‘Galactica’ set for final showdown
Like all good things — life, love, that particularly good chorizo empanada you had for lunch — even Battlestar Galactica must come to an end.
The Peabody Award-winning series, hailed as one of the decade’s finest TV offerings, is spooling up the faster-than-light drive for its fourth and final season, premiering tomorrow night on sci-fi channel Space.
It’s the beginning of a bittersweet last leg for the cast and crew, including stars Katee Sackhoff and Grace Park. On screen, there’s been much friction between their characters; Sackhoff plays tough-but-vulnerable ace pilot Kara (Starbuck) Thrace, while Park’s Sharon (Boomer) Valerii (please, we call her Athena now) is a Cylon, the race of androids who destroyed humanity’s homeworlds.
But in person during a recent visit to Toronto, they’re as close and comfortable as sisters, alternating between finishing each others’ sentences and ragging on each other without mercy.
“It’s like having friends without trying,” Vancouver native Park said of shooting a series as tight-knit and intense as Battlestar. “You see some of these people more often than you see your own family, and you have experiences that are deeper than the things you’ll have with most of your friends.”
What began as a huge TV gamble — resurrecting the name and premise of a cheeseball 1970s Star Wars ripoff and giving it a gritty, politically aware edge — has paid off with mainstream recognition, a ferociously devoted fanbase and significant fame for its stars.
Fame that includes a recent GQ magazine photo shoot featuring Sackhoff, Park and Canadian former supermodel Tricia Helfer (who plays smokin’ hot Cylon Number Six) posing on motorcycles. In leather chaps. And bikinis.
“You get close. Literally,” said Park, turning to coo at Sackhoff: “Your skin is so soft.”
“Grace is laying on my back and Tricia’s ass is my face,” recalled Sackhoff. Fans, enjoy the mental image. GQ, enjoy the readership spike.
Between talk of how the writers’ strike had some fearing Battlestar wouldn’t come back (“We were drinking Irish whiskey at 9:30 a.m. on the last day because we pretty much thought it was the end,” said Park) and a wild tangent about Sackhoff’s brother biting the head off a crab that attacked him (“Do you think that crab was like, ‘What the f—! Normally I go in the pot first!’ “), we revisit the inevitable question: Why does political and religious commentary like Battlestar’s have to be cloaked in a shield of sci-fi?
“It allows people a sense of comfort, to be talking about heavy issues but in the back of their minds to be able to dismiss their emotion toward the issue as science fiction,” said Sackhoff.
“Everyone talks about it, but not addressing it directly,” said Park. “And being able to do it in green flight suits and jetting off into space and FTL drives makes it that much easier.
“If someone gets their back up too much, someone else says, ‘Look, it’s called Battlestar Galactica.’ ”
It’s not all metaphysics and Iraq war pokes, of course. But fans tuning in tomorrow night to discover what’s up with Starbuck’s miraculous return, find out whether or not the fleet will locate Earth and learn the identity of the final Cylon are going to have to wait awhile.
Sackhoff and Park, who were shooting Episode 14 of 20 at the time of our talk, said even they don’t know the answers yet. They will come, though. All in good time.
“I think there’s a tremendous freedom in what (the show’s creators) want to say, but they know that they need to wrap it up, and they’ve got a lot of loose ends that need to be tied up,” Sackhoff said.
“There’s no way that we’re going to be disappointed.”
The last Cylon? Even the writers might not know
It is this TV season’s “Who shot J.R.?” or “Which Simpsons character is gay?” Who is the last, yet-to-be-revealed Cylon in the Battlestar Galactica universe?
Of the 12 models of androids who’ve infiltrated human society, seven were identified over the first two seasons, and another four in Season 3’s shocking finale, including crusty Col. Tigh and goodhearted Chief Tyrol.
But who is the final Cylon? Is it Admiral William Adama? President Laura Roslin? Apollo? Starbuck? Baltar? Some Viper pilot who has only been half-glimpsed in a couple of episodes?
Forget about prying the secret out of series stars Katee Sackhoff and Grace Park, though. They can’t even agree with each other about who it is.
“We’re already fighting about it,” Park said. “She (Sackhoff) thinks she knows, and I think it’s not true.”
“Oh, I think it’s not true, too,” Sackhoff countered. “But I know. We all know. You think it’s not real, I think it’s real but they’re going to have to change their minds.”
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on a second. Change their minds? About one of the series’ biggest surprises?
“I think they’re going to have to just pick a person out of thin air when we get to that episode, and make it make sense, or everyone’s going to find out,” Sackhoff said.
Plugging ears now! Don’t want to hear that something so significant to the Galactica story arc could be decided on a whim at a writers meeting!
“It’s not that casual, and you want to believe that something so great was contrived, that they meant to do it,” Sackhoff said. “But I think that sometimes the things that are so great in life are by accident.”
‘Galactica’ set for final showdown