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"One of these days you're going to wake up in a coma."
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March 28 2008

Battlestar Galactica: The Phenomenon tonight on the Sci Fi Channel. It has remarks from both Joss Whedon and Seth Green.

Only Seth Green is mentioned in TV Guide's episode description, but if you click on the link above you will find that Joss is included, too. (The link takes you to's Battlestar Galactica video site.)

Battlestar Galactica: The Phenomenon, Battlestar Galactica:Revealed, and Battlestar Galactica in Eight Minutes are also available for free download on Amazon Unbox.
Great Last Supper visual. Is Battlestar the best SF ever on TV (better than Firefly)? Hard to compare the two, because Firefly didn't get the long run it deserved, but my feeling is that Battlestar, as great as it may be, is stuff we've seen before (just done better); Firefly was a wholly original conception, a spacefaring future without aliens or AI's although Joss may have been planning some for later arcs. His scruffy, just-us future is the polar opposite of Iain M. Banks's setup in his excellent Culture novels (see the recent Matter).
Funny you mentioned the comparison to Firefly. I think one of the reasons I didn't fall in love with BSG, despite watching all three season right in a row, is that I watched it immediately after my first run through of Firefly. BSG didn't have any of the humor or personable characters. Plus, Baltar's character, while integral to the overal plot, really annoyed me. He was so weak. I'll still watch the final season to complete the story.
Also discussed earlier, although before actual broadcast-on-TV day arrived.
One more episode of Season 3 plus Razor to go (thanks, Netflix) and the Husband and I are caught up and ready for season 4. And I am totally addicted to BSG, so I can't wait.
I get such a big ol' happy seeing the HUGE BSG banners on Hollywood Blvd. And then I want to steal one. But then I wonder where would I hang it??

Also got another big happy recently because for some reason I thought we were only getting a half season, but then I found it was a fully after all! Yahoo!

Here's hoping we get one more BSG panel outta Comic Con.

Don't forget to watch the marathon that starts...Monday, I think! Skip work, just watch it!
Hollow laughter from me at the idea that SciFi is really going to play all season 3 episodes in order!
Seems like BSG is getting a little more attention & respect these days. This makes me happy 'cuz it's one of The. Best. T.V. Shows. Ever. (Deep & complex & funny & tragic. Complicated characters of all ages. Emotional resonance out the wazoo. Purposefully & satisfyingly violent--violence that serves story & enhances character & is there for a reason.) I also enjoy the reaction I get when I tell " "civilians" that I like to watch BSG. Very similiar to the one I get when I tell them I'm a big fan of BTVS--they look at me like I've grown a second head....

[ edited by stellabee on 2008-03-28 19:31 ]
Stellabee - Hear, hear :)
Argh... Can't watch it seeing as I'm in Sweden... Totally unfair... Does anyone know if there's an easy way to get around it?

Edit: Actually, I found it on youtube. Really got me excited for this final season... It's gonna be awesome!

[ edited by Djungelurban on 2008-03-28 20:58 ]
Only one week til Season 4! I can't wait.
Only one week til Season 4! I can't wait.

I know! I'm really looking forward to Doctor Who as well.
Phenomenon was really good! and funny! I watched it on already but I'll tape it tonight too so I can see it BIGGER! :) Joss was funny. (As if he never is... ;)
Hell yes.

My Lord, I've been starving.
I know! I'm really looking forward to Doctor Who as well.

I do love the fact that both are returning within 24 hours of each other!
Mmm two parter by Moffat... Not soon enough! ;)
From this day forward I am answering my phone, "Joss Actual."
That's funny, that's how I've been answering your phone all day. Oooh, spooky, I'm typing from inside the house!!!
lol Clearly you've never REALLY been inside my house or YOU'D be the one who was scared. :)
LOL :) Sorry, its getting late and I'm getting punchy here.

Ah, Joss. Geeking out about Battlestar. Me geeking out while watching you geek out about the best Sci-Fi show ever made. Good times.

I love these BSG fans. Joel from Talk Soup was hysterical. And Seth Green! The Law & Order actors were awesome too.

