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Old December 21st, 2003, 06:55 AM   #1
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Default Richard Hatch interview from Filmfax magazine

By Frank Garcia: "Science Fiction, back in Galactica's day was tough. It was very difficult for science fiction shows to succeed on television," says actor Richard Hatch. These days it's very possible for SF to succeed, and it is succeeding. It's a different marketplace. It's a much better environment for SF today than in the 1970s." Discussing the series' cancellation. Hatch recalls the moment after completing the final episode, The Hand of God." "I got a phone call about two months later, and they said the show wasn't coming back. The ratings were much higher than Buck Rogers, and Buck Rogers was brought back.

“I think it was money, and also, from what I hear, there were a lot of network people who did not like science fiction, and I think they never wanted Galactica in the first place to be a television show. One way or another, id they don’t like a show, even if they do well in the ratings, they’re going to pull the plug. I think a lot of things came to play in Galactica, money, ego, confusion, I think it was just a very difficult show to produce.”

Over the years, Hatch has remained passionate about Galactica to the point where he self-financed his very own Battlestar Galactica trailer called “The Second Coming”. Completed with state-of-the-art computer generated special effects, and featuring Richard Hatch, the late John Colicos, and fellow Galactican Jack Stauffer, it was screened at conventions all over the world. Used as a tool to generate excitement among fans, it was also a pitch to Universal Studios to get them to reconsider a new Galactica series. However, the vision presented in that trailer is not the one appearing on television this year.

Hatch has also written and collaborated on four novels set in that universe, continuing the characters and adventures many years later. The books are: Battlestar Galactica: Armageddon (1997), Warhawk (1998), Resurrection (2001), Rebellion (2002), and the latest, Paradis (2003). “I’ve felt the show was too good to let go, to forget about.”

In a 1998 interview, he told this writer, “I started writing a synopsis to put together a new series. It will address all the unresolved issues and deals with [them] some 20 to 30 years since we last saw the Galactica. The commander dies, and there is a fight to establish who is going to be the leader of the Galactica, and it deals with what happens to Captain Apollo and Lt. Starbuck, and basically puts the ship on course to find its true home. The odyssey really was about re-establishing contact with the true race, where humans had begun to try and trace the steps back to its evolutionary heritage.” Predictably enough, Hatch initially encountered resistance. But as the television landscape evolved and science fiction grew in popularity in films and television, Hatch’s quest slowly moved forward.

“As the Sci-Fi Channel began to air the original episodes, all of a sudden there was a great revival and a great new interest in Battlestar,” Hatch said. “And then Universal’s upper management became much more open about Battlestar, and the Byron Preiss books and the Rob Liefeld Extreme comic books and all the other companies such as Trendmasters (toys) [came out with Galactica products].

“It all demonstrated there was an economic base for Battlestar that was still out there in the market place,’ continues Hatch. “In order to justify doing a second series, you have to prove to people who make [the] decisions that there is still an economic base that’s sufficient to warrant doing a new series.

“For me, the fact that Battlestar generates so many different opportunities for companies to make money 20 years later demonstrates that this series should have been done a long time ago.”

Today’s trend of re-makes, in both film and television, of assorted genres, is an environment that has helped make the mini-series possible.

“It does help!” says Hatch. “But, at the same time, the reason why they’re going back to old shows is because, in a sense, they have more faith in an old show that was successful than to try a new idea. When you’re putting out the huge megabucks that companies spend on films these days, they don’t want to take a chance on untried subject matter or ideas. They’re going back to old concepts that worked once before, with all the new technology and special effects. They’re realizing that if it worked once, it can work twice.

“In Galactica’s case, it wasn’t just the story – it was the characters, the relationships, the family. All of that went to make that such an exciting show, even with all the problems of a first-year show. It was still something special that really attracted the fans.”

Hatch feels a re-make is the wrong approach on a property like Galactica. “I’ve travelled the world for the past year, and I can tell you that the fans of all ages are extremely unhappy with what the Sci-Fi Channel is doing to their beloved show,’ says Hatch. “There is a fan war going on, and the fan response during my panel at Comicon in San Diego more than demonstrated that. Tom DeSanto and Glen Larson are equally upset at the Sci-Fi Channel’s decision to change the tone, characters, and overall story of the original series, which has led to a worldwide fan revolt. Changing Boomer and Starbuck into women has only added to the fans’ anger, and has totally alienated them to being receptive to a new series. No one can understand the reasoning behind the decision to re-imagine the series when they could have put one out of the ballpark by giving the fans what they truly want. It seems that the powers that be are more interested in imposing their own vision on the story than giving the fans what they have been passionately pleading for.

“If this series fails – which I sincerely hope it doesn’t, in spite of my personal feelings – I still believe that either Tom DeSanto or Glen Larson will carry the torch forward and give the fans what they have been patiently waiting 25 years for. You should have seen the fans cheer when they played the theatrical version of Battlestar Galactica on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre (this past August in Los Angeles). The fans won’t have that opportunity with the new series, as they won’t recognize anyone or anything on the series. It’ll be like starting over from scratch, and the big question is: Why? Had they given the fans what they truly wanted, they would have been very open to any spin-offs, which could have explored the BG universe from many new points of view. I, and the vast majority of fans everywhere, are truly angered and saddened by what could have been the epic return of the most underrated series in sci-fi history.”
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