Saturday, June 30, 2012

The SyFy Channel is The Worst Cable Channel in History

All kidding aside with the "Bigfoot" movie starring Danny Bonaduce and Barry Williams (which no doubt is one of the worst movies ever made sweeping all categories)....

Let's face it...

The SyFy Channel is the worst cable channel in history and Bonnie Hammer / David Howe / Mark Stern (pictured above) are the worst television programmers in history.

1. The overall schedule of the SyFy Channel is all over the map (in terms of subject matter) in failing to lock down a concrete identity for the SyFy Channel.

2. The originally produced horror movies of the SyFy Channel display (what is now) status quo rotten producing, scriptwriting, directing, casting, and terribly rendered CGI for the monsters that is a throw back to the early days of the technology when it was still trying to be mastered.

3. The most long forgotten actors pop up on the SyFy Channel, don't they? Barry Williams, Danny Bonaduce, etc. Is this because they are so affordable?

4. It should be a surprise to no one that the likes of Ronald D. Moore (who was regarded by the SyFy Channel as "God") in the days of his "GINO" - (Galactica in Name Only) series, really wasn' talented in the first place in that prodigious sort of way...hasn't gone on to anything better since leaving the SyFy Channel. And that the television industry overall regards Ronald D. Moore as a layman when it comes to Science Fiction and Fantasy...

Sort of a "Meh"...."ho-hum"....kind of assessment.

As opposed to the "hyper-pumped up on steroids" unrealistic assessment of him by the SyFy Channel.

5. That the SyFy Channel no doubt holds the same, extraordinarily unrealistic opinion of Bryan Singer, who may end up making the SyFy Channel his permanent home in television just to survive. Is Bryan Singer suddenly going to attain the status of "A-List" theatrical director after directing the "Munsters" pilot for NBC? Probably not.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Yes!! The Great Actor David Madden (Reuben Kincaid) Is Still With Us!!

I want the great David Madden (Reuben Kincaid) to take down Bigfoot with.....

Rapid Machine Gun Fire!!

Only In One Of The SyFy Channel's Originally Produced Movies Would You Find These Three Iconic Legends Together

That's right. Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams, and....."Bigfoot."

Whatever Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern are smoking...I think it's time that they pass the "Bong."

Fair, fair....always share!!

I think this movie definitely warrants a cameo from Barry William's musical alter ego...

Johnny Bravo

With one of the law enforcement officials being played by....Reuben Kincaid

Is David Madden still with us?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Has Bryan Singer's "Jack The Giant Killer" Been Entered in The "Guinness Book of World Records" Yet?

....In the category of...."Longest post-production time ever recorded for a movie."

If a movie takes three years or easily longer to make, you can rest in the knowledge that Bryan Singer is the director.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's The Difference Between NBC-TV Purchasing And Not Airing Ronald D. Moore's "17th Precinct" Pilot, And NBC-TV Purchasing And Probably Not Airing Bryan Singer's "Munsters" Pilot?

Not a thing. Two different (failed) pilots, same identical political structure at NBC-TV.

Is Glen A. Larson Now Too Old To Do...Anything?

Is Glen A. Larson even too old now to be an "Executive Consultant" on a "Battlestar Galactica" movie?

Of course, if he had really created "Battlestar Galactica" instead of the late Leslie Stevens, we would have witnessed more passion from him over the past decades in getting "cough"...."his baby"....up on the movie screen.

Glen A. Larson's lack of passion for "Battlestar Galactica" during the past 34 years has equaled the lack of passion from the other two people who didn't create the property either.....Ronald D. Moore and Bryan Singer.

So, it's not surprising that out of these three men we haven't gotten anything at all in the past 34 years.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

It Can Only Be a Series of Blessings in Disguise That Ronald D. Moore & Bryan Singer Are Not Getting Most if Not All of Their Intended Projects Made

When the likes of Ronald D. Moore and Bryan Singer lose their "Clout" in Hollywood to get just about anything remade, everyone in the general public domain benefits, and should express a "sigh" of relief.

In the case of "Wild, Wild West", there is no way that Ronald D. Moore could have improved upon the brilliance of the original series starring Robert Conrad, Ross Martin, and Michael Dunn.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Problem With Trying to Merchandise Ronald D. Moore's "GINO" (Galactica in Name Only) Series is That it Isn't Worth The Effort

Show this line of toys to everyone who hasn't seen Ronald D. Moore's "GINO" series (which is 99% of the global population), and they would conclude that this is a generic line of action figures trying to compete with "Barbie" and "G.I. Joe."

This was the primary flaw in what the wardrobe people came up with in "GINO." They made no attempt whatsoever to design an imaginative, unique, and distinctive wardrobe for the cast members. It was a lazy wardrobe from people lacking imagination.

These action figures look like they would blend right in with the toy lines of "Barbie", "G.I. Joe", and a generic line of military action figures.

These toys look like the all too common "no brand name" generic action figures you would find in a dollar store.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Is Bryan Singer Heading For Sitcom Land in Television Because He Can't Complete Any of His Announced Theatrical Films?

Whatever the actual problems have been with Bryan Singer being unable to make or unable to complete the following movies...

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Logan's Run
3. Excalibur
4. Jack The Giant Killer
5. Six Billion Dollar Man

...and other movies he announces and is unable to make or complete with alarming regularity...

...There seems to be a kernel of an indication that Bryan Singer is heading to televison permanently in order to exclusively direct sitcoms.

It is indeed extremely odd that after the collapse of Bryan Singer's "Excalibur" movie,  the very next project he would choose to direct would be a television pilot for NBC based upon the 1960s sitcom "The Munsters."

It's as though that after the repeated, recurring roadblocks (whatever they may be) Bryan Singer is experiencing in the film industry in being unable to get any of his theatrical films made...he is trying to find sanctuary in another medium  (television) where he can get smaller projects made.

You have to admit, that the 180 degree shift in immediately going from the multi-million dollar "Excalibur" movie Bryan Singer was supposed to make but couldn't, to directing a sitcom-esque reboot of the "Munsters" for NBC is startling (not in a good way) for anyone's career to say the least. Especially when they began their career directing theatrical films.

