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April 19 2007

(SPOILER) Interview with Ronald D. Moore. Spoilers for Battlestar Galactica, toward the end it briefly mentions Joss and Buffy the Vampire Slayer living on in comics.

The fantastic Battlestar Galactica also happens to be one of Joss' favorite shows. :)

And Jane Espenson is a staff writer now...I think.

BTW, how spoilery?? Like, Apollo stubs his toe next season, or like Starbuck is pregnant with Gaeta's baby...
I posted this over on The White/DotOrg, but it didn't occur to me it would fit here on The Black. I guess since it mentions Joss/Buffy Season Eight it works. :)

As for spoilers...? Not so much. Obviously if you haven't seen the Season Three finale then you have no business reading post-finale interviews with the creators. But other than that it's just vague suggestions of what RDM might like to do thematically in Season Four. Nothing major.
Yeah, I don't think there needs to be a spoiler tag - because everything he spoils has already aired. Although given the major events of the last few episodes of season three, definitely avoid if you haven't seen them all!

I love the direction the show is heading and if - as speculated - season four is the final year, I will be okay with that. I want this show to finish off in a satisfying way.
It looks like it will be. Fine by me. They look like they're getting ready to go out on their own terms and considering the show's shaky Nielsen ratings, it's good to go now rather than end the 4th season dubiously with the prospects of a 5th this unsure.

All of S2 and S3's problems stemmed from the standalones being horrendous (S2) or simply dropping the ball on the main story (S3; though I actually liked the standalones in 3 on their own merits). One final, 20 episode, highly serialized season to close out the series sounds fine by me.
I love BSG but I found the characters really inconsistent in season 3. I found myself saying things like - "But Laura wouldn't do that." That makes it hard for me to stay emotionally invested in the show. I think this kind of thing was one of Buffy's strongest points. Even when characters evolved, their changes felt real.

That said, I'm excited to see where season 4 goes and think it's great that Jane Espenson has joined the staff.
I love BSG but I found the characters really inconsistent in season 3. I found myself saying things like - "But Laura wouldn't do that."

Laura wouldn't do it or you didn't think Laura would do it? Maybe you were just surprised at the lengths some of these characters will go to further their agendas. I like the fact that these characters are flawed, work in the grey area and aren't always nice. I'd always expect the leader in a SF series to be above reproach, but not here - Roslin and Admiral Adama have done some very dubious things throughout the entire series.

I was surprised, for instance, that Laura fixed the election in Season Two - but once it happened, it was part of her character. And it's not like her antipathy toward Baltar wasn't there from the very beginning, so that made her motives clear to me - even if it was the wrong way to go about things.

Actually, another thing I like about the series is the implication that a moral code is relative - that their situation cannot be compared to anything else. Lee's speech in the season three finale showed that, despite numerous thematic links to our post-9/11 world, their situation is much more desperate and in need of an approach that doesn't always work within the laws establish on the Twelve Colonies, nor within the morality of the characters involved when they lived on those worlds. And it's in no way completely analogous to any situation in our real world - despite the existence of "All Along the Watchtower"!

One final, 20 episode, highly serialized season to close out the series sounds fine by me.

Yes, Ryan-RB - exactly. And it looks like that's what RDM is planning. Thank the gods!
I thought of posting this a couple days ago, but thought the Joss connection was a little thin. Whatever.

I really hope next season isn't the last, and (just from what I've heard on recent podcasts), I do think they may be planning to stick it out for one more. I just don't think the show has done everything it can yet. I think there are a lot of secondary characters who haven't had enough time to fully develop (Dualla, Gaeta, Anders, etc.), and I think there are many plot avenues open to them before they finally do wrap the show up. I just feel that, if it ended in 20 episodes, the universe would be incomplete.

I seem to be the only BSG fan in the world who loves the standalone eps (except the ones that suck). I've always felt they are the "glue" that holds the Galactica universe together. Arc episodes are great because, well, stuff happens. But it's only in the standalone episodes that we get to see who the characters are when stuff isn't happening, and I think that is equally important.

