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Old January 3rd, 2004, 05:03 PM   #1
dvo47p
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Default B. Hammer, on fans "can't drive the creative process."

***SPOILER @ ENDING****

'Battlestar' fans angry over update of sci-fi favorite, Starbuck is a . . . she?

By Suzanne C. Ryan, Boston Globe

http://www.boston.com/ae/tv/articles...k_is_a____she/

When he was 10 years old, Marc Drucker remembers, his best friend Jordan would come by his house every Saturday night to watch television. Drucker's mother would make popcorn. And together the boys would become engrossed in their favorite program, "Battlestar Galactica," that science
fiction series famous for its robotic red-eyed villains, the Cylons.

"It was a great buddy show set in space," recalls Drucker, now a 35-year-old medical-device designer in Newton. "Every week, the fighter pilots Apollo and Starbuck would compete with each other. Apollo had the birthright. He was the commander's son. And Starbuck had the talent.

"In the end, neither would get the girl. We loved it."

Perhaps it was inevitable that notoriously outspoken science-fiction fans would be critical of any new fashioning of a beloved show.

But the Sci Fi Channel has enraged would-be viewers with the news that their version of "Battlestar Galactica" features a female Starbuck who smokes cigars, plays poker, and has a love interest in Apollo. Boomer, an African-American man in the original show, is now an Asian woman.
And the dreaded Cylons are now humanoid, mingling undetected among people. One of the Cylons, No.6, is a seductress. Meanwhile, the mysterious reptilian race that controlled the Cylon troopers in the original show is nowhere to be found.

The show's biggest name is Oscar-nominated actor Edward James Olmos, who takes on the Lorne Greene role as Commander Adama. Otherwise, the cast is made up largely of newcomers, among them Katee Sackhoff as Starbuck (formerly Dirk Benedict) and Jamie Bamber as Apollo (once Richard Hatch).

Behind the scenes, the producers seem to have the right credentials. Ronald D. Moore is a veteran writer for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and David Eick produced the syndicated series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys."

But many fans are unimpressed. "They managed to change all of the elements other than the characters' names," said Drucker. "They are forcing me to start from scratch with a new show when I have so much affection for the original. I'd be more excited if they announced they were showing
reruns."

Drucker, however, does plan to watch the miniseries, unlike Michael Johnson, a 32-year-old financial-services professional in Milford.

"Why don't they remake `Star Trek' and make Captain Kirk a woman?" he says. "Making Starbuck, who was a womanizer in the original series, a female is too weird. I don't like them changing things too much, and I've made up my mind not to watch it."

Despite the passion of its fans -- there are at least 21 websites devoted to the show and its original cast -- "Battlestar Galactica" was only broadcast for one season on ABC in 1978.
Attempting to capitalize on the success of "Star Wars," the show followed a convoy of space ships heading to Earth after being attacked by the Cylons who wanted to destroy mankind.

Since the late 1990s, a revival has been in the works. Hatch co-wrote five books advancing the series, including "Battlestar Galactica: Resurrection." In 1999, he also wrote and starred in a 4 1/2-minute film trailer, "Battlestar Galactica: The Second Coming," which illustrated his ideas
for a new film or series.

Fox also considered a series from Universal Television in 2001, but turned away the script, said Eick, who was later hired by Universal to develop a show for Sci Fi.

"It seemed to be a genre ripe for reinterpretation," he said. "The sweeping camera moves. The big orchestral score. The space opera has been mastered by `Star Trek.' We opted to go for a story where the heroes have moral ambiguity to them. Cinematically, there's a lot more hand-held camera
work. Our sets are less designed."

From the beginning, Sci Fi made it clear to Eick that it had no intention of simply remaking the original, a show Bonnie Hammer, Sci Fi's president, said she watched and enjoyed but found to be "too campy." The Sci Fi Channel has aired reruns of that show periodically since 1994.

"We didn't want to completely negate the story line, but we wanted some surprises," she said. "If we had just done a continuation of the original, it would have shut out a lot of viewers who didn't see it. We had to make this fresh and self-contained."

Making the gender changes was one way to modernize the script, she said: "I love the twist of Starbuck being this sassy, tough pilot. That's probably very true today in the military world." In
an attempt to reach more viewers, the channel will also close-caption the series in Spanish, making it the first basic cable channel to do so for an original drama.

