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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Entertainment & Interests > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Battlestar Galactica & Caprica

Battlestar Galactica & Caprica This forum was created by man. It rebelled. It evolved. And it has a plan.

 
 
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Old January 29 2011, 10:08 PM   #1
WeAreTheBorg
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Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

http://www.cnn.com/2011/SHOWBIZ/TV/0...enson.profile/

Noteworthy section on BSG and Caprica, regarding her failure as a show runner.

"Battlestar" and beyond
When Espenson joined the cast of "Battlestar Galactica" for season four in 2006, she found herself in familiar territory as the only female writer in the room. She worked for Ronald D. Moore, whom she ranks among the best show-runners she's had.
"Ron was wonderful," Espenson said. "His ability to grasp things and know things so quickly and so decisively what will work is amazing. We gather around a cell phone and call him to pitch a story, and he would be in an airport somewhere and would just sit there and listen, and I'm thinking, 'oh, there are so many things we're leaving out.' And he'd just start saying, 'OK, I like it. Here's what you need to do,' and he would start rearranging scenes to make it work."
Espenson went on to become co-executive producer of the show as well as executive producer of the "Battlestar" movie "The Plan."
The experience was enough to whet her appetite for creative control, so when SyFy network executives offered her the job of show-runner for a spinoff called "Caprica," she went for it.
In her own words, it was her biggest mistake.
The job lasted a year, and the show was cancelled last fall. Espenson took it in stride and says she realizes that the demands of being a show-runner stretched her abilities.
As a self-proclaimed control freak, she found that she was controlling all the wrong things. Although she's extremely proud of the show and is happy to launch into praise for those who worked on it with her, it's hard not to notice the rare moment of raw personal reflection that gives insight into the Espenson mind.
"That's exactly why I wasn't a good show-runner," she said. "I'm too honest about my fears, so I just did it again. That's the biggest mistake I've made in this interview."
But don't buy it just yet. Espenson is a woman who knows what she does best.
"I think I'm a really, really good writer, which sounds awful, but I feel strongest when I have my fingers on the keys," Espenson said. "Projecting confidence and having the whole big vision thing in your head and knowing how to balance other things, that is all stuff I never bothered to learn."
She hasn't written off the idea of running another show some day, but she freely admits that next time, she'd do it differently.
"I think there's a way to run a show when you learn how to delegate the bits you don't do well," she says. "I'd do it again if it were the right project, but this time I'd have more partners around me."
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Old January 29 2011, 10:42 PM   #2
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

Interesting that she says SyFy offered her the job as showrunner. I wonder why they did that?
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Old January 30 2011, 02:06 AM   #3
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

I assume SyFy gave her the job because they wanted Caprica to get canceled so they could do Blood & Chrome instead.
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Old January 30 2011, 02:22 AM   #4
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

My immediate thought on reading the thread title was "What's she done now?".

I have enormous respect for JE as a writer. I just don't think that she's good with arc plots or that she has displayed much evidence of facility as a showrunner. I'm really looking forward to her work on Torchwood, though.
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Old January 30 2011, 02:23 AM   #5
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

I think Espenson's great.
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Old January 30 2011, 03:23 AM   #6
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

What exactly is she saying? That she'd rather be creative in isolation and is no good at bringing out creativity in others or forging creative teams?

I work in a creative biz myself and I definitely have noticed the difference between people who would rather be creative on their own, and those who may not be creative themselves, but excel at bringing together teams and getting creative results from them. The latter is what you'd want in a showrunner.
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Old January 30 2011, 03:26 AM   #7
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

^ Indeed. A good brave does not necessarily a good chief make.
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Old January 30 2011, 03:28 AM   #8
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

After bollocking up Buffy's sixth season in terms of character assassination, I dreaded when her name appeared in BSG.

Then I watched The Passage and saw Kat's back story get ballsed up.

Nothing changes. The woman likes to meddle where she shouldn't.
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Old January 30 2011, 03:30 AM   #9
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

Loved Buffy's sixth season. Loved all of them, actually - probably the fourth least of all.

I enjoyed the little bit of humor that she managed to bring to BSG.
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Old January 30 2011, 05:20 PM   #10
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

I think her sensibility will work really well on Torchwood, however I think she wasn't right for BSG or Caprica. (Having said that I'm sure she's a great person...actors seem to love working with her.)
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Old January 31 2011, 06:20 PM   #11
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

I thought her work on BSG was perfectly acceptable overall - OK, Deadlock and The Plan weren't very good, but I liked Dirty Hands and The Hub a lot and her other episodes were all right.
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Old January 31 2011, 08:44 PM   #12
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

Pemmer Harge wrote: View Post
I thought her work on BSG was perfectly acceptable overall - OK, Deadlock and The Plan weren't very good, but I liked Dirty Hands and The Hub a lot and her other episodes were all right.
Listen to the podcast commentary on the DVDs and it's made abundantly clear that Espenson's script for "The Hub" was completely re-structured and changed. The final product is actually very different from the original script.

I like Espenson's work in the slayerverse. I think her sensibilities and quirkiness aligned well with Joss Whedon's style. She was one of the stronger writers on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But I don't think she was the best fit for BSG and Caprica. I think the dark, bleak, serious natures of the series conflicted with her other work that infused drama and witty humor.
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Old January 31 2011, 08:48 PM   #13
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Re: Article on Jane Espenson CNN.com

Yeah, I didn't really care for her work on BSG. The ones she's most responsible for: "The Passage," "Dirty Hands," and "Deadlock," are notable for having people act completely out-of-character. Maybe she's a good writer, I don't know. I'm not a Buffy fan. But whatever else she is, I find her a poor fit for BSG, and I think her unsuitability as EP is a big part of what doomed Caprica.
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