The LA Times is ending months of fan speculation and tension by reporting that the Sci Fi Channel will pick up Battlestar Galactica for a fourth season – but one only 13 episodes long. The show, which is completely fucking great but also the most expensive on the otherwise useless channel, has been hard hit in ratings lately… sort of. See, the audience for Battlestar also tends to be the most tech-savvy, and the Sci Fi Channel estimates that over 500,000 people – people like me – watch the show on DVRs every week. Adding those numbers in gets the show up to its first season ratings, but advertising rates don’t yet factor DVR viewers because advertisers rightly assume those people are skipping commercials.
The show also makes money on DVD, where it has sold more than a million copies. It is also critically adored – hell, the thing won the Peabody! That’s saying a lot for the channel currently advertising Hollow Man II.
I had a feeling the show would be back – showrunner Ron Moore has said that he ended season three on a cliffhanger, and I don’t think he would have done that if he didn’t feel a certain level of confidence. And Sci Fi wouldn’t end the show on that note, since a lack of closure would hurt future DVD sales. But will the 13 episode season four be the last?
I don’t actually mind a shortened order – with 20 episodes the show has suffered from being a little flabby, like in last night’s episode about a hated religious minority. The first season was a lean 13, and there wasn’t a stinker in the bunch.
Moore and fellow showrunner David Eick haven’t mapped out season four yet, but they apparently hit Vegas over the weekend to get started. Guys, don’t be afraid to bring the whole thing to a conclusion next year. Also, don’t be afraid to invite CHUD to visit the set. I’m dying to sit in a Viper.