Production Design in BSG

TV shows and movies are some of the few entirely collaborative arts. It’s just not possible for one person to create such awork alone, so when I see brilliant show like Galactica, I know that I’m not just witnessing one great idea — I’m seeing hundreds of great ideas from dozens of people andsome inspiring leadership and decision-making to glue it all together.

Not surprisingly, I suppose, when I look for meaning in the show, I find myself not just looking at characters and storyline, but also at cinematography and, yes, production design. Hence my interest in things like the rounded chair in webisode seven. Minutiae, maybe. But these type of things have a tendency to get in your head and affect at a very core level how you see the story. Maybe you didn’t notice the chair, but rather just had a strong “we’re not in the fleet any more” feeling. Or maybe it was even more subtle than that.

Jon, a listener, posted a truly awesome comment on my previous post, and if you have a moment, I suggest you jump back and give it (the comment) a quick read. Among all of his great points, he mentioned one unique component of BSG’s production design:

Humans (purely organic) surround themselves with technology/metal bulkheads. Cylons however have very organic ships (remember the docking bay on the basestar from ‘Kobol’s last Gleaming?’).

This has come up in discussion here at GWC before in terms of what we perceive as an attempt to “humanize” cylons. Specifically, we mentioned how when Kat and Starbuck finally “killed” Scar in the episode bearing his (her?) name, Scar struck a rock and split apart, spraying guts into space. Why didn’t Scar just explode as we’ve seen in the past?

(And on a side note — how many other parts of Cylons are organic? This is a great discussion worth more space than it’d get here at this moment.)

Since something as big as the way each “race’s” spaceships look certainly isn’t an accident by any stretch, what’s meant by those specific production design decisions? Is this an indication that Cylons want to be human?

One Response to "Production Design in BSG"
  1. Jon Davis says:

    I just watched episode 8 of ‘The Resistance’ webisodes and was surprised that they did actually make a reference to the “juice”. So much for Fanta, eh? See I thought it was more like a Frutopia anyways. Though I do enjoy the Fanta jingle better – it gets annoying, but it’s memorable.

    So, what’s this with Aaron Doral? …extending an olive branch of peace? …working towards peaceful co-existence (or at least creating the guise of peaceful co-existence)? Merely trying to get more eyes and ears to keep tabs on the resistance?

    Although I question Aaron Doral’s sincerity (I mean, he is a fraking Cylon), you have to wonder if the “remorse” that “they” (Cylons) feel about the temple shooting is another example of the influence of Caprica Six & Galactica Boomer’s compassion for humanity.

    Jammer, if you remember, was one of the three engineers under Chief Tyrol that, in particular, acted very divisive when news of Cylons looking like humans became public knowledge. In the episode ‘Litmus’ he was the one that made the comment “It’s every man for himself now”. It’s also interesting to note that he was the one that Apollo found hiding in a small arms locker. He didn’t have a scratch on him even though the room he was in was full of dead crew the Cylons had killed (in the episode ‘Valley of Darkness’). This is in contrast to Dee who, though also found alive, was wounded with a slight concussion. So, could he be a Cylon?

    Regarding the cut-corners in the production design, I honestly didn’t catch that particular element. If I were to guess, personally I’d say it’s minutia… I guess I’d like to know, and I can’t recall this level of detail clearly, are the chairs on all Colonial ships using the Colonial cut-corners or just military? Can anyone remember the chairs from ‘Flesh and Bone’ that Starbuck and Leobin sat in during the interrogation, or what about that guy named Valence, what chair-style was he sitting in during his “questioning” by Lee and Kara in ‘Colonial Day’? Those were both not aboard the Galactica. I just don’t know, the further I question it, the more I just think it to be time and budget related more than a conscious production design decision… sorry Chuck!

    Anyways, our BSG fan crew are also on a series watching binge to get caught up by premier day. We’re just now at ‘Valley of Darkness’. We’ve got our party listed on FrakParty as the Springfield Resistance Meeting (thanks for the link on your site).

    Looking forward to more podcasts!!! Come on get to work you sloths! This is ‘craaapppp!!!!’ (in my best Col. Tigh impression, which admittedly is as bad as all of yours)!

    Do you have a schedule for recording podcasts? When will the next be released?

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