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Old 03-27-2008, 03:16 PM   #136
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Battlestar's End Is In Sight

Ronald D. Moore, co-executive producer of SCI FI Channel's original series Battlestar Galactica, told SCI FI Wire that knowing in advance that the show's upcoming fourth season would be its last greatly affected how the writing staff went about closing out the show.

"It informed everything," Moore said in an interview at the network's upfront presentation to advertisers in New York earlier this month. "We gathered with the writers before the season began and said, 'OK, this is the last year. We want to push to a resolution and let's talk about the end first.'"

In the fourth and final season, the crew of Galactica must contend with the sudden reappearance of Starbuck (Katee Sackhoff) and her revelation that she's been to Earth. Meanwhile, four people must deal with the sudden knowledge that they are Cylons.

"We talked about what the end of the series would be, and we've talked about the end of the series several times since," Moore said. "We keep refining it, changing some ideas about it, changing some of the parameters and just kind of continually finding it."

The recently ended writers' strike "stopped everything cold" after production had been completed on half of the final 20 episodes, Moore said. But it also provided an opportunity to assess the completed fourth-season episodes and take that into account as they prepared the final nine episodes, which will go into production in the coming weeks and air in 2009.

"It gave us a chance to step back and say, 'Well, some of those things that we were going to do, maybe that's not the best way to go. Let's go back and change it again. Let's re-break some of the story,'" Moore said. "It gave us all a chance to really step back, take a breath and say, 'OK, is this really the way we want to do the last 10 or not?' And we changed some of those things on the fly." Season four will premiere April 4 at 10 p.m. ET/PT with "He That Believeth In Me." --Ian Spelling
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Old 03-27-2008, 03:18 PM   #137
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Quote:
Originally posted by phanan


The fact that you're continually puzzled by any of my allusions to the show's politically-insightful content, phenan, proves that you're totally out of synch with the actors, writers and even the serious non-mainstream journalists who think, write and create this show. You're also representative of the typical sci fi fan who just wants more Heroes.

You're also incredibly rude and arrogant in your dismissal of open discussion, and fit in perfectly with many posters here.
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:05 PM   #138
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Originally posted by phanan


You goddamn philistine. The man is spreading the word of the BSG and you don't listen? That's ridiculous.

Ronald D. Moore is a visionary, thank you, Muldfeld for letting me finally see the light.

Frak, guys.
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Old 03-27-2008, 04:26 PM   #139
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muldfeld

The fact that you're continually puzzled by any of my allusions to the show's politically-insightful content, phenan, proves that you're totally out of synch with the actors, writers and even the serious non-mainstream journalists who think, write and create this show. You're also representative of the typical sci fi fan who just wants more Heroes.


Quote:
Originally posted by Muldfeld
You're also incredibly rude and arrogant in your dismissal of open discussion, and fit in perfectly with many posters here.
I think you are the only person to ever accuse me of that, except for maybe U2Kitten, and we know what happened to her.

Feel free to provide an example of when I was rude and arrogant to you, because I think you have me confused with someone else.

Or are you just bitter because I wanted a "non-politically insightful" thread about an excellent show, aimed to keep discussion to the show itself and not your constant, long-winded political rants?
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Old 03-27-2008, 05:14 PM   #140
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I'm sure the producers would hesitate to label their series "politically insightful", unlike something such as The Wire, which is not subtle at all about the institutions it's observing and critiquing. My guess is that Moore, et al would rather people focus on the storytelling before anything else. The political metaphors are gravy, if anything. They add an extra layer to the plot and characterizations, but they aren't what the show revolves around.

I don't see anyone striking down any kind of intelligent discussion about the show. Rants are not discussions, and if they are make too broadly, they are going to be ignored, dismissed, made fun of, etc.
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Old 03-27-2008, 07:07 PM   #141
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Quote:
Originally posted by Muldfeld

The fact that you're continually puzzled by any of my allusions to the show's politically-insightful content, phenan, proves that you're totally out of synch with the actors, writers and even the serious non-mainstream journalists who think, write and create this show. You're also representative of the typical sci fi fan who just wants more Heroes.
Who is being rude and arrogant now?

Look, just because we don't flaunt the political insight of the show at every turn like you do does not mean that we do not get or appreciate said insight in the show. You need to accept that the way you feel about the show is not THE WAY to feel about the show. Not everyone has to have the political insightfulness of a show shoved down their throats at every turn in order to get the political insightfulness of the show. Not everyone has to write lengthy essays/rants on the relevance of a script to current events in order to see the parallels and appreciate them.

