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They have a Plan
February 24, 2005 2:39 AM   Subscribe

Rather unusually, the Sci-Fi channel have made the entire first episode of their new Battlestar Galactica show available online, uncut and without commercials, for free (Real format, not bad video quality). While the series is still being aired in the US and Australia, the first episode has now been shown in all markets and the Sci-Fi channel may be trying to figure out if making the ep available online could improve ratings.

Their decision may have been aided by the fact that the show was aired in the UK two months before the US, resulting in an awful lot of US fans downloading the show; normally it's the other way around.
posted by adrianhon (43 comments total)

 
Of course, there are plenty of ways to get higher quality versions illegally, but the reason this is unusual is because it's been done legally.
posted by adrianhon at 2:41 AM on February 24, 2005


Freaking awesome. Now I can (legally) download and watch that episode I missed that made the next one I managed to catch extremely confusing. Now if I could just easily port that to the DVR...
posted by loquacious at 2:59 AM on February 24, 2005


Loquacious, I think you mean frakking awesome. :-)

Oh dear, I've seen one episode (the first episode aired in Australia last night), and already I'm a fanboy.
posted by bright cold day at 3:06 AM on February 24, 2005


It would be great if it actually, like, worked. (Platform: OS/X; Browsers; Safari, Firefox; Proxy: Privoxy 3.0.3 (enabled or disabled). Anyone got, like, a straight download URL to the rm file?
posted by cstross at 3:08 AM on February 24, 2005


loquacious, don't you mean "Freaking Awesome. Now I can sit in front of my browser and watch the non-zoomable godawful real player codec butcher the streaming file that I CANNOT download or properly pause without going through buffer hell?"

I mean, that's how I'd have put it.
posted by shmegegge at 3:14 AM on February 24, 2005


In case that sounded snarky or like an attack on loquacious, here's the translation:

I hate real player, and I hate streaming files. This is really interesting in theory, but until they offer it for download to my hard drive I'm less than interested, personally.
posted by shmegegge at 3:17 AM on February 24, 2005


It's an excellent series: dark and gritty and realistic, the complete antithesis of the crappy original series.

Well worth watching.

cstross writes, "It would be great if it actually, like, worked.... Anyone got, like, a straight download URL to the rm file?"

View source is your friend:
http://play.rbn.com/?url=usanet/usanet/g2demand/scifi/battlestar/33/33.rm
posted by orthogonality at 3:17 AM on February 24, 2005


HEY! The original series rocked!!!!!!!!!!!

The only thing better was Sace 1999 (man, I used to love that show).
posted by berek at 3:23 AM on February 24, 2005


Er, but not actually a download link. except for the .rm file, which directs Real Player to the actual stream.

But Real Alternative claims it's saving it to disk.

berek writes, "HEY! The original series rocked!!!!!!!!!!!"

If you like whiz-bang Space Opera and no real plot, just an adventure of the week, yes the original series r0x0r3d.

But if you want a real story and believable characters reacting believably to stressful situations, the new series has the original beaten. Unarguably.
posted by orthogonality at 3:31 AM on February 24, 2005


What Berek said. (That's Space 1999, of course. And I don't know if Berek is kidding, but I'm not.)
Hmm. I just saw a tie and collared shirt on some bureaucrat in the video. I take that as a bad sign.
On preview: even if the new series is perfect, bureau-tie not withstanding, it's not going to make me enjoy the original less.
posted by mistersix at 3:38 AM on February 24, 2005


Yay for Sci-Fi! Someone, apparently, is finally getting it. By my command!
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:38 AM on February 24, 2005


Starbuck as a woman? Hmm I don't think so.
posted by Alexander at 4:46 AM on February 24, 2005


Oh dear. New Fanboy is me. That was *great*. To! The! Bittorrent!
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 4:48 AM on February 24, 2005


I just have to say that Ron Moore and David Eick are only a bit disingenuous with their ratings vs. BitTorrent argument. As if anyone with a Neilsen box on their home television is going to be tied into a big tape- or DVD-tree.

Not.

The Nielsen audience ALREADY has the television they DESERVE -- all of the Spongebob Squarepants and 'reality' Television they can possibly endure.

If they want to change the audience yardstick they use, well fine. But don't go blaming the canary for the lack of oxygen in the coal-mine.
posted by vhsiv at 5:21 AM on February 24, 2005



I thought the first series was great. But I was quite young.

