Originally Posted by TameFarrar
'Battlestar Galactica' Begins at the End of All Things
(Sunday, January 09 12:02 AM)
By Kate O'Hare
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) Writers are only people, after all. On Sept. 11, 2001, they were glued to their TV sets, made the same phone calls, shed the same tears, felt the same knot of fear in their bellies, wondered how it would all turn out and whether the world, let alone the New York skyline, would ever feel the same.
Also, like all artists, they find their experiences and feelings filtering into their work and becoming part of scripts and manuscripts that speak to those who hear or read them.
So although Sci-Fi Channel's "Battlestar Galactica" was originally created in the 1970s, its rebirth as a miniseries in 2003 meant that writer-producer Ronald D. Moore brought to bear all his experiences when reimagining the tale of humans on far-distant colony worlds nearly destroyed by the Cylons, an artificial life form they created. "Battlestar" launches as a series on Sci-Fi on Friday, Jan. 14, with back-to-back episodes, preceded by a half-hour special called "Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown."
As to whether the events of 9/11 and the subsequent war against terrorism influenced his writing, Moore says, "It always has, right from the get-go. The miniseries was informed by a lot of 9/11 memories, 9/11 feelings, and the series continues on that route. The series is definitely about this time and place in America.
"We have a band of survivors on military ships. They're at war. They're worried about things like terrorists in their midst, who they can't identify, because Cylons can look like people. They have questions of security. There's questions of freedom and democracy and civil liberties, the hard choices you have to make.
"That's what I think sci-fi should do. Science fiction is supposed to question things that are going on in society, think about things that are relevant. It's not just escapism. The show is trying to be relevant, to provoke debate and make people think about the world they live in."
As the series opens, the Cylons, some of which are robotic and some of which look human (and there are even some that are programmed to believe they are human), have nuked and occupied the 12 human colonies. The Battlestar Galactica, commanded by Adama (Edward James Olmos), which was about to be turned into a museum when the attack came, now leads a ragtag fleet of civilian and military ships carrying all that is left of humanity -- not quite 50,000 souls -- on a journey to find the possibly mythical human home world, called Earth.
The story takes place partly among the fleet, as the survivors struggle to stay alive and evade the Cylons that relentlessly hunt them, and partly on the occupied human colony world of Caprica. There, pilot Helo (Tahmoh Penikett), left behind when his co-pilot, Sharon "Boomer" Valerii (Grace Park), returned to Galactica with survivors, finds the last person he expected to see.
Meanwhile, on her ship, President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) battles cancer as she works to hold the fragmented population together. On the Galactica, Adama keeps control as he struggles with mixed feelings for his son, pilot Lee "Apollo" Adama (Jamie Bamber), and pilot Kara "Starbuck" Thrace (Katee Sackhoff), who was engaged to Lee's late brother.
Scientist Dr. Baltar (James Callis), who betrayed humanity, carries on an internal life with the beautiful Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer), who resides in his thoughts. And Sharon, revealed to be a secret Cylon at the end of the miniseries (there are 12 human Cylon models, with copies of each), panics when she realizes she may not be in control of her own actions.
"I didn't even realize that the first time I read for the character," Park says. "They rewrote the ending, because I don't remember that being there. It's awesome. She's a totally mischievous, naughty, bad character."
"That was [executive producer] David Eick's idea," Moore says. "Because it was a late addition, it was perfect, because there was no indication anywhere in the miniseries that this was going to happen. So this was his really nice surprise, that this very human character, this vulnerable girl on her first combat mission, who's lost her co-pilot -- we discover she's a Cylon."
Moore's "Battlestar" also deals with issues of faith. The Cylons have their own religion, and it differs from their creators'.
"Their usage of God and higher powers," Olmos says, "wow, it's frightening. You start to realize, wait a minute, why wouldn't they feel that way? They've gotten to the point of reproducing themselves, cloning to an exactness and transferring thoughts and brain capacity from one body to another. They're way ahead of us."
"It's about the role of faith in society," Moore says, "how it can be used for good or for evil, and different faiths, and what happens when they collide. The religious aspect of the show is one of the more interesting textures of it. Complicated philosophical debates go on. There are certain theological issues that are posited and argued about -- Cylons and humans, why the Cylons believe in one God and the humans believe in many. What does it mean when one God tries to drive out the many?"
Although "Battlestar" is set in space, ships' engines and weaponry don't interest Moore as much as the workings of the human heart.
"We're not doing bumpy-headed aliens," he says. "We're not doing planet-of-the-week stories. We're not doing mind control, body swapping, time travel, all the usual things. This is a drama. It isn't about gee-whiz scientific ideas week in and week out. It's about people and characters in a desperate situation, and it happens to be in a scientific backdrop."
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