As keynote speaker for the recent New York Television Festival “Development Day,” Battlestar Galactica and Caprica creator Ronald D. Moore addressed many different aspects of creating and sculpting the new incarnation of BSG. He also discussed how he broke into the business and the eight years he spent working as a writer and producer on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. The best and funniest moment during the 55-minute discussion emerged when one fan asked Moore why the decision was made in Battlestar to use technology that was similar to, and in some cases behind, our own. His response to the question was illuminating not only in that the audience learned how good the esteemed writer was at doing impersonations, but also how ridiculous sci-fi gets when it becomes diluted by Hollywood formula and how it inspired him to build a better show.
Ron Moore on the reason to not let technology overshadow the characters on Battlestar Galactica:
“That was in the original inception of the show, and that was really a reaction against Star Trek. It’s easy for me to bash Star Trek because I lived and breathed it so long, but I loved it, so let’s make that clear. I don’t hate Star Trek by any means, but I got very frustrated with the amount of technobabble I had to write on it. It became the solution to so many stories and plotlines. You would just be writing these endless pages… It was so mechanical that we had science consultants who would just come up with the words for us. If you look at those scripts you’ll see that.
Picard would say: ‘Commander La Forge, tech the tech to the warp drive.’
Geordi: ‘Captain, the tech is over teching!’
‘Well, the auxiliary tech to the tech, Mr. La Forge.’
‘No, Captain, I’ve tried to tech the tech, but it won’t work!’
And then Data pops in and says: ‘Captain, there is a theory that if you tech the other tech…’
It’s a rhythm and it works anyplace. It’s not about anything except going through this dance of how they tech their way out of it. It became so frustrating and so annoying, I just swore I was never going to write those scenes anymore. I just decided from the outset [of Battlestar] that I wanted a phone to look like a phone and wanted a retro technology. I justified it in the story because they had this back story with the Cylons — the technology had rebelled and they had gone backwards. I thought it was interesting to go that route and make the technology relatable in the same way that their coats and ties were relatable as well.”