I suspect that now that Bryan Singer is in the television industry directing this pilot for NBC, he is going to stay there.

I also suspect that if "The Wizards of Waverly Place" was still in production at the Disney Channel, Bryan Singer would have ended up being a recurring, episode director on that show. I also fully expect seeing him as a recurring episode director on any of the other sitcoms on the Disney Channel.

The fact of the matter is, the mortality rate of all of Bryan Singer's intended or announced theatrical films (5 of them listed above) is presently hovering around 100%. The guy just isn't getting anything done in the film industry. So quite logically, Bryan Singer has begun his permanent migration to sitcom director in television (beginning with "The Munsters.")

A demotion in one's career if you will.

Friday, June 22, 2012

You Mean, Ron Meyer Didn't Teach The Pepperdine University Students The Darker Side of Running Universal Studios?

Such as....

1. Announcing a movie every two years ("Battlestar Galactica") without any intention of really making that movie.

2. Having a thoroughly broken DVD department within your own studio that routinely and deliberately manufactures defective DVD sets (Adam-12, Emergency, Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Night Gallery, Kolchak - The Night Stalker)

3. Having and allowing one of your subsidiaries (SyFy Channel) to routinely associate with such sub-standard talent as Ronald D. Moore & Bryan Singer.

4. Allowing such no talent television programmers (Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern - The three of them are really retail marketers) to run the SyFy Channel.

5. Allowing rotten movies to be made in the first place (You mean to tell me Mr. Meyer, that you couldn't tell whether or not "Cowboys & Aliens" would be a real stinker while viewing the dailies??) Really?? Doesn't viewing the "dailies" of any movie allow you course corrections in the making of that movie with re-shoots?

Am I nitpicking again??

Thursday, June 21, 2012

And We Reach The Official "Eight Month Anniversary" of This Announcement!!

Yes...yes!! It was October 21st 2011 when the above announcement was made. As is always the case with Universal Studios and Bryan Singer when they make their bi-ennial "Battlestar Galactica" movie announcements such as the one above, the two of them are nowhere to be found as the clock begins ticking away and moving into the half a year to a year range after such announcements as the one above are made.

Not surprisingly and typically on this eight month anniversary of the above announcment, Universal Studios and Bryan Singer haven't lifted a finger to make this movie.

I can only guess that at some point during the past eight months when Ron Meyer nuked this movie for the umpteenth time for no rational reason, it paved the way for Bryan Singer to devote his undivided attention to "The Munsters." A television pilot everyone knows well in advance is doomed for failure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"Whoa...What?" Wasn't This Movie Supposed to Come Out...This Month?

Bryan Singer's "Jack The Giant Killer" continues an occurrence that is standard procedure for all Bryan Singer's movies. They fork in the road in two different directions:

1. His movies either don't get made at all ("Excalibur", "Logan's Run", "Battlestar Galactica", "Six Billion Dollar Man")

2. Or his movies take much much longer than usual and normal to make ("Jack The Giant Killer".)

Can it be only a matter of time before New Line Cinema completely writes off "Jack The Giant Killer" because Bryan Singer can't complete it for whatever reason ala' "Excalibur?"

We're now looking at summer 2013 (at the earliest) that "Jack The Giant Killer" may be released.

Bryan Singer's last major genre flick (the failed "Superman Returns") was released in 2006. In the mean time....there has been no "Logan's Run", "Battlestar Galactica", "Excalibur", or "Six Billion Dollar Man" from this director.

If "Jack The Giant Killer" is successfully completed and released next year by Bryan Singer, it will be 7 years (almost a decade) after Bryan Singer released his last major genre flick ("Superman Returns.")

Contrast that with film director Michael Bay, who directed and successfully released a trilogy of "Transformer" movies (all movies released within 4 years ) beginning in 2007.

The Movies of Universal Studios & Bryan Singer Never Get Made, They Just Sort of Fade Away...Into Nothingness

Let's give Universal Studios and Bryan Singer a round of applause shall we? As they both celebrate their 11 year anniversary together of not only not successfully completing a single "Battlestar Galactica" production of any sort together....but also not successfully completing a production of any sort together....

2001 - 2012

The partnership of Universal Studios and Bryan Singer is one destined for the Hollywood history books...but not in a good way.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It Doesn't Surprise Me In The Slightest That Universal Studios Has Never Recruited Nicholas Meyer For Anything Related to Science Fiction

After all, Nicholas Meyer is just about the best there is in Science Fiction cinema. A very, very close second behind Steven Spielberg. He has directed two of the very best "Star Trek" movies with the original cast ("Wrath of Khan" and "Undiscovered Country") in addition to the brilliant "Time After Time" in 1979.

Universal Studios has never recruited Mr. Meyer to direct a "1978 Battlestar Galactica" movie because quite frankly he would have gotten the job done within a reasonable amount of time, would have respected the source material of the 1978 series, and would have revived the sleeping giant once and for all. The very things Universal Studios has been fighting against for the past 34 years.

Instead, Universal Studios has consciously and deliberately killed the sleeping giant (the 1978 series) again and again by (for examples) putting the property into the hands of an untried and untested neophyte executive producer (Ronald D. Moore) and a film director with a notorious track record for abandoning projects soon after he announces them (Bryan Singer) with alarming and frequent regularity.

1. Universal Studios and "Battlestar Galactica" do not mix well together.
2. Universal Studios and Science Fiction do not mix well together.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Short Attention Span Theater: What is Bryan Singer Working On Right Now?

Bryan Singer and the projects he announces routinely have a parting of the ways as quickly as he announces them (Logan's Run, Excalibur, Battlestar Galactica, Six Billion Dollar Man, Star Trek).

The mystery always is...What is Bryan Singer presently working on if anything at all?

One project managed to break through Bryan Singer's usual lethargy he holds for just about everything he announces...."The Munsters." Because in televison, directors are working for scores of people who actually control the tight deadlines and their employment future.

