Podcast:A Day in the Life
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Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Ronald D. Moore, executive producer and developer of the new Battlestar Galactica, and we're here to talk about what we still refer to as episode fourteen, "A Day in the Life". The Scotch for today's session is Bruichladdich, with the "yellow submarine" label, which I've yet to figure out what that really means, in regards to Scotch. And no smoking today. The smoking lamp is out.
OK. Episode fourteen. This episode does not- did not turn out as well as, I think, we had all hoped that it would. I think there's a variety of reasons why and we will discuss them today, as we often have on the shows that didn't turn out quite as strong as we had initially hoped. What's interesting, to step back and give an overview of the show and the rhythms and currents of the series. This- there's a spate of standalone episodes, some of which are more successful than others, occurring here in the second half of season three. Shows like thirteen, fourteen, and a to an extent fifteen, although I think fifteen is, in some ways, the strongest of the three. In any case, there's a trio here of standalone episodes that didn't quite come together and aren't quite as strong as I think many of us had hoped. And that parallels certain things that happened in the second season where we also had a spate of standalonish episodes that didn't quite really come together as strongly and I think- we spent some time looking for systemic reasons or managerial reasons why we come to this place in the second half of the season and tend to have trouble. And I'm not sure that there is a reason other than just bad story decisions.
I think that conceptually I liked this idea of doing the "Day in the Life" episode and centering it around Adama. The "day in the life" is a staple of television storytelling and it's always there in the writers' room. It's something that I think writers are always drawn to, which is to break from format and do a character study and the "day in the life" is a structure that provides you with opportunity to detail out all the little minutiae, which is a bit of a redundancy redundancy, but all of the minutiae in a character's day and explicating the how's and why's of their job and their friendships and their pressures and stepping back from plot and narrative and giving you an opportunity to delve into character. I think it's also a very tricky structure that appears on its surface to be simpler than it really is. I've gone at these kinds of stories a couple of times and I'm always attracted to them. They inevitably always turn out to be much more complicated beasts than what you think they would at the outset. You know, the first thing that you run into in structuring a "day in the life" type episode is that, almost by definition, a "day in the life" is not supposed to have anything very dramatic happen in it. Conceptually you're doing a show that is just a typical day and TV episodes and films are all about atypical days. They're all about the unusual thing that happened that day. The dramatic thing that happened that day. The amazing thing that happened that day. The mysterious thing that happened that day. The funny thing that happened that day. Not the typical thing that happened that day. So you're already going into a counterintuitive place when you're approaching the story. And what tends to happen through the story proce- story development process is that in order to tell that story effectively in the television format you inevitably find some device, some plot thing that will happen on a typical day that illustrates the fact that they're- in a place like Galactica something dangerous is always lurking just around the corner. And I think that's justified by not only the conflict with the Cylons but in this case just the danger of the ship itself. I always liked the idea that the Galactica was- that Galactica gave you an opportunity to present the life of being aboard a warship, especially an aircraft carrier, which are incredibly dangerous ships. They're very dangerous places to work and they have accidents and fatalities in the best of times and that- so to do a day in the life episode aboard Galactica, it was easy to say, OK, that will be an accident that day. There would be an accident, and this is just one of many things that happens on Adama's "day in the life." I think that, unfortunately, what happens in this- in the structure of the piece is that you can see us leaning over and spending more time on that story, the Tyrol-Cally story, the story of them getting caught in a launch tube and spending too much time over there, really, on a story that was never designed to be a weight-bearing member. It supposed to be a small plot device that you're following throughout the show and ultimately explodes into jeopardy towards the end to intersect with the Adama story. But as you watch the episode as aired, we spend a lot of time setting up that story and it seems like it's a story of big weight and big moment and that something's gonna happen, and "Oh my God! What's gonna happen to Tyrol and Cally?" But it's not a very exciting story. It's a small story. It was designed to be a small story. But I think because of certain problems that we were having in the Adama side of things, you start leaning on the other story because it's an easier hook. It's an easier fix to say, "Well, give us more of the Tyrol-Cally stuff because that's a straight-up jeopardy."