So when can I have a weekly VH1 show or something of famous BSG geeks doing episode commentary? That would rock. You could call it "The Best Frakking Battlestar Week Ever". I'd so watch that.

Regarding Spoilers: "If anybody ever talks about it, has a theory, and they're right, that is sort of a retroactive spoiler, and I have to retroactively kill them."

About wanting one of the Galactica Phones: "I'd say 'Joss Actual' all the time."
Wow that was really cool, and reignited my interest. This show has always done kind of a slow burn with me. So many people I respect go ape-shit for it, and I do grok the brilliance of the writing and acting.

Have to agree with LaneMeyers up top though, the total lack of humor is what keeps my 'fan chip' from activating entirely. It's very dour. I'll still watch, but my heart doesn't soar like with Whedon shows.
See, I think there is very much humor in BSG, but it's not overt or sarcastically hip like we're used to. It's gritty and subdued, but it's there.

You can't watch Baltar, especially in season one, and tell me this show has no humor. I think people might be looking for a certain type of humor, or a Whedony humor in this show, and they're just not going to find it. But there is a sense of amusement in some of the situations, and it's very real and human to me.

I actually like how bleak and unrelenting BSG can be. It's post-apocalyptic, after all. I can't imagine people running around making witty quips all the time.
Yes, running around making witty quips all the time would be silly, wouldn't it? And nothing like my mild comment on the lack of humor.

I don't think Baltar is all that funny. He's a weak, manipulative weasel. I think I can count the number of times I've laughed at the show on one hand. I wasn't implying that every show has to be a knee-slapper - but humor, sly or otherwise - is very important to me in any show I favor, and I just notice its absence in BSG.
Just so we have our terms straight, how many fingers do you have on that hand Willowy ?


There is humour in BSG but it's thinner on the ground than I generally prefer. It doesn't need to be quips either, in that situation I think there'd be a lot of gallows humour around but so far we've only seen that a few times - the "paper" bit between Adama and Tigh is one that comes to mind. Luckily though, the show - when it's working on all cylinders - is pretty much brilliant in every single other respect, and that makes up for it in my book.

(Baltar as a character isn't all that funny but James Callis' performance is IMO)
Willowy, you know I love you like blood, but I think it's ironic that your reply about needing humor in your entertainment seemed to have very little sense of humor about it. ;)

I get what you're saying though. I happen to agree with esg that there is in fact humor in Battlestar (and am absolutely horrified when people see nothing more in Baltar than "weak, manipulative weasel", but that's neither here nor there.) But you are correct in principle in that BSG is largely "humorless"... seeing as it's about the apocalyptic annihilation of the entire human race I suppose it doesn't really lend itself to the funny so much.

Then again, Joss managed to make jokes about the end of humanity all the time, so YMMV. *shrug*
I agree with Haunt. And I don't want BSG to have a different tone than it does. Any more humor than it already has (and it does have humor, just a lot thinner than we're used to) would definitely change the tone. And I like it the way it is.
I like (or should say "love") the show the way it is too. I feel there is a perfect balance with just enough humor to lighten things up once awhile but not overdone. The show needs to feel as dark as it does because of the dire circumstances they find themselves in but that little touch of humor once in awhile is fun. My favorite Baltar moment is still that "No more Mr. Nice Gauis" line! And I loved when Kara walked in on him fantasizing about Six and acting it out. Reminded me very much of Xander walking in on Spike with invisible Buffy.
I think humor creeps into the show more in the rare times in the plot when they have some room to breathe. For instance, the Founder's Day on New Caprica, with Adama and Roslin smoking the local weed (and hiding it from Geata). And the darker version is always there. I laughed and gasped at a lot of Romo Lampkin's stuff.
Haunt, what you didn't know is that I was standing on my head twirling a dinner plate on a stick with my other hand when I typed that. ;)

And I'm glad that it strikes a perfect balance for most of you (those chiming in are actually some of the aforementioned "those I respect"). It just doesn't for me, and that's why it's a slow burn in my entertainment choice...thingy.
I've only watched the first season (gasp, shock, horror), and I enjoyed it very much. But the Baltar/Six scenes were, by far, the weakest thing in it for me. I've been assured that it all goes mega-splendid-brilliant in S2 and beyond, and I'm really looking forward to catching up with that.
Another gripe I have to this show is the inability to make fun of itself. That is what I like about Dr. Who, Buffy, Angel, Firefly and even Star Trek. BSG puts too much gravity in their gravitas!