This new series seems rather dark, and ribald, and trippy, and - as someone previously said - gritty.

I'm wondering if the market is aimed at adults that fondly remember the original as kids?

Or do most 21st century TV series have a lot of those characteristics?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:39 AM on February 24, 2005


Not that I subscribe, or anything, but the current Maxim magainze has a spread featuring Grace Park, who plays "Boomer." Suffice it to say that the Battlestar Galactical uniforms don't do her justice...
posted by MattD at 6:01 AM on February 24, 2005


shmegegge: Eh, I would have put it like that until recently, then I discovered Real Alternative. I was so rabidly anti-RealMedia Networks I managed to bend the right ear at NASA with an eloquent letter that got them to finally offer WMP and QT formats for their internet video offerings. Or so I like to tell myself. But then, I did BCC the letter to a couple of folks I know that work or worked at JPL, and they were rabidly anti-RM and couldn't believe NASA was using it, so who knows?

Alexander: Yes. Starbuck is a girl, and not only will she kick your fucking ass into the second Tuesday of next week, she also has cooties. Lots of them.

The original series sucked. A lot. The design aesthetic was pretty cool. Well, the ships looked nice. The original series had an unheard of effects budget for a weekly series. But outside of that it sucked, and pretty badly.

In fact, it sucked so much it probably put the whole Sci-Fi genre series television show world back a decade or three, because no major US network studio would even think of picking up the tab for any serious endeavors after that money-burning experiment for almost a decade afterwords. ("V" doesn't count. It was a mini-series. And a soap opera.)

The SciFi channel is burning up the house, and I have to give them props. They're producing a metric assload of new projects, and amazingly they aren't totally ruining them.
posted by loquacious at 6:08 AM on February 24, 2005


I have no fond memories of the original series, Lorne Greene notwithstanding; I was exactly the age to see it as nothing but a Star Wars rip off. (Irrelevant now, as Lucas killed SW for me long before Ep 1, as SW became a toy industry.)

I watched the mini-series of the new BG and was not sure if campy parts (armies of blonde villians) would outweigh the good parts (Starbuck. Anybody that has a problem with Starbuck needs to let go) once BG became a series.

Appointment TV does not work for me anymore. I would turn on the new BG and get easily distracted during a commercial. I only saw the show because someone I trust insisted on giving me a downloaded copy of season 1. The show is is good, and apparently the show is signed on for 22 more episodes, based on the reaction so far.

It's hard to get too sympathetic to the plight of the producers. They have an audience, a growing audience of sympathetic viewers. They should be able to work with that. Their need to measure viewership by an antiquated method does not matter to the fans.

Of course teh producers need to make money. I bet if they put out a top-notch DVD of season 1, immediately after airing the final episode in the US, and asked their fans to buy it as a show of support, the money would be rolling in. This might be terrible for people who want to advertise to BG fans, but I don't actually care about their plight. The producers need to stop thinking about broadcast ratings and get even smarter.
posted by KS at 6:44 AM on February 24, 2005


The ‘teh’ in the preceding paragraph was a genuine typo. I don’t tend to spell check because I generally spell well.
posted by KS at 6:46 AM on February 24, 2005


I would personally buy a copy of season 1 on DVD the moment it came out. Even if I had to special order it. Hopefully someone at the SciFi channel is reading this. (Social network powers, Activate!)
posted by loquacious at 7:00 AM on February 24, 2005


Not that I subscribe, or anything, but the current Maxim magainze has a spread featuring Grace Park, who plays "Boomer." Suffice it to say that the Battlestar Galactical uniforms don't do her justice...

Yeah, I saw that too...um, over at a friend's house... Yowza.

Didn't see the mini-series, but I'm started watching the show a few weeks back and I'm really liking it.
posted by Cyrano at 7:09 AM on February 24, 2005


I've watched one or two episodes and mentioned them to a similarly-aged friend who remembers the original. I remember it too, but only vaguely. He started telling me that the original series was a veiled retelling of the Book of Mormon. Googling produced a bazillion links on the theories including this one from Wiki, this one, and this link which is hard to read because of the formatting. (Space background and white text? Arrrrrgh!)

Is the new series following the same Mormon theme? Haven't seen enough yet to know.
posted by TeamBilly at 7:14 AM on February 24, 2005


I bet if they put out a top-notch DVD of season 1, immediately after airing the final episode in the US, and asked their fans to buy it as a show of support, the money would be rolling in.

