January 30, 2005
Q & A

"Will there be any development between characters on what distinguishes a Sagitaran from Caprican, Virgon, or any of the 12 Colonies? Did they develop seprately their own cultures and even different religions on their worlds? I'm glad the element of different worlds or nationalities was kept in the show."

This is an area we didn't get a chance to get very far with in the first season, and I'm hoping we explore more fully in the second. I think that some of the Colonies have developed very different cultures and attitudes from one another and that it's rich ground for us. We alluded to some differences here and there, but mostly we talked about the "Federal" (for lack of a better word) governmental structures. We do know that there was a sizable opposition to the Colonial government. Leoben claimed to be an arms dealer supplying freedom fighters or terrorists, depending on your point of view, and Tom Zarek was the jailed leader of a sometimes violent opposition, so it stands to reason that there are a wide variety of views, some of which come into violent conflict with one another. It's also worth bearing in mind that one of the uses for which the Cylons were originally used by the Colonies was as soldiers in their wars against one another.

"I'm part of the nitpick brigade, but since the Colonies are obviously modelled after the US system of government, right down to the line of succession, are legislative and judicial branches? If so what are they called and will we see any manifestation of either branch take shape as series progresses?"

In Episode 11, "Colonial Day" we'll see the reinstatement of the Quorum of Twelve, a political body established in the original series, which seems to be a cross between a US style Senate and the UN Security Council, where each Colony has a single vote. Presumably there was also a larger representative legislative body and some kind of separate judiciary. There is also a religious body, (unnamed thus far) that acts in some advisory capacity to the government, along the lines of the British House of Lords. Although we haven't dealt with it yet, Elosha was probably a member of this body.

"Do you listen to music while you write? If so any specific bands or cds? Does effect what you write about? If not you, then do any of your writers listen to music? If so, again, any bands or cds?"

Years ago, I would never listen to music of any kind while I wrote, but in the last years of Deep Space Nine, I started listening to Sinatra and the rest of the Rat Pack and I got hooked on music as a background and inspiration while writing. The trend continued at Roswell and Carnivale, and now I sometimes even have the TV on, with CNN or some classic movie playing. I don't have a favorite to listen to, as the mood seems to change with the specific script or show I'm working on. My tastes are pretty eclectic anyway -- everything from Okinawan house rock (sort of jingle jangle honky-tonk), to electronica, the Beatles, Bach, standards, and my wife has recently turned me on to the glories of funk.

"In the last two episodes it is noted by the priestess that the the thirteen tribes left Kobol about "2000 years ago" and the initial esitmate of the age of the ruins is the same, but nothing is concrete of course. This is where I have a problem: They were obviously a star faring civilization to leave Kobol to being with. To do so requires information technology. Why is their history of that time so sketchy and lacking of concrete records? Yes it was 2000 years in the past but come on, it's not like they only had papyrus to write on. "

I've been presupposing some kind of cataclysm or crisis that occured soon after mankind settled on the 12 worlds which either wiped out the knowledge base or had it deliberately destroyed for some reason. This doesn't seem that implausible when one considers that a tremendous amount of knowledge from the Greco-Roman tradition was lost after the fall of the Roman Empire and plunged the western world into the so called Dark Ages. Clearly, the Colonials did not fall all the way back to papyrus, and they do in fact, know that they are descendants of refugees from Kobol, hence the term "Colonies." They must have possessed star-faring technology at the time of the exodus, but I don't know how far we'll go into this specific backstory in the series, however.

"I have a question regarding the actress who plays Starbuck. How did you come across Katee Sackoff? I don't think I've ever seen any of her other work and was wondering what was it about her that caught your eye? She's quite talented, and she seems to have made the role her own."

Katee was also a regular on the short-lived, but critically acclaimed series, "The Education of Max Bickford." Katee auditioned for the role along with many other actresses, and simply blew them all away. Sometimes we get lucky.

"Granted that a season two at this point is just ink on paper punctuated by a big question mark, but I have a “practical� question to ask. Should the series move forward, to what extent would you want to explore the practical issues of life in the fleet–you’ve touched on the basics of food, fuel and water, but how about problems such as finding enough doctors to treat the population, providing life support on ships not originally intended as passenger vessels and dealing with the inevitable fiefdoms arising on these mix and match metal life rafts? "

I would very much like to continue exploring these issues in the second year and beyond. I'm intrigued by playing the situation as realistically as dramatically possible and I think these sorts of questions are wonderful material for the show.

