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Old February 18th, 2004, 08:55 PM   #1
michaelfaries
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Lightbulb N.Y. Observer - Richard Hatch interview (Feb. 2004)

http://www.observer.com/pages/nytv.asp

"Tuesday, Feb. 24" (?)

Richard Hatch, the 58-year-old actor who once played the dashing, feather-haired Captain Apollo on the 1978 sci-fi soap opera Battlestar Galactica, has a message on his Web site, Richardhatch.com, that neatly sums up his current situation:

"Note: The Richard Hatch of this site is not related to the winner of CBS-TV’s first Survivor show. Additionally, Richard is not participating in the new SCI-FI Channel Battlestar Galactica mini-series which is a re-imagining (remake) of the original show, not a continuation as fans had hoped for."

Mr. Hatch, a former dreamboat on the 80’s daytime drama Santa Barbara, couldn’t buy the Sci-Fi Channel’s "edgy reimagining of the 1978 television series," as the network put it, that aired in December 2003. It didn’t make him cry the way the original did.

"Even after the destruction of the colonies, there’s no tear in my eye," Mr. Hatch told NYTV from his production office in Los Angeles. "I’m seeing a bunch of destruction, but I’m not feeling anything. It just wasn’t moving …. It was as if they took everything that made Battlestar out and replaced it with their own vision."

Mr. Hatch is in for more disappointment, it seems: The network announced on Feb. 10 that it would produce 13 more episodes to begin production in Vancouver next month.

Of course, Mr. Hatch, the author of a number of Battlestar novels, had his own ideas for the show, one in which he might have had a larger role. In 1995, after attending a Star Trek convention and discovering an enormous subculture of Battlestar Galactica diehards among them, Mr. Hatch spent two years creating and test-marketing a four-minute reel that was a continuation of the original Star Wars Meets Bee Gees in Space concept, including bringing back some of the old characters to play the wizened generation to a new set of stars. He showed it to Universal in 1997.

"I laid out the case and the numbers 20 years ago and the ratings," he said. "They couldn’t visualize how you could bring back the show."

In 2002, Mr. Hatch was shocked to discover that Universal could suddenly visualize it after all: They had hired Ron Moore, the executive producer of HBO’s Carnivàle, and David Eick, a producer for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, to tart it up for the Maxim demographic, changing a couple of male characters to buxom galaxy babes.

According to Mr. Hatch, the new show has divided fans, most of whom dislike it immensely. "It was like a fan war," he said, reiterating for effect: "It was Fan. War."

Mr. Hatch found the new version lurid. "Every five seconds somebody was throwing somebody against the wall and ripping their clothes off," he said. "I can see sex on any channel. I want to see romance. There was cleavage and sex, but no romance."

The producers offered Mr. Hatch a cameo on the show, but he turned it down.

"Having a cameo, it doesn’t feel like an honor of the original actors," he said. "It just seems like they’re using them for their name value. To do a cameo would have been an insult."

Mr. Moore, the new show’s co-producer, said he felt for Mr. Hatch, whom he met last year at Galacticon, the Battlestar Galactica convention in L.A. "I have a lot of sympathy for Richard and fans of the old show, because they were holding out hope for a show that didn’t happen," he said. But he called his version "a more mature take. It’s a more reality-based show than the original series."

Still, he hoped Mr. Hatch would eventually agree to come aboard for a few episodes. No hard feelings! "I think he’d be interesting, and the network would love to have him," he said.

But in his monthly Web-based newsletter to fans, Mr. Hatch said that he dreamed only of a distant, more hopeful future where Mr. Moore and his ilk had bit the stardust.

"I can only hope that someday soon, we’ll have channels and studios that truly understand and respect the wishes of the multi-generational and broad-based Science Fiction community."

Tonight, the Sci-Fi community comes together for a collective shrug at Stargate: SG-1. [SCIFI, 44, 8 p.m.]
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