Richard Hatch is the ultimate Battlestar Galactica fan. He always has been. After all, he’s about as old-school and hard-core as they come: he played Apollo in the original 1978 Battlestar Galactica show (along with Lorne Greene as Adama, and opposite some dude as Starbuck). After the original show’s demise, Hatch helped keep the property alive by penning no less than five novels set in the original BSG universe. He also and wrote, co-directed, and executive-produced The Second Coming, a trailer for an imagined sequel to that original series, in the hopes of enticing Universal to revive the moribund franchise.
When news hit that Ronald D. Moore was going to re-imagine BSG, Hatch was rather disappointed, and vocally bitter about it. However, after a hostile session with old-school fans at Galacticon 2005, in which RDM answered questions from vitriolic fans—Hatch included—he changed his tune and came to respect the new direction, a commendable change in attitude which earned him the recurring role of Tom Zarek in the new series. He has since developed the character into a mainstay of the new show, imbuing the revolutionary-freedom-fighter-turned-politician with the same passion Hatch so clearly has for the show.
Hatch recently sat down for a two hour session with Galactica Watercooler, one of the premiere—if not the best—BSG podcasts out there, hosted by Audra Heaslip, Chuck Cage, and Sean O’Hara. Every week, the GWC crew get together and discuss the latest episode of Battlestar Galactica. When the show is off the air, as has been the case for the better part of this year, the GWC crew has used the opportunity to expand their subject matter into science fiction in general, holding re-watches of classic movies, re-reads of classic novels, and running a fantastic community forum with a passionate and very engaged core community. (Disclosure: I sometimes post there as “Tigh’s Eyepatch.” I mostly lurk, though.)
Hatch starts off the two hour session channeling Zarek the revolutionary, putting forth a scathing and surprisingly eloquent critique of the “aristocracy of Roslin and Adama,” musing over the meaning of democracy, and how the events of BSG relate to our own fragile systems of government. He then spends some time discussing the humanity and vulnerability of Admiral Cain (what? Yes, you heard right.), and how in his opinion she made tougher, harder, and more correct choices than Adama; how the SciFi network has a lack of appreciation of true science fiction; how networks in general tend to trash the programs that do show some promise, like Farscape and Firefly; and how science fiction programing is the perfect vehicle for an audience-financed model for internet TV. In all, a fascinating two hours, and well worth a listen.