Posts Tagged ‘James Callis’

Syfy’s Eureka And Warehouse 13 To Do Crossover Episodes

May 20, 2010

WAREHOUSE 13 and Eureka, the Syfy Channel’s top scripted series, are joining together for the first time ever for a pair of crossover episodes this summer, it was announced today by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Development, Syfy, and Co-Head Original Content, Universal Cable Productions.

In the episodes, which are currently filming, Douglas Fargo (Neil Grayson) of Eureka’s Global Dynamics is sent to Warehouse 13 to help update its aging computer system. This triggers a seemingly sentient computer virus that sends the Warehouse into lockdown and traps the team inside The Warehouse 13 episode is entitled 13.1 and will air on Tuesday, August 3rd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST.

The Eureka episode entitled Crossing Over, will air on Friday, August 6th @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Warehouse 13‘s Claudia Donovan (Allison Scagliotti) pays a visit to Eureka, hoping to see some amazing technological wonders. She gets more than she bargains for, though, when seemingly random objects begin appearing around town. Working with Sheriff Carter (Colin Ferguson) and Fargo, Claudia has to help solve the mystery before the strange anomalies have deadly consequences…particularly for newcomer Dr. Grant (James Callis).

Rene Auberjonois (Boston Legal, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) will guest-star in the Warehouse 13 episode as former Warehouse agent Hugo Miller.

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The Syfy Channel Sizzles During Summer 2010

April 15, 2010

THE Syfy Channel goes boldly where it has never gone before in Summer 2010 with its first ever Thursday night reality bloc (Mary Knows Best and Paranormal Investigators); new scripted series (Haven) based on a Stephen King novella; popular returning series (Warehouse 13, Eureka, Ghost Hunters Academy and Ghost Hunters International), and fan favorite Saturday Night Original Movies including Lake Placid 3 and Stonehenge Apocalypse.

The traditional holiday movie marathon runs from Friday, May 28th through Monday, May 31st, including “cold as ice” films (Yeti), horror flicks (premiere of Wrong Turn on Saturday, May 29th @ 9:oo p.m.), “creatures in the water” films (Lake Placid 2) and a festival of Stephen King adaptations (The Stand) on Memorial Day, May 31st.

The new Thursday night reality bloc premieres Thursday, July 15th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with Mary Knows Best (working title), a docu-soap reality series following Mary Occhino, a successful radio host, psychic intuitive and mother of three, who gives a whole new meaning to the term “mother is always right.” Her children, Jackie, Chris and Carl, are a mismatched group f siblings consisting of a skeptic, a paranormal investigator and a reluctant psychic. In each episode, viewers will meet a humorous and unforgettable cast of family characters including Mary’s outspoken older brother Charles and two adorable grandchildren. The series is produced by Atlas Media Corp.

Following @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST is Paranormal Investigators, which debunks fact from fiction by uncovering the truth behind supernatural and unexplained occurrences which have been caught on tape. In each episode, the six-person team, led by former FBI Special Agent Ben Hansen, searches for the most intriguing and unusual images, videos and unnatural phenomenon found online and around the world. Selecting the most intriguing images, the team heads into the field attempting to re-create the video, carrying out key experiments and searching for clues and evidence. The team uses all the latest tools CGI (computer-generated imaging) and investigative techniques at its disposal to try to answer the question, “Is it real?” Produced by Base Productions.

The new drama series Haven premieres Friday, July 9th @ 10:00 p.m. EST/PST. Based on the novella The Colorado Kid from renowned author Stephen King, it follows FBI Agent Audrey Parker (Emily Rose), who arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine to solve the murder of a local ex-con. Before long, her natural curiosity lands her in the epicenter of activity in this curious enclave, which turns out to be a longtime refuge for people with a remarkable range of supernatural abilities. Among the townspeople are local cop Nathan Wuornos (Lucas Bryant), who eventually becomes Audrey’s partner, and the mysterious and charming Duke Crocker (Eric Balfour).

Cable’s top paranormal franchise, Ghost Hunters Academy returns with brand-new episodes on Wednesday, June 2nd @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Expert instructors Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango will once again train a group of recruits to become the newest team member, but this time, one hopeful will be voted off each week by one of the ultimate judges of paranormal investigating: Ghost Hunters‘ Jason Hawes! Jason, Steve and Tango will put the new recruits through the paces with challenging investigations at six of the most daunting and memorable past Ghost Hunters locations: Waverly Hills Sanatorium (Waverly Hills, KY), Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (Weston, WV), Mark Twain House (Hartford, CT), Fort Delaware (Delaware City, DE), Mansfield Reformatory – a.k.a. “Shawshank Prison” (Mansfield, OH) and the infamous Stanley Hotel (Estes Park, CO).