The Adama section. I mean, this episode began life as a concept and it was pitched in the writers' room and it might have been my idea. I don't- really recall. I will just say it's my idea because it's not a perfectly executed idea so I will take responsibility for it, essentially. And as I always say on these podcasts, when I criticize an episode or where I'm talking about an episode that I don't think has worked as effectively as we had hoped, ultimately I'm the guy in charge. These are my decisions and so I'm the one who ultimately made the wrong calls in whatever the calls were in this episode. Essentially I was attracted to doing a "day in the life" episode. I love this idea that here's the wo- that we get to know the woman that Adama was married to. Who was this woman? Who was the woman that is Lee's mother, Adama divorced, and died back on Caprica, and here's a person that we've never really dealt with in the story, and I thought, "Well, she's an interesting figure," and, "Who is she?" And I fell in love with this idea that Adama allows himself to think about her exactly one day a year. On their wedding anniversary Adama permits himself to think about this woman and to fantasize about being with this woman and to allow himself that break. To allow himself to let her- thoughts of her enter back into his life. 'Cause he never talks about her. She's not somebody that- he doesn't keep pictures around of her. He wears the wedding ring. And he's always worn the wedding ring in the show. I've always thought that was an interesting subtle touch that said a lot about the divorce man who still is wearing the wedding ring, lo many years later. And so I was interested in this concept that, OK, on the one day, he takes her picture out and she's like a real person to him. He has her in his life for one day and at the end of the day he puts the picture away until next year. And there was something sweet and poetic about that that I responded to and really liked.
I think that some of the decisions that we made, in terms of what- well the first thing that came up was, "How do you portray her." In the initial story documents, and I think the initial script, the intention was for Carolanne, or Caroline in the early drafts, what Carolanne was going to appear with Adama on the ship and we would play her sort of akin to how we play "head Six" and "head Baltar". That they're imaginary people that only the character- that the point of view character can see. And so Adama would walk through the halls and Carolanne would be walking with him and commenting on the day and, essentially, it was going to be more about, as structured, the piece was about Ada- going through one day with Adama. And as he went through his day Caroline- Carolanne went with him and commented on the scenes as they happened. So right away the first thing that came up was, "Well, OK, how do you distinguish that from 'head Six' and 'head Baltar' for the audience." 'Cause we have a lot of imaginary people wandering around the ship at this point and here's a device that's meant to convey a character's subjective point of view and really be in his head in a true fantasy sense and not convey the sense of, "Who is this imaginary person who has suddenly- or not- Who is this person who is appearing to only this character? Is Carol-" You don't want the audience to watch it and go, "OK. Is Carolanne related to 'head Six'? Is Carolanne related to 'head Baltar'? Is she a Cylon?" You had to get away from all that quickly. At first we talked about a structure whereby whenever Carolanne appeared and she would have a scene with- like, she would appear in a scene and talk to Adama at length, they would interact and then you would go back to reality and you would realize that no time had passed and Adama- if Adama, for instance was standing in the middle of the room having a conversation with Carolanne and their conversation took them across the room or over to the door, where they had an argument, then the scene ends and you res- Adama is reset back to the middle of the room where he was at the beginning. No one else in the room is aware that anything else has happened. And that was the concept to convey that these conversations and these interaction were com- were taking place completely in Adama's head. That it wasn't the same device that we were using for "head Six" and "head Baltar" wherein Baltar actually reacts and talks to his imaginary blonde partner in real time and people see him react. And so we were trying to make that distinction, but it's a subtle distinction and I think what happened was as we got deeper into the draft and into prep on the episode both the director and Eddie, Eddie Olmos, both felt that that wasn't gonna work and they were worried about it being too much like Baltar and Six and that it- the distinction would be blurred.
