02 September 2011

BSG: Blood & Chrome DOA?! What the Frak?!

On August 25th, AOL TV interviewed SyFy channel's VP of (un)original programming, and it seems that BSG: Blood & Chrome is in trouble. While the live-action footage as been shot, the SFX is on hold and before SyFy spends more money on BSG: Blood & Chrome, they are making the decision on the fate of the prelude series....but nothing is going to be done this year. Frak.
From the articles online, the SyFy channel is thinking of making BSG: Blood & Chrome either a two-hour movie or even a web-series, but the real question is why. The relaunch of BSG was wildly successful while on TV and in DVD sales, and marked a moment for the SyFy Channel to turn itself into a marker of great sci-fi, but they turned their backs on Caprica and now, it seems on Blood & Chrome, too.
Here could be reasons why SyFy is nervous about Blood & Chrome:
It could be money...BSG and Caprica weren't cheap, and limiting Blood & Chrome to a web-based series or a movie that could be turned around for DVD sales could be a way of generating cash or even done cheaper than a regular series.
Or it could have to do with the failure of Caprica. The network believed in lighting striking twice, but was burned by low-rating, high cost, and odd reality of Caprica once it made onto the small-screen.
The other reason I could foresee what is holding the network's back from pulling the trigger on another BSG is that the basic plot of the prelude series doesn't work. Blood & Chrome seems to be based around the experiences of William Adama during the First Cylon War....but as we know from Razor, this war ends shortly after Adama gets in the Viper Mark II. So, the show would be part of the war, and part after the war...and it could be that after filming, the brain trust at SyFy took one look and knew that they had a dog.  However...where Caprica failed, Blood & Chrome could succeed, if given a chance. Blood & Chrome would be a return to the space opera/shoot 'em formula of BSG, and fans are hunger for a return to the series, plus, SyFy Channel could use a hit...most of what's on now sucks.

The truth is, that bottom line, SyFy Channel as lost it's way and they lack the balls to go forward with Blood & Chrome, and if they turn their back on this, like they did with Firefly and Caprica, then SyFy just should change their name to: Bad, Cheap Movies of the Week Channel.
So Say We All!


  1. So say we all! (but put the blame for the demise of Firefly on who deserves it: Fox!)

  2. Damn you FOX! I curse you for ending Firefly, Space: Above and Beyond! I read a rumor that Syfy was offered Firefly by Joss...and they turned it down. Shame. Pity.

  3. Hi William!!

    I think there needs to be some new ideas and new blood. Its time that something new and original comes out that has a bold, new hard SF style instead of the cliched digital effects utilized by countless shows. Hardly any media SF is consistent with relativity- or even Newton's laws of motion. A few have made the effort, but even the likes of the new BSG and Babylon 5 still rely on cliches like space fighters- which honestly don't make sense in outer space.

    I'd like to see some movies and shows that don't assume that traveling to the stars is like taking a weekend long road trip, that bumpy-headed humanoids populate every other star system, and that space combat will be like WW2 in space. A truly great space SF series would capture the vastness and emptiness of interstellar space. Space combat could take place between battle-cruisers maneuvering using powerful fusion drives in a perfect Newtonian environment and striking over great distances with nuclear shaped charges and kinetic guns. Starships could travel at relativistic velocities, like Carl Sagan talked about. Perhaps sleeper technology could be used. If FTL exists, work out all the consequences of the drive.

    Avatar did a good job with the starship Venture Star- even making it to the pages of Atomic Rockets, alongside the spaceship Discovery from 2001. This is thanks to having James Pellegrino, designer of the Valkyrie starship-on-a-string, as technical consultant.

    Firefly is the most awesome space series ever. Enough said. We may never see its like again.

    It's a pity that everyone assumes audiences will only like zippy spaceships shooting glowing bolts of energy. Perhaps a show with torch-ships cruising in the depths of space, radiators glowing as they strike over vast distances with kinetic guns and missiles, would redefine everyone expectations of what space shows should portray. Helpful web sites- like Atomic Rockets- exist, and I've found essays online imagining what realistic space combat will look like. I think it will be far more interesting than the "shields are dropping!!" drama of average shows. Glowing heat radiators would be an interesting visual cue.

