Four decades after its groundbreaking debut, Battlestar Galactica -- both the 1978 original and its 2004 reimagining ? have captured the hearts of two generations of fans. What began as a three-hour made for TV movie inspired by the blockbuster success of Star Wars followed by a single season of legendary episodes, was transformed into one of the most critically acclaimed and beloved series in television history. And gathered exclusively in this volume are the incredible untold stories of both shows - as well as the much-maligned Galactica 1980.
For the first time ever, you will learn the uncensored, unbelievable true story of forty years of Battlestar Galactica as told by the teams that created a television legend in the words of over hundred cast, creators, crew, critics and executives who were there and brought it all to life. So Say We All!
A LONG TIME AGO IN
A GALACTICA FAR, FAR AWAY . . .
“It’s been a while since I’ve had a woman throw me to the ground. Not quite as much fun as I remember.”
By Edward Gross
While conducting interviews with cast and crew from the re imagined Battlestar Galactica, I was the one who kept getting hit with a recurring question: Had I seen the Galactica episode of the Portlandia TV series? I replied that I hadn’t, and in fact had barely even been aware of the show’s existence, hardly a surprise these days.
Time was that I would know pretty much every new TV show out there, what they were about and when they would air. In fact, it was something I prided myself on— for years my wife (Eileen) and I would pick up two copies of TV Guide’s Fall Preview issue just so we could read about what was coming and check off what we would or wouldn’t watch. Now, of course, the sheer quantity of tele vi sion is so overwhelming that I’m suddenly hearing about a show in its third season that I’ve never even heard of at all
We’ll get back to Portlandia in a second.
During the writing process, there came a point where I felt like I needed a Galactica 2003 refresher, having not watched the show since its first run. I streamed the original miniseries, which made perfect “background noise” for the writing process, though I found myself paying attention to it more than I probably should have been. Next thing I knew, I was making my way through season one, with all the others streaming before me over the next couple of weeks. The writing of the book needed to continue, but Galactica wouldn’t. It was over. They’d found Earth (and thank God not the Earth of Galactica 1980), and now I was the one feeling lost. Searching. My first impulse was to start watching the original series, but then I remembered Portlandia. Or, more accurately, what I’d been told about it. A bit of searching on Netflix, and there it was: season 2, episode 2— “One Moore Episode.” In it, characters played by the two lead actors, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, decide to check out an episode of Battlestar Galactica, which leads to another and another and another . . . to the point where they lose their jobs, electricity is turned off (briefly, but painfully), and they find themselves so obsessed that they decide to go this side of Kathy Bates in Misery on Ron Moore’s ass to get him to write another episode. Won’t spoil things from there, but you should check it out for yourself if you haven’t.
Needless to say, “One Moore Episode” was pretty reflective of what I felt rewatching the series, its power once again completely capturing my imagination, and, it being one of the few shows (particularly in the sci-fi genre) to live up to the true potential of the medium, standing as the model by which others are still measured all these years later.
Personally, it’s an ironic feeling to have, considering that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Battlestar Galactica when the original series debuted, in 1978. I can still remember the excitement leading into the series—at that point I was a massive Star Trek fan and had been swept up by Star Wars along with everyone else— and I was pretty impressed with the three- hour event “Saga of a Star World.” Unfortunately, with the exception of several two- parters, that feeling didn’t last all that long. The series (at least for me) felt as though it quickly fell into a certain repetition, and drove home the notion that Battlestar Galactica was an incredible premise that failed to live up to its own potential. And when Galactica 1980 followed as a failed apology from ABC, that feeling remained with me. For decades.
Which is part of the reason that rumblings over the years of a revival barely elicited a Spockian rise of an eyebrow. Oh, sure, talk of Bryan Singer doing a new version with Tom DeSanto was intriguing, but didn’t inspire a tremendous amount of hope in me. And neither did Richard Hatch’s attempt to get the show revived, which felt like it was going to be more of the same (not entirely fair, since I didn’t know much about it). But when word came out that Ronald D. Moore was writing a new version, then I was interested. And to be perfectly honest, it wasn’t because I was suddenly filled with hope of Battlestar Galactica being all that it could be (my bad), but more because I was already friendly with him, having interviewed him numerous times regarding his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. He’d always made me feel welcome to contact him, and my initial impulse was that I could have an interesting exclusive on my hands.
