Friday, September 15, 2006

Battlestar Galactica—the Resistance: Webisodes Part 3 & 4

The upshot: Duck tells his wife Nora that he refused to join the Resistance (for her) even as they clash over religious differences—she wants him to go to Temple while he feels he doesn’t “need all the bells and whistles” of Gods worship. Meanwhile, Tigh and Tyrol hide a cache of weapons in the Temple—prompting Jammer to pray for the Gods' forgiveness.

Callie and Nora discuss their husbands’ crisis of faith as they visit the Temple and pray to Aphrodite to help Nora conceive a child. Then a Cylon reprisal leads to a tragic death as Nora is killed in the crossfire.

We can’t say we didn’t see this coming— poor ole Nora might as well have been wearing a Star Trek red shirt. While we weren’t surprised, we were a little disappointed that Nora became a human sacrifice to advance the plot and presumably to spur Duck to become a born-again resistance fighter.

Based on her reaction in Part 1 when Jammer conveyed the news of Charlie Longo’s death—“Hiding weapons in his tent, what did he expect?” we would have liked to see the exploration of a real conflict such as where the husband wanted to fight and the wife didn’t—the dramatic possibilities are endless, yet it is the forum that is limited.

It would be a mistake to judge these webisodes by the standards of a full-length television episode. With 2-3 minutes per webisode, there is a finite amount of story that can be conveyed and only in bite-sized increments. To put a point on it—the webisode is the television equlivant of a comic strip.

Unlike a four or five act television show, this is a ten act story with each and every part requiring a stop and start point—once we realized this, rather than complain about The Resistance’s shortcomings, we laud the writers for fitting in as story much as they have.

Getting to the story: From what we’ve seen so far, the Cylon occupation of New Caprica is designed to be reminiscent of Vichy France under the Nazis during World War II.

From the start, viewers could emphasize with Duck. He hates living in Cylon bondage (who wouldn’t) but he doesn’t want trouble and risk losing everything—go along, get along. But as he (and the audience) is finding out, in this story there is no middle ground, no line to walk—if you aren’t resisting, you are a tacit collaborator and inaction will cost you one way or another.

On the production: Working on a shoe-string helped in the storytelling. By saving on some special effects dollars, viewers “hear” the Cylon Centurions (i.e. “toasters”) approach the tent and we watch Callie scramble under fire to protect her baby before the picture fades to black.

After a dramatic pause, the picture comes back to slowly focus on the aftermath—a turned over candle, smashed religious artifacts and Nora staring through lifeless eyes.

With less, the webisode makers forced viewers to use their imagination and made the scene a hundred times more powerful than if there had been a dozen CGI Cylons on screen.

Bottom line: If The Resistance represents “the shape of things to come” during BSG’s Season Three, then this show has only just begun to get good.

Look for parts 5 & 6 on this coming Tuesday and Thursday with our commentary next weekend. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation of a Graphic Event

The Upshot from the Publisher: On December 5, 2005, the 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the government’s fulfillment of the recommendations issued in July 2004: one A, twelve Bs, nine Cs, twelve Ds, three Fs, and four incompletes.

Here is stunning evidence that Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón, with more than sixty years of experience in the comic-book industry between them, were right: far, far too few Americans have read, grasped, and demanded action on the Commission’s investigation into the events of that tragic day and the lessons America must learn. Using every skill and storytelling method Jacobson and Colón have learned over the decades, they have produced the most accessible version of the 9/11 Report.

Jacobson’s text frequently follows word for word the original report, faithfully captures its investigative thoroughness, and covers its entire scope, even including the Commission’s final report card. Colón’s stunning artwork powerfully conveys the facts, insights, and urgency of the original.

Published on the fifth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States, an event that has left no aspect of American foreign or domestic policy untouched, The 9/11 Report puts at every American’s fingertips the most defining event of the century.

It’s not often that one lives through a turning point in history. Five years ago today, we all watched the world change before our eyes—and not for the better. Nineteen terrorists with four hijacked airplanes managed to inflict damage that just the day before would have been considered unimaginable—the end result was 2,948 confirmed dead, 24 reported dead, 24 reported missing—total Sept. 11 casualties—2, 996.

