Friday, January 30, 2009


"The Oath", directed by John Dahl (Rounders, Red Rock West, Last Seduction) and written by yours truly. The situation in the fleet takes a grave turn as disagreement over the Cylon alliance grows. Mo Ryan at the Chicago Tribune says "'The Oath' is as dramatic an hour of television as you could possibly want." Friday at 10PM on the Sci-Fi channel! Be there...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mark Goes To Bagdad

It's true, I'll be in my hometown of Portland Or. on Friday to join in the communal fun of watching my last episode of Battlestar Galactica ("The Oath") on the big screen at the Bagdad Theater. I'm told this is a "bar/theater," so... get me blasted enough and hey, maybe I'll tell you how it all ends. (Warning: I would have to be really, REALLY tanked.) If you're in Portland and if you're free Friday night at 10:00PM, come on down!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's Coming Up, BATTLESTAR and HEROES

It's been a crazy busy time and I've been neglecting my poor blog... but it can get in line with a lot of other "not work related" stuff. Among other events:

THIS FRIDAY, "The Oath", my scripting swan song for Battlestar Galactica. Things get busy on Galactica as bullets start flying. Getting comfortable with the characters, feeling like you have a handle on where things are going? Watch out.

With any luck, I'll be answering questions for the wonderful Mo Ryan at the Chicago Tribune after the show runs. Mo's been offering a running appraisal of the final season that's definitely worth checking out.

Re: Heroes, I just taped a video commentary for "Trust & Blood" with director Allan Arkush. In the words of Daffy Duck, "MAAAKE UP!" This was my first Heroes script and it'll air Feb. 9. I'm told the commentary is up on the website by midnight after the first run (and will be on the blu-ray release), so there you go.

My second Heroes show is shooting "as I write", episode #322 of that august series. Yes, the train that is television just keeps a rollin'...

My Name Is Bruce will be out on DVD and glorious blu-ray Feb. 10 and if every American household were to buy a copy, I could retire! (Who cheered?)

And there is a lot of activity on the feature screenplay front that I will be discussing "soon." Watch this space...

Friday, January 23, 2009


"A Disquiet Haunts My Soul." As the title implies, more happiness and joy as the rag-tag fleet and the now-vulnerable, no longer downloadable Cylons discuss "the future." If you expect a freeze-frame ending with the entire cast breaking into big "life is grand!" smiles, clearly you need to catch up. An episode written and directed by Mr. Ron D. Moore himself...

Next week, "The Oath" by yours truly...

And just a teaser/reminder, Heroes comes back Feb. 2 with a whole new chunk of super guy excitement. My first writing venture on that show, "Trust And Blood", will run on Feb. 9. It is a very cool direction for the show, so I hope folks give it a look. This new arc, "Fugitives," is also a great time to jump on board and getcha some Heroes fever.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Evil Dead Gets Honorable...

My EVIL DEAD adaptation from last year gets an honorable mention from Fangoria in the "best horror comics of 2008" sweepstakes. And, wouldn't you know it, the trade paperback is still available! Lovely art by John Bolton, inspired story by Sam Raimi and (hopefully) some intriguing transliteration by yours truly...

Former Starbuck Is Cranky

Noted without comment...

(Wait 'til he finds out there's a whole coffee chain with "his" character's name on it! Yikes!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heroes Watch HEROES

The "Heroes" part of this video was shot this morning on one of our soundstages, and pretty much captures the tone of things around inauguration time for many of us. It's a great day...,0,7339473.htmlstory

President Obama

I just like saying it, writing it, hearing it. This is a historic day for so many reasons, but it's also a chance to reflect on the gloriously orderly process involved in the transfer of power. For all the yelling and screaming during the election campaign, in the end one bunch leaves, the other bunch comes in and that's it. No tanks involved, just a bunch of swell parties...

You Think You Were Cranky Re: BSG's Hiatus?

BSG's biggest fan has trouble dealing with the wait between episodes...

(Thanx to D. Weddle for the tip.)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sometimes A Great Notion - BSG Edition

I have nothing to add or amplify about the show (aka "the feelgood episode of the year!"), so no spoilers one way or another. But it was great seeing it on the big screen Friday night with many cast and crew folks, including the wonderful art designers/prop folks responsible for making the Galactica and elsewhere look so darn cool. They're in town for the BSG auction in Pasadena this weekend... it's BSG everywhere you look!

Derek The Sexual Abstinance Clown...

I think I've finally found my fall-back profession for when the writing jobs dry up...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Battlestar Galactica Returns!