"Are you using military advisors and if so from what branch? "

We don't have a full time military advisor on staff. However, we did have an advisor on set during the miniseries, who also put the principal actors through a "boot camp" before shooting. I can't honestly remember his name or service branch (sorry if you're reading this!) As far as the scripts go, Bradley Thompson, David Weddle, and I provide a lot of the military technical details based on our own knowledge base.

"I'll second the question - why is it that the paper in the Galactica universe has the corners cut off, even the tractor fed printer sheets! i just want to know."

This is a closely guarded secret of the show and certainly not a wacky design element that someone came up with during the miniseries.

"Don't know if this has been addressed elsewhere already: Do Apollo and Helo already know each other at the start of the show? I recently reviewed the mini and noticed that in the Ready room scene where Apollo is introduced and told he will fly Husker's Viper, when first introduced, Helo waves and Lee gives him one of those "oh, hey!" looks of familiarity, then when Lee isn't thrilled about flying his dad's Viper, Helo is the only one who *doesn't* look confused, he just smiles and turns back around."

I don't think they knew each other prior to the pilot. Lee probably had never set foot on the Galactica before then. I think the look was something improvised on the set.

"You mentioned that the reason that the Galactica was so low-tech was that it was designed to fight the Cylons, who could possibly infiltrate it's systems, and that this was one of the reasons it survived. If that is so, then who were the other ships designed to fight? The 120 ships alluded to are a big force just for border patrol. Are there aliens we should know about? "

The first Cylon War came very close to wiping out the Colonies, and so when the Armistice was declared, the government maintained a large standing military force for quite some time, just in case.

"Mythos. Every science fiction show that stands the test of time needs to develop its own Mythos. By this I mean, its own unique cultural identity. For instance Star Wars has its Jedi, its Force; Star Trek has its Prime directive, beaming, and warps speed. As a writer you are aware of this and having worked in the Star Trek franchise are rather qualified in it. What will are your thoughts and insights into the development of Mythos in this new BSG child that you are tending to and caring for?
Especially, since there seems to be heavy pressure to incorporate the original mythos themes of the show, will this be a guiding blueprint for thought, or just a framework to create? "

The mythology of the new Galactica is heavily influenced by that established in the original. I've always approached this project with an eye toward taking the original material and making it work in a new context. I still try to do this whenever possible. Does it make sense that there would be a star system with 12 inhabitable planets? Not really, but that was in the original and at some point I decided to run with that as another nod to the old show. The mythology of the old show centered around Kobol and the thirteen "tribes of man," so I've kept it as the centerpiece of ours. Not every single element is the same and not every element is even intact, but the roots are there. The point was to make another version of Battlestar Galactica, not just use the name.

"I was watching Wing Commander last night with my wife and she made a comment that the Kilrathi fighter looked pretty similar to the Cylon Raider. I know that some of the production staff from Wing Commander went on to begin production on the DeSanto continuation, but is there in fact any sort of link here? I mean I first thought Droid Fighter from Star Wars: Episode One, but that seems to be some kind of common design going on. "

"Wing Commander" is frequently mentioned to me as a possible influence on the show, but I've never actually seen it. While it's possible that other members of the production team were influenced by it, it wasn't something that figured into my thinking. My own design influences were things like "Das Boot" "Blade Runner" "Alien/Aliens" and a stack of documentaries on the modern and history US and Royal Navies.

"My questions: Can the show explain a little more about their technology, for example how fast are the FTL jumps. It seems the fleet barely moves when not jumping, if the jumps are only light speed and not multiples of, some of the sublight ships could conceivably catch up (the ones not destroyed by cylons)"

An FTL Jump is nearly instantaneous, essentially moving a ship from point A to point B without travelling through the normal space-time continuum, presumably by bending space around the ship in some way. The analogy I used during production was to imagine three dimensional space as a flat piece of two dimensional paper. To get from one side to the other, you can travel in a straight line across the page, or you can gently bend the sheet in half and cross from edge to edge virtually instantly. How this is accomplished and what is the basis of this technology outstrips my technical brainpower.

In fact, I feel faint just coming up with that explanation...

"Did the colonies have outposts, bases, or trade partners outside of the 12 colonies. Did they even explore other systems. The colonies could have had observatories, listening posts, or even scientific research teams exploring other planets beyond the colonial system(s). They could encounter any of these which could lead to supplies, raw materials, food, fuel etc. "

I think that's probably true, but part of our premise is that the fleet has Jumped far out into unexplored space in an effort to elude the Cylons, so we won't be encountered any other outposts or colonies.

