NBC Universal’s new streaming service will be called Peacock. It seems they have decided to go the mix of old content/new content route like everyone else, which is understandable. Less so is this:
The streaming service will offer a slate of original series from showrunners who have worked with NBCUniversal on a series of other shows, including Mike Schur (The Good Place, Parks and Recreation) and Sam Esmail (Mr. Robot). Schur will oversee the reboot of comedy Punky Brewster for the service, while Esmail will handle a reboot of beloved sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica.
All this has happened before, and will happen again.
Now that Caprica has left television, the BSG universe churns on, with a new series set during the first Colonials-Cylon war. Moviehole.net was sent an advance script and posted a spoileriffic summary of the first part of the two-part pilot episode.
What interested me the most was the direct connection to Caprica. And of course, the series is has the word Galactica in the title, so you can draw an inference from that. But since it’s a spoiler, specifics are below the fold:
In the Beginning, the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. — The Hitchhiker’ Guide to the Galaxy
This is pretty depressing news – Stargate: Universe seems to have been canceled. They are midway through their second season run and the final ten episodes will air in the spring, they will also modify the plot to wrap up the storyline early (since it was originally scripted for a five year run).
That shows like ST:Voyager get dragged out for years but the great shows like Firefly and SGU get dropped before they’ve had a chance to build a wider following is massively frustrating to me. It’s amazing to me that Galactica was permitted to survive long enough to finish. Sadly, most science fiction (and SGU was no exception) have tried to imitate Galactica’s formula of oversexed characters to try and draw in the mainstream male demographics. I expect the lesson of SGU’s demise, as far as TV producers go, is that there was too much plot and not enough skin. SGU was one of the few shows out there that could credibly be called a successor to Galactica; even Caprica Galactica’s own designated heir already got the axe. The future of American science fiction is dim.
We still have the British franchises, namely Doctor Who, and if the stars align more of Sherlock. And Warehouse 13 seems to have survived the chopping block, though for how long?
Meanwhile, the SyFy rebranding is revealed to have indeed been appropriate. SyFy doesn’t have the patience that Sci-Fi channel did for good science fiction. They just want shows that look like science fiction. It’s just “siffy” now. I’m disgusted, and if I had the option to choose cable channels a-la-carte I’d drop Siffy entirely.
Incidentally, this is an example of why cable should indeed be a-la-carte. Niche channels will regress towards the mean of television norms instead of staying faithful to their niche as long as they are subsidized by general cable premiums. If these niche channels must justify their existence, however, to the niche audience, they will take more risks – and the niche audience will be more willing to pay. Right now I pay about $40 for hundreds of channels; I’d happily pay $50 for just a handful, and Siffy could get a much larger share of my money.
I hope at some point that we can skip able distribution entirely and see a future where TV shows are marketed directly to Netflix and Hulu plus.
At any rate, the long drought of American science fiction has begun.
Caprica will be canceled; there are five unaired episodes left, but they will be yanked from the Tuesday slot and rebroadcast next year sometime.
I’m disappointed, honestly. I was very skeptical of the premise when I heard about it as BSG drew to a close, but Caprica earned its own name and seemed to want to continue the traditioin of exploring the meaning of humanity. The latest episodes introduced another “angel” head-character that also lent a spiritual continuity. The subplot of Lacy joining the STO, the Church on Gemenon, and the war on Tauron all had echoes of modern issues but suitably and safely abstracted. It provided a broader vision of the Twelve Colonies than we ever had a chance to explore aboard Galactica.
However, I think Caprica spent too much time on its ensemble; I was excited that it seemed for a while that Daniel would be a widower, and disappointed that the thoroughly useless character returned. The plot was excruciatingly slow, driven by the cliffhanger formula rather than just resolving things. But still, it would have been nice to see where they went.
We pretty much know how it all turns out. Somehow, Zoe and Tamara are the seeds for true sentience among the Cylons. It would have been interesting to see how the STO and the Taurons factored into the inevitable rebellion of the war machines. And, how they tied it back to the concept of Everything that Has Happened Has Happened Before – after all, as Caprica unfolded, the Five were racing back from the radioactive ruins of Earth 1. Zoe’s angel was revealed to have given Zoe the basic design for Cylons which Daniel copied, and then she herself is destined to become the precursor to their soul. If done well, it could have added real depth to the Galactica mythos.
