Battlestar Galactica’s Last Stand

Tonight is the ending of what has become one of my all-time favorite television shows. For the last few years, Battlestar Galactica has been consistently one of the best shows on television, and it is with mixed emotions that I wait for the 2-hour finale.

What’s even more surprising to me is that I almost missed the boat entirely. I’m still doing penance for doubting that it would even be worth watching.

To understand this, you have to take a trip in the way back machine. Come along, won’t you? It won’t hurt a bit.

It’s 1989. My favorite show was Star Trek:The Next Generation. I was in high school, and, I’m geek enough to admit, a member of the Official Star Trek Fan Club. (Shhh. I was young and geeky. Now I’m just geeky.) The fan magazine told of the unique opportunity for writers that the show represented. It was the only show where would-be writers could submit unsolicited spec scripts, even without agent representation. Michael Piller, the late, great, executive producer, was the guardian of this program, and he discovered some fantastic writers. Several of these are among my favorite writers working today.

The first writer I’d heard about who got a staff position through this program, was Ronald D. Moore. I remember thinking how cool it was that a fan could get a job on the show, even though I was not considering being a television writer (that idea came to me much later). I also imagined how much competition there must be, and felt a bit sorry for the people who read these spec scripts. I wondered how much crap they had to wade through to find someone whose script was even remotely produce-able.  At that moment, Ronald D. Moore became the first television writer whose name I recognized, and to whom I paid any attention.

But, the bad news is that I only seemed to notice when the episode was not my cup of tea. I started to associate him with all the “Klingon episodes” he wrote, and that was it. You know the ones, “Sins of the Father,” “Reunion,” “Redemption,” and “Rightful Heir.” I really disliked them, bordering on actual hatred. They bored me, and always seemed pretty one-note. The Klingons, with the exception of our “hero” Klingon, Lt. Worf, were idiots. I started to cringe every time I saw his name in the “written by” credits. Inwardly, I thought “Grrrrreat. Klingon episode.” and mentally marked it as a waste of an episode, and checked out. I figured that someone who could only write Klingon episodes wouldn’t amount to much once there was no longer any Star Trek in production. I stopped paying attention to him.

Fast forward to fall 2003.

Carnivale had just premiered, and I went over to a friend’s house to watch the first few episodes of the new series. It looked interesting. We watched the first episode, I really enjoyed it, and settled in to watch the second, when I noticed a name in the credits. Executive Producer, Ronald D. Moore. The cringe came back involuntarily. And yet, I’d <i>liked</i> the first episode. Surely, this wasn’t the same guy.

About that time, I learned that the Battlestar Galactica miniseries is in the works. I had fond memories of the original show, but, by now I’d seen it as an adult, and knew it really was a terrible show. Why would they try and resurrect it? And there were all these rumors. Starbuck is a woman. So is Boomer. Sounded sketchy. Helming the show? None other than Ronald D. Moore. The Klingon guy. I was no longer even remotely interested.

Then the miniseries aired. I didn’t have cable, and, I wasn’t really interested, so I didn’t watch it. But, the reviews were surprisingly good. And Edward James Olmos was on the show. There were rumors that it was going to be a series.

When it aired as a series, again, I didn’t tune in, no cable. Some friends had it on tape, however, and set the miniseries and the first half season in my hands. Semi-reluctantly, out of obligation, I sat down to watch it.

It was riveting. I was hooked. I wanted more. This was exceptional TV.

I still couldn’t believe this was the same guy, so, I IMDB’d him.

Yup. Same guy. But, this was a chance for me to see the whole picture, which I’d missed. He hadn’t *just* written Klingon episodes. there was “Tapestry,” one I quite liked. And “Data’s Day,” which was also good. Plus, several others were “non-Klingon,” and certainly above average.

Which meant I was very, very shamed, and it was time to eat a whole bunch of crow. And to get cable.

I really, really, really loved this Ronald D. Moore guy. His “re-imagining” of Battlestar Galactica capitalized on the things from the original series that I had always wanted to know more about, but were never really more than “flavor” in the original series. I’m really going to miss being on this journey. Thank goodness for DVDs. Bring on Caprica. So say we all.

Thank you, Mr. Moore. I’m sorry for being a stupid kid, and for thinking uncharitable thoughts.