Act one. So from there came this notion of doing the house. Let's do a house. Adama goes to a place. Sorta like how Balt- again, you could say, "Well, it's like how Baltar goes to his place," but we're tr- at least visually you're setting it apart from what's happening on the Galactica. So we came up with this idea of the house, which Adama would go to, this is presumably the house he and Carolanne shared, and he permits himself to think of the house and to think of Carolanne in these moments, to go and be with her one more time. I think that in the drama itself it does break you out of the show. It does get outside of Galactica's walls, which is always nice, especially at this point in the season, in that a location to go to, but it does distance, I think, what's happening. Because when you get back to these shots of Adama in the corridor, we're working overtime to bring her pr- to make her more present in the show. She's- isolated in this other reality that he's clearly fantasizing about, but it doesn't have the immediacy of the initial idea. The immediacy of her walking side by side with Adama as he went down the corridors was gonna feel very different. Also, this scene here, with Adama and with Laura would've felt very different if Carolanne had been in the room with them. That's not to say that that would have saved things. That's not to say that that was the perfect solution, but I think it would've made these scenes have a little bit more dramatic impact because I think if you saw this visual triangle of Adama, Laura, and Carolanne, I think it just resonates in a different way than having Carolanne as the off-camera voice or going to the fantasy place in his head.
This storyline, Adama and Laura is- you can clearly see over the course of the past few episodes we're playing a little bit more on their relationship, a little tête-à-tête, that something might or might not happen between these two. This show was the most overt step in a certain direction of a relationship between the two characters. I think that what we're doing is we're playing it very slowly. I don't know that it ever will culminate in the two of them "getting together", but I think that there was always a sense that for Laura and for Adama, realistically speaking, there really weren't any choices for them in terms of a partner, in terms of somebody that they could be involved with in the Fleet 'cause of their positions. Adama is the admiral. She's the President. They are the only peers to one another. She relates to him, he relates to her, in a way that they don't relate to anyone else in the entire Fleet. And it's a- they're a man and woman and they're both attractive, and they're both smart, and they're both passionate and you feel the reasons for why they might be drawn towards one another. But there are so many other obstacles to that that I think that we never wanted to take it too far down the road. But it do- there is a logic to them thinking about it, to at least considering it. And for the- flirtations and the hints along the way and to feel that there really is a pull drove us into directions like this.
The storyline of Lee getting involved with Baltar's trial was one that we worked over at length in the writers' room. The multi-step process of setting up a legal system was something that we talked about quite a bit. I think that conceptually this works. I don't know that it works dramatically, to put Lee into- to have Lee become interested in the law or setup his interest in the law in this particular episode. I think that it's a little- there's a little bit- it's a little awkward how we introduct- introduce this idea of Lee's interest in law, that as a child and that Laura would think of him in that capacity. It's a- it's somewhat awkward but I think it's plausible. I think it works, so that's like the best you can do at this point.
Again, we're back here in the launch tube and we're milking this now. Now we're milking the drama here for all it's worth because- we're, I think, frankly I think we're afraid of the Adama story. It just wasn't playing as strongly as we had hoped. And part of it has to do- there's a lot of reasons why I don't think the Adama-Carolanne story is really hitting on all cylinders here. Part of it is a casting issue. It's nothing against the actress, who's a good actress, well recommended, good body of work, we really liked her. I think she's a good performer. But I don't think there's a lot of chemistry here. I think that there's chemistry is missing between Adama and her, and Carolanne, and I think that's a crucial component. And that's something that's hard to judge from the outside. It's hard, sometimes, to cast important roles in isolation. Ideally you, in a perfect world, you have the husband reading the lines to the potential wife in the casting sessions. But you don't usually get that luxury. Especially in television. And I think that for fifty million reasons why of being busy, of not paying attention, and thinking that everything is OK and telling yourself that you're on top of it, you make a casting decision that ultimately doesn't help you in the show. Again, I'm not criticizing the actress. I'm commenting on the fact that she and Adama are not clicking on a certain level. There's not a sense of rapport. There's not an easy communication between the two like you want in a married couple and there's just not the spark there. You want this woman, Carolanne, to really spark off of him and him to s- to be sparking off of her, and you're not quite seeing that interaction. I think- and I think that lack of chemistry, which, is not- you cannot lay at the feet of the actors, it's just one of those things that happens or doesn't happen, but that lack of fundamental chemistry, in some level, makes us pull away editorially, and on the stage, and ultimately in the show, away from the storyline, looking for other drama.
