"Battlestar Galactica" Question

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Jeff F., May 15, 2006.

  1. Jeff F.

    Jeff F. Stunt Coordinator

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    At the urging of some friends, I just ordered the season one DVD set of the new "Battlestar Galactica." I have never seen the show, but it was so highly recommended to me that I figured I needed to watch it.

    If I recall, there was a miniseries that aired about a year before it became a series. Do I need to view the miniseries in order to understand the series?
     
  2. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    Yes, you absolutely must see the miniseries before watching the weekly series. It sets up the whole thing. The miniseries is included on the first season set, unless you had the misfortune of purchasing the Best Buy version, which came out earlier than the general release set.
     
  3. Jeff F.

    Jeff F. Stunt Coordinator

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    I just ordered it from Amazon. Does that mean the miniseries will be included on the box set?
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    Yeah, you'll get the miniseries.
     
  5. Jeff F.

    Jeff F. Stunt Coordinator

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    Great! Thanks for the quick responses.
     
  6. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    You don't have to watch the mini series in order to watch the standard episodes. However, it is recommended that you watch the regular episodes in order as because if you watch them out of order you'll get confused. Those producers running the show have tied every episode into each other which has turned into a cheap marketing ploy ...

    one of my many complaints about the series, even though I do own the season one on DVD ...
     
  7. Katherine_K

    Katherine_K Second Unit

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    Actually, it's one of the things many people like about the series. There is no magic reset button and you know that things that happen in one episode can vastly change the landscape of the next.

    As always though when BSG comes up, I tell people it's not everyone's taste and this is probably one of those instances.
     
  8. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    It is a distraction. One shouldn't be forced to watch every episode from the very beginning. There are a lot of shows that I watch and that I own on DVD that I like watching over another. Favourite episodes over others, and we all have them ... one shouldn't be forced to watch everything from the beginning in order to enjoy them and that's one point where the show fails ...
     
  9. Jason_V

    Jason_V Producer

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    That's the thing. You DON'T have to watch every single episode from the beginning to understand what is going on. Each episode has its own plot (thinking Scar and Black Market from S2 in particular) which connects to the whole. you pick up any show and enjoy it...but the main enjoyment comes from seeing the evolution of the characters and situation.

    Mark, it's not a matketing ploy. It's the way numerous other shows do their business. ER has been doing it for 12 years, DS9 did it for seven, Babylon 5 for 5, 24 for 5, Alias for 5...you get the idea. If you don't like it, I'm sure there are other shows on the tube for you.

    You're in the minority when it comes to this. If the shows didn't connect together and form a coherant whole, we'd be stuck with yet another Voyager. If BSG ever gets to that point, I will turn it off since VGR was the WORST thing to happen to modern Trek.
     
  10. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Nicely put Jason. Count me amongst those that prefers longer story arcs rather than standalone episodes. Both have their attractions, but longer story arcs are inevitably (by definition) more complex, and therefore resolution thereof is usually (to me at least, YMMV) more satisfying.
     
  11. Bill>Moore

    Bill>Moore Second Unit

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    It's nice to have some shows with only stand-alone eps, but I really enjoy the arc-driven shows and the evolution of the characters and the show. I would like BSG quite a bit less if there was a reset button and everything was hunky dory at the end of every episode.

    Once you've watched through the series once, you can easily watch individual episodes and remember what's happened. Or read one of those paragraph synopses for an ep or two prior to set up the episode. Might take 30 seconds or so and you're all set. Certainly not some sort of marketing ploy designed to screw with the viewer.
     
  12. Kevin Grey

    Kevin Grey Cinematographer

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    Ugh, I couldn't disagree more. Without exception, all of my favorite shows are arc driven.
     
  13. Mike*SC

    Mike*SC Second Unit

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    Well, you may not care for this aspect of the show (I happen to like it), but to suggest it's a "cheap marketing ploy" is simply nonsensical. In fact, studios and networks always fear arc-driven shows for the exact reason you cite. They fear the show will be impossible to pick up midway through, and turn away all but the most faithful viewers.