Word of the Day: discardure

You probably noticed I’ve not posted at all lately, and, even never finished the last series. I sorta hit a big wall, and came to the conclusion that I’m probably not yet at a place where I can do a story daily.

I’ve also decided that I’m going to only post word of the day stories when I’ve got a polished story and story idea. That means, no publishing something just to publish something.

And, to better live up to the idea of a “Geek of all Trades,” I’m going to post more of a column, about living in Colorado, random geekery, and television. All things with which I have some affinity. I’m planning to post a few times a week on one of those topics.

Anyway, I’ve had this story written for months, and I’ve been waiting until today to post it. I think the reason for that will be clear as soon as you read the story after…

Today’s Word:


As in:

There’s a magical place, near and yet so far from the world we know. In this place, an island of dreams and wonder, live the most amazing people. The people who live in this place are all talented artists, with unusual skill. Some are writers; some painters, others singers or dancers, others do a little bit of each. The people around them, secure in their ability and artistic judgment, observe each other, and happily give each other praise for their skills reassuring and bolstering each other’s confident view of their work.

The artists seldom travel outside their little world. When they do, the mundane world, where people fail to understand them and often tell them their talents are lacking, crashes into their security and damages their most sacred thoughts about themselves. It is difficult to transport their magical world with them, and the mundane weapons of criticism can be lethal to those from the magical island. Those that do venture forth return scarred, and it takes much praise and comfort from their fellows to make them whole again. They rarely venture forth again, but on those rare occasions, they carry with them a spirit of righteous indignation, lashing out against those mundane folks who dare insult their talent.

The mundane world is often as confused by these visitors as the visitors themselves. They come to sing or dance, and it is difficult for the magical people to classify the things the others do as singing or dancing. The non-magical people quickly dismiss these performers, judging they lack talent, or even worse, that their performance was unbearably horrifying.

When faced with this sort of discardure, the artists, unashamed and confused, angrily dismiss the opinions of the non-magical, and return to the safety of their world, better known to its outsiders as “Disillusionment Island,” or “The place where those awful American Idol wannabees come from.”

Indeed. American Idol is  back, and embarrassing tryouts are again making an appearance.

discardure / dis – CARD – yur /  Rejection, dismissal

Word of the Day: marplot

I’m feeling sorta sad, as the cruel business of television has led to the cancellation of “Pushing Daisies.”  Bryan Fuller says that he plans to continue the tale in comic book form. I guess that’s something, but, I’ll miss Jim Dale’s perfect narration, the occasional Kristin Chenoweth solo, and, well, all of it. If there’s a bright spot, it’s that there have been rumblings that Fuller might return to Heroes, to fill the voids left by the idiotic Executive Producer firings of Jesse Alexander and Jeph Loeb, and the dismissal of remotely coherent, cohesive or compelling storytelling.  I’d rather have more Pushing Daisies.

Alas. Sweeps has dealt its cruel judgment.

Anyway, I got a bit of help from my sister on refining this idea, which I’ve now been mulling about for almost a full week. Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, this crossover answers the secret desires I know you all have been holding deep within your hearts. That deep question of “What would happen if one were to combine “Lost” with “24?” And now, I present to you…

Today’s Word:


As in:

Jack Bauer has been in Africa for several months. It has been a welcome change from the challenges of the last few years. While he has been working primarily in the southern part of the continent, this day he has traveled north, just to see the Egypt, and then explore the vast Sahara.

As he was traversing the desert, in the distance, he could see the shape of a man, in a polar jacket, falling from the sky. This strange sight piqued Jack’s curiosity. For a moment, he considered consulting Chloe, to see if this strange projectile had an in-bound trajectory that showed up on her omnipotent satellite imagery. But, Jack then realized, he just didn’t care that much. He went on his way.

A few hours later, things got even more strange, when the small group Jack was traveling with came across the body of a Polar Bear. Jack investigated, as clearly, there was some violation of the laws of nature going on here, and that just could not do. The bear had a collar, with a strange emblem on it. The emblem was a variation of a bagua, and tucked into the band of the collar was a cryptic note. The note read: “Frozen Donkey Wheel Malfunction. Where’s Linus? Why Locke? Who’s your constant? Buy Milk. Set DVR. I wear the cheese. Your lucky numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42.”

