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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

scoops on Season Four of ‘Battlestar Galactica’

Have you heard about this Battlestar Galactica thing? Apparently it’s a little show on the Sci Fi Channel, something the network is trying to drum up interest in — it seems no one is watching. So Sci Fi paraded out the show’s creators and stars in New York City on Tuesday night, I guess hoping that we’d write something about them.

No, seriously: it was pretty much geek heaven. I and a bunch of other journalists — though not as many as I would have thought; it was fairly exclusive, and the journo crowd definitely skewed online; I guess Sci Fi knows where its audience is — spent an hour at a press conference with writer-producers Ron Moore and David Eick and cast members Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Katee Sackhoff, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Grace Park, Michael Hogan, and Aaron Douglas. And then there was a big party afterward, in which they (and other Sci Fi personages, like Stargate’s Amanda Tapping and a bunch of the cast of Eureka) were cornerable and up for chatting about their work.

It was a lot of fun — these are some seriously smart, funny people who clearly love what they’re doing, and their enthusiasm is infectious. If I hadn’t already been totally psyched for the fourth and final season of BSG, I would be after hearing them talk about it.

Here are the big highlights of what I learned about what we’re in for in Season Four and beyond:

• We’re promised revelations about “Starbuck’s secret, Baltar’s mission, the Cylons’ plan, humanity’s future,” plus one other “final revelation.” I’m guessing that’s gonna have something to do with Earth, but, you know, feel free to discuss among yourselves.

• Fourteen of Season Four’s 20 episodes (for a total of 22, counting Razor) are completed, but don’t expect to see all of them in a row starting in April. We’ll see nine for starters, and then — depending on how Sci Fi’s other programming falls out — we may have to wait till early 2009 for the rest.

• Season Four will be “less political,” Moore says, since it’s just one long storyline leading to… whatever the finale will be.

• Moore swears that some loose ends will be tied up, but he “can’t promise” that every single question will be answered. Eick joked — at least he’d better have been joking — in response that that bit about the Cylons having a plan? They’re not gonna let us in on that at all.

• The prequel Caprica has been greenlighted as a two-hour pilot. Eick and Moore are casting now and Sci Fi expects to air it in Fall 2008. It’s just a pilot for now, but if it’s picked up as a series — it will be set 50 years before the events of BSG and cover the creation of Cylons and the lead-up to the first Cylon war — we can expect episodes in mid 2009.

• There are no plans for a BSG theatrical movie. Moore believes the show “works best as an ensemble” and that a movie couldn’t be tied to continuity of the show, anyway. He decried how the Trek movies were always about Picard and Data, with little for the other characters to do, and he doesn’t want that to happen to BSG.

Season Four premieres on Sci Fi on Friday April 4 at 10pm Eastern, but it will stream earlier in the day on scifi.com if you really can’t wait. I’ll have a sneak preview review of that episode next week on March 31st.

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