The story with Lee, and you're coming up here on the scene with Lee. I started to talk about this a minute ago, but Lee getting involved in the legal system. Throughout the season, I've talked about this before, we've struggled with the character of Lee in terms of exactly what we wanted him to do within the drama of the show. I think in many ways he has one of the most difficult roles in the show because he is- he's the hero. He's the most straight-up hero that we have in the series, and I think that's a hard role to play in this context. And I think sometimes it's hard to know what we want to do with that character within the show. We did really like the idea that Lee would get involved with this trial, and that there was something about the character and about the actor that lent itself towards the idea that he was intellectual, that had an interest in something beyond the cockpit and that he wasn't all about the military. That we were also building this family history, in terms of the Adama family, partially because we were developing Caprica, the prequel that may or may not get off the ground. But in the Caprica backstory we get more involved in the family Adama, and indeed, Adama's father, Lee's grandfather, who was an attorney. Who did a lot of legal work and had a contr- a charged relationship with his son, William Adama, and that Lee would in turn be informed by that. OK, so there was something with the grandfather who was a lawyer, and the son that then b- went into the military, and then there's the grandson. And that the grandson on some level was split between the two, or at least felt split at times. Who had an affinity towards looking towards the law or was fascinated by what his grandfather did, if for no other reason than the fact that his father did not like what his grandfather did, and that alone would be enough to spark the boy's interest. So that all built the building blocks of getting to the place where we thought, "Well, Lee could get involved with the trial." 'Cause we also wanted some of our key players involved with the trial of Baltar and this was like an- our entrée into it.
I think that one of the other problems with the "day in the life" concept for us, in this particular episode, is that we didn't- we weren't true to that concept. We weren't true to the idea that a "day in the life" episode is about following Adama through his day. Showing the routines and the rituals of his day. And that was an early decision. As we got- it was- you pitch it in the room and we got excited about it and it goes up on the board and then you start breaking it, and I think we let go of what makes "day in the life" work, when it does work. Which is to see the minutiae, the detail, the trivia. The things- where does Adama eat? What does he have for breakfast? What is- what are the rhythms of his day? What are the rhythms that this man has built into his day? What are the things that are built into it for him? And how does he see the world? It sh- you should be looking at Galactica through Adama's eyes and seeing it fresh, as if you've never seen it before, because his point of view on their lives and on the ship should be different than the audience's point of view. And I think what happens here in the episode it that we get c- so caught up in telling these other stories that we're trying to tell, Lee getting involved in Baltar's trial, tracking Laura and Adama, dealing with who was Adama's wife and what was the nature of their relationship, and of course the Cally-Tyrol situation going on in the launch tube. You're trying to tell all these other tales that you lose the impetus to do the story in the first place, which is to stroke out the daily life of the c- of one of the central figures in the show. And we don't. I think at the end of the day you don't know more about Adama's day than you really did at the beginning. I mean, some little tiny things, but they're insignificant. The fact that he gets a report in the morning and that he meets with Laura occasionally. And the rest of it just is swamped. I think that's unfortunate. I think that was a mistake. I think- that if I had to do this again we would have to really take a broom to a lot of elements of the show, particularly the launch tube story, and really exam it as a way of detailing out character and that- well, that's the end of the act. I'll come back.
