On the Scene: 'Battlestar Galactica"s mid-season finale screening

Bsg_lSeriously, people, it’s a crime that Battlestar Galactica doesn’t get the Emmy recognition it deserves. To help remedy that situation, the Los Angeles Times’ awards blog The Envelope hosted a screening on Wednesday of the mid-season finale episode, "Revelations," for Emmy voters, press and fans alike (you’ll be able to catch the episode tonight at 10/9 central on the Sci Fi Channel). Along with a sneak peak at the last episode for this year (according to various people on the red carpet, the show will return January or February of 2009, but a date has yet to be determined), press and fans got a chance to mingle with the show’s executive producer Ronald D. Moore, Tricia Helfer (pictured, Six), Mary McDonnell (Laura Roslin) and Katee Sackhoff (Kara Thrace), all of whom sat down with the audience after the screening to answer questions.

Before screening the episode, Moore asked the audience to raise their right hand and repeat after him a sacred oath:

"I, [state your name], promise to keep all the secrets I see tonight."

And I, dear reader, took that pledge, and will spare you from the burden of secrets I carry with me this dark night, because trust me when I say that you don’t actually want to know. You don’t want to be the only one in your group of friends that knows the truth and has absolutely no one to discuss it with. It physically hurts not being able to call up my brother or boyfriend and go "OH MY GOD CAN YOU BELIEVE THEY…"

But fear not, gentle reader; I will leave you spoiler-free, if only because that’s the best way to experience what was, in my opinion, perhaps the most shocking episode in the entire series. This is one you want to watch with friends so you won’t be alone in the stunned silence that might follow. It will definitely keep fans talking until the suddenly-so-far-away second half of the season.

So while I can’t talk about the episode itself, after the jump I will feed you as many juicy tidbits from the red carpet, panel and after party as I can muster.

Tidbit # 1) Though still over a year away, the series finale was on everyone’sminds, and comprised the bulk of the questions addressed to the panel. ForMoore, writing the series finale was more than a little difficult: “Iwas getting caught up in the wrong plot in my head, and I was gettingannoyed with myself, and with my writers, and life in general, and mychildren, and cats…. Iwas in the shower and just sort of had this epiphany that I wasconcentrating on the wrong thing, it’s really not about the plot, it’sabout the characters. I came back into the writer’s room the next dayand wrote ‘It’s the characters, stupid’ up on the board.”

2) For the cast, reading the last script brought out some strongreactions: Aaron Douglas (Galen Tyrol) and Edward James Olmos (WilliamAdama) both cried; Helfer felt as if "someone had punched me in thestomach."

3) As McDonnell told me on the red carpet, emotions arerunning high: “It feels alternately glorious anddevastating, because people are doing phenomenal work,” but she’s goingto miss everyone when the show is over. One thing Sackhoff said shewill definitely not miss is the flight suits: "It’slike hell on earth…. Let’s give them water but not give them apee-zipper or anything."

4) One of the show’s recurring themes has been theconflict between the Cylon monotheism and humanity’s polytheism. Whenasked if this was planned from the start, Moore said, "When I wrotethe miniseries, the first draft didn’t really have much to do withreligion. There was actually only one line — I just had [Number Six] say’God is love.’ I thought it was an interesting thing for a robot tosay. I didn’t really know what it meant. I didn’t really have a contextfor it. I just thought it was cool." The network’s note for "morereligion," then, came as quite the pleasant surprise to Moore: "That’sa note I don’t get very often, so [I thought] we’ll just seize that andrun with it."

5) When asked if the various Western cultural references that havepeppered the show recently (everything from Bob Dylan to Shakespeare)were significant, rather than responding with a simple yes or no, Mooreonly provided a maddeningly obtuse "All will be revealed” before movingon to the next question.

6) MAJOR GEEK ALERT (but if you got this far, you are so, so notabove this): Moore also revealed that the final five do not have modelnumbers (like Six, Three, etc.), and there is no direct correlationbetween the numbers and the Greek/Roman mythology referenced by thenaming scheme of the 13 colonies.

7) When asked how she felt about Roslin and Adama, McDonnell explainedthat she enjoyed how their relationship has unfolded over the course of the series:"They end up joining hearts despite their stubbornness, despite theirpersonalities or their obstinate natures."

8) When a fan asked if it was okay for her to pencil in Laura Roslinas her vote for President, McDonnell replied: "Only if I can haveHillary as my VP."

