Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Battlestar Galactica Interview

Concurring Opinions Interviews BSG Creators

Roughly one hour of on-point interview (QuickTime) is available with Ron Moore and David Eick, creators of Battlestar Galactica.

Recommended for BSG fans ONLY. Everyone else, watch BSG first, or this will ruin the series for you. See my comments below.

Concurring Opinions

We are thrilled to offer readers of Concurring Opinions an interview with Ron Moore and David Eick, creators of the hit television show Battlestar Galactica. Daniel Solove, Deven Desai, and David Hoffman ask the questions. We would like to thank Professor John Ip for suggesting some of the torture questions. Our interview lasts a little over an hour.

Our goal was to explore some of the themes of the show in a deeper manner than many traditional interviews. Ron and David graciously agreed to give us an hour of their time, and we had a fascinating conversation with them.

Our interview is structured in three parts. Part I, available in two files (see the end of this post to download), focuses on the issues of legal systems and morality. It examines the lawyers and trials in the show. It also examines how torture is depicted, as well as how the humans must balance civil liberties and security.

Part II examines politics and commerce. It explores how the cylon attack affected the humans' political system, and it examines how commerce works in the fleet.

Part III examines issues related to cylons, such as the humans' treatment of cylons, how robots should be treated by the law, how the cylons govern themselves politically. Additionally, Part III explores the religious issues involved in the show.

The show is heavily influenced by modern events, especially terrorism, war, and torture. In a time of emergency, how should we balance security and liberty? How do we deal with enemies who may be burrowed in among us? How does a society decimated in a war reconstitute its political, economic, and legal systems?

Battlestar Galactica was honored with a prestigious Peabody Award and twice as an official selection of the American Film Institute top television programs for 2005 and 2006.

Topics: The legal system, lawyers, trials, and tribunals.
Length: 11 minutes, 51 seconds
File Size: Approximately 11 MB

Topics: Torture, necessity vs. moral principles, deference to the military
Length: 18 minutes, 1 second
File Size: Approximately 16.5 MB

Topics: Politics and commerce
Length: 13 minutes, 57 seconds
File Size: Approximately 13 MB

Topics: Cylons and humans, cylon rights, cylon society and governance, religion
Length: 16 minutes, 15 seconds
File Size: Approximately 15 MB

There's more...

I think Battlestar is the best program on television today, possibly the best drama I've every personally watched on television. And yes, I include Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The West Wing. Possibly Hill St. Blues was this good, in how it got people to care so deeply about a serialized multi-character single-camera show. But BSG is the culmination of decades of television writing.

It really is that good.

One word of caution for those of you whom have not seen Battlestar. I strongly urge you to not:
  • read any of the comments for this post, and
  • watch any and I do mean any repeats or reruns.
Just order Season One and watch from the beginning, starting with the mini-series -- which takes a little bit to get going, but then gets going and never stops. By the time you're two or three episodes into Season 1, you'll be completely hooked. Don't even get me started how by year three, they have TWO protagonists, the humans and the cylons, and you're genuinely uncertain whom to root for. That is GREAT writing and story telling.


My point is, Battlestar, much more so than most shows, is serial. There are slow builds, character development, arcs, reveals, and surprises which will leave you in tears, anguished, shocked or stunned to your core. Should you watch the series out of order even for one episode in a season (depending on the episode), let alone skip seasons, an enormous part of the enjoyment of the series will be ruined. This is NOT a series to be spoiled for.

People in comments will talk about the series and that's fine. No doubt the creators will talk about the episodes to date, possibly even the final season to come. Go watch the series first, in order. It's worth everything you put into it.

The fourth and final season of Battlestar Galactica starts Friday, April 4, 10 ET/PT.

To Order:
Season 1 (Includes the mini-series)
Season 2.0 (Episodes 1-10)
Season 2.5 (Episodes 11-20)
Season 3 (Coming soon)
Battlestar Galactica: Razor (TV movie from Fall 2007)

h/t The Volokh Conspiracy