Season two of Warehouse 13 debuts on Tuesday, July 6th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST. The series follows two Secret Service agents who find themselves abruptly transferred to a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota which houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government. The Warehouse’s caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) charges Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) with chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to cache at the Warehouse, as well as helping him to control the Warehouse itself. Warehouse 13 also features Allison Scagliotti, along with series guest-star CCH Pounder.

Eureka kicks off its fourth season on Friday, July 9th @ 9:oo p.m. EST/PST with the introduction of new series regular James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Grant, a former resident of the town whose unexpected return is cause for serious alarm and, considering his romantic interest in Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), significant friction with Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson). New and returning fans won’t want to miss the big changes in store for everyone in the small town of Eureka after a cataclysmic shift turns their lives upside-down. Eureka also stars Joe Morton (Henry Deacon), Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo), Neil Grayston (Douglas Fargo) and Niall Matter (Zane Donovan).

On July 14th, new episodes of Ghost Hunters International premiere @ 9:00 p.m. EST/PST. Like their U.S. counterparts, TAPS (The Atlantis Paranormal Society), GHI is a squad made up of everyday ordinary citizens who investigate and attempt to debunk claims of otherworldly activity. In the premiere episode, the team travels to the famous town of Nottingham, England and search for the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Ghost at the Galleries of Justice. Other countries on their global adventures will include Wales, Norway, Poland, Ukraine, Estonia and many more. The team includes Robb Demarest, Barry FitzGerald, Brandy Green, Ashley Goodwin, Paul Bradford, new cast member Scott Tepperman as well as Ghost Hunters Academy winners Susan Slaughter and Karl Pfeiffer.

Saturday Night Original Movies

Lake Placid 3 premieres in June 2010. In this sequel to Lake Placid 2 (most watched Syfy Saturday Original Movie ever), a game warden, his wife and their young son move into their aunt’s cabin on Lake Placid, where the lonely boy starts feeding baby crocodiles he considers to be pets. Three years later, the crocs start looking at him and his family as food. Stars Colin Ferguson (Eureka).

Stonehenge Apocalypse premieres in June 2010. When the giant stones of Stonehenge begin to move and cataclysms occur all over the Earth, only a fringe radio talk show host who’s an expect in UFOology figures out that the ancient monument is really alien technology. Stars Hill Harper (CSI NY).

Jack Hunter And The Lost Treasure of Ugarit premieres in July 2010. Jack Hunter, an adventurous fortune hunter, goes to Syria to find an ancient treasure buried thousands of years ago, which might be cured. Stars Joanne Kelly (Warehouse 13).

Goblin premieres in July 2010. A family vacations in a mountain town haunted by a goblin that steals babies. When their newborn disappears, it’s up to his older half-sister to rescue him.

Mandrake premieres in August 2010. A group of adventurers searching for a Spanish conquistador artifact find that the jungle around them is a single living being – and it’s not happy they’re there.

James Callis Joins Syfy’s Eureka

March 16, 2010

PRODUCTION begins this week in Vancouver on season four of Eureka, one of the Syfy Channel’s most popular original series, it was announced by Mark Stern, Executive Vice President of Development at Syfy, and Co-Head, Original Content, Universal Cable Productions. The dramedy’s new season welcomes an all-new regular cast member, James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) as Dr. Grant. Syfy has ordered 20 episodes of Eureka, which will once again be shot entirely on-location in and around Vancouver, Canada, and is slated to premiere on Friday, July 9th of this year.

Throughout the four-season run of Syfy’s award-winning Battlestar Galactica, James Callis starred as Dr. Gaius Baltar, garnering both critical acclaim and fan adoration for his portrayal of the self-serving, opportunistic, conniving genius. On Eureka, Callis will play scientist Dr. Grant, a former resident of the town whose unexpected return is cause for serious alarm and – considering his romantic interest in Allison Blake (Salli Richardson-Whitfield) – significant friction with Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson). New and returning fans won’t want to miss the big changes in store for everyone in the small town of Eureka after a cataclysmic shift turns their lives upside-down.

