SCREAM AWARDS, airing 10 p.m., TUESDAY, OCT. 27 on SPIKE TV
“Battlestar Galactica” will be back from the dead on Tuesday.
The best-written sci-fi show in the history of television ended its 75-episode run last March, but it won’t feel like it Tuesday, not with a special tribute to the show airing during the 2009 Scream Awards broadcast and a new “Battlestar” film, “The Plan,” hitting store shelves that day as a DVD and Blu-ray release. That’s the trailer for “The Plan” above.
At the Scream Awards taping last week at the Greek Theatre, amid plumes of pyro and a vigorous ovation, the stars of “The Big Bang Theory” introduced a good-sized contingent of “Battlestar” cast members and, somehow, it already felt like it had been too long since we’d seen them together. Backstage, I got to catch up with some of the show’s familiar faces, among them Edward James Olmos, Kate Vernon, Tahmoh Penikett and executive producer David Eick.
“What a night!” Olmos said with a big smile. He was excited about the upcoming release of “The Plan,” which he directed, and didn’t seem phased by SyFy’s decision to postpone the movie’s television airing to next year. In a way, I’m sure he prefers that fans seek it out on home video so they can see the director’s cut; the broadcast edition may well be shorter. I asked him how much he expected would be trimmed from “The Plan” when it eventually did air.
“A lot. I have mixed feelings about that, of course,” Olmos said. “I’m glad to have the DVD and Blu-ray version but hate seeing it chopped for television. But that was done to the show the whole time. We would make our cut of the show, and it would be excellent and come in at 44 or 45 minutes and they would look at it and say, ‘Okay, that’s great, it plays fantastic, it’s beautiful. But you need to cut it down to 41 minutes. It really hurts.”
Sure, but I asked Olmos if those wounds really last — after all, the extended-version episodes now available on home video are the fossil record of the show’s achievement and will be watched for years and years, perhaps by far more people than the audiences reached by the broadcasts.
“That’s right, that’s what’s going to hold. They are more complete. And, like ‘Blade Runner,’ I think this show will be more poignant and more appreciated in 30 years than it is today. I lot of people don’t get it right now. Most people didn’t get ‘Blade Runner,’ either.”
Olmos leaned forward and gave me a funny look. I could tell he wanted to try out one of his new theories on me. Olmos always has new theories, which is why it’s always a treat to run into him.
“If you want to try something, go do this: Watch the entire run of ‘Battlestar’ from beginning to end and at the end, in those last moments when Six says to Baltar, ‘It’s all going to happen again’ and Baltar says, ‘No I think maybe this time humanity has learned,’ after that, as they go walking off into Times Square, put in ‘Blade Runner’ and watch it. ‘Battlestar’ finishes in 2008 and ‘Blade Runner’ starts in 2019. There’s a lineage there. Gaff becomes the direct descendant of Adama, and the lineage is so pure they resemble each other.”
Just then Eick joined the conversation. “And by the way, don’t think that was a mistake. Don’t think that was an accident. Look, we cast Eddie because of ‘Blade Runner.’ I grew up loving that film, and we were clearly thinking of it as an influence and a standard to seek. The funny thing is, when you’re putting together a show, you say, ‘Oh and we’ll get an Edward James Olmos type for this role,’ you know, just as you’re filling in the blanks in your mind, and we did that. Never for a moment did we actually think we would get him.”
Olmos looked at Eick for a long moment and then nodded. “I’m glad you did.”
— Geoff Boucher
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