Ten years on and Battlestar Galactica is still one of the best
Posted on December 4th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
The cast of Battlestar Galactica
Back in late 2003 the newspaper the Fort Wayne Reader was just starting up and I was asked to write a pop-culture column for them. Work was started on the paper months in advance of the first issue being published and one of the things the publishers of the Reader did in those early days was to reach out to TV networks and cable channels for screeners of TV series and movies to review for the paper.
That’s how I got to watch the new Battlestar Galactica TV mini-series a few weeks before everyone else.
Though the copy we received was missing some special effects shots in places, I was none-the-less “blown away” at how good the mini-series was when I was totally prepared for it to be a bust since it had suffered from months and months of negative publicity beforehand. Fans, myself included, didn’t like the idea that a sci-fi classic was being rebooted without the participation of the original creator nor the fact that one of the lead characters of the original series was now going to be played by a (gasp!?) woman!
Jamie Bamber and Katee Sackhoff
I think what we forgot to take into account was that it’s the 21st century so why not shake things up a bit and have a woman play a role originally meant for a man? And while we might have some nostalgia for the original 1970s Battlestar Galactica series, looking back in retrospect the series wasn’t all that great so there was a lot that could be improved on.
But from the moment in the new mini-series that the Cylons came pouring out of space in search of vengeance against losing a war decades earlier against humanity I was hooked and couldn’t wait for the next part of the story. Simply put, BSG was one of the best sci-fi shows ever and probably one of the best TV series of all time too. It’s certainly one of the best series of the first decade of the 21st century. BSG dealt with all sorts of taboo subjects like abortion, terrorism, genocide, military rule, etc., etc., etc., that was all done in the guise of sci-fi so it didn’t come off as that controversial. In fact I’m not sure there’s been ANY series sci-fi or not since that’s dealt with as many heavy subjects as BSG did throughout its run.
And let’s not forget to what the TV landscape was like when the BSG series premiered in ’04. Shows like Lost, Veronica Mars, The Wire, The Sopranos, Arrested Development and the UK version of The Office were all airing new episodes when the BSG series started. To say this was an extremely special time for TV would not be an understatement. I don’t think we’ve had such quality of shows on all at once since then.
I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that the Sci-Fi Channel didn’t have much hope in BSG attracting viewers, that’s why the BSG mini-series premiered in December of ’03 with the regular series not starting up until months later in October of ’04. I think Sci-Fi was caught by surprise that the mini-series was so well regarded by critics and fans alike, was watched by so many and received as many accolades as it did. Heck, the mini-series received three Emmy nominations — when does that happen EVER for sci-fi?
Jamie Bamber and Katee Sackhoff
One of the things I liked best about BSG was that series creator Ronald D. Moore began recording commentary podcasts that would be released after each new episode aired. These podcasts revealed behind the scenes goings on at the show, what was cut from each episode and where scenes were filmed and how things were tied together. I can only imagine the amount of work Moore put into each episode and then to also invest time recording podcasts on top of all his other duties too was immense.
Now that I think about it, the only way I can relate to how much I loved the series, how much I enjoyed each new episode, was that BSG was so good it literally hurt when each new episode ended.
Michael Hogan, Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell and Jamie Bamber
In the last decade the Sci-Fi Channel, now Syfy, hasn’t aired anything to the quality of BSG. While other networks draw viewers with shows like The Walking Dead (AMC), Doctor Who (BBC America), American Horror Story (FX) and Falling Skies (TNT), all sci-fi/horror series that would seemingly be at home on Syfy, instead that channel has come to rely on cheap reality shows like Fangasm, Ghost Mine and Heroes of Cosplay and cheaply made movies like Sharknado in order to fill the hours. And while these shows might garner some viewers, they’ve also driven away hoards of sci-fi loving viewers like me to other channels. I used to love the SCI-Fi Channel for its programming like BSG, Farscape, MST3K and Sliders to name a few. But honestly, Syfy has changed so much that I can’t say that I’ve watched all that much on that channel the last five years.
But all is not lost. There are several shows scheduled on Syfy in 2014 that look like they might be a return to the greatness of series like BSG. One of which is a Ronald D. Moore created Helix that’s set to debut Friday, January 10. The same time BSG used to air “back in the day.”
All episodes of Battlestar Galactica are available for streaming on Netflix and Amazon and the series is also available on Blu-ray.