Act two. So you can see right up here from the get-go in this act, our heroes are now charging into action and we've stretched the "jeopardy" of the launch tube situation as far as humanly possible, but now the rest of the show becomes about this launch tube situation. Which was never what I wanted to do. I mean, it was never that important to me. I thought it was an interesting little plot device. I thought that the conversations between Cally and Tyrol were a little bit interesting, in terms of their characters, and their relationships, and the relation- state of the the marriage, and the fact that they have this child, and what are they gonna do with the child in case they die. I thought those were all interesting ideas and, again, I liked the fact that it illuminated the rickety nature of the vessel and this wasn't the Enterprise and that shit just happens on Galactica and you gotta, like, deal with it. All that said, what- when this- when that story became so important to the episode, I think the episode loses the charm of what we were trying to do. 'Cause the charm is follow the character through the day. See the life. Invest in the- small things in life. Invest in- lunch. Invest in what Adama's having for lunch, because on some level, his experience of lunch is telling you something about his character that you didn't know before and that it's interesting. I mean, where's Carolanne in all this? Right now, we're in this crisis situation. If we'd gone the original way we'd pitched this, Carolanne would be in the CIC with them, commenting on the situation, possibly distracting him. Maybe this is the one time that he doesn't want to think about her but it's like, "Don't think about the elephant in the room," so he has to think about the elephant and you play the conflict of that. But because we've set up this thing with the cottage and being in the fantasy world, you can't cut from the CIC to the fantasy world. It's- he looks like he's completely irresponsible.
So now we're involved in the plot. The rescue attempt and all that is fine. I don't have a problem with it conceptually. I think it's a nice little piece of business. I always like playing some of the realities of being stuck on a spaceship. This all interesting detail work about oxygen masks and vacuums. I do take delight in exploding the myth, the Hollywood myth, about human beings not being able to survive in a vacuum for any length of time. It's like that scene in- oh, I'm gonna blow the name. What's the Schwarzenegger film where they're on Mars. It's not True Lies, which is what I want to say, but I can't- It's a Verhoe- It's the Verhoeven film. Everyone listening to this podcast will probably know the film I'm talking about. But essentially he's- Total Recall, thank you. He's in Total Recall and there's a sequence where they're outside in the Martian atmosphere and it's virtually a vacuum. There's very little atmosphere and their eyes explode and all these horrible things happen. And it's a staple of Hollywood productions that people in vacuums just exp- pop like balloons. And doing research on this at Trek, that's not true. It doesn't happen that way. People can survive in a hard vacuum for a short amount of time. And they even did this way back in 2001. He's- when the astronaut survives in the hard vacuum for a few seconds to get from point A to point B. So it's always fun to do that, 'cause you're still- people- it's counterintuitive to the audience at this point. They've become so inured to this idea that "vacuum equals death" that when you take 'em through the process like this and really say you're really gonna expose character to a vacuum, the audience goes, "Huh? What? Really?" And it give you this- it's a cheap way of getting you a bit of jeopardy.
But again, I think this story's just working way too hard for what it is. We haven't- the tale was not constructed to really go in-depth on Tyrol and Cally. It was supposed to be a small story that included Tyrol and Cally and their small jeopardy and because of the Adam- problems in the Adama-Carolanne story, we're just leaning heavier on this story to carry- the weight of the show and ultimately that's just not a good- choice.
The Carolanne-Adama story. I think, again, to analyze what we wanted to do, and where I think we went wrong, I think that Carolanne as conscience, or- not even as conscience. Carolanne as commentator on his day, on who he is, as the voice to talk to him and to us as he goes through the routines of his day and deconstructing the man and deconstructing his soul and trying to take him apart brick by brick, because that's what she did in their marriage. I think that's an interesting idea. I think that what we have now is her being a bitch and strange and drinking too much and you don't really get enough time in the relationship to care about her and to care about the fact that he cares about her. You- it's indicated around the corners but it's not really fully realized. And, for instance, here. This in some ways is the most genuine, heartfelt moment of the show. Cally and Tyrol embracing in the launch tube, facing their- the possibility of their death, worrying about their son. That there's honest emotion there. But, the most honest emotion in this show should not be on that storyline. That should- this shoulda been a quick sequence that was done with and over, and we were on the other story. And unfortunately you're heart now, in the third act, is drawn over to this storyline. And the story isn't about them. And- because we didn't h- we didn't really get into deeper things about Tyrol. We didn't get into deeper things about Cally. We didn't get int- explore a lot of fresh territory between the two of them as characters. When you get to this moment of the two of them holding each other in their arms and being very emotional about it, I think there's a feeling of being cheated by the audience. That you're watching it and you're going, "I haven't- they haven't really earned that."