Among those with doubts about the new "Battlestar Galactica" is Glen Larson, who created the original series.

"I don't know that the Sci Fi Channel is comfortable with [traditional] science fiction," contends Larson, who watched an advance tape of the mini sieres recently. "To make the Cylons humanoid is a
concept that has been done in `The Matrix' and `Terminator.' The gender changes seemed to be a change just for the sake of change. I'm thrilled that a story I wrote 25 years ago has held up,but I would have liked this version to be a little more faithful to the original."

To be sure, Hammer was prepared for a backlash. Earlier this year, she endured widespread criticism from fans who were upset that the channel had canceled "Farscape," a series some fans called television's best science-fiction program since the original "Star Trek."

"Farscape" had suffered from ratings declines, and the channel determined that it was time to move away from traditional space-odyssey science fiction in favor of shows based on Earth. "We are trying to open the door to those people who go to see `The Matrix' and `Harry Potter,' " Hammer
said.

While not giving up on space stories completely, this year the 24-hour basic-cable channel, which is available in 82 million subscribing homes nationwide, introduced a reality show, "Scare
Tactics," and the horror-comedy series "Tremors" (which has already been canceled). Its miniseries "Frank Herbert's Children of Dune" attracted 2.4 million viewers, making it the third most-watched original program in the channel's history behind 2002's "Taken" and 2000's "Dune."

"We are trying to strike that perfect balance between redefining science fiction for our audience and supporting the classics that the fans really love," Hammer said.

The Sci Fi Channel's website, www.scifi.com, has been "inundated" with protests, said Hammer, who added that fans "can't drive the creative process."

In a nod to the old generation, the channel did air a one-hour special, "Battlestar Galactica: The Lowdown," Nov. 26, in which Katee Sackhoff, as Starbuck, bought a Starbucks coffee for Dirk Benedict, the old Starbuck. "We hung out," said Sackhoff, who had no idea her character was
originally a man when she received her script.

Chris Feehan, co-president of the Battlestar Fan Club at www.battlestarfanclub.com, said he's "shocked" that the fans have not prevailed. "Deep down," he said, "I'm hoping this is a flop so we can have a proper revival."
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 06:51 PM   #2
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We might not be able to "DRIVE" the 'creative' process ...
but we can sure as Hades BOYCOT anything that
HAMMER puts OUT!
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 08:09 PM   #3
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This is a reprint of my comments at CA:

I'm actually with Bonnie partway on the statement "fans can't drive the creative process".

That doesn't mean "felgercarb on the fans and treat them like garbage". It simply means that other people are in front - namely, the producers and writers and their investors. They produce a show that either flies or it doesn't fly and ultimately it's the viewers who are the deciding vote.

Personally I wouldn't want her creative intervention in any BSG project. I'd like to hear from Lee Stringer on the "Battlestar biodomes" rumor, because her name is associated with that project. I remember RDM making a comment at the BSG chat: "A Battlestar without Galactica?" He didn't put much credit in the rumor but all the same I'd like to give it some research.
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 08:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by larocque6689
This is a reprint of my comments at CA:
I'm actually with Bonnie partway on the statement "fans can't drive the creative process".
That doesn't mean "felgercarb on the fans and treat them like garbage". It simply means that other people are in front - namely, the producers and writers and their investors. They produce a show that either flies or it doesn't fly and ultimately it's the viewers who are the deciding vote.
Personally I wouldn't want her creative intervention in any BSG project. I'd like to hear from Lee Stringer on the "Battlestar biodomes" rumor, because her name is associated with that project. I remember RDM making a comment at the BSG chat: "A Battlestar without Galactica?" He didn't put much credit in the rumor but all the same I'd like to give it some research.
Yes I know, I did it, I'm sick as a dog, feel bad & need something to do, so I'm cleaing out my BG stuff, is this OK? Hell I might post this else where, get over it, please. I like the rumor that Dirk said NO to a cameo,pissed off Bonnie, so we got Stardoe...........

