Thursday, July 27, 2006

Six Degrees of JJ Abrams

Six Links Rule, Six Degrees

Based on the theory that everyone on the planet is connected through no more than six other people, the ABC will premiere its new show called "Six Degrees" on Thursday, September 21 at 10pm. This relationship drama follows the lives of six New Yorkers from different walks of life and whose lives are connected, even though they're not aware of it or the impact they're having on one another-yet. A mysterious web of coincidences gradually draws these people closer to those who will change their lives forever.

The show's promo asks, Who will you touch? Who will touch you? It's an intriguing tale of intertwined strangers. It's a story that will prove just how small the world really is and how someone just five people away could be shaping your future right now.....Even decisions made freely will seem part of a larger design begging the question if there is a greater force at work in our world, guiding us along and connecting our lives.

Th ABC's "Six Degrees" stars:

Bridget Moynahan (of "Sex and the City", "Lord of War" and "I, Robot") plays Whitney, the self-made successful ad exec who suspects her boyfriend is cheating on her.

Campbell Scott (of "The Secret Lives of Dentists", "Loverbpy" and "The Exorcism of Emily Rose") plays Steven Casemen, the artist/photographer who believes he's lost his "eye."

Dorian Missick (of "Lucky Number Slevin") plays Damian, who can't escape his criminal brother's shadow.

Erika Christensen (of "Flightplan" and "Traffic") plays Mae Anderson, the girl with a dangerous past that she's hiding from,

Hope Davis (of "About Schmidt", "American Splendor", "Proof" and "The Matador") plays Laura, a grieving single mother.

Jay Hernandez (of "Friday Night Lights" and "Hostel") plays Carlos Greene, the public defender and the good guy with a crush who doesn't know what he's in for.

Don't miss the first episode in which Mae (played by Erika Christensen) has one of those moments where you just have to hop on a garbage truck and take your clothes off for the whole world too see. She's arrested for indecent exposure.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
Battlestar Galactica Part 3

In Part one of this story arc we saw how the brilliant scientist, Dr Baltar was conned by the beauty and charm of the humanoid Cylon agent, Number Six. In her masquerade Six made out to be an employee of a rival computer corporation and Baltar slipped her computer secrets from his defense work and this ultimately led to the destruction of most of humanity. Troubled mentally by his fear of anyone discovering his betrayal and the guilt that he felt over his unwitting role in this genocide, Baltar continued to be haunted by visions of Number Six, with whom he conversed often. Then in Part two we saw how Number Six under the name of Ms Shelly Godfrey and masquerading as a human from another ship, betrayed Baltar for unwilling to take up the belief in her God. Based on he accusations that Baltar was the traitor who betrayed the humans, he was put under house arrest until the evidence was evaluated.

A number of interesting interactions between the various characters follow as Baltar wages a lonely battle to prove his innocence. He explores every possible way of trying to get out of this rather uncomfortable jam. In one scene, he calls President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) to tell her that he believes Godfrey may be a Cylon and to plead his innocence. However, due to an overdose on her cancer medication she collapses during the call.

Ms.Godfrey visits Adama and behaving in typical Six fashion, subtly attempts to seduce him, leaning in for a kiss as she tells him how lonely she is. However, Adama doesn't bite and her coming on to him only raises his suspicions of her. Now wary of this stunning stranger the Commander orders covert surveillance on her while her evidence is analyzed. He calls Tigh (played by Michael Hogan).

"Do not, under any circumstances, allow Shelly Godfrey to leave this ship. Put her under surveillance, discretely. I want to know everybody she's talked to and everywhere she's been."

As Gaeta works on enhancing the image, Baltar becomes more and more desperate for news, even following Gaeta into the head (the restroom). He takes the stall next to him, and starts to flatter him. Both stall doors are closed but the cameras keep showing close-ups of their eyes through the slot in the doors.

"I know this is an awkward time, but it occurs to me that I never really told you how invaluable your assistance has been to me the past few weeks," explained Baltar.

Baltar then asks Gaeta in an increasingly desperate whisper how's it going over there referring to the photo enhancement and not his business in his There's a long pause and then Gaeta says he has a few hours to go.