Act three. Again, Gary Hart- Gary Hart. Sorry, Gary Hutzel, and his visual effects team really doing gangbuster service once again for us on all these visual effects of the Raptor and spotting all the detail work on the hatch, and so on. I think that the toughest thing in this whole concept was- flying these two out of the launch tube. And we did 'em on wires, of course. How else could you do it? We put 'em on wires, put 'em in the harnesses, flew them out, and then everything else is CGI. The Raptor is CGI. This shot looking into the Raptor is not, of course. That's the actual actors on the set. But the big catch coming up is an entirely CGI sequence. And you're starting to see the places where CGI is actually starting to become more effective and better, not just from a budgetary standpoint, but actually a reality standpoint, to deliver certain ideas and certain sequences. And one of them is the idea of bodies moving through a weightless environment. Putting actors in harnesses and acting them to act and move correctly in a weightless- and pretend like they're in a weightless environment is really difficult. It's- virtually impossible on a TV schedule, 'cause you need time. It needs practice. There's lots of issues with weight and balance and- it's almost- it's a ballet. They have to do it a believable way. So here we've got- I love this sh- the looking up shot. The shot from below Galactica is a great one. So these guys go flying out of the airlock here in just a second. Blow the hatch. Hatch goes. I like the hit on the Raptor. OK. Those guys fly out. We- we're off it really quick, 'cause it looks terrible. They don't fly out very believably at all. Then this shot of them go- tumbling through space and then hitting into the Raptor. That's all CGI. It happens very fast and we want it to happen fast 'cause we don't want you to look at it too long, but virtually the entire scene from the moment that they- that the actors themselves leave the launch tube until they're inside the ship is virtually all CGI and that's all Gary Hutzel and his guys saving our ass, once again, in the editing room, when you're looking at footage and going, "Oh my God, does this suck? How are the fuck are we going to pay this off and make this work?" And Gary comes through. That's why you have a post-production, because they're supposed to save you.
Back to the Carolanne story. I think that a mistake that writers often make in rooms, and this is my mistake, and I'm guilty of this, is that you th- you trick yourself into believing that one of your surprises is going to be more surprising than it is. And I th- remember discussing the episode in the writers' room, and we talked about, "OK, well who's Adama's wife and how are we gonna play her. And OK, we're gonna find out that they had a divorce and that the thing about her, actually she was an abusive mother. And actually, she was an alcoholic. And, oh my God, she was all these terrible things. And it wasn't just that Adama left. That Adama was this terrible guy who's too busy and he had to- he was always getting called away to his job in the military and that's why he left. That's what broke up the family." You're gonna learn that actually she was this- huge person. This giant- this larger than life personality, that she was gonna be such a force of nature that ultimately he had to leave her. That was part of it. These two shouldn't have been married and they couldn't get along and that when she left she was a terrible mother. And as writers, I think you talk yourself into believing that that's going to be a surprise, because you haven't indicated it. And you believe that on some level the audience- the audience's assumption proceeds on a straight line. That because you've told the audience early on that Adama is divorced, and that Adama is all work, and that he's committed to his job, and that all he seems to care about is his job. And you- that the audience will continue on that straight line and they will believe that fundamentally that marriage broke up because Adama was a bad husband, and father, and he- and the marriage broke up and it's his fault, and she's perfectly fine. And that eventually the audience will come to accept that as the backstory and will just believe it, and then when you do this episode and you show that actually she's not that. That she's a drunk, and that she's crazy on some level, and abusive, and she was abusive to the kids. That will be a surprise, and that will be the surprise of the episode. I think ultimately that's not true. I mean, the audience is: a) They're smarter than that. b) They've seen