You feel the need to do that. Most others don't. You need to learn to accept that.
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:12 PM   #142
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Old 04-03-2008, 12:11 PM   #143
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A Children Of Men series?

Man, tomorrow night can't come soon enough. The previews are all over TV and look incredible.

This will totally help fill the void until Lost comes back, too.
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Old 04-03-2008, 04:55 PM   #144
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SciFi had a BSG marathon on Wednesday. I hadn't seen anything BSG since Razor, and man did watching a few episodes in a row turn me back into a hyper fanboy again. The best thing on tv by a landslide.

Tomorrow is going to be sweeeet.
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:31 PM   #145
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you can include me as one

that appreciates this series because of it's unique political insightfulness

of course I am not alone

the Bevis and Butthead types
should tune in to programs geared to their taste
and stop mocking the true fans




Quote:
'Battlestar's' last roundup

Mixed emotions grip the stars of 'Galactica' as they enter the final season.
By Geoff Boucher, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 30, 2008

Vancouver, Canada -- Admiral Adama arrived at the door with blood on his hands. "I'm sorry, I don't think you want me to shake," actor Edward James Olmos said, presenting his red palms. With his world-weary eyes and the stained cuffs of his military coat, he looked like some battlefield surgeon fresh from triage.

Inside his dressing-room trailer, the star of the relentlessly bleak "Battlestar Galactica" washed his hands and apologized again. "And I can't tell you why I look like this." Olmos had just walked off the set of "Battlestar," which begins its fourth season on the Sci Fi Channel Friday night. More importantly, it's also the final season, and its creators have zealously guarded the plot twists.

"I can't even tell you whose blood it is," Olmos said with a wink, beginning to enjoy the fun. It's unusual to see Olmos smile when he's in his William Adama role: He's a sort of Churchill-in-space, trying to rally his people in the face of tremendous casualties and despair and also lead them on a quest for a fabled lost colony called Earth. Their struggle, for better or worse, is almost over. There are only 20 more episodes to sort out who will live, who will die and who will be outed as sleeper agents of the Cylons, the synthetic race that was created by humans and now aspires to push them out of existence.

Under slate-gray Canadian skies late last year, the cast of one of the most admired (and, according to the cruel math of ratings, one of the most undervalued) shows on television seemed to be mentally exhausted, anxious and sad. That's understandable given the show's looming end. They've lived through the annihilation of humanity for five years, but that doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye.

"It is difficult to move on, but it is the correct time, the natural pace of the story -- there's the beginning, the middle, and now it's time for the end," Olmos said. "We have hit so many notes, and now it's time to tie everything up."

Olmos has the wounded stare, craggy features and broad shoulders that look most comfortable in a posture of grief -- he has the ideal profile for "Battlestar," which presents a human civilization reduced to under 50,000 souls and a fleet of spaceships on the run. The lead ship is the Galactica, which like its leader Adama, has been un-retired in desperation after a sneak attack by the Cylons. That's the story arc, but the show's great distinctions are its wonderfully flawed characters and the religious, social and political questions that float by as they swim in the show's dire straits. Early on, series executive producer Ronald D. Moore wrote a mission statement for the planned "Galactica" series that pledged to break the standard sci-fi space-opera model and strive for a near-documentary texture, a sophisticated ambiguity to the stories and plenty of complications that the audience would recognize from the real world. Think you have unshakable opinions on the nature of suicide bombers, terrorism and torture? Try watching them tested in an alien atmosphere.

"The show is a dark mirror," Olmos said. "So, so dark. I was talking to one of the executives on the show recently and this person told me that they would never do something like this again, this kind of material. I have been doing this a long time, working in television, film, the theater, and this is the best material I've ever worked on in my life."

Others agree. It won a 2005 Peabody Award, the same year Time magazine named it the best show on television. It's picked up an Emmy, a Hugo and a shelf full of Saturn Awards as well. But it is also a very expensive series to mount, and as Jamie Bamber, who portrays Lee "Apollo" Adama, the son of the Galactica's leader, points out: "People who watch it say they love it. People who don't watch it say they've heard great things and they should watch it. The show is a success, but not as big a hit as people think, not in the commercial sense."

Many of the younger cast members such as Bamber and Tahmoh Penikett, who portrays Karl "Helo" Agathon, seem ready to shed their Galactica flight suits, pack up the industry credibility earned by their work on "Battlestar" and use it in places where they will be seen more.

"The end is in sight, for better or worse," said the London-born Bamber. "Every time I come to Vancouver now there will be a sort of Proustian element and a Pavlovian response. I'll think of my children being very young here, this stage and set, coming to North America, the sights and sounds. It will all be 'Battlestar.' "

Penikett was less sentimental: "There is a lot of television out there, and a lot of it is bad, but still it feels like time to head toward the horizon."

