30 Days of TV – Day 22

Day 22 – Best pilot episode

Another cheat; I specifically avoided mentioning Galactica for “favorite mini-series” so I could use it as the best pilot. (Besides, the HBO miniseries are deserving of a lot of praise.)

A lot of the shows I’ve seen suffered from an acute case of “pilotitis,” where the developers tried to cram too much into a single hour (or less). Most shows with really bad pilots end up cancelled—see Detroit 1-8-7 or The Cape. Stargate SG-1 is a good example of this; even with a two-parter, the show feels rushed and awkward, trying to explain the mythology of the feature film while also setting up the basis for the TV show. Parts of it are just sloppy—yeah, I know it’s in Teal’c’s character to turn on his men and free SG-1, but how the hell would O’Neill know that when he shouts out to Teal’c? Sigh.

Having a mini-series pilot gives a couple of advantages. The pilot is obviously longer, because it’s a “mini-series event” instead of just a pilot. And it gives a lot of publicity, being an “event” and all, instead of just the ho-hum start of a show at the beginning of a season. Lastly, and most importantly, the pilot will probably have a bigger budget than the show, giving them a great place to showcase the strong visuals (and build up a stock footage library for the trailers, title sequence, etc.).

I remember the countdown to the Galactica show, including Sci-Fi replaying the original series. Most of all, what sold me was the mini-series. Here, the show’s setup is explained and expanded. The show doesn’t have to explain the history between man and cylon, or why there’s just a lone fleet of 50,000 human survivors searching for earth; the mini-series did that, so that info can be repeated in the title sequence. As a pilot, it’s very well-rounded. Plenty of action, a lot of the human drama, great visuals, plus it builds the mystery of the human-like cylon sleeper agents.

I ended up moving in the middle of season 1, so I only remember seeing the first five episodes. Flash forward a few years, and Tenandys pulled it out so everyone would become familiar with Galactica. We only got through to “Bastille Day,” if that, but it convinced me to pick up the season 1 DVD and finish the damn first season for once. So I’ve seen the mini-series about three times, and it’s great  each time. It showcases the best of what the series would offer: action, drama, great acting, tight pacing. The benefits of having a decent budget and three hours to tell the Cylon Invasion backstory in.

Day 01 – A show that should have never been canceled – Jericho
Day 02 – A show that you wish more people were watching – Fringe
Day 03 – Your favorite new show (aired this TV-season) – Game of Thrones
Day 04 – Your favorite show ever – Battlestar Galactica (2004)
Day 05 – A show you hate – various micro-rants
Day 06 – Favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – The Oath/Blood on the Scales
Day 07 – Least favorite episode of your favorite t.v show – Black Market
Day 08 – A show everyone should watch – Better Off Ted
Day 09 – Best scene/episode ever – Out of Gas
Day 10 – A show you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving – NCIS
Day 11 – A show that disappointed you – Heroes
Day 12 – A TV show you’ve watched more than 4 times – Robotech
Day 13 – Favorite childhood show – Talespin
Day 14 – Favorite male character – The Doctor
Day 15 – Favorite female character – Laura Roslin
Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show – Top Gear
Day 17 – Favorite mini series – Band of Brothers
Day 18 – Favorite title sequence – Rescue Me
Day 19 – Best t.v show cast – Firefly
Day 20 – Favorite kiss – Adama and Roslin, Galactica, The Oath
Day 21 – Favorite relationship – William Adama and Laura Roslin
Day 22 – Best pilot episode – Battlestar Galactica
Day 23 – Most annoying character
Day 24 – Best quote
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)
Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale
Day 27 – Favorite series finale
Day 28 – First t.v show obsession
Day 29 – Current t.v show obsession
Day 30 – Saddest character death

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