Everything else from Bryan Singer (theatrical bound) has typically remained in "Development Hell."

So I predict that by the end of 2013, the only announced project from Bryan Singer that he will have completed will be...."The Munsters."

Friday, June 15, 2012

This is The Last Bit of News We Heard From Universal Studios And Bryan Singer. Is There Something They Both Want to Confess to?

And take note of the date of the last bit of news....

October 2011

So...When are we going to find out that Universal Studios and Bryan Singer have shelved this project (for no rational reason) again....for a third time?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I Take it The Partnership Between Ronald D. Moore And Sony Hasn't Been Fruitful?

Ronald D. Moore is apparently having the same problems with announced genre projects that Bryan Singer has been having. They aren't getting made.

Remember when Ronald D. Moore was supposed to be doing a "Wild, Wild West" reboot for television with CBS? Well, that was two years ago as the above link shows and it doesn't take two years to make a television pilot.

It seems to me that Bryan Singer and Ronald D. Moore should get out of the Science Fiction / Fantasy profession and open an ice cream stand together. They might have more luck business wise.

And Ronald D. Moore has only produced the rejected "17th Precinct" pilot for Sony and nothing else in the....what?....two years they have been in partnership together? So what's going on with the lack of productivity there?

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bryan Singer Repeatedly Proves The Point I Keep Making About Him

The only projects he is associated with that make any sort of significant progress are television projects.

Bryan Singer's intended theatrical projects (where he is his own boss as the film director) crawl along at a snail's pace ultimately never getting done.

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Excalibur
3. Logan's Run
4. Six Billion Dollar Man

This is because in television, there are layers upon layers of authority above Bryan Singer, dictating tight deadlines and when this project (The Munsters) needs to be finished. Thus, a mere 7 months after this project was announced, we're already receiving casting news.

Whereas Bryan Singer's "Battlestar Galactica" movie announced a month earlier in October 2011, hasn't delivered one bit of news beyond John Orloff supposedly hired as the scriptwriter.

When Bryan Singer is his own boss (a film director) he doesn't finish anything or get anything done. Primarily with the genre projects listed above.

Bryan Singer should always be working for somebody.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I've Said it Before And I'll Say it Again: Bryan Singer's Projects Are Getting Fewer And Farther Between

It doesn't matter what project Bryan Singer announces. The project either never gets made at all or it takes him years and years to make even one.

His "Jack The Giant Killer" has been in post-production for so long it should be listed in the "Guiness Book of World Records" as the longest time ever recorded to make a movie.

From what Bryan Singer himself said, the studio backing "Excalibur" was unhappy with the snails pace Bryan Singer was putzing along in during the pre-production process of that movie. So apparently the studio shelved "Excalibur" because of his slow manner of working.

Other projects Bryan Singer have announced have been routinely shelved including "Logan's Run", "Six Billion Dollar Man", "Star Trek", etc.

The only medium where Bryan Singer makes any sort of recent progress is television, where he has done "House" and is now working on "The Munsters", taking on that project immediately after proclaiming he would be giving his undivided attention to a "Battlestar Galactica" theatrical film in October 2011.

The fact is, there is something very odd about Bryan Singer in what appears to be a fundamental incompatibility with the theatrical medium after the failure of his "Superman Returns." He can't or won't get anything done with theatrical films. On the rare occasion that he does, it takes him much much longer than usual (much much longer than other film directors in the industry) to get a movie made.

He has announced a "Battlestar Galactica" theatrical project for a second time. The first time in 2009, the second in October 2011. The 2009 film project never got made with Bryan Singer and Universal Studios not saying why. The October 2011 film project shows no progress whatsoever eight months later. No progress made beyond John Orloff supposedly being hired as the scriptwriter.

His 2001 "Battlestar Galactica" television series for FOX television of course never got made because he claims 9/11 derailed that project. Yet other projects in production at that time still got made.

Percentage wise, Bryan Singer averages about  5% of any of his projects (movies or television) getting made at all, out of 100% of the projects he keeps routinely announcing.

I think that there are two things going on here with Bryan Singer at the same time:

1. He is a very, very, very slow worker (by theatrical movie standards) that perhaps causes studios to lose patience with him thus they shelve the projects he is working on (Excalibur) or give them to someone else. "Jack The Giant Killer" still hasn't been released?

2. The failure of "Superman Returns" has perhaps closed a number of doors for him in the theatrical industry, moreso than he realizes at the time. Prompting him to announce such projects as "Logan's Run" prematurely.

The combination of the two is driving him to television...permanently. Where for example, "The Munsters" has made more progress than any of his other announced projects. The reason being, in television directors work for producers and are forced to work much much faster. And the television series "House" sure got cranked out expeditiously didn't it?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

When Universal Studios and Bryan Singer Can't Even Pencil In a Year (on As to When "Battlestar Galactica" Might Be Completed...

...A full eight months after the above announcment was made on October 21st, 2011, you know that this was yet another sham announcement from the two of them. Bringing their total sham announcements to three...

1. October 21st, 2011 theatrical announcement presently not leading to anything.
2. February 2, 2009 theatrical announcement which led to nothing.
3. FOX-TV 2001 television announcement which led to nothing.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Shadows Lengthen

By Susan J. Paxton

[ Reprinted with permission from Susan J. Paxton. Originally appeared on ]

It is my belief that Leslie Stevens, not Glen Larson, is the actual creator of Battlestar Galactica. Why is this important? After all, it's been over 22 years since Battlestar Galactica was canceled. Stevens is dead. The show remains in limbo. I believe it's important for several reasons. One involves simple justice. But another has more immediacy. Over the past several years, there have been movements to revive the series in some form, as a film, TV film, or even as a TV series, probably syndicated. One movement has been led by actor Richard Hatch and has taken the form of novels, a web site, and a professional-quality trailer proposal that has been widely hailed by BG fans wherever it has been shown. Whatever ones' personal views on Richard's novels, his revival plans feature the surviving original actors back in their original roles in a production set after the time of the series and ignoring the events of Galactica 1980 completely. He has backed this effort with his own time and money, showing real courage.

