Although webisodes have become commonplace, Battlestar Galactica writer/producer Ron Moore says he doesn't particularly like the format and predicts it will eventually become obsolete.
While speaking at the Banff World Television Festival, Moore said the network and studio requested short, Web-only stories about Galactica just before it headed into its third season in the fall of 2006.
Moore says there were difficulties off-the-bat. "I don't like the runtime on it, it's hard to tell a coherent story in three minutes when it's part of an hour-long show," he said.
"I don't know that it's a format that's really going to withstand the test of time. It feels like something that people do right now because of technical, sort of, limitations - viewer habits, how much they want to download."
"I could be wrong, but I don't see in 10 years people are still doing webisodes."
Moore says nobody knew how to do them at Galactica, and they raised all sorts of complicated questions: how to fit them into the shooting schedule, which cast members would participate - and because it was before the writers strike - how much do you pay the writers?
These days, Moore says he's busy with post-production on the TV movie, Battlestar Galactica: The Plan, directed by Edward James Olmos. It retells the story of Galactica's Cylon attacks from the Cylons' point of view. He is also deep into his next series, the Galactica prequel, Caprica. Shooting is set to begin mid-July and Moore says his writing team has eight scripts ready. He jokes that they're already over-budget.
And like Galactica, the series will be shot in Vancouver, with Moore singing the praises of local TV talent.
"To get to do another show in Vancouver with a lot of the same players was a tremendous, tremendous plus for me," he said.
Moore promises that his follow-up series will appeal to a broader, more female audience, noting the dark themes and heavy action of Galactica skewed heavily male.
"We always felt that there was an even bigger, greater audience that would like Galactica if you could get them to try it. So we're trying a different format and we'll see how many other viewers we can get now with Caprica," he said.
"It's not action-adventure, it's not set in space, it's much more of a science-fiction prime-time soap. It's more of a sci-fi version of Dallas. It has more fun elements to it, it's very engaging, and there's a lot of plot twists and turns."
While Galactica revolved around a post-apocalyptic final bid for survival, Caprica will tell the story of what brought humanity to that dark world. Even though the series' end-point is clear, Moore says there should still be plenty to draw viewers in, even those intimately familiar with Galactica.
He says Caprica will be a character-driven show about the human condition and will deal with political and religious issues.
In Canada, Caprica will air this fall on Space.