There's also the fact that BSG is the first show I've ever watched that I have never missed an episode of. Buffy and Angel I picked up in the middle, so after the finale I always had other seasons to go back to. But with BSG, when it's over, it is completely over. I would like to delay this inevitability as long as possible :).
It must be hard to plan a season if you don't know if it will be your last. I mean, unlike Buffy or Angel, BSG is REALLY based on an overall, multi-season arc, with the goal of finding earth. If you resolve that in S4 and then get renewed, will S5 feel a bit anti-climactic? Then again, if you plan for a S5 and get canned after S4...we'll always wonder about Earth...I don't envy those folks!
Hey Resolute, you're not the only fan who loves the stand-alone (or "filler") episodes. I quite agree with you about them being the glue holding the universe together. I think of them as the mortar between the bricks of the mythology episodes. The characters on this series are so well realized, so alive, and the universe they inhabit so interesting and well developed, that the stand-alone episodes never feel wasted to me. Any moment I get to share with these people in this world is good by me.

However, I'm afraid I do disagree with you on the idea of continuing past this next season. I mean IF the story really does naturally need to stretch into a fifth season, and if it can be done without risking the network shutting them down in the middle of a story, then cool. But I suspect the story RDM has in mind will be wrapped up by the end of Season Four, and I doubt that SCI-FI will resist adding anything beyond that.

But who knows? Stranger things have happened...
Good interview. I wasn't aware that he was surprised by how popular his podcasts are with the fans. I really enjoy them and it's admirable for a series creator to share his thoughts with the audience in such a matter.

I also suspect that season four will be the final for the series. If you listen to the Frak Party Q&A podcast around the 39 minute mark, Ron discusses that he has the end in sight and he wouldn't want to drag the story out just to do another season. Of course, he doesn't say whether it will be season four or five, but reading between the lines....

And that would be fine by me. I adore this show and would much rather see it end in a satisfying fourth season conclusion than seeing the plotline get strung out just to gain a couple more seasons. They tried that with the "The X-Files" and we know how that went.

Guess time will tell. Now, about this ten month gap between seasons, that's another issue;)
Hi Crossoverman, I agree with you about enjoying the gray area. I actually find it hard to believe that Roslin wanted to give Baltar a trial rather than throwing him out the nearest airlock. I enjoy her because she's such an unusual "good guy" and I felt like the trial was out of character. As another example, I never know what side Tom Zarek's going to take.

I too hope they have a definitive timeline to close the series out and answer the questions they want to answer. I think it's very hard to plan something so serialized otherwise.
I'm trying to think of a US show that was supposed to last only four seasons (without getting cancelled or forced to a halt by network inteference). Could Battlestar Galactica be the first?
Well, Babylon 5 was supposed to go for 5 seasons, but only the first 4 were good...
Resolute, I'm right there with you on hoping that season four wont be the last. I haven't been this emotionally attached to a show since BtS & it's just going to break my heart when it ends. There are so many stories left in mid-arc, I don't see how only one more season could possibly do justice to all the rich territory still there to be mined. Um, too OT? Well BtS got seven seasons, AtS got five (we wont mention Firefly .... we will speak of it no more:)
BTW I only semi-agree about Babylon5. Season 5 was for the most part disappointing but it was still better than any other SciFi show on TV & the final few episodes IMO made up for almost everything else. Talk about a "big picture view" of the universe!
If this isn't too terribly OT, am I the only one who thinks that the title of the last ep of Firefly was Joss giving a tip of the hat to B5? :)
I'm trying to think of a US show that was supposed to last only four seasons (without getting cancelled or forced to a halt by network inteference). Could Battlestar Galactica be the first?

Well, Simon, RDM has often said he thought five seasons would be perfect, but it seems like he might have found a way to use a full fourth season to do what he wants to get to the ending he has in his mind. So I expect that there won't be any filler and all twenty episodes of season four will build toward the conclusion.

It seems unlikely that Sci-Fi would renew the show if RDM writes this as the final year - it doesn't seem like a series they want to keep flogging nor is it that high rating that Sci-Fi would need to keep it.
In the last two or three years I've noticed a strange new trend in the comments made by fans of science fiction/cult series. A sort of "let's end this show before they end it for us" attitude.

I get why. It's no secret that far too many incredible shows have ended suddenly and without decent closure. Other than our own Firefly and Angel you have the likes of Tru Calling, Dark Angel, Wonderfalls and other recent gems, going back to shows like Earth2, Space: Above and Beyond, American Gothic. The list is endless. It now seems to have reached the point where we are so convinced of the idea that a show will end before it is supposed to that we are in a race to the finish line (yep, a Drive reference) to get the story told before the network can step in and bring the axe down.