"Has it ever occurred to you that the photograph, the disc itself, could be fake?" asked Baltar.

"I've already authenticated the disc," replied Gaeta.

Baltar then tries to smooth talk Gaeta into letting him spend a few minutes with him in the lab where they are decoding the photo that will prove his guilt or innocence however Gaeta doesn't think that it's a good idea.

"For God's sake, Gaeta, my life is on the line, my reputation is at stake," explains Baltar.

"Yeah, so is mine, Doctor," replied Gaeta.

Godfrey enters and walks into a stall [yes, it's a coed restroom]. Gaeta flushes and leaves quickly, without washing his

Baltar truly confused by thoughts that this can't possibly be the same woman he has been having an affair with, decides to confront her. He leaves his stall and pushes her door open.....

"I didn't plant any bomb, anywhere, at any time, and you know that.....Let's just entertain the notion, just for a moment, that you are not the woman that I see everywhere. You are not Shelly Godfrey either. You're a fake. You're just a copy. Another Cylon copy," Baltar frustratingly says to Godfrey.

"Get. Out," she replied as she shuts the door.

"Stuck a nerve, have I? Which I find rather impossible to believe! You think this is over? This is not over! You have not heard the last," losing his cool and raging one of Battlestar Galactica's most memorable quotes, "All right, that's it! No more Mr nice Gaius!"

A security guard escorts Baltar out of the restroom.

Baltar visits the Commander to charge that Godfrey is actually a Cylon agent. Adama wants to believe Baltar's innocent but is now more conflicted. Baltar's behavior is definitely beyond eccentric, he leaves in a state of high anxiety.

As the time required to enhance the image draws to a close, in desperation Baltar sets off a fire alarm as a distraction and breaks into the lab where Gaeta has been working and attempts a direct (and futile) assault upon the computers processing the photo enhancement. He is horrified when he sees the picture of himself holding explosives on the monitor. He tries to delete the disk, but nothing works, he just can't remove the picture of himself on the monitor.

Adama enters the lab and sees Baltar trying to tamper with the evidence that proves his guilt. Baltar is arrested and thrown into the brig to await his sentencing.

President Roslin visits Baltar in his cell and he initially thinks that she has come to oversee his release but instead, she expresses her disappointment in him. She is uncharacteristically vindictive.......

"I wanna believe you. I wanna believe that I haven't made such a profound error in judgment in trusting you, in asking your advice. But here's where we are, Doctor. If anyone can be a Cylon, and it's hard to tell us apart then we only have one thing left to trust, our instincts, our feelings. And the moment they told me it was your face in the photo I knew I believed it. I believe you were involved in the attack... somehow. I feel it," said President Roslin.

"You'll forgive me, Madam President, if I don't wish to be executed based solely on your gut feeling," replied Baltar.

"May the gods have mercy on your soul," replies President Roslin.

Realising his plight and that he will most certainly be executed as a traitor, Baltar sees his only way out is to do what Six had been urging him to do: give himself over to God's will. He gets down on his knees and starts praying to God to help him out of his predicament, vowing that he accepts Six's God as the one and only God and that he will dedicate his life to God's service if he is freed from the situation. He repeats his prayer several times and suddenly the "real" Number Six appears telling him that everything will be all right; she and God are with him now.

Gaeta then enters the brig and throws Baltar into a wild panic. He is convinced he is about to be summarily executed. While calming Baltar, Gaeta tells him that he is a free man as in fact Godfrey's photographs had proven to be fakes. Baltar's prayers had been answered!

As Baltar is released, Adama learns that Shelly Godfrey had literally vanished, her watchers reporting she turned a corner in a corridor, and when they got to it, she had simply vanished without a trace, making Adama suspect that she was a Cylon spy after all, trying to discredit Baltar for his work on the Cylon Detector.

The President holds a press conference publicly exonerating Baltar in front of the entire fleet making him more powerful than ever.

Baltar quickly slips back into his fantasy world and has passionate sex with Number Six, like he always used to. She points out that he is now next to invincible: he's been through a trial by fire, and no-one would dare accuse him of acting against the Fleet again. She then starts stripping as she climbs the stairs to the bedroom.

