This does, however, give me an excuse to make another comic, and to point out that I will be posting them here from now on rather than over at comics.nyquil.org. (I don't make them nearly often enough to warrant a dedicated site for them. Plus, nobody knows comics.nyquil.org exists. Here, at least, people might see them.)
Without further ado, here's how I imagine this merger of loves:
If you're a fan of Battlestar Galactica, but don't listen to Ron Moore's excellent episode commentary podcast, chances are you missed out on the amazing 3-hour "roundtable" discussion about the show.
I present for you now several excerpts that I found amusing, and a promise that you'll find the whole thing really interesting if you've ever had a conversation with another human being about Battlestar Galactica.
If'n you want to hear the whole 3 hours, which I highly recommend, you can download it here or via the podcast's rss feed (where you'll find really insightful insight into many of the episodes you know and love. For instance, did you know that Dirk Benedict was originally going to be cast as "God" in the Season 1 finale?)
I've been noticing an interesting trend lately: as television stars lose fame, they end up in space. Let's take a quick peek, shall we?
Scott Bakula, once star of Quantum Leap was last seen captaining one of the Enterprises on Enterprise.
Lorne Green, once a proud cowboy, eventually ended up on the original incarnation of Battlestar Galactica.
Richard Dean Anderson, once the best quick-thinking gadget maker of all time as MacGyver, is now on at least one of the many Stargate shows -- at least one of which I presume takes place in space.
Lucy Lawless, once the hottest ass kicking warrior princess on Xena is now a cylon (spoiler alert) on the new Battlestar Galactica.
Dana DeLaney, once the hot chick on China Beach, now a corpse on the new Battlestar Galactica.
Dean Stockwell, not to be outdone by his Quantum Leap buddy Scott Bakula, has wisely chosen a space show which is being helmed by people who aren't completely inept (unless of course you take octagonal paper into account).
Colm Meaney, once proud transporter operator on Star Trek: The Next Generation -- wait. Never mind.
Then there's that guy who does the priceline commercials. You know, the one that isn't William Shatner. Once again, corpse on Battlestar Galactica.
Seeing how Battlestar is pretty much the only space show I watch, I'm guessing there are many more of these outdated tv actors inhabiting spaceships, I just don't know about them. Care to fill me in?
(UPDATE: I got a bit carried away due to being passionate about the issue and this became really long. I apologize for this, and hope that at least a few people make it all the way through.)
So George Lucas has recently declared that the blockbuster is dead. What he is neglecting to point out is that it was him that killed it. Sure, it isn't entirely his fault that the blockbuster died, he did have a little help from those Wachowski wackjobs, Roland Emmerich and the double-threat of Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay, but it was at least partially his fault. You really can't deny that people were repeatedly disappointed by the sheer suckiness of movies they've looked forward to -- some for more than two decades. People are finally realizing that making a film bigger, shinier and explodeyer does not in fact make it better. In most cases, it actually makes it worse.
George also doesn't point out that he actually created the blockbuster (with considerable help from Steven Spielberg) way back in 1977, dooming us to years and years and years of shitty movies. See, it was Star Wars and Jaws that caught people's attentions, and began making money at a rapid pace. Hollywood beancounters began to take notice, and suddenly they were pushing for even more bigger, shinier, explodeyer movies of increasingly crappier substance. Then along came megaplexes, overpriced concessions, product tie-ins, action figures, etc, thus cheapening the art form of movie making, and turning it into one big commercial.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Star Wars (and to a larger extent, Jaws) a great deal. They are very entertaining. Are they deserving of such fanfare from a technical standpoint? Not really. See, the brilliance in Jaws only came to be when the stupid rubber shark broke down, forcing them to shoot most of the movie without ever seeing the shark, thus accidentally exploiting one of the most misunderstood principles of movie making: the imagination of the moviegoers is a more powerful thing than latex and miniatures. Star Wars contains nothing new; nearly every aspect of the movie is cribbed from Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon serials1, with a bit of classic literature thrown in for good measure2. Upon seeing the "finished3" work of Episodes IV-VI, you might get the impression that there was some really subtle planning going on, allowing things to tie together in masterful execution, but you'd be wrong. No matter what you may have heard George say in the past, he did not write Episodes 1-6 (or 1-9, depending on when you heard George say it) and plan it all out before creating Star Wars, he went and made sequels after the unexpected success of his stand-alone original movie. The studio, Kenner Toys, and the gigantic friggin' boat-loads of money occupying George's living room helped make that decision an easy one, and he's been frequently lying about it (inconsistently) ever since.