Richard's revival effort has attracted the support of a growing number, perhaps even a majority of BG fans. Executive Producer Glen A. Larson has spearheaded the other, predominantly reactive revival effort, originally in conjunction with Todd Moyer, director of the horrible film based on the game Wing Commander. Several years ago, BG composer Stu Phillips told me that Larson's reason for not producing a BG revival hinged on Larson's lack of ideas on how to handle the Galactica 1980 issue. It's obvious from Larson's proposals that he still lacks ideas. He's suggested basing a new BG production around the battlestar Pegasus and Commander Cain or, more recently, around a battlestar Atlantis, set thousands of years after or before the time of the original series, depending on which version you hear. Larson's claim to primacy in the BG revival stakes revolves around his claim to be the creator of the series. As creator, he believes it is his right to decide what form a revival should take. As creator, many fans would agree with him. But what if he isn't the creator?

When Battlestar Galactica was launched, Larson was the subject of many interviews. Over and over he told the same story of BG's origins. His original idea, he said, was for a series called Adam's Ark. Adam's Ark, Larson said, was "sort of about the origins of mankind in the universe, taking some of the Biblical stories and moving them off into space as if by the time we get to Earth they're really not about things that happened here but things that might have happened somewhere else in space." Note this carefully: "by the time we get to Earth." Larson told this story over and over, how he had approached the networks with this idea and been rejected.

Then, in the summer of 1977, when the success of Star Wars made the words "science fiction" once again safe to utter within network sanctums, Larson claimed he dusted this idea off, took it to Universal and ABC, and Adam's Ark then formed the basis of Battlestar Galactica. After all, Battlestar Galactica did touch on and suggest legends, Biblical and otherwise, and the fleet was indeed heading to Earth. Adam's Ark became part of the legend of BG's beginnings in spite of the fact that Larson never released a script or proposal to public view. More recently, Larson's story has changed, in interviews and most recently on the Sci-Fi Channel's Sciography special on BG. Adam's Ark is now, according to Larson, about a "Howard Hughes-like" character, a billionaire named Adam who believes Earth to be doomed and tricks Earth's best and brightest onto a spaceship and launches them to discover new worlds.

In other words, leaving Earth, not coming to Earth, and suddenly no hint of Biblical legends. Why the change? Did Larson just forget what his proposal was about? Is there a loose copy floating around somewhere he's afraid will get into fandom? Whatever the reason for Larson's sudden reversal on Adam's Ark, one thing is brutally certain. This later concept has absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to Battlestar Galactica. Probably it is Larson's original concept. It's enough of a brainless cartoon to fit with his normal line of programming.

Frankly, it's a really stupid idea. Enter director Alan J. Levi. Levi is known to BG fans as the director of "Gun on Ice Planet Zero," but he also directed half of the premiere after Richard Colla was let go by Larson. Levi was a good friend of the late Leslie Stevens, the producer best known for the famous science fiction series The Outer Limits. Recently I interviewed Alan Levi. I had not planned to ask him any questions about the origins of Battlestar Galactica because he had not been involved early enough in the process to know about it. But, out of the blue, with no prompting from me whatsoever, he said, "Well, Leslie Stevens wrote the original script. Leslie was one of my best friends. I do know that Leslie had told me at one time way before he ever got into the script that he had this great idea for a script that he was going to take to Glen Larson and talk about."

In other words, sometime in 1977, Stevens had told Levi about an idea for a series he was going to discuss with Glen Larson, an idea that recognizably was Battlestar Galactica. Now before people start running around screaming that Larson "stole" BG from Stevens, it's clear that whatever happened, Stevens must have agreed with it, though for what reason we cannot at this time know. Perhaps Larson had more pull at Universal than Stevens did. If Stevens was for some reason out of favor at the time, his idea might have been discarded by Universal while the same idea with Glen Larson's name on it would have been viewed favorably.

Stevens also was working on what became the Buck Rogers TV series at this same time and may not have had enough time to spearhead both efforts. Whatever kind of agreement Larson and Stevens came to, it evidently was amicable. Stevens never publicly said a thing about it. With Leslie Stevens dead, there are only a few people who could confirm, amplify or deny Levi's version of events. The most obvious is, of course, Glen Larson himself. And we can be assured, I believe, that he will never do so. He has little else to his credit of the quality of BG, and he will continue to claim it as his own for that and other reasons. The first three people hired by Larson to work on BG might also know: John Dykstra, Joe Johnston, and Ralph McQuarrie. Two others possibly able to shed light on the situation are Don Bellisario and Michael Sloan. They must be interviewed and asked what they know.

And, of course, there is the matter of Leslie Stevens' papers. Whether these are still held by his family or were donated to a library or university or other institution after his death, they could very well contain the truth and, most precious of all, Stevens' first draft of the BG premiere. More investigation must follow to pin down the elusive truth of the origins of Battlestar Galactica. But for Glen Larson and his claim to be the series' creator, the shadows have begun to lengthen.

With a Name Like "Jersey Shore Shark Attack", One Wonders if Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern Ever Graduated From High School

Jersey Shore Shark Attack unfolds during the July Fourth weekend at – where else? — the Jersey Shore, where rare swarms of sharks are converging due to illegal underwater drilling. Now the angry sharks are on a rampage, devouring residents, and leaving it up to the locals to try and save the day.
Sirico is Captain Sallie, the wise veteran of boardwalk life and lore. Scalia is Moretti, former Guido beach bum and now police chief. Sorvino portrays the possibly corrupt Mayor and Atherton is the greedy developer Dolan, who wants to tear down the boardwalk to build a luxury resort where the Guidos will not be welcome. Vinny Guadagnino plays the on-scene reporter Conte and Joey Fatone appears as himself.”

Yo!! Yo!! Trippin' with the "Home Boys" on the SyFy Channel as a killer shark threatens their cribs and their old ladies!!

Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of....

Another crappy horror movie from Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern!!