[ edited by magnus carnage on 2008-03-30 02:21 ]
Not an argument for anything, just more of the dark character and situational humor in season 3: Starbuck's story to Anders about why her mother broke her fingers, with the jumping rubber bugs, and not so much that as "It was worth it." More horrible than funny, yet still funny. That's a lot of the humor.
I know what you mean, dreamlogic. The horrible in the humor can be just what the doctor ordered. My beloved Deadwood, while a serious masterpiece, continually and forcefully laughed at its own horrible conditions, situations, and foreseeable destiny.

Likewise with the beyond excellent Life, the always surprising House, and the addictive and perfectly-written Dexter (hmm, do I have a 'thing' for one-word titles?).

Then also, do I even have to mention Joss? The master, the king, the innovator? While I have no delusions that all those responsible for those other shows gleaned everything they know from Joss... I can't help but notice a similarity in their affinity for the gruesomely funny yet simultaneously poignant. He was and IS, extremely influential. Joss' mold is definitely broken, but I really think (not a new thought, I'm sure everyone here agrees), his style also broke a lot of stale, tired concepts of what horror/drama/humor/action HAD to be.
Another gripe I have to this show is the inability to make fun of itself.

BSG has no room for self-reflexive or knowing humour about itself. All those other shows (except Trek) have a humour quotient built into their very premise. BSG has humour, but often gallows humour or delicately placed realistic humour. Buffy and Angel and Firefly were as much about the humour as the drama.

I don't think Trek really had a very good sense of humour about itself. I loved Trek and Next Gen and Deep Space Nine, but the humour was borne from character and situation - it was rarely funny about itself. Only when Voyager and Enterprise became a parody of Trek itself was there any self-reflexive humour - by which time the franchise was eating itself.

Once a show starts making fun of itself, you break the fourth wall. Buffy and Angel managed to do this without upsetting its dramatic veracity, but BSG is built of tougher stuff - and once you start letting the air out, I suspect it would deflate pretty quickly.

Honestly, if the show had no humour, I couldn't watch it. Sometimes BSG depresses the hell out of me, but it's not completely humourless - it's just harder to pinpoint, because its high points are dramatic, not hilarious. And that's fine by me.

For example, the first season of Millennium specifically had no humour in it because hack creator Chris Carter said there shouldn't be any. I hated that show because it was so dour and Frank Black was humourless.

Every show needs an element of humour. Not every show needs to make fun of itself.
That's a good point about the fourth wall and not bursting the bubble. I think some shows need to take themselves seriously so that we do - if you're really trying to convince viewers that the end of the world is nigh then you can't have nods and winks to the cameras because if a character can do that then they're obviously not really in that world, they're at least part-way into ours.

(much as I love the Stargates, you never really think they're going to lose - though some of them might well die in the winning - because you know the show has looked at itself and seen the joke. Which, incidentally, is one of the things I love about it)

Though I do still think there'd be more gallows humour, more wryness in a BSG scenario.

Trek had some funny episiodes - 'The Trouble with Tribbles' and then 'DS9's follow on, 'Trials and Tribbleations' though nothing on the level of SG1's 'Window of opportunity' or 'Wormhole Xtreme'. What can you say, Trek was always the earnest elder sibling of TV sci-fi ('Doctor Who' being the wacky Dad ;) and it wore its seriousness of purpose and social commentary on its sleeve.

ETA: Also, just watched 'BSG: Phenomenon' and Joss used 'working on all cylinders', a phrase I used upthread (to refer to himself but still). Freaky. Maybe i'm the fifth Joss !?!