Once again this season, series stars Colin Ferguson and Joe Morton (Henry Deacon) will direct episodes, and making her directorial debut as well is female lead Salli Richardson-Whitfield. Also, special guest-stars returning this season include Jaime Ray Newman (Dr. Tess Fontana) and Matt Frewer (Taggart).

Dollhouse’s Tahmoh Penikett – In The House

October 1, 2009
Tahmoh Penikett is Dollhouse's Paul Ballard. Photo copyright of Fox TV

Tahmoh Penikett is Dollhouse's Paul Ballard. Photo copyright of Fox TV

There is an old saying that nice guys finish last. Fortunately, that is not always true, especially for Tahmoh Penikett. Good-looking, congenial and, most importantly, talented, this Canadian-born actor has made quite an impression on TV audiences with appearances on such shows as Cold Squad, Smallville, The L Word and Stargate SG-1. Earlier this year, he not only finished a four-season stint playing Captain Karl “Helo” Agathon on Battlestar Galactica, but also made his debut as ex-FBI Special Agent Paul Ballard in Joss Whedon’s new series Dollhouse, season two of which premiered last Friday night on Fox. Having seen Penikett in Galactica, Whedon already knew who he wanted to fill Paul Ballard’s shoes.

“My manager called me in late February or early March [2008] to say that Joss Whedon [Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel] wanted to speak with me, and without hesitating I said, ‘Give him my number,'” chuckles Penikett. “So Joss and I met and had a great conversation. After telling me that he was a Battlestar fan, Joss began to talk about a new project [Dollhouse] that Eliza Dushku was going to be the lead in, and a character named Paul Ballard that he had written with me in mind, which was incredibly flattering.

“Joss and I really clicked during that first meeting. After he talked about the premise of the series, I told him about a book that I had read and found very similar in tone and sadness to this particular piece. Joss had also read the same book and agreed with me. He then told me, ‘You’re my choice for the role of Ballard, but, ultimately, you have to read for the network,’ and I said, ‘No problem.’

“The people at Battlestar released me from work for a few days so I could fly down to Los Angeles and do the network test. Eliza was nice enough to come all the way back from Peru, where I believe she was traveling with her brother, to read with me, and then the rest was out of my hands. When I heard I got the part, the people at Battlestar, being the incredible people they were, released me last April [2008] in the middle of shooting our last three or four episodes to go back down to LA and film the original Dollhouse pilot.”

In Dollhouse, Penikett’s character of Paul Ballard is assigned the task of investigating the Dollhouse, a mysterious organization that is home to a group of individuals called “Actives” or “Dolls.” These operatives, including Echo (Dushku), have had their personalities and existences wiped clean for the purpose of being reprogrammed with a new persona, sometimes multiple ones. Depending on who hires them, these “Dolls” can be used to do everything from commit crimes to fulfilling the ultimate fantasy. While most of his fellow agents treat the Dollhouse as a joke, Paul is determined to find it and rescue Echo. Like all new acting jobs, it took Penikett a little time to settle into his role.

“When you’re playing a new character you have to make some strong acting choices,” he explains. “Starting out, it was somewhat of a hectic shoot at times because of the rewrites as well as the hype that the producers and writers had to deal with as far as what it [the series] was going to be and what it had to be. As a result, we didn’t have much of an opportunity to talk at length with Joss about our characters and the direction that they’d be taking. I mean, yes, he did provide me with some essential information, and, thankfully, Joss and his writing staff are extremely talented, but there were times where I had to do some guessing and choosing on my own. That’s why it’s often somewhat easier with a miniseries or even a feature film because you’ve got a beginning, middle and end. So there’s something you can work towards in terms of choices and direction with regard to where your character is going to end up.

“So it was a challenge in the beginning with Dollhouse, but once we got into it and everyone got over their nerves and began to find their characters, it really started coming together,” enthuses Penikett. “I feel the second half of our first season was especially strong and everyone should be proud of it. Now that all those initial jitters are out of the way, I’m even more excited about the second season.”

Nearly halfway through Dollhouse‘s first season, Paul Ballard’s efforts to prove that the Dollhouse does, in fact, exist, are rewarded when he comes face-to-face with Echo in Man on the Street. “That was my first big episode of the show and one that pretty much concentrated on my character,” notes Penikett. “I thoroughly enjoyed shooting it; there was a lot of martial arts involved and I had a number of scenes with Eliza as well as several of my castmates.