"1) What is the "dradis"? Is it like sonar or radar?"

It's our version of radar.

"2) In the MS, what does "krypter, krypter, krypter" mean? Is it like an SOS?"

It's our version of "mayday, mayday, mayday."

"3) What's the acronym "CAG" stand for?"

Commander Air Group, meaning the senior pilot in charge of all aircraft in the group embarked aboard ship. I know that the nomenclature sounds anachronistic, but my reasoning was that terms like this would most likely live well beyond their origins and still be in use even when the "planes" involved were actually spacecraft.

"Are there any similarities between your reconception of the BG universe and where you might have gone if you'd been given the reigns of Voyager? "

There are similiarities in the premise of the two shows, so yes, there are things I'm applying here that I would've like to have done in Voyager, i.e., lack of resources, the development of unique cultural and civil institutions, and internal strife among people trapped aboard ship(s) without any reasonable hope of finding sanctuary anytime soon.

"What made you decide to show glimpses of the current episode at the end of the opening credits? Oh, and could you please stop doing that? (:"

This is a trick that "Space: 1999" used to do and I proudly stole it from them. And, no, I won't. Nice try, though.

"Does James Callis' uncanny resemblance to Alexander Siddig in almost every way ever freak you out?"

Not until someone on these boards mentioned it, now I'm totally freaked.

"I have a friend who has a son and they both enjoy watching the new Battlestar Galactica. But it is a very frustrating thing when he cannot allow his son watch the show when there are sex scenes and constant sexual innuendo scattered throughout the episodes.

The standard of the stories are superb and I would have to say it is one of the finest sci fi series I have seen in a long time. BUT IT DOESNT NEED SEX TO GET THE VIEWERS. Call me a little old fashioned but I nor others that I know really appreciate having to endure sex scenes that really do not further the story in any significant way. In fact I think they are rather pointless."

First of all, I'm sorry your friend can't watch the show with his son, but I always intended this series to be for adults. I have two small children, and I wouldn't dream of letting them watch the show -- mostly because of the violent content. Second of all, I disagree that the sexuality is intended to be exploitative or that it's somehow not integral to the story. We're presenting adult human beings as adults, and their sexuality is a key part of their lives. Baltar's sexual weaknesses, Sharon & Tyrol's forbidden love affair, and Starbuck's promiscuity are part of who and what they are. I think the only reason this gets the kind of attention is does is that we're not used to seeing sex treated maturely in science fiction -- nine times out of ten, any sex is either something to snigger at or to make fun of. Somehow it's okay to fetishize sex by putting women in S&M leather "space" outfits or have Carrie Fisher run around in harem clothes (not that there's anything wrong with that), but to portray two mature adults simply having sex is somehow controversial in sci-fi circles.

I'd also point out, as I have many times before, the strange standards of American audiences, who can become red-faced with indignation over nudity, but find no problem with slasher films or chains-saw massacres. I mean, Galactica's premised on a massive genocide, and the pilot deals with violent, shocking deaths over and over again, but people get upset about the sex? Weird....

"It's probably been asked before, but I'm curious as to whom is in the picture in the Viper Pilot's briefing room, facing away from the camera . . . the one the pilots, including Commander Adama, touch when they enter and leave? This is touching, and is a wonderful human element to the story. So who is it?"

There was a scene cut from "33" where we saw Laura being given her copy of the photo along with a card that said it was taken on the roof of the capitol building on Aerilon during the attack. The photo was inspired by the famous shot of the fire-fighters raising the flag at Ground Zero that became iconic. I thought the Colonies would have their own version of this -- a snapshot taken in the moment that becomes a symbol of the day they can never forget and of all they had lost. The photo itself is of a soldier falling to his knees (possibly shot or simply overcome by emotion) as he stands on the rooftop over looking the devastation of his city, while the Colonial flag waves at the edge of frame. The inscription below the photo on Laura's plaque reads, "Lest We Forget" in itself a reference to the inscription on the watch presented to John Wayne's character in "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon."

January 27, 2005
Delayed Reaction

One of the strange things about writing and producing television is the delay between action and reaction. Tomorrow night's episode was written almost a year ago. The battles, thoughts, emotions, disappointments, and victories happened in what seems like the distant past, so when I sit down to watch the show along with the rest of you (and I do watch them on the air) it's like seeing a page out of an old year book. I can remember bits and pieces of the production process, the early drafts of the script, the days spent in the editing bay playing with the footage and waiting for the visual effects to be completed, but none of it is current, all of it belongs to a season now firmly planted in the past.