[ edited by Saje on 2008-03-30 12:11 ]
I see BSG and Firefly as polar opposites, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

BSG is not only dark and deep, it's also very surreal. It's an entirely different species from Firefly. I think it says a lot that the guy who created Firefly thinks BSG is "the best show ever". (I think he calls himself Joss Actual) ;-)

I'm re-watching season3 (my very own DVD set!!). Example of BSG humor, from either Torn or A Measure of Salvation, neither of which is exactly a trip through the daisies:

(All parapharasing). Baltar is on the Cylon bay ship, Six is walking away from him, having told him that her feelings for him have clouded her judgment and have to end.
Baltar, yelling after her as she walks away: "But you love me. You need me,you know. Eventually you'll come to understand that ........."
After running through all his arguments about how she's gonna be sorry, he pauses, then yells once more:
"And I need you. I do, you know, I need you."
Mutters to himself "Perhaps I should have started with that."

Which loses everything without James Callis's inimitable delivery, but the example stands.
I also submit the obvious:

Starbuck and Lee's "you love me, Lee Adama loves ME" scene.
Shey's example reminded me of another funny BSG moment: The dinner scene in Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down, where we first meet Ellen Tigh, when Ellen tries to molest Apollo with her foot under the dinner table. That was awkwardly hysterical.
I loved the scene in the extended episode with Kara confessing to Tigh that she had slept with Lee and Tigh just cracks up laughing and keeps on laughing and even gets Kara to smile.

Bknick, I loved that "you love me, Lee Adama loves me" scene!
One word from Baltar: "Butterfingers!"
Firefly Flanatic, I loved that one. I love deleted scenes and alternate cuts on any DVD, but the ones on the season 3 set were the juiciest ever.
I love BSG, but I wonder why only one female fan was interviewed on "Phenomenon." It gave the impression that there really aren't that many women who watch it. Also, it led to yet another stupid moment of objectifying the women on the show, as if there were no hot male stars.
Apart from the segment where some of the interviewees mentioned they watched it with their wives and that it was (with an implied "for a change") a sci-fi show that women can enjoy.

Guess it couldn't have hurt to have a couple more female interviewees though (I always wonder with shows like this just how they end up picking people - I mean Joss is a natural choice, he's witty, has geek cred and has been a very vocal fan of BSG but the two actors from 'Law and Order' don't exactly leap out as first picks, great interviewees though they both were. Presumably it's just who you know ?).

And so far BTW, we seem to be at about 8 funny bits in 50-60 episodes of TV - the "it's chock full o' humour" brigade aren't winning many converts i'm thinking ;).
Also, it led to yet another stupid moment of objectifying the women on the show, as if there were no hot male stars.

Another stupid moment? Interesting - because I know women are objectified by the fandom of other shows. But I feel like, if anything, BSG has equal opportunity objectification.

I just can't really see that the show itself or its advertising has really fallen into the old science fiction ways of short skirts or sophomoric attitudes toward the sexes.
.....if anything, BSG has equal opportunity objectification. crossoverman | March 31, 10:11 CET

Gotta agree (in a really good way). This show has an amazing variety of attractive people of both genders, all ages and a fair amount of ethnic diversity. And not all are attractive in the standardized Hollywood mode, which I really love.
Nobody openly gay (hello, Gaeta .... ya think?), but I imagine that's mainly because it would just muddy the waters in a show where reproduction of the species is such a major priority.
I dunno, I think that could be an interesting story thread - even though it's distasteful or possibly disgusting to him should a gay man be forced to impregnate women ? Would people become (even more) prejudiced against homosexuality in a situation where the species' survival may depend on heterosexual reproduction ? Should women be forced to become pregnant ? Reproductive freedom could be just one more thing they wrestle with their consciences over.

It's an idea that's been done before with women and the idea of it being their duty to reproduce under certain circumstances but I haven't seen it often with men, probably because the sacrifice involved is so much less ('A Boy and His Dog' has the 'boy' being "milked" for want of a better word in order to provide "new blood" to an underground colony but that's pretty much rape, there's no real moral conundrum involved).

