The Battlestar Galactica Webisodes ...
The television series Battlestar Galactica, re-imagined for the twenty-first century, has consistently been at the cutting edge of television and cross-media.
Executive producer Ronald D. Moore and the Battlestar team utilise not just blogs and production-side videoblogs, but also episodic commentary podcasts. They’ve made deleted scenes available online as well as having put up two full episodes free for viewing. BSG was one of the first shows available via iTunes.
It should be no surprise that the latest Battlestar-related venture is pushing the boundaries of television as we conventionally know it (and, no, I don't mean the inevitable spin-off series Caprica). The Sci-Fi channel is currently releasing two webisodes per week until the US launch of season three of BSG on October 6th.
As Moore mentions in his blog, "We're very excited about the Webisodes and I think they're unlike anything anyone has done in this arena to date, so I hope you'll all take a moment to check them out." Moore makes a point to list the full credits as well, since there was something of a pay controversy as to how the cast and crew should be paid for the webisodes.
SF fans might point out that the latest Doctor Who series was accompanied by the Tardisodes.These 30-second teasers may have contained original footage related to upcoming episodes, but they were exclusively targeted to mobile phone users. While the BBC didn't charge for this mobile content, the telecos certainly did! There were Real video versions released online, but these were of extremely poor quality and clearly illustrated that the media was created and intended primarily for small-screen portable media devices.
The BSG webisodes set a higher target, with the ten segments culminating in almost a full thirty minutes of original media or the best part of an original episode of one of the best written and produced shows currently being made. An article in the The New York Times, "Sci Fi Creates 'Webisodes' to Lure Viewers to TV", mentions there will be ten webisodes all up, attempting to replicate the production values and gritty realism of the show itself.
However, the Times article also notes that these webisodes are testing new boundaries for online trans-media storytelling: "It was challenging on several levels," said Erik Storey, vice president of programming at Sci Fi. "Each of the Webisode chapters had to be close-ended, with a beginning, a middle and an end, and each of those chapters is going to be three minutes, four minutes. And there had to be a little cliffhanger ending for each one."