Olmos knows that feeling; he was a scene-stealing supporting character in the 1980s on "Miami Vice," and he's familiar with the stirring sensation that it's time to seek the next role, the next big show. But he said the stars, producers and writers may find that they miss "Battlestar" even more later. "The people involved don't know how special it is," he said. "In 20 years, I think they will look back and realize what it was."

The secret society

AS a journalist, it's odd to visit a television show in production where a publicist literally jumps up to cover your eyes with her hand whenever you go near the set. "Sorry! You can't look in here! Here, come this way . . . be careful, don't trip." The blindfold treatment is understandable: "Battlestar" fans include a zealous sect of sci-fi devotees who spend hours and hours analyzing every nuance and will send any spoiler or rumor pinging across the globe.

"The fans take it very seriously, which is nice," Penikett said.

It was in deference to sci-fi genre fans that the show has the "Battlestar" moniker, which gave it instant name recognition with the crowd that dresses up like wookies or wear Spock ears at conventions. The first series called "Battlestar Galactica" was a show by Glen A. Larson, who had a career habit of creating successful but fairly derivative shows. His "B.J. and the Bear" was a lot like "Every Which Way But Loose," for instance, while "Alias Smith and Jones" was slagged as a rip-off of " Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," and "The Fall Guy" reminded everyone of "Hooper." His "Galactica" premiered in 1978, a year after "Star Wars" created a cultural sensation, and it's mainly remembered in the popular mind for featuring Lorne Greene, a fuzzy robot dog and slow, shiny Cylons who appeared to be playing Pong with their red-dot eyes. With that legacy, Olmos didn't exactly jump at the pitch to revive the franchise.

"To me, it was 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars,' so it was a knockoff of a knockoff. And so this new idea was going to be a remake of a knockoff of a knockoff? But then I read the script. This was in 2003, and it was completely informed by 9/11."

The modern show is to the original as "Lost" is to "Gilligan's Island." It has a dense web of a story and a huge cast of characters that make it a challenge for anyone late to the game. Another cast member, Tricia Helfer, who plays Cylon No. Six, describes "Battlestar" like an English Lit major who is worried about the final.

"I feel like I need to study more when I talk to the fans, the questions and comments they have. This show is on the pulse of what is going on in our society. It's not for couch potatoes flipping through the channels. If you're not engaged, you get lost."


That's hardly a commercial to win the show a last-season surge of new viewers, but "Battlestar" isn't about to turn superficial. It also has some of the most interesting female characters on television, chief among them Mary McDonnell as President Laura Roslin, a character who has dealt with a terminal cancer diagnosis, religious visions, an intense showdown with Adama and the difficult decision to go against her principles and outlaw abortion -- a decision made because of the statistics that show the human race is dying faster than it is propagating. "The show has never shied away from the most wrenching issues," McDonnell said. "In fact, that's what the show is all about."

For this final season, the cast and crew filmed most of it before the writers strike and then sat and fretted that the labor dispute might sabotage the fragile plan to wrap up the show in 20 episodes. It's still not clear how the delayed production will affect the airdates of the final season -- the completed first 10 will air during this run. ("There was a moment where I thought we might not be able to finish the story at all," Olmos said in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. "That was a frightening thought. To leave all this unfinished would just be awful." He also said that the notion of a "Battlestar" film wasn't an option. "Glen Larson has the rights. If they make a 'Battlestar' film at some point, it won't be these actors and this story, I know that.")

The cast and crew assembled in Canada last week to shoot their last hurrah. Bamber said it's clear from the first half of the season that there will be far more running than reflection in this final act.

"There are no lulls anymore," Bamber said on the Vancouver set last year. "In previous years, there had been sequences where you could kind of sense that we were in an eddy at the side of the stream and we were just exploring an angle of the fleet that we just had not considered yet. There's no available time for anything like that now."

There's something going on in pop culture right now with apocalyptic entertainments about the human race. "I Am Legend," "Children of Men," "28 Days Later" and "Doomsday" have all handled the end-times with degrees of grace and horror, and novelist Cormac McCarthy's "The Road" reaches the screen this year. And "Battlestar" now has a finish line.

"If anything, I think the show was a little too early," Olmos said. "But I also don't think it could be made again. The political topics have just been too touchy. This is the world we live in, though. We're an inch away from the edge. We feel it. We want to think about it and talk about it and watch it."

