[14 March 2008]
Although there are hints and spoilers and even an eight-minute summary of the show out there in cyberspace, fans of Sci Fi Channel’s “Battlestar Galactica” will have to wait until April 4 to actually see the first episode of the front half of the space opera’s fourth and final season.
If all goes as speculated, by the end of that 20-episode season - the dates for the back half have yet to be announced - the space fleet carrying the human survivors of a devastating nuclear attack on their 12 planetary colonies by their vengeful creations, the mechanistic Cylons, should reach Earth, the 13th human colony in their mythology.
March 28 at 10 p.m. ET, Sci Fi is airing back-to-back half-hour specials, a retrospective called “Battlestar Galactica: Revisited” and a celebrity tribute called “Battlestar Galactica: The Phenomenon,” but that’s still a long time to wait.
In the meantime, fans could head to the official Web site of star Tricia Helfer, who plays the sultry Cylon Number Six, at www.triciahelfer.com and look for photos of her and co-star Katee Sackhoff, who plays pugnacious pilot Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, on a recent motorcycle trip to Solvang, Calif., where the movie “Sideways” was filmed.
“There are pictures on the Web of us on our motorcycles,” Sackhoff says, “so that’s pretty funny.”
Also on the ride were Tricia’s husband, Jonathan Marshall; Katee’s boyfriend, Scott Niemeyer; and friend and fellow actor Mark Derwin.
“Tricia has a Harley Sportster, which is what I was going to start out on,” Sackhoff says, “but I was a little intimidated by the whole `get on a motorcycle’ thing. Shifting ... oh, my God, I never dreamed that shifting could become second nature. It didn’t seem easy to me, so I ended up getting a Honda 750.
“I’ve already outgrown it. I’ve put 600 miles on it, and I’m already over it. I keep saying to my boyfriend, `I need to get some big, huge Harley now, because my bike is so small.’”
Turns out her helmet may be a bit undersized as well.
“I have a little half-helmet,” she says, “the least amount you could wear with the DOT telling you that you’re not breaking the law. Tricia’s got a good, big, full helmet.
“She’s smarter than the rest of us, because the last ride we went on, it was so cold. She was like, `I’m fine!’, because her head was so warm, as I’m trying to keep my bandanna around my face, driving at 70 miles per hour. It doesn’t work so well.”
Sackhoff and her fellow cast members are set to return to work in Vancouver, Canada, on March 24 after a lengthy production shutdown due to the recently settled Writers Guild of America strike (the writers came back in mid-February). That meant that the cast got an unexpected preview of life after “Battlestar.”
Although Sackhoff had already been moonlighting as crazed cyborg Sarah Corvus in NBC’s short-lived revival of “Bionic Woman,” the separation still came with some surprises.
“Because of `Bionic,’” she says, “it never really hit me that it was going to be over, and I didn’t have time to really contemplate what the end was going to feel like. So I was OK with it, to be honest. I was, `Yeah, it’s over. It’ll be fine. We’ll all move on. We’ll see each other.’
“This three-month break, no one talked. It was crazy, crazy. It just gave us a taste of who would be in your life later, which was interesting.”
Sackhoff says she did see Helfer “quite a bit,” as well as Michael Trucco, who plays Sam Anders, but only had sporadic encounters with other cast members.
“Tricia and Michael and I, we all ride motorcycles, so we do that together,” Sackhoff says. “So, I think that when you have other things in common other than the show, that’s when you actually keep in touch.”
Sackhoff says she has learned many things on “Battlestar” and “Bionic,” including “how to take apart an AK-47 and put it back together blindfolded. So it’s one of those things you put on your resume along with knife-training skills. I tend to think I could handle a (real) weapon pretty well.”
But, given her druthers, Sackhoff would rather do a romantic comedy next. “That would be my next great challenge. Maybe some running, maybe some hiding, but no shooting, no blood, no guts. I’ve had my fill of blood and guns.”