‘Battlestar,’ behind the scenes

Jan. 13, 2009 | 2:51 a.m.

EXCLUSIVE

I just watched an advance copy of "Sometimes a Great Notion," the big episode of "Battlestar Galactica" that premieres this Friday (don’t worry, no spoilers here) and, wow, it is some pretty powerful stuff. The episode looks fantastic, it takes the story into unexpected directions and, well, by the end the crew of the Galactica are faced with despair and some shocking new developments. There are also some big revelations in this particular episode; trust me when I tell you that you want to watch it before you hear about it second-hand.

Check back later this week for a lot more about the "beginning of the end" as the best-written science fiction show in television history ticks down to its series finale. And mark your calendar: We’re going to have a VERY BIG exclusive right here at Hero Complex on Friday, but I can’t say more about that right now…trust me, though, it’s huge.

"Sometimes a Great Notion" actually could have ended up (with a different edit) as the series finale if the Hollywood writers strike last year had stretched out longer, according to people close to the production. The director of the episode is Michael Nankin, who has done some great work on this series (he directed memorable episodes like "Scar," "Flight of the Phoenix," "Maelstrom,""Passage" and the unforgettable "The Ties that Bind," with the wrenching deep-space death of Cally Tyrol.

I had lunch with Nankin in downtown L.A. a few weeks ago (who, by the way, Katee Sackhoff and other cast members have called their favorite "BSG" director) and he promised to e-mail me some behind-the-scenes photos from past seasons on the Vancouver set and I was delighted to get them a few days ago. Here they are along with brief captions written by Nankin.

— Geoff Boucher

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This is rehearsal time in the CIC. From left to right in the foreground: Michael Hogan (Col. Saul Tigh),  that’s me in the dark t-shirt, James Callis (Gaius Baltar) and Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama). You can also see Alessandro Juliani (Lt. Felix Gaeta) and Grace Park (Sharon Agathon) chatting in the background.

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Rearsing a scene in the pilot’s lounge. From L to R (and leaving out the bald guys with no faces) Bodie Olmos (Hot Dog), Leah Cairns (Racetrack), Christian Tessier (Duck), me and Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck).

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This is me on the Battlestar hangar deck contemplating how best to to shoot a raptor without making it look like what it is — a flying minivan.

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Here we’re discussing a shot in the hangar deck. Director of Photography Steven McNutt is in the black jacket and that’s Assistant Director Rachel Leiterman in the gray T-shirt.

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Here we’re figuring out a stunt sequence on the Battlestar hangar deck. Stunt co-ordinator Duane Dickenson on the far right. Tahmoh Penikett (Helo) watches and, on the far left is Tahmoh’s stunt double. That’s my son Joe, who joined me that day to observe, standing next to me.

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