We even have some cross pollination going on with MTV's "Jersey Shore" in this schlock fest!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Do Believe That Universal Studios And Bryan Singer Are Doing to "Battlestar Galactica" What ABC-TV Did to it Back in 1979


Who Killed Galactica?
Fantastic Films Magazine
June 1982
Author: William J. Adams

Just this last year a study was completed for the Journal of Communication which looked into several questionable cancellations, like the cancellation of Battlestar Galactica. The author of this article conducted that study. He knows what did and what didn't happen with the series. What happened to Battlestar is pretty much whats happened to every major science fiction series offered during the past 12 years. This article explains why none of them succeeded and why none probably will in the near future.

Three years after the cancellation....or facts lies, and Battlestar Galactica

It's been three years since the Galactica was shot down, two since its shadow was resurrected, and another since the shadow was also buried. Yet, Battlestar lives on, one of those rare shows that refuses to die gracefully. It's happened before. CBS cancelled the Twilight Zone three times. Twenty years later it's still running, and over at NBC, the very mention of Star Trek can send an executive crying for his mother. But this time there was a difference. A series can't be rerunafter only one season. Anybody who has ever studied TV knows that. There just aren't enough episodes to hold an audience. But Battlestar did rerun, and in spite of protests from die hard critics, it held the audience. As a result, networks are suddenly grabbing for Science Fiction reruns that producers couldn't even give away before.

CBS jumped on Night Stalker, and ABC countered with Planet of the Apes. They even shot new footage to make it more enticing. Finally, this season, The Man From Atlantis was released for syndication, and all because one series refused to be a good little program and die (Battlestar Galactica.)

Yet it was cancelled. The only problem bothering researchers was "why?" It took three years to find the answer to that question. It's an answer that may exlain why Science Fiction can pull millions of people into a theater, but can't even produce one successful Science Fiction television series. In other words, what happened to Battlestar is typical of how the networks deal with Science Fiction / Fantasy programming.

The question of why the show was cancelled wasn't an easy one to answer. ABC, facing the worst objections to a cancellation in its history, issued dozens of myths, rumors, and outright lies to explain their action. It took three years to shovel through the bull and find out what didn't happen.

For example, Battlestar Galactica was not a falure. By every method used to measure television it was a success, perhaps even the strongest new series of the 1978-79 television season. The average rating for a successful new series is 18. Battlestar, at 20.4 was a full five million viewers above that average and one of the top 25 series on television. It was the sixth highest rated new series for the entire season, and before ABC-TV began fooling with the show, it was pulling ratings of 22 and 23, high enough to make it one of the top 15 series on TV. As for the audience shares, for a successful new series the average is 28. Battlestar, at 32, was againwell above the norm.

Then there are the demographics which measure whos's watching. They're broken down into five major divisions: Women 18-49, Men 18-49, Teenagers, Children, and those over 50. Galactica placed in the top ten with three of the groups and in the top 20 for the fourth. Only a handful of programs can match those demographics and all of them are still on.

Then comes audience loyalty. It measures whether the audience really likes the show, or is just watching because nothing else is on. "Loyalty" is determined from a combination of feedback information including TVQ surveys, how well the series stands up to competition, the volume of fan mail received, audience reaction to the stars, magazine coverage after the network stops paying for the space, and so on.

According to this measurement, Battlestar Galactica was the most powerful new series of the season. It held over 40 million viewers against the strongest competition both CBS and NBC could muster. It generated massive fan mail, thousands of threats against the lives of critics and the greatest flood of articles about a TV series ever written up to that time. It sold calenders, posters, bubblegum cards, models, toys, and books. Finally, they even sold the costume. Put together, these things indicate an audience loyalty no other new series could even come close to matching.

The final measurement, official recognition or awards won, is the most bragged about and least important off all measurements of success. Even there Battlestar can't be beat. There were Emmys for costumes and special effects, the "People's Choice Award" for the best new series, and awards for best program, best actor, and best actress from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, just to mention a few.

Whichever way the figures are added up, they equal success. Even ABC-TV admits that. But they were quick to add, "We expected so much more." Did they really? According to available data that's a lie. The scheduling guaranteed Battlestar Galactica wouldn't get the ratings ABC-TV claimed to be expecting. The networks, including ABC, have known the effect of scheduling for years. CBS even put it into words with their infamous "a series position in the schedule is more important than its content" statement. In actual numbers that means out of the 240 new series offered between 1974 and 1979 only 27 broke an average rating of 20 and just six made it over 23. All six got a unique scheduling push. First, they were placed against weak competition. Second, they were given a spot on an already strong night. Third, the program just before it (the lead in) was in the top ten, or the new series was a spin-off from the top ten, and fourth, the surrounding programming was well established and strong. So, how did Battlestar Galactica meet the test?

Its competition was the strongest on television, with both CBS and NBC stacking their schedules against it. The night itself was only a moderate success. ABC hadn't done any better than second place for years. The lead in, the Hardy Boys, had an average rating of 13, and the program that followed Battlestar was a movie where the ratings depended on what was showing.

Not one of the four requirements needed to break 23 was present. In fact, Battlestar shouldn't have broken 20, yet id did. And when the competition was just another new series, it broke 24. Its ratings were so high, CBS panicked, booted Mary Tyler Moore out, and rearranged their entire schedule less than one month into the season. They took four of their five top series and formed a wall against Galactica. NBC didn't have enough strong series to move, so they countered with their best movies, biggest miniseries, and most publicized specials.

NBC lost. CBS won, barely. Battlestar's ratings declined two points to fluctuate between 21 and 23, still well within the top 15 shows on TV.

Of course, failure was only one of many myths that grew up around the series. For instance, Buck Rogers was not more popular than Battlestar Galactica. I've nothing against Buck (I even believe he got a rotten deal his second season) but, statistically, he wasn't even in Battlestar's ball park. He'd have had to find at least another 10 million viewers just to get up to bat.