And I've always heard/read that studios don't do this because they want to release the DVD sets around the beginning of the next season so people who might have heard the buzz might pick it up, and the fans who have been jonesing for it while it's been away for the summer will quickly grab it up to get their fix.

It does seem like a good idea for a show that's on the ropes, though. Strike while the iron is hot and all that.
posted by Cyrano at 7:15 AM on February 24, 2005


Cyrano, the marketing of TV series DVDs is part of the push-pull between the networks and the producers. (Even when there's common ownership between a network and a producer, their P&Ls, and, hence, their executive bonuses, compete with one another.)

The "just before the next season" release model was inspired as much to keep the DVD from cannibalizing the revenue (subscription for premiums, ad eyeballs for the broadcast and basic cable) of the broadcasts as it was to leverage promotion for the next season into DVD sales. How many people would drop their $140 a year HBO subscriptions if they could buy $44.99 DVD sets of the two HBO series a year they actually watch right after they came out?

The model annoys the dedicated fan not by accident, but on purpose...

Anyway, this problem is going to disappear before it will be solved, as television evolves into a ubiquitous on-demand model over the next few years.
posted by MattD at 7:33 AM on February 24, 2005


I just have to say that Ron Moore and David Eick are only a bit disingenuous with their ratings vs. BitTorrent argument. As if anyone with a Neilsen box on their home television is going to be tied into a big tape- or DVD-tree.

Not.


aren't much into statistics, vhsiv, are you?

the neilsen box model works (or does not work depending on your tastes) based on the validity of the sampled viewers to represent the viewing public at large.

when it becomes apparent that that model is no longer valid - i.e., that because of bittorrent fewer people than predicted by the model will see the advertisements - the ratings become devalued.

it's a valid argument and not at all disingenous.
posted by three blind mice at 7:34 AM on February 24, 2005


Great, now I can re-watch all the eps while I'm at work.

I LOVE Battlestar Galactica!

I didn't watch the original, but my much younger brother was really into it. My uncle worked on the special effects team for the original. He gave my brother a bunch of paraphernalia from the show, including one of the guns that that was actually used on the set. My brother was probably 10 or 11 at the time. I remember thinking, "big deal, stupid show." Now I'm tempted to go to his house and look around for the gun. Sadly, I'm sure that he probably sold it along with his massive comic book collection.

Alexander: Starbuck as a woman? Hmm I don't think so.

Loquacious: Yes. Starbuck is a girl, and not only will she kick your fucking ass into the second Tuesday of next week, she also has cooties. Lots of them.

Here, here Loquacious!!! It's a new world baby, get used to it.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:43 AM on February 24, 2005


Okay, so I just called my brother and he does still have the gun. He was really happy to know that there is streaming video of the show, especially because he doesn't have cable or satellite. So for people like him, who can't afford those luxeries, the streaming video is a valuable resource. He also informed me that he has Colonial and Pegasus patches, as well as Pilot pips from the original show. I am so glad he didn't sell that stuff.
posted by Juicylicious at 7:51 AM on February 24, 2005


I am just as much in love with the new Starbuck as I was with the original.

I have to say that I was blown away by the new Galactica miniseries. Impressive effects for TV scifi (not sure what kind of budget they're working with) and characters/character development to boot. FINALLY, TV scifi I can sign on for again (I'm sorry, but the pandering of the most recent Star Trek and the silliness of fare like Farscape just don't cut it for me). My only remaining with is that we could get some truly scifi/speculative ideas on the small screen (and the big, too, I guess) - stuff more ala Ursula K. LeGuin (the original, NOT the made-for-TV tripe recently produced in her name).
posted by melixxa600 at 8:04 AM on February 24, 2005


How many people would drop their $140 a year HBO subscriptions if they could buy $44.99 DVD sets of the two HBO series a year they actually watch right after they came out?

Considering that's pretty much what I do (except using Netflix,) that's a good point.

Which makes me wonder why I still pay for HBO...
posted by Cyrano at 8:05 AM on February 24, 2005


downloaded the whole season. Really digging the whole religious subplot - and of course, the season's cliffhanger ending. . .
posted by concreteforest at 9:55 AM on February 24, 2005


The new BG is by far the best SciFi I have ever seen, big or small screen.

On a similar but OT note: did anyone else think Star Trek Nemesis kicked Episode 2's ass? (i watched them back to back, for the first time, last weekend.)

