RDM interview in a military blog (in 4 parts)

Discussion in 'Battlestar Galactica & Caprica' started by V, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    This probably won't fit your "from the beginning" definition, but in retrospect "Lay Down Your Burdens" and "The Eye of Jupiter" both suggest Tyrol is a Cylon.
     
  2. V

    V Commodore Commodore

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    Well, because they kept acting like there was one big grand plot that all fit together that we had to decode. Really, they had no idea where things were going. Had they just been moving forward - rival characters with different agendas, then see the results as they bounce off each other - that would sort of made more sense.

    But they acted like there was a "Cylon Plan" - not just in the show but in all podcasts and interviews.

    Otherwise, Admiral2, you give a strong counter-argument about Starfleet as a "military" organization. I still have strong reservations, but you raise points I cannot easily refute. But these are issues Trek fans have debated for decades, and I think it's beyond my capacity to defend it at length. Yes, Picard is a military commander and fans have deluded themselves about such things at times even though they have "court martials" and the like. Still, I think Starfleet isn't *just* a military organization: it isn't non-military, it has some military elements, but I think it's more than that, it also has scientific and diplomatic elements. But thank you for not just dismissing this out of hand, but articulating logical counter-points.

    All you're doing is reciting that bad last-minute explanation that Season 4.5 tried to spoon-feed us.

    The entire show acted like there was an actual "plan", some sort of purpose or deception, not "kill all humans". The writers settled for that when they had to admit they hadn't thought it out.

    I was laughing at my TV when Cavil explained his Rube Goldberg-like plan for revenge; dumping the Final Five in human society so they could witness it's end.....and randomly deciding to put Tigh in years before the others, to explain why the character is older? Why not just all at once? It was a forced explanation of how they abandoned hints of just exactly when the Cylons started using sleeper agents.

    Is "kill all humans" the worst plan ever? No, elegant in its simplicity. But you HONESTLY think that's what the podcasts, interviews, and opening credits were hinting at since season 1?

    Honestly, I haven't thought about it....but I kind of half-hoped that the "Plan" was tied to the core Mythos of Earth: for large parts of the show, they kind of ignored the Earth subplot (Season 2.5 through 3.0 ). My hope would be that it would arise from an inherently logical question fans asked but they never answered: "doesn't Galactica realize that because the Cylons are always on their tail, they haven't outright thrown the Cylon fleet off their trail....that they're leading the Cylons right to Earth?" -- so from that, my hope is that the "Plan" was "destroy Galactica if possible, but if there is any truth to this Earth legend, wait for Galactica to lead us right to them."


    • Starbuck shouldn't have been an Angel (they thought of that at the last minute; if they wanted to do that - lets face it other scifi shows have, Daniel Jackson style - they should have set it up far better).
    • Particularly, the entire "Final Five Cylons can be anyone" concept, breaking their past rules, was a massive character assassination of Tigh, Tyrol, and Anders (I may, may have accepted one, not all three). This should never have been done.
    • Making "Earth" the dead colony of the Thirteenth Tribe...who were actually Kobol's Cylons, was a great idea; it meshed with the core mythos of the show. I'd keep that.
    • The writers themselves would admit that they lost complete track of Apollo and Roslin in season 3, though admittedly they fixed them up surprisingly well in season 4. But even Ron admitted that Apollo/Dualla was a mistake...it's just that instead of ending it, they tried desperately to salvage it for 30 episodes, long after they should have cut their losses.
    • I don't blame Ron for the network forcing him to make season 3 a season of bottle-episodes and drop the Sagittaron Storyarc -- I blame Ron for not being transparent with fans about just how much this was affecting the show at the time. It was Farscape season 4 all over again.
    So "Starbuck as an Angel was poorly set up" (and probably should never have been done), "Head-Characters are angels, not chips" was poorly done and should have been better set up (their behavior is contradictory at times), and the Final Five should not have been done. Well, making the Final Five the "hidden Imperious Leader" of sorts would have been okay, which is sort of what they did, but the choice of Final Five was for shock value. That, and the Cylon Plan should have been "track humans to Earth to destroy it". Those are the big issues much of the rest stems from.