Jack was beyond mystified as to the meaning of this hodge-podge. Was it a list? A coded message sent between terrorist groups? This called for action.

Jack looked into the emblem on the bear’s collar, and learned of the DHARMA Initiative, and the Hanso Foundation, and the existence of “The Island.” The deepening mystery became an obsession. He was determined to find “The Island,” and force it to obey the laws of physics.

At long last, Jack managed to get a ship to troll the ocean near the spot he expected to find “The Island.” Soon, he saw land, and he was confident this was the place. Heedless of his safety, as soon as they were close, he jumped into the water and swam to the shore.

When he got there, as he stood panting on the sand, his mind cast back to a time when Kim was a baby. She was only a few months old, and Teri was becoming increasingly frustrated by his long hours at CTU. Teri wanted to hire a nanny. Jack remembered that Teri was having a tough time spending so much time with a baby, and very little assistance or outside visitors. She had taken to calling her college roommate Juliette Carlson -— Burke, he remembered belatedly, who was in Florida, because Teri missed having a close friend in the area to talk to. She hardly knew anyone locally, and Juliette always spared a few minutes to talk with her. It seemed to help.

And then Jack was startled back to the present. An older, balding man was running over to him, shouting, “Get off this island, you marplot, Bauer! Nothing good can come of you being here! Does FOX know you’ve jumped networks?”

Jack has no idea how this guy knows his name. “Who are you? What do you mean? How do you know my name? I’m looking for answers, and I’m not going to leave until I get them.”

The man says, “I used to say the same thing, but, I was an idiot. Look. It’s really just better if you don’t ask. Swim back to your boat, go back to your split screens, interrogations, guns and ticking clock. Believe me, your next “longest day,” is going to be a picnic next to the enigmas and dangers of this place. Go back to your ship before the island decides it needs you, too.”

Jack pauses. “I’m here because of this note. Do you know anything about this? Can tell me about something about it?” He hands over the aged paper.

The man looks at it, and comes to a decision. “I will tell you about this note, as far as I can understand it. Unfortunately, you won’t believe a word of it.”

He says, “This note is very helpful. It was written by someone on this island. I’m Locke.” Over the next hour, he explains the note in great detail.

Jack looks at his watch. Time is almost at an end. He realizes the man is a complete loony, and this idiotic mystery was no longer worth his time. He turned around, jumped back in the ocean, and swan back into the sunset.

Well, it’s late. And I’m not doing anyone any favors staying up any later. Until tomorrow.

marplot / MAR – plot / one who frustrates or ruins a plan by meddling.

Word of the Day: oppugn

I’ve been thinking, about yesterday’s story, and I’m thinking it needed something more, so, I’m going to save it for next week as a special treat. That, of course, is another sweeps tradition.

Today’s crossover is so full of “crossings-over” that, really, I should be getting a medal or a special Emmy. If you’re a ghost, chances are you might be stopping in Grandview, New York to have your final messages sent to your loved ones via “The Ghost Whisperer.” I figured that it was time the Ghost Hunters of TAPS paid Melinda Gordon a little visit. It’s a reality show crossing paths with a drama; the joining of a show about a woman who helps earthbound spirits “cross over” meeting a show where people are trying to find evidence of spirits who haven’t “crossed over.”

I just realized this has been something of a ghostly week, hasn’t it?

Today’s Word:


As in:

TAPS has gotten anonymous reports of a house in Grandview, New York that has regular paranormal activity. Reports of full figures, voices, objects moving and breaking, all the typical phenomena associated with haunting.

The Investigation
TAPS has arrived at the residence of Melinda Gordon, an antiques dealer. Residents report strange activity at the Gordon house, usually centering on Melinda herself.  Many are skeptical, as Gordon claims to be able to speak to the spirits.

After getting permission from the home owners, Melinda and her husband Jim, TAPS has set up the equipment. One video camera is stationed near the upstairs bathroom, where flying objects have been reported.

Two teams are sitting up in rooms were particular concentrations of spectral activity. Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson have taken the master bedroom, and a team of Steve Gonsalves and Dave Tango have set up in the attic.

During the investigation, neither team really had any experiences. After repeated attempts to goad the ghostly presences, nothing overt was captured during the investigation. Tango was noted to be frequently yawing. The teams fought boredom all evening, spotting not so much as a strange shadow. The team is left to analyze the footage to see if anything was caught by the equipment.