Battlestar did not cost ABC-TV a million dollars an episode. According to Variety the price was more like $750,000.00 for which ABC bought the rights to show each episode twice (and you were wondering why such a failure reran all summer 1979.) That was the same per hour fee ABC was paying for one showing only of the lower rated Monday Night Football and most of their Hollywood movies.

Universal Studios probably was paying a million dollars an episode, but it's not unusual for a producer to lose money. On a series like Charlie's Angels, the producers were losing between one and five million dollars a year. A producer makes money by owning a series that runs long enough to go into syndicated reruns. Once that happens, the rental fees make up for the original losses. Yet, in spite of a first season cancellation and a $250,000.00 per episode loss, Universal was happy. The release of Battlestar's motion picture version had already paid for all production. The money from ABC was profit.

I should add that, in spite of reports by critics and claims in at least two books, the movie version was not "cut together pieces of several episodes rushed into release to capitalize on audience shock over ABC's cancellation." As any fan can tell you, the movie was the first episode with only one major change, Baltar's execution. It was released in Canada as a movie several weeks before the series began in an attempt to meet ABC-TV's demand that the program be audience tested without being shown to anyone in the U.S. To the surprise of everyone involved, what was for all purposes a TV pilot became a major motion picture success. To find out if was just Canadians "who were strange", Universal then released the film in England where it set attendance records.

Finally, after the series was cancelled, Universal was flooded with letters asking for the film. The studio complied with a limited release. In other words, they let it out, but only for a few weeks. In those weeks it made tens of millions from viewers who were for the most part, fully aware of what they were seeing.

As far as Universal was concerned, Battlestar was a financial miracle. Even ABC-TV, despite rumors to the contrary, did not lose money on the series. According to figures from Advertising Age, A.C. Nielsen, and Variety, after all fees had been paid, ABC-TV still netted over 15 million dollars. And no matter how they pad the accounts, that still comes out to several million in pure profit.

Battlestar Galactica was not a kiddie show. Oh, it was extremely popular with the diaper set, but according to the National Demographics, for every child in the audience there were four men, three women, and two teenagers. Of the adults, a full 30% were college graduates and at least 20% had done advanced work. Not even Star Trek can brag of a more educated, more adult audience.

Battlestar did not plunge down the ratings ladder. I'm well aware ABC-TV can show a 14 point drop. It's done by carefully selecting the highest and lowest weekly figures. But, if that's how a plunge is figured, Alice, All In The Family, Fantasy Island, Happy Days, and a dozen other shows beat Galactica to the bottom and lived to tell about it.

In the face of massive manipulation the average audience size did decline by about eight million viewers, or a loss of about 15%. But, according to studies on scheduling, that was in response to preemption, not an indication of a dislike for the series. It was also less than half of what should have been expected.

Was Battlestar a rip-off? That's a strange charge to make against any one series during a season that produced four copies of "Animal House", three of "Charlie's Angels", a dozen of "Three's Company", and even one, The "American Girls" that was billed as a bosomy "Route 66." "Rip-Off" is even a stranger charge to be made by critics who were loudly proclaiming "Paper Chase" the greatest show of the decade.

In reality, there isn't a series on TV, from "60 Minutes" (a remake of the old "20th Century"), to "Trapper John M.D." ("Marcus Welby" by any other name) that can claim to be original, yet only one, "Battlestar Galactica" was officially labeled a rip-off.

That charge was first put into print by Time magazine's critic, a man who hadn't even seen the show. He based his review on ABC-TV promotional spots, a basic plot outline, and some careful arranging of the cast. For instance, he discovered if he left out Boomer, Cassiopia, Boxey, and Colonel Tigh, he had two men, one woman, a cute robot, and a father figure left, just like in that other movie. His review was so farfetched, even other critics ridiculed it.

While Time was the first to publish the charge, it actually didn't originate there. That honor goes to what has all the appearance of a good old fashioned publicity stunt, much like the "will Mr. Spock be killed" stunt we're now witnessing. In short, a publicity stunt is simply a gimmick to get free advertising. In the case of Battlestar, it was a hoked up lawsuit in which Fox accused Universal of stealing its plot from "Star Wars" and Universal countersued claiming Fox stole its robots from "Silent Running." This suit was a paper lion at best. Researchers could find no attempt to stop the showing of either production, no financial settlement, and no pressure to get the case into court. Once the headlines stopped coming the whole thing just faded away. , but not before millions had rushed back to theaters to see the movie (Battlestar) just one more time, or had decided to tune in the series just to see if was that good a copy.

It was the kind of stunt producers dream of except for one little thing. It guaranteed the TV series would be labeled a rip-off no matter what it was actually like. Critics are not thinking people. Hand them a line and they'll use it everytime.

As for the critics, according to their reviews they did not hate the series. Oh, some did. But an actual count showed opinion split 50/50. That equals mixed reviews, which happens to be the only thing any science fiction series has ever received, and that includes "Star Trek" and "The Twilight Zone."

Television in general and science fiction in particular, seldom considers critical opinion. But with Battlestar they had to. A normal show expects maybe 15 to 20 reviews a season. Battlestar was reviewed by hundreds. Every newspaper, magazine, and most special interest publications all the way from Pravda, which felt the series was anti-Russian, to HIS magazine, which felt it was anti-protestant, suddenly felt a need to express an opinion. By sheer mass of material, critical reviews took on an overblown importance. Somehow during all that talk, the fact that as many critics loved the show as hated it got lost.

All these myths were faithfully reported as reasons for cancellation, yet none of them hold water. So, why was "Battlestar Galactica" cancelled? In short, ABC-TV didn't want it. The series was too expensive, so ABC killed it. That's not sour grapes. That's the conclusion of a controversial study conducted at Ball State University in Indiana.

Hard core science fiction can not produce enough profit to satisfy the networks even though the networks would love to have the science fiction community among their viewers. That's why we get an endless line of programming like "Mr. Merlin" and "The Incredible Hulk" which are relatively cheap to make. but not one hard core science fiction series since "Star Trek" has been allowed to stay on. Because advertising rates are based on cost per thousand viewers rahter than cost of production. The average Galactica like series needs ratings over 30 just to produce the same profits "Real People" will make with 19.

