Question: I'm not sure you actually get why we "greedy" fans are so upset about the Battlestar Galactica scheduling issues. Unlike all the long-hiatus shows you mentioned in your recent column, these episodes will have already been written and filmed, even gone through postproduction, and the Sci Fi Channel would be simply refusing to show them, just to package the DVDs separately and stretch the shelf life of their flagship show. Yes, patience is a virtue and we'll get the episodes eventually, but this would be a terrible marketing move. Heroes had a significant ratings drop after just a few weeks on hiatus, and the network responded with the exact opposite strategy: no midseason breaks at all. As you said, this meant a longer wait between seasons for Heroes fans, but that's the price for a full, unbroken run of episodes that hooks people and tells a complete story. Meanwhile, the way to send Galactica out with a bang is... to go off the air for eight months (already), then insert an unnecessary, excessively long break right before the finale? Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune made the best analogy: For BSG fans, it's like being told right before the release of the long-anticipated final Harry Potter book that you can only read the first half. Casual viewers lose interest in a serialized show that's been off so long they can't remember what was happening. (Is The 4400 still on the air? I had no idea until you mentioned it.) Diehard fans will always tune in, which is what Sci Fi is banking on, but that's a reason to respect our love of the show, not insensitively push our limits. It feels to me like the network takes our cult devotion for granted, and they've given up on anyone else ever watching the show.
Answer: You may be amused to know that the very day this e-mail arrived, the lovely and talented Maureen Ryan weighed in to yours truly, challenging my glib dismissal of Battlestar fans' concerns. And can I just say: mea culpa. Especially considering the way Sci Fi left The Dresden Files devotees dangling so long before confirming the news of that show's cancellation, at the very least I should have acknowledged the fact that making BSG fans wait nearly a year between halves of the final season would be a slap in the face, truly taking their support of the show for granted. But once again, Sci Fi insists no decision has yet been made on how the final season will be scheduled and how long the break will be between the first and second halves. Maybe the early outcry (I won't call it whining anymore) will bring them to their senses. However, where BSG is concerned, I do sense that the network has pretty much given up expecting the ratings to ever grow, and even should the entire final season air without a break (which isn't likely to happen), it's not like this most demanding and daring of space dramas is going to become a sudden hit. The fans will show up whenever these episodes air, and obviously it would be better if the split were something like winter-summer rather than a break from winter '08 to winter '09. Still, considering what happened to Farscape back in the day, getting this final season however it's scheduled is something to celebrate, not lament.