Following her, Baltar can't help asking her one question: was Shelly Godfrey ever really here? She responds with a coy smile.


  • This has been a long post....three in fact so getting to the point quickly, I have one question and would love to hear your thoughts. Why was the 7th episode of the TV series of Battlestar Galactica named "Six Degrees of Separation"?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
Battlestar Galactica Part 2

In Part one of this story arc we saw how the Cylon agent, Number Six, a humanoid, made out to be an employee of a rival computer corporation and used her beauty and charm to seduce the brilliant scientist, Dr Baltar into slipping her computer secrets from his defense work. This ultimately led to the destruction of most of humanity. Troubled mentally by his fear of anyone discovering his betrayal and the guilt that he feels over his unwitting role in this genocide, Baltar continued to be haunted by visions of Number Six, with whom he converses often.

Interestingly, the 7th episode of the first season of the Battlestar Galactica TV series, was named Six Degrees of Separation. It begins with a somewhat frustrated and bored Baltar working in the lab talking in his mind to his seductress lover Number Six. He points out the absence of God in the cell samples before him.

"What is it that drives you to blasphemy, Gaius? A need to tempt fate?" asked Six.... She continues spouting her usual religious Cylon rhetoric "if you would give yourself over to God's will, you'd find peace in his love like I have. He has a plan for us."

Baltar imagines he's in the bedroom of his house on Caprica, and wants to have virtual sex with her, but she keeps bringing up God.

"You running a glitch in the program or something? Because you say the same thing over and over again," he replies.

"It's important that you form a personal relationship with God. Only you can give yourself over to God's eternal love," replied Six.

His arguing with Six over his lack of faith in God and his mocking of her belief in God quickly escalates into an explosion of anger on his part. Baltar has had enough and tells her enough is enough.

"No, what you are doing, darling, is boring me to death with your superstitious drivel, your, your metaphysical nonsense. Which, to be fair to you, actually appeals to the half-educated dullards that make up most of human society but which, I hasten to add, no rational, intelligent free-thinking human being truly believes. Which leads me to the inescapable conclusion that Cylons are, in the final, that Cylons are, in the final analysis little more than toasters, with great-looking legs."

Six Links Rule, Duala

At this point Six vanishes from Baltar's head and disappears. He is awakened from his dream-like state by a knock on his door. It's Lieutenant Anastasia Dualla (played by Kandyse McClure), and she has been ordered to bring him to see Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) in the CIC (the Galactica's Combat Information Center).

At the CIC Baltar sees Six but tries to pretend that he does not see her. However he quickly comes to realise that she is not a vision in his mind as everyone else can see her and is presented to him as Shelly Godfrey [God Free, intersting choice of name, isn't it], a civilian from another ship.

"Miss Godfrey has brought some very disturbing accusations to my attention. I think you should have the chance to answer them in person," says Commander Adama.

Godfrey then states her case. "You're the one who let the Cylons into the defence mainframe. You've betrayed your entire race. You're the man responsible for the holocaust, and I'm here to see you exposed, and sentenced to death as the traitor you really are."

"I've never seen this woman before in my life," replies Baltar.

"I'm not surprised you don't remember me, I was just a lowly systems analyst at the defence ministry. Dr. Amarak was my associate... Dr. Amarak told me he had evidence that Dr Baltar was involved in the sneak attack. He was trying to reach the President and give her the information when he was killed."

"Well, it's a pity he's no longer with us," replied Baltar.
"How convenient we only have your word for that," he added.

"There's also this," replied Godfrey as she held up a computer disc.

"It's I.D. coded. Colonial Defense Ministry," she added.

"Dr. Amarak gave the disc to me before he died. Amarak gave the disc to me for safekeeping. On the disc is a photo. It was captured from the security camera in the defence mainframe on Caprica. It shows the Doctor entering the mainframe without permission the day before the attack. As you can see, the man in the photo is carrying an explosive device. Just before the Cylon attack, the entire defence mainframe was destroyed by this device."