Oh my favorite line,"
"Chris Feehan, co-president of the Battlestar Fan Club at www.battlestarfanclub.com, said he's "shocked" that the fans have not prevailed. "Deep down," he said, "I'm hoping this is a flop so we can have a proper revival."
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Old January 3rd, 2004, 08:30 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
[B]Yes I know, I did it, I'm sick as a dog, feel bad & need something to do, so I'm cleaing out my BG stuff, is this OK?
Sorry to hear that. Hope you get better!
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Old January 4th, 2004, 12:45 PM   #6
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me too
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Old January 4th, 2004, 06:40 PM   #7
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Default Thanks guys

Quote:
Originally posted by shiningstar
me too
Quote:
Originally posted by larocque6689
Sorry to hear that. Hope you get better!
Kind words, thank you, hello what a way to shed those Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years pounds, I'd rather go run, hit the gym & lay out in a coed Sauna, hop back into thse 34 Levi's!

Better than puken my way back in 'em. Gee, who would?

Hello, Moore, Eick & Rymer caused this, a sweet 14 y/o niece wanted to see that mini, word got out I OD'ed on BG'03, I'll sue 'em!
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Old January 5th, 2004, 11:11 AM   #8
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Wink It's all about tough love (scathing commentary)

Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
Behind the scenes, the producers seem to have the right credentials. Ronald D. Moore is a veteran writer for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," and David Eick produced the syndicated series "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys."
People seem to forget that. . .

1) TNG was NOT well met. In fact I recall (dating myself here) a review in Twilight Zone magazine that said the new starship looked like a cosmic sopository. What's more there are plenty of folks who will still rant on about how a certain prepubescent character should be roasted over the fires of Hephaestus's forge for all eternity!

2) Did anyone really watch Hercules, the series? I know I didn't, cept when NOTHING else was on and I had NOTHING to do. Yet, I did get caught up in the Xena frenzy for the first season or two.


Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
"Why don't they remake `Star Trek' and make Captain Kirk a woman?" he says. "Making Starbuck, who was a womanizer in the original series, a female is too weird. I don't like them changing things too much, and I've made up my mind not to watch it."
Or better yet why didn't they do something really "hip" and "gritty" and "on the edge" like making Starbuck a woman. . . but keeping all of the old Starbuck's qualities. Right. Down. to. the. WOMANIZING.

Not like they were trying to make this a family oriented series.

Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
"It seemed to be a genre ripe for reinterpretation," he said. "The sweeping camera moves. The big orchestral score. The space opera has been mastered by `Star Trek.'
Wagon Train to the Stars has mastered Space Opera?

I think quite a few novelists, with their own unique and interesting Space Opera settings, which are NOTHING remotely like Star Trek, would disagree. Ever heard of David Weber, Poul Anderson, Anne McCaffrey, Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, or Isaac Asimov?

Thought not.



Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
We opted to go for a story where the heroes have moral ambiguity to them.

Translation: Plot? We don't need no stinking plots!


Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
To be sure, Hammer was prepared for a backlash. Earlier this year, she endured widespread criticism from fans who were upset that the channel had canceled "Farscape," a series some fans called television's best science-fiction program since the original "Star Trek."
And, yet, she didn't get the hint. Without fans you have nothing. You do NOT annoy the fans, unless you are a rat looking for an opportunity to sink the ship so you can steal away on a life raft.


Quote:
Originally posted by dvo47p
"We are trying to strike that perfect balance between redefining science fiction for our audience and supporting the classics that the fans really love," Hammer said.
Translation: "Fans? Who cares what the fans want, we need familiar programming sponsors are willing to PAY to advertise during."

If not for "fans" willing to read, watch, or play your material you have nothing but a pile of useless refuse. If not for "fans" novelists would never see word one published. If this were a SPORTS channel the first thing that the executives would do is, you guessed it, PANDER TO THE FANS! Why? Because without fans to pay admission you just have a bunch of over priced dorks running around a over priced field doing the hoaky pokey.

Not fan driven? Someone's off their meds and experiancing a different reality, more like. Oy!

Last edited by Kester Pelagius; January 5th, 2004 at 11:22 AM..
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Old January 6th, 2004, 10:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: It's all about tough love (scathing commentary)

Quote:
Originally posted by Kester Pelagius
TNG was NOT well met...What's more there are plenty of folks who will still rant on about how a certain prepubescent character should be roasted over the fires of Hephaestus's forge for all eternity!
Yes, Wesley is on the rotisserie as we speak. Don't ask where we put the rotating spit.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 07:12 PM   #10
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LOL Jedi temple
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