Wednesday, March 08, 2006
I have a teenage-girl crush on Battlestar Galactica. I love this show so much that I actually have trouble writing about it. The lead review I wrote for the magazine was the hardest review I've ever done. (For me, it is always harder to write about something I love than something I hate. The venom just flies easier. It's like Spock said, "It has always been easier to destroy than to create.")
So, while I would like nothing more than to explain, in detail, the many and varied ways I admire Galactica, I won't, for it would read like the rambling love letter you sent to that little red-haired girl in homeroom before she crushed your burgeoning ego by frenching that stupid jock wrestler under the bleachers.
What I will say is that the Galactica podcasts are pure gold. For every episode, executive producer Ronald D. Moore records a showrunner's commentary track and releases it as a podcast through the Sci-Fi channel website (easily shunted into iTunes). If you're both a fan and, like me, a writer, it's bursting with insight into what is, easily, the best, most complex show on TV.
And here's the thing: I have never listened to the podcast while watching the corresponding episode. While some of Moore's comments are loosely scene-specific, the experience isn't tarnished by not having the scenes in front of you. Instead, you just get to just roll around inside a showrunner's head, learning how things went right and, more importantly, where they went wrong. (One of my favorite tracks was for an episode called "Black Market," which Moore felt failed on a fundamental level and then candidly dissected, fully shouldering the blame.)
These podcasts are an invaluable learning tool for any writer who's even casually thinking about serial storytelling, be it TV or comics. The fact that they're free is just icing on the cake.
Here's an idea that I'll just give away: Why don't the studios release feature film commentary tracks as podcasts? They're already recorded and, while won't be nearly as popular as an episode of The Office, would be like crack for cinephiles. It'd be great to have them for nothing, like most podcasts, but I'd drop 99 cents to listen to James Cameron on Aliens, or Martin Scorsese on Goodfellas, or Arnold Schwarzenegger and John Milius on Conan (seriously, one of the most entertaining tracks I've ever heard) on my commute into The City.
Look at that: an untapped revenue stream derived from material already produced and just lying around that wouldn't cannibalize from DVD sales in the slightest.
My gift to you...the magnificent seven of you who read this.
at 11:51 AM