“There’s another episode where Paul discovers that Mellie [Miracle Laurie], who’s this woman he’s fallen in love with and has been having an affair with for a while is, in fact, a Doll [codenamed November]. It’s almost too much for Paul and he can’t believe it. My character is devastated and absolutely shocked, and in this episode there’s a scene where Mellie takes him into the bedroom where they’re about to make love. Paul is taking his shirt off when suddenly she witches personalities, and my character thinks she’s just messing with him at first. That was such a well-written scene and a lot of fun to play. I just love Miracle. I think she’s a very, very talented actress and an angel. I really enjoyed working with her.”

In Dollhouse‘s year one finale, Omega, Paul is suspended from the FBI and subsequently captured by two Dollhouse operatives, Boyd Langton (Harry J. Lennix) and Adelle DeWitt (Olivia Williams). With limited options, he agrees to help the group find Alpha (Alan Tudyk), a rogue Active, in exchange for Mellie’s freedom. With Paul Ballard facing an entirely new set of personal as well as professional hurdles in the show’s second season, Penikett has one or two things on his “wish list” when it comes to his character’s on-going development.

“I’m hoping we’ll get to reveal a bit more of Paul’s past, because I think it would help audiences come to grips with his somewhat brooding, darker side,” says the actor. “He’s got some demons and has been thorough a lot. Paul is somewhat of a lone wolf, but he chooses to be one. Why is that? What happened in Paul’s past that has made him so averse to getting help from other people? Why is he so self-righteous? I think we should explore that a little more in season two, but not too much. After all, we want to leave something for season three,” he jokes. “Again, if we explore that side of my character a bit more, it might help the viewer, maybe not empathize or even sympathize with Paul, but perhaps better understand him because I think he’s confusing to some people.”

Prior to Dollhouse, Penikett became a familiar face the world over for his performance in the aforementioned Peabody Award-winning drama Battlestar Galactica. The actor first appeared as Helo in the 2003 miniseries, which at the time looked like it would be the character’s swan song as well when he gave up his place on a rescue ship to Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) and remained behind on the enemy-occupied Caprica. Luckily, the show’s producers recognized Helo’s, and Penikett’s, potential and decided to keep them both around.

“Helo’s story arc became a more integral and important part of the overall Battlestar story as each season went on, and I’m truly honored that that was the case,” says the actor. “There were a lot of opportunities with that and the writers took what I was giving them and went with it. That’s a testament to how talented they were, because a lot of the stuff was just subtle choices that Grace Park [who played Penikett’s on-screen wife Sharon “Boomer” Valerii] and I were making regarding our characters’ story and giving it more backstory. The writers realized this and wrote for us.

“My character starts out as a young man at the beginning of the series. He has a lot of good qualities but he’s still a very young man, like most of the people in the miniseries and before the surprise attack by the Cylons. However, after war breaks out once again between man and machine, Helo has to grow up very fast and he proves that he doesn’t like being a loner. He has a true and extremely real ethical and moral sense like no one else has. Helo is obviously a leader and not afraid to fight for what he believes in. He’ll stop at nothing to save his wife and child and express his feelings when he disagrees with a decision that those in command are making.”

After five years of conflict and animosity, the surviving humans and humanoid Cylons come together on a new Earth-like planet to establish a brand new civilization in Galactica‘s two-part finale Daybreak. Not surprisingly, these remaining episodes were bittersweet ones for the show’s cast and crew to shoot.

“Being the finale, we knew that there were going to be some huge as well as scary and jaw-dropping moments,” recalls Penikett. “Ultimately, the work that everyone did in the final episodes of Galactica was incredible. Everyone shines. I had the opportunity to do an amazing scene with Edward James Olmos [Admiral William Adama] again, along with some incredible scenes with Grace, which I always loved. I also got to act with some of my fellow cast that I hadn’t really had the chance to do before.

“That’s what stands out for me about those final episodes of Galactica; the beautiful and truthful work and the pride we had about being part of a show that completely broke the mold of the stereotypical Sci-Fi TV series. We reinvented it, so when shooting the finale I focused on just being there every day and enjoying every moment that I was having with these people who I probably wouldn’t work with again for a very long time. Grace Park and I were totally on the same page. Even during those 16-hour days, we’d be sitting there looking at each other and smile, tease one another and laugh. Our last day and the last scene I shot was a very emotional one. We all had a good cry. It was a fulfilling and sad moment at the same time.”

