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SciFriday: ‘Blood & Chrome’ Has Huge Shoes To Fill

But Syfy also has a lot of work to do to win back the fanbase, too

I’m not really worried about “Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome.”

David Weddle, Bradley Thompson, Michael Taylor and David Eick are four people I respect tremendously, especially when it comes to good Battlestar Galactica. Sure, of that group, only Eick was involved with “Caprica” (and how much he was involved is anyone’s guess), but I had no issue with that show, except with how Syfy pulled the plug.

But “Caprica” has cast a shadow on this new proposed series that will take place between it and “Battlestar Galactica.” How will Syfy save face with a fanbase that seems all but alienated now that deep-thinking shows like “Caprica” and “Stargate: Universe” have been scheduled for premature dirt naps?

The first step was, of course, making sure that the new BSG series had names fans were familiar with, and names they could trust. David Weddle and Bradley Thompson — who have been very friendly and upfront with Airlock Alpha readers in the past — have a long history with fandom. They’ve been involved with some great shows including “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” the 2000s revival of “The Twilight Zone,” and, of course, “Battlestar Galactica.”

Tayor’s days also date back to “Deep Space Nine,” but also include some of the better episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager,” “The Dead Zone,” the failed Ronald D. Moore pilot “Virtuality,” and of course, one of my personal favorites, “Battlestar Galactica: Razor.”

Now it’s up to Syfy not to screw this up. Yeah, sorry, Syfy, but 2010 was not exactly a stellar year for you.

I mean, allowing wrestling to dominate Friday nights, which many fans felt was their night, just wasn’t the right way to go. I’ve always been a supporter of wrestling once a week on Syfy because I felt it help pay for shows that may not get the world’s greatest ratings, and I was OK with the tradeoff.

But that tradeoff appears to be dead. To make room for wrestling, we had to sacrifice two powerful shows — “Caprica” and “Stargate: Universe.” Sure, both had some ratings issues. But we all know once you moved them to Tuesdays, Syfy, you were basically screwing the pooch. And the pooch bit back.

If “Blood & Chrome” is picked up for a series, Syfy needs to think about its fans. And I thought I would provide a little bit of a demand list to our good friends Mark Stern (the head of original programming at Syfy) and Dave Howe (the network president).

* Do not air “Blood & Chrome” on a Tuesday. Please don’t do this, unless it’s summertime or something. But even then, Tuesday is not really a good night for viewers to have to see a lot of reality. At least wait until Wednesday. Or at least give the BSG spinoff the 10 p.m. slot after wrestling on Fridays.

* Cast Nico Cortez as the young Bill Adama. First of all, Nico (also someone who has never turned his back on Airlock Alpha readers and genre fans) did a fantastic job in “Razor,” even if many of his scenes ended up on the Internet. Sure, he was trying to portray the gruff, Clint Eastwood-style voice that Edward James Olmos used in the series, but he doesn’t have to do that forever.

Nico is the perfect actor for this role, a fan favorite, and would at least allow continuity to thrive — and give fans a familiar face. And that’s going to be important. There is word that there will be no other faces from “Caprica” or “Battlestar Galactica” present in “Blood & Chrome,” at least not in the pilot. You have to have something to tie this show to others, and not just the names of the characters or the ship itself.

By having Nico in this role, you accomplish that. And you do it far better than bringing in a name actor, or hedging your bets on someone else.

You can’t imagine the role of young William Adama without thinking of Nico Cortez. So why force fans to have to spend time and energy putting someone else there. Nico knows the character, he knows the overall Battlestar Galactica story, and fans know him.

* Give this show a chance. One season for “Caprica”? You have to be kidding me. And you not only killed the series, you pulled it off the air as if it were “The Kennedys” or something, only to kind of quickly burn off the remaining episodes in a bit of a marathon.

Shows need time to develop. They need time to connect with fans. Look at some shows that would never survive in today’s show business, where you have to succeed now or die. You know, shows like “Friends,” “Cheers,” “Seinfeld” … and that’s just NBC of the 1980s and 1990s. Should I go on?

I support Syfy, and I have nothing but admiration for Mr. Stern, Mr. Howe, and everyone else there. But I can’t force a smile forever if we’re going to get the kind of decisions that killed two good shows.

If you’re going to do “Blood & Chrome,” then you need to do “Blood & Chrome.” Don’t be half-assed, don’t call it in. Do it and give it the fighting chance it will need.

“Caprica” suffered because it lived under the long shadow cast by “Battlestar Galactica.” It dared to be different, and it paid the ultimate price. “Blood & Chrome” will also live under this same shadow. It will be closer to the original, but it will have its own challenges (like being a prequel, coming after the failure of another show, not having the original stars, etc.), so don’t make it worse with bone-headed decisions.

I’m not a network executive, I’m just a network namer. OK, I’ve only named one network, but that’s enough to earn the title, right? But I can tell you what fans are telling me. And this is the only way to go to keep powerful space-faring science-fiction like this on a channel called Syfy.

So say we all.

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Could they be a Rut-ro! Shaggy
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