So I contacted Ron, and we chatted about how it all came about and what he was hoping to achieve. We probably spoke for about forty- five minutes, and afterward I thanked him, both of us figuring we’d talk again at some point. What neither of us expected was that my tape recorder would malfunction and the interview was not recorded. Just to show you what kind of a human being Ron Moore is, when I told him what had happened, he took a deep breath and we dove right back into it as though the first conversation hadn’t occurred. End result was that I came away from that first chat— both of them— with more excitement in my heart for Battlestar Galactica than I’d felt since those days leading into “Saga of a Star World.” And, as it turned out, for good reason. The show was everything that was suggested in the premise, the writers, cast, and crew pulling together to create some intergalactic magic.
And more than anything, it’s that— speaking to all of those people— which has been the highlight of cowriting So Say We All with Mark A. Altman. Engaging in hour upon hour of conversation, gradually piecing the story together, and coming away from it all with not only a greater appreciation for the show, but a true understanding that when everyone who worked on it refers to each other as a family, you absolutely believe it.
Prior to this we’ve written three oral histories: the two volumes of The Fifty- Year Mission, which chronicle the first half century of Star Trek, and Slayers & Vampires, which takes on both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there was something extra special about this book, the enthusiastic cooperation of every one we reached out to bringing us into the fold in a way that the others haven’t quite done. We’ve relived the entire journey in a way that few outsiders have, feeling as though we’ve stepped onto the CIC of the battlestar Galactica, fought for survival on Caprica and against Cylon occupation on New Caprica, experienced the sense of hopelessness upon discovering the nuclear wasteland that was Earth, fearing the loss of everything as mutiny threatened to tear the remnants of society apart, and, of course, settling on a new Earth to begin the saga anew.
It’s been one frak of a journey and we’d be happy to do it all over again. So say we both.
Copyright © 2018 by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross
Praise for MARK A. ALTMAN AND EDWARD GROSS
"Slayers & Vampires is a new primary text to pour over, with plenty of behind-the-scenes tidbits about who hated whom and how TV shows are made." —The New York Times
“The authors have done an exhaustive, masterful job of collecting interviews and editing memories, opinions and reflections of hundreds of creative artists, business executives, critics and even the occasional social scientist. What emerges is an intriguing look inside the sausage-making process that is television and film production.” ―The Wall Street Journal
"At last, the final word on the final frontier!” —Scott Mantz, Access Hollywood
"Breathtaking in scope and depth, this is a must-read for Star Trek lovers as well as anyone who wants a better understanding of how television and film production works" —Booklist
"A tantalizing Star Trek tell-all… perhaps the most comprehensive compendium of Star Trek knowledge you'll ever find" —Emmy Magazine
"An unprecedented behind-the-scenes look into the making of a TV series. Some days you have liftoff, and other days you blow up on the pad. Trust me, this is what it's like. A must for genre fans and aspiring filmmakers alike." —Jesse Alexander (Executive Producer: Lost, Heroes)
"An absolute must for any Star Trek fan" —Kirkus Reviews
“Mark and Ed tell the fascinating story of that rare Hollywood product that actually means something to mankind” —Seth MacFarlane
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
MARK A. ALTMAN has been hailed as "the world's foremost Trekspert" by the LOS ANGELES TIMES. Altman is a former journalist for such publications as THE BOSTON GLOBE, CINEFANTASTIQUE and GEEK. He is also the writer/producer of the beloved romantic comedy, FREE ENTERPRISE, starring William Shatner and Eric McCormack as well as the hit TV series AGENT X, CASTLE, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS and FEMME FATALES.
EDWARD GROSS has an extensive history of covering film and television as a member of the editorial staff of a wide variety of magazines, including CINESCAPE, STARLOG, CINEFANTASTIQUE, SFX, FEMME FATALES, MOVIE MAGIC, LIFE STORY and SCI-FI NOW. He has written numerous non-fiction books and, along with THE FIFTY-YEAR MISSION coauthor Mark Altman, has written more about Star Trek over the past 35 years than just about anyone else.
PHOTO CONTENT FROM MARK A. ALTMAN