There are seveal naive people who assume a profit of several million and ratings in the 20s should be enough to keep a show on the air, but few of these people own ABC stock. The people who do own stock want to see an increase in their dividends every year. That means advertising rates have to go up faster than production costs. The only way to do that is to eliminate expensive programming in favor of a cheaper model. Unfortunately, because of special effects, and the production quality demanded by the science fiction audience, science fiction is the most expensive type of series to produce for TV. It ranks just above Westerns which aren't exactly popular right now.

Of course, ABC-TV knew it couldn't make its normal million dollar per episode, pre-tax dollars even before Battlestar began. But they were trapped. For years, networks managed to avoid anything but comic book science fiction by claiming the audience wasn't large enough to support a series. They could point to a long list of failures to prove that. Even "Star Trek" didn't succeed in the ratings until after NBC cancelled it and thus lost control over its schedule. But, then "Star Wars" proved once and for all there was a huge audience. To maintan their claim that the public controls programming (the claim the networks have used for years to stop all government, legal, and pressure group interference), they had to produce a major science fiction television series.

ABC-TV, at the time the richest of the three broadcast networks, went with Battlestar, but only as a three part mini series. Unfortunately for them, once word got out, public reaction was so strong the network was forced to change its plans and order a full fledged weekly series. But there was no intention of letting it succeed. ABC-TV began by hyping the show. That means instead of buying ads, they got newspapers to give them free space under the heading of news.

No series in the history of television (until Dallas of course) had ever been so hyped. In one three week period it was the cover story for Newsweek, People, US, TV Guide, and almost 90% of the tv weeklies published in local newspapers. During the same period it was a major part of Time and even the Smithsonian magazine did a special section on how it was being filmed. Everyone in the country thought they knew all bout the series. Rumors were rampant. One science fiction magazine finally flew an editor to Canada just to view the actual film and hopefully find out what was really going on.

Such massive hyping guaranteed two things. First of all, a huge opening audience, and secondly, an audience loss. For Dallas, the loss between the "Who shot J.R.?" episode and the next week was over 15 million viewers. Such a loss is expected. No series has even been able to maintain a hyped rating. Yet, in the case of Battlestar, which dropped from a ratring of 28 to 25, or a loss of about 9 million people, ABC claimed a decline proved the show couldn't hold an audience.

Hyping also ensures more than just a rating drop. It also usually precipitates a press backlash, which isn't possible without the active support of gullible journalists. But once the baby's been born, they'll scream rape every time. As Michael Ryan wrote, "The press has promised the audience a weekly version of Hamlet." A promise no series can live up to. Journalists try to cover up that exaggeration by beating the newborn to death before anyone sees it.

At the same time ABC-TV was hyping the series to death, it was also interfering in production by demanding endless changes in the scripts and special effects. Special Effects Director John Dykstra finally quit as a result of this interference. He did not, as ABC-TV is fond of saying "just decide to go back to the movies." His actual statements were more to the effect that he "refused to work for a network that didn't understand even the most basic elements of production."

As a result of this handling, plus bad scheduling and over expectations, Battlestar should have died. It didn't. The hype became self perpetuating. ABC couldn't stop it. Weeks after the official publicity had ended the audience was still demanding more.

ABC was in trouble. For a moment it looked like CBS would save them with their fast reprogramming. But the Galactica's ratings didn't drop enough. It was still one of the top 15 shows in the nation. So ABC-TV began manipulating the series; thinks like pre-empting, time shifts, anything to keep the show from being seen when scheduled.

A 33% manipulation rate, over a season, will kill any old or new show 100% of the time. It artificially forces the ratings down an average of five points for every three months it continues. Every science fiction series since 1970 (except Buck Rogers during its first season) has been manipulated that much or more before being cancelled.

With Battlestar Galactica ABC-TV took no chances. From December 1978 on, its manipulation rate was over 70%.
That means for five months Battlestar was the special and the manipulations were the regularly scheduled series. By the end of the official 32 week season the network had only managed to show 17 episodes. Now, some of the pre-emptions were for bonafide specials, but most were for things like reruns of the Honeymooners, Charlies Angels, and double feature night at the movies. Most of these so called specials drew ratings two or three points below Galactica, so even ABC doesn't claim they were being run to improve the night. In fact, when questioned about the massive manipulation, ABC denied anything had happened.

In the face of manipulation that should have driven the ratings down a minimum of 10 points. Battlestar's dropped only by three. It held among the top 25 programs in the nation. When it was placed in the same time slot, "Mork & Mindy", the top rated show of the decade, couldn't even stay in the top 30, and its manipulation rate was only 5%. In other words, in spite of everything, Battlestar Galactica refused to fail. ABC-TV cancelled it anyway.

The audience hit back with everything they had. Nothing like it had hit TV since the legendary cancellation of Star Trek itself. ABC was desperate. They counter attacked by cranking out the rumors, everything from horror stories about disappearing audiences to hints that the series was only being revised. As a master touch, they ordered production of two new episodes to be run (it was rumored) as movies in the fall while production problems were worked out in the original series.

It worked. Viewers decided to wait and see what would happen. The moment they did, ABC-TV halted production, fired the cast, and ordered the sets taken apart. It seemed like a brilliant move. ABC was happy for all of a month. It took that long for the audience to reorganize. Then they hit again, attacking right through the 79-80 television season. But, ABC wasn't beaten yet. They simply revived the series, but they put it against 60 Minutes to eliminate the adult audience. Next, the stories were "kiddyfied" to get rid of any holdouts. The result was a sitcom with Galactican uniforms and "Six Miilion Dollar Man" side effects. As a final touch, ABC changed the cast. That alone was sure to keep the ratings down. Viewers had nothing against the new faces. Kent McCord and Barry Van Dyke are fine actors. But they're not Apollo and Starbuck. It was like bringing back Star Trek without Kirk and Spock.

