Apr 6, 2011

Wondercon 2011 Edition: Richard Hatch

8:32 AM

Richard Hatch should teach a course on public speaking. You know, should the whole acting and writing thing not work out.

Hatch is best known for his roles as the O.G. Apollo from the '70s Battlestar Galactica and political-prisoner-turned-populist-politician Tom Zarek in the show's recent reboot. As soon as he arrived on stage at his Friday "So Say We All" Wondercon panel, he handled the crowd like a routine landing of his old Viper.

After complimenting the cosplayers in the audience (especially the Battlestar pilots), Hatch borrowed a page out of his character Tom Zarek's notebook and appealed to the downtrodden sci-fi fans, whom time and again have had their favorite shows taken away from them by cop/lawyer/hospital drama-peddling networks.

"Why do they cancel all the good shows, like Caprica and Firefly, before they have time to develop? And why do they keep all the bad shows?" asked Hatch.

Amid the smattering of replies, one audience member shouted, "Frak the networks!" Hatch laughed and responded, "Yeah, frak 'em!" before praising the genius of the FCC-dodging F-word.

Other highlights of the Hatch panel:

On dying in Battlestar Galactica: "Every actor whose character died on Battlestar Galactica prayed they were a Cylon. Everyone loved being on that show."

On Battlestar's final season: "It wasn't as fun as the rest of the show. A lot of actors were moving on to new shows, and we couldn't enjoy the experience like we had in the past."

On Battlestar's final episode: "I think the show lost its sense of family in the last episode. Why would everyone separate? You're on a planet full of strange creatures - you might want to stick together."

On Tom Zarek's politics intersecting with his own: "I'm pissed off that Zarek is the bad guy! Here's a guy with a different idea that ran contrary to those in power - he thought everyone should be represented. And for that he is maligned! But the hero is a military general who would prefer to rule by force.

"Battlestar Galactica showed how easy democracy can be lost. There's a catastrophic event and most people close their eyes and turn over all their power to an unaccountable government."

On Battlestar Galactica's future: "That universe is still pregnant with great ideas and storylines. The networks try to get rid of it, but the fans keep it coming back."

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