Unfortunately, since Moore and crew basically made stuff up as they went along and retconned the heck out of the plot with each season, I doubt that Caprica would have answered more questions than it raised. So maybe it’s a good thing Caprica has withered.
I still have SGU – and it’s the best thing on TV until the Doctor returns.
I was totally mesmerized by the APOD a few weeks ago:
There are two kinds of antiquity here – one cosmic, the other human. Of course the age of the foreground is insignificant compared to the age of the background, but I confess to being more viscerally awed by the former.
I think it’s impossible to really relate to things beyond human timescales. The idea of something being “ancient” has no meaning if it predates our human comprehension. The Neanderthals disappeared 30,000 years ago, which is probably really the farthest back we can reflect on. When we start talking about human forebears of 100,000 years ago and more, it becomes more abstract – that’s why it’s no coincidence that the Battlestar Galactica series finale set the events 150,000 years ago, well beyond even the reach of mythological narrative.
Bryan Singer, director of the first two “X-Men” movies, “Superman Returns” and “Valkyrie,” is “nearing a deal” to produce and perhaps direct a new big-screen “Battlestar Galactica” movie.
[…] By all accounts, any new feature would take place outside the alien-free “Galactica” universe created by Moore, and be based instead on the original 1978 Glen Larson series.
There’s just no way I am going to poison the memory of Galactica with something almost guaranteed to suck – especially when you take an idea meant for televisioin and run it through the Hollywood plot-liquefaction wringer. They pulled it off with Star Trek as a reboot, but that had the benefit of 1. four decades and 2. writers and a director who actually had interesting ideas. From what Bryan Singer did with the Superman reboot, it is clear he has absolutely zero imagination. Even Singer’s work on the X-Men movies was really pretty dull.
More details at AICN and HitFlix (the latter including absolutely atrocious Cylon concept art that sucks whatever residual interest I may theoretically have had for such a project completely down the drain).
I haven’t actually put to pen my thoughts on the closing of the BSG story, though I have a few healthy drafts awaiting completion. In the meantime, though, in the grand geek tradition of Unification Theory, we can play the game of trying to merge our favorite universes. A while back someone posited that Firefly and BSG were the same universe, starting with a genuine screenshot of Firefly flying over Caprica City (an easter egg by the animators). The TOS-era Enterprise also made an appearance in the ragtag fleet, but tying the Trek continuity to BSG is a stretch even for me (though, with the reboot movies, anything is technically possible…)
There was a time, I know I was there, when men were men, women were women and sometimes a cigar was just a good smoke. But 40 years of feminism have taken their toll. The war against masculinity has been won. Everything has turned into its opposite, so that what was once flirting and smoking is now sexual harassment and criminal. And everyone is more lonely and miserable as a result.
â€œRe-imaginingâ€, they call it. â€œUn-imaginingâ€ is more accurate. To take what once was and twist it into what never was intended. So that a television show based on hope, spiritual faith and family is un-imagined and regurgitated as a show of despair, sexual violence and family dysfunction. To better reflect the times of ambiguous morality in which we live, one would assume. A show in which the aliens (Cylons) are justified in their desire to destroy human civilization, one would assume. Indeed, let us not say who the good guys are and who the bad are. That is being â€œjudgmental,â€ taking sides, and that kind of (simplistic) thinking went out with Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan and Kathryn Hepburn and John Wayne and, well, the original â€œBattlestar Galactica.â€
I kind of pity poor Dirk Benedict. He sounds like Grandpa Simpson. I think, however, that his version of Starbuck would have found a lot to like about the new BSG, because at its core, it’s about strong people who keep going in the face of overwhelming odds, about the importance of principle and honor, and a basic embrace of the essence of being human. What makes BSG special is that it does so in classic science fiction style, by using the strange and unfamiliar as foil to probe the familiar and known. How better to answer the question of, what makes us human, then by having machines ask it?
One gets the feeling that Dirk never read any (Philip K) Dick. The Matrix, Blade Runner, even good ol’ Spock the Vulcan… all of that goes over his head, and he is left fuming, impotently, about ambiguous moralities. Science fiction is for grown-ups. The old Galactica series was for kids.
(good as BSG is, though, Firefly still holds the edge. I wonder what sort of conniptions that show would send Dirk into?)