For a complete list of the 9/11 victims, -- click here

That list may grow as the number of Ground Zero first responders grapple with their rescue related illnesses.

No matter where you were that morning, we were all affected by the attacks of 9/11 and we all continue to live with the consequences to this day. For FanBoyWonder, it’s even more personal. Sept. 11, 2001 was our second wedding anniversary with Mrs. FBW. So F**k you very much Osama!

As you take the time to remember those who died and those who survived 9/11, it is incumbent on us all as American citizens to remember the world before 9/11 and to know why it happened—so we can tell our children.

To make that task easier, comic book veterans Sid Jacobson and Ernie Colón have teamed up to write and illustrate The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation based on the best selling government commission report released in book form in 2004.

Jacobson and Colon sought to do what had previously seemed impossible—to make the 568 government report comprehensible and accessible to the masses. Their 9/11 report is a Graphic Illustration of the most graphic event in U.S. history.

The adaptation has received the blessing of the chair and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission and by all accounts it’s a faithful, non-political, non-dramatic version of the events that led up to the terrorist attacks—including who knew what and when, and the communications gaps and failures among government agencies.

When the original report first came out, FBW made it a point to read it cover to cover—it took us well over a month to complete and we admit that we did not entirely comprehend all that we read. Easy or not, this report should be required reading for every single United States citizen.

Thanks to Jacobson and Colon, everyone from school kids to steelworkers now have easy access to read about how their government failed them that day and what needs to be done (yet sadly what hasn’t been done) to prevent what happened five years ago today from ever happening again.

God Bless America!

Link to the original 9/11 Report:

Link to purchase the 9/11 Report: The Graphic Adaptation

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Battlestar Galactica: The Resistance, Parts 1 and 2

The upshot: Col. Tigh and Chief Tyrol attempt to organize the budding resistance movement on Cylon-occupied New Caprica—but recruiting soldiers is proving to be difficult and dangerous. As former Viper pilot Duck turns down a role in the resistance, Jammer objects when Tigh issues the order to have their weapons hidden from the Cylons inside the colony’s religious temple. Tigh’s order crosses what Jammer considers to be a religious and moral line.

After a half-year drought of BSG episodes, those clever fellows at Sci-Fi Channel have come up with a neat way of providing thirsty fans with some drops that do just enough to momentarily slacken our thirst but then immediately makes us want another taste.

These “webisodes”—about 2 minutes in duration--are a 10-part filler that started last week, designed to fill in some of the time and story between the end of Season 2 and the resumption of Season 3 next month. The webisodes are posted on Tuesday and Thursday at

Recap: When we left things at the end of Season 2, it’s One Year Later. New Caprica is a dreary rock of a planet. New Caprica City, population 39,192 is little more than a giant shanty town. People are living in tents and eaking out an existence arguably not much better than what they had cooped up in the space ships of the rat-tag fugitive fleet.

Out of the blue, the Cylon fleet shows up. Outnumbered and undermanned, the Battlestars Galactica and Pegasus with the other ships in orbit are forced to jump away to safety leaving the people planet side defenseless. President Baltar offers his surrender to the Cylons and we see New Caprica under the chrome-plated heel of the Cylons.

The Resistance: It’s 67 days into the Cylon occupation. It appears the spotlight of these Webisodes will be Tigh and Tyrol. We’re glad that Tigh will be getting some attention. After two seasons of seeing him as Adama’s loyal first officer but lost when left on his own, this will be Tigh’s chance to shine but don’t expect him to be likable.

What we’ve liked about Tigh’s character that he’s a salty S.O.B. and doesn’t’ give a frak if he bruises feelings or steps on toes. What we haven’t liked about the character is that we know he is a drunk with a confidence problem and that he and Adama share a very strong bond of loyalty.

Throughout two seasons, we’ve seen that Tigh was once much greater than what he has become. We hope that both The Resistance and the upcoming Season 3 will offer BSG viewers more hints of this character’s past (but lost) greatness so we can get a better understanding of the man he is today.

Look for parts 3 and 4 of The Resistance to “air” on on Tuesday and Thursday with FanBoyWonder commentary next weekend. “So say we all!”
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