    The choice to build each episode on top of the previous is a creative one, and not a cynical one. The stories have far greater resonance because the relationships and plot turns gestate over the course of weeks or months. As on the similarly structured "The Sopranos," the pieces often add up in ways you didn't anticipate. This show would be far less effective with exclusively stand-alone episodes.
     
  14. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    No matter how you put it, it is a cheap marketing ploy. Battlestar Galactica does it, Lost does it. BG purposely forces you to watch the series from the beginning and you get lost if you don't because throughout this series each episode is severely tied into the one before so you almost have to otherwise you'll get lost in the series.

    Lost does the same thing. It purposely ties the current episode into the previous one so you almost have to watch the series from the beginning. The series 24 acts in the same way. It really is a cheap marketing gimmick that more and more shows have begun using and it's becomming too overused, in my opinion.

    Now, just waiting for the arrival of Season 2 on my doorstep.
     
  15. Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    And the outcome of this is the potential to lose viewers who might miss an episode and then give up on the show. So not only is it a cheap marketing ploy its a bad one, meaning that they either have some pretty awful marketing people or perhaps it isn't a marketing ploy at all rather a creative choice. It seems to me that this creative choice is balanced with the understandable concerns of losing viewers in this way by including some episodes which could be considered stand-alone and by giving each episode a main theme or storyline which stands on its own as well even when driving the overall arc forward.

    Youve also got the added concern when starting up a show like this that people will not watch for fear of getting into an arc driven show which is ultimately cancelled and leaves you with an unsatisfying ending. I have been stung with shows like American Gothic (and nearly Farscape) which resulted in endings which could in no way satisfy what had preceded the finale. Even shows like Angel which had a great ending to Season 5 but as a finale to the entire series could not live up to the 5 years worth of plot and story that preceded it. It was simply impossible.

    Lost is in the same position as BSG and I would not put that down as a cheap marketing gimmick either.

    24 is different and is probably the one show I can think of where the fact that you have to watch the whole series is actively promoted but this is due to the nature of the show going out in "real time". Here Id agree that it is marketed in this way, but do they show any improvement in their viewing figures from Seasons 1-5. I doubt it. I think it's largely DVD which has allowed shows like this to continue.

    Fair enough if you don't like the use of shows tieing episode to each other, but I would argue that shows like BSG and Lost (Stargate also springs to mind thought the quality of the show is another matter) maintain a healthy balance between the arc driven series like 24 or Babylon 5 and the standalone nature of shows like Star Trek Next Generation or Voyager.

    and just as a word of caution Season 2 of BSG is just as arc driven as Season 1 if not more so [​IMG]
     
  16. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    Simon, you hit the mark right on the head where I was trying to go with that one. Most shows seem to desperately fail to win over new viewers and possibly gain them as new fans to pick up the DVD sets when they are released on account of the fact that every episode is tied into another.

    The problem with shows such as Battlestar Galactica and Lost is that they are entirely story-arc driven. Most entertainment fans like myself don't have time to watch television and when we do, we might catch an episode or two to see what it's about. The problem with that is if a new fan switches to watch an epsiode of Battlestar Galactica for the first time they are going to be completely lost because of the way the story is told and the way the episodes are linked together.

    This forces possible new viewers to turn to other shows to watch. These shows will only succeed if the series can draw in a potential new viewer without losing that potential viewer if they only want to watch an episode or two. If I had jumped in the middle of watching BG or Lost and I was a new viewer to those shows I would be entirely put off because of that fact and the networks would lose new fans for these shows.

    The only reason I'm a fan of Lost is becauyse I can only watch the show on DVD because of the way the episode are linked together. I've been waiting until a show is released to DVD before sitrting down to watch it. One of the main reasons why I like Lost isn't because of the interconnectivity between the episodes but because of the mythology of the series and I couldn't even begin to watch the skeries on a week to week basis because you lose that initial awe that the series portrays.

