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Old 11-08-2012, 05:04 PM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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Originally Posted by martok2112 View Post
Firefly was an awesome series. And yes, it's visuals were extremely good....too big for the small screen....and sadly, that's what killed the visual impact of Serenity on the big screen for me. It just didn't have that leap of quality, visually, like Star Trek The Motion Picture did.

That said, Serenity is a good story, but unfortunately, was done a bit niche. As openly accessible as it tried to be for newcomers, it was really a movie for the fans, The Browncoats.
In an age when TV production already approximates the production value of feature film, I'm not sure how much of a leap in visual quality is reasonable for audiences to expect. Star Trek The Motion Picture is already an extreme example to begin with because the TV series was cheap for its time and TV/film production had had ten years to advance. And its abstract visual style (and lack of a character-driven story) pushed it to a place that audiences didn't respond well to. As such, I think the subsequent movies II-X -even though they were able to keep using sets and designs from the first film- represent a more realistic comparison of what to expect visually when a series switches mediums from TV to cinema while retaining continuity with itself.

If you look at the TNG films or Serenity, they are not smaller in scale than most of ST's II-VI, they're about the same (Though obviously there is still quite a variance between some of these 'TV-size' feature films in how effectively or creatively they used their resources). I even think most of the ST films suffer visually next to something like Serenity because they remain fairly conventional with their comfortably standard shot-reverse-shot 2D orientation of outer space. But ultimately whether it was Joss Whedon, Harve Bennett or Rick Berman (or Whedon, Nimoy or Nick Meyer), they made their movies to the size of what the studio had been willing to pay for.

Originally Posted by martok2112 View Post
Even though the recent Galactica series was a highly regarded series by critics, and does have a good fanbase, it was not exactly a ratings giant. Granted, it was playing on a niche network at the time. Universal did try to see how Galactica would do on NBC, but it apparently tanked.

So right now, some folks see Galactica as having three strikes against it. (And granted, some of those views are a bit skewed by their bias in favor of the classic Galactica).

1. Original series, whilst being a ratings giant, only had one season, and was plagued by production problems, hastily written scripts to keep up with production time, etc. Series ended without closure. Galactica 1980 did not help matters.

2. Production had started on a continuation series, to be helmed by Singer and Tom DeSanto. 9/11/01 occurs, and all production is stopped. Dirk Benedict (original Starbuck) reportedly had his bags packed and ready to leave for principal photography when the attacks occurred.

3. Sci-Fi produces its own series of Battlestar Galactica, under the hand of Ron Moore. Coming across as more of a "drama in space" as opposed to the space opera of the 70's, the show was hailed by critics, and fans alike, but failed to become a real ratings success. It did get four seasons, however. But, some original series fans feel that this series did nothing but fracture the fanbase, and that there is now no solidarity in a fanbase pushing for a movie with a direction in favor of the classic show. Couple that with Singer's constant on again/off again commitment to doing the movie.

But I can definitely see the merit in the question of "Why would Universal throw $250M at Battleship, which tanked (no pun intended ) and not focus on trying to revitalize Battlestar Galactica?"

It could also have something to do with Serenity. Firefly was a 20th Century Fox property, but FOX s***canned the show before it really had a chance to flourish, making the grievous mistake of piloting the show with "Train Robbery" instead of the original 2 hour pilot, also called "Serenity". Universal got the rights for the big screen movie, which also did not do well at the box office for reasons I cited earlier. Universal may have been looking at Serenity as their new shot at some kind of space opera/adventure. However, they did not exactly give it their best advertising campaign. In fact, one of the narrative lines in the trailers was "Six Rebels against an Empire!" where in the realms of science fiction/space fantasy have we heard about rebels taking on an empire, hmmm? I wonder.

So, with Serenity having slipped through their fingers, they probably are viewing a 30+ year old tv series like Galactica as a major financial risk. They would probably be more inclined to do a movie based on the recent series than the original.
Well Serenity was always a risk, which is why it was a smaller film. It was based on a cancelled TV series, and one that almost nobody had watched. Universal didn't want to promote it in a way that would also promote Firefly, because Firefly was not one of theirs. And neither Firefly nor Serenity seemed to know how to market themselves; Joss Whedon understands the reasons for this better than I ever will (I know critics complained that the 'space western' thing was "embarrassingly literal", but I'm not up on westerns enough to recognize "western!" whenever I watch a space opera or martial arts movie. Was Star Trek a western, other than being pitched to NBC as one? I see almost everything as a 'superhero movie' instead. The first two ST 'families' are essentially superhero outfits not unlike the Justice League, with their pajama-like attire. I love it when Kirk says "No I'm from Iowa, I only work in outer space").

Fans are quick to blame FOX for airing the Firefly episodes out of order, however that signals to me that they were already losing confidence in the marketability of their vehicle. I liken their behavior to that of a girlfriend who wants to break up but isn't ready to expend energy in a physically/emotionally draining confrontation explaining why. So she gives you the silent treatment, confident that you'll give her even more reasons to break up while you're desperately stumbling around in the dark trying to figure out what's wrong. That was FOX. They already 'kinda' knew they wanted it to fail, because they perceived that it would anyway.

I think the challenges facing Galactica are not unlike those of ST. Despite ST's mishandling of itself as a franchise (through complacency and over-protectiveness combined), its dwindling ratings and those of Ron Moore's BSG point to the reality of the TV market, which is that it keeps thinning out as it either expands or siphons off into other media. In a time when people can't even sit in a darkened movie theater for two hrs without pulling out their network devices, general consensus now seems to be that no one TV channel is likely to bring in enough viewers to justify the cost of a (hardware-oriented) sci-fi program that appeals mostly to genre-size audiences anyway. And I fear BSG may have already been the last great Sci-fi TV program to successfully weather these changes in trends. The participation of familiar faces Edward James Olmos and Mara McDonnell can only have helped. The future of Galactica and (live-action) Star Wars is very likely limited to movie screens, and the same may well prove true for Star Trek also.

To the viability of BSG as a franchise based on its original 1978 run, I can only figure that it's because Universal does not have any other 'space adventure' type property to compete with ST and SW. That is how these things seem to come about, and neither Riddick nor Serenity (both approved during the time that SW prequels were in full force) took off for Universal. Galactica is an intellectual property that they already have. This is why I get sketchy with people saying about Bryan Singer's undeveloped TV-series-turned-movie: "it will be based the original, not the Ron Moore reboot." Ahem, it's not likely to be 'based on' either, folks (especially if by "based on" you mean "in continuity with..."). Galactica is a property, and neither TV series so far necessarily earns the distinction of being somehow 'more' representative of that property than the other (although one might speculate that the more simplistic premise of the '78 version is better suited to being translated into a summer blockbuster type movie).

But I suspect as long as ST and now SW remain strong on the big screen, BSG will always be one step closer to being approved by Universal than any original 'space adventure' property that some ambitious screenwriter might submit to them. And this is both reassuring and discouraging, for all the obvious reasons.

I just hope that it is Brian Singer whenever the studio decides to do it, since he's the one who appears genuinely interested (in his on-and-off-again sort of way). Even if he doesn't use the same writer, the fact that he picked someone who was at least inspired by the Ron Moore remake is promising. The movie should be its own entity, an original reboot specifically tailored for the bigger screen. But it should also be something more than the good-guys-bad-guys 'Mormons in space' original.

Last edited by samwiseb : 11-08-2012 at 05:16 PM.
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