Finally, after years of work, months of speculation and weeks of... something... BATTLESTAR is back, baby. Remember, FRIDAY NIGHT on the SCI-FI Channel, 10:00PM!

Decisions, Decisions...

Writing is by definition a series of decisions, thousands and thousands of incremental choices that eventually end up being a story/script/novel. It's all very subjective, which is both the fun and the hell of this racket. What I find funny will leave some stone-faced, what others find interesting I might find tedious, etc., etc. But ultimately, it's about making enough right choices along the way that the eventual story "works."

So while I generally eschew politics in this blog, I must admit I was intrigued by President Bush's closing statement in his farewell address, that while people may disagree with his decisions, he hopes they appreciate that he was willing to make them. Call me a cynic, but isn't that setting the bar kind of low? It certainly wouldn't fly in my business... "what? You don't like the script? Well, can't you at least appreciate that I was willing to MAKE these bad choices?" The answer is generally an emphatic NO...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Star War Xmas Special UNMASKED

Thanks to BSG FX whiz Mojo for the tip -- Vanity Fair has an amazing article up detailing the making (and/or unmaking) of the infamous Star Wars Christmas Special. I love stories like this, chock full of inside info, on obscure and utterly bizarre pop-culture relics. I've seen the Special and lemme tell you, Bea Arthur dancing with Wookiees? It's the best.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

BSG Auction

I received the Battlestar Galactica auction catalog yesterday, which is fun and a bit of a trip down memory lane. I was always mightily impressed by the amount of effort that was put into creating material that was sometimes just a tossed off suggestion in a script. "Lee has a file folder" takes three seconds to type, but it requires someone with great talent to decide what the folder should look like, if it has a BSG logo, is it minus the edges, how MANY papers are inside, are we talking maps, diagrams, etc., etc., etc., etc. Multiply that by all the stuff that appears in every episode and you start to have an idea of the magnitude of work involved.

One of the coolest props that never made it to film was an ersatz "chess set" that was put together for a sequence in (I think) one of my episodes. It's a sign of my frail mental state that I can't remember which one now, or why the scene was cut pre-shooting. I do recall that Tyrol would have been one of the players. Anyhow, the props department put together a really cool board and pieces that had been cobbled together out of various machine parts. It sat on a shelf in the Vancouver BSG offices for awhile, and I was always tempted to say, "hey, can I have that?!" But I never did. I haven't pursued the catalog that closely, but if it's in there... well, I won't be bidding on it, but whoever does, good luck!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Battlestar Galactica RETURNS Jan. 16!

One week from today, new episodes of Battlestar Galactica will finally, I mean FINALLY hit the airwaves. If you're lucky and in Los Angeles you'll be at a super-secret big screen unveiling with me and the cast. If you're in Portland Oregon you can watch it "writ large" at the Bagdad Theater courtesy radio station fellas Cort and Fatboy (hopefully I'll see you there Jan. 30, weather willing!), and if you're elsewhere... well I got nuthin'.

As for WHAT you'll be seeing... I've said it before and I'll say it again, prepare yourselves. When the writers came back after the strike and watched the first eleven episodes (the one that airs next Friday was shot pre-strike), I know I was struck by just how nerve-wracking events were getting for the characters on the show. There's a moment in next week's episode that will punch fans in the gut... I know because it sure walloped me. It's one of those rare moments when, even after being involved in the story break and then watching dailies, my mind's eye view of the scene was nothing compared to the way it came off on screen. Perhaps I can discuss more fully AFTER the dang thing finally runs...

Obviously I am not getting into spoilers, but here's hoping folks jump on for the last hurrah. January 16, 10PM, Sci-Fi Channel! Be there!

When The Movie Going Experience Goes Bad

So I went totally insane the other night and decided to take the (late) evening off to catch a showing of Clint Eastwood's new movie Gran Torino. I got out a little late but I took back roads, avoided traffic and got to the theater five minutes before show time.

So. Showtime. Minutes tick by. But no Clint Eastwood! That's right, and since we're talking Gran Torino, there I was, sans Asian racial slurs (see the movie), NO guns (ditto), NO (*ahem*) ENTERTAINMENT! Fifteen minutes pass, the audience is restless and I've had it. So I head out to see what's what.

Turns out there's some sort of high-end screening next door (Notorious BIG) and evidently the movie people just forgot about the Clint fans. A few minutes later, finally the movie starts. Well, actually, the ads started. For the Marines. Some kind of hair-care product. And eventually (ironically), an ad extolling the virtues of the to-be-unnamed (*) theater chain itself.

