We’re only months away from the ten-year anniversary of the Battlestar Galactica finale airing on what was then called the Sci-Fi Channel, and now Syfy Wire is presenting a podcast called Battlestar Galacticast that will follow a rewatch of the classic series co-hosted by journalist and writer Marc Bernardin and none other than Number Six herself, Tricia Helfer. We spoke with Helfer about how the podcast came to be, what guests we could expect to encounter, and what it was like to revisit the series in which she played such an iconic role.
There have only been a couple of podcast installments of Battlestar Galacticast released so far, but Helfer and Bernardin are going episode by episode discussing Battlestar Galactica, starting with the miniseries that aired in 2003. “It’s been a lot of fun!” says Helfer. “It’s just an idea that Marc and I thought up a little over a year ago… We found ourselves in London at a science fiction convention, and we were just backstage chatting, taking a break in the green room, and I was sitting at a table and eating lunch when John Carroll Lynch, a wonderful actor and a wonderful guy, came up and we started chatting, and he said, ‘I just gotta say, I was a big fan of Battlestar Galactica,” and here I am looking at him going, ‘What?? I’m a fan of you!’”
Soon after, Helfer found herself admitting that she hadn’t revisited the series that began her career since it first aired, and her future co-host Bernardin overheard the conversation. “I was like, ‘You know, it’s been so long, I’ve gotta go back and watch it,’” Helfer told Lynch with Bernardin nearby. “‘I’ve never done a proper watching of it. I’ve seen every episode, but sometimes they were rough cuts or not all the CGI was done or the final edit wasn’t in, so I’ve really got to do that.’ And Marc piped in from across the table; he’s like, ‘Well, if you’re gonna do that, maybe we should do a podcast about it!’ And that’s how it just sort of started.”
They began recording the podcast earlier in the fall of 2018 before there was even a vehicle or an outlet to publish it. Just like any fans starting a podcast, it was just two friends with microphones until Bernardin brought in Syfy Wire to back the project. Helfer immediately took the task seriously, filling a yellow legal pad with talking points. “I’m definitely a notes person. I would watch each episode before we taped just so it was fresh in my mind and Marc would as well,” she says. “He’s definitely more the analytical mind behind it, and he’ll come to it with the themes. And I come to it with just things that’ll spark my memory… and then I play the episode in the background on silent so that we can somewhat spur some discussion.”
Sounds like a typical fan podcast! Except as a Battlestar Galactica star herself, Helfer is able to bring in her friends from the show, like Katee Sackhoff a.k.a. Starbuck, to participate in the discussion. “We definitely wanted Katee for [the series premiere,] ’33,’ and we’ve got Michael Hogan in a live episode,” says Helfer, referring to the actor who played Saul Tigh. “And then recently we’ve had Tahmoh Penikett [a.k.a. Helo] come in. It wasn’t necessarily an episode that was so much about his character, it was ramping up his character for the next one, but I think that’s one thing fun about Battlestar is we all love the show. So we’re all invested in it even if it wasn’t our character-centric episode.”
Future episodes of Battlestar Galacticast will also feature guests who stopped by on their own, even before their characters, like Rekha Sharma’s Tory Foster, were ready to be discussed on the podcast. “Rekha Sharma, who lives in Vancouver, just happened to be in L.A., and she texted me and she’s like, ‘I’m like five minutes from your house! I’m coming over!’ And I’m like, ‘I’m about to start a Battlestar episode taping,’ and she’s like, ‘I’m in!’ I’m like, ‘Okay, your character’s not even around yet, but…’ That one was possibly, maybe a boozy episode; [it] might be a little more fun, a bit more analytical,” Helfer admits with a laugh.
As for future star guests, Helfer has some ideas of who she’d like to see during the discussion of Battlestar Galactica season one. “We definitely have some others planned that we want to bring by. We don’t have dates for them yet, but there’s one that we want to bring Edward James Olmos by for,” she says, referring to the star who played Admiral William Adama. “Michael Trucco [a.k.a. Anders] will be on at one point, but he’s not around yet, so we’ll wait until he comes around. James Callis [a.k.a. Baltar], for sure! And Bear McCreary did our music! As a favor to us, he did our little blurb of music for the podcast. So we’d love to have him on.”
All in all, Helfer is having fun indulging in her podcast project like any fan of Battlestar Galactica would, even though her career has moved onto other avenues like her popular run as “Mom” on Fox’s Lucifer. “I got really lucky being part of a production that not only withstands the test of time, so to speak, but also was critically acclaimed. I mean, I have a Peabody on my shelf because of it,” recalls Helfer. “I’ve always been extremely grateful and proud of the show. So it doesn’t bother me that it may be my most recognizable role. I certainly hope I continue to work and do things… I have a long career ahead of me I hope.”
If Helfer and Bernardin stick with the podcast through all four seasons, we might be able to enjoy the Battlestar Galactica rewatch for months to come. Battlestar Galacticast is available wherever you get your podcasts, and the full audio of this interview with Tricia Helfer will be available as part of our own podcast, Sci Fi Fidelity, in January 2019 and will include more discussion of the podcast and of her role in Lucifer.