Penikett spent most of this past May and part of June shooting The Syfy Channel miniseries Riverworld, in which he plays the starring role of Matt Ellman. Prior to moving back down to Los Angeles to begin work on season two of Dollhouse, he filmed an independent short film called Hostage, written by Brent Cote. “This is a piece that Brent pretty much wrote for me and Aleks Paunovic,” says the actor. “Aleks is an excellent actor and one of my best friends in the world. We’d been looking to do something together for a while and Brent wrote an amazing script that I got to produce as well as star in with Aleks. So I was pleased to have the chance to do that before trying to get organized for LA.”

Later this year I’ll be running a detailed interview with Tahmoh about his work on Riverworld to coincide with the airing of the miniseries on The Syfy Channel.

Steve Eramo

As noted above, the photo is copyright of Fox TV, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any kind. Thanks!

Ron Moore – Journey’s End

May 29, 2009
Battlestar Galactica re-imagined creator and executive producer Ron Moore. Photo by Steve Freeman and copyright of the Sci Fi Channel

Battlestar Galactica re-imagined creator and executive producer Ron Moore. Photo by Steve Freeman and copyright of the Sci Fi Channel

It was back in 1979 that TV audiences first became aware of the futuristic war between humans and the robotic Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. While the series became a cult favorite with fans, it did not fare well in the ratings and after a year the show was cancelled. The same fate befell its short-lived sequel Galactica 1980. Twenty-three years later, writer/executive producer Ron Moore re-imagined the Galactica story with a 2003 miniseries, which led to a hugely successful weekly series. In it, Commander William Adama and his crew of the Battlestar Galactica together with President Laura Roslin fight to protect the survivors of the human race from annihilation by the Cylons. Like the original series, this one has plenty of action and drama, but it is also far darker in tone, which was deliberate on the part of its makers.

“I felt it was important to never lose sight of the basic premise of the show, which is that it was born out of an apocalypse,” explained Moore in a conference call with journalists earlier this year. “Billions of people were literally wiped out and their world taken away from them. Everything they know is gone and what they’re left with are four walls along with a ceiling and the floor, all of which are made of metal. These people are nomads in the truest sense. They’re going from place to place seeking an oasis, a home, this place called Earth.

“In that context I didn’t want to just magically say a few episodes down the line that, OK, these people got over it and life goes on. It just felt that in order to be truthful to that kind of event, the emotional reverberations of it would continue forever and that they would never really get over it. It would never be truly behind these people and always be with them in some way. However, that didn’t mean that they couldn’t laugh and tell jokes every once in a while. You could do stuff like that, but you had to maintain the reality of where they were.

“If, again, you could be truthful to their experiences as human beings in the wake of this unimaginable disaster, then that, in turn, would allow audiences to invest themselves in what we were doing. So they would go with us on this ride, deal with killer robots from outer space and whatever else we wanted as long as we dealt honestly with the human emotions of it. That sort of dictated that there had to be a dark and oppressive type of air to a lot of things. They could never really just let go and have fun again, and even when they did, it was always with this thing hovering in the background.”

Although audiences did choose to come along with the ride, Moore had no idea that his re-imagined Galactica would appeal not only to Sci-Fi fans but also the casual viewer looking for a well-crafted dramatic story. “I didn’t anticipate the critical acclaim of the show, how deeply it would penetrate out into the general audience or that it would be talked about as much as it has been and receive the awards that it has,” says the executive producer. “I just thought that it was a good show. I believed in what we were doing and felt it would be special as well as something that I could be proud of, but that was about it.

“So creatively, I’m very surprised where we ended up with the characters and mythologies. I had none of that at the start. I more or less trusted that we’d figure it out and we did, but I didn’t really have a grand master plan of how it was all going to fit together. The first season was a lot about experimentation and trying different structures in terms of storytelling and what did and did not fit the program. By the end of the season, I figured that I had the answer to that and I better understood where we were going, what it was about and the best way that Galactica could tell its stories.”

