'Battlestar Galactica' season finale screened in New York
A very small audience in New York — about a hundred people — saw the final cut of the two-hour season finale of "Battlestar Galactica" on Monday evening. The episode had been flown on the red eye from Los Angeles the previous evening. Mark Stern, the executive VP in charge of original programming for the network that we now apparently are supposed to call "Syfy," said he had not even seen it; this would probably be the only screening before the show aired, he said.
An NDA and an oral pledge by the audience prevents these attendees — nearly all of them media, many from trade publications — from describing the episode in any way. The pledge was conducted by creator Ron Moore, who made each attendee at the New York Times' Times Center raise his right hand and repeat: "I swear not to reveal any of the spoilers I see tonight."
Why the red eye, Mr. Moore — why so last minute, when shooting was concluded last summer? "A lot of last-minute visual effects getting dropped in, we need that ... shot, where's that shot, no, go back and do this again, a lot of sound effects — it was just a mad scramble," he said. "I think the lion's share in the last week was done by our visual effects guys and girls who were just sitting in a dark room staring into monitors for like literally 24 hours. They just never took a day off for the last four weeks or something. ... We just beat the ... out of them. They really gave it their all."
Gosh, that sounds expensive! "Oh, yeah. We sort of raped the treasury of Universal for the last one," he said. "Universal stepped up. The network was, 'Fine, make it three hours! But somebody has to pay for it and it ain't going to be us.' And the studio, in particular Todd Sharp, our head of production, they went back, they crunched numbers, and they came up with a whole extra hour of money to do it with. That's an amazing thing for these corporations that are supposed to be heartless and not care about anything but the bottom line."
There was a Q&A after the screening; pretty much each of the answers and the questions, and even the offhand remarks, concerned events of the episode and would constitute a spoiler, and so they won't be repeated.
After the screening, Moore went out for a cigarette. Did he have plans to quit? "I am a social smoker, at best," he said. "I really only smoke when I'm around actors."