The Mist coming to TV in a 10-part mini-series
Posted on November 30th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
One of the most underrated movies in recent memory, The Mist, will be coming to TV via The Weinstein Company with the involvement of Frank Darabont.
From the New York Times:
Bob Weinstein, interviewed separately from his brother, said he was developing original projects that would be in tune with his horror- and action-oriented Dimension brand, along with several shows based on movies he has overseen for the company. He is preparing a pilot based on the “Scream” films for MTV, for instance, and developing a proposed 10-part series with Frank Darabont, based on Dimension’s film version of Stephen King’s “The Mist.”
Yessss! I LOVED The Mist!
Stuff I’m looking forward to, December ’13 edition
Posted on November 29th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
Featuring Andy Helfer and Bill Sienkiewicz’s classic Shadow series from 1987! Following Howard Chaykin’s classic mini-series Blood & Judgement, Helfer and Sienkiewicz story stands on its own as one of the most surreal Shadow tales of all time! Contains issues #1-6 of this definitive Shadow story!
They’re BACK! 25 years after Topps’ original “DINOSAURS ATTACKS!” trading cards took a bite out of candy counter sales, the original Eclipse graphic novel written by creator Gary Gerani returns, this time released in its entirety with pencils by Herb Trimpe and paintings by veteran illustrator Earl Norem.
2013/14 Winter movie preview
Posted on November 29th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
It always used to be that the winter movie season was meant for prestige projects that were gunning for Academy Award statues come March. But over the last few years things have changed a bit. Movies are still released this time of year that are looking for Oscar gold, but there are also quite a few films released from around Christmas break to the first of the year that makes winter look a bit like a miniature summer movie season in the snow.
Much like with the fall movie season, the official release dates for these movies might only be for New York and LA with later releases for the rest of the country. So be sure to check your local listings as these dates approach.
Martin Freeman as the title Hobbit
Out December 13 is the second film of The Hobbit trilogy, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. While I liked the first The Hobbit film last year, I did think that all the material added to that film to better tie it to the first The Lord of the Rings movies was more of a hindrance than a help. And these additions seems to continue with characters crossing over from LOTR to The Desolation of Smaug.
Also on December 13 co-writer and director David O. Russell returns with American Hustle, his first film back after his critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook (2012). Hustle follows the Abscam FBI investigation that would eventually take down a US Senator and several Representatives of Congress with charges of bribery. The film stars many actors from Russell’s previous projects including Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper and Amy Adams.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is out December 20. I can only guess this movie’s being made for all those annoying people who constantly quote the first Anchorman to one and other and are starting to get as sick of repeating themselves as the rest of us are.
Christmas Day sees the release of three high profile movies, the first of which is Wolf of Wall Street, the fifth pairing of director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio. This time DiCaprio plays real-life high-flying stock broker Jordan Belfort who’s life comes crashing down after the feds begin looking into just how he’s earning his money.
Hmmm… sounds a bit like American Hustle circa 1985 to me!
Keanu Reeves is one of the 47 Ronin
Next, a movie that’s been delayed for over a year, is the slice-em-up samurai tale 47 Ronin. Literally about 47 masterless samurai warriors out to take vengeance for their slain master, the movie was originally due out in late ’12, then early ’13 and now is supposed to be out in late ’13. The way this movie’s been shaping up I’ll believe it’s actually going to get released when it starts playing in theaters!
Finally The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is also in theaters Christmas Day. Ben Stiller stars as the title character, a lonely man who hasn’t done much with his life and uses the power of his imagination to travel to the world.
The doomed SEALs of Lone Survivor
Out December 27 is Lone Survivor. Starring Mark Wahlberg, this movie is based on the real life events of a four-man SEAL team in Afghanistan that fought an outnumbered battle against the Taliban that left only one of the SEALs alive.
Aaron Eckhart seems to be desperate to show the world that him playing Harvey Dent/Two Face in The Dark Knight was a fluke with the goofy looking I, Frankenstein that looks to be taking all its cues from the terrible Underworld movies on January 24.
Hot Toys Bruce Banner The Avengers figure
Posted on November 28th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
More photos here.
Sherlock season 3 TV spot
Posted on November 25th, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
The series returns January 19 to PBS.
Cool images of the week for November 22, 2013
Posted on November 22nd, 2013 | By: Bert Ehrmann
A mishmash of cool images I’ve collected throughout the week.