a lot of stories and they've seen this particular turn before. and c) There's no reason for them to proceed in a straight line from the initial concept. The audience is much more likely to assume that there- that Carolanne is an unlikeable person, because otherwise why would our hero have- not be still married to her? But... you're in the room, and you're working on these stories. And you're looking f- I think you get caught up in looking for the final twist. You're now in a situation where you're doing the "day in the life" story. Which is a tricky, very detailed concept to deal with, and you're already starting to chicken out. You're starting to chicken out by having more jeopardy than the concept deserves, by that launch tube thing. You're chickening out by introducing all these other storylines that you have to service. And now you're chickening out by saying, "And there's gonna be a big surprise for the audience in the end." And the big surprise about Carolanne, the reason why we're doing this episode, is to tea- tell you that, "Hey, Carolanne was a scary monster." And essentially by chickening out all those times, you've destroyed the fundamental idea of what the show is. And now it's a show about how Cally and Tyrol are almost killed in a launch tube and how Adama was married to this harridan who was a drunk, and an abusive mother, and was really bad to their son. And I don't know that that's a story that we should've told. I'm not sure that we- no, I am sure. It's not a story we should have told. That's not really the direction that we should've gone, both for the episode in question and for the series overall. To be clear, I don't think that this episode- this ep- the immediate comparison, I'm sure people listening to this podcast, the regular listeners of this podcast, will make- Oh. There's the end of the act. I'll come back.
Coming back here in the top of the act. The comparison a lot of people who listen to this podcast may make is to last season's episode "Black Market", which is- now lives in infamy because it the first one I came out and said, "OK. This episode sucks. So we're gonna talk about all the reasons why." I don't think of this as "Black Market" because "Black Market" upset me and disappointed me because we had- just turned out such a conventional piece of television and I knew that we had failed to live up what we- what the marching orders were for the epi- for the series. For what we were trying to achieve and we had s- somehow convinced ourself that a story had more weight and import than it did and it was- had moved into being pretentious on some level. I feel differently about this episode and you could say that maybe that's just my rationalization. I don't feel that way about this episode. I feel like this is a misfire, but it's a more of an honest misfire. I know, thinking back through the story process and how we got here, I can always remember the intention of trying to do something interesting and in depth and detailed about these characters and their lives. The desire not to do just another episode, to break new ground again. But in hindsight I can look back and say, "Oh, and there's where you deviated from that course, and you deviated from there again. And when you add it all up you just completely went in a different direction." But I know that our intentions were somewhat purer this time out. I mean, I don't know. Maybe they are equally as flawed and equally as bad, but I- in some eyes, but to me I don't intensely dislike this episode. I intensely disliked "Black Market". This episode I just feel disappointed in, regretful, and wish that I had approached it from a different perspective and been more rigorous, I think, with what we were trying to do when when we were going through the initial story break. 'Cause Mark Verheiden did a fine job of writing the episode. I don't think- he took the notes well. I don't think he delivered an episode that I didn't want. I think it's well directed. I think the performances are good. It just doesn't add up to its premise. It betrays its own premise. I mean, the title, in a real sense, the title was the only remnant of the original idea. If I didn't tell you that this story was called, "A Day in the Life," you probably would never say, "Well, oh yeah. That's the 'day in the life' episode."
I do like this little beat here. I'm sorry I'm skipping over so much that's actually onscreen on this podcast. I like this little beat with Cally and Tyrol in the iron lung, as it were. I think that's a really interesting juxtaposition of the family and the harshness of the mechanics involved.