So, as said, I do get why we are starting to think this way but in some ways it seems to be ruining the enjoyment of just loving a show and wanting it around for as long as possible. Not so long ago, if a show was going to end after it's fourth year it would have been seen as being way too soon. Shows that were considered successful were the Star Trek series, going seven seasons each, or the X-Files or Stargate SG-1, both managing close to a decade each on the air. The very idea of Battlestar Galactica going on for that long seems ludicrous today.

Okay, BSG is a different animal to the Star Trek series or the X-Files. The main show arc is certainly a lot more intense than Voyager travelling back to the Alpha Quadrant, for example. In Voyager the journey back to Earth was almost secondary to stopping off at every planet you happen to pass by whereas Adama's fleet really don't have that freedom of time. Does that mean that there should be no story but the main one though? Are these "filler" stories really that bad and just getting in the way of arriving in Earth orbit as soon as possible? There was a time when we would sit and watch shows that were nearly entirely standalone episodes. How many Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes were simply there to develop the characters and had nothing to do with any story arc at all?

I read it in comments about Lost too. The recent Hurley episode was considered by many to be a total waste of an hour of the show because it dared to not deal with any of the major island mysteries and was simply a fun episode where you spent a little time with some of the guys having a good time for a change. It wasn't so long ago that the episode would have been considered something of a fan favourite but now it's just a waste of time because all they want is the final answers and the show to be over. Exactly the same way that some BSG fans are so ready to get the fleet to Earth and have the story concluded.

There obviously is a point where a show goes on too long. I'd be the first to admit that seasons eight and nine of the X-Files were not great and to this day they seem a little tacked on. However, comparing that to Battlestar Galactica at this point is being very unfair to the cast and crew of BSG, in my opinion. The X-Files went seven seasons before it outstayed it's welcome (and some say it never did) so thinking that a fifth season might be too much for BSG is not giving enough respect to the writers on the show, at least from my point of view. True, a fifth season would increase the need for standalone episodes that were little or nothing to do with getting to Earth, but then I enjoy the random character development episodes. I even thought the boxing episode was a pretty decent hour of television. I'm strange, that way.

Okay, after the mini-essay, to respond to Simon's question, Farscape was also always meant to go on for a five season arc, the fith season's main story becoming the mini-series.
No time to fully respond to you this morning, Broken Soul. I'll just say, "Amen!"

Now I'm one of the fans hoping Season Four is the end, for exactly the reasons you stated at the begining of your "essay". However, I'm also one of the fans that loves stand-alone, filler episodes that do nothing more than develop characters and give me an excuse to spend an hour hanging out with them. I feel no burning need for every episode of a television series to dramatically further some over-arching plot... which is one reason why I still unconditionally love Lost.

So I hope BSG can successfully wrap up before the suits kill it prematurely... and sadly in today's marketplace that seems likely to mean the next season. But in a perfect world I'd happily watch two or three more seasons of nothing but "filler" eps.
I think that for me the attachment to a strong narrative arc may have something to do with the fact that I don't watch most TV shows once a week over a period of years anymore. I watch everything on DVD or on my computer, and I'm used to seeing several (sometimes lots) of episodes at once and watching them like a really long movie. The more episodic a show is, the less exciting it is to watch that way. If BSG ends at Season 4, I'll buy all the DVDs & watch it every other year or so in its entirety. I get a Star Trek DVD from Netflix once in a whle (partly because I want my daughter to have proper science fiction education :-), but I have no major desire to watch it all from beginning to end.
As far as enjoying stand-alones, I have nothing against them in principle. (I adore "Band Candy.") If the episode is good enough, it doesn't need to further the plot. It's just hard to get people to agree on how good is "good enough."
And also just the fact that it's science fiction. We get a pass on a lot of things because it's science fiction.

Good to see he actually does see BSG as sci-fi, despite some doubts raised by other comments he's made.

Personally I find it a real relief that RDM is happy to end it and explicitly doesn't feel a need to 'keep churning them out'. BSG has absolutely *huge* cliff-hanger season endings and even the slight risk of them not being able to tell the end of their story frankly terrifies me. Not only that but I actually like endings (the good ones anyway ;), I like the sense of completion, of seeing the characters finish their journeys (and much as analysing ongoing shows is great fun, IMO you really need to see how it ends to put things in their proper perspective).

(and of course most UK series run for substantially less than 7 'seasons' and the idea of e.g. 144 episodes of any non-soap opera show is virtually unheard of)

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