"Battlestar Galactica" fans, we have a treat for you.
Ryan McGee and I recently unveiled a new podcast, Watching TV with Ryan and Ryan, in which we talk about our favorite episodes of television. In the first installment, we both cued up the "X-Files" episode "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'" and discussed the classic Darin Morgan-scripted hour in depth. In our second installment, we discussed "Angel's" "Waiting in the Wings," which not only crystallized a lot of the relationship dynamics we loved about the show, it introduced Summer Glau to our TV screens.
We had some specific goals in mind with these Watching TV with Ryan and Ryan podcasts, which are a spinoff of our ongoing Talking TV with Ryan and Ryan podcast, in which we talk mostly about new and returning programs as they arrive on the TV schedule. With Watching TV, we want to revisit what we consider the classics and get at the general through the specific: We discuss why a particular show still has such resonance for us, why it was significant both culturally and personally, and what about the show made it different from any other program we've ever watched.
With those ideas in mind, I asked the "Battlestar Galactica" writing team of Bradley Thompson and David Weddle (the only writers, aside from Ron Moore and David Eick, to work on the show all four seasons) to sit down with me and watch one of their favorite episodes. They chose the Season 4 outing "Someone to Watch Over Me," which, as they say in the podcast, helped them bring the story of Kara "Starbuck" Thrace full circle. They'd written several other Kara-centric episodes in the past, and felt strongly about bringing her father, composer Dreilide, into the picture, just as they had done so memorably with her mother, Socrata, in "Maelstrom."
"Someone to Watch Over Me" reunited Weddle and Thompson with director Michael Nankin, one of "BSG's" finest directors, in my opinion. Weddle and Thompson (who now write for "Falling Skies") have a great feel for pace and tension, but, like Nankin, they never forget that these complex characters are the center of the story. Here, Kara's strange encounter with a piano player in a bar not only fits in with the ongoing story of the Battlestar characters who've discovered they're Cylons, it's a poignant reflection on the baggage -- and the gifts -- that parents leave to their children. That notion is also reflected in the story of Chief Tyrol, and Weddle and Thompson's insights into what Nankin brought to that part of the episode are particularly compelling.
It was a truly rewarding experience to talk about the episode with Weddle and Thompson, and to hear them reflect on their experiences in Vancouver as it was being shot (not all shows send their writers to the set when their episodes are being filmed, but "BSG" always did). I hope you enjoy the experience as much as I did.
Just a few final notes: In the podcast (which is below and also on iTunes), we talk for about 18 minutes about how they joined the show and their previous working experience with "BSG" executive producer Ron Moore on "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Then, at about the 18-minute mark, you can begin to watch the episode along with us (it's available on Netflix). If you don't care to watch the episode as you listen, it should still work as an auditory experience (we hope). Also, if you want to see more of my "Battlestar Galactica" coverage, well, there's a lot of it (I think I've written more about "BSG" than any other show in my career, and yes, I still miss it). The overall site for my "BSG" coverage is here, and for the final 10 episodes of the show, I interviewed each writer and, in some cases, the director of the episodes. You can find all the weekly installments if you work backward from the "BSG" finale post or forward from this post (unfortunately the links on these old articles don't seem to be working). There's more from Weddle and Thompson on this episode here. Also, "BSG" composer Bear McCreary wrote three posts about his extraordinary musical contributions to the episodes on his site; they start here.
We're grateful to Weddle and Thompson for sharing their creative insights. So say we all.
Follow Maureen Ryan on Twitter: www.twitter.com/moryan