Throughout the first two-and-a-half years on Galactica, the Cylons were determined to destroy what remained of humanity. However, in the season three episode Rapture, they changed course, literally as well as figuratively, and began a race with the humans to find Earth. At the same time, a civil war amongst the humanoid Cylons began to gain momentum. By the show’s fourth year, Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell) agreed to an alliance with a faction of rebel Cylons, and together in Revelations they made it to Earth. Sadly, it turned out to be a barren wasteland, and the following story, Sometimes a Great Notion, shows how this affected our heroes, including Lt. Anastasia “Dee” Dualla (Kandyse McClure) who went to pieces and then committed suicide.

“We designed this episode and structured the fourth season with the intention that our characters would get to Earth and show the impact it had on them,” notes Moore. “As far as what happened with Dee, I think it was because she always appeared to be one of the strongest characters. Dee was the one who, in many situations, had always been the voice of reason and would try to soldier on. She’d buck up [Admiral] Adama as well as his son Lee [Jamie Bamber] when either of them was down. There was this sense of her being the rock, and it was important to me that when they found Earth was a wasteland, that the psychological damage from that would be profound.

“I mean, this was everything they had hoped for since the miniseries. If you take that dream away, then there’s a consequence and a price to be paid,” continues the executive producer. “Like I was saying earlier, it didn’t seem like they should simply shrug their shoulders and move on. Given the circumstances, it felt that somebody would check out, and there was something shocking about it being Dee because they had relied on her and she had always been there.

“Just because a person has been your rock and bucking you up, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have their own vulnerabilities or breaking point. And that breaking point might surprise you, which is why we chose Dee because it felt like the audience would be shocked, but her response would be true. I don’t think she consciously thought about it. On a subconscious level she soldiered on, but then there came a time when she was like, ‘I don’t want to soldier on any more. I’m going to try to feel good one last time and then I’m out of here.’ And it got a huge response from viewers. Every once in a while you want to reach out and grab them by the throat and say, ‘Have a reaction, get involved. What does it mean to you that Dualla has suddenly and shockingly blown her brains out?’ I thought it was great, and people can have whatever specific reaction they want as long as they’re emotionally caught up in a show and it means something to them.”

Not everyone is pleased about the alliance with the Cylons, and in the Galactica fourth season’s A Disquiet Follows My Soul, Colonial Vice President Tom Zarek (Richard Hatch) and Felix Gaeta (Alessandro Juliani) set into motion their plans to lead a mutiny amongst the fleet. This episode marked Moore’s directorial debut on the program, which was a very positive experience for him.

“I had a tremendous amount of fun,” he enthuses. “It was great to do it [direct] on a show that had been mine for several years and one where I knew the cast as well as the crew intimately. There was a huge amount of support and a lot of people wanting me to succeed. I got plenty of extra-special attention and help figuring things out. It was an environment where I could say, ‘I don’t know what to do here,’ or, ‘I’m confused about this technology,’ and there was someone ready to help me. Things I wanted to do, they would make happen, so it was an incredibly collegial and welcoming type of atmosphere to step into.

“It was also really gratifying because I got to do something that I’d never done before. I mean, you write it [the story] and then someone else realizes it. I would subsequently edit it or be very involved in editing the pieces together. However, I was always missing that middle step, and now I had a chance to shoot the movie in my head. When I write, I write themes to a script and I’m always playing the story out in my head – where would they [the actors] stand, how would the team be blocked and choreographed, where would the camera be – and this was the first time I could actually go and make that movie. I found that extremely fulfilling as well as fun and something I will be doing again.”

At the end of Galactica‘s third season, the identities of four of the five final Cylons were revealed. It was not, however, until halfway through the fourth year in the episode Sometimes a Great Notion did audiences discover that Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon) was the fifth Cylon. While this character was always a top contender for this coveted spot, there were other names being bandied about by Moore.

“We considered all of our regulars, including Adama and Roslin,” says the executive producer, “but we dismissed them pretty quickly because I thought that that would take something away from the show and actually hurt it. If, for example, we had said that Adama was a Cylon, it would have felt like part of the journey itself wasn’t right and wouldn’t have had the same meaning that I wanted it to have. We also talked briefly about Dualla as well as Gaeta and, while interesting characters, it didn’t feel like it heightened the stakes, but with Ellen it did.”