However, I do find that the same distance from the rigors of production also afford a better vantage point for watching the show with something approaching objectivity. You get so used to an episode during all the aspects of production that the simple pleasure of watching it as a piece of entertainment is slowly vacuumed away over time. Only now, months after the fact, can I watch these shows from a little remove and my impressions of the episodes are often not the same as when we produced them.

For instance, during the shoot of "Water" and shortly afterward, I was acutely aware of just how long the script was and how much material was going to have to be lost along the way. I was fairly upset with myself for writing something so bloated and large that it was killing us on the stage and would later require major surgery in the editing room to make our mandated runtime. The first cut of "Water" ran 10-12 minutes long -- essentially an entire act that had to go -- and for a long time when I watched the final locked picture I was always uncomfortably aware of the "cheats" involved. That is, the dropped scenes, the internal cuts made to scenes that made a hash of some of the logic I'd tried to lay out, the half-expressed thoughts, the missing emotional beats, etc.

However, when I saw the final aired episode, I was hard-pressed to even remember most of the cuts or why they had bothered me in the first place. (Although I still missed a nice bit with Baltar in the Wardroom, where he tossed off a theory of how six small charges could've blown open the water tank, as it was both helpful to the plot and an entertaining bit of grandstanding by the character.) Frankly, I used to think of "Water" as one of the weaker shows in the first season, but now it seems like a fairly coherent piece.

Of course, this kind of shift in perspective after shedding the baggage of production works both ways, and I've found that sometimes revisited shows much later that I'd always considered to be "classics" turned out to lose their charm along with the experience of making it. So as we go forward, I'm both excited and vaguely terrified at how I'll view the rest of the season.

Speaking of excited and terrified, I must admit to being overwhelmed by the response you've generated regarding this blog. There's a remarkable backlog of questions on the board and I'll try to both post here more often and answer more of your questions. I don't know what to tell you in terms of what will catch my eye, but I'll try to look for both the straight-ahead fan questions and the more off the wall questions -- don't be afraid to venture far off-topic, some of the more interesting discussions I had at Trek had nothing to do with the show itself.

January 20, 2005
Q & A

" How did you transform the characters from TOS to TNS? Did you just sit down and
Think “Well I’ll make Adama a veteran commander on the verge of retirement, instead of a Moses figure�. What did you use for inspiration for Adama and other characters, Baltar in particular. Some authors, for instance, will raid the diaries of real people."

I would never raid someone's diary for inspiration unless it was within reach.

The beginning of the process involved thinking about the characters as pieces within the larger context of the show: The commander, his son, his son's friend, the loyal second in command, and the traitor. They were the inner circle of the original show, the core characters that made the drama work. Understanding how they interrelated and how they moved the show forward was essential to understanding the show itself. After that, it was mostly a matter of thinking about them and their interactions with one another -- what's an interesting father/son dynamic? What are the issues peculiar to this relationship that set it apart and what are the common chords we all understand?

Adama's journey was tied to that of his ship. Galactica herself was, in my mind, a glorious old bird from another time. I could appreciate the heroic lines of her shape and the triumphant step of the original theme, so when it came time to think about what the new Galactica would be, I essentially felt like we should treat her like the original ship suddenly transposed to this this setting -- an old, proud, handsome woman about to take a well-deserved retirement after a long and successful career, only to be suddenly recalled to duty. Adama would reflect his ship -- an old, proud, warrrior about to fade away into retirement.

"Do Chief Tyrol, Dualla and Lt Gaeta have first names? And if so, what are they?"

Only the Chief has a first name so far: Galen.

"Why couldn't you have done this series as a 40 yr after TOS instead of redueing it ?"

I wasn't interested in the continuation story. I saw more to be gained by going back and retelling the tale from the beginning than by picking up the story 20 or 40 years later. I personally never thought a continuation was a bad idea, but it simply didn't interest me as a writer.

"Col Tigh , you took a military man and turned him into a drunk . A strong dedicated man and made him self absorb, incorrigable . Why?"

I wanted a new dynamic between the CO and the XO. Typically, the second in command is a kinda thankless task (just ask Commander Riker) and tends to fall into the "I agree with everything you just said, sir" category except for carefully delineated objections and arguments. His "command decision ability" isn't really the core of the character, since that primary role is assigned to the commander. So the task is make the character of the XO and his interaction with both the crew and the commander interesting on its own. I was definitely influenced by the character of Cmdr. Eddington played by Kirk Douglas in "In Harm's Way," who was both a drunk and morally challenged to say the least. However, I loved the fact that his CO, (John Wayne) valued him as an officer, kept him aboard ship and even promoted him eventually. I thought that relationship between the heroic captain and his flawed friend would be an interesting one if it were translated to the Galactica universe.