9) I know I said I wouldn’t spoil the mid-season finale for you (and Iwon’t), but I can’t say the same for the series finale. So if you’drather not know anything, just skip straight to the next paragraph.While answering a question about Caprica — a prequel spin-offseries about the origins of the Cylons — McDonnell inadvertentlydropped a very interesting tidbit: "I snuck out of Battlestar the other day in my nightgown and IV and I went over to watch Caprica,and I scared them because they didn’t know this mad woman with no hair,in this nightgown, dragging her I.V." Since the cast just mentionedthat they were filming the last episode of the series, it’s not astretch to assume that Roslin is at least still alive (if not entirelyhealthy). But with this show, who knows…

10) Once the panel was over, I made my way to the after party, whereother fans were more than happy to gab with a complete stranger over[spoiler] and [spoiler] and "Can you believe they [spoilered][spoiler]?!?!" Look, I’m still pretty new to this LA scene, so it wasall a touch surreal to see Seth Green and Ron Moore deep inconversation in one booth, Kevin Smith chilling next to a giganticmetal Cylon statue by the bar, while the flesh-and-blood version, thestunning Tricia Helfer, stood nearby. But the conflux of celebrities,fans, and celebrity fans all coming together to discuss and dissect BSGcertainly warmed this fangirl’s heart (and the free booze certainlydidn’t hurt.)

11) I have to say, however, the sweetest fan moment had to be whenanother blogger just had to get his picture taken not with Six, notwith Roslin, not with Starbuck, but with BSG writer Jane Espenson. With fans like that, who needs Emmys? (Seriously though, an Emmy or two wouldn’t hurt.)

So PopWatchers, I gotta ask: How are you liking BSG thisseason? Is the wait for the second half of this season starting to feelas terrifyingly long for you as it’s beginning to feel for me? Spill!

Comments (98 total) Add your comment
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  • Vlada

    Jane wrote for Buffy. She has a legion of Whedonite fans.

  • elena

    To Vlada: Yea! She was such a phenomenal writer on Buffy, and I am so glad she’s on BSG.
    I hope BSG picks up steam. The first half of the last season EVER has being oddly uneven.
    Good: Cylon guilt, Adama and Roslin
    So-So: Natalie, Baltar and cult
    Bad: Kara (who I love!), Lee in “The Office”, and any episode without Chiefie (aka Tyrol)

  • CFRO

    After tonight, It will be a long wait for Jan or Feb ’09. Great Job, Crew of BSG

  • JMG

    BSG totally rocks – “Revelations” has to be one of the best episodes yet. Now we need to find out what happened to/on Earth…remember, all this has happened before, and will happen again.

  • Erik

    I serious love this show… but in reality this final season just turned into 2 separate short seasons, and I’m just miffed I’m going to have to wait SOOOOO long to see the next episode. This is my favorite show..ever and a shame that its 4 long seasons and not 5 full seasons. But I’m glad the writers got to end it on their terms, makes for a better ending!

  • Glenn

    Wow…What an ending but I’m sure more is in store. What’s the deal with Caprica?? First time I’m hearing about this and where can I learn more.

  • Ralph Ortega

    What the frak? Great ending. Great show. Have to wait until Jan. or Feb. 09? Great scott! Oh well. Worth the wait!

  • stchga

    The mid season finale was a bit of a let down. Seemed a take from Planet of the Apes. Was waiting to see the statue of liberty sticking out of the ground.

  • Tim Lade

    After a season that I felt was really bogged down by a story that was too heavy and when it felt like nothing was happening for weeks on end it was nice to see an episode and really a series that can take what it has been aiming for the entire time and just throw it out a launch tube without a moments hesitation. That’s the mark of a good series. It will kill off characters, it will blow up ships, it will do whatever it needs to do for the betterment of the story they are telling. If I had one complaint about Star Trek is that the Enterprise and all the characters were immortal. Everyone knew they were going to survive so there was no risk to the stories but BSG doesn’t give a frak and does what it needs to do. When this show is over I will really really miss it.

  • john

    who is the fifth cylon

  • Metaman

    So much left to answer – can’t wait 12 months:
    – Will cylons and humans ever coexist?
    – It’s not earth. So does earth or any other planet really matter after all? It hasn’t worked out well on the last bunch of them.
    – If the proof of being final four is hearing things – why is Starbuck not joining them?
    – What about all of the remaining bad cylons?

  • mike2977

    I, too, couldn’t but help think of Planet of the Apes as more and more of the landscape was revealed. And, of course, we don’t know what era we are in; before the era of man, or after he destroyed everything. Are they our ancestors, or have they come to repopulate Earth? If the spin-off, Caprica, is to be a prequel, once this series finally finishes, can a follow-on or movie be far behind?

  • Chris

    At last…interstellar real estate developers. Now we can have big box stores with shaved corners…

  • Matt C.

    I loved this episode, it literally made me kinda jumpy during the last 30 minutes. I hated every commercial break, isn’t that inimical to what they intend? Regardless, I can’t wait to see what’s in store and I’m an even bigger fan of Mrs. Espensons work now then I ever was. That’s saying a lot cause ‘Shindig’ was amazing.
    Thank you.

  • Cranston Snord

    It sucks. The baby boomer’s obsession with self-annihilation is too anachronistic. This kind of story is not where the real “Earth” is at this time.
    That is- unless you’re a baby-boomer.

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