By Eric Smith
Sci Fi Channel’s reimagined Battlestar Galactica has been a thrill ride with more twists and turns than Dirk Benedict’s TV career. The latest turn on this crazy space coaster was the Jan. 16 revelation that the fifth and “final” Cylon is Ellen Tigh (Kate Vernon).
Vernon and series co-creator and writer Ron Moore held a conference call for the press last Tuesday and answered questions about that reveal and guardedly discussing how the final nine episodes will play out.
Reaction to the episode’s events seems to be mixed across the Web. Some fans felt gypped that a relatively minor character was the subject of the show’s most anticipated reveal.
A quick poll of BSG fans in the Multichannel News universe also revealed mostly dissatisfaction. Editor Kent Gibbons summed it up in one word: “Disappointing.”
Art director Maria Hernandez was also let down. “I would have been more shocked if it was a major character,” she said. “As it is, it’s kinda ‘meh.’ … She’s just shallow, a predictable daytime soap opera shallow, not even funny shallow like Baltar.”
“Interesting move, but I’m not happy about it. I think the audience — especially me — wanted the final Cylon to be … likeable,” added MCN contributor Betsy Smith. “The problem is that up to this point, the development of that character has been, well, minimal. … I still don’t feel the connection with her.”
I, for one, thought it was a good move to stay away from the more prominent characters. It gives Moore and his team room to flesh out a back story and put the screws to an already tortured Saul Tigh.
I mean, He killed Ellen for collaborating with the Cylons, only to find out he was one himself. Now, he gets sucker punched with this revelation.
Moore was pleased with the wide range of reactions. “You try to get a response out of your audience,” he said during the call. “Every once in a while you want to reach out and grab [them] by the throat and say, ‘Feel something.’”
Vernon said she was relieved the secret’s finally out and that her character (previously killed off; hey this is sci-fi) is back. “Ellen is the best role I’ve had in my career,” she said.
Moore also discussed plans for BSG offshoots, including two-hour movie The Plan, which is ready to go.
“It will not take place after the finale; the finale is the end of the — the period at the end of the sentence. And the plan will take place earlier in the chronology in the same way that [Razor] took place earlier in the chronology,” he said.
There was good news about spin-off series Caprica as well. “Caprica’s getting under way. We’re putting the writer’s room together as we speak,” Moore said. “It’s a very different show, and there’s a sense that Battlestar has set a very high bar — that sort of makes everybody have to bring their A game. And that’s the spirit in which we approach Caprica.”
As for Benedict, Moore said one of his crazier ideas early on in the series was to have the original Lt. Starbuck make a cameo as God. That idea was scotched though. Sometimes, divine intervention is a good thing.