Course, maybe RDM et al just think it's been done or, ironically, maybe they think that despite having sympathetic suicide bombers, front-line female soldiers and pretty political content, an overtly gay character might be a step too far ?
I like BSG but the presentation of the character of character of Six feels a lot like the presentation of Seven of Nine in Voyager to me. Yes, she's in Baltar's head and that can be an iffy place but what a fine excuse to show her in skimpy clothes all the time. To balance out we had Apollo in a towel once once which was enough for me but whatever floats your boat.

And, while not exsctly advertising - just five minutes ago I stumbled upon this.

[ edited by moley75 on 2008-03-31 16:59 ]
I guess we're using the modern definition of gay to refer specifically to men then? 'Cause Cain and Gina both came off a little gay to me. ;)

And I have to fervently disagree with the objectification remark. As much as I adore Joss and all of his creations, it was deeply satisfying to me to hear him comment on how the show (BSG) isn't about, "Look how tough and strong our women are," because it's move past the need. As far as this show is concerned the sexes truly are equal... which is supposed to mean neither "side" needs to point it out.
Yeah, fair point, I guess I haven't fully fit 'Razor' into the BSG box in my head yet ;).

Neither of them are ongoing though and they're still the conventionally acceptable face of gayness i.e. two hot women.
I shouldn't go to bed when I need to clarify a point. I'm a huge fan of BSG. I didn't mean that the show objectifies women. As I mentioned, it has some great-looking men, too. What I meant was that talk of women led some of the interviewees to discuss the women on BSG in a condescending, objectifying way. That seems to happen all the time with various lists of hot women in sci-fi. There are far fewer lists of hot men. Also, if all the people interviewed just happened to be women, except for one woman, and they talked about how their husbands liked to watch it, too, wouldn't people have noticed gender?

But I loved everything Joss said.
The Phenomenon whos end is in sight - yay *g*
I like BSG but the presentation of the character of character of Six feels a lot like the presentation of Seven of Nine in Voyager to me.

See, I think Six completely undercuts the 7 of 9 cliche. 7 of 9 was clearly UPN pushing Voyager to include a "hotter" woman - whereas with Six as a primary villain (and a complicated one at that), I can't really similarities at all.
To touch on Saje's remark about gay men contributing to the continuation of the species: Hell yeah they would. Two gay men have saved my life, each once. My good friend Dereck, when I worked for Continental Airlines, brought wine and balloons to my hotel room in Houston when I was there for my divorce. I thought I was totally alone, and then he came. I was so sad. He listened and provided the friend-support to get me through it.

The other was my cardiologist. I had a heart attack two weeks after I had my daughter Willow. The prep nurses had neglected to put those tight white socks on my legs when I had my c-section (major abdominal surgery), that were supposed to prevent blood clots. Well I got one that put a half-dollar sized injury to my heart (thankfully well away from the pump) and he identified and minimized the damage quickly, plus his follow-up was pretty fucking amazing. He's been a friend and caring doc ever since. Good guy. I was subsequently invited to the civil service when he committed to his partner, and we socialize to this day. He loves Willow like a daughter.

I firmly believe that any gay man, judging from the many I've known in the airline and artistic professions, would do anything to help anyone ever. Gay men fucking rock.
crossoverman - I think Six is all her versions is a tremendous character - complicated, interesting, humorous - she is my favourite Cylon (though I do like Three). I just don't like what she wears.
Well, I haven't known too many gay men Willowy though of the ones i've known, some were total dicks and some were decent blokes but my point isn't are they evil and so would refuse to help or are they good and so would do their civic duty and "lie back and think of England", my point is, it might be an interesting slant on the idea of reproductive freedom in a situation where that freedom may actually be dangerous for the species.

(i'm glad you've had only good experiences in that regard though ;)

See, I think Six completely undercuts the 7 of 9 cliche. 7 of 9 was clearly UPN pushing Voyager to include a "hotter" woman ...

