Home Entertainment Battlestar Galactica reboot will have an experimental episode release strategy

Battlestar Galactica reboot will have an experimental episode release strategy

6 min read
12

How’s this for a coincidence? Just yesterday I was hovering over Battlestar Galactica on Amazon Prime Video, pondering a rewatch of Ronald D. Moore’s fan-favourtie early-2000s sci-fi show. While I didn’t click play, I did recall that back in 2019 it was announced that Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail was developing a new reboot of the franchise (the 2000s show was already a reboot of the original cheesy 1970s show) but we’ve practically heard nothing since then. So what was happening?

Well, as I found out with a quick search, Esmail actually spoke to Collider just four days ago about the show, which is being developed for NBCUniversal’s new streaming service Peacock. And it looks like Peacock is looking to shake things up on the streaming scene with this reboot when it comes to how episodes are released.

When I spoke to Peacock about it, and Mike Lesslie who’s an amazing writer – he’s the one who’s showrunning and writing the pilot – the one thing we got excited by is do we release an episode a week, or [release all at once]? For me, it was like let’s get in there and tell the right story and it will tell us how many episodes. We may dump three episodes in a row because it’s a three-episode-long battle sequence that needs to be dropped in a row even though they’re three signifying chapters, and maybe each chapter is switching a point of view within that battle sequence. There may be a 20-minute episode that’s the backstory of one of the characters that gets dropped right after that.

Netflix really pioneered and popularized the binge-ready release model by dropping full seasons at once, as opposed to traditional broadcast television’s weekly scheduled episodes. While other streaming services initially all copied Netflix in this regard as they tried to compete against the big red N, that has been changing the last year or so. Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video have recently started doing maybe a two- or three-episode premiere and then doing weekly from there on out.

While we’ve seen statements from the likes of The Boys creator Eric Kripke saying that it was their choice to go with weekly releases as it allows for fans to digest and dissect episodes together, some have theorized that this is not a decision driven by creators at all. Instead, this could be a corporate push to stop people from subscribing, binging everything, then cancelling again at the end of the month.

But as Esmail continued to explain, Peacock may be taking this a step further and letting the creators do whatever the story requires. Including how many episodes to release and in what order they come out.

So we’re gonna really experiment with form on this one because Battlestar, again given the rich mythology that’s in there already, we want to hit every nook and cranny and because of the format, because of Peacock and streaming – and they’ve been such great partners with us in trying to experiment – we want to get in the writers room and let the story tell us how it wants to be released.

So I can’t tell you the number of episodes, but it’s also kind of a little meaningless because I think we’re gonna look at it as sort of like a spider web where we can plot and point and say, ‘Well this isn’t chronologically after Episode 1 or Episode 2, it’s the backstory of someone, but let’s release that so audiences can check that out if they want or they can just jump into the battle sequence’. We’re really gonna experiment with form in that way, and again I think with a property like Battlestar it lends to that.

I do kind of like this approach of having the story determine the release strategy (basically just an evolution of streaming services already ditching standardized episode runtimes), but nothing like this has been done before. We simply don’t know how audiences will respond. If it works though, this could be a massive gamechanger.

Esmail and co will have a decent amount of time to figure all of this out though, as the show is still very early in development.

We’re still working on the pilot. Look, it’s a big universe, it’s a big world, I want to respect the Ronald Moore Battlestar. I spoke to him before I even took on the project to make sure that it’s all kosher with him, because the last thing I want to do is step on his toes, and the one thing we both agreed on is that it won’t be a reboot of what he did. Which I think we both wanted.

[So] it’s still in the early phases of trying to figure out the world via the pilot. I think we’ve got the basic construction of the type of story we want to tell, the part of mythology that we’re gonna explore – because Battlestar does have a rich mythology and again I have to give Ron a lot of credit for that – and so now we’re sort of closing in on what that pilot’s gonna look like.

Esmail went on to say that he is pushing to start production in 2021, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic raging on worldwide, that may be tricky.

I want to shoot later this year. Again a lot of that is up in the air given COVID and just the lay of the land in terms of where the world is and where we can even shoot it. The other thing is this is gonna require a big production just to even start up production and build the sets and start getting the VFX fine-tuned. One of the things I always attribute to the Ron Moore Battlestar is the VFX is just outstanding and pretty groundbreaking… it will be tough to get it off the ground this year, but that’s my goal. I’m pretty impatient, again I’m a fan of this show so I want to see it as soon as possible, so I’m gonna push for 2021.