"Honestly, that is not me. I wasn't there, it's somebody else... I'm not the man in the photograph," pleads Dr. Baltar.

"I see a man, same height, same build, but that's a long way from proof, Miss Godfrey," replied the Commander.

"I agree Commander but look here, in the faceplate of the computer terminal is the reflection of the man's face. With the right equipment, the image could be enlarged and sharpened. We could see his face," she explained.

Commander Adama puts Lieutenant Felix Gaeta (played by Alessandro Juliani) in charge of the investigation to analyse the disc. Gaeta tells Adama that it will take ten hours to decode the disc and will answer the question as to who's lying. Commander Adama suspends Baltar's security status and work in the lab until the matter is resolved.

So we have the brilliant scientist Dr. Baltar accused of treason and under house arrest until the evidence against him is analysed. Six Degrees of Separation, Battlestar Galactica will be concluded in Part 3.


  • Lieutenant Anastasia Dualla Image source: Wikipedia

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
Battlestar Galactica Part 1

As many will know, the 7th episode of the first season of the Battlestar Galactica TV series was named Six Degrees of Separation. In this first post of my story arc I want to set the background to this.

In the classic Galactica movie and later released TV series, the cybernetic civilization know as the Cylons are at war with the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of humanity. Like refugees fleeing mass genocide, the survivors led by President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama are in a fleet of ships headed by the massive warship, the Battlestar Galactica, and travelling across the galaxy looking for the believed-mythical world and original home of humanity, known as Earth. The survivors are being pursued by the Cylons who are intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race.

The war between the two species is stated in the episode "Saga of a Star World" as being started when the Cylon empire sought to expand into the territory of a species allied with the colonies, that species being the Hasaries. The Cylons [sic] intentions were transparent: conquest, subjugation, and enslavement or obliteration. so their original intentions are only half-genocidal. Intervening on behalf of the Hasaries, the human colonies helped their besieged neighbors win back their freedom, but at a terrible cost: the cylons empire now veiwed [sic] the human race as their prime-most nemesis. Because of humanity's most endearing traits; self-sacrifice, nobility, honor, loyalty, our desire to question, and to resist oppression, the Cylon empire veiws [sic] mankind as a threat. To the Cylon mind, such behavior is alien and a dangerous threat to their empire's dominion. Source: Wikipedia

The Cylons were originally created by man as simple labour-saving robots however they rebelled and retreated from the 12 Colonies. During their 40-year retreat they evolved and developed bio-mechanical models which were effectively indistinguishable from humans, to the point where they are even able to reproduce sexually with them! Some are programmed to think they are human. Their minds can easily be downloaded into other copies of these bio-models. The Cylons also developed their own concept of a soul and religion. They worship the one God and believe that their God is the God of everyone, that all beings must develop a relationship with God or lose their immortal souls. It is from this that they believe that their God has ordered them on a religious crusade to eradicate the unworthy humans.

In the beginning of the TV miniseries, we see the genius, but emotionally unstable scientist, Dr Gaius Baltar (played by Englishman James Callis) in an intense sexual relationship with a beautiful blond woman (played by the Canadian actress Tricia Helfer). She makes out to be an employee of a rival computer corporation (the sting), but in fact is the Cylon agent and infiltrator, Number Six, who was designed for seduction and as well as being capable of adapting to human form, is able to adapt to human emotions. Swayed by her beauty and charm Dr Baltar slips her computer secrets from his defense work. Number Six, reveals to him that she is in fact a humanoid and that the Cylons will use the computer secrets that he had given her to infiltrate the Colonial defense systems, disable the Colonial military and attack the Twelve Colonies which they did and in turn, destroyed most of humanity.

Dr. Baltar was amongst the group of survivors on planet Caprica devastated during the Cylons' surprise attack. With the help of Lieutenant Karl "Helo" Agathon (played by Canadian Tahmoh Penikett), Baltar managed to flee Caprica, finding refuge with the Galactica and its refugee fleet of civilian ships. However, troubled mentally by his fear of anyone discovering his betrayal and the guilt that he feels over his unwitting role in the genocide of humanity, Baltar continues to be haunted by visions of Number Six, with whom he converses often.