The Analysis
The data was analyzed by Gonsalves and Tango. The cameras didn’t appear to catch anything, and no strange sounds were captured.

The Reveal
Hawes and Wilson met with the homeowners to reveal their findings. Both seemed to find it curious to find so little evidence to support the house as being a hotbed of paranormal activity, as well as very little that would outright debunk the claims.

“We’re not at all confident that this house has any activity in it at all. Not to oppugn our hosts, but, there wasn’t anything that supports claims of any paranormal activity. This place looks to be pretty, well, dead. In fact, we’ve never been to a place that was reportedly so active, but, turned out to have so little evidence of what might be causing it. We didn’t even find a rattling pipe, or lose floor boards. No large EMF fields. No “hot” or “cold” spots. Not one shred of evidence. Nada. This could, in fact, be the least haunted place in the country,” noted Hawes.

Residents were confused by the findings, until they realized that the investigators had come into town on a Sunday night. Said one resident, “Really, they should’ve come to town on a Friday.  That’s when all the really creepy stuff happens.”

TAPS has no plans to return.

Ghost Hunters is one of those “guilty pleasure” shows that I sometimes watch. It’s not a regular habit, but, once in awhile, I do enjoy it. Ghost Whisperer, well, not so much. And before you accuse me of judging a show without watching it, I have seen a couple of complete episodes. Not really my thing.

oppugn / oh – PEWN / to fight against, to call into question

Word of the Day: drogulus

I had an “adventure” tonight, in which my gas oven switch broke, and the oven was still on. Thank goodness for friends who live close, and are good with those sorts of things. Anyway, it put a bit of a delay in things, but, the show must go on.

Continuing my salute to sweeps, I had the idea of a very special crazy crossover between Supernatural and Gray’s Anatomy. I’m guessing savvy TV fans might know where I’m going with this…

Today’s Word:


As in:

The Winchester brothers have found themselves on the trail of a one of the most dangerous creatures they’ve yet encountered: a cannibalistic 6-foot-tall bunny with an addiction to show tunes. Not pretty. The trail has brought them to the city of Seattle.

While driving through the city, a driver runs a red-light, and rams into the Impala. Sam is injured, and rushed to the hospital. Dean comes along in the ambulance.

Sam’s injury isn’t serious, and it is soon clear that both he and the car will make full recoveries. X-rays reveal that Sam has a simple broken wrist.

While waiting to have his wrist casted, Sam’s has a vision of his dad. His vision tells him that his father was once a patient in this very hospital. His vision indicates that his dad was treated by a young, blond woman. He signals Dean, “Dean! Was dad ever in Seattle? What would bring him here?”

Dean shrugs.

As they waited, the blond woman from Sam’s vision has walked past his room. Sam jumps off the table and goes after her.

Izzie Stephens was simply walking down the hallway when a young man came out of a treatment room rushing towards her. Sam pulls a picture out of his pocket, and shows her a picture of his dad.

“Excuse me, did you know this man?”

Izzie stops breathing. The color drains from her face. “How did you… I mean… He’s dead…”

Sam is confused. “Yes,” he stammers,  “He was my dad.”

It was Izzie’s turn to be confused. “That can’t be. He didn’t have any… We were going to be married. Denny…”

“Denny?”  Sam says. “Not John?”

Just then, Denny’s ghost appears to Izzy. She looks over, and then away, trying not to look.

Sam sees “Denny” standing near the wall. “Dad?”

Izzie is startled. “You can see him? How? No one else ever sees…”

Sam said, “Not sure. Dean! Quick!”

Dean enters the hallway. “What?”

“It’s dad!”

Dean whips around, confused. “Where?”

“Right there! Can’t you see him?”

“You sure you didn’t get knocked on the head?”

“Shut up. She sees him, too. Don’t you?”

Izzie nodds. “I see Denny, but, I don’t know this “John” person.”

The shade shifts guiltily. “Yeah. I’m sorry, I never mentioned my, well, ‘other’ life. If it’s any consolation, they didn’t know I was rich…”

Walks over to him. If he’d been solid, he’d have been quite painfully slapped.

Sam looks confused. “Why’d you do that?”

Izzie looks at him. “Didn’t you hear him?”