    Well, actually, you raise a good point with "LDYB", Harvey. Tyrol fears he might be a Cylon...as much as anyone else in the fleet does. But the same episode also did a flashforward with him having impregnated Cally, setting up the writers to have to break their own rules if they wanted to make Tyrol a Cylon.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 2, 2013
  3. Neroon

    Neroon Mod of Balance Moderator

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    V... don't forget the multi-quote and edit features can be used to combine replies into a single post. Posting several consecutive posts like this can be considered spamming. I've gone ahead and combined them into one post, but please don't post like that again.

    Infraction for trolling. Comments to PM
     
  4. Kelthaz

    Kelthaz Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well that's some damn tasty bait you've got there, but I think I'll pass.
     
  5. Opus

    Opus Commodore Commodore

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    I don't get hot and bothered about a tv show. First of all... it's a tv show! :)

    Secondly, it's someone else's creation. I can say I liked it or not (I liked it BTW), but I'll be darned if I would waste time getting so worked up over how I felt something should or should not be when it is not my own creation. If RDM is happy with it, then so be it.
     
  6. Sindatur

    Sindatur Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I bet you'd waste the time if RDM's Dog ran off with your Boy/Girlfriend ;)
     
  7. Opus

    Opus Commodore Commodore

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    ^Nah. Just get really drunk, pick myself up the next morning and move on. :)
     
  8. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Look up here, I’m in heaven Moderator

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    I'd argue that having Tigh revealed to be a Cylon actually made him a better character. It lead to him deciding to become a better person instead of the drunk he usually was. It was great development and I wouldn't get rid of it because a small minority don't like it.

    Also the less connection to the original, the better. So no Imperial Leaders, cowboy planets or other random stupid crap from the 70s. I'm sure they could have made a three faced disco alien work, but we're better off without it.
     
  9. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    That's probably a good idea, because one would have to come up with an example to the contrary that holds up.
     
  10. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Look up here, I’m in heaven Moderator

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    Having a completely pre-planned arc can backfire if the audience is able to figure it out before it is finished, robbing it of any drama or if they just don't like it. Most shows seem to go with a combination of both. Some elements are pre-planned and others are thrown in as it develops.

    I don't think the writers of Fringe really knew the direction of the show until roughly half way through the first season, which would explain some of the early hints about Peter's past. They would also drop storylines if the audience didn't like it, like a character who thought there was a religious aspect to the Fringe events in the series. The audiences didn't care for it and it was quickly dropped and never mentioned again.
     
  11. Roshi

    Roshi Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Let it go. :rolleyes:
     
  12. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    That's about right. Plus, there's a difference between knowing the story ahead of time, as in knowing where you'd like character arcs to end and what the answers to questions are, and knowing the plot ahead of time, meaning you know exactly how the characters go from A to B to C for six seasons before your show even begins. That doesn't work on TV or, really, in any medium. BSG would've worked a little better if Ron know the story more before he started throwing stuff out there but he didn't need to know the plot.
     
  13. TheGodBen

    TheGodBen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The same TNG where Ron Moore was Braga's superior?
     
  14. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Starting with the obvious, The Prisoner is widely regarded as dramatically successful. (No SF series has been popularly successful, unless you redefine popular success as including winning a syndication time slot.) Not even an arbitrary dismissal of Babylon 5 saves this from being lame bullshit. In the wider world, beyond the fanboy realm, it is doubtful that any other SF series has stood the test of time in critical opinion.

    (BattleStar Galactica was praised out there in the real world for its topicality and its sexiness, which means that it's contemporary as long as 9/11 is regarded as relevant. Sexiness per se is not usually regarded as an attribute, strongly suggesting an attempt to plug the series, not criticize it.)

    For all genres of pre-planned series, things like Band of Brothers; John Adams; Lonesome Dove; I, Claudius; House of Cards (BBC version at least), also expose the absurdity of this supposedly critical opinion.

    Also, the implication that not plotting a serialized show has produced brilliant drama is entirely unsupported. Worse, you can only support it by pretending that the series as a whole doesn't have to possess any thematic integrity, much less make any sense.

    The notion that plotting is "narrow," is obtuse, to say the least. When you actually write a plot, you concern yourself with the question of why the characters do what they do. Unless you surreptitiously redefine drama as people having histrionics.
     