I think that last bit is probably true but I also think it's pretty unfair to the character and Jeri Ryan who played the hell out of her when the writing gave her the chance. 6 may seem more complicated because she has more human "weaknesses" but Seven was far from just T&A, even if that's what the network had in mind - she was a build-a-human character in the grand old Trek tradition, the outsider that lets us look inside us all and in many ways she had a more genuinely alien perspective than all the cylons and bumpy foreheads put together.

(and let's not kid ourselves either, Tricia Helfer isn't stunningly good looking in a "California Blond" style just by coincidence - and yes, I know she's Canadian ;) - nor is the rest of the cast hot purely by accident - stuff like that works the same all over TV)

The thing that strikes me about 6 BTW (and I mean '6' as opposed to any other sixes), is that she might be a figment of Baltar's imagination and even if not she's designed to seduce him, so having her dress how she does is totally consistent. I don't think it objectifies her as much as it highlights Baltar's weaknesses (and Gina and Caprica both dress much more normally).

ETA: Oh and that photo looks like a sort of ironic poke at exactly what you're talking about moley75 (though I appreciate there's a fine line between satirising something and promoting it). For my money it also does what i'd previously thought a tall order - it renders 3 extremely attractive women totally unerotic. Bad setup, bad costumes, bad poses (if the idea is to turn people on).

[ edited by Saje on 2008-04-01 10:57 ]
"Bad setup, bad costumes, bad poses (if the idea is to turn people on)"

I just hope that they took that shot quickly because Grace Park is in danger of severe cramp otherwise. This sort of image makes me sad (I didn't consider it being ironic and it would be interesting to know its original source) for the reasons you say - three tremendous looking women looking uncomfortable and a tad silly.
Apologies if this has already been mentioned because I've not had chance to read down this entire thread but I thought I'd let all the UK fans know that Sky One will be showing BSG: The Phenomenon and BSG: Revisited on Tuesday, April 8th from 9pm.
Oh, I don't think the photo itself has a direct source moley75 but the outfits and general OTT camp kitsch-ness of it has to hark back to stuff like 'Barbarella', 'Flash Gordon' or 'Queen of Outer Space' where female characters were (usually) just empty headed decorations, scream queens or dominatrix style "powerful" women that just needed the right man (usually, strangely, from Earth ;) and a good shag to see the error of their ways.

And obviously the female characters on BSG are pretty much the polar opposite of camp, kitsch or over the top scream queens with the whole feel of the show being gritty realism, so the irony comes from the juxtaposition.

(the difference being - to wear my shallow male hat - Barbarella is hella sexy ;)

[ edited by Saje on 2008-04-01 12:47 ]
I should have been clearer - I meant source as in what magazine it was scanned from (it looks like a scan to me) - it makes a huge difference if it was for Vanity Fair or for Maxim :-)
Ah, get you ;). No idea (but i'd speculate that it's more a 'Vanity Fair' or 'TV Guide' sort of thing - doesn't really seem racy enough for 'Maxim').
I'm a big fan of Seven on Voyager, too. I agree that casting a beautiful woman and putting her in a skintight suit and heels was pandering to male viewers. But I like how the character got to subvert the stereotype of what it means to be an attractive woman.
I may seem to spend my time whinging about blondes in skimpy outfits but I also loved Seven's character. Her interactions with the Doctor were a highlight.
I've been catching up on BSG podcasts in the past few days - one thing I've learned is that, whatever we may think of Gaius, in the "Is he funny or not?" department, James Callis et al. think he's hysterically funny. At least, when talking about him with a bunch of whiskey in them, they do. (As for me, I do, to some extent, although quite often I'm cringing, and the Husband is hoping someone will throw him out an airlock.)

Someone about a year or so ago tried to convince me to watch BSG, and I asked "Is there any humor in it?" and she said there wasn't, so I stayed away a bit longer. Then I stuck my toe in with the miniseries from Netflix and never looked back. But I have to disagree with her and say that I do find humor in it... the right amount, to my way of thinking, and to agree with many upthread.
Agreeing with Kirochka that BSG has just the right amount of humor in just the right places, considering the main thrust of the story.
But I'm probably the second biggest BSG fan on the planet ;)
IMO it's very near to perfection.

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