Peacock will obviously be a bit impatient as the fledgling streaming service will need a big ticket drawcard, similar to how Disney+ had The Mandalorian lead the charge and pull in subscriptions. But as a gigantic fan of Moore’s Battlestar Galactica, I really hope that they rather take their time and get this one right rather than rushing it out to just to have something released. So say we all.

Last Updated: January 19, 2021

12 Comments

  1. Where’s mah Stargate reboot?!

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 19, 2021 at 08:10

      In the Starbin where it belongs.

      Reply

      • Kervyn Cloete

        January 19, 2021 at 08:18

        It must suck to find out you’re fired in the comments section of an article, but here we are.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          January 19, 2021 at 08:20

          Not even Starfired into the sun.

          Reply

      • Original Heretic

        January 19, 2021 at 12:48

        Boooo! Hssssss!
        Isn’t there a bin you go climb into?!

        Reply

    • MaSeKind

      January 19, 2021 at 09:12

      Man I’d sell someones first born for some good new Stargate. And preferably with a few of the SG1 and Atlantis actors (Universe is too way out there (pun intended) I think to continue using that for stories).

      Only problem is most of those actors have either retired, moved on to other things, or have passed away. The only person I know who’d probably jump at the oppurtunity is Rodney. Dave Hewlett does regular watch alongs for Atlantis and obviously still loves the Stargate and the fandom around it.

      Then again I can understand it might be difficult to make new shows. What do you do? Where do you go? You’ll probably need to either reboot or move to another galaxy ala Atlantis.

      EDIT: Yes I’m very passionate about this lol

      Reply

      • HvR

        January 19, 2021 at 09:50

        I would be fine with new actors, it worked perfectly well with Atlantis.

        Maybe just dust off Richard Dean Anderson, Micheal Shanks, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Judge for cameos in the pilot episode. With the exception of Anderson the rest will probably be fine to do recurring appearances as they still actively in other sci-fi shows or ordering their boy around in Midgard

        Reply

      • Original Heretic

        January 19, 2021 at 12:54

        I’d freaking love a new Universe season. The way it ended, man, it’s so open for, well, anything!
        An entirety new galaxy, out there, just waiting to be discovered.

        The sheet vastness of space is what I’m passionate about. So much out there that we know next to nothing about. And what we do know is only theory.
        And yes, I am someone who believes we are not alone. We’re less than speck in the galaxy, let alone the universe.

        Reply

    • MaSeKind

      January 19, 2021 at 09:12

      Man I’d sell someones first born for some good new Stargate. And preferably with a few of the SG1 and Atlantis actors (Universe is too way out there (pun intended) I think to continue using that for stories).

      Only problem is most of those actors have either retired, moved on to other things, or have passed away. The only person I know who’d probably jump at the oppurtunity is Rodney. Dave Hewlett does regular watch alongs for Atlantis and obviously still loves the Stargate and the fandom around it.

      Then again I can understand it might be difficult to make new shows. What do you do? Where do you go? You’ll probably need to either reboot or move to another galaxy ala Atlantis.

      EDIT: Yes I’m very passionate about this lol

      Reply

  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    January 19, 2021 at 08:20

    I’m really not sure how I feel about this new version. The last BSG series is my favourite sci-fi series and it holds up really well, but on the other hand it could be nice to see a different story in that universe.

    Reply

  3. MaSeKind

    January 19, 2021 at 09:03

    I just rewatched it during lockdown. Really an awesome show. Although the “magic/spiritual” stuff got a bit much. Just seems like lazy writing to explain things.

    Not sure about this reboot thing. Doesn’t really sound like they know what they want to do. Which I guess can work. But not knowing when episodes will release is not a good strategy I think. At least with weekly you know when to expect the next episdode. People might loose interest if they don’t know when they can see more. Especially for a rich story based show like this. Makes more sense for something like Rick and Morty where the overall story is less important than the episode your watching.

    Either way, I hope it does succeed and is good. Will never say no to good scifi

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      January 20, 2021 at 03:20

      Well, from how I understand it, it will still be weekly, but you may get one episode or three, and they may be different lengths, and some may even just be extra stuff that you could technically skip if you want to.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Check Also

Harry Potter TV Series Reportedly in “Extremely Early” Development at HBO Max

HBO Max may be casting an "Accio" spell on the Harry Potter franchise, if recent reports a…