Frak, No! Battlestar Preps Final Voyage
The Galactica is ready to be mothballed.
The brain trust behind Sci Fi Channel’s Battlestar Galactica on Friday announced plans to wrap up the critically acclaimed cult series after its upcoming fourth season.
“This show was always meant to have a beginning, a middle and, finally, an end,” executive producers Ronald Moore and David Eick said in a statement.
“Over the course of the last year, the story and the characters have been moving strongly toward that end, and we’ve decided to listen to those internal voices and conclude the show on our own terms. And while we know our fans will be saddened to know the end is coming, they should brace themselves for a wild ride getting there: We’re going out with a bang.”
And despite losing their top-rated original series, the Sci Fi overlords are okay with the move.
Mark Stern, the network’s executive vice president of original programming, said he and his fellow suits “respect the producers’ decision to end the series.”
Last month at the Saturn Awards, where Battlestar was named Best Syndicated/Cable Series, star Edward James Olmos hinted that the show was ready to make its final voyage.
That prompted Eick and Sci Fi to issue a statement asserting “no decision had been made” on the show’s fate. “I promise you that when Ron and I make a decision about Galactica’s future, we’ll let you know,” said Eick, who is also producing NBC’s buzzed-about remake of Bionic Woman, which debuts next season.
Premiering in 2003 as a miniseries, Moore and Eick’s Battlestar Galactica was a “reimagined” take on ABC’s 1978 Star Wars-riffing sci-fi show and its spinoffs. Moore and Eick stuck to the original’s basic premiseóthe robotic Cylons rebel against their human masters and virtually annihilate the race, sending the few survivors in a quixotic interstellar journey to find a mythical, lost “13th colony” known as Earth. The “rag-tag fugitive fleet” is led by crusty Admiral William Adama (Olmos) and cancer-stricken President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell).
However, the new Battlestar jettisoned the high camp of the original in favor of a taut serialized drama focusing on strong character development and emotional conflict, while taking plot cues from 9-11 and the war in Iraq.
The storytelling formula has proved a success with TV critics. Although it has yet to earn a top-tier Emmy nod, the new Battlestar received a Peabody last year and was named to the American Film Institute’s Top 10 list of television shows for two years running.
“It’s been a wonderful, creative experience,” Moore said during a conference call Friday. “I feel like we’ve had enough time…It feels like the momentum of the series is moving to a conclusion.”
He added that he and Eick planned on tackling the series’ lingering questions in the remaning episodes.
“The intention is to concentrate on the characters and their relationships and bring them all to an end point. I don’t know if we’ll resolve every single thingÖbut the intention is to move toward what is the final chapter,” Moore said. “The show has always been about a search for EarthÖso it will definitely figure into this year’s story line.”
Eick, meanwhile, said he intended to use Battlestar actors on Bionic Woman and other future TV projects. “We stumbled onto the greatest collection of actors I’ve ever been a part of…[and] I’m trying to make use of this cast as much as possible.” Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck) guest stars on the Bionic Woman pilot and will likely be a recurring character, he said.
Perhaps because the rumors of the show’s demise have persisted, diehards took the news in stride Friday.
“Seriously, it’s sad to know it for sure, but I’d rather know now than find out with just a few episodes left. We can savor every moment with the full knowledge that the journey is almost over,” TowelOfApollo wrote on Sci Fi’s Battlestar message board.
“Every end is a beginning,” added Punchface. “In this case, it’s a point in the history of sci-fi as a genre where we will be able to say ‘this is where the genre began to really get respect.’ Firefly and Farscape may have started it, but it was Battlestar Galactica that really got the ball rolling.”
So much for the resistance.
The swan-song season is currently in production in Vancouver, with the first of its final 22 episodes scheduled to launch in early 2008. To tide fans over, however, Sci Fi has commissioned an extended two-hour Battlestar Galactica stand-alone episode, titled “Razor,” to air in November focusing on the adventures of the Galactica’s sister ship, the Pegasus.