Remember the Battlestar Galactica spin-off? No, not Caprica, the other one. We’re talking about Blood & Chrome, which would explore the oft-discussed but seldom-seen original Cylon war, and would focus on a young fighter pilot named William Adama (played by Luke Pasqualino). We know a pilot was shot, but the last we heard of the series was back in August, when Syfy exec Mark Stern said that they weren’t even sure if the series would actually air on the network, or whether it might end up as a web series. That wasn’t exactly encouraging news, and the long silence might have lead some to assume the project was dead and buried. Not so, according to Stern, who gave a brief update on the project during the Television Critics Association press tour, as reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Of course, just because it’s alive doesn’t mean we’ll actually see it anytime soon.
According to Stern, the lack of updates owes simply to two factors: Syfy’s ongoing efforts to figure out how to make the production work in an affordable way, and the large amount of post-production required. That latter element is because the pilot was shot almost entirely on green screen. Because of all the post-production work required, Syfy executives didn’t even see a cut of the pilot until this past November. As Stern explains:
We’re applying this idea of virtual sets on a whole new level. We took photos and digitized all the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ sets before we struck them. So when you see two actors walking down a hallway, they’re [really] walking down a green hallway and then we put photo-real shots of hallways and CIC and all the sets we had behind them.
“Virtual sets” are nothing new, especially in science fiction shows, but they’re also easy to screw up. You need look no further than the direct-to-DVD Babylon 5: The Lost Tales for an example of what happens when you combine virtual sets with a miniscule budget. If Blood & Chrome does go forward, hopefully Syfy won’t be as miserly with its budget. Either way, the green-screen approach is a double-edged sword: it saves money, but it also makes for lengthy post-productions. Even if the show gets greenlighted tomorrow, it would still likely be a year or so before we’d see it. Still, Stern says that he hopes to have an answer about the future of the show sometime in the next few months.
Caprica got better as it went along, but it was still deeply divisive amongst fans. It’d be exciting to see a more action-oriented BSG spin-off, and Blood & Chrome sounds like it would fit that bill perfectly. The biggest obstacle ahead of it? A theoretically science fiction-oriented network that is more interested in dubious “reality” programming than actually airing science fiction. Then again, it’s not Sci-Fi these days…it’s Syfy. Sigh.
In the mean time, check out the gallery below for some rather cool Blood & Chrome concept art.