When Battlestar Galactica aired its controversial series finale a few years ago, it left a void in the airwaves that no show has really been able to take up since. There hasn’t been a successful space opera show since then. The Sci-Fi network, re-branded now as SyFy, quickly ordered a prequel series to focus on the creation of the Cylons and the beginning of the war that was featured in the original show. That show, Caprica, was actually very good, but it was nothing like it’s parent show. Caprica created a number of philosophical and societal plot threads and slowly unwound them through the 19 episodes that were produced. But SyFy grew impatient and canceled the show.
Then, they basically decided to do the prequel series again, but do it “right” this time. They ordered a pilot for a new series that was set during the early days of the cylon war. Instead of featuring Bill Adama’s father, it featured a young Bill Adama fighting the war. It sounded great on paper and the pilot moved forward with production.
However, it took forever to get things together and pretty soon SyFy announced it wasn’t actually going to release the pilot movie. By now, SyFy’s focus had drastically changed. They had undergone a metamorphosis similar to the one MTV underwent – changing from their genre their actual name suggests to one that is only vaguely related. SyFy now had lots of reality shows and lots of wrestling – surefire winners in 2011. They didn’t want to risk the money on a series like BSG: Blood and Chrome.
But the creators were persistent and actually got SyFy to release the pilot movie as a series of webisodes on YouTube. The movie would then be aired on SyFy in 2013 and released as an unrated DVD sometime later. And so a few weeks ago, they began releasing the webisodes and the response has been great. Watch them all right here, right now:
I think it’s pretty darn good for a web series. So the question is whether the success of this series will be enough to turn the heads of SyFy execs and make them reconsider ordering an actual series. The creators swear that’s not completely off the table. Time will tell.
The bigger question in my mind is whether this sort of thing could become the future of television. Just like anyone can now record an album in their bedroom, release it online, gain fans and make money, movie software is now accessible enough that anyone can now produce a fairly good quality movie or web series and gain an audience. We could be heading into a really cool era of creative entertainment.
In the meantime, SyFy, please live up to your name and put some money behind smart space-oriented programming.