But finally the ACTUAL movie starts. There's ol' Clint, being grouchy. Boy, his adult children and grandchildren are jerks! The stage is set, tension builds...

And that's when the earthquake hit. A 4.5 somewhere in San Bernadino, miles and miles away, but evidently when you're in a giant box on stilts it doesn't take much to get things shakin'. A couple folks in the audience bolted, but the movie was still going and by God, I was gonna see Clint draw down on his requisite number of gang creeps come hell or high water!

So I did. My mini-review: starts slow, fun middle, appropriate ending. That's right, it was a hell of an earthquake...

(*): Only unnamed in that paragraph! It was the Bridge Cinema at the Howard Hughes Center in Los Angeles.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

INJUSTICE! (Small scale version...)

Excuse a moment to vent:

Los Angeles has a law making it illegal to hold a cell phone and talk while driving. Also known as the "earpiece manufacturer's full employment act", it kind of makes sense. We've all seen phone-crazed/distracted drivers doing insane things while talking and driving, so anything that minimizes that is probably a good thing.

As a law abiding (mostly) citizen, I dutifully bought my earpiece after the law passed and yes, I use it. As I was yesterday morning, driving through Hollywood.

A brief aside on how my earpiece works. It's called "The Jawbone" and it has some screwy noise-canceling circuitry that kicks in when it is securely touching, well, your jaw. It also has volume and "on/off" switches in the earpiece itself. Connecting a call or disconnecting or raising or lowering the volume requires one to touch the earpiece. So there I was, driving down lovely Sunset Blvd., touching my earpiece to end a call, when a motorcycle cop flashes his lights and pulls me over. Since I was sober (*whew*) and, well, innocent, I was baffled. Befuddlement turned to cranky anger when the cop accused me of using my cell phone. I showed him the earpiece in my ear, explaining that no, I was on an earpiece. The Officer (*) then accused me of lying, claiming I had stuck the earpiece in before pulling over (!). After "some words", I got a ticket and a stern warning to "not get into this here."

So I guess I'll get into it in court...

* I had a litany of colorful epithets ready to describe this fella, but I have eschewed them so as to encourage impressionable readers of this blog to respect law officers. Except, of course, FOR THIS KNUCKLEHEAD (**).

** That was one of the milder epithets.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

And The Fifth Cylon Is...

...still to be revealed. But Entertainment Weekly runs down their list of suspects in this article. All I can say is, "hmm." As in, "hmmmmm.",,20249441_16,00.html

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


The DVD set collecting the first ten episodes of season four, plus the Razor movie, hits the stores today. I haven't seen a copy yet so I don't really know what's on there, but I'm guessing you'll find the episodes, podcasts, deleted scenes and other exciting stuff. Catch up to the season so far and then prepare yourselves for the final episodes, starting Jan. 16. You will be a'tremble with excitement!

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Pat Dinizio CD Out This Month!

Always great news! My buddy Pat DiNizio, lead singer for The Smithereens, is releasing another CD. Pertinent info below...

Smithereens Frontman Pat DiNizio to Release Tribute to Buddy Holly on January 27, 2009


Smithereens frontman and avid pop music historian Pat DiNizio is set to release "Pat DiNizio/Buddy Holly," a heartfelt tribute to the legendary rock and roll pioneer, on January 27th, 2009, in honor of the Fiftieth Anniversary of Holly's tragic death in a Clear Lake, Iowa plane crash on "The Day The Music Died" (February 3, 1959).

DiNizio says, "Buddy Holly changed and saved my life! Upon hearing Buddy's one and only solo album for the first time back in the late 1970s, I was so moved, and found his music to be so incredibly touching and poignant, that I sat there and wept openly. I knew right then and there, that night, while listening to the haunting and innocent beauty of his recordings, as well as the purity of intent, and the 'straight to the heart' simplicity of melody and lyric in his songs, that this was what I wanted to do -- I wanted to be a songwriter. And if I was going to be a songwriter, I wanted to be a songwriter like Buddy Holly. I had finally found my role model, and there was no other choice for me. The very next day I quit my job on the garbage truck, and drove through a massive snowstorm from New Jersey to upstate New York to a friend's empty house in the Catskills with an acoustic guitar, cassette tape recorder, collegiate notebook, pencil, record player, and a stack of 45s and record albums, determined not to return home until I figured out how to write
songs. A few months later we started The Smithereens..."

