Katee Sackhoff is no sentimentalist - the 28-year-old actress knows the end is at hand for Kara "Starbuck" Thrace.

"After July, she is dead - so to speak," Sackhoff says of her iconoclastic character on Sci-Fi Channel's celebrated show

Battlestar Galactica

, which is halfway through its fourth and final season.

As sci-fi fans begin the process of mourning the demise of


, Sackhoff will bid adieu to her fans with an appearance at the Convention Center from noon to 4 p.m. tomorrow as part of the three-day sci-fi confab, Wizard World Philadelphia.

"I'm ready to move on from Starbuck," Sackhoff says. "And that means all the things that go along with her" - including sci-fi conventions.

Don't misunderstand her; the Portland, Ore., native loved


. But she's ready to "break the sci-fi mold," she says by phone from the set of her new show, FX's medical melodrama



Sackhoff will have a recurring guest-star role this fall in four



"I play the new anesthesiologist," Theodora "Teddy" Lowe. "She's very interesting - she drives a Harley . . . and she really challenges" Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh), one of the show's two male leads.

So what's the connection between


and a lusciously sinful show about plastic surgery?

"I like shows that don't apologize for what they are, and push the limit," Sackhoff says

. "I have a hard time with shows that are afraid of ruffling feathers."

Sackhoff ruffled some herself five years ago when she first took on the Starbuck mantle: Some fans were skeptical about a woman's inhabiting Starbuck, who was played by Dirk Benedict in the '70s version.

But Sackhoff's Starbuck is as impassioned, reckless, volatile and self-destructive as Benedict's version, a devil-may-care Lothario.

Within a few episodes, she had won the hearts and minds of scores of sci-fi fanatics. Today, she's a veritable pinup of the sci-fi world, a fact that has always mystified her.


, created by Ronald D. Moore and costarring Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer and Edward James Olmos, is a radically reimagined, darker version of the original 1978 series. It follows a ragtag group of humans from a galaxy far, far away who barely escaped the destruction of their world by a race of artificial life forms that have rebelled against their human makers. According to some fans, the show is a philosophical meditation on the human condition, disguised as sci-fi. It asks fundamental questions about what it means to be human, how communities form and how hopes find expression in religion.

For Sackhoff, the challenge has been more about her craft.

She says she's grateful for the creative freedom Moore allowed her to have.

"They allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do with this character and make it my own." She's proud of the show's ability to support such a complex and multifaceted character.

"I think she is a perfect example of growth," Sackhoff says of Starbuck. "She started out as the most flawed and destructive character. . . . [Now] she's at a point where she doesn't see herself as the most important thing in the world. She'd gladly give her life to help others."

Sackhoff laughs when asked if the series will have a happy ending.

"Do you honestly think that it would have a happy ending? The way that things have gone - the almost total annihilation of humanity - do you really think it'll end with bunnies and kittens . . . wrapped up with a bow?"