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REVIEW OF SCI-FI CHANNEL'S

SCIOGRAPHY DOCUMENTARY


In my opinion, any kind of mainstream press that Battlestar Galactica receives should be considered a good thing, something that can only help the revival. That is why I really looked forward to the Sci-Fi channel's Battlestar Galactica documentary.

Overall, I enjoyed it and was only slight disappointed. I was actually surprised to later learn that many Galactica fans were outraged at the show. They were angry that numerous actors were not interviewed, that the documentary was "biased", and they felt that Richard Hatch was portrayed poorly. Hatch himself has stated that he was hurt by some of the comments made by Glen Larson and Dirk Benedict.

In fairness to the Sci-Fi channel, you have to realize that the producers of Sciography are probably not Battlestar Galactica fans, do not know the show as well as we do, and cannot be expected to have the kind of perspective that we have. Therefore, any documentary they produce is almost certain to disappoint in some areas.

As for the claims that Sciography was biased towards Glen Larson, I disagree. You have to remember that their focus was on the series itself, not the revival movement, and since Larson was the creator and producer, he was justified in getting the amount of interview time that he did. And, yes, it would have been nice to see interviews with more cast members, but it would have been very difficult to do in a one hour show.

The biggest problem I had was the notion that Richard Hatch and Dirk Benedict "were going at it" and that Richard was being "a pain in the butt" during the production of the series. Over the years I have studied numerous accounts and interviews about what went on behind the scenes on the show, and I have never heard that Richard was a problem to work with or that he was anything less than a complete professional. Glen Larson himself has stated that one of the best things about doing Battlestar Galactica is that were no behind-the-scenes problems, no egos clashing, and no one complaining about their characters.

If Sciography was going to assert that Richard had been "a pain in the butt", they should have offered some definite proof, and none of the comments that aired really were. I think both Richard and Dirk Benedict's comments were taken out of context. Dirk made similar comments in an interview printed in the February 1998 issue of Starlog magazine: "We were working so hard, carrying the show. Also, we had different interests. He was much more serious than I. I was busy laughing and flirting with the ladies. I just enjoyed showing up and saying my lines. Richard was more focused on the storylines and the production. He's a very intelligent and caring person." Sciography took the similar comments that Benedict made and put a negative spin on them, implying that Richard was causing problems because he cared so much about his character. And when the roles of Starbuck and Apollo were switched on the "Experiment In Terra" script, Richard was very surprised and very embarrassed. He had never asked that it be done; he had only asked that Apollo be featured more in future episodes.

I'm guessing Richard Hatch was also hurt when Dirk Benedict said that Hatch and Larson were letting their "egos" get in the way of working together on a new Galactica movie. Richard has said that he has tried to approach Larson several times about working together but with no luck. Perhaps Dirk didn't know this or perhaps he was talking mostly about Larson's team. Anyway, Sciography should have allowed Richard to give his side of the story on the issue.

Larson did make a poor analogy when he compared Hatch making a Galactica trailer when he doesn't have the movie rights as being akin to him (Larson) going out and making his own version of Star Wars. Obviously, Larson would have zero chance of acquiring the rights to Star Wars since George Lucas is currently making more Star Wars movies. On the other hand, Universal (who owns the rights to Galactica) currently has no plans to do another Galactica movie, so Hatch certainly has a chance (how big a chance is a whole other issue) at acquiring the rights to Galactica. And having a trailer as magnificent as the one he has done can only help him in his efforts.

And what was the deal with that guy who was billed as BG's #1 fan? I've never heard of him. There are a number of people very active in BG fandom (Michael Faeries, Sharon Monroe, Chris Scalf) who would easily be higher candidates for the honor of #1 fan than that guy.

There were three other things that disappointed me. First, I was hoping for more inside information and tidbits about the series. Most of what was said I already knew. Second, I would have preferred a two-hour show; this would have allowed for more interviews and more in-depth looks at some of the episodes. Third, the music was pretty lame.

On the positive side, I enjoyed the rare footage of the Emmy Awards, the talk show interviews, and the Canadian theatrical trailer (even though it turned out to be pretty bland). The interviews in general were good, and it was simply nice to see Battlestar Galactica getting mainstream press, a rarity for a series that lasted only one season 22 years ago. Overall, I have to give Sciography a thumbs up, and I highly recommend anyone who hasn't seen it to go find a copy. If you would like to share your opinion (or your own review), please e-mail me at and I will post your comments.


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