“No. He talked? Can he hear me?”

Both Sam and Izzie see John/Denny nod.

Sam thinks. “I think what we have here is a drogulus.”

Dean nodds. “Sure, we do. And in a language that might be English?”

Sam sighs. “You never did pay attention to anything, did you? A drogulus is sorta a ghost. But, she can hear him, and we can’t.”

“Ma’am. You said you were going to be married? Really? I’m not sure I believe dad would ever get married again. Not after mom… Though, you’re definitely nice to look at. I dunno. Might not even really be dad, just some guy who looks like him. Does he bother you? We could, um, maybe, get rid of him for you.”

Izzie thinks on this a minute. “You really can see him? I’m not completely crazy?”

Sam nods “Not completely. Though, if he is, or, was, our dad, well, it’s probably for the best you never married him.”

Izzie looks relieved. “Well, if you can see him, and I’m not crazy, well, I think I’ll keep him around, if that’s okay. I mean, he’s harmless, and, even though I’m currently not feeling entirely ecstatic over the idea of a secret family, well, I’ve gotten used to having him around. Anyway, nice to meet you…”

“Sam. And this is my brother, Dean.”

“Izzie. Well, I’m late, I’ll come back later….”

The brothers share a look. As soon as Sam’s wrist is bandaged, the two leave the hospital, pretty sure that whoever this “Denny” was, he wasn’t their father.

I think I need sleep. I’m starting to rethink this idea. For those that might’ve been vaguely confused by this story, “Denny” and “John Winchester” are played by the same wonderful actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan. I’ve always liked him.

drogulus / DROG – you – luss / an entity whose presence is unverifiable because it has no physical effects.

Word of the Day: caliginous

Every November, we welcome that annual tradition, so well known to all Americans, that brings celebration into every home. But, it is not Thanksgiving of which I type. It is November sweeps.

In honor of November sweeps, this week I offer a series of stories which embodies the excitement of this hallowed fall tradition. One of the tropes of television during sweeps is the “crossover.”  So, for your enjoyment, I’m offering my own “crossover” craziness. In today’s tale, the high-powered humans of “Heroes” are shining under the “Friday Night Lights” of Dillon, Texas.

Today’s Word:


As in:

Peter Petrelli felt a sense of déjà vu. Here he was, in Texas, at another high school football game on a Friday night. He remembered the first time he’d been on a “Save the Cheerleader” mission. Being a hero was fun then. Things were simpler. The characters were all likable, and the plot lines didn’t seem like a confused mess. He also had powers back then. He just wasn’t quite sure what they were.

Now, here he was, showing a picture of Lyla Garrity, in her cheerleading uniform, to the young, determined looking coach. He hears someone refer to him as Coach Taylor. The coach looks at the picture. “You’re looking for Lyla? Why?”

Peter pauses, “Well, my niece, here, is transferring from Odessa, and is wanting to talk with someone on the Dillon squad about joining them next year.”

Coach Taylor looks a bit suspicious, but, then sees the young blond woman walking up towards them. He points to the area where the cheerleaders are warming up, getting ready for the game.

He turns to Santiago, his new transfer student, who happens to be an up and coming running back, just in time to fill in the void left by “Smash” Williams. (You thought Santiago was a soccer player? Not so much.)  “I heard there was an eclipse tonight. I don’t think it will mean anything, but, I’m not going to start you until the second half just to be sure.”

The game begins, and proceeds without a hitch until the beginning of the second half.  Panthers go into halftime leading 13-10. The eclipse has started.

Just two minutes into the 3rd quarter, Claire Bennet notices that a sniper has taken position across from the Panthers side. He looks to be taking aim toward the cheerleaders. The eclipse is close to complete. Just as the moon becomes enveloped in a caliginous shadow, a shot rings out. Clair jumps in front of Lyla, and takes the bullet meant for her, knowing she’ll be able to heal. However, as soon as the bullet hits, she senses something is wrong. She’s not healing.

The Panthers go on to win the game, inspired by the “super” performance of Santiago, who has changed somehow.

But, what has happened to Clair? Can her powers be gone forever? Tune in next week!

Save the Cheerleader, Save the World. Those were the days.

Until tomorrow, sports fans…

caliginous / cal – EHDG – in – us / dark, misty.