Genre fans, of course, want to talk about it more than anyone else, and "Battlestar" is one of their most beloved topics. Entire conventions are devoted to the show and its heavy religious themes and heartthrob stars. The fan attention can become a bit much. Grace Park, who plays a collective of Cylon characters (Sharon/Boomer/Athena), said she recently got "a box big enough to fit a golden retriever in" that was packed with intricately assembled scrapbooks. "This fan had clearly spent hours and hours putting this together, and every page was about me, all the places where my name has popped up in a story or on the Internet. This story will be in the next one, I'm sure of it. It's very nice, but it's also a little . . . much."

A 'Trek' not taken

OLMOS could have been sitting on the bridge of a different spaceship. "When they remade 'Star Trek' in the 1980s they called me about the lead," Olmos said, referring to the Enterprise command that went to Patrick Stewart. "I wasn't interested. Science fiction wasn't really where I wanted to be, not since 'Blade Runner.' "

Olmos was a key player in Ridley Scott's hugely influential 1982 film that inspired the modern, bleak branch of cinematic sci-fi with its core fascination with the slippery nature of identity and with noble machines that become more human than their compromised human creators. When he read the new "Battlestar," he saw that pessimistic science fiction.

" 'Blade Runner' was the mothership for all of this, several generations of science fiction films, but nothing has jumped on that world as much as this show," Olmos said.

"I think good science fiction is not optimistic," Bamber said. "You think of George Orwell or Aldous Huxley and H.G. Wells, and they are pretty bleak. . . . The show is also not simple. We don't have heroes because we examine everyone too closely."

Helfer said she has been deeply struck by the close examination of Saul Tigh (the character played by Michael Hogan), the gruff executive officer of the Galactica, who has grappled with alcoholism and, over the course of the show, has seen his life fall apart in the struggle with the Cylons. He led a resistance effort in the colony of New Caprica, approved the use of suicide bombers against the enemy, was jailed and tortured as a terrorist (his right eye was ripped out during one session) and also reluctantly poisoned his own wife after she was revealed to have given information to the Cylons (which she did only to save his life).

"The nature of what has happened to him, the complexity of it and the emotional pain of it all, I think that says a lot about this show," Helfer said. There was shock among fans and the cast when Tigh was revealed to be one of the 12 Cylon agents in the midst of the human refugees. "Some of the actors aren't happy when they find out they are Cylon, believe me," McDonnell said. "It's turned out great for them, but I can understand it."

The cast is, of course, as eager as anyone to see how it will all end. "It's all we think about, really," Park said, "but I stopped believing the writers a while ago. The secrecy is so intense, and things change anyway."

Bamber said he and his fellow actors have played out in their minds the different possible finales -- a bang? a whimper? -- and there was quite a bit of discussion last summer about the ambiguous cut-to-black ending of "The Sopranos."

"I know Ron Moore said he really enjoyed that ending, but he's not going to go out that way here, not with 'Battlestar,' " Bamber said. "This is an epic show. This is more like 'The Iliad'; there are elements of epic poetry, Greek mythology, certainly, and the Bible. The issues are deep, and the stakes are high. You can't just serve onion rings at the end."
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Old 04-05-2008, 01:35 AM   #146
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Thanks, deep. It's great to see others enjoy the same aspects. I really believe so many politicos would be absolutely amazed by this show if they gave it just a few minutes -- a few minutes of a great episode, that is, like the miniseries or almost any episode, actually.

That was a great article. I know Olmos said he'd give up being paid if BSG had a 5th year. Baltar also loves the political content. If there's one major criticism I have of the DVDs it's the lack of actors' input, especially from my man James Callis; that's something Universal could add to Blu Ray versions of the DVDs in addition to audio commentaries to episodes without podcasts. I'd really love to hear more from Callis about Baltar in Season 2. I had a sense of what drove him but only really an inkling. It would be great if they made another TV movie about that year during which he was president of the colonies and really explored the drama and politics of the fleet. It would really benefit from the lack of cylon action, but could explore Athena's change, too.

It's also been such a great exposition for out talented Canadian actors. Canadian shows generally suck (and I generally thought Canadian actors weren't much if they stayed in Canada), and it's nice to see the quality of their performances in such uncompromising work.

I watched the last 4 episodes of Season 3 and "Takin a Break From All Your Worries" in the last 2 days. What incredible writing. I still have quibbles with what was a rushed season finale that didn't dwell enough on the trial, but it was just brilliant work and so relevant to Vichy France, Israel/Palestine and now Iraq with all those collaborators the Bush administration promised the help with visas to America left to wallow in fear of reprisals in Iraq.

