The SciFi.com home page is currently overtaken by a bunch of video clips intended to drum up anticipation and make you buy a Walkman phone. The “Phenomenon” clip has a bunch of people from other shows talking about how much they love “Battlestar,” ostensibly outing themselves as nerds but really just coming across as a bunch of people who know how to talk on camera when surrounded by studio lights. (Not that they’re insincere, just that I’ve seen what it’s like when real nerds effuse about their favorite television show, and it tends not to get you hyped up about anything other than eugenics). My opinion of Brad Paisley went up 1000%; my assessment of the guys from “Robot Chicken” remains unchanged.
Entertainment Weekly ran the picture at the top of this post (which you can get as a download for your desktop background), with the cast arranged like The Last Supper, a few months ago, and at that point I realized I’ve crossed into giddy fan territory with the show. I had flashbacks to when I’d dig through my brother’s copies of Starlog to find any trace of Star Wars, and I’d buy any magazine that had even a mention of Star Wars on the cover. None of that stuff had any real info, or even a fraction of the “insider” promotional stuff you can find on the internet these days, but you got into it just to keep reminding yourself “I’m still a really big fan of this!” I was getting afraid I’d become too jaded to get that excited about anything like this anymore.
I’ve mentioned it before, but the thing I like best about all the promotional stuff for BSG is that the cast comes across as people who just know they’re making something cool. There’s no sense that they think they’re better than the material, and little sense that they think they’re too cool for the fans. They’re attractive TV people who are even more comfortable around dorky fans than I’d ever be, and I’m a dorky fan and not an attractive TV person.
You’ll always hear it stressed that BSG works because it’s not science fiction, but drama set in a science fiction environment — but that doesn’t come across as defensive. And it’s not until you see or read an interview with the people involved that it’s clear the show has actually lived up to that premise. You’ll see Tricia Helfer or Grace Park or Mary McDonnell going on about Cylons and Vipers and hybrid babies and light-speed jumps, all as they pertain to their characters, and you realize that possibly for the first time, somebody’s made something with spaceships and robots that isn’t intended just for some geek fringe.