When the series was cancelled again there was very little protest. The new version really wasn't worth fighting over. But, ABC had sinned and God would punish them. In order to justify cancelling the show, they had to succeed with their Sunday night replacement. To do that, they picked dear, unbelievably successful "Mork & Mindy", but that left a hole in Thursday night. Laverne & Shirley filled it nicely and "Angie" took their spot on Tuesday. Unfortunately, faced with the same competition as Battlestar, Mork & Mindy not only couldn't beat its ratings, it found itself fighting just to stay on. Worse yet, it was dragging the "ABC Sunday Night Movie" down with it. ABC might have been able to ride out that problem, but their other moves were also failing. Laverne & Shirley, which hadn't left the top 10 since its beginning, suddenly wasn't even in the top 30. And Happy Days was following it down the ratings ladder. "Angie" fell so far nothing could save it. To get rid of one science fiction upstart, ABC-TV sacrificed its first place position and lost millions of viewers and dollars. But Battlestar was cancelled. ABC had succeeded in that. In itself that wasn't unusual. The networks have succeeded in getting rid of every hardcore science fiction series offered for the last dozen years. In fact, the way ABC dealt with Battlestar is pretty much how the networks always deal with science fiction. But, this time some science fiction pubications openly congratulated them for getting rid of this upstart which was beginning to replace Star Trek in conversations. These publications even helped distribute ABC-TV's excuses.

That was the real tragedy. Battlestar is still being rerun. As for the stars, they'll probably be more successful now than if the series had ran for years. It made their names household words, but wasn't around long enough to typecast them.

For television science fiction, the cancellation could be death. In their rush to be rid of this fantasy upstart, many publications made a fatal mistake. They helped ABC-TV cancel the statistically most successful science fiction show ever to appear on TV. In effect, ABC-TV announced to the world there is no audience large enough to justify an expensive science fiction series. That includes fiction as well as fantasy. By helping ABC-TV get away with that, science fiction magazines may have helped sign a television death warrant. Right now, science fiction's future on TV doesn't look good, unless of course, we're willing to settle for network approved sitcoms."


In other words, Universal Studios and Bryan Singer are playing games with the property.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Guess You Can Call It...Universal Studios And Bryan Singer Repeatedly Abandoning Responsibilities

Moving into the eighth month after this movie was announced on October 21st, 2011, and Universal Studios / Bryan Singer can't even offer up any bit of progress made after John Orloff was supposedly hired for scriptwriting chores?

No pre-production sketches? No sets being built? No casting news? Very eccentric to have no such news after eight months.

Universal Studios / Bryan Singer repeatedly offer up nothing more than what appears to be "Sham Galactica Movie Announcements" every two years or so.

1. Galactica movie announcement in 2009. Nothing came of it.
2. Another Galactica movie announcement in 2009 more Glen A. Larson related. Nothing came of it.
3. Galactica television series for FOX television in 2001. Nothing came of it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Why is The #1 Forum On The SyFy Channel's Site Devoted to a Boring Remake of "Treasure Island" Starring Eddie Izzard?

The lack of participation in this forum substantiates that "ever present boring quality" found in all SyFy Channel Original Productions. Four posts thus far.

The fact that "Treasure Island" is the best thing that Bonnie Hammer, David Howe, and Mark Stern have to offer should send most advertisers running away in terror.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Is Bonnie Hammer a Television Programmer or a Retail Marketer For "Diet Coke?" A Little Hint: It's The Latter

The "SyFy Channel" and the "USA Network" are not television networks. They are figurative grocery stores stocked with figurative retail products such as "Diet Coke" and "Aunt Jemima Frozen Waffles" from Bonnie Hammer's...."Retail Product Distribution Vocabulary."

In Bonnie Hammer's vocabulary, there is no such thing as "television programs." But there are "Brand Filters", "nebulous brand name theories"...."bonding customers to products"....."light & dark" when marketing products and product concepts to the public....and the total absence of any entertainment value at the "SyFy Channel" and the "USA Network."

This woman (God love her) is not a television programmer. She is a "Retail Distribution Territorial Manager." In her soul that's what she is.

"Nestles Chocolate" needs this woman for immediate employment. So does "Coca-Cola", so does "Fanny May Candies", so does "Hallmark Cards", so does "Chrysler Automobiles."

Bonnie Hammer may very well go down in the history books as the most brilliant "Retail Theorist" in the history of mankind....erroneously employed at two cable networks.

Her brain processes information in strictly "Retail Terms." Did you notice that? Everything to her is a "Product." As to the real "meat & potatoes" of running a cable network and what any television network is supposed to be, such as the genuine desire to entertain the viewing public, is completely oblivious to her.

There's nothing wrong with always thinking in retail terms, as long as Bonnie Hammer is employed in some capacity in the "Retail Industry" and not in the "Cable Television Industry."

Friday, June 1, 2012

Isn't It Interesting How Each Time Universal Studios Executives Pose For Happy Photos, The Happiness Never Lasts?

It goes without saying that this motley group of "Flop-Heads" has long since torpedoed (with Bryan Singer's help) the "Battlestar Galactica" movie announced in October 2011.

I've Said It Before And I'll Say It Again. Perhaps Being More Direct This Time. The "Science Fiction Karma" In The Universe Does Not Like Universal Studios

I don't necessarily believe in the supernatural, but what is undeniable fact is that decades of Universal Studios deliberately mismanaging "The 1978 Battlestar Galactica Series" in the form of Ronald D. Moore's crappy "Galactica in Name Only Series" and "Caprica Series"...along with not bringing back the 1978 series in its original form (like it should have been)...along with deliberately manufacturing defective VHS tapes and DVD discs over the years of the "1978 series" is coming back full circle at Universal Studios like a returning the form of every new Science Fiction / Fantasy movie they are attempting tanking badly at the box office.

"Science Fiction Karma" doesn't like Universal Studios. I call it retribution for the years and years Universal Studios has deliberately Screwed this property and its fanbase in every conceivable way...

What was it that "Khan Noonian Singh" said in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan?"

"Revenge is a dish that is best served cold. And it is very space."