Wednesday, July 30, 2008

battlestar at comic-con

(image is from this year's panel)

Although I cannot embed the video, you can watch the Battlestar Galactica cast and creators (Jamie Bamber, Michael Trucco, Katee Sackoff, Tricia Helfer, James Callis, Ron D. Moore, and David Eick, and guest attendee Tahmoh Penikett) discuss the awesomest awesome that ever awesomed at this year's Comic-Con here. A few thoughts about the panel...

Kevin Smith: I don't think Bamber was very impressed with moderator Kevin Smith's vulgar humor. And, I have to admit, I wasn't either. He takes sarcasm to almost a rude level, and at times I thought he crossed the line. At one point, he "joked" that a fan's question was boring. And for someone who claims to watch BSG religiously, I was unimpressed with his (lack of) knowledge about the show. He doesn't remember titles of episodes? I could name them. Because BSG actually is my religion. BUT, to Smith's credit, he does point out that Princess Leia is not a good female role model because "she had guns at one point" but then goes to a slave in a gold bikini. So there's that.

Rant: Like artists discussing their work, actors are really bad at communicating their thoughts about characters. In all honesty, I don't care what makes Katee Sackoff giggle. I would much rather hear Moore or Eick analyze Starbuck's character development (which is why I listen to the episode commentaries). Also, I felt like Sackoff couldn't distinguish herself from Starbuck. Smith mentions that Starbuck is a new strong female character, since, as Bamber intelligently notes, BSG is a gender-blind show. But Sackoff blushes and says she tries to be a good person... then she explains that women should take Starbuck's good qualities and not the bad ones... but she takes the term "role model" personally. I don't know. Do people care what Sackoff does in real life?

I could listen to James Callis all day: He's a writer's dream. He cares about the character he plays, and he really evaluates and forces himself to understand his character's motivations. He brings up the question, "If you're a nymphomaniac, does that make you any less spiritual?" And in Baltar's case, no, he can still be both. He also explains that the axis of how he played Baltar was his guilt -- which he later changed to shame -- and the room grew quiet because everyone was thinking of the deeper implications of the show. He has such fantastic answers, whereas, not to harp on her but, Sackoff just talks about how much she likes guns.

Some more Callis love: The cast was able to discuss their favorite (re: "most badass") scenes from the show. I found the answers to actually be uninspired (again, actors should have writers create material for them), but Callis had the best answer. Trucco agrees with Smith that Galactica entering New Caprica's atmosphere was amazing. Bamber said his was the pullback at the end of season three that ends on earth (good for Bamber for recognizing the narrative and technical importance of that shot). Sackoff and Helfer say it's when they got to shoot guns, which is really upsetting because Moore and Eick gave their two female characters so much fraktastic material, and all they can talk about is holding props? Thank the gods for James Callis.
"One of my favorite bits in the show is when Adama and Tigh are together, I think it's this season, and it's a very serious conversation about food is running out, people are committing suicide, and Adama says, 'Are the people on this particular ship still eating paper?' And Tigh goes, 'No.' And Adama says, 'Why?' And Tigh says, 'Paper shortage.' (crowd laughs) And then they both laugh, and... it just blew me away. The reality, the tragedy, the humor, the humanity. I thought it was fantastic."
James Callis, I think you're fantastic. I think Bamber is honestly in awe of the show and he understands why audiences have gravitated to the show and what it means for the sci-fi genre on a larger scale, but I think Callis is a real fan, both as an actor and as a thinker. (By the way, Moore picked one of my favorite moments: At the end of season two when Baltar's head lays on the desk and the words ONE YEAR LATER appears on the screen. It was bold storytelling, and the fact that we had 40 minutes, really just a tease, of life on New Caprica was beyond mind-blowing.)

Biggest surprise: Trucco is really funny. "They call me Steve."


Goddessdster said...

I was - for a short time - peripherally connected to the movie business. One thing I learned early on was to stop being star struck by actors. I know I'm not telling you something you don't already know, but it was an important lesson for me. This is why I didn't get all hyped up to see the TV and movie panels while I was at Comic Con. Actors are generally only as interesting as the material they're given. So I geek out over writers and creators, but leave the actors to everyone else.

I am enjoying your commentary, though. It keeps me from having to watch everything myself!

Goddessdster said...

Also - Kevin Smith? Not all that.