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March 29, 2007

Battlestar Galactica - What's up with Moore?

Click for larger imageMovies, tv shows, novels ... I rarely delve into the background of a singular piece, preferring to take the story as it is presented. One of the reasons is that creators can disappoint. Take George Lucas.


Kidding aside, I've watched, loved and commented extensively on Battlestar Galactica since its 3-part pilot years ago, yet I have rarely visited its website on Sci-fi channel (save for pics) or listened to the podcasts or read much of the written commentary from Ron Moore, et al. Any good story, no matter how the plot twists, has both a consistent theme and an internal logic. BSG has been no exception, excelling at exciting plotting and challenging themes. I've been more than satisfied to pick up my clues for where the story might go from the actual show I'm watching. If the author has done his or her job correctly, then the reader's/viewer's perception should dovetail with the author's intentions.

So it really irritates me to read this interview (thanks to commenter VRWC drone for bringing it to my attention) wherein Ron Moore rambles more like a pretentious, teenaged prankster than an accomplished and talented storyteller.

One can't read comments like ...

R: Now there are two half-human, half-Cylon babies -- Hera and the Chief and Cally's child. Will you be dealing with that?

RM: Oh, yeah.

R: Are there other half-human, half-Cylon children?

RM: You never know.

R: We've never seen a child in Cylon society. Am I right that there are no pure Cylon children?

RM: That's true.

R: So Tigh and the others were put into the Colonial fleet as adults?

RM: I don't know if it's that simple. I think it's something that goes back pretty far. ...
R: Why did Roslin have a mental connection to Sharon and Six and not the other Cylons on board?

RM: They are fundamentally different Cylons.
R: When did you decide to make these four characters Cylons and how much did you have to go back and check to make sure that fit with things we already knew about these four characters?

RM: It was something I came up with this season as I worked toward the finale.

... without wondering if Moore has actually never had any planned story arcs, just writing stuff as mood struck him ... or is he just having a huge joke at all our expense?

BSG has broadly hinted at the basic conundrum of predestination vs freewill. A certain tension comes from the conflict between "this has all happened before and will happen again. " and "I make my own decisions." Even the Cylon/Human shared yearnings for an answer of "Why am I here?"

But have these themes, which elevate BSG from mere space opera to serious fiction, come about accidentally or from Moore's considered direction?

I fear what the final 22 episodes hold if Moore is more interested in 'gotchas' than in crafting an enduring piece of film.

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Posted by Darleen at March 29, 2007 11:34 AM


On the one hand, I agree with you: despite the suggestion (indeed, the statement: "They Have a Plan") suggests long-term plotting by the creators of the show a la JMS and Babylon 5, it is wholly unclear that Moore and company have done anything like that for BSG.

On the other, I wouldn't expect him to be forthcoming about those issues in an interview.

I listened to the podcast of Maelstrom and came away thinking that maybe Starbuck really was dead.

So, it may be that some of this is gamesmanship in the press.

Although I will say, having listened to the podcasts, that the show is not as tightly plotted as I would like it to be and therefore I have to wonder if they will be be able to pull off some of what they have started (such as the significance of Hera).

Posted by: Steven Taylor at March 30, 2007 08:12 AM

Who wants to watch Chinese food being cooked? Just eat and enjoy. If I were him, I'd be coy during interviews as well.

Everyone assumes that Tigh, Anders, Tyrol and Tori are cylons. I'm reserving judgment on that front, although the evidence is pretty solid. I also think that Starbuck is living in Lee's head. There seems to be a lot of that going around.

Welcome back.

Posted by: Chris at March 31, 2007 04:42 PM

I can buy all of them being cylons except for Tigh. Based on prior episodes and flashbacks, Adama has known Tigh since just after the end of the first Cylon War when they were both serving on a merchant ship. Has Tigh been a cylon since then or was the real Saul Tigh replaced at some point with a cylon duplicate? Any explanation they come up with is going to seem like a bit of a reach.

But have these themes, which elevate BSG from mere space opera to serious fiction, come about accidentally or from Moore's considered direction?

Based on the Ron Moore podcasts and commentaries I've listened to, I'm convinced that these great themes are a deliberate creation of his. I'm just worried that now that Moore has created this wonderful show and setup all these intricate plot twists he doesn't know where to go with it and is now forced to make it up as he goes.

As noted in the article linked above, Moore plans to have them reach Earth. How he does this is probably going to to be the toughest part of the entire series. A comment from the interviewer echoes my own fears:

"I'm nervous because of what happened on the original series when they reached Earth and the show became 'Galactica 1980'"

And based on Moore's ready reply ("We're dusting off the flying motorcycles, man. We have some great ideas for those babies"), I'm guessing he's thought a lot about this as well. Personally, I hope he has a few sleepless nights over it!

Posted by: VRWC drone at April 2, 2007 11:27 AM

You are The Best!!!

Posted by: Terabanitoss at May 4, 2007 03:45 PM