Excepting Yoda's battle, of course. That was really cool.
posted by o2b at 10:02 AM on February 24, 2005


o2b, just about anything would have kicked Episode 2's ass. Hell I liked, Insurrection better than AotC. That was a beautifully filmed movie, and I think an underappreciated one.

Regarding the new BG, y'all rave about Katee Sackhoff (who smokes a cigar far more sexily than Dirk Benedict could ever dream about, and Dirk Benedict made me gay!) and Grace Park, but you have nothing to say about Mary McDonnell?? Not only is she a terrific actress, but very fine looking as well.

Also? Baltar looks like Dr. Bashir. Not a bad thing, but I miss John Colicos.
posted by WolfDaddy at 10:23 AM on February 24, 2005


So help me God, if the Cylons' plan involves a coded cookbook, I'm gonna be really, really pissed.
posted by RakDaddy at 11:36 AM on February 24, 2005


(WhoIsYour)WolfDaddy(!?) said: "and Dirk Benedict made me gay!"

From prior conversations (that left me confused and feeling vaguely dirty) elsewhere on teh interwobble this explains much. Too much. Thanks for making me laugh.
posted by loquacious at 11:53 AM on February 24, 2005


Holy frak. This show rocks.
posted by uni verse at 2:19 PM on February 24, 2005


The return of the brooding, zen-like commander! James Olmos; the captain of Blade Runner & Miami Vice. A nice touch for this dark story.
posted by uni verse at 2:28 PM on February 24, 2005


Other pluses for the new BG:

-- The "muffled" sound effects for the exterior shots in space. OK, it's not 2001-style complete silence, but, by way of example, for the shots of the Battlestar's batteries firing, the sound seems to be modelled on the vibrations and sounds you'd feel if you were inside the Battlestar and the ship was shaking around you (as opposed to great thundering explosions in the vacuum of space).

-- Slightly more realistic physics. Good example of this is if you want to do a complete 180-degree turn in a Viper, the quickest way is to fire a nose jet, flip the fighter over, and then fire the main engine (there's a shot of this at the end of the first episode - when Apollo and Starbuck line up in front of the doomed liner). It looks difficult and gut-wrenching (cf. Star Trek, where someone would just tap idly at the control panel, and the ship would do a gentle hair-pin turn ...).
posted by bright cold day at 2:44 PM on February 24, 2005


Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica, leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest -- for a shining planet known as Earth.

There are those who believe that life here began out there, far across the universe, with tribes of humans who may have been the forefathers of the Egyptians, or the Toltecs, or the Mayans. That they may have been the architects of the great pyramids, or the lost civilizations of Lemuria or Atlantis. Some believe that there may yet be brothers of man who even now fight to survive far, far away, amongst the stars.


Me and a few friends used to be able to recite that by heart. (Intro to the original TV series.)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:26 PM on February 24, 2005


I like the show so far, though the pacing is a bit slower than I'd like. If SciFi (and other cable net) execs were really smart they'd give the cable companies every episode of every original series they produce the day after the next episode airs and leave them up for, say, a month.
posted by billsaysthis at 5:22 PM on February 24, 2005


Why does the 'first episode' have a 'last time on Battlestar Galactica' sequence at the beginning?
posted by bingo at 7:09 PM on February 24, 2005


Why does the 'first episode' have a 'last time on Battlestar Galactica' sequence at the beginning?
They're picking up from right at the end of the miniseries that was broadcast in '03 (and is available on DVD now).

I just watched the DVD of the miniseries, and wow was I impressed. More realistic in-space maneuvering, Starbuck (as has been mentioned, yes, she kicks much ass, and quite well), the over all "intentional low-tech" feel, and the numerous and clever nods to the original series.

It's almost enough to make me subscribe to cable just so I could get the Sci-Fi Network…but considering I wouldn't watch anything else, I just can't justify the expense. I guess it's finally time for me to start figuring out how to find these things online…

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to watching this episode online, even if I do have to curse at RealPlayer to do it.
posted by djwudi at 7:35 PM on February 24, 2005


I could do without those interminable Caprica sequences, the point of which I hope they reveal soon.

Other than that, I basically like it. Not really sure about Baltar's mental Cylon, but I do like the fact that there's politics being played.
posted by kindall at 7:52 PM on February 24, 2005


For those without cable--spoiler on the website character's list. I was disappointed to lose the little mystery that existed about the doppleganger. Granted, I was 97% sure, but life is all about that missing 3 percent.
posted by uni verse at 5:45 PM on March 6, 2005


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