Battlestar Galactica

"The Resistance"

2 stars

Release dates: 9/5/2006-10/5/2006
Written by Bradley Thompson & David Weddle
Directed by Wayne Rose

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

For Battlestar Galactica, the season begins before the season really begins with "The Resistance," 10 original "webisodes" released at as a promotional teaser for the third season's premiere on the Sci Fi Channel.

The web series' plot goes something like this: Tigh and Tyrol are planning a resistance movement (still in its brewing stages) on Cylon-occupied New Caprica, and they're trying to recruit members while playing a shell game with the Cylons as to the whereabouts of their weapons cache. Former Galactica crew member Jammer (Dominic Zamprogna) attempts to feel out former pilot Duck (Christian Tessier) to see if he's interested in joining the resistance — and perhaps also to see if Duck is a potential Cylon collaborator. In one of the webisodes, Duck's girlfriend is shot and killed while attending temple, because the Cylon Centurions open fire after learning that weapons are being illegally hidden there. In another installment, Jammer is scooped up by the Cylons and interrogated by Doral, who invites him to keep tabs on the resistance in order to avoid more unfortunate incidents like the temple massacre.

The problem with each of these installments is essentially the same — they are so short that they can't build any kind of narrative momentum. BSG executive producer Ronald D. Moore wrote in his blog at, "It's important to know that these Webisodes weren't done haphazardly or on the fly in between takes of the regular show. They had to be written, produced, shot and edited by a very specific group of people."

That may be true, but it doesn't change the fact that "The Resistance," above all things, feels like one of those subplots that gets excised from an overlong rough cut of an episode and ends up banished to the special features of a DVD set. Scenes can barely get off the ground before the screen goes black and we're invited to tune in for the next webisode and then given a preview of season three.

The best scene in the web series is the one where Tigh goes on a savage rant about the ugliness of war and accuses Jammer of being a "crybaby." The most choppy narrative quirk is where Jammer is suddenly in a Cylon holding cell, making me think I'd missed an installment. The series does not flow like individual three-minute episodes, nor does it flow like a single episode if you were to string the scenes together.

I apologize for what is now going to become a review of the format even more than the webisodes themselves, but the format is probably the most urgent topic of discussion on my mind in this case (since the truncated narrative is not).

From a marketing standpoint, and as a forward-thinking and proactive use of "new media" (i.e., the Internet, as opposed to "old media," i.e., the television set and all its traditional revenue models), "The Resistance" is a clever approach to the teaser mentality. It gets exactly the audience it's targeting, which is to say the die-hard fans who are going to invest the time to go online and watch streaming video. I work in electronic media, and we're always talking about page views and revenue models and target audiences and so forth, and I have to admit that this webisodes model could be a successful one if the economic numbers for producing it are right, because it's exclusive and compelling online content that no doubt has generated interest. (I'd also better point out that it's hardly unprecedented. NBC attempted a similar web-exclusive episode format with Homicide: Second Shift nearly a full decade ago. Like with these BSG webisodes, those episodes also tied in with the main TV series but were separately produced.)

Still, while these webisodes may be exclusive and compelling online content, that doesn't make them a compelling BSG experience. The problem with "The Resistance" is that it's so completely inconclusive as to be unsatisfying. Since it's expected that a large chunk — and probably a majority — of the regular BSG television audience will not see "The Resistance" online, it by definition must be inconsequential to the overall story. Of course, by this point, we're used to playing catch-up: The big leap forward in "Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2" skips over an entire year of events, and the third-season premiere is said to take place still four months after that. If we can skip almost 16 months of what's going on, then what happens in "The Resistance" is by definition inconsequential, because it could just as easily be a part of everything else we've missed with the big time gaps.

Naturally, the webisodes also suffer from the limitations of the medium itself. I, for one, want the best theatrical presentation of my TV viewing: a big screen, stereo surround sound, video that doesn't drop frames, and sitting on a couch rather than at a desk. Online downloads are simply not up to my aesthetic standards yet, and until they are, I'm not going to understand why one would want to download episodes of TV shows from iTunes for 99 cents. Maybe that sounds like me being locked into my old-media ways, but I don't think it's about resistance to change. It's about the fact that new media is not ready for prime time; it's not the place yet for the one-hour dramatic form that television still rules.

"The Resistance" is a nice effort for new media, but it's not an episode of Battlestar Galactica. It's a piece of marketing that also provides some useful content. It is what it is, and it do what it do.

Previous episode: Lay Down Your Burdens, Part 2
Next episode: Occupation/Precipice

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7 comments on this post

Mon, Jul 5, 2010, 3:12pm (UTC -5)
Finally actually watched these on the DVD. It's actually not bad if you watch them all in sequence. It's a bit awkward in structure obviously, but the mini story was pretty good and it really helps explain character motivations in the next 5 episode arc.
Wed, Oct 26, 2016, 8:23pm (UTC -5)
I'd watched these years ago, and on my current re-watch of the series after a long layoff, I decided to look them up. If anyone is interested, just put "Battlestar Galactica webisodes" into your favorite search engine (mines Startpage), and you should find a youtube page that has them all together (if you don't have the DVD's of course).

I kind of liked them, as they fleshed out a few things, but of course they can be skipped. I'm glad I saw them though...

Enjoy the day... RT
Sun, Jun 30, 2019, 2:03pm (UTC -5)
they served their purpose
William Nitschke
Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 5:01pm (UTC -5)
I'm sad to see they are not part of the Amazon Prime experience, and I had to youtube them. Since English is not my first language, and my hearing is not as it used to be, I lost a lot of dialogue. With that in mind, the webpisodes are not par to what I've come to expect of BSG. The are a bit bland, aren't they?
William Nitschke
Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
In case I wasn't clear, my comment was about the lack of subtitles, which means the webpisodes are also not accessible to the deaf or hearing-impaired communities
William Nitschke
Thu, Jun 4, 2020, 5:03pm (UTC -5)
In case I wasn't clear, my comment was about the lack of subtitles, which means the webpisodes are also not accessible to the deaf or hearing-impaired communities
Sun, Feb 26, 2023, 6:55pm (UTC -5)
This was an interesting little departure from the usual format for BSG -- (thrown in as an "extra" in the DVD package). Some new characters and a short story told through 10 extremely short vignettes (webisodes). Why not just make it like 2 or 3 of those short Treks?

This New Caprica Police to work with the Cylons -- reminded me of B5's Nightwatch / Ministry of Peace and it sounds compelling enough when one of the Cylon "skin jobs" tries to entice James who is on-the-fence about joining Tigh and Tyrol's resistance movement. Liked the argument that the Cylon makes that some humans are afraid of peace and that war / fighting gives them purpose (whereas other humans are moving on - and working with the Cylons). Tigh basically reads James the riot act re. war, that it's not for cry-babies etc. Basically Tigh has no purpose if there's no war to fight.

Jammer seems to be picking the path that is most advantageous to him as he says he's not a Cylon collaborator, but also lies to Tyrol about what went down in the detention center.

Kind of ends abruptly, so it's just sort of there -- but one has to be led to believe the Cylons will be alerted to Tigh's plan for a big hit on the skin jobs.

Cally and Tyrol have a baby now -- she really is forgiving for what he did to her...

2.5 stars for "The Resistance" webisodes -- not totally sure when this is supposed to be watched or when it takes place in relation to the start of S3. But as a little side-story or maybe like a fanfic during S3, it works well enough for me. Some interesting aspects of the New Caprica society are touched upon.

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