What does all this have to do with blockbusters? Well, with the increasing presence of blockbuster movies occupying more and more of the (ever expanding) movie theaters, it became harder and harder to make movies that actually consist of substance. How frequently have there been One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nests, Cool Hand Lukes, Guess Who's Coming to Dinners (OK, so there was another one of those recently, but it helps make my case. Frickin trash.) and the like after the release of Star Wars? Sure it has happened, but it is no comparison to the pre-Star Wars era. Without question cinema has been hurt by these blockbusters, despite Hollywood making tons of money off them. George is right to point out that things are changing, and it's really about time. Finally we are starting to see excellent movies, with excellent reviews making plenty of money -- without a single action-figure, lunchbox, breakfast cereal4 or Burger King tie-in.
DISCLAIMER: In no way should a reader think that I am bashing on Star Wars, because I am not. I like them, especially Empire. I just don't like what they've helped do to the medium of cinema. It is OK to like Star Wars; I like them, and so should you. I'm just hoping you can realize the negative impact they've contributed to, and realize that action figures do not a good film make. Also, I hope you recognize that some really great movies don't have explosions or big stars or expensive CG pets, and that in many cases, they're better than the ones that do.
Explosions are pretty cool though.
1: Upon the release of the original Battlestar Galactica series, George and his cronies took legal action accusing them of stealing many aspects of Star Wars illegally. The Battlestar folk simply filed their own lawsuit, pointing out that every thing the Lucas people claimed was stolen was in fact originally stolen from Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, and miscellaneous other sci-fi serials from a bygone era, to which the Lucas folk had no reply, other than dropping the suit.
2: This is most evident in the whole 'overcoming the sins of the father' motif that encompassed the Vader/Luke relationship. This was not present in Star Wars until they were forced to come up with plot elements for the sequels. Note Luke making out with Leia.
3: Finished is a terrible word to use, as every subsequent re-release on every single medium has been different in some way than the prior. These movies are constantly evolving, and will probably never truly be "finished." This is a strong argument for why none of the movies are truly deserving of a Best Picture award; if it truly was a best picture, why the need to keep going back and changing things?
4: Brokebacki-O's would be pretty awesome though. "I just can't quit.. eating a balanced breakfast."
It looks as if I'm making this Battlestar Galactica week, because I can't stop thinking about it.
Is anyone else tired of the "48 hours earlier" editing style that they've been using as of late? It seems like every damn episode in the middle of season 2 did this, and it drove me completely nuts. Isn't it enough to put spoilers in the credits without having to put them in the episode too?
Also, the octagonal paper thing keeps getting more and more irritating to me. Honestly, are we really expected to buy that this parallel branch of humanity has exactly the same kind of electrical outlets, has internal combustion engines that are identical, firearms that work the same way, Australian accents, English accents, hot Asian chicks, Hummers, identical military ranks, plus a 24 hour day, yet something as fundamental as paper and books are so drastically different? Don't even get me started on the regional dialects.. are we really expected to believe that everyone from Old Australia suddenly decided to settle in New Australia on Earth?
It really seems as if they've put a lot of effort into the mythology of this show, it's just a shame that they haven't at all tried to make things mesh with society as we know it. I mean for goodness sake, every continent here on Earth has different electrical outlets, and they all came into being at relatively the same time. Do you really think it's possible that people on Caprica have the same kind of outlets that us in North America do? That's just stupid. Make the things that would be reasonably expected to differ differ (such as the Hummers; there's no way theirs would be just like ours), but keep the fundamentals the same. I won't even complain if there's no explanation for the switch, just make the paper and books be suddenly square and I'll be happy and shut up.
