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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"See, morbid and creepifying, I got no problem with, long as she does it quiet-like."
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August 31 2005

(SPOILER) Joss Credited for SF w/o Aliens. In an article on the lack of aliens in Battlestar Galactica, Joss and Firefly are recognized as "breaking the mold" by leaving aliens out of an SF show.

Just being careful with the spoiler tag, I didn't see anything about upcoming surprises, but there is discussion of past events that could spoil those who are just starting out.

Aside from the production problems presented by prosthetics, what is wrong with having aliens on a show? Why would they drive Edward James Olmos off the set? Is he just a big old snob? Does he believe that Earth is the ONLY planet in the entire universe that has life? Puh-leese.

I can understand why Joss didn't want aliens on Firefly...since he can do no wrong of course, but also because his story didn't require them. And also because he must have been bored with bizarre creatures after 8 years of demons.

Now sure, in reality it will be a long time before humans bump into other life forms - it's a really big universe out there. But hey, this is fiction. Where is the harm in suspending disbelief & exploring the possibilities?
On the other hand though gingeriffic, where's the harm in not? I'm quite happy for there to be no aliens, I don't think BSG needs them and there are plenty of other shows out there that deal with that aspect of sci-fi.
No doubt Paul - I'm just trying to understand why Olmos is so against the whole idea.
Although there are probably a lot of alien life forms of some sort out there somewhere, the aliens that can be created by human writers are always going to be inevitably anthropomorphized (the life forms I'm talking about may just be the equivalent of viruses or something else I can't even imagine) which I think is why it always gives productions a sort of "fantasy" feeilng. BSG is so grounded in a certain type of reality, that I think aliens would really break the gritty feeling of the show. I once heard an SF writer say that every story is allowed "one isotope of baloneyium." I love the humanoid cylons, but I suspect they are all the baloneyium BSG can withstand.

[ edited by bobster on 2005-08-31 19:26 ]
It's the realism I enjoy most about Battlestar Galactica.

Some scientific theories lend themselves to realism better than others. I can run with the notion of manmade machines (Cylons) in rebellion against their creators and faster-than-light jumps. I can even live with artificial gravity on spaceships (what are you gonna do...? have the actors float around every episode?) However, introducing Star Trek/Wars style aliens into the Battlestar Galactica mix would somehow pull me right out of the comfy sense of suspended disbelief I now enjoy with that show. I'm not certain exactly why but I would become less interested in watching that kind of show.

I'm with Olmos... the Cylons are alien enough for me.

-mattro

[ edited by Hjermsted on 2005-08-31 19:39 ]
Hjermsted we don't sign our posts here, your nickname below your post does that for you.

I haven't seen season 2 of BSG yet but I loved the first season and really appreciated that the Cyclons were of man's making.
I'd assume the reason Olmos is against the idea of aliens in this show is pretty much what writer/producer David Weddle said in the interview:

"Rubber-headed humanoids aliens have always had a place in sci-fi and always will have a place," Weddle said. "I'm sure others will find inventive and revealing ways to utilize them. But because of Star Trek and shows of that ilk, they have become a cliche and we have challenged ourselves to create a compelling drama without have to resort to lizard men from deep space."


Aliens have become THE big scifi cliche. When every fricking scifi show has them and uses them indiscriminately, they're no longer effective in storytelling terms. The Cylons work brilliantly within the BSG story, both as the antagonists that keep the plot wheels constantly turning and the shadow selves (and commentary on humanity) that keep the story grounded in its characters and their motivations.

EJO is right to be wary. After all, not everyone can be Joss Whedon!
Wow I sense a high and mighty attitude coming from Weddle. Unlike Firefly whose villains were always human. The Cylons serve the same function and purpose of aliens. It would be a very different show if they were not there. I don't think you can categorize the two shows together at all. Finally, what's more of a scifi cliche than machines revolting against their human creators?
I, for one, do not want to see aliens on BSG. And, if it ever happens, I want it to be as unhumanly as possible (in minds eye, I just saw Rippley running up to Adama. "Boy, am I glad to see you." Hee, hee.) One of the things that turned me off from 'Enterprise' was that they seemed more interested in how many ways they could plant a nose on a person's face rather than to tell a good story. BSG is indeed going in the right direction in exploring the characters and their feelings. I find that much more enjoyable and intriguing. To date, they aren't quite as indepth as Joss, but they're doing a good job. I think BSG is doing very well remaining a character based show. No need to run the window dressing.
IMMORTAL - "Unlike Firefly whose villains were always human."

I know Reavers are Human, but in many ways they are inhuman too. Very Alien in my book (and I'm not talkin' 'bout a Shepard). :)
Joss is so cool.
He created aliens that weren't aliens.
I love that man.

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