While choosing Ellen to be the fifth Cylon was certainly a feather in the caps of Galactica‘s creative team, there have been other not-so-popular ideas along the way. “There are always lots of blinds that you go down when you’re in the writers’ room,” says Moore, “and you either watch it in the editing room and go, ‘Ooops,’ and cut it out, or you cut it out in the script or censor it in the writers’ room. That’s part of the [creative] process, though, and one of the things I like to do with writers is to not have any bad ideas. We’ll take any idea seriously. If it doesn’t work, fine, but you’ve got to be willing to take the risk. The big ideas that have really paid off were risky ones, such as jumping ahead a year in our [story] narrative, and revealing four of the [humanoid] Cylons at once.

“There were some ideas, though, that were kicked off the chuck wagon and left by the wayside. There was a story point that I wrote for the season one finale that is now regarded within fan circles as the great stupid idea of Ron Moore,” he jokes. “I had a premise where Baltar [James Callis] finds a temple on the surface of Kobol, which was a planet we were involved with at the time. He goes inside and the Number Six [Tricia Helfer] in his head tells him, ‘Keep going, you’ll find something.’ Baltar walks into this dark room, where Dirk Benedict [who played Starbuck in the original Galactica] appears and says, ‘Hello, Gaius. I’m God,’ and shakes his hand. We were going to end on that moment.

“Now, setting aside the fact that Dirk Benedict hates everything about this show and probably would never have done it in a million years, more fundenmentally, it was just a crazy concept. Back then I was seeking to find things about breaking reality and fantasy and what is and what is not a story and what is the link between Galactica‘s world and ours. I was playing around and this was a wacky idea that I came up with and put in the script. Well, there was a pretty universal reaction that everyone hated it, and I quickly said, ‘OK, bad idea. That one’s mine; let’s kick it out and move on.’ Sometimes, though, you have to swing for the fences.”

Although Galactica may have ended this year, Moore will be exploring yet another chapter of the Battlestar saga with a new series called Caprica. Set 50 years prior to Galactica, it tells the story of two families, the Graystones and the Adamas, living on the planet Caprica, where experiments in creating an artificial intelligence ushers in a new and dangerous era for humanity.”

Caprica is getting under way,” says Moore. “We’re putting together the writers’ room as we speak. It’s a very different type of show and a very type of challenge. Galactica has set a very high bar, which makes everyone want to bring their A-game [to the table], and I think that’s the spirit in which we approach Caprica. There’s a sense of uncharted territory, and that’s exciting as well as scary. It’s daunting to have to get one of these things off the ground and hope that people will like it, especially when we know it’s going to be compared to Galactica. But that’s part of the reason why we’re in this business, to take on these types of challenges.”

Prior to Galactica, Moore worked on such other shows as Carnivale, Roswell, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. While not averse to taking on other genres, he always seems to return to the Sci-Fi and Fantasy world, and happily so. “There was a point years ago when I was doing Trek that I thought, ‘You know, I want to do something different; I want to get out of this genre.'” says Moore, “but I always seemed to find something that brought me back to it, either with an idea that was presented to me, like Galactica, or one of my own, such as the various pilots I’ve come up with over the years or movie concepts.

“I just enjoy playing in this genre, but I like other things, too, that are not Sci-Fi or Fantasy. I will, however, continue to do what I think is interesting at the time. I think I’ve learned enough not to try to predict what next great creative thing I want to get involved with. You just have to sort of wait and see.”

Steve Eramo

As stated above, the photo of Ron Moore is by Steve Freeman and copyright of the Sci Fi Channel, so please no unauthorized copying or duplicating of any form. Thanks!

The Guest-List

April 23, 2009

On the fifth season finale of Numb3rs (Friday, May 15th on CBS), Amita is abducted and the team’s frantic search zeroes in on a sociopath as the suspect.  James Callis (Battlestar Galactica) guest-stars as Mason Duryea, the prime suspect in Amita’s disappearance, and Lou Diamond Phillips (Stargate Universe) returns as Agent Ian Edgerton.

During the aftermath of Dinozzo’s confrontation with Michael Rivkin in the season finale of NCIS (Tuesday, May 19th on CBS), the team flies to Israel for a final showdown. Michael Nouri (Damages, The O.C.) reprises his role as Ziva’s father, Mossad Director Eli David, and Arnold Vosloo (24, The Mummy) guest-stars as Mossad Officer Amit Hadar.

In the seventh season finale of Without A Trace (Tuesday, May 19th on CBS) the team searches for a man who disappears after a late night dive. Martin Landau (Space:1999, Ed Wood ) reprises his role as Frank Malone, Jack’s father.