"Would you be willing to clear up Colonel Tigh's "Jesus" comment in the miniseries. As you probably know, many people have formed outrageous theories based on this one word."

I've seen a couple of postings on this topic, and truthfully I don't know what it's in reference to. It definitely wasn't in the script and I don't remember it in the show, but if it really does exist I'd say it was just an adlib on the set that made it into the final cut.

"My question has to do with the music. While I am a fan of the original series more out of nostalgia than anything else, I still think the original theme music is extremely evocative and powerful. I'm assuming you decided to go in a completely different direction with the score in keeping with the tone of the new show. Still, there are moments where I just wish the Battlestar theme would ring out or at the very least be hinted to -- if only to signal some glimmer of hope for these characters in the midst of their desperation. (Like in "Water" when Boomer is on the Raptor and finds what they have been searching for.) I realize the mini-series had a nod to the Stu Phillips theme as the "national anthem" during the flyby, but I can't help but feel that something is missing. I have the same feeling on shows that feature the Enterprise without the Courage fanfare.

Can you discuss the thought process behind the decision not to re-use the theme and how you and your staff came up with the musical direction of the series."

You pretty much hit it on the head when you said I just decided to go another direction. In fact, when I first pitched the series I made a specific point of saying we weren't going to go with a lush, orchestral score because it had been done to death. Michael Rymer, who directed the miniseries, and David Eick, my partner, had a tremendous amount of input into the score and worked directly with our composer, Richard Gibbs.

"My question is are you going to have a story arc that follows clues to the fable lost 13th colony?"

Yes, and by the end of the first season, you'll have an idea of how that will play out.

"in what sense religion (particularly as it relates to current events) has informed the inspiration behind the series and to what extent, if any, this relates back to how it informed Glen Larson's series."

The religious angle was something that evolved after the first draft of the miniseries. In that draft, I had mentioned, almost in passing, that Number Six believed in God and that really intrigued Michael Jackson (the executive, not the singer) who was working at the studio at the time. He suggested making it a bigger part of the show and also to more strongly play the Al-Queada/Cylon parallels. Both comments surprised and delighted me and I was more than happy to go in both those directions. The Colonials in the original were always mentioning the "Lords of Kobol" and I decided to make that literal rather than figurative and give them a polytheistic religion and the Cylons a monotheistic belief system. I found the clash of those two belief systems to be fascinating in our own history and thought it would be an interesting conflict in the show.

"This question is from the gamers...Are there any other military ships in the fleet? I know there are no other capital ships, but I was wondering if there were any minor military vessels remaining that would be the equivalent of destroyers, coast guard cutters, etc.? "

I always thought that the Colonial Fleet would have a variety of vessels for various purposes. The battlestars formed the nucleus of fleet, with battlegroups around them, much like modern day carrier groups. Battlestars are different in that unlike carriers, they also carry heavy weapons of their own and fight other opposing capital ships -- in a sense, they are a combination carrier/battleship. But there might also have been dedicated heavy gun ships and smaller carriers as well.

"It seems like Vipers are being blown up in large numbers--how many Vipers are on Galactica (I believe TOS had 4 color coded squadrons) and how are they being replaced if they can't be repaired? Is there a factory ship that makes them--or can Galactica make them from scratch?"

We haven't stared building new Vipers yet, but that's something I hope to start tackling in the second season. We're definitely keeping track of the numbers of ships and pilots and hopefully, the continuity will all hang together.

January 19, 2005
Let's Talk

Since SciFi has been kind enough to provide this space, it seems like a good opportunity to open up a dialog with you, the fans of the show. So in addition to providing you with my thoughts and reactions to the series as it unfolds, and various behind the scenes tales of derring-do, I'd like to also use this blog to answer your questions and respond to your comments. I used to do something like this at AOL during my tenure at Star Trek, and I really enjoyed the chance to communicate with the fan community, so why not do it again?

Judging from the volume of posts on the board, I don't think I'll be able to answer every question, so I suppose the best I can do is cherry-pick out a few representative questions each week. Did I say week? I meant to say, "cherry-pick out a few represenative questions WHEN I GET A CHANCE." I'm new to this whole blog business and as yet I haven't established a rhythm of posting here at all, so we'll just have to see how it goes.

