BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: Yet Another Spinoff?

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Syfy exec Mark Stern recently announced that the network may be seeking a second spinoff to the memorable, influential, buzz worthy, but ultimately not-very-good “Battlestar Galactica” series. This hypothetical series would be “Space Based” and possibly “Not a traditional series,” whatever that means.

So let’s have some irresponsible speculation as to what that means:

1) If it’s space-based, obviously, it’s going to be set during the First Cylon War, which is the only as-yet-unchronicled part of this continuity that anyone gives a crap about.

2) If it’s “Not a traditional series,” then odds are it’ll be a series of “movies of the week.” It’s worth noting that the original Galactica from ‘78 was conceived of as a TV movie series, which was kind of trendy at the time. Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Six Million Dollar Man, and Man From Atlantis all began as TV Movie Series, before settling down into regular series. Columbo, MacMillan and Wife, Banachek, and McCloud were all series that stuck with the “Movie of the Week” format for their entire runs, cranking out five or six a season.

This actually wouldn’t be a bad way to go. Figure Caprica has a budget of about 3 million bucks per episode. A TV Movie is essentially a standalone double-length episode. Make four of these movies a year - one for each sweeps period - and it’s almost guaranteed to get boffo ratings. (“Boffo, Johnny! Socko!”) and it still only runs you 24 million a year, as opposed to the sixty million they’re plunking down for a show like Caprica. It’s frankly a much more efficient use of their meager funds - AND - it provides them a back door to resolve all the dangling threads from Caprica when it gets cancelled. There’s no reason Zoe and Daniel couldn’t be involved in this war. In fact, they’d have to be, wouldn’t they?

Added to this, production is easier, and there’s plenty of time to write more solid scripts, as opposed to just making it up as they go along because you’re trying to fill up 20 hours of airtime with only 10 hours of story (As in the final two seasons of BSG).

Stern also makes some noise about a second season of Caprica, but I think that’s probably just noise. He’s quick to point out the 1.6 rating they got for the premier, but he doesn’t mention the .7 they got three weeks ago, nor the fact that the 1.5 rebound they got two weeks back has already boiled away to a 1.1. This is an expensive show, but it’s bleeding money and circling the rain, and even if critics like it - and I’m not all that convinced that they really do - the network just can’t afford a ‘hit’ like this.

Conversely, Stargate Universe has about the same budget as Caprica, and isn‘t exactly a critical success, but it has *ALREADY* been renewed for a second season (They made the decision back in December!). Their ratings have ranged from 1.3 to 2.4, but tend to hold stable about 1.8. What that means is that Syfy is paying about $2.70 for every viewer of Caprica, while they’re only paying about $1.60 for every viewer of Universe. Once you break down the economics to that level, it starts to make sense.

The whole article can be read here http://www.thrfeed.com/2010/03/syfy-three-inches-caprica-battlestar-.html

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