Thursday, January 29, 2009

Battlestar Gallactica

Vancouver! It's sci-filicious!

Science fiction has an undeniable love affair with Vancouver.

It seems that the many popular sci-fi TV series like to take advantage of the pseudo anonymity of the city - its postmodern skyline, its lush and moody atmosphere, and the diverse topography that encircles it.

We've seen it in the X-Files.
We've seen it in Smallville.
We've seen it in Dark Angel.
We've seen it in Stargate.
We've even seen it in Spielberg's miniseries, Taken.

That doesn't even begin to cover the full feature sci-fi movies like X-Men: The Last Stand, On the Sixth Day, or The Fantastic Four. And this doesn't even include the the oldie but goody non sci-fi series of yesteryear like Danger Bay, MacGyver, or 21 Jump Street.

But all of the above were filmed in Vancouver.

It's by no means the complete list of titles filmed in this city - there are literally thousands - but it just shows you that there's something about Vancouver that's very fitting for bringing out that sci-fi vibe.

Well, last night we rented the entire first series of Battlestar Gallactica and it was my first time watching it. Something in the back of my mind made me think that it was filmed in Vancouver. Hmmm... perhaps it was the fact that it was yet another sci-fi TV series! After a quick look up on IMDB, I confirmed that fact. Of course, it wouldn't have taken long for me to figure this out on my own. If you're even quasi familiar with Vancouver geography, you instantly begin to recognize landmarks and film locations when you're watching such shows - it almost becomes a game!

It's funny, as you're sitting there trying to make believe that you're on planet Caprica, and then all of a sudden "that's not Caprica, that's the Vancouver Public Library!" or "that's Chan Centre and the UBC Rose Garden! And that's not the Delphi base, that's UBC Koerner Library!" (where I studied for many an exam) - it can be rather amusing, especially when you're trying to immerse yourself in the fantasy of the story, but you recognize the temperate rainforest or the arbutus trees and Bowen Island in the background, and you instictively think "Horseshoe Bay"... or when the bad buys, the cylons, are retreating to their base, and you recognize the structure as an old parking garage next door to the pub you used to frequent after work, it can certainly be entertaining.

Although the strangest discovery was watching this cute character in the show named Cally. She almost reminds me of my sister. She seemed so incredibly familiar to me that I felt compelled to look her up as I just assumed I had seen her in another TV show recently. I looked up her character on the Battlestar Gallactica page and discovered her real name is Nicki Clyne. I looked up her bio which revealed that she's from my home town (Richmond), she's exactly 2 days older than my sister, and that throughout her acting career she pursued a degree at UBC. A-ha! So it's not that I saw her in another show, I swear I took a class with her at UBC. That must be why she seems so familiar.


Ben said...

Did you watch the Miniseries before watching Season 1?

Yeah, Whenever I watch Stargate / BSG I always see Vancouver, especially stuff shot at SFU

Robyn said...

No, I didn't. I assume it's available?

Artist Victoria O'Neill said...

I would really like to visit Vancouver one day. One of my best friends has been there a few times and she LOVES it, in particular some kind of Festival of Lights she and some other artist were involved in. Love looking at your photos!

pussreboots said...

My brother in law and his wife live in Vancouver and they too love to point out the shots of the city when they're visiting and we're watching something together.

SBT said...

First visit - this is a beautiful blog! The phoeos are fantastic, and the writing is great too. I found you through BlogCatalog, we share a search page because we both wrote about the DTES. Good luck with your blog! I'm a fellow Vancouverite.

_0ktv_ said...

I love the sci-fi!!

I didn't know about the Vancouver's fiction side

I Will go to Montreal next month and definitively I have to go to Vancouver too.

Robyn said...

Thanks for all your comments! :)

Victoria, the Festival of Lights is an annual fireworks competition that they hold on the last Wednesday and Saturday of July and the first Wednesday and Saturday of August. It used to be called the Symphony of Fire. They have 3 different countries competing in this competition. Each country has their own date where they'll have a 30-45 minute fireworks display synchronized to music. The last day of the competition is the finale where all 3 countries compete. The fireworks are set up on a barge out in English Bay and hundreds of thousands of people come down to the beach and watch it. It's definitely the largest free event in the city, and quite spectacular no less! :)

pussreboots: I think it must be an automatic reaction - the majority of movies/TV shows filmed in Vancouver are usually substituting for somewhere else (ie: Seattle, or California, or... sometimes even New York!). So you're watching a show that's supposed to be taking place elsewhere, but then you'll see a shot of some famous Vancouver building, and it's hard not to blurt out, "hey! Wait a second!"

SBT - Thanks for the kind comments! I'll definitely have to look up your writing. That's interesting that you found me because of what I wrote on the DTES. I'm hoping to go a bit more in depth with that topic in a future posting.

_·Ðêm¦ãn·_ - Montreal is such a cool city. I just spent 3 weeks there. Have fun!

Sebast1an said...

I will never forget Arnold running around with a handgun trying to escape his nemesis ducking between automatic sliding bookshelves of superhuman embryos at the Vancouver Public Library.