Acclaimed by Allmusic Guide critic Bruce Eder as "the single most influential creative force in early rock & roll," Buddy Holly was an early inspiration of an astonishing host of artists ranging from British legends The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Hollies, Steve Winwood (Blind Faith), and Elvis Costello to American singer-songwriters like James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Phil Ochs and Don McLean, to rock bands including The Grateful Dead, Weezer, Blink-182, The Ramones... and The Smithereens.

In the Smithereens' earliest days, Buddy Holly's producer Norman Petty was one of the first to provide them encouragement and advice. For the past 25 years with The Smithereens, DiNizio has written and recorded Gold and Platinum albums that spawned Top 40 radio hits such as "A Girl Like You," "Too Much Passion," "Blood And Roses," "Only A Memory" and "Behind The Wall Of Sleep." Buddy Holly's love affair with his wife was the subject of the song "Maria Elena," from their 1989 classic album, "11."

This project is particularly notable for its rich string arrangements, which were created by the legendary Charles Calello, famed for his work with The Four Seasons, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Springsteen and Laura Nyro. The album also features legendary 60s pop hitmaker Bobby Vee (who replaced Buddy on the ill-fated Winter Dance Party tour that took Buddy's life) on lead harmonies and vocals on "Listen To Me"; and guitars and production by long-time Smithereens collaborator Kurt Reil of the Gripweeds and Buzzed Meg.

Standout tracks include a lush version of "Words of Love," a guitar-driven "Heartbeat," and a doo-wop a cappella rendition of "That'll Be The Day."

The album's extensive liner notes include an essay by noted Buddy Holly authority Bill Griggs along with reminiscences by pop icon Bobby Vee.

DiNizio and his fellow Smithereens are currently in the studio recording tracks for the mid-2009 KOCH Records release of their first all-new album of original songs since 1999's "God Save The Smithereens." In January, they will embark on an extensive tour schedule that will include over 100 solo and group dates in Europe and North America.

The tracklisting:

1. Words Of Love
2. It Doesn't Matter Anymore
3. Heartbeat
4. Well Alright
5. True Love Ways
6. Listen To Me
7. Raining In My Heart
8. Learning The Game
9. Everyday
10. Peggy Sue
11. That'll Be The Day

Wanna See MY NAME IS BRUCE Right Now?

First, another great review, this one from Wired --

With extra added bonus info! Did you miss seeing the movie during Bruce's tour? Can't wait for the DVD (out in early February)?! Well, have I got news for you! My Name Is Bruce is CURRENTLY available for electronic rental from Amazon. That's right, you can watch the wide-screen version of the movie on your computer and enjoy the Bruce-ness that had audiences across America singing a really goofy song and rushing their local supermarket to buy up all the bean curd they could carry!

What are you waiting for? Bruce is just click away! Or maybe a double-click. And $5.99.

STAR TREK - Are You Sitting Down?

If you're not sitting down, you can now, and for a mere $2200!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Battlestar Galactica - The Final Reviews CORRECTION

Well, it's getting down to the wire and review copies of the first "new" episode, "Sometimes A Great Notion", have gone out. Mo Ryan at the Chicago Tribune has a nice rundown and a plea for folks to please avoid spilling spoilers. As an interested party, I just want to say "thanks for that!" I'm not usually so picky, and in fact I sympathize with the promotional departments struggling to put together teasers designed to lure in viewers without giving up the store. But the surprises and jolts are part of the fun of this final stretch. In fact, Ms. Ryan notes that one scene was excised from her screener to help keep one of the surprises "a surprise", and to be honest, I'm not sure which scene they removed. There's that much going on!

Anyway, January 16 will be here before you know it... so avoid those spoilers and enjoy!

CORRECTION: I just reread Mo Ryan's review and there's no mention of a missing scene. I must have read or imagined or, yes, dreamed this elsewhere. Either way, the "please don't spoil" part of this post is still accurate. This sort of thing explains why I eschewed a journalism career...

CORRECTION OF CORRECTION: The mention of the missing scene was in the comments section of Mo's column. My journalistic acumen remains UNBLEMISHED...

2008 becomes 2009...

I guess it's human nature to hit arbitrary milestones and use the occasion to look back and reflect... and so it is with New Year's Day, 2009. So, hmm, looking back at what was 2008...

Nahhh. I'd rather look forward. Happily, I have plenty to keep me busy, nice in these troubled economic times. So rather than mull the past, check out what's coming up in Jan./Feb.: Battlestar, Heroes and the My Name Is Bruce DVD -- then we'll talk!

And now... back to work!