The First Evil (asta77) wrote,
The First Evil

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Podcasts for BSG: The Face of The Enemy

When the webisodes were released I wasn't even aware Jane Espenson had done podcasts until beccatoria started revealing some interesting tidbits, notably about my Narcho. ;) So, last week, while at work, I finally got around to giving the commentary a listen and jotted down some notes.

Webisode #1

The webisodes were the idea of Kevin Fahey, who took the idea to Ron.

The webisodes were difficult to shoot for many reasons. They were shot at the same time as ‘The Plan’ which meant they had limited use of the sets. Sets were actually being torn down as filming on ‘The Plan’ completed. The corridor was one of the last sets standing and, finally, only the Raptor was left.

The director, Wayne Rose, wanted to get off the raptor set so he asked what if someone was looking for Gaeta? Originally, the idea was to cut to a viper pilot and we see Narcho looking for Gaeta. Jane thought they would make an interesting couple, but Sebastian Spence was unavailable. Either combo she feels would have worked well, but this one probably worked better with Season 4.

With Pilot Eight and Sweet Eight, Jane thought different makeup would be needed to differentiate the two, but it was pointed out to Jane that from the way Grace holds her face you can tell the difference.

Webisode #2

The webisodes were not written as a thirty page script, but as ten little scripts. They agonized over the act breaks. It was a challenge to write a very different type of story. Writers don’t like that hour long series have gone to six act breaks instead of four because the story has to turn more often and you have a very different type of story.

Jane was against using helmets with the new characters (Finn, Esrin, and Brooks). She didn’t want to obscure so much of their faces, but the helmets were beautifully lit which erased her worries.

Originally, the scenes on Galactica were with Adama instead of Tigh, buy EJO was busy directing and acting in ‘The Plan’. They needed an authority figure and Hogan/Tigh was available.

They didn’t have time to do a separate casting session for the webisodes. They had just cast roles in ‘The Plan’ and had audition tapes left over. The actors used had auditioned for the coach and pyramid players in the movie.

Webisode #3

Webisodes 1,2,3 and 7,8,9,10 changed the least in the rewrite process. The others were rewritten many times up until production started.

Jane had intended to use both Tricia and Grace. She had broken and written the webisodes with that in mind. The Six, Eight, and Gaeta were left alive. One webisode would have focused on Six and Eight talking about the murders they had committed onboard the raptor. It was less a horror movie feel and much more cerebral.

Webisode #4

The story had to lay out differently because it was too difficult to have Grace/Eight have a conversation with a version of herself . They had to make the other Eight the first killed. It makes the mystery more interesting and opaque and throws suspicion from Sweet Eight.

Electrocution was used because it was a plausible way for someone to die on a raptor.

The list of names is made up of names of people on the BSG crew.

Webisode #5

Jane didn’t know if they could afford the effects shot of the floating Eight so she wrote the scene with them just watching the hatch door close.

The shot of Gaeta’s stump was recycled from one of the episodes.

There was a lot of back and forth on what order to reveal the back story. Do we see early on that Gaeta/Sweet Eight are in a physical relationship? What are the lists accomplishing? Stuff got moved around a lot.

Jane talked about putting Gaeta in a relationship with a man. A lot of the fans had begun thinking of him as a gay character and she was concerned that when she wrote the relationship with a female Cylon that it could be seen as a slap in the face to the people who felt Gaeta was gay. So the writers gave him both. They gave Gaeta this strange liaison with Eight, but, at the same time, they gave him this very comfortable, subtle, lovely relationship with Hoshi.

Webisode #6

Introducing the two ampoules of Morpha in #5 was a writer’s convenience - a trick to put the memory in audiences head. When Gaeta takes out the Morpha later, you will know it’s a lethal dose without anyone having to say anything.

If Tricia had been available, it would have been the fist time we saw a Six put a chord into her arm. By having an Eight instead, it allowed Jane to write the line where Gaeta says, “I’ve seen you do this before, another one of you.” It shows he’s starting to lose the line between her and other Eights in his haze.

The exchange between Gaeta and Eight where he states “I have someone now” and she says “good” was important to show he’s conscious of Hoshi. He does not cavalierly kiss this woman while Hoshi is out looking for him.

In an early version of the script, they were shown having sex and there was a variation on the spine glow. The director was going to shoot the scene so you don’t see her spine but saw the light reflect off a wall. They decided to go with just a kiss instead. (I thought they dropped the spine glow long ago since it makes no sense. For a race so open with their sexuality, were we to believe they stuck to a few traditional positions? ;)

Webisode #7

Not much here. Jane mentioned she was glad they went with the kiss over sex since it tells the story of sweet little romance better. And she talked a bit about Leah/Racetrack’s performance.

Webisode #8

They had to close the raptor door for filming making it very hot and uncomfortable for the actors and crew.

The flight suits are very noisy. They crinkle and squeak and it’s hard to hear the actors over the sounds the suits make.

Jane had written some material about how the human brain can delude itself whereas the Cylon brain is forced to record the truth. Grace pointed out that the Eights are singularly self-deluding and fool themselves all the time. Given Grace’s input, Jane rewrote the speech and the final version worked much better.

Webisode #9

During one take of the speech, Grace wasn’t happy with her performance and asked to do it again. Jane thought Grace had given a fantastic performance until she saw her turn it up to eleven. If Grace says she has more in the tank, she has more in the tank.

Jane talked about utilizing the Baltar/Gaeta scene from the series and the idea of using what we didn’t know was said to Gaeta. It’s one loose end the webisodes wrap up. Originally, the line was to be, “Do you know what your eight did?”, but she changed it to, “I know what your Eight did.” She feels it’s a stronger line.

Webisode #10

Ron was adamant the webisodes serve a purpose in the all around story of Season 4. They are answering a question you didn’t know you were asking. Gaeta is not unmotivated to do what he does, but anyone who sees these understands even better why he does what he does.

Gaeta is one of Jane’s favorites on the show and she thought he was underutilized. She talked about AJ being a trained singer, opera singer, and when Ron found that out he thought they should use it in the show. Michael Angeli wrote the song he sang.

They questioned how the rescue should be cut together. Do they stay with Gaeta or cut to Hoshi and Racetrack? Ron made the decision to stay on Gaeta’s side and to cut to the raptor after he knows he’s been rescued. Hoshi originally called him “Darling”, but the studio thought it too ‘Brokeback’. Not too gay, but too western so she changed it to “Baby”.

They didn’t have all the actors when they shot this so it’s not Brad/Hoshi’s hand we see.

This is where I got bit confused to the point I listened to Jane’s comments three times. She says Hoshi is left behind, but if it had been Narcho then the relationship would have continued. And with it ending with Hoshi here it serves the run of the season better. I’m guessing she is referring to the interaction between Gaeta and Narcho in ‘The Oath’ and BotS with Gaeta giving him the order to shoot down the president and, later, to execute Adama. Had they established that they were lovers in the webisodes then the interaction between them would have seemed awkward to say the least.

And I'll try to listen to the 'Blood on the Scales' podcast and post about it tomorrow so I don't get behind.
Tags: battlestar galactica s4.5

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