  15. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Look up here, I’m in heaven Moderator

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    Aren't they actually Mini-series, a show with a set number of episodes with a known conclusion? They're basically just long movies that are broken up over several nights or weeks. An actual series can run for years, so having some room to work with is a better idea for them.
     
  16. FPAlpha

    FPAlpha Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey i'll bite and throw in the obvious example.. Babylon 5 (as if you didn't mean that show ;)).

    Season 1 was mediocre but than many shows have less than stellar first seasons including all Trek shows.. tying in with this thread BSG was the exception as i've rarely seen a better first season anywhere (and was maybe the reason why so many people stuck with the show to the end even if it was bankrupt by season 3).

    Babylon 5 was a good mix of standalone and arch episodes, sometimes even mixing the main plot into standalone shows in a subtle way that you only realize once you've seen the entire show.

    JMS had one overall story he wanted to tell and he plotted it out.. the Shadows really did have a plan as well as the Vorlons and over the course of that show this plan became slowly apparent. Now the show unravelled a bit after season 4 due to real world studio meddling and JMS had to rewrite it so in the worst case scenario he'd at least finish the main story only to find himself out of material once the show got the green light for season 5 and he had to come up with storylines he never expected to have to do.
    Sure the show had some stinkers in between but once the ratio of arch episodes increased during season 2 they became less and by season 3 you were hooked because every episode was important to get the whole story.

    It's right that there is no law requring arch based shows to have pre-planned stories for at least the major points so RDM was never obliged to do so but in the end it's just good advice.
    Don't introduce cool new things without having an idea why and what to do with it in the future.. it's that simple and RDM violated that by going for style over substance.

    No one was present in RDM's writing room but there are enough reports to go around to paint a picture of a laid back, creative environment. While most of us would like to work in such a place most of us also know it's usually not very productive. There's a reason that every project, every workplace has a boss.. sometimes you get a cool boss who handles his people well without standing behind their backs all the time and sometimes you have the slavemaster from hell but they all have the same goal in mind.. efficient work so as to avoid last minute scrambles which only invite mistakes.

    In that regard Moore seems like a bad boss.. a good buddy but a bad leader and the show suffered for it greatly. I was disappointed how the show developed and really dislike the ending because it became an incoherent mess and for that i blame RDM's lax style and lack of focus.
     
  17. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The key phrase was "overarching pre-plotted storyline from the beginning to the end..." The miniseries is the only format that actually fits the description. It's true that poster only meant Babylon 5, but that's merely failure/refusal to consider all the evidence.

    The term "arc" has mostly fallen into being used solely as referrring to a character transformation, but in well-written series, like Wiseguy (which I remember being the pioneer) pretty much had the arcs planned, and the arc included that vilely quotidian plot. All plans of course were subject to change in the process of execution. It can be difficult for outsiders to decide whether there were forced changes to a plan or a simple failure to plan. That too makes the statement that "narrow plot-focused writing produces mediocre drama" dubious.

    I'm not quite sure what "room to work with" could possibly mean in this context. I clearly see that an episodic approach is valid, since so much of life is occasional episodes punctuating the daily routine. But life as a melodramatic, endless serial with constant transformations and retransformations, and thematic revolutions, and what not, seems like a fundamentally flawed notion of drama, indeed, of life. What exactly do you want room to write?
     
  18. Awesome Possum

    Awesome Possum Look up here, I’m in heaven Moderator

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    It allows a show to develop organically. If audiences connect to a character you didn't expect, you don't want to ignore and lose your audience. With BSG, they originally planned to not deal with Helo after leaving him on Caprica. Audiences liked the character and it created the whole storyline on him on Caprica and meeting the 8 who became Athena.
     
  19. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Another example would be leaving Jack alive after the opening of Lost?

    At any rate I can see the commercial advantages. Artistically, making corrections is better than ignoring problems. I guess by "organically" growing, you're thinking of something like algae or grass, which will grow wherever it can, heedless of form. I was thinking of flowere or animals myself, where the arrangement of petals or the size of the liver are more or less fixed by necessity. (In my version of the analogy, artistic integrity=biological functionality.)

    Thanks for a clear explanation.
     
  20. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Hell, let's just put RDM in a room with David Weber and not let them out until they have an Honor Harrington TV series ready to go.
     

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