Know what would really suck? Having a twin sibling in the colonial fleet. Every time one of your friends meets your twin for the first time, they flip out, tackling you both, screaming something about Cylons and airlocks.
Finally a scenario where it sucks less if you aren't an Olsen twin.
Like most geeks, I have some sort of strange affinity for Natalie Portman that I am unable to explain. Despite the crappy roles she often lands (see, for instance Star Wars Episodes 1-3), she never seems to lose her fascination for me. From her role in Luc Besson's The Professional, to the slashdot "hot grits" days, to shaving her head (and actually becoming sexier in the process), Natalie has made a large impact on most of my adult life. The icing on the cake is her collaboration with those Lonely Island boys over at SNL, which somehow just made her that much cooler to me.
I've tried to analyze just what it is that makes her cool, and in the process have come up with a theory. I could just tell you my theory, but I feel that it would best be explained with a diagram:
A few days ago I mentioned that I only had one complaint with Battlestar Galactica, but really there are two.
CG cylons piss me off everytime they're on screen.
There was a time when I thought photorealistic computer animation was the coolest thing ever, but I am so over it. These days I would much prefer the "guy in suit" cylons of yesteryear, or even some Harryhausen-esque stop motion animated ones. (Seriously, how cool would that be? The set decor is all like faux retro, what better to accentuate that look than Harryhausen cylons?) Alternately, the human-cylon hybrids are pretty awesome as-is, why the need for fake looking ones?
OH! I just thought of another complaint, kicking the total up to 3. I absolutely hate the little bit they do after the "previously on Battlestar Galactica" stuff where they show rapid fire clips of things that are going to happen in this episode. Seriously guys, stop doing that. I'm watching the episode already, you don't need to "entice" me in any further, just let me watch the damn show in peace. Sure, seeing how any episodes I'll ever watch will have been timeshifted, I'll be able to just skip past it, but that's not the point.
Dear Battlestar Execs,
I should not have to work to avoid spoilers, and the fact that you're putting them in the opening credits is just plain mean.
This weekend we finally got around to watching the Battlestar Gallactica mini-series. I had heard that it wasn't very good, but that you needed to watch it before watching the extremely well recieved SciFi Channel series, so I didn't have high hopes. Despite this, I loved it.
In fact, I loved it so much, I only have one single solitary complaint about it: Hexagonal paper.
See, in this future, for some reason documents have evolved to be hexagonal in shape rather than the primitive rectangular documents we know and love. This is seriously stupid. I can understand like, holo-screens, or touch sensitive eInk, or neural interfaces and the like, but plain old ordinary paper that has been cut into a hexagonal shape? There's simply no reason for this, it's just stupid set-dressing designed to piss people like me off. Every document, printout, notebook, binder, business card, and framed photograph are curiously hexagonal. Inexplicably, even the old fashioned dot-matrix printers print on hexagonal paper -- and here's the kicker: no matter how long the message is, the paper is always perforated at a hexagonal point which perfectly frames the message. So you mean to tell me that in the future, it's so imperative that paper is hexagonal that the dot matrix printers actually cut off the corners of everything they print, ensuring that they are? A few of the books which were artfully scattered about during planning sequences are actual rectangular books though. I don't know if this was done to show that they're really old, or if they were just too lazy to manufacture enough stupid hexagonal ones.
If you're going to introduce a completely pointless and baseless set decoration, make sure that you take it all the way. Oh and explain it too. I don't care if it's stupid expository dialog like "What are you doing strange female version of Starbuck?! You know that after the Xerox Wars of 2017 Congress mandated that all paper must conform to the new Hexagonal Document Doctrine.. if you don't trim those corners, they'll throw you back in the brig."
I seriously have to wonder what the toilet paper rolls must look like.