In the next post we'll move straight into the Six Degrees of Separation arc.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Six Degrees of Separation
On the Big Screen

Six Degrees of Separation was such a big hit on Broadway that it was inevitable, and it didn't take long at all for it to hit the big screen. In the must-see 1993 movie adaptation of Guare's play, the cunning and heartless, young gay hustler named Paul (Will Smith), a consummate con man looking for an identity, uses his charm and intellect to con his way out of the ghetto and into the world of New York high society.

Six Links Rule

He lands on the doorstep of rich art dealers Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing). Pretending to be the son of Sidney Poitier and the friend of their children at Harvard, the by now duped Kittredge's offer him a bed for the night. They are enchanted by his intellect and charm. However, by comparing notes with other victims of Paul's masquerade, they soon learn

that he is not all he seems to be so they try to find out how he knew so much and made the connections to them. Their investigations are intriguing and lead them to some interesting reflection and soul searching about their own world, a world of affluence, pretense and shallow existence.

Don't you just love this part:

"I read somewhere that everybody on this planet is separated by only six other people. Six degrees of separation between us and everyone else on this planet. The President of the United States, a gondolier in Venice, just fill in the names. I find that extremely comforting, that we're so close, but I also find it like Chinese water torture that we're so close because you have to find the right six people to make the connection. It's not just big names -- it's anyone. A native in a rain forest, a Tiero del Fuegan, an Eskimo. I am bound -- you are bound -- to everyone on this planet by a trail of six people. It's a profound thought -- how Paul found us, how to find the man whose son he claims to be, or perhaps is, although I doubt it. How everyone is a new door, opening into other worlds."

Character Ouisa Kittredge.

As did the play, the movie Six Degrees of Separation explores themes of reality versus appearance. It explores the inner and the outer sides of people. This is done not only of Paul, the street-wise, teenage rascal aspiring to be someone important, but also of the well-to-do socialite art dealers, Flan and Ouisa Kittredge for they also pretend to be what they are not. They lose themselves in the identities that they project onto their friends and customers. They themselves also know a little about hustling, charming and selected truths as they quickly and quite easily schmooze the next person interested in brokering an art deal between a potential client. From this perspective, compared to the silver-tongued, rascal Paul, the socialite Kittredge's are hustlers themselves. What's fascinating is that even though they are at the upper end of society, better educated, and know a thing or two about hustling, they are duped by the much younger, street-wise kid. They are just as vulnerable as any one of us. A young hustler quite easily makes them realize how really empty their lives are, loaded with dough and living on the ritzy upper end. I guess the moral here is that no matter who you are or at what step of the social ladder you're at, from time to time we should all hold up that mirror and take a hard look at ourselves! Respectability is only skin deep; true integrity lies much deeper.

Six Degrees of Separation provokes a number of thoughts and makes you think about a number of issues:

  • Are you no different to Flan and Ouisa Kittredge, self-absorbed with what you do, living in some pretentious existence and perhaps easily fallible to charming and lovable rascals who brazenly assume false identities yet capable of opening up a whole new existence for you?
  • Being locked into your daily routines and life patterns, if such a rascal touches you to the core and is a catalyst for the re-evaluation of your life, perhaps saving you from the empty life that you have fallen into, does it really matter that such a complete stranger, a charming and lovable rascal sweeps you off your feet with his cleverly fabricated stories and irresistible charm designed to play off that very longing? Think about it! Imagine some stranger blowing into your life as if from nowhere and connects with you and through this deep connection makes you reflect on who you really are! It has been said that con-men and gigolos know more about the human makeup than most trained therapists. While the therapists live in their mostly theoretical world, the rascal works in the cold world of reality. In this context, what's wrong with enjoying the journey and not worrying about the destination?
  • How is it that we are so easily distracted with situations and events of life, rather than engage ourselves in living life?
  • How often do we fool ourselves?
  • What drives you? Is your life centered on the desire for money, business opportunities, fame, social standing, comfort or is it the desire for meaningful human connection?
  • Are you enjoying your life or do you crave for another world than the one that you live in or do miss something that you dream for?
  • Who are you really?
  • Are you caught up in our celebrity driven society?
  • Do you feel the need to be somebody important and special? Many do!
  • Do you have an "identity" of your own and live the life of who you really are or do you fake it and in your world of make believe pretend or strive to be someone else?
  • Do you fake it to get away from your everyday mundane reality?
  • Do you fake it because of ambition, greed, desire or just fantasy or do you just want to be liked or want to have friends or whatever?
  • In your pursuit to be liked do you lie or hold back in conversation (sitting on the fence) rather than tell the truth and express yourself honestly? Have you ever told someone "Oh I love that dress!" or "Oh I just love that new hairstyle, it really suits you!" but really, deep down within you think it looks stupid on her?
  • Talking about faking it, I know a girl, best described as a celebrity wannabe. She will not open her front door unless she's fully dolled up and in stilettos! If you surprise visit her she'll ask who you are and then while you stand on the other side of her front door she will frantically rush to the powder room to doll herself up. If you can be bothered you would wait at the door for quite some time. She's the same on the ski field, fully made up and yes she'd ski in stilettos if she could. Nothing short of a masquerade for whose benefit? Is it just self esteem or ego? Who are you? Do I really know you? I'll say it again, from time to time we should all hold up that mirror and take a hard look at ourselves! Respectability is only skin deep; true integrity lies much deeper.
  • Do you fool your friends not realising that in the process you are also fooling yourself?
  • Have you gone so far with the pretense that you just can't climb out?
  • How are we connected to each other and to what extent do we exist without other people?
  • Finally, isn't it an amazing thought that we're connected to anyone and everyone by a chain of six. Is the world really that small? Talking about connectivity, isn't it amazing how the Internet and blogging in particular, has connected people like you and me right now. There can be little doubt that the Internet has made the world “smaller” by allowing us to meet seemingly random people from around the world, and to do a better job of keeping in touch with them.

    Six Degrees of Separation, a fascinating subject........but there's more, so stay tuned!

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Six Degrees of Separation
    On Broadway

    Yes, not so long ago, the idea that everyone is connected to everyone else by a maximum of six other people, Six Degrees of Separation, hit Broadway and in fact, turned out to become an acclaimed Broadway hit. The play explored the premise of being at most six people away from someone famous. What's really amazing about the play is that it was based on the amazing true story, of impostor David Hampton, a teenager who in pursuit of the glamorous life in New York, passed himself off as Sidney Poitier's son and imposed on several affluent New Yorkers, pretending to be a friend or classmate of their children. Through this identity,

    Six Links Rule

    his intellect and charm, he managed to cadge free meals in restaurants as well as persuading at least a dozen people into letting him stay with them in their homes or to give him money. Can you believe this that the duped included Melanie Griffith; Calvin Klein; Jay Iselin, the president of public television station WNET and a Manhattan urologist.

    Playwright John Guare heard about the con through his friendship with two of the duped hosts, Osborn Elliot, the dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and his wife Inger. He was so fascinated with the amazing story that he penned the play, which he aptly called Six Degrees of Separation. Guare based the premise of his play on the actual incident and creates a view of a fragmented society in which those simple six degrees that bind people together are overlooked, blatantly ignored, and, very occasionally, celebrated. His play was hugely successful. It first opened off-Broadway on 8th November 1990 and was an immediate critical and popular success. Outstanding reviews and full houses with audiences lining up in the hope of ticket cancellations greatly extended the play's original ten-week run. Six Degrees of Separation went on to win the New York Critic Circle Award for Best Play of the Year and London's Olivier award, and to be nominated for a Tony Award.

    I guess the original true story and the play based on it go to show how false links can easily sway our better judgement into believing there is a connection to someone when there actually isn't. It goes to show that no matter how smart you are or where you are on the social ladder, you have to be wary of those possible false links or connections to others. However, one could ask, even if this were to happen, is there a possible positive spin or outcome? Stay tuned.......


    • Melanie Griffith at Cannes, 2000, image source: Wikipedia