Friday, September 23, 2011

If NBC-Universal Were a Normal Corporation (Artsy), Considerable Repair Work Could Be Done to "Saga of a Star World"

Yes, I know. It's wishful thinking to even contemplate that the same dysfunctional corporation (NBC-Universal) which released "Saga of a Star World" on DVD in 2003 as part of the "Galactica - Complete Epic Series DVD Set"...with more snowy grain (in some scenes) than a poor UHF broadcast from the 1970s would turn around and give the pilot episode of the "1978 Battlestar Galactica" series any sort of royalty treatment a decade later.

The fact of the matter is, "Saga of a Star World" is alot better than even its most serious fans give it credit for. Judging from the deleted scenes in the "Complete Epic Series DVD Set", "Saga of a Star World" would have been a bit darker and even more adult (but not in a Ronald D. Moore bad sort of way, going overboard with psychoses) than what was originally broadcast on September 17th, 1978.

As a fan of this show and its pilot episode, I still consider "Saga of a Star World" an unfinished piece of work (brilliance) 33 years later. Some of Richard A. Colla's original footage he shot may be gone forever (due to Universal Studios notorious mismanagement of this series spanning 33 years.) Scenes are still missing, and what miraculously did show up on the DVD set in 2003 (in the deleted scenes section) indicates that scenes originally shot by Richard A. Colla were far superior to the replacement scenes shot mandated by ABC-TV and Glen A. Larson.

1. Apollo and Boxey discussing the origins of the Cylons in the Landram:

As directed and shot by Richard A. Colla, the scene was better written and better acted by Richard Hatch, Noah Hathaway, and Jane Seymour. Kudos to a very young Noah Hathaway making Boxey come across as a genuinely shell shocked little boy with a very gloomy outlook on life. Complete with the killer line..."People can die at any age, can't they?" The replacement scene mandated by ABC-TV and Glen A. Larson made Boxey come across as a jovial little sibling (complete with an ultra-brite smile) of "Eight is Enough." Yes, this replacement scene sucks ass.

2. Baltar gets his head lopped off:

Scary, intense, and a brilliant flow to the next scene of a Viper racing across the surface of "Carillon." ABC-TV and Glen A. Larson mandated this scene couldn't survive into the final print as well. This time around however, they didn't even bother to re-shoot it. They just threw in some clumsy editing to remove Baltar's beheading...which led to an extremely awkard flow to the next scene on "Carillon."

3. Zac begs Starbuck to take his place on patrol

ABC-TV and Glen A. Larson apparently found the lines..."What possible danger could there be?" and "upset stomach...too many cigars" objectionable to audiences. Yet they kept the entire scenes intact where the bridge crew of the Battlestar Atlantia is annihilated in flames?? As well as Zac's demise in a fire ball?? As well as the destruction of an entire city???

What if NBC-Universal were a normal and sane corporation? What if they had an artistic bent and an appreciation for "Saga of a Star World?" What if they authorized a thorough editing repair job, original negative clean up and visual effects upgrade to "Saga of a Star World?"

What would I do if I were in charge of the entire project?

1. Following the entire original shooting script to the letter, re-insert every single scene Richard A. Colla directed and get rid of all of the crap replacement scenes mandated by ABC-TV and Glen A. Larson. If some of these scenes are gone forever due to Universal Studios notorious mismanagement, reshoot them with CGI and / or voice over work with the surviving cast members. With sound alike voice over actors doing Lorne Greene and John Colicos.

2. Following the entire original shooting script, re-shoot all original scenes and shoot new original scenes with the Ovions using CGI technology. You could build an entire missing sub-plot (with CGI) involving the Ovion Queen and her involvement with the Cylons on the planet surface, and her involvement with the missing humans from the casino. Keep the Cylons real by shooting new scenes of the Cylons (actors in costume) on the surface of Carillon conversing with the Ovion Queen and her minions.

3. Following the entire original shooting script, re-shoot all intended scenes with the Imperious Leader using CGI technology. Complete with him sitting on top of his podium and pointing down at the Cylon Centurions as he gives the order..."Let the attack begin."

4. Remove the explosion at the end of "Saga of a Star World" showing "Carillon" blowing up. Let's face it. "Carillon" blowing up looks like a cartoon explosion in a Road Runner cartoon. Stick to the original script of the fleet warping out of orbit at the end of the movie. Don't even show an explosion. Just have voice over actors stating new dialogue in comm chatter that..."Yep, it blew up" the fleet comes out of hyper space. The Ovion Queen and her minions would escape from Carillon and join the Cylons in their eradication of the humans.

5. Re-do most if not all of the visual effects in the movie with CGI. But make the CGI look like 1978 motion control technology without the limitations. Think to yourself, "What would John Dykstra have done back in 1978 if he had the extra "ooomphh" of CGI? He would have designed the shots in the same way (with his usual flair) plus he would have designed some extra shots since he wouldn't have had to resort to stock footage as he did in "Saga of a Star World."

6. The epilogue at the end of the movie inexplicably shows a new Imperious Leader offering peace to the humans after the colonies had already been wiped out a short time ago. Either remove the scene entirely or shoot a new scene reversing the intent of the new Imperious Leader. That he wants to beef up his hunt for the escaping Rag Tag Fleet.

7. Use this process of shooting new scenes with the Ovions and Cylons (complete with the Ovion Queen on the Cylon Basestar conversing with the Imperious Leader) to make "Battlestar Galactica 1978" an originally intended 7 hour mini series.

8. "Lost Planet of the Gods" would be radically revamped and re-edited to immediately pick up where "Saga of a Star World" left off. The first scene (new footage) would be of the Imperious Leader and the Ovion Queen discussing their desire to infect Viper pilots with a virus. They would lead the fleet to the virus by luring them to an asteroid. Such silly scenes as Apollo and Starbuck talking about velcron curtains would be deleted. As would the other silly scenes of Starbuck admitting jealousy towards Apollo's marriage, and the female Viper pilots talking like nonsensical, daffy women. An entire new episode would be constructed with a discernable beginning, middle, and end. With extra footage shot of new actors as Colonial Warriors, and new footage on Kobol. Perhaps even encountering a creature of some sort in the tombs.

9. "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" would pick up where "Lost Planet of the Gods" left off. With the Imperious Leader and the Ovion Queen wanting to lead the fleet into the path of a pulsar cannon. After their attempts to infect the fleet with a deadly virus in the previous episode failed. In the previous episode, extra footage would be shot explaining how the virus failed to kill the Viper pilots.

These new versions of the episodes would reinforce the fact that the Imperious Leader and the Ovions are the head bad guys in "Galactica"...not Baltar. And that the virus and the pulsar cannon were masterminded by both of them conversing in the Imperious Leader's chambers.

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