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01 Dec 11 What’s happened to Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome?

Back when the plug was pulled on Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica, there was the solace for BSG fans of a new series in development. This, too, would be set before the days of Battlestar Galactica, would be entitled Blood Chrome, and would apparently be a bit more action-packed than Caprica. That’s, presumably, partly in response to the fact that one of the key criticisms of Caprica was that it was too dense, too concerned with backstory, and that not enough happened (as it turned out, not an entirely fair criticism).

Blood Chrome was first announced as a web series, back in the summer of 2010. That was at a point when Caprica was still live and kicking. The original plan was to make nine or ten episodes, of ten minutes each in length, to premiere online. The focus of Blood Chrome would be on a young William Adama, and his adventures during the first Cylon War.

Michael Taylor, co-executive producer on the remodelled Battlestar Galactica television series, was hired to write scripts for Blood Chrome, and the idea was to shoot the episodes using virtual sets, based on the long-dismantled BSG sets that were digitally scanned before being taken apart. “We’re not going to be shying away from R-rated blood and guts and sex”, Taylor told the Chicago Tribune at the time.

Fast forward to October of 2010, and the news got better. Not only was Blood Chrome pressing ahead, but Syfy had now ordered a full TV movie pilot off the back of the script work that Taylor had undertaken. There was a fairly strong hint, too, that a brand new spin-off television series might follow.

The announcement that Caprica was cancelled came in the same month, but that didn’t seem to dampen Syfy’s enthusiasm for Blood Chrome. If anything, it might have contributed to the decision to upgrade it to TV. It’s hardly going out on a limb to suggest that Syfy would have liked Caprica to run for several years, and to replicate the success of BSG, but if that wasn’t going to happen, then perhaps Blood Chrome would be a safer bet.

The pilot for Blood Chrome, then, went before the cameras earlier this year. Filming began on the two-hour pilot in February 2011, and it’s fairly safe to assume that it was in the can a few weeks afterwards. Appreciating that there would be some sizeable post-production work, Blood Chrome’s TV movie should, realistically, have been finished by now, or as near as dammit.

So where is it, and what’s happened? As it turns out, those are good questions.

The basics first. We’ve yet to hear that Syfy has scheduled Blood Chrome for airing, nor have we caught word of preview screening reports. As things stand, we couldn’t tell you when to expect to see it.

However, back in August, AOL TV reported that Syfy, having viewed an early cut of the TV movie (albeit one without most of the visual effects in place), was now considering reverting the show back to a web series.

Unsurprisingly, this hasn’t been viewed as a good sign. Appreciating that the plan seemed to be to treat the TV movie as a pilot of sorts, that does of course mean that – as with many pilots – there’s no guarantee that it will be screened. But it’s discouraging that it appears to be giving Syfy cold feet.

The AOL report quotes Mark Stern, Syfy’s executive vice president of original programming, as saying that there was still the possibility that Blood Chrome might be aired as a ‘backdoor pilot’, but conclusions drawn from the piece were not generally that positive.

Since then? Pretty much radio silence.

The most recent report came from Airlock Alpha last week, which itself commented on the fact that the show hadn’t appeared. Noting the official line that the show “has been hampered by post-production problems”, it casts doubt on that. So much so that it’s spoken to Doug Drexler, who is doing effects work on the show, and the site reports that the “special effects for Blood Chrome are not only done, but they look amazing”.

And yet the show is still firmly off the radar.

The suspicion is that, for one reason or another, Syfy is reluctant to proceed. This may be down to quality or budget reasons, although given the criticisms aimed at the reality-slant of Syfy’s original programming mix, it may simply be that the show doesn’t fit the direction of the channel any more. That’s idle speculation on our part, certainly, but there’s little sign of Blood Chrome seeing the light of day in the immediate future.

Perhaps we’ll hear more about it in 2012. But you have to wonder: are BSG’s days on the small screen numbered? At least until the Bryan Singer-directed movie presses ahead?

Chicago Tribune
Airlock Alpha

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