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July 15, 2005

Battlestar Galactica Podcast

I'm a sucker for podcasts. I've been downloading these things for a while and am starting to flesh out what I want to do with mine. (I think it's just going to be me reading books for kids.) I love the notion of "home radio" and the nature of the beast lends itself to some really great stuff that would never get on the air any other way.

One of the podcasts that I've discovered in my prowling around the internets is by the executive producer of the new version of Battlestar Galactica. Ron Moore has done a handful of these so far and they're just wonderful. They make my hellish commute pass very quickly.

If you aren't watching the new show it's simply one of the best things on television. It's about people on an aircraft carrier and how they get along first, the science fiction bits come second. (Ron Moore's words, not mine.)

I've listened to three of these shows so far and what he talks about in his podcasts are things that everyday people, not just obsessed fanboys, will find interesting. He mentions backstory on the characters that hasn't come across in the show yet. He talks about what movies or actors have inspired different things in the show.

If you have any interest in what goes into making a hit television series, and from all accounts the new show may be the runaway smash of the last couple of years, give them a listen. They're designed to be listened to while watching the episode but if you've seen the episode recently you can follow along.

In the second of his podcasts Moore quotes a line from Peter Pan: "All of this has been done before. All of this will be done again." There is very little original creative work in television and the movies these days. The success of Battlestar Galactica is in large part due to the show's portrayal of characters in a way we would expect people that we know to act, not in the way that "formula" demands that they act.

Case in point: In the first podcast Moore talks about the contrast between Will Riker on Star Trek Next Generation and Sol Tigh on the new Battlestar Galactica. These two characters have similar roles but the differences could not be more clearer.

Riker is the typical executive officer on a Sci-Fi show: he usually agrees with the captain, occasionally says something like "Are you sure" and generally plays 2nd banana. He also gets to have all of the sex the captain would like to be have but that's the one perk. (The first season of Next Generation is ample testimony to this.)

Tigh? A recovering alcoholic with lapses. A veteran of some of the worst hand to hand fighting from the first cylon war and not all of his scars are on the outside. He's a lousy people person and he's not political but in a fight he's the balls on guy you want in your corner which is why Adama keeps him around. He struggles every day with his demons and somedays he loses, big time.

There are obsessed critics of this show that can't get past the changes Moore has made. ("Starbucks a woman!") Odds are the dwellers-of-their-parents-basements never will. For the rest of us in the real world, the one where we interact with people every day who are human and not television and movie stereotypes, we should thank people like Ron Moore for actually bringing entertainment like this to life.

Here's the link for the Battlestar Galactica podcast homepage.

Highly recommended.

Posted by Jim at July 15, 2005 06:49 PM


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