SyFy Portal (Jane Espenson & Anne Cofell Saunders) March 7, 2007

Giving ‘Battlestar Galactica’ A Female Perspective
Jane Espenson and Anne Cofell Saunders talk to SyFy Portal
By: Michael Hinman
Date: March 7th, 2007
Source: SyFy Portal


Note: This is a snippet of an interview with JANE ESPENSON and ANNE COFELL SAUNDERS where they mention AARON DOUGLAS / CHIEF TYROL. To read the full interview, click HERE.


Having the threat of a bad guy showing up any minute can be a welcome distraction to life’s problems. But when those threats are removed, even for a short time, it doesn’t take long to remember that there are some aspects of life that really suck. The absence of the Cylons from the mid-part of “Battlestar Galactica’s” Season 3 did just that, allowing writers such as Jane Espenson and Anne Cofell Saunders to explore some of the internal issues churning among the people in the ragtag fleet. Class disenfranchisement was the topic of the day with the pair’s most recent episode, “Dirty Hands,” which featured Chief Tyrol (Aaron Douglas) trying to fight for the little guy.

“I wasn’t in on the planning of Season 3 or the [episodes] preceding it for that matter, so I can’t really comment on the timing of it other than to say that things like class struggles are typically set aside in the face of outside threats (like Cylons), so it makes perfect sense to me that something like that would lie dormant until a period of relative peace,” Espenson recently told SyFy Portal’s Michael Hinman. “When the outside threat goes away, everyone remembers that all those old resentments are still around.”

“Dirty Hands” was the second episode Espenson — a former co-executive producer with “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” — wrote for BSG following last year’s popular “The Passage.” Her work has impressed the powers to be on the show — executive producers Ronald D. Moore and David Eick — so much that Espenson said she will be working on the show full time in the fourth season.

Saunders, who has served as story editor this season while penning two episodes this season, said “Dirty Hands” was a chance to feature Douglas, who doesn’t always get a chance to showcase his talent.

“All of us were excited to do a Tyrol episode … Aaron Douglas is an amazing actor,” Saunders told SyFy Portal. “When the Cylons and humans are kicking the crap out of each other, nobody on deck — or on the tylium ship — has time to think about social justice. It’s only during the lulls in the fighting where characters have time to count the costs.”

But what about the costs of officers and crew crossing the line? Adm. Adama (Edward James Olmos) seems to have a stash of “Get out of Jail Free” cards at his disposal, and at first glance allowed some of the people under his command like Tyrol and Helo (Tahmoh Penikett) to exist in almost anarchy. However, looks can be deceiving, and “Dirty Hands” is an example of that, the writers said.

“I don’t think Tigh would agree that he got off easy this season,” said Saunders, referring to the former XO still not returning to his old position. “Tyrol will carry his faceoff with Adama with him for the rest of the series. Just because Cally (Nicki Clyne) didn’t eat a bullet doesn’t mean that Tyrol isn’t really torn up about what went down in ‘Dirty Hands.’ That kind of emotional hardball doesn’t let anyone off easy.”

But when you’re down to just 40,000 people left of an entire civilization, some with specific skillsets, any commander would have his hands tied when those that are acting up are the only ones that can do their job as effectively as they do. And characters like Tyrol has enjoyed some benefits because of it, from a story standpoint.

“I don’t think there’s anyone in the fleet who can do what Tyrol does,” Espenson said. “And I’d be surprised if there are really legions of fans who are clamouring to watch him sitting idle in the brig without storylines for episode after episode while ships go unmaintained. This fleet is in a situation without precedent, and Adama seems to me to be doing a pretty good job of making sure that the consequences are harsh enough to sting, but not so harsh that they’re counter-productive.”