premiere will be available on that day at noon if you can't wait until that night.
* This season will have its own set of webisodes available online (similar to last season), probably between the two sets of 10 episodes.
* The prequel series Caprica has been given the greenlight for a backdoor pilot, which will be filmed this spring and shown sometime in the fall.

During the Q and A, a few more tidbits were revealed, most of it from the co-producers. Ronald Moore stated that the strike stopped production of the show at the 11th episode. He also stated that he will be directing the first show to return after the break. He wasn't sure exactly when the final ten episodes would be aired. He said it might be the fall or as late as January 2009.

He and David Eick also stated that when developing the show, they try to let the show's storylines progress naturally and try not to do a "ripped from the headlines" routine, despite the topical nature of the show. Moore also mentioned that he tended to think about the storyline "about ten episodes ahead".

When asked if the show would move to a potential movie franchise, Moore didn't think so. He described it as more of an ensemble television piece that wouldn't translate well to the theater (he gave the example of all the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies being mostly about Picard and Data).

When asked about the defining moments of their character, Katee Sackhoff (Kara "Starbuck" Thrace) stated that for her it was in the pilot when Tigh calls her a chicken and she hit him as a result.

Michael Hogan (Saul Tigh) was asked if learning he was a Cylon changed the way he approached the character. He replied that it didn't really change his definition of the character. Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol), when asked the same question, said that he made a conscious decision on how to approach the fact that his character was a Cylon. Katee Sackoff then reiterated a lesson she learned about acting: "Don't make choices. Just say the words."

There was a funny moment when the entire cast was asked if anybody was hoping to be a Cylon that wasn't. They answered with a resounding "no". Michael Hogan even joked that in the beginning of the show he said "I'm glad I'm not a Cylon". Olmos later said "In my contract: no Cylon."

Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin) said a few words about her character. She came across as very deep and very passionate about her craft.

When asked if the declining dollar would change the filming location of Caprica, the answer was "no". Caprica would be filmed in Vancouver just as Battlestar Galactica is now.

(I did get to ask a question at this point. I asked if there would be any character-defining flashbacks in the fourth season as there were in Razor. The answer was a negative.)

When asked if the show would be experimenting with any other types of new content, one of the cast joked and said "Smellovision".

Ronald Moore was asked which writers influenced his career. He answered Michael Pillar from Star Trek: The Next Generation, from whom he learned structure, Ira Stephen Behr of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, from whom he learned character, dialogue and finding the truth behind the character and Jason Katims from Roswell, where he learned how to run a show "without being an asshole".

Moore also defined the prequel series as a science-fiction version of Dallas.

The press conference was wrapping up at this stage. I can only reiterate Edward James Olmos (William Adama) when he said "It's been a hell of a ride".

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