For the first batch:

"What battlestar was Apollo from? Notice he's never mentioned it or the loss of friends from whatever squad he was assigned to."

In my first draft of the mini, Lee Adama had just been accepted into test pilot school on Caprica and was not currently assigned to any battlestar. Presumably, he had been posted to at least a couple of battlestar air groups in his career, as well as several ground assignments as well. This isn't canon yet, however, and I'm currently thinking of changing some elements of his specific backstory as I work on storylines for Season Two. Overall, I'd say Lee was striving (perhaps too hard) to blaze a different path for himself in the fleet from that of his father. I don't think Lee ever saw himself as a battlestar commander and was looking for a different way to make his mark.

"Why Colonial One looks so much like Airforce One? Was that deliberate?"

The design of the ship itself was meant to evoke commercial airlines and of course, present-day Air Force One is a modified 747. One of the things we discussed was trying to make Colonial One immediately identifiable amid the sea of other ships, so we started to make the color scheme and markings more distinctive and recognizable. It does evoke Air Force One at this point, and I'd say that helps with both recognition and with reminding the audience that it's the president's ship.

"Will we ever hear anything about other battlestars? Especially Pegasus?"

We have discussed the Pegasus storyline for a couple of years now. It's still tooling around inside my brain, but I haven't settled on a take yet. Call it a strong possibility at this point. No plans to see any other battlestars at present.

"Why is everything so low tech when clearly these humans are so advanced? It seems incongruous."

The plot explanation is that following the Cylon Uprising 40 years ago, Colonial society took a giant step backwards to protect itself from the technological nightmare it had unleashed. With their enemies able to hack into virtually any network, the Colonials had to rely on stand-alone technologies that we not connected to other components. Ships like the Galactica were designed with this in mind, as well as the old military philosophy of building equipment that will function even in the most dire of circumstances. You don't want to be using cordless phones when the ship is hit by a nuke and power is disrupted to say the least. You want something reliable and solid and preferably with a cord.

The creative explanation is that high-tech ships with touch screens and computers that talk has been done to death in my opinion. Also, having magical technology that does all the work for you tends to take the human beings out of the dramatic equation. I wanted a lower-tech Galactica so that we could put people back into scifi. This show is about our characters, not about the magical technology that they use.

On a personal note, I'd like to extend my thanks to everyone reading this blog and to all the millions of others out there who showed up in record numbers to watch our premiere last Friday. As much as I believed in this show, and as much as I truly felt satisfied with what we had done, there's always a bit of holding your breath to see if the audience will actually show up. To my everlasting gratitude, you did show up and I hope you continue to watch and enjoy the show.

I'm looking foward to continuing to talk with you all in the future and seeing your reactions to the rest of the season.

January 13, 2005
Why 33 minutes?

The truth is, there's no real answer. It's just a random number that felt right when I came up with the idea that our people were under continuous, relentless attack since the end of the pilot. I wanted it to be a short interval, just long enough for them to grab a bite to eat, jump in the shower and maybe try to catch a catnap before dragging themselves back to their duty stations and begin the whole tedious, terrifying ordeal all over again.

A deeper truth is, I was never interested in coming up with an explanation for Why? Never. I mean, I suppose I could've come up with a sufficiently important-sounding bit of technobabble that would've made sense (you see, the Cylon double-talk sensors tracking the Olympic Carrier's nonsense drive signature needed 15 minutes to relay the made-up data wave through the pretend continuum, then the Cylon navigational hyper silly system needed another 10 minutes to recalculate the flux capacitor, etc.) but what would that have really added to the drama? How does explaining that 33 minute interval help our understanding of Laura's terrible moment of decision, or bring us to any greater knowledge of Dualla's search for her missing family and friends, or yield insight into Baltar's morally shattered psyche?

It doesn't, of course. The answer, however artfully it may (or may not) have been crafted can only subtract from the experience we have in watching the episode. Not knowing the how's or why's of the Cylon attack puts us in the same seat as the characters we're watching. They're in the dark, and we're in the dark. The relentless attack is unfathomable in its origin and unstoppable in its execution. It's mortality coming at you on a loop. If you only had 33 minutes before the next time you could die, what would you do? And what about the time after that? And the time after that? At a certain point, you stop caring about why it's happening, all you know is that it is happening, and it's happening to you.

So the mystery of 33 will be permanent on this show. No explanation, not even the attempt. Let it just be a number that seemed like an eternity for five long days on the battlestar Galactica.