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Old March 18 2013, 03:20 PM   #14
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Re: Could they have picked up "Phase II" again at any time?

Maurice wrote: View Post
BSG was expensive because it had big sets with associated studio fees tied to the number of stages required, a fairly large regular cast, lots of practical effects, plus the VFX work. If the producers couldn't control those elements well they'd run into overages all over the place.
Exactly. The show's budget overruns were a key factor in its cancellation, or so I gather.

Dream wrote: View Post
Also there was the writer's strike that resulted in the slashed number of episodes in Season two and the clip episode.
One more time: the writers' strike had nothing whatsoever to do with the clip episode. The writers' strike affected the end of the first season and the beginning of the second. "We'll Always Have Paris" had a weak conclusion because the strike was underway during shooting and the problems with the ending couldn't be revised except through improvisation; and "The Neutral Zone" was a weak episode overall because it was shot from an unpolished first draft. And the beginning of the second season was delayed for a month, with the total number of episodes reduced by four. But the strike was long over by the time "Shades of Gray" came along.

Director Rob Bowman explained the genesis of "Shades of Gray" thusly in the book Captain's Log: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages:

"It was Paramount saying, 'We gave you more money for "Elementary, Dear Data" and the Borg show. Now do us a favor and give us a three-day show.' So that's what you do. It's an accepted part of the medium."

In other words, "Dear Data" and "Q Who" cost more than usual to make, so in order to give those shows more money, they had to take money away from another episode and do something they could film in half the time. As Bowman said, it was a pretty routine practice, which is why many shows have clip episodes. The strike had nothing to do with it; that's a fan myth that's arisen because they occurred close together, a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

mos6507 wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
Well, what sank Galactica was that it wasn't very well-written and ratings fell off swiftly after the pilot.
Even had the rating kept up, I don't think you could keep producing a show at that level. Look at all the stock footage they had to keep recycling. Buck Rogers had the same problem. The technology just wasn't ready to make that stuff affordable.
I think you're judging it by today's standards, though. Lots of shows back then relied heavily on reusing stock FX footage. Heck, TNG itself recycled Enterprise footage constantly. When they hired ILM to shoot miniature FX for the pilot, they specifically asked them to shoot more and longer sequences than were needed for the pilot alone, so that they'd have a library of ship shots they could then reuse throughout the series. Heck, in the entire seven years the show was on the air, every single shot we ever saw of the ship going to warp was recycled from the pilot and the main titles, because the stretching effect was so hard to do. (The one exception being the full-profile warp acceleration shot from "Where No One Has Gone Before," which was an easier distortion to create because it was 2-dimensional.)

You have to realize how much the state of the art has improved in just a few decades. I saw Galactica in first run; I was a preteen at the time. And believe me, for 1979-80, its special effects were extremely impressive, even with the heavy recycling, which wasn't atypical for the day. Yes, sure, it was an expensive show, and would've been even if Larson had managed the budget better. But if the ratings had been strong enough, and thus the profits high enough, to balance out the expense, then the show could've continued to be made with a higher budget. It's always about both factors, the balance of ratings (profit) and budget (overhead), not just one or the other. BSG had both a high budget and deteriorating ratings, and it was the mix of both factors that killed it.

People talk about how expensive CG is, but at the time it was introduced in SF with stuff like B5, it was a very effective cost-saving measure.
You don't have to tell me that. Like I said, this is all something I lived through firsthand. I remember how revolutionary the Video Toaster (the CGI software that Foundation Imaging used for B5 and later shows) was when it came along. It completely changed the landscape for SFTV, made it possible to do far more ambitious things visually than a TV show could ever have afforded before. Which is exactly why it's unwise to judge a pre-B5 SF show by modern expectations. What looks crude and limited by today's standards was still most impressive by pre-B5 standards.

Christopher wrote: View Post
And yes, the high budget was a problem, but that wasn't entirely due to the VFX. Apparently Glen Larson wasn't very good at keeping within a manageable budget.
Then where did the money wind up going?
All I know is what I read on the Battlestar Wiki. But there are plenty of ways that producers can squander money if they're not good at spending it efficiently. Indeed, that seems to be an endemic problem in Hollywood these days, which is why so many shows are shot in less expensive locations like Vancouver, Toronto, and Portland.
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