    With Battlestar Galactica, I came upon these observations after my purchase of Season 1 and watching the series completely through. It is entertaining but I stand by my earlier comments. I'm just waiting for my Season 2 set to arrive so I can see what happens next in this series.
     
  17. Mike*SC

    Mike*SC Second Unit

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    But as Simon says (hmmm...), if it is a "cheap marketing ploy," it is incredibly ill-considered. I do not watch "Lost," though people tell me it's terrific. Same with "24." Why not? Because the barrier to entry is that I don't know what the hell is going on with it, and I know I can never catch up.

    This is why nighttime soaps like "Dallas" and even "Beverly Hills 90210" have never been successful in syndication. In general, viewers don't want to be held hostage to the show every single night. This is also how you feel. Which is fine. But given that this is how production companies make money, again I ask, how in the world is it a cheap marketing ploy?
     
  18. Mark Talmadge

    Mark Talmadge Cinematographer

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    He was kind of quoting what I said about the cheap marketing gimmick. Don't get me wrong. Battlestar Galactica, Lost, and 24 are very well conceived shows I just think they used the wrong type of model to go with the show. I'm just talking about all of the episodes being interconnected with each episode.
     
  19. nolesrule

    nolesrule Producer

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    Why is it a wrong model? It's more like real-life than self-contained stories since what comes before has an impact on what comes later.

    Cheap marketing gimmicks are telling lies in episode previews to get people to tune in. Like telling you someone is going to die in the voiceover while showing a clip of a major character. And then it turns out to be a secondary character (or worse, a red shirt) that gets killed.
     
  20. ethanTo

    ethanTo Stunt Coordinator

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    The episodic stand-alone nature of SMALLVILLE is probably its biggest turn-off for me. The first few seasons were entirely monster-of-the-week, and the ongoing plot threads (Clark and Lana, will it work?) were retardedly-conceived with no direction or purpose whatsoever. (And as of this season's RECKONING episode, I have abandoned the show finally)

    I wonder if this kind of ties in with the cult nature of SCI-FI programming. I read an interview with Gina Torres (Firefly, Cleopatra2525, 24, Angel, Nikita, Xena, etc.) where she talks about how surprised she was when she first appeared on sci-fi shows, even just in guest starring spots, how rabid and devoted the fans were in comparison to other TV work. Sci-fi watchers are the ones who ARE going to watch every episode, every week and follow the ongoing continuity. Which is why I think that this works sooo well for BSG, I would not have BSG any other way; even the suggestion of making each episode more stand-alone is abhorrent!!!

    Just off the top of my head, what I'm wondering, is it because of the continuous nature of sci-fi programming that encourages this rabid dedication in the fans? Or is the continuity, episodes flowing into each other, a result of catering to the fans, how they are and what they like?

    Does that make sense. :|

    Anyways, I don't see the whole 'this episode ties into the next' as a marketing ploy in the LEAST (though yes, I'll agree it is intrinsic to the concept and marketing of 24, and what makes it work so well); it was obviously a conscious decision of the creators who wanted to create something that was more epic and meaningful.

    I'll certainly agree though about how the episodic vs. continuous issue affects the accessibility of a show, and probably why I'll never get around to watching Stargate. At nine seasons, with a spin-off, I've tried to flip it on and check it out, but I just can't get into it without having seen what came before. So yeah, I'm sure that the nature of BSG is an obstacle to picking up more viewers, but me? I would rather have few seasons of great continuous BSG (because it struggles for viewership-I don't know if it does or not-) than more seasons (because it is popular) of episodic-style 'monster of the week.'

    Playing devil's advocate to myself though, haha, (edit #5 or so), I very much enjoyed X-Files, which was highly episodic. Though I loved the conspiracy-ongoing stuff.

    So now I'm left without conclusions, except that I feel the BSG creators made the right choice!
     

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