Anyway, here's my short review:
Yet again -- with the exception of "Maelstrom" which was quite powerful and "Downloaded" which was heavily rewritten by Ron Moore -- Weddle and Thompson prove to be the show's worst writers, especially when it comes to dialogue and drama. They're the action writers, having some knowledge of military tactics, but their scenes never have the weight, innovation and raw power of Michael Taylor, Michael Angelli, Toni Graphia, let alone the awesome Ron Moore.

I thought the interest picked up significantly in the last act, but several moments felt a bit predictable (Tigh "shooting" the admiral) or not as fully explored as they would have been by other writers (Lee pondering about how grateful he and father would be if Zach had come back; the newly revealed cylons talking about how to believe in themselves or Anders talking to Starbuck about the same issue). These weren't bad scenes, but just look at the raw power of episodes written by the aforementioned writers and tell me they couldn't write those moments better!

Lastly, Baltar's interest in the boy wasn't persuasively conveyed; it just felt sudden and unexplained. His arc has been a complicated one in the show. He really began to emerge as a hero in the first half and a bit of Season 2, even saving Laura Roslin from cancer ambitionlessly -- until her put-downs drove him over the edge and into blind ambition of a presidential bid. The character's turns felt understandable in Season 2, but this suicidal interest in the boy somehow felt unconvincing and a bit dull.

Still, the show continues its overriding political message of showing how human history is full of instances of the dehumanization and the homogenization of "the other", and I'm proud of the show reestablishing that theme with this episode.

Now, I can't wait to see other writers do that at which Weddle and Thompson failed...


A warning to avoid the hell out of Syfyportal.com if you want to avoid spoilers. They screwed up my enjoyment of this episode by headlining an article 8 months ago entitled "Can Adama trust Starbuck? Probably not." I've refused to visit the site regularly ever since because they regularly ruin surprises by not warning fans of spoilers, even if they say they don't intend to. They also said that Baltar would be on trial before the episode aired in which Chief Tyrol captured Baltar. That kinda ruined things. Oh, and they told fans Katie Sackhoff was leaving the show, which ruined the surprise of her death. Thanks, Syfyportal.
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Old 04-05-2008, 04:22 AM   #147
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One thing I forgot to add regarding what Jaime Bamber said about the season having no contemplative moments is how sad that is. I really felt that Season 3 had some great standalones. The raw emotional power of non-political episodes like "Unfinished Business" and "A Day in the Life" with all their texture and character detail that came out of drama and not some action sequence were more enjoyable than the bigger episodes that season like "Exodus", "Torn"/"A Measure of Salvation" and "Eye of Jupiter"/"Rapture", which seemed far too rushed with getting from one plot point to another. What made Season 1 so great was all the texture as Ron Moore more carefully rewrote every single episode so much more carefully. And then the the workers'/class rights episode "Dirty Hands" was fantastic, too!

That this season will lack these kinds of episodes saddens me because we could have had them if the network had the decency to give the show 5 seasons. Now, everyone's going to focus on the essence of the story, when the stand-alones yielded some wonderous experiments.


Another thing the article mentioned was how BSG felt very post-9/11, and I'm sure that's true. However, Ron Moore has been writing about many of these themes, though not quite as beautifully, with Ira Steven Behr on Star Trek Deep Space Nine. In fact, there is a direct dialogue lift in season one's amazing "Bastille Day" from DS9's "The Defiant" about the terrorist in question "wanting to go out in a blaze of glory". It was really an amazing Trek that questioned the Federation and even some of the main character's moral integrity in wartime.
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Old 04-05-2008, 03:36 PM   #148
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Thanks for sharing your observations and insights.

You may recall I only came to BSG last year.

I did rent Season 1 and 2 at a local video store. So I ran through them at 2-3 and maybe even 4 episodes a night. I also TIVOed much of season 3 and sped through some of those episodes, too.

I recall that all the episodes were very good. I would rate many of them in the 9s and some in the 8s and only one or two in the 7.8 - 7.9 range.

The writing is excellent, I can't think of any other series that comes close to making one consider the "other" as well as this series.


Because of the way I watched the series, my mind has reassembled the story lines more linear than the way they may have actually played out in the weekly episodes.
I find this out when I watch repeats on the Sci-Fi channel.

I’ll take what ever the writers give us, and just enjoy it.
I do have high hope the Caprica series.

I guess we will see that sometime in 2009?
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Old 04-06-2008, 02:09 PM   #149
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Considering that Friday's episode was the first of a two parter, I'm not really going to review it until I see how it plays out, but I thought it got off to a good start. It all depends on how the next hour goes.
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Old 04-06-2008, 03:10 PM   #150
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I just DVR'd the episodes I missed from Season 3. Hopefully I'll catch up with you guys soon.
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