Back to Lee. This storyline will continue. I mean, the idea of Lee's involvement with the trial. Lee's dealing with both the set- helping to set up the legal system and then direct involvement with the trial later, will continue. And I think it's a good way to go with him and I'm very happy to say that I know this pays off in a really cool way, and that it really takes us in a really great direction, so I'm very happy that we did do this. Like I said, initially, I think maybe the setup to it is a little awkward. Maybe somewhat dropping on the audience that Lee has an interest in le- the law, and that he might have any glancing acquaintance with any of these issues might be startling the first time. That said, I think, OK, that one I think you swallow, move on. I think you have to allow a TV show to invent things. You have to allow them to say things about the characters that they didn't intend at the very beginning. And I think you have to allow the show to grow and to evolve over time. And to discover things about the characters that you didn't know. If everything about the character is known or indicated in the pilot or the miniseries that creates it, then you have nothing left to discover along the way. And so I don't- I would argue that suddenly saying that Lee has an interest in the law, I would argue that that's a perfectly acceptable turn to do as a showrunner and as somebody guiding the storyline.
[??:??]There was a beat that I do regret losing in this that I don't think we ever filmed, 'cause I think I was too afraid, 'cause I was having such a fight about it at the time was- There was an explicit reference to the fact that she- still had a joint left from New Caprica. In the scene from during the "missing year" that we shot for "Unfinished Business". That Adama and Laura got high on New Caprica and there was a reference, and I think that you saw it in the episode, if I remember the first draft, there was a beat here where she had the- she still had a joint and it was- Oh, no! I'm sorry. I'm mixing that up. I regret that. They did. They did refer to it here, they refer to the fact that she still had a joint someplace, on Colonial One, but there was another reference in "Unfinished Business". That's right. The end of "Unfinished Business", there was a beat with Laura back in her cabin where she opened something and it was still a- a joint was taped to a piece of paper that she had saved, from her. I think it was in her diary, or something like that. And it was still there. She took it out and smoked it and we- cut that at the time, 'cause we were so- having such a battle with the Standards and Practices about it, and- there was a reference in this script to getting high again, or that she might still have it, but it was cut at such an early stage and it was just one more flag, and it- I think I was in the middle of having the fight with them about- with having to fight with Standards and Practices about showing the joint in "Unfinished Business" at all, and I think I didn't want to wave the red flag in front of me by referring to it in yet another script that wasn't even coming before the censors at that point.
I do like this little scene with Laura and Adama. In the editing podcast I think you'll hear me say that I wanted it to be much more simplified. It was intended to be much more subtextual. That I wanted to cut a lot of this dialogue and have- essentially say it with looks. When that cut came in, there was nothing there. I mean, sometimes you sit in editing and you say, "I wanna play all this in looks, and they should just look at each other, and it's all in subtext, and you get it." And sometimes that works, and it plays without the dialogue, and sometimes you just have two people looking at each other and it doesn't mean a damn thing. And this one of those cases when we had to say, "Well, OK. That's Adama and Laura looking at each other." He looks. She looks. He pauses. She pauses. She looks away. He looks away. And it didn't mean anything. So we- ended up going back and restoring a lot of the dialogue and restoring the scene which is unfortunate because I don't think the scene is as effective as conveying the emotion as you want it to be, and I think it would have been more effective if we had been able to do it just subtextually.
See, this scene here. This final scene between Carolanne and Adama, I wish had this chemistry that I was talking about earlier. I wish there was a- like a true spark between these two people. Because at this moment your heart should be breaking for them. You should be caught up in the fact that she was an abusive mother, and he hates her on some level, but he loves her on some level. And you should be just going, "Oh my God. She's such a- she's such a force of nature and yet he loves her, and I don't know what I think about her, and I'm torn, and I can-" You should just be in this really difficult position where you're n- you can't make up your mind how you feel about Carolanne and Adama. But in the- final cut I don't- know that you feel anything. And ultimately, if you don't feel anything, we have failed to tell you a good story.
So that is going to be the end of the podcast for episode fourteen, "A Day in the Life". I will do the next podcast today, because I am well behind on my podcasting duties. Just slap me on the wrists. So in a- after I have my lunch, I will do the podcast for "Dirty Hands", which is a, I feel better about it as an episode, and I think is a more fully realized episode. Thank you for listening, and I will talk to you on the next episode. Good night and good luck.