    Christopher Phoenix

  4. I completely agree, it seems that the public want nothing to do with hard science fiction, and I think for most writers, its a serious pain in the ass, and once you start reading things like Atomic Rockets, you start to look at your novel like a colouring book!
    There is an odd beauty to realistic starships, to me, and I don't believe that there as been a TV or movie with realistic starships in hard science space battles.
    The public as never been supportive of real-science space shows, like Virtuality, Firefly, L5: Life in Space, and Earth Star Voyager.

  5. Sten Odenwald, an astronomer who wrote a fun Q&A book on astronomy I very much enjoy, suggests that perhaps the public prefers the illusion we are a space-faring society that is spread in Hollywood shows and movies, rather than facing the real challenge of exploring the universe. He may be right- a prospect I find rather upsetting.

    The public doesn't seem to want anything to do with space travel. So many people claim the effort is not worth the cost, it is to dangerous, or we should not spend money answering silly questions about space. Modern day society has lost all enthusiasm for exploration, education, and science. No one seems to want to support a rocket expedition to mars, a moon base, or research into advanced propulsion. Not only that, but whenever a small amount of money is spent on our future, everyone is up in arms over it. On the other hand, adults are rather quick to come up with money to start wars with each other or make ourselves comfortable, but no one will even consider funding a serious space program to get out into the high frontier.

    Americans, alone, spend $28 billion a year on garden supplies, and tens of billions on cosmetics and video entertainment. During the 1950's, NASA's budget was 5% of the federal budget. In 2003, it has fallen to less than 0.7%- nearly a factor of ten times smaller!! And it just keeps getting smaller. And let's cut the bullshit- the modern day private space companies have neither the resources nor the ability to continue NASA's scientific programs or found colonies on Mars. If we developed technologies to reach space cheaply and travel to other planets, private companies could commercialize those technologies, but they can't develop them- unless they become the likes of Weyland-Yutani and take over scientific research and R&D.

    I agree, Atomic Rockets makes hard SF universes fun to design!! One can actually calculate the performance of atomic powered rocket ships or the energy output of a laser cannon. Y can create entire future histories. It is just like a coloring book.

    The public has neither rational though nor interest in the future. That is the only explanation for their behavior. I found a video of Carl Sagan being interviewed on TV on youtube. He explained some possibilities for space travel an Mars colonization. Then the woman interviewing him asked, "Do you really think we should spend money getting off the planet instead of repairing the damage we've done?" At which point Carl Sagan had to lapse into talking-to-a-complete-moron mode and explain the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle!! Are these people so stupid they only see two possible plans for the future!? They can't conceive of spending effort on both ensuring the health of Earth's biosphere and long term efforts to explore the universe and travel to other stars?

    FAQ's on Space Travel:
    On Mars and the Excluded Middle:

    Christopher Phoenix

  6. The public doesn't want anything to do with the challenge of space travel either. Astronomer Sten Odenwald, author of Back To The Astronomy Cafe, a space science Q&A book I like very much, suggests that the illusion that we are a 'space faring' civilization in our imagination is all the public wanted after all. In that case, the public thinks it is much more fun to imagine what star travel our contact with aliens might be like then seriously investing in efforts to find out. Perhaps, people just don't want to deal with the abstract and complex problems of space travel or alien contact, and hard SF just is too close to the reality of space travel to be accepted as entertainment. No one wants realistic starships in that case. They just want rehashed fantasy with bumpy headed aliens.

    Hard SF, like the stories Arthur C. Clarke wrote, supports real life efforts to explore space and reach the stars. Hard SF popularizes and explores real ways to travel in space- like nuclear pulse propulsion, sleeper ships, exotic breakthrough propulsion, etc.- and inspires young people to become scientists and engineers. Today's society is not very interested in exploration, education, or science. That is why it is hard to support real-science space shows. That is also why we have not gotten very far in space.

    Read "Project Orion: The True Story of the Atomic Spaceship", by George Dyson. Nuclear pulse propulsion ships weighing upward from 4000 tons capable of traveling to Saturn with a mass ratio of well under ten were under serious consideration until the project was rejected by NASA for political reasons (prime of which was that politicians didn't want to support a serious effort to explore space) and made illegal by the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty forbidding nuclear weapons explosions in space. Imagine if those had been built instead of Apollo!! It is really easy to say something could never have happened if you cancelled it. Imagine if Apollo had never happened. Nowadays, smug smart-alecks would say